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

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

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Ratings: 2,361 |  Reviews: 642
Photo of Galaneia
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful deep color like buckwheat honey. Sweet, kind of burnt caramel notes. Something I can't quite describe hitting the very back of my tongue, but not in an unpleasant way. It does have a little bit of a bite to it, but it's cumulative. It doesn't feel or taste thin. I can't smell much aroma, but that might be due to my allergies.

I do wish I had noticed the ABV before I started; it's not on the bottle and I had to look it up.

 436 characters

Photo of hermit990
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of darktronica
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My synopsis is that the Central Waters BBA barleywine is an excellent annual release with superior value on price per ounce and good enough distribution to be able to find it. I'm happy to buy a couple of four-packs each year and slowly work my way through them, holding a couple back for future verticals. That said, I experience a fair amount of inter-bottle variation even within the same year, in terms of both the degree of hop character evident on the palate and the heat from sharp fusel notes.

 501 characters

Photo of bshiban
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of DMarlinJ
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cryptichead
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of chrismattlin
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz bottle, 2016 vintage... poured into a Chouffe tulip)

L: crystal-clear, burgundy liquid with a half-inch high loose, silky foam atop, several mid-size bubbles... the minimal dregs add a slight haze along with some random sediment specks... no lace to mention

S: first immediate impression - one of the most ridiculously rich, dense displays of caramel aroma in memory; medium-toasted wood and vanilla aromas potent as well... perhaps hints of dates and raw almond... delicate spicy highlights around the edge, low presence of booze... overall intensity is excellent, with deep, very American malt/liquor aromas

T: dark caramel prevalent, mild coffee-chocolate roast note and a hint of sultana in the aftertaste... rather dry finish, little residual sweetness... after a couple sips, a subtle, almost tequila-like note emerges in the finish... lovely humming bitterness builds, as if having repeatedly flick-licked a 2x4... minimal hoppy notes - maybe some faint pine

F: rich, almost creamy-silky texture up front with a smooth shift to a hot, dry finish... bit of a tannic, woody bite in the aftertaste, mildly numbing... the delectable dichotomy of its luscious fore and elegant afterburner aft is remarkable - something to strive to emulate (ain't it the barrel?)

O: notably bold and pervasive in its flavor attack, but arguably indistinct in nuance due to the dominance of barrel character... its sensual execution is fantastic, and though I'd probably buy this again, I'm more interested to sample the base beer

 1,526 characters

Photo of mjc3151
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of OldRickSputin
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Donco
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As a big fan of Barleywines, I had the pleasure of trying this version on a trip to Michigan. After my first bottle, I bought a 4 pack to take back to Philly.
Look: Darker than many BA barleywines.
Smell: Bourbon, toffee, dark fruits
Taste: Bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla, caramel. Delightfully bitter finish.
Feel: Full mouth coating.
Overall: This has quickly moved to my select few best BA barleywines/scotch ales, along with Wulver, Backwoods Bastard and Insanity.

 467 characters

Photo of jakecattleco
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Draught pour at Pounders into a tulip glass. Gorgeous mahogany with thin ring of white head. Nose had nice balance of both the beer and barrel, really enjoyed especially as it warmed. Taste followed nose very well, plenty of caramel, molasses, vanilla and butterscotch, finishes a bit dry. Nice medium bodied mouthfeel, lower carbonation, some tongue tingling from the ABV.

Loved it, if it made distro in CA I'd be all over it every year.

 448 characters

Photo of justintcoons
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Chestnut-garnet with ruby highlights.

Molasses, caramel, toffee, bourbon, butterscotch, and tobacco.

Molasses, caramel, and toffee. Bourbon, charred oak, and slight butterscotch. Tobacco along with an earthy roast. Hints of vanilla.

Full bodied, silky, smooth, and warming.

Big, brash, and well worth seeking out for the price.

 408 characters

Photo of craigbelly
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown pour almost murky hot tea color. Sweet caramel malt nose. Sweet caramel, bourbon, and some bitterness from hops in the finish. Very sticky (in a good way) with a dry oaky finish. An excellent boozy warmth.

 217 characters

Photo of OneEyemick
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Honeybourne
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kbret
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The first time I had this brew it was very creamy. That still stands out to me. Now I'm enjoying one that has been in my fridge for right at one month. I taste the bitterness, however the bourbon kicks in on the tail end and smooths everything out really nice. It has a full bodied fill and the smell is unique. Very interested to see what one of these guys taste lime in a couple months, this winter, and hopefully a couple years to come. I would love to at least have one left at next year's release....

 512 characters

Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of drunkenmess
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Muss42
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of midlifec
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of travelguy
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a half fingered white foamy head that dies within about a minute. Lacing is adequate and clings nicely around the glassware. Ruby red colored body, slight transparency, some carbonation could be seen rising adequately.
The smell had some dried tobacco leafy sweetness playing with some apples and cherries that seem to dance in front of the caramel/toffee malty sweet aspect of trying to add some sweet wood, somewhat like oak, and then just a tickle of vanilla.
The flavor took all of those prior mentioned aromas and kicked in more of the sweet bourbon itself. Some light earthy spice entered in and seemed to meld with the aftertaste, almost absolutely perfect as it controlled some of the stickiness.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a discreet sipping quality about it, as it should be since it's a barleywine. Carbonation felt a bit low, but that didn't bother me, I did notice some stickiness starting to come in. ABV felt on par.
Overall, though it did seem closer to an English styled barleywine to me, it's still an absolutely wonderful barelywine that should be sought after by fans of the style.

 1,159 characters

Photo of cmukid87
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bigpoppa67
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,361 ratings.
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