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

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
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Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Barleywine - American
Ranked #13
Ranked #1,151
4.31 | pDev: 8.58%
May 22, 2022
Mar 02, 2008
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
Notes: Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by beerthulhu:
Photo of beerthulhu
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by beerthulhu from New Jersey

-Vintage 2018. Consumed 3.10.19.

A: Dirty ice tea pour with a relatively short lived head life. Small brass ring lacing encircles the inner the vessel walls. Barrel aged still carbonation factor.

S: Caramel raisins and bourbon scents with some burnt molasses and oak barrel. Caramelized grains are sweet based, with small hints of dark fruit that smells really good from the bottle but looses a bit of umph in the glass.

T: Small chocolate presence. Heavy bourbon and caramel grain sweetness. Figs and sugary raisins, along with some dark fruit. Chocolate-cocoa and molasses along with some dry apple and crystal malts. Scotchy afterthoughts, light smoky warm pine, toasted malts and warm coconut.

M: Thick and syrupy mouthful, honey-like elastic feel, good depth with a big bourbon breath.

O: Overall a very nice dose of bourbon presence and secondary character traits. Syrupy mouthful, sweet and boozy makes for a big first impression per style and continuing enjoyment. Nice range of flavor. Wow, no listed abv%, figured it was generous, but no idea just how so til after consumption and saw it listed at 14.3%. Drinks very nicely for so. Worthy.

Mar 20, 2019
More User Ratings:
4.34 by Blogjackets from Ohio on May 22, 2022
4.79 by GregBarleycorn13 from New York on Jan 22, 2022
Photo of dt_gbpackersfan
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by dt_gbpackersfan from Missouri

2015 bottle

Sep 28, 2021
Photo of bushbeer75
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by bushbeer75 from Michigan

poured from a 12oz brown bottle – neck has code 25418 – label notched 2018

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale – Brewers Reserve body is a hazy dark brown almost amber in color. A ½ finger kaki head was produced. The head quickly reduced to a collar of foam leaving only spotty lacing. The nose is of sweet caramel, brown sugar, and bourbon. The taste has flavors of caramel, dark fruit, and brown sugar followed by bourbon, then a hoppy light bitter lingering finish. The mouthfeel is a little sticky with a full body and a moderate amount of carbonation.
Overall, this is a flavorful barleywine with its drinkability only limited by its high abv. The Ale makes for a nice nightcap on a cold winter’s day.

Sep 03, 2021
Photo of 5toutman75
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by 5toutman75 from Illinois

2015 bottle consumed 8/24/21

This is getting up there in age. I always wish I would have tasted one of these aged bottles versus fresh to see what's changed, but I only have the old one. AT any rate, this is an amazing beer. So smooth and complex on the nose and pallet. It's all caramely goodness with tons of booze. But it's so smooth. As usual with these Brewers Reserve, they could be thicker for me in appearance and while drinking. it's not a huge distraction though. A world class beer but not on the level of the very VERY best barleywines for me. There might not be anything better though for the price.

Aug 25, 2021
Photo of jimmah120
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by jimmah120 from Minnesota

12oz beer review from notes:

A big beautiful overly hopped aromatic beast of a beer. Tastes like an old leather shoe filled to the tongue with hops, malt, rye, booze, tobacco, and leather (more or less in that order).


Jul 31, 2021
Photo of stevoj
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by stevoj from Idaho

16oz can at share. Amber pour, cloudy, thin beige head. Malty aroma, as expected, caramel, toffee and plenty of bourbon barrel. Rich malty taste, woody, tobacco and more bourbon and its prerequisite heat. Smooth and strong.

Jun 30, 2021
3.33 by AllOfTheCats from Wisconsin on Sep 26, 2020
4.21 by cozmo from New York on Sep 17, 2020
Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

2017 vintage, aged for 3 years. Super mellow and balanced with just about enough bourbon to add to the complexity of the profile. A very nice Barleywine.

Jun 07, 2020
Photo of Harrison8
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Harrison8 from Missouri

Pours a dark burgundy-brown with a finger of khaki foam. Head retention is good. Aroma is toffee, raisins, molasses and caramel with toasty, caramely, earthy malts behind. Bourbon adds a little swell of heat, but it's not much. Char cuts the bravado from the initial sweetness, shifting the end of the nose to a rather sharp cutoff. Flavor profile is molasses, fig, toffee and chocolate all dipped into sweet caramel. Toasty, nutty and caramely malts add base while bourbon adds a little tangy heat and substance to the sweetness. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a firm effervescence. Overall, sugary and sweet - sure - but bourbon swoops in to add a drop of heat and enough dryness to soak it all up. Dynamic and flavorful.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 12oz bottle. Vintage 2018, consumed & reviewed in 2020.

May 21, 2020
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

Central Waters Brewing Co. "Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale"
12 FLUID OZ brown glass bottle from 2019
$4.79 @ Shop Rite Wine & Spirits, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: It's poured a very hazy deep chestnut colored brown body beneath a short head of khaki colored foam. The aroma is quite rich with malt and oak. It's woody and toasty with some Bourbon and butter cookie notes over medium-dark caramel and crusty bread that's topped with warm nuts and drizzled with molasses. (That actually took me some time to put together, so it's not exactly stream of consciousness.) Wow, what a great aroma... let's see how it tastes... well there's some alcohol to it, that's for sure, and it's not as rich as the aroma suggests. The alcohol cuts through the malt straight away and follows through to a dry, semi-hot finish that leaves some bitterness lingering. So how strong is this? I'm not finding anything listed on the label. Ahh, their website says 13.8% and I can believe that. It's a bit much I think. Back to the taste, there's some raisin, brown sugar, and coconut in there as well. I appreciate that this is not too sweet, but at the same time I find it a little too dry with bitterness (80 IBUs) and alcohol ~ mainly the alcohol. In the mouth it's medium-full and moderately zesty. The head didn't hold up very well, and as you might have expected given that, the lacing was limited. Overall I think it's a decent enough after-dinner sipper but it's not the best that it could be.
Review # 6,992

Apr 09, 2020
Photo of krh
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by krh from Illinois

I'm probably ranking this too low for the style, but a bit too much for me. Choosing to sit down with this is akin to skipping another cocktail, rather than a beer. Boozy thickness throughout, warms the chest. Just a bit to syrupy for me.

Mar 21, 2020
4.33 by psweendogg from Connecticut on Mar 18, 2020
Photo of Lingenbrau
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Lingenbrau from Oregon

CWs Barleywine pours a slightly muddled brown tinted by caramel and fiery orange highlights. A thin khaki foam develops then descends into a creamy looking hairline hugging the perimeter of the glass. A film swirls in the center.

Bold aroma dominated by burnt brown sugar with molasses folded gently in. A splash of vanilla and pre-baked cinnamon rolls are finished off with damp oak.

Sweet, caramel drizzled figs are quickly displaced by bitter dried orange peel. The oak and bourbon are intense, and the alcohol flavor lasts the entirety between sips. Mulling spices come in and out, but develop as it warms.

Pretty rich, silky feel which ends up being an afterthought to the boozy warmth. The sugary sap coats the lips while a burn and bitter bite fill the chest and mouth.

This is a sipper with an enormous alcohol presence. Delicious throughout and a real treat. Central Waters delivers another beauty from the Brewers Reserve Series.

Dec 08, 2019
4.28 by wisegreensoul from Idaho on Dec 07, 2019
Photo of chinchill
3.94/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by chinchill from South Carolina

Shared 2019 bottle.
Pours with a clear mahogany body with a bubbly but relatively durable off white head.
Very woody with plenty of bourbon.
Overall: exceptionally woody; would likely benefit from some aging.

Dec 05, 2019
Photo of aleigator
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by aleigator from Germany

Pours a nut brown colored beer with a smaller, mohagony colored head.

On the aromas, old, spicy oak is very well pronounced, blending together with sweet toffee and lighter molasses. This got a glazed caramel sweetness atop, balanced by matured hops and anise.

Has a fuller body, with a velvet mouthfeel, finding almost no need for any carbonation at all. This is a beer, best enjoyed in a slow pace.

Tastes of a pungent barrel integration from the get-go, accompanied by bakers chocolate and subtle earth, feathering the uprising barrel heat perfectly. Turns sweeter and hotter then, with toffee, licorice and caramel malts getting entangled into burned coconut, bitter, matured hops and warming, biting oak. Finishes with a mellow relief, more toffee, bakers chocolate and maintaining Bourbon, lending a long lasting, dry aftertaste to the flavors, balancing the sweetness in this very well.

This aged tremendously well, providing an awesome balance and depth, making this a perfect winter sipper.

Dec 01, 2019
4.56 by MeIquiades from Illinois on Dec 01, 2019
3.62 by stephenlee93 from England on Nov 30, 2019
4.43 by Old_Dead_Oak from Wisconsin on Oct 25, 2019
Photo of hoptheology
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by hoptheology from South Dakota

Total re-review. First time was with a Crowler at CW in late 2016. This time I've got a 12 oz bottle.
Carpe Brew Em snifter.

Pours a rusty brown color with a fingernail of off-white head and some frothy bubbles on top.

Aroma is promising with deep torched sugars and dark fruits. Brown sugar, oak, bourbon sweetness, plum, fig, and grapes.

Flavor is oak, astringent alcohol, slight grape must, citrus hop, faint brown sugar and faint bourbon sweetness.

Feel is decidedly slick with some clinging resins, a nice alcohol burn and sandpaper dryness, lots of heat on this one. Scathing dryness coats the tongue.

Thought I'd give this another spin. This is probably my least favorite of CW's barrel aged program.

Oct 21, 2019
Photo of Drunk-Monkey-Candyholic
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by Drunk-Monkey-Candyholic from Illinois

Good. Not Oldschool good but good. The aftertaste is so so. But if you like High ABV this one has you covered

Oct 18, 2019
4.5 by Noahallen23 from Illinois on Oct 18, 2019
Photo of Eyedoc27
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Eyedoc27 from Illinois

Best barley wine I’ve ever had, very complex

Oct 14, 2019
4.31 by admonster00 from Illinois on Sep 24, 2019
Photo of AvengeTheRavel
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by AvengeTheRavel from Connecticut

I like this style of beer a lot but i felt this one was a little too thick/beefy in the body. The taste was suppressed by the boozy heaviness. I also felt this way about Central waters bourbon barrel aged reserve stout, so i think a) this is common across their product line, and b) no point in me trying their other beers and expecting something different.

Sep 22, 2019
4.55 by AirBob from Massachusetts on Sep 18, 2019
3.76 by desint from Belgium on Sep 05, 2019
4.75 by Dutchcraftbeergeek from Netherlands on Sep 02, 2019
4.04 by JakerLou from New Hampshire on Aug 26, 2019
4.02 by blissfulNemo from Michigan on Aug 03, 2019
Photo of TrojanRB
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by TrojanRB from Texas

2018 vintage poured July 2019.

Kind of a muddy amber brown, not much head

Nose is charred sugar, raisin, caramel

Taste is boozy toffee, raisin, vanilla, oak. Delicious.

Full bodied, creamy, not to sweet or sugary. Alcohol well hidden...doesn’t drink like 14%

Jul 31, 2019
Photo of bluejacket74
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bluejacket74 from Ohio

12 ounce bottle, 2017 vintage notched on label. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a cloudy amber/brown color with almost an inch light tan head that stuck around for a long time. There's a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and sweet, the brew smells like vanilla, caramel, bourbon, oak, raisins, brown sugar and candied oranges. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, with caramel, oak, bourbon, vanilla, raisin, dark bread, boozy and earthy flavors all noticeable. Has a little bit of a herbal/earthy bitter bite in the finish, it's not quite as sweet tasting as I was expecting it to be but it's still pretty tasty. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and a bit creamy with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think this is a pretty good barleywine, definitely recommend this one!

Jul 26, 2019
Photo of kemoarps
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by kemoarps from Washington

2017 bottle sent my way by @FlintB during the NBS BIF #007 fun. This was one of the earlier entries to my 'wants' list over 6 years ago, so suffice to say I'm pretty excited to crack into it.

Pours a rich ruby amber. Decent ecru head that whiles away to the classic ring and splat! design.

Nose is rich and sweet with all those classic BW notes of boozy raisin and leather and vanilla and some rich caramel and spice.

Flavour is big and bold and rich and creamy and delicious. Same notes. Vanilla from the bourbon, boozy raisins and leather, spice also from the bourbon, a light sweet topping of caramely goodness, burnt brown sugar, maybe some lighter vinous notes.

Body is syrupy and creamy smoothe incredible. 14.3% alcohol is not going to surprise you, but it does not overwhelm either, so long as you approach it with small sips. Hot but not harsh. Light pops of carbonation support the spicy notes. Finish is alcohol and pine.

This is fantastic. Thanks Brian for sending it my direction. I love barleywines, and this is a real good one. Cheers!

Jun 25, 2019
Photo of The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by The_Mancannon_of_Slothrop from Wyoming

Pours a beautiful rich, dark, amber. For me I got a finger of head but it did recede. Nice lacing and retention though. Solid but surprisingly light (for a barrel aged offering) aroma of caramel, bourbon, yams, figs/plums/dates. Really sharp bourbon character here, along with cozy notes of baked apple, brown sugar, baker's chocolate. Thick, viscous, delightful warm feel going down. I think this would age excellently and could be re-examined on a frigid Upper Midwestern winter evening several months down the line.

Jun 13, 2019
4.28 by Hop_God from California on May 07, 2019
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

12oz bottle. 2018 vintage.
Clear, deep amber colored body. Not much for head formation, but it is light tan colored. After a couple of minutes there is a small island and active ring. Leaves behind some tendrils of lacing.
Aroma of caramel, sweet burnt sugarcoated dates, and oak bourbon barrel.
Taste is full with caramel malts, sweet brown sugar coated dates and raisins, and a touch of dark chocolate. The barrel provides oak and vanilla notes, along with the touch of bourbon.
Medium plus mouth feel, with the texture of syrup. Good carbonation.
This is a beer of candied dark fruit and oak bourbon barrel. Quite rich and rewarding. The aftertaste definitely is a reminder of the higher ABV%. Drinks quite easy but should be sipped.

Apr 28, 2019
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2521 ratings