Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout | Central Waters Brewing Co.

very good
258 Reviews
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry StoutBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dirtylou on 03-22-2007

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Reviews: 258 | Ratings: 789
Photo of guityler83
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Moderately aggressive pour produced a modest head just under a finger tall that quickly fell. The foam was a khaki color with mixed bubbles. Very little lacing when swirled, but alcohol legs are noticeable. Pitch black in color

S: mild aroma impression of dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and an underlying cherry note. The woody oak character melds it all together. A little bit of roast, no hop aroma and no ethenol detected. Some middle malts peak through as it warms up with a caramel and toffee impression

T: Tart cherries are very pronounced. The oakey, vanilla character from the barrel is the next flavor coming through that blends into a dark chocolate and toasty malt flavor. Some caramel and toffee notes in the background. Bitterness is low and the balance is on the sweeter malt and cherry side.

M: The carbonation comes off moderate but the tartness of the cherries gives and interesting sharpness. Moderate body and there is some astringancy from the tannins in the wood. Alcohol warming is moderate.

O: Very cherry forward beer that covers up a lot of the chocolate and roasty flavors you expect from a stout. The oak and bourbon come through slightly, but are but a side note to the cherries. I think the normal CW BS is a great beer and even rivals BCBS if you consider its availability in the state, but the cherries in this version is too intense for my pallet.

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Photo of Trifecta1
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Dark, porter-like, not completely opaque, not much head.

S - Cherries, malt, heavy bourbon, chocolate.

T - Tart cherries hit first, followed by boozy bourbon (vanilla and oak), caramel, and dark chocolate. Somewhat sweet, somewhat tart.

M - Syrupy, smooth, but light. Would like it to be a bit heavier.

O - Great beer, not as good as Bell's BB Cherry, or CW's base beer, BBS, but great nonetheless.

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Photo of Lorianneb
3.19/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to jrocco2021 for this one.

A- Pours black with a big head that disappears right away.
N- Smells of tart cherry, but little else
M- Thin. I expected something much chewier and thick. A little over carbonated for the style
T- mild tart cherry. Nice malt backbone. Hops just enough to make sure it's not too sweet
O- An ok beer from a great brewery. Glad I tried it in a trade, but would be disappointed if I paid more than $8 for a sixer.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a CBS snifter. Served at cellar temperature.

A) Deep brown with red on the edges. Not much head, but what was there, settles to a collar quickly. Has some legs too...

S) This has a fair amount of tart cherry on the nose, and some booze. There is a hint of chocolate, and some of the oak barrel as well.

T) The roasty malty stout flavors quickly give way to the tart cheery juice. A decent sweet tart balance. Packs a little alcohol heat too. Initially I found the finish a bit medicinal, but sip after sip, I grew to enjoy it a little more. Perhaps it is more earthy than medicinal.

M) The mouthfeel is very slick and smooth, but also a tad thin for my liking.

O) A well crafted brew... I rather enjoyed it, and I'm interested to see how it develops with some time in the cellar. Glad to recommend.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

2012 vintage.

Pours a hazy dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, wood, and slight cherry aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, bourbon, and vanilla flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a subtle cherry presence that is really only noticeable in the smell at this point.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage. Poured from a bottle into a Stone IRS snifter. The pour is very dark, not quite black, and admits very little light. It sports a thin layer of foam that quickly dies down to a thin lacing (low carbonation in a barrel-aged beer does not bother me). The nose is really nice. It's a bit faint, but the barrel comes through pretty nicely. I get notes of oak, some cherries, sweet vanilla, and just a hint of bourbon.

Medium-full body and a tart flavor. The tart cherry flavors hit you very quickly - right on the front of the palate. The malt doesn't even have an opportunity to provide a base for it. Whatever sweetness there is lasts only briefly. At mid-palate, some of the oak notes try to provide a balancing sweetness instead. These also fall a bit short. Last to try is the bourbon with its boozy sweetness. It joins with the cherries and adds richness to the flavor, then a hint of roastiness comes through right on the finish. When it blends with the cherries, you get a chocolate-cherry flavor that lingers very pleasantly.

I don't have a lot of experience with cherry stouts. I did not care for Bell's Cherry Stout at all (too tart), yet I thought that their Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout was absolutely divine. This one is in the middle. It's still a bit too tart for my liking, but the bourbon barrel provides some interesting flavors that counter the sour notes well. My kingdom for a brewer who's willing to make a cherry stout with a shit-ton of chewy, malty sweetness to balance out the sour flavors.

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Photo of mj81
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was very excited to try this. I love cherries and have heard good things about central waters. 2014 release.

A- was let down from the get go. Pours out like cherry Cola. Cheap carbonation head went from 2 fingers to nothing in literally less than a second. I've seen much better head retention on fountain soda. You can see the overly aggressive carbonation cascading up the glass.

S- about the only shining star on this beer. You get that earthy bourbon smell like that of a prairie brew. Cherries and chocolate come through as well.

T- follows the nose. cherries dominate with some vanilla, chocolate and earthy oak.

M- cherry coke. Too much carbonation, very thin mouthfeel. Barely thicker than something I would pour out a plastic bottle.

O- this beer could have been something so much more if they just toned down the manufactured co2 carbonation and had some more body to it. Flavors were there for the most part but it feels like they cheaped out on taking the necessary steps to make this a world class brew.

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Photo of IrishHockey
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

Appearance: dark, almost black. When held up to the light, red shines through. Very nice looking beer

Smell: WOW! damn good!!!

Taste: alright, I loved it. It's a top 5 for me. Taste is bourbon and cherries. It's the cherry coke of bourbon beer. I want this to be a never ending glass. As it warms, the malts start to come out a bit, but the bourbon and cherry shine. This is everything I wanted a bourbon cherry beer to be.

Mouthfeel: this is the only component of the beer that I feel was lacking. It's a little thin. Almost like a soda. Carbonation was higher than I would have guessed. This in no way made it subpar. It would have been almost perfect with a creamier body.

Overall: I loved this beer. I will buy as much as I can and horde it! Fuck everyone else! Or I'll share, cause damnit, everyone who loves bourbon and cherries needs this. Once you do, Welcome to the crack pipe

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Photo of Carb-Overlord
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I think this is a pretty fun craft brew for people who like both bourbon and cherries. If you happen to dislike one or the other, this will definitely rate low. I happen to like both, probably too much ... so keep that bias in mind with this review.

A: Rich dark porter, poured with essentially with a very thin head that subsided after the first few drinks. Very opaque dark chocolate like color.

S: Of course, whiskey and cherries! Your smellers will be assailed with sweet bourbon, very pleasant indeed... is there a bourbon advocates about? :-) Anyway...

T: This is a very good sipping beer. Very carbonated porter, the bourbon is what hit me quite strongly immediately (I could really believe that this could be too much for many drinkers, but I love sipping bourbon, so cheers!). The bourbon flavor gives way to the cherries near the end of the swallow, this is sweet and delicious but definitely covered over with the bourbon flavor. If this beer were candy, it would be a "Bourbon Covered Cherry."

M: Pretty good, not quite outstanding, in my opinion I think this would be improved if a little smoother, less effervescence / slightly creamier and this would be dynamite.

O:'Just a fun beer. Sort of strong flavors going on here, I couldn't down an entire bottle but shared one with a guest. Sipped it like I sip me bourbon! Aaargh!!! Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of don1481
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into pint glass. I swear, if this gets infected like the Peruvian Morning, I'm so unbelievably done with CW. Aw, who am I kidding? I'LL NEVER QUIT YOU, CENTRAL WATERS!

2014 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark ruby with a small reddish tan head that rapidly dissipates with zero lacing.

Smell: Bourbon. And cherries. And oh so inviting!

Taste: This is.... different. It's definitely got the bourbon kick to it, but that's quite a bit of cherry goodness there as well. You'd think that one would overpower the other, but if anything, the bourbon's a little stronger than the cherry here. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: I was frankly expecting sticky, but this is surprisingly clean and pretty crisp for a stout. Impressive.

Overall: I'm gonna age the remaining three bottles a few more months and then have another. And hopefully another. And hopefully... I can keep this around a bit longer...

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter

A - First thing I noticed was how thin it was for an imperial stout. Black for the most part, but kind of a ruby red on the edges when tilted up to the light. Had little head and more carbonation than expected. Almost like flat coca-cola.

S - Definitely cherries. Oak is also big. Bourbon isn't a sweet smell and it's masked by the cherries.

T - Kind of a sticky cherry sweetness. Cloying bourbon.

M - Fizzy and carbonated. Not very thick or fluffy.

O - The cherry is the dominant flavor instead of blending with the bourbon barrel stout components. It's drinkable, but not something I'd seek out.

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Photo of jlindros
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another one thanks to Tom P. 10/11 vintages side by side.

No head, dark murky molasses color

Nose nice dark choc, caramel, hint of balotin cherry, very light vanilla barrel, the older is a bit more soft and less cherry.

Taste semi sweet, little choc, plenty of balotin cherry real balotin but not super cherry like, light barrel, nice choc on the back end, mild bitterness too, little cocoa nib. Age is again a little flatter in the taste.

Somewhat flat too, med to fuller bod, mild booze.

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Photo of Ri0
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured 12 oz bottle into chalice. Bottled 2013, probably in Feb.

A - Black licorice with a very thin .5 finger off white head. Thin ring and no lacing.

S - The smell is very good on this. Chocolate covered Bing cherries, subtle notes of vanilla and bourbon. I don't pick up on any wood or oak.

T - Up front it is chocolate, then tart Bing cherry. It is like taking a bite from a chocolate covered cherry. It transitions into layers of caramel, vanilla, and mild bourbon. Compared to the other CW BB beers, this is rather tame which works well for it. Hard to believe this is 10% ABV, as I don't pick up any alcohol.

M -Medium bodied and low carbonation, which is decent for style. Not a creamy as it should be.

O - This one has a good flavor, but might be a bit over the top fresh. Six months really let the cherry an bourbon fade and allows the flavors to compliment the stout, rather than over power it. Worth grabbing a 4 pack every year, but waiting until fall/winter to drink it.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.14/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle from the 2013 vintage. Generously provided by Shaun at our celebratory tasting. Poured into a Three Floyds stout glass today, 3/22/2014. First time getting to review this after drinking a 4-pack fresh last year.

App- Dark black body, minimal tan head with solid retention, dropping into a medium collar and stopping there. No lacing.

Smell- Not as much of the bourbon barrel exists, a tart cherry fruitiness mixed in with chocolates. The bourbon barrel flavours act to muddy the waters here.

Flavour- Very similar to the nose. There's less of the bourbon barrel flavours, but it's still enough to mess with the tart cherry flavours and milk + dark chocolates here so that it's a bit of a jumbled mess. Lots of oak barrel though no bourbon or vanilla.

Mouthfeel- Thinner bodied, solid and low carbonation. Drinkable for sure.

Overall- It's just not Cherry Rye, but it's not a bad beer at all either. I say drink this one fresh when I compare this experience to when I had it fresh.

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Photo of sendsilk
1.53/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Very excited to try this beer! I love. Stouts and love cherries. Upon opening this beer, the excitement comes to a screeching halt! This beer smells horrible, something is terribly wrong here. It smells very much like nail polish remover. I opened this at a tasting with 4 other friends and we concluded that the taste was almost as bad as the smell. Between the 5 of us we poured out over half of the bottle even after going back and giving it a 2nd and 3rd chance as it warmed to room temperature. I'm hoping this was just an infected bottle, nevertheless I won't be seeking this beer out again.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Apperance: Pours one level lower than jet black. Medium lacing ring around my Crooked Stave snifter. Looks the part.

Smell: Going into this beer knowing that it is a cherry ba stout, I got confused on the nose. Aroma of a ripened bing cherry is in the background, with lots of malt character smell forward.

Taste: Sort of confusing again. Real deep chocolate cherry in background. It is not fair that I am comparing this to BCBS Cherry (this beer tastes like overload of cherry syrup), where this one tastes muted. I am enjoying this beer though. Could be a little more cherry and bourbon forward.

Mouthfeel: Non-viscous for a ba stout, very thin. Delightful though on a summer day. Would like more viscosity if had in winter.

Overall: I would like more natural cherry and bourbon out of this CW beer. I would like more bourbon from most CW BA beers.

Better than Cherry Rye IMO

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Photo of Dope
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours black with a medium sized light brown head. Head fades away pretty quickly. Almost no head retention and just a little bit of lacing remains behind.

S: Tart cherries and leather primarily. A little bit of chocolate from the roasted malt.

T: More tart cherries and a little leather, sweetened just a little with some caramel. Roasted malt kicks in here with some nice heavy chocolate and hints of char. Touch of vanilla. Another twinge of tart cherries in the finish and then they are gone.

M: Quite heavy and viscous.

O: Interesting beer. Bourbon treatment isn't as strong as in the other central waters bourbon barrel brews. No sweet or medicinal cherries here, they're quite tart at times in fact. Definitely not as well put together as some of their other beers like the bourbon barrel barleywine and peruvian morning. Not as complex, a little unbalanced. Still tasty and I enjoyed every drop - just not as magnificent as I was hoping.

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Photo of Beerandboards
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


A - black, about a 3/4 inch of loose khaki head.

S - dark cherry, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak.

T - I personally think its a bit better than some of the other reviewers. I don't find the cherry out of balance. Gods amount of chocolate, bourbon, barrel, vanilla, along with the cherry.

M - too thin and a bit high in the carb department, but not bad.

O - tasty, a bit different, not the greatest thig ever, but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of wyatt13
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Only scored one bottle of this. I've really enjoyed the other Central Waters barrel-aged offerings this year, so I'm excited to give this one a go. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Half Acre snifter.

A - Black as night, with maybe the tiniest hint of red, although that very well could be my mind playing tricks on me. Tiny off-white head that quickly fizzles into obscurity.

S - Good amounts of vanilla right away, with tart cherries & bitter chocolate providing depth.

T - A sustained tart cherry is present throughout, always on top of the vanilla, chocolate & bourbon components. This is pretty unbalanced for my tastes, I wish the cherry was incorporated more subtly.

M - As seems to be true of most of Central Waters BA offerings, a rather thin mouthfeel. Also, lots of carbonation, which is a little puzzling for me in this style of beer.

O - I'm sad to say that this is my least favorite of Central Waters barrel-aged lineup. Certainly not a bad beer, but I hope they tweak the recipe, because this one has some untapped potential.

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Photo of weonfire
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Black, no head, no lacing, thin?

S - Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, toffee and just a hint of cherry

T - initially: tart cherry, bourbon, chocolate. finish: vanilla, tart (5/10) cherry that lingers

M - one of the thinner stouts i've tasted, low body

O - Really like the tart cherry. Bourbon, chocolate and vanilla mix well. Nose is moderate. do wish the tartness came out more. But the real downfall is the thin body. Stouts must be thick and creamy and this rather low.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured out as a cola like black color with a tan head that has no retention or lacing was basically nowhere. The smell of beer is a bit medicinal, cherry and some additional sweetness. The taste of the beer isn't really the greatest, artificial cherry flavors some vanilla and roasted malts. Just didn't really feel the flavors I was hoping for. The mouthfeel is soda-like, light bodied with a sharp carbonation. Overall I had much higher hopes for this beer. Wasn't impressed.

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Photo of emyers
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a thin beige head dissipating quicly into a thin lacing.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, oak. Tart cherries are fairly subtle, which I would say is probably a good thing. Some chocolate and caramel in there as well.

Taste: Cherries aren't particularly subtle anymore. Sharp,tart cherry flavor hits the palate first, followed by bourbon, oak, and some chocolate. The cherry seems to be a bit at odds with the rest of the beer, and the finish is slightly medicinal. Some alcohol heat on the finish doesn't help with this. It's still a solid flavor profile, and I'd probably love it if it wasn;t for the cherry.

Mouthfeel: Mediu bodied with a distinct sharpness from the tart cherry. It's still quite smooth despite this aspect, but once again I think the tart cherry is holding this beer back.

Overall: It's a very good beer, but I can't help but wish there was no cherry. The cherry just doesn't meld well with the rest of the flavor profile.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle shared by nasty31 in a snifter

A - Dark chocolate brown with no head. There is a slight red tint to it from the cherries

S - Cherry nose with light chocolate and bourbon to it; It is slightly medicinal as it sometimes can have a slight cough syrup presence

T - Cherry tartness is upfront before there is light bourbon, chocolate and vanilla that comes through. The finish is slight roasted malt and bitterness that lingers on

M - Medium body with slight syrupiness to it; lightly astringent in the finish

O - The cherry adds a tartness to the base stout. However, the problem is that the cherry doesn't blend well with the other flavors in the stout. It sort of tries to stand out too much and ends up throwing this off a bit. Additionally, there is a good amount of bitterness in this one that seems out of place overall.

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Photo of popery
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks, 316nuts. Pours a cola brown color. More transparent than I remember, dark brown and opaque in the middle of the glass but pretty wide lighter edges. Small light khaki head. Fades to nothing. The aroma has a good dose of cherries and bourbon. Chocolate, roast and caramel are hiding in the background. The bourbon is nice enough with notes of vanilla, oak and spice, but the booze is fairly strong. I like the cherries a lot. I guess I just wish it was more of a mix of chocolate and cherries with the other flavors supporting. The taste is similar. Lots of cherry and bourbon on top of a fairly mild stout. Pretty sweet. Chocolate seems a bit simple and sweet. Again, I wish the chocolate played more of a starring role and the booze was quite so apparent. Mouthfeel is fairly thin. Carbonation is on the low side. I've had this beer a few times now, and it just doesn't really work for me. It's a nice idea, though, and I'd love to see it made with a beefier base stout.

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Photo of cfrances33
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pour: Dark brown, almost black body with two fingers of creamy tan head. Some lacing, but not a ton, and the head recedes to a nice rim.

Smell: Overripe cherries burst from the glass during the pour. Lots of bourbon vanilla and a light roasted malt profile. Some cherry twang, but not a ton.

Taste: Sticky malts up front, and some hot bourbon. Boozy, but not much barrel. Overripe cherries that take a slight medicinal astringency., unfortunately. Roasted malts and a lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty sticky. A splashy mouthfeel. A little bit of astringency from the cherries. This becomes greater as it warm.

Overall: Okay, but not great. I wouldn't buy this again.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Co.
3.76 out of 5 based on 789 ratings.
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