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

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624 Reviews
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
624
Ratings:
2,293
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
717
Gots:
717
For Trade:
85
User Reviews
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Reviews: 624 | Ratings: 2,293
Photo of ColForbinBC
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter; Jan 2012 bottling

A somewhat murky mahogany body, with a small, ecru colored cap that fell quickly. Just some bubbles remain along the edges.

The nose is of figs, caramel, dates, maple syrup, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and some cocoa powder. Big and bold, assertive in all the right places.

On the palate, toffee and caramel with figs/raisins/dates quickly in tow. Some brown sugar and cocoa powder through the middle before a huge wave of bourbon and oak seal the deal. The finish is sugary and full of toffee and bourbon.

The body is on the lighter side of full with low carbonation. I felt this needed a little more body to really put it over the edge. A little undercarbonated as well.

This is a tasty beer in all aspects. Big, bold flavors and with a fuller body and better carbonation, this beer would really shine.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 edition, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to everyone who sent me this.

Pours a clear crimson mahogany color with a moderate light beige head with average retention and lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is the highlight, a potent complex blend of bourbon, caramel malt, mild citrus hops, oak, maple, berries, etc with surprisingly little booziness. Unfortunately the flavor isn't quite as complex and balanced at the nose; I guess this could use some more age on it. Flavor starts with an intense vanilla and bourbon booziness before the base of a more English style barleywine with complex caramel malts and dark fruity esters. Finish is exceptionally boozy and drying with light citric hops. Body is medium thick with light carbonation and overall has a smooth, soft texture that covers the palate with a lingering dry bourbon finish. I really enjoyed this and look forward to aging some, but was a little let down by the hype on this as I enjoy Weyerbacher's Insanity almost as much and can buy that off the shelf.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this in an a BIF box from rebis1bear.

Served in a snifter.

I've had this beer a few times, but never this fresh. I am amazed at how much more I like it fresh. Recently we cracked an 09 and 10 side by side-- I was unimpressed. Had I rated those bottles, this beer would be getting a C- to D!
I like the fresh beer much more.

Anyway... Nice burnt orange color with a dark tan head formed from a surge of bubbles up the sides-- a rolling, cascading, and tumbling journey that really looks nice. The head has decent retention and leaves some hefty thick rings of lace.

Smells... well, like a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. Big malts are sweet and doughy while bourbon encompasses all with a blanket of sweet booziness. The beer has some dark fruit/raisin note with a touch of earthy character (from the hops? Barrel?), big sweet malts and boozy bourbon. The flavor is nice-- lots going on, with a solid bourbon bite to finish me off and linger a bit.

The body is nearly full with a surprising and delightful prickly feel. Excellent carbonation level. Really, quite nice on the feel.

This is a very nice beer. Any bottles I get from here on out will be consumed fresh. I shall not age them!

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Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to milwaukeeclassic for throwing this in as an extra.

Pours a deep woody brown with a thin tan head. Very rich color.

The nose has a collection of bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, mellow hops and caramelized sugars.

The taste is more subtle, a tasty blend of whiskey, wood, toffee, pitted fruits and bitter hops.

Top knotch, I think I am starting to prefer bourbon aged strong ales over bourbon aged stouts. At least until my next BA stout. The residual sugars in this barleywine really pick up the complexities created by the barrels.

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Photo of TheBrosy
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from fresh growler into pint glass. 2016 vintage.

Appearance: Copper-brown, opaque. Pours with a nice tan head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Alcohol smell gut-punch. Earthy hop smell and a caramel aroma can be detected.

Taste: Only slight hop flavor, perhaps less so than style dictates. The strong alcohol smelt is well balanced with the caramel and toasted bread malt flavor.

Mouthful: Rich body, fairly stick.

Overall: A very interesting American barleywine. Seemed to be slightly under-hopped and a bit too 'boozy'. Very good if not exceptional barleywine.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip. 2013 vintage.

A: dark orange/ terra cotta hued body. slightly hazed. head pours a bit underwhelming with a light brown/orange/white hue. retention is limited, but present. spots of lacing left behind.

S: dark fruit. plums. a lot of bourbon oak. a LOT of oak. but good, the wood is welcomed and works great with all this sweetness. no hop aroma at all, not that I mind one bit, this thing is all about big beer and bourbon.

T: holy hell, the first sip is fucking rocket fuel. straight ethanol. hope a few more sips will get me better acquainted. ahh, that's a little better. bourbon warmth/flavor for sure. similar to the nose, lots of bourbon-y oak flavor. a little bit of caramel sneaks out when it can. lingering brown sugar and alcohol heat.

M: carb is mellow and works well with this big guy. full bodied to the gills.

D: this would definitely be a prime candidate for cellaring. as soon as I took my first sip I thought maybe I opened this too soon. oh well, live and learn. regardless, there are some really good aromas/flavors going on here that im sure would develop some nice complexities over time. grab a few if you can.

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Photo of n2185
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky, orange-brown with a finger of off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt with touches of maple along with strong aromas of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are sweet caramel malts up front with a touch of maple flavor as well. Then the vanilla, oak, and bourbon kick in. The finish has a fairly strong alcohol burn along with a lingering bitterness from the hops.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet at first but finishes a bit lighter than expected with the alcohol burn and bitterness.

O: A pretty good barleywine that thankfully doesn't suffer like their two bourbon barrel stouts. The original barleywine flavors still come through the barrel aging process, which is a quality their bbal stouts unfortunately lacked.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddied Amber in color, with a nice little pale yellow colored head.

The aroma is huge with bourbon, sweet toffee, booze, malty sweetness, spiciness, and lots of wood/oak characters.

The taste have big woody oak notes, plenty of heat, vanilla, sweet malts, nice rich toffee.

The feel is creamy, milky, and pretty full bodied.

Overall, an excellent BW! Many thanks for seeswo for the hookup!

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Photo of jsanford
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Snifter. 2010 vintage.

A - Pours a dark orange-brown with a thin white head that fades to a slight ring and whispy haze.
S - Sweet aromas of caramel malt and candied orange peel with strong Bourbon notes of caramel, oak, and vanilla. Reminds me a bit of those sugar-and-caramel candied that I love so much (cept boozier!).
T - Big and malty with lots of caramel, a touch of chocolate, bitter citrus hops, and a whole bunch of Bourbon that lingers on the palate for some time. Still quite boozy, I'm surprised this hasn't smoothed out more, but I'm not really minding it.
M - Sticky and sweet, with a fairly full mouthfeel and lowish carbonation. So decadent.
O - A really nice Bourbon-forward Barleywine, such a treat!

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shango42 does it again with a KILLER extra. Feb 2010 vintage.

a - opened the bottle and filled my cigar city snifter. nice murky amber orange color with some carbonation sticking to the glass. the head was thin and gone quickly and lacing was not evident at all (but this IS a bourbon barrel aged beer, so that's what I expect).

s - as soon as the top was popped off the air filled with a nice raisin plum smell. after the pour and a closer sniff I could pull the delicate balance of a great hop/malt syrupy mix along with the wood from the barrels. Really nice and really well balanced.

t - very intense. caramel malts and some dark fruit. the bourbon is not in your face, but this beer has over a year on it. being a fan of in-yo-face-booziness, I'd love to try this one fresh. I'd also love to try the base beer Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. again, very nice balance of everything going on, wish the bourbon taste was more stand out.

m - full and rich. alcohol is tamed down and shows itself more on the aftertaste than the initial sips. also i noticed a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

o - overall, very nice. buzzing through some reviews, seems like the bourbon really tames over time (as expected), but is very in your face fresh...would love to check out a freshy. another fine barleywine.

*** ** * ** ***
had a chance to have the 2011 side-by-side with the 2010 at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 - the 2011 is exactly as predicted. the bourbon is very in your face. the 2010 is much dryer and more mellow. i'd say this beer is better with a year on it.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty, burnt orangeish brownish. Okay head, okay lacing.

Bits of hops, orange, caramel, burnt sugar, nice.

Yum. Lots of caramel and candy in this one. Hops are dominated, mainly just dessert: vanilla and chocolate wrapped in an easily drinkeable, lightly hopped dessert beer.

Rich, full mouthfeel, well done. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the tongue. Alcohol controlled masterfully.

This is a truly great beer. Best I've had from Central Waters. Very impressed, seek out.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at devils den during the bella vista bash - 09 vintage

Pours a deep amber color, fairly dark, thick froth of off-white head retains well with some patchy lacing on the glass.

Strong bourbon notes, vanilla and oak, slight sweetness, notes of hoppiness and dark fruit.

Big bourbon flavor right up front with wood and vanilla tones. Boozy and full flavored, residual dark fruit with raisin and dates. Hops slice through in the beginning and towards the finish, which is warm and smooth.

Full bodied, somewhat higher carbonation, a bit creamy, lasting finish on the tongue. Drinks really nice, I was psyched to try this and I'm happy I have a 2011 bottle at home to compare this to.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only a green label to indicate the barrel aging. We did a side by side tasting with the regular version and this is a whole different experience. Pours a nice almost cloudy reddish brown. Smell is mostly sweet malts, caramel.
Taste is really more than a 4.5, more like a 4.75. My buddy said it tasted like buttered popcorn and in a small way he was right. There was a buttery taste to it that went really well with the caramel sweetness. Very smooth and thick, very little carbonation and it went down really well.
This is a really well crafted beer, the bourbon notes really made it great. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Ob1wan
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my bottles from 2010 that had been in the cellar for the past year.

Poured with a slight head which remained around the a snifter's edge upon drinking.

The smell of this beer grabs you more than anything. The bourbon stands out on the nose along with on the taste long afterwards. Defiantly a slow drinker with the bitterness on the tail end.

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Photo of Atron67
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: saw this in the store and being a big fan of teh kosmic charlie i bought a couple, purple lable, standard central waters symbol with a barrel behind the fancy lettered name.

A- poured what appeared to be a murky brown, however it was too dark to see through. brown body with a little red tint through the light . has an almost tan head which faded reasonably quick to a thin film with little lacing.

S- has a strong malty scents. strong hops, though not overly floral, seems to be a more malt driven barleywine than a hop driven one. can notice the bourbon underneath not weak but not that strong.

T- has a strong malty kick that you look for in a barleywine, pretty good, light notes of dark fruits underneath, not a huge bourbon taste to note, however you can taste it on your breath after drinking it, however i think the taste is made more by the nice malt and fruit notes.

M- full body medium carbonation. can feel the bourbon on your throat after drinking.

D- pretty solid, well enjoyed, the kosmik might be better but its still solid

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Photo of hardy008
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Burgundy color with a one finger light tan head with decent retention. Smells of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon.

The taste mirrors the aroma perfectly, with caramel, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. This is Kosmyk Charlie Y2K in a bourbon barrel. Is somewhat hot with alcohol.

Medium to full bodied, sweet, and creamy. Not as smooth as Kosmyk Charlie, due to the bourbon, but still very nice. I have several more bottles, and can't wait to see how they age.

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Photo of emerge077
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark crimson with two fingers of tan foam. Creamy consistency and long lasting retention. The deep crimson color is nice. Stewed prunes in the nose, not as nice. 2009 bottle, but it smells aged. Cotton candy, brown sugar, sweet and syrupy.

Some heat at first that's soon eclipsed by a gargantuan battle cruiser of bourbon and malt flavors. If you like those two things, you can't go wrong. Sweet vanilla aftertaste, plenty of rich malt and some residual hop bitterness. Drying finish, somewhat concealed in the booze department. Rich and syrupy feel, thankfully dry on the end like Y2K and not a sickly sweet aftertaste like so many barleywines. The barrel is integrated here, and it's not too hot, but you know deep down this is a booze bomb. Plenty of warmth, but not in the taste. Very well done overall, one to look forward to every year.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage, reviewed in 2012

A: It pours out of the bottle a muddy brown to deep red and rests inside my Deschutes snifter with about a finger of light brown head. The head isn't a fan of the party and checks out pretty quickly, leaving to lacing behind.

S: The smell is pretty nicely balanced. It seems to have a mellow about it normally reserved for aged beers. Deep caramel malts, some booze that hints towards being too offensive, bourbon, and vanilla.

T: The boozy aroma that only hinted towards offensive on the smell is more so on the taste. Underneath it lays a creamy, smooth maltiness that's blended nicely with bourbon and vanilla. I think I'm getting some roast at the very end as well. The taste is too much from the barrel and just not as integrated as the aroma seemed.

MF: A bit thin with lower than average carbonation. The booze hurts the drinkability, but nothing strange hangs around on the palate.

O: This was a nice little beer, but nothing special. I got it as an extra in a trade, so I'm not really in any place to complain! I'd say it falls on the side of an easy-drinking Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, but it isn't really special

2013 Vintage, reviewed in 2013

A: The body is more clear, but also more dark than Y2K. The pour is a dark brown with a thinner head, about one finger in height. The retention has gone down as well as the lacing. 3

S: The sweetness has been taken up another notch! Big notes of vanilla, toffee, and dark fruits really take over with a bit of booze thrown in. The roast, which carried the aroma of the base beer, is all but gone. I think the barrel took the nose up another notch, but I'm worried the taste will be too sweet. 4.5

T: The taste is of chewy caramel, vanilla, and hints of bourbon. It is very sweet, but the bourbon and booze actually provide some balance. The finish is delicious vanilla mixed with toffee. The roast has gone, apparently, as I don't get any with this beer any longer. 4

MF: The mouthfeel is crazy smooth with a boozy finish. It's damn drinkable, which when considering this is a very high ABV and I had it directly after normal Y2K at 10%...I'm feeling pretty good. 4

Value: This trade was definitely worth it. Both this and the base beer are tasty offerings. 4.5

O: This beer definitely improved in the bourbon barrels. The taste was more balanced, easier to drink, and overall more enjoyable. Both are good beers, this one is just better and I would seek it out again. 4

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage received from abents a long while back.. Thanks Adam. Trying to only drink from the cellar for a bit ... and I realized I hadn't reviewed this one.

Poured into MNFG.. 2 finger light khaki head.. great lace atop a crystal clear perfectly amber brew.

Nose is very rich ABW... tons of maltiness with still quite a bit of citric hoppiness. the barrel really comes across more as a fairly thick vanilla essence as opposed to bourbon..

Flavor begins the same as the nose.. thick .. rich .. and blankets the palate .. less vanilla and more oak than the aroma.. bunches of caramel.. and still a definite citric hoppiness.. medium body and a lighter than expected carbonation tilt toward a silky mouthfeel... the alcohol is there, but not bad at all..

This is pretty damn nice right now.... I don't know if any more age is gonna help it though.. I think with another year, the malts may become a bit cloying and leave the hops behind and not be as balanced.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a large wine glass. 2012 vintage I think.

A - kind of a brown ruby red color. Very dark in the glass, when held to the light the red shows through. Minimal head, but a crown retains for quite a while, good amount of lacing.

S - lots of caramel and vanilla. Fairly boozy.

T - follows the nose with vanilla and caramel, bourbon booziness, there is a hint of dark cherries. There is a large hop bite, almost acidity in the bitterness. That being said, not offensive, but it doesn't really blend with the mellow flavors up front.

M - quite good. Medium body, low carbonation. Good.

O - I think this will really round out in about a year. The hop bitterness is not bad, but the front it so mellow that the moderate hop bit at the end seems more pronounced. I think with some time, this will move from an A- to an A/A+

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Photo of Stignacious
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark out of the bottle, billowing tan head that slowly faded while clinging to the sides of the glass. A very smooth yet intense beer, and not exactly something that I would have frequently, for ABV, flavor, and cost reasons. This may as well have been carbonated whiskey. Seek it out if you like the style

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Photo of JAXSON
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Pours a clear, medium ruby with a scant head. Nose is nice, round malt, fruit sugars, bourbon, oak barrel. Mouth is fairly straight forward, but is good in its simplicity. Mostly bourbon, oak, burnt sugar. I feel like this is somewhat in the "American" vein after having some maltier, heavy ones like the Old Stock Reserves. It's the same idea as Wooden Hell but without the amazing complexity and depth. Impressive.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark orange red with a slight 1/16 inch head and low lacing. Very lightly carbonated. Strong bourbon malt smell. Bold bourbon-malt flavor that is smooth and balanced. This is very good and the 11.2% ABV is certainly in your face. The malt tastes goes very well with the bourbon. This is worth buying. Very enjoyable! World Class!

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Photo of nrbw23
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A pours a rich red color with an off white head. Head has ok retention and leaves a bit of spotty lacing.

S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness, and a good amount of wood.

T- Quite a bit of caramel, nice piney taste that came out of no where, bourbon and vanilla. A touch of booze here too.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- A sipper for sure. Very solid brew for sure. I'll try to hunt this one done again.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,293 ratings.
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