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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Barleywine - American
Ranked #7
Ranked #687
4.33 | pDev: 8.55%
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
Notes: Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.
Reviews: 711 | Ratings: 2,519 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by bluejacket74:
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
More User Reviews:
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martyl1000 from Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm having this at midnight, April 3, 2013. I have four 4-packs I bought last December, sitting in storage at 60 deg. for 4 months.

And either I didn't recognize its greatness when it was new, or this little bit of age made this stuff golden. I'm this close to going back downstairs for another one. Aargh--

Good thing I've got a Weyerbacher Insanity in the fridge . . .
This is a "2013", drinking it 11-21-2013, so eleven months of aging.

A clear reddish-caramel in a tulip glass, with very little white head even with an aggressive pour (hence the 11.5% alcohol). Lacing is sparse, but with serious stick-to-it-iveness and dripping legs down the glass.

How I miss this aroma. Brings me right back to snowy April of last year. Bourbon in the nose seems nicely muted compared to my memory of it. I remember the bourbon being pronounced in the aroma. The vanilla, too. Oak and char and melted butter. Simple syrup. Brown sugar and raisin. Yeah, baby.

In the mouth the aging is instantly evident, with the hop bitterness knocked way back (though there's still a ghostly, earthy pine bitterness on the back-end, for sure). The flavor is wonderfully round: soft sugar cookie, ice-cream-caramel swirl, fig and prune, then the bourbon. I put more in the glass, and pie crust fills my nostrils. Plus Juicy Fruit Gum and marshmallow. It's massively toffee sweet, and yet the mild hops and tannins from the oak--not to mention the brightness of the still-respectable boozey ABV--bring balance. It's so huge, it drinks like Dogfish Head 120 minute.

Despite a fairly significant carbonation, the smoothness makes me want to cry. It gives the feel of a super-syrupy moscato di asti. Definitely more an English Barleywine profile, at least after the aging. How astonishing to experience true beer nirvana. I feel like I did two years ago sipping a JW Lees Harvest Ale for the first time.

CW's detractors denounce them as a one-trick (bourbon barrel) pony. Not only is this wrong (duh, Illumination? Exodus? La Petite Mort?). But even if true, this is bourbon-barrel aging at its very best. The barrel aging doesn't dominate, it elevates this brew. I'm looking forward to opening a cellared CW Bourbon Barrel Stout to compare it to their non-barrel aged Brewhouse Coffee Stout I like so much.
Ok, so the look of this pour makes me immediately worry this beer has gone bad in the cellar. It's about 22 months of cellar aging, now. And the physical appearance is one of cloudy gelatin, thick and murky, like badly-stirred Knox Blocks.

But the aroma. My God. It makes me want to become a bourbon drinker.

Then, holy bejeezums, the flavor in the mouth. If this was a perfect 5.0 a year ago, it's now punched through the ratings ceiling. What I hadn't perceived before was the red wine tartness, which helps push the butterscotch sweetness skyward.

I'm grinning like a psych ward inmate on chocolate pudding day that I have ten more bottles in the basement.

Heck, yeah.

Oct 12, 2014
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champ103 from Texas

4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours dark, near opaque copper/brown color. At first a two finger beige head forms, and that gently recedes to a ring that sticks throughout. Light lace is left.
S: At first I get a whiff of fusel alcohol. That fades to the deep malt character. Toasted malts, caramel, burnt sugars, dark fruits, and then the big wood/barrel and vanilla aroma kicks in. Lots going on, and really enjoyable.
T: Again tons of malt flavor that follows the nose. All the baked bread, burnt caramelized sugars some warming heat from the alcohol. Dark fruits with cherries and plums. Vanilla, wood/barrel flavors. Oh man, lots going on here, and nothing is overpowering anything else. Love it.
M/O: A full body, with moderate carbonation. appropriately weighty and sticky, that smooths out as this warms and breaths. I was afraid the alcohol would become to fusel here. While it is certainly noticeable, it is much more warming. A great big sipper that I am enjoying.

An excellent sipping warmer on Christmas Eve while watching It's A Wonderful Life. Tons of depth of flavor, just the right amount of alcohol warmth, and great balanced barrel character. Again, a great Brewer's Reserve from Central Waters. Which should be expected.

Dec 25, 2018
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DoctorZombies from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ruby brown to brown pour; thick khaki foam; good clarity under long lasting cap; solid ring with moderately heavy lacing. Sweet caramel malt nose. Sweet caramel malt, toffee and a touch of bourbon; some bitterness from hops (2017 batch) and honey in the finish. Moderate minus carbonation, somewhat sticky with a dry oak tongue coating; slight warmth. Overall an excellent balance between boozy barrel, caramel malt and bitter hop flavors.

May 31, 2017
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition. Dark cherry red that lightens to maraschino cherry red with sunshine behind the snifter. A two finger slice of pale golden foam looks great after the pour... and even better as it melts. No more than a short collar of sudsy lace sticks, which is no surprise given the ABV and the barrel aging.

The aroma is a pleasant combination of toasted-earthy malts, dried cherries and whiskey. This isn't a 'bourbon bomb', though, which will please some and disappoint others. CWBC BBB is shaping up to be good, drinkable beer that will fall just short of special. Only one way to find out if that's true...

Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is much closer to special than expected. First things first: this bottle of 2008 is drinking mighty fine right now. It has plenty of power, without being hot or harsh, and doesn't taste the least bit long in the tooth. Today was a fantastic day to crack it open... <pats self on back>.

Barleywines that contain something darker than pale malt have always been my favorites. This one is toasted bready, nutty and steely caramel-like. Other flavors include ripe figs, cherries, orange peel, bitter grapefruit pith, vanilla and oak. The beer is still amazingly hoppy-tight and complexity is oozing out of the woodwork with warming.

Again, this big bruiser is more of an American barelywine accented with bourbon than it is a bourbon-soaked beast that tastes like the spirit was splashed into the kettles. Thankfully, I had the foresight to buy a handful of bottles back in 2008. Here's hoping all of the others haven't been traded away.

The mouthfeel is lightly luscious. Time may have stolen some of its original chewiness, but what remains is still a sensory delight. Lightly sparkly bubbles work well, thanks to the softening action provided by mucho malt sugars.

Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine (2008) is damn good beer that tastes like it's at the peak of its considerable power right... about... now. Even if there are no more bottles in my cellar, I plan to stock up on this amazing elixir during the next trip up to Madtown.

Jan 13, 2010
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foundersasap from Michigan

4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pouts a beautiful mahogany hue with one finger head that dissipates over time leaving no sign of carbonation. Looking very much like a shot of liquor, a nice sophisticated look. Initial taste is quite sweet, fig, toffee, butterscotch with just a hint of bourbon. As it warmed though the profile changed 180 becoming very bourbon forward with sweetness diminishing. This was an enjoyable, warming sipper. I took an hour and a half to fully enjoy this fantastic beer.

Apr 10, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper colored with a fingernail of beige around the rim and covering the vast majority of the top. The aroma is of sweet, malty barley and even sweeter bourbon and caramel. I'm tasting a wallop of sweet, sticky and chewy malt and i'm also getting sweet and aggressive bourbon. Early on it seems a touch boozy and this is a 2017 vintage. It seemed to even out a bit as it warmed.

Oct 20, 2018
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Cloudy dark mahogany pour with minimal head. Scant lacing... some sediment noticeable during the pour.

S: Rich and sweet. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar mixed with dark fruit and vanilla.

T/F: Sweet brown sugar and caramel... just like it smells. Dark fruit/plum, toffee, and old-time candy. Vanilla, bourbon, and oak very present and accounted for. Thick and rich... smooth and warming. Leaves the tongue sticky with a sweet boozy aftertaste.

O: A delicious wintertime sipper, and a great Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. 5+ years in the cellar did this beer absolutely no harm. Perfect for the snowy January weekend we just finished.

Jan 14, 2019
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep red-brown color with a persistent head. Wispy and spotty lacing.

S: Deep toast, bread crust, treacle, fig and golden raisin, oaky, bourbon.

T: Bread crust, toast, scones, caramel and toffee. Golden raisin and dates. Strongly oaky middle to end with a good tick off bourbon. Long, warming bourbon and malt finish.

M: Thick and chewy. One could cut it with a knife. Viscous. Low carbonation. Weighty.

O: Damn good barleywine, and made better by its marriage to the bourbon barrel. It's really hard to do a barrel aged American barleywine better than this. Top marks.

Nov 06, 2017
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SomethingClever from Ohio

4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into nonic pint bottles on 10/1/17

A: small slightly off white head that dissipates to ring. The body is a brown deep copper color with fairly decent clarity. It’s a little hazy but not crazy so.

S: Lots of toffee, coconut, vanilla and lighter hops resin and some fruitiness.

T: toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, oak lighter hints of fruitiness and some resiny hops but layered over of a lot of sweetness.

M: medium bodied with a lot of the alcohol slickness from the barrel and some nice cling.

O: it’s delightful definitely lives up to the hype for me. I’d drink this every chance I got.

Oct 13, 2018
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Shroud0fdoom from Maryland

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle 2013 vintage courtesy of Wiscokid920

I'm trying another beer given to me by a local BA today. I might say *spoiler alert* this is fantastic! Well let's get to the review. This brew is a little mischievous when it comes to the label. Simple label stating just that it was bottled in 2013 and it's barrel aged. Yet it's not labels that make the brew. Time to pour. This pours gorgeous deep brown body with ruby hues. Small light khaki head, minimum lacing. Very impressive! Time for the sniff test. This brew is money! Bourbon Whiskey all the way. Caramel/toffee, toasted nuts, oak, subtle coconut and vanilla! I mean it's rich! Well I just blew a Bourbon load smelling it, let's go for the taste! Just like the aroma, caramel sweetness that carries the bourbon notes to sublime! Huge coconut, vanilla and toasted oak flavors in the aftertaste. Finishes dry with some booze. The feel on this brew is medium-light soft body carbonation helps to make the flavors pop.

Overall: Heh, this brew gets me excited, every time I smell it. This is one of the best Barrel Aged BarleyWines, no lies no gimmicks. It sucks that I can't get this brew regularly, yet it keeps me hoping for the next release of Bourbon County Brand BarleyWine. The mouthfeel holds this brew back from dominating BCBBW. This is now one of my favorite Bourbon Barrel Aged BarleyWines. This is Recommended.

Sep 22, 2014
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Jun 27, 2017
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MaximalC from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky, burnt honey color akin to apple cider, with a thin cap of khaki foam. The aroma is absolutely delicious, consisting of dark fruit, toffee, molasses, currants, blackberries, bourbon, and alcohol. I'd strongly recommend taking a few minutes to sniff this straight from the bottle...

The taste is sweet and malty up front with bourbon in the middle, along with a hoppy twinge that attempts to make way for itself from middle to back. The sweetness is highly complex and difficult to pin down, but I'd venture to describe it as tasting of wine grapes, raisins, toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, and caramel. Dark fruit isn't as present as the nose would suggest, but it does manage to emerge as the beer warms (particularly the currants). The resinous hops, which felt somewhat conflicted initially, also begin to meld better as the beer warms. The woody character of the bourbon barrels adds yet another layer of complexity. The finish is downright profound, as rich, warming alcoholic vapors envelope the back of the mouth and throat like dragon's breath. The immense staying power makes the finish a preternatural entity unto itself (not unlike the aroma). A candied stickiness lingers on the lips with each sip. The mouthfeel is fairly loose and slick for such a big beer, but it doesn't detract at all from the experience.

Overall, this is a damn fine barleywine that affords an extravaganza for the senses. From the seductive aroma to the bombastic taste, there are no false steps here. I appreciate how Central Waters didn't try to go too hop forward like some American barleywines, instead opting to let the malt and bourbon take center stage. A sipper though it may be, that only serves to prolong the enjoyment. The only other barleywine I've tried on par with this is Sucaba, so that comparison should pretty much speak for itself.

May 27, 2014
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade. Thanks jgam115! 1,100th rating or review!

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve- Barleywine Ale. Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels. Let's go!

Pours a murky brown, with some garnet hues. A small half inch head fizzy head descends quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing, and some visible carbonation.

Smells really incredible- I basically exclaimed "oh fuck" when I first smelled it. Strong brown sugar and toffee, some sweet sultry bourbon, and maple syrup.

The taste is similarly awesome. Just so many flavors from the clearly superior base barleywine, whatever it is, plus so many added flavors from the barrel aging. Strong maple syrup, some candied raisins and plums, brown sugar, toffee, sweet bourbon, rich, strong vanilla, light coconut, and some pleasant wood bitterness. There's a small amount of hop bitterness. The maple and vanilla flavor in this one is so strong, it almost tastes like it was made with them as adjuncts, which shows the strong brewing talents of the folks over at Central Waters.

This brew is medium bodied, but feels light and silky on the tongue. Really quite drinkable, which is a miracle, given the 11.5% ABV. The booze doesn't show up much at first, but as it warms, it becomes a bit spicy, but warming and awesome. Low carbonation, despite it's visible presence after the pour.

This is really awesome. It's barreled perfectly, it's got to be one of the smoothest barleywines I've ever had. It's decadent, and a rare treat to drink.

Jun 09, 2014
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dcotom from Iowa

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a tulip glass. Color is a translucent light chestnut, resembling caramel sauce when held to the light. There were a few small flakes of sediment visible in the glass. An aggressive pour yielded an off-white two finger head that left lots of nice lacing. The aroma is very heavy with bourbon and barrel notes, with some light toffee in the background. The bourbon barrel character is also quite prominent on the palate. As the beer warms up, some other flavors begin to come through. There is light caramel, a little dried fruit, a hint of coffee, and quite a bit of alcohol warmth (11.5% ABV). The mouthfeel is silky, the finish slightly sweet. There are some lingering notes of toffee, along with a tinge of burnt-coffee bitterness. That this is a world-class brew is evident from the first sip. Despite the alcohol bite, this is very smooth and goes down very easily.

Oct 24, 2016
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BoardwalkBock from New York

4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, ruby red. Light brown hints. Decent head that fades to a messy lacing.

S: Potent but not overpowering bourbon starts it off followed by molasses, caramel, toffee, raisins, dark fruits. Light hint of vanilla as the beer warms.

T: Starts off with big caramel, toffee and dark fruit and finishes off with bourbon, wood and vanilla. Definitely some earthy hops present. Bourbon is not overpowering which allows the base beer to shine, but blends very nicely.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Slight bitterness.

O: This is a very, very good BA Barleywine. The bourbon is not too overpowering, but blends insanely well with the base beer. Bourbon and vanilla become more prevalent as the beer warms. Top 5 BA BW for sure. Easier to acquire and cheaper than Sucaba, and is in a better format for when I want to have a single 12 oz instead of opening a 750 mL. Recommended!

Feb 19, 2015
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ryannosaurus from Arizona

4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours a clear, deep garner with a finger of tan head.

Aroma is boozy barrel dominant.

Flavor has a rich toffee note, significant hop bite, plenty of buttery oak, vanilla, and a hot boozy finish.

Mouthfeel is moderately heavy tempered with decent carbonation.

Overall a fantastic take on the style. I'd love to visit this vintage 4 to 6 years from now, but it presents well right now. A bit edgy bitterness between the oak tannins and hop level, balances the toffee sweet malt base well.

Nov 13, 2017
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful dirty nut brown brew, fairly dark in the glass, topped by a decent creamy tan head. Retention is so-so; lacing is bubbly but sparse.

Huge malty notes of caramel and toffee erupt from the glass, chased by vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon is much stronger on closer, careful sniffs, but not overpowering; there's plenty of room for pecans and walnuts, prunes, chocolate, vanilla, and a complete toasted malt bath.

Flavor follows the nose, with an added bite from earthy and herbal hops. Bourbon up front; followed by caramel, toffee, and toast; and finished with vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, oak, and some alcohol heat.

Long wet finish allows vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon to dance across your gums and tongue in waves. Brew is relatively thin up front, but with a silky wetness that coats your mouth. Lots of alcohol heat, but it's not unpleasant.

This beer tastes like they took the malt boil, poured it into a bourbon barrel, added some green hops, and called it a day. It's absolutely delicious.

Sep 28, 2014
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stephenjmoore from Maryland

4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to nightfly for this awesome extra.

2014 Vintage

A- Reddish-brown body with some sediment mixed in. I tried to keep most of it in the bottle, but some mixed in with the body. Thin tan head that settles quickly into a layer of bubbles.

S- Caramel, sweet sugar, vanilla, oak, sweet bread. Really robust aroma.

T- Big caramel, vanilla, sweet sugary syrup, hints of toasted malts, toasted oak, molasses. Crazy good flavor with just the slightest alcohol presence. Really nice, especially for a barely aged barleywine.

M- Full bodied, somewhat syrupy, big sweetness that coats the tongue. Medium to low carbonation is spot on.

O- Just a fantastic BBBW. Huge flavors, not too sweet, not too boozy, just terrific.

Jun 27, 2014
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer for a while and now that it's around it's time to see what it's like, so lets see how it goes. 2017 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label isn't that great looking, it's a little hard to read and it isn't too eye catching. It poured a darker brown color that took on a little bit of a ruby hue when held to the light and it had a fingers worth of creamy very light tan head that died down to a thin stayed till the end and it left some nice patchy lacing behind. This is a very nice looking beer, i have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with bourbon barrels being the first to show up and they impart a nice bourbon, light oak and vanilla like aroma that go right into a slight alcohol aroma. Up next comes the dark fruits which are a little on the bright and juicy side with some raisin aromas seeming to stick out the most and that goes into the malts which impart some caramel, caramel malt, light toffee, toasted malt, bread crust and sweet malts with just a slight leather like aroma towards the end. This beer has a very nice aroma, it's just what I would expect from the style.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but a little more intense and it starts off with a medium amount of high sweetness with the bourbon barrels being the first to show up and they impart all the same aspects that they did in the aroma, but this time they are stronger and more intense and that goes into the booze which is the same way, it's fairly warming and boozy. Up next comes the dark fruits which are a little lighter than they were in the aroma not as juicy, but it's still the raisin that sticks out the most. Towards the end comes the malts which are also stronger than they were in the aroma and they impart all the same aspects with no single one sticking out the most this time. On the finish there's a medium amount of bitterness along with some more sweetness and a little more booze with some caramel, bourbon, vanilla and sweet malt like flavors in the aftertaste. This is very nice tasting example of the style, it's a little more intense than the aroma led me to believe.

M- A little smooth, a little creamy, a little crisp, boozy, warming, slightly overly bitter, on the medium side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation the mouthfeel is good, but I wish it was a little less better and the alcohol could have been hidden just a little better.

Overall I thought this was a very nice beer and it's a very nice example of the style, it pretty much had all the aspects that I look for in a bourbon barrel aged Barleywine and I thought all the flavors worked well with each other while making this beer pretty complex. This beer had ok drinkability, I think one or half a glass would be a good amount for me, anymore than that and it would be a little too much for me. What I like the most about this beer is the taste and the aroma, they were really nice and the highlights of this beer with their complexity. What I liked thee least about this beer was the mouthfeel, I wish it was a little less better and the alcohol could have been hidden a little better. I would buy this beer again and I would like to see how it ages over time, I would for sure recommend it if your looking for a good and intense bourbon barrel aged barelywine that really lives up to the style. All in all I was happy with this beer and I was a little impress with how much flavor and complexity that they crammed into this beer. It's now my favorite beer from this brewery and it's a very nice example of the style. Good job guys, this is one tasty and intense beer, keep it up.

Oct 02, 2017
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz Snulip glass vintage 2018. Pours a beautiful brown with a massive 2 plus finger tan head that leaves thin wisps of lace.

Smell is dark fruit, brown sugar, Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, and caramel.

Taste follows burnt brown sugar, dates, vanilla, Bourbon, and toffee.

Mouthfeel is a big medium, plenty of life, a tad dry, and for 11.50% ABV goes down easy enough.

Overall this is as good as a BA BarleyWine gets. Nothing to complane about, just a bold and tasty BarleyWine.

Feb 04, 2018
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GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz 2018 bottle poured into a tulip shows a dirty orangish-brown headless body that glows orange when backlit and leaving a clean glass behind.

Aromas of caramel, oak, tobacco, char, molasses, and vanilla fold into flavors of bitter hops, raisin, prune, chocolate, and leather. Booze is deceptivly hidden but provides nice warmth.

Mouthfeel is a bright medium, smooth and silky with a clean finish.

Overall a great example of the style.

Nov 27, 2018
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Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

While vacationing with Alewife in Waterbury recently, I picked up a couple of 4-packs of this at the Craft Beer Cellar ($14 each). Enjoyed most of them in the backyard of our AirBnb overlooking the Winooski River.... Brought 2 home and quaffed them in The 'Zebo on 17AUG18.

Poured into a small snifter, it was a deep, dark amber, like rich maple syrup. Had a touch of haze and a creamy, 1/4" beige head. Ebbed slowly, with good lacing left arrears. Had a lovely bourbon-caramel-toffee nose, with some molasses. Lots of malt was present, like an english BW. Was very smooth, with a medium-plus body, bordering on being chewy.

Taste had lots of malt, plus toffee, caramelized brown sugar, more molasses and earthy tobacco notes. Oh, and some bourbon action as well! Hopping was healthy, with decent floral notes combining with slick, resiny characteristics. A lovely bier! Verrry tasty!! Prosit!!

4.4/5 rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5


Aug 22, 2018
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HabaJohn from Illinois

4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

May 01, 2015
Photo of Freethyhops
Freethyhops from Montana

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with jojomdma, thanks Joe.

a- rust/brown with good clarity. a film and collar of beige head hung around the whole time showing great retention but not heavy lacing.

s- bourbon soaked caramel with a seemingly candy like sweetness. fairly strong oak and vanilla adds to a pleasant aroma.

t- mmm...mmmm this is my first BA barleywine and I'm surprised how smooth it is. I enjoyed what the barrel does, some great oak and vanilla adds some creaminess and is likely the source of the smooth feel too. The bourbon doesn't make this beer overly boozy. there's little to no alcohol that doesn't tast like clean warming bourbon. there's also a surprisingly strong bitterness battling to keep this one from being overly sweet. overall I love the way everything melds together, caramel candy, bourbon, vanilla, cream, bitter, bread, and wood.

m- the barrel did wonders for the feel of this beer. excellent thick creamy feel is so smooth. good carbonation keeps it from seeming cloyingly thick. really exceptional

D- 12oz was enough for one sitting but it takes some true willpower to keep the other 3 bottles I have in the ghetto cellar. hopefully I'll be able to keep at least one bottle to compare with a fresh one next year.

May 02, 2010
Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2519 ratings