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
BEER INFO

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

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:
615
Ratings:
2,260
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
716
Gots:
719
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 2,260
Photo of waltersrj
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Murky, Ruby Red color with an initial 1-2 finger off white head that quickly dissipates into tiny bubbles around the glass' edge.

Nose: sharp grapefruit hops, toffee, sweet caramel, slight cherry, slight chocolate, vanilla and oak...charred oak.

Taste: Starts out with an aggressive grapefruit fused bourbon taste. The citrus grapefruit rhind intermingles with vanilla, charred oak, toffee, toasted coconut and bakers chocolate. This changes into a smoother bourbon taste mixed with alcohol and marshmallow. Thus ends with a very powerful grapefruit hop taste and a lasting, smooth bourbon tinge.

Mouthfeel: Dry with medium carbonation and slight alcohol burn.

Overall: Awesome. A great mix of smooth bourbon, malt richness and that great "American" hop tinge. Truly well crafted barleywine with a bourbon finish.

Thanks to splax23 for this one!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Version, I got this sucker from Masterski in our recent trade.

A pretty, dark ruby colored body that is cloudy and hazy.

This smells good right away, boasting dark fruits, caramel and toffee malts, brown sugar, and a good dose of bourbon aromas.

The aromas reappear in the flavor here with more vigor. The caramel, toffee and brown sugar are right up front. They are sweet, rich and deep, and they mix with a moderately strong flavor of figs and other dark fruits. Although this is the 2009 version, I would guess that this barleywine is at least a year old based on the flavor, which I think is a good thing. I guess it had to spend some time in that barrel, but I wonder how much? Next in the taste comes the slightest bit of hop bitterness, but it is tiny. Then comes a good taste of bourbon and then barrel characteristics with the spicy flavor of oak. The finish is warm and a bit boozy.

Mouthfeel is full, with a warm finish.

This is a nice beer with great drinkability. Very tasty.

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Photo of CMB2012
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark and hazy amber/burgundy. Creamy, one finger beige head which recedes and leaves a nice ring. I notice definite alcohol legs here.

S- The blend of bourbon and malt is quite awesome! It's difficult to pick each part out because of the near seamless blending. I get toffee, caramel, along with prune, raisins, dried peach. The bourbon is far from subtle, but it is so well rounded already. There is some pungency from the alcohol itself, but mostly just smooth bourbon and spice.

T- Everything that is amazing in Kosmyc Charlie's with bourbon! Follows right along with the nose, but the depth in flavor is far greater. Deep dried fruit nuances that play back and forth between raisin and prune, sugary dates, then there is a back drop of caramel and toffee. As this dance goes on the spic of the bourbon comes into play and the whole event finishes with a sweet and smooth bourbon kick.

M- Medium/full body. Could be a bit thicker, but I am not complaining. The mouth is smooth and creamy, pretty much perfect here.

O- This may be my first bourbon aged barley wine, I'm really not sure. It is pretty amazing though! I look forward to aging a few bottles of this and see what happens.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear, muddy red-brown body. Egg-shell colored head. Slight retention with real spotty lacing.

S: Lots of caramel, warm, toasty malts cap a delicate bourbon notes of vanilla and oak. Only slightly boozy which is a plus. Real enticing.

T: Simply outstanding. Lots of caramel malts with the same delicate bourbon presence from the nose. More vanilla than oak. The more I tasted this the more I was getting a rich alcohol-baked cake taste. Sweet without being overbearing. A real winner.

M: Nice hearty body with a silky feel. Low-medium carbonation. Well hidden booze.

D: I am absolutely pumped that I managed to snag 8 bottles of these. Will drink one or two more this year with the rest to age a range of years. I really can't imagine a much better american barleywine... Kudos to Central Waters.

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Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:

Tonight I decided to use my crystal whiskey snifter that came with my Sam Adams Utopias bottle. This baby is perfect for catching all the small nuances of the aroma. It even opens up the beer a lot more than a normal goblet, not to mention its really classy looking. As I pried off the cap on this twelve ounce bottle there was just a faint hiss that leaked out. That was it, nothing real loud or noticeable. Because of its very high ABV and syrupy looking nature, I decided to pour straight on to entice a thick head. When I was done I was left with a thin, creamy, off white head that stuck around till the last drop. When I hold my glass up to the light there is burst of burnt orange, reds and amber shining through my snifter. This is surprisingly crystal clear and has a lot of tiny bubbles streaming upwards from the bottom of my glass. On the viscosity check I gave a generous swirl and noticed that this baby painted the glass walls with its foamy head and left a fair amount of legs slowly sliding down.

Smell:

Right out of the gate a huge bouquet of caramel and toffee jump right out of the glass and into your sinuses. Not too far behind it is the straight heat from the bourbon. It is very present, almost like taking raisins, soaking them in whiskey and then snorting them up your nose. A tiny bit of vanilla is poking through and a decent amount of earthy, spicy hops round out the finish to offset the sweetness. Very complex and nice, this was shaping up to be a winner already.

Taste:

Woah...I'm awake now! The flavor is just drop dead amazing! Loads of rich bourbon and wood flavors coming through in the most wonderful of arrangements. Sugary, candy like notes, followed by fruit galore and a tinge of hop spice. Other malt influences of toasted, pale malt flavors, a slight nuttiness at times and a big biscuit-like malt character. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves as my glass gets warmer. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate. I get some heat alcohol but not as much as you might think for having such a high ABV.

Drinkability:

Overall this was another week of barrel aged bliss from a bottle. I am super glad that I decided to break this out today since it is just a little bit on the cooler side and this made for a fantastic afternoon sipper. I am going to head outside for a nice cigar to finish this baby up and unwind for the rest of my Sunday. If you get a chance to try this or trade for it I'd say this is one of the best bourbon barrel barleywines I have ever had so don't miss out

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours to my glass a rich, murky brown/purple color with a 1/2 finger off-white head that fades quickly to a lasting ring around the glass. My glass stays laced throughout. The aroma that arises from this beer is nearly divine. A great, sweet bourbon hits me first. Next I find notes of brown sugar/caramel and a little molasses. The taste is similar to the nose here. Less bourbon and more malty flavors. Warming does this beer a lot of good, too.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Just the right amount of present alcohol. Not too boozy, but enough to let you know it is bourbon-barrel aged. Drinkability, in my opinion, is great. I picked this up tonight thinking I would just slowly enjoy the one bottle I had, but think if I had more than one, I could put down another. A great drinking, great tasting, stand out in its class beer. Lived up to any hype or preconceived notions I had about it.

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Photo of daledeee
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a snifter style glass and found it to be a very dark reddish brown with an off white one inch head.

The nose is enough to make you love this beer. Apricots and burnt sugar are WAY up front. There is also some spice charred wood and malt.

Taste is as good as any barley wine I have ever tried. Very malty with not much hops, but nicely balanced. Some type of hops that remind me of the Belgian style(Question mark) some sweetness in the background. Alcohol is warming. I think I will leave some of these a while and maybe that finish will smooth out. Just a little strong on the "chemical" taste at the end.

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Photo of Cfeezy
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle
Hop forward barleywine. On the thinner side as a standalone barleywine but in a nice way(similar to the Barrel aged stout) that is complimented nicely by the barrel aging.
It comes across like a lighter fw Sucaba or bcbbw to me(and not as good as an overall brew) but very nice if you want something similar and "lighter" (maybe not the best descriptive word). O well, recommended!

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Photo of richj1970
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. No visible bottle date.

A: Pours a deep ruby tinted brown with one finger off white head with decent retention and leaving some nice sticky lacing.

S: Bourbon, caramel, toffee, raisin, and coconut.

T: Bourbon, caramel, and maple. Dates and raisins. A really nice balance of bourbon, sweet, spices, and hops.

M: Full bodied with average carbonation. Coats the tongue nicely and finishes with a slightly sweet note.

O: Exellent BA barleywine. In my top five for sure.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage courtesy of FrankenBrew pours a murky crimson color with a small cap of tan head...leaves a nice lacey collar.

Nose is definitely oxidized, and sweet. Bourbon comes in a distant third, followed by peanut brittle and wood. Interesting mix or aromas and smells like a big beer for sure.

Mmmm, this is what I am talkin bout! The bourbon soaked wood, oxidized sherry flavors and sweet malt come together damn near perfectly. The mouthfeel is bigger than the 11.5% would indicate and is awesomely rich. ABV is so well integrated at this point, it is very smooth. This is awesome, one of the best beers I have had in quite some time.

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Photo of timc100
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2013 vintage

A: Gorgeous - dark ruby/mahogany, murky and dank - substantial beige head for a barrel aged beer. Great lacing and retention

S: HUGE caramel bourbon notes, vanilla and oak. Some cherry, and raisin. Delicious but very boozy and hot. Needs some time, then I'd imagine perfect

T: Big bourbon - caramel, lighter vanilla and oak. Bitter aftertaste which pairs well with the sweetness. Some dark fruit but it's hidden due to the overly boozy freshness. Could improve greatly, I'd imagine.

P: Smooth - medium to full body.

O: Fantastic barleywine and BA beer. Wish I had a few more to cellar

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Photo of MCain04
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Half Acre 12 oz snifter. $15/4pack.

A: Dark dark ruby body with a light tan head of less than a finger with quick dissipation leaving a rim of foam and a small amount of lacing.

S: Bourbon-forward with sweet malty notes, vanilla, and some hops on the nose that complement well.

T: Sweet malts are the first on the palate, vanilla and oaky notes, and the barrel characters blend nicely into a bourbon finish. Lots of heat on the back end of this. A little bitter and dry on the finish, representing some of the hops of the brew.

M: Very smooth, medium carbonation, sticky and dry finish. Very nice and drinkable.

O: A fantastic barleywine that is complemented very nicely by bourbon barrel aging. Best bourbon barrel aged barleywine I've tried to date, although I do have Sucaba and barrel-aged Bigfoot waiting in my cellar. I inherently hate Central Waters for their terrible customer service, but they make a damn good BBBW

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Photo of adrock7309
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 2012 into a three Floyd's Pilsner glass.

Minimal head with very minimal lacing and very little retention. Body is a dark reddish brown.

Huge vanilla and Caramel on the nose. A very malt forward barley wine.

So glad I finally got to try this one and so stoked it's finally come to Minnesota.

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Photo of unclejedi
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to nflmvp for this. Had one from an earlier trade, and he's sending me another, so I can rate the first one and squirrel away the latest one.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown/amber with a thin off white head that rapidly recedes

Smell - Fairly mellow bourbon smell, with vanilla and slight oak Smell is pleasant, not overpowering, but is strong enough to draw you in for a taste

Taste - Very Nice. Bourbon flavors are well balanced with the malts and hops. Hops are clearly there, but not a smack in the face. Malts are sweet caramel and slightly smoky.

Mouthfeel. Nice body, carbonated just enough. Coats the palate fairly well without being syrupy. Finish is mostly hop bitterness with one last hint of bourbon. Smooth and easily swallowed without any burn, even though the alcohol is clearly present

Drinkability: Typical for a barley-wine, enjoyable for sipping, but I wouldn't want to drink more than one or two in a session.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter 2010 vintage, traded courtesy of Exiled.

A: Pours a murky reddish brown with a small off-white head that fades to a ring pretty quickly and leaves the tiniest bit of lacing.

S: The nose is the best I've ever smelled from a barleywine. You're immediately hit with aromas of burnt sugar, caramel, toffee, and charred oak. As soon as I took a big whiff I thought "wow this is the GIBCS of Barleywines." The aromas the bourbon lend to the beer are almost exactly the same.

T: Initially the first thing you taste is bitter hops which took me by surprise. I smelled the beer again after my first taste to see if I could detect the hops but they are no where to be found until you take a sip. After that vanilla, toffee, and carmalized sugar take over with the hops showing up again on the finish.

M: The feel is creamy and thick with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: The bourbon barrel takes this from being a good American Barleywine to an exceptional one. I would probably drink this again if I could track it down. 11.5% is pretty high but the 12oz bottle size means you aren't drinking a lot of it in one sitting.

This is like Bigfoot in a Barrel. First time I've had a hoppy barleywine aged in bourbon barrels and it was an experience! I'd love to try a later vintage to see if the hops fade enough for more barrel and malt flavors come out.

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

Got this one as a bonus on trade and I was letting it age a little before I tried it. Bottled: 2015.

A - Dark amber color that is somewhat cloudy from the journey this beer has taken. Has a bone colored head that subsides quickly and leaves only a few spots of lacing.

S - Big sweet malt character and then sweet bourbon mixed with caramel and some vanilla. The booze is still very strong but it doesn't burn the nose. It's a sweet and pleasant bourbon barrel barleywine.

T - As you would expect the robust, sweet malt character is first and then a wash of big flavors takes the tongue. Toward the middle is the full bourbon flavor rich with oak, caramel, and vanilla. The finish has the dark fruits associated with a barleywine and some warmth from the alcohol.

M - High mouth-feel with low carbonation. This is how a bourbon barrel barleywine should be; soft on the palate, full flavored, and not too cloying.

Overall, this is a supreme example of the bourbon barrel barleywine. It isn't as complex, as boozy, or as easy to drink as some out there but being in the middle of it all give this beer perfect stature for the style. This is a sweet barleywine with plenty of bourbon and goes down nicely. If you haven't tried this style this is a great one to start with since it will be the baseline on what to taste for when sampling more offerings of the style.

Glass- Snifter

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

Received this bottle from Zimmerbloke in my Birthday BIF box. Thanks, Matt!

Poured into a snifter. Pours a muddy, ruddy, deep copper, with a white head that does not last. Head drops to a mere wisp of foam, leaves a light lacing.

Aromas of vanilla, oak, bourbon, alcohol. Nice base of dark fruits, prunes, figs, and raisins.

Flavors of bourbon, oak, vanilla, some astringency from the wood, dark fruits flavors hide in the background, raisins and prunes. Finish is long, warm, vanilla and oak.

Mouthfeel is medium, but with a drying astringency from what you would get from raw oak.

Overall, very nice. Nice melding of the complex flavors, not one dimensional and doesn't taste layered. Very nice.

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

12oz bottle obtained in the No BS 4 BIF via dirtylou. Thanks for the opportunity. 2009 edition.

Poured into Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy red brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly skim, with heavy legs and light but lasting lace. Aroma is syrupy sweet, with prominent alcohol.

Taste begins sweet, passes through some leathery tannins in the middle, barrel character near the close, and then alcohol comes on full bore at the end. Numb lips, warming down the gullet, it's all there. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is good in the I want another sometime sense, not the I want another bottle or three right now sense. At least not if you have any sense, with abv such as it is.

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

Big thanks to jstilwell for this, one of my fav styles by far. I love barleywines, and adding bourbon barrel to it... oh man! Been holding it for a little while, but it was already about a year old when I got it. 2011 vintage, I believe it has a notch in the January bottled date.

Pours a light creamy looking head covering that fades at a med pace to just a touch of head eventually, but typical for an 11.5% beer, it also leaves nice lacing on the sides as long lengs drip from the top of the lacing in a neat effect. The beer is a hazy murky sediment filled yeast chunked drunken haze looking thing, with a chestnut mahogany almost purple color.

Nose is awesome, malt city! Big malts, sweet malts, loaded caramel, toffee, brown sugar, a bit of molasses, candy syrup, even a touch of maple. That's quickly brought on with the fruits, tons of fig and plum, raisins soaked in brandy, light nutty quality with that. Next on the list is the bourbon, it's not dominant but it's definitely there. A light vanilla oaky barrel aroma as well, but more of the bourbon with a light sweetness and vanilla of it's own. As it warms I also get a hint of an earthy spicy chewy hop like profile. A slight tingly booze is in there but doesn't seem as high as it is.

Taste comes on sweet, candy sweet, a bit syrupy at first, but then the bourbon kicks in nicely. A nice big bourbon flavor that doesn't overpower but adds quite a bit. Nice sweet candy bourbon with some oak barrel, and lots of vanilla, as the vanilla really comes through nicely. Malts are a plenty with the sweetness, reddish candy malts, plenty of caramel sweeteners, toffee galore, brown sugar and molasses come in just a bit. Later on the back end there is a light coffee syrup flavor too which is unique. Then of course the fruits of the labor, some fig and date, and lots of brandy soaked raisins again. As the nose did, it also brings some spicy earthy chewy hops, with quite a bit of bitterness. I'm surprised the hops come through as well as they do for it being almost 2 years old now. Just a touch of warming booze comes in, but not nearly 11.5% except for a light booze taste in the background, but no tingle or heavy alcohol. Finish is long lingering, a smooth creamy coffee syrup taste, with lots more vanilla, some bourbon, a bit of booze fruits again, little more caramel and toffee, and a big blanket of spicy earthy hops bringing a big bitterness. Not too dry on the finish but compared to the initial sweetness it's fairly dry.

Mouth is fuller bodied, somewhat rich, decent carb for what it is, some warming booze.

Overall very nice, delicious, great bourbon that brings lots of flavor without overpowering, delicious vanilla, sweeteners, fruits, malts, and even a long spicy earthy hop that brings nice bitterness and has held up for almost 2 years. I wish I could get a lot of this beer. I wouldn't call it my fav bourbon barrel aged barleywine, but it's up there. Again right in with my top 3 styles.

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

i got bottles of this one from both EliteDigger and Jay23. thanks scott and jay!

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage. sampled nov 22/08.

pours deep red, not quite brown, with a small very dense tan head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass and leaves lots of lace.

aroma is great. bourbon. vanilla. oak. light alcohol. caramel and toffee. touch of butterscotch. dark fruit - date, plum, raisin. whole wheat bread. biscuit. cracker. hint of toasty character. there's more depth here than i'm really able to capture. great stuff.

taste is great. light alcohol. medium bitterness level. vanilla, bourbon, oak. caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. loads of malt. biscuit, multi-grain bread, cracker. dark fruit - date, raisin, bit of plum. bit of lighter fruit character too, though less specific. hint of dark chocolate.

mouthfeel is great. fairly big body. silky smooth medium carbonation level.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. the barrel character is present but not overpowering and works very well. this is my second favourite bourbon barrel barleywine behind kuhnhenn's. really great stuff. glad i still have another in the cellar.

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

Planned a trip to Hudson to specifically get this. I was saddened to find that Chicone's was out, but ecstatic to see that Casanova's had singles of this. For around the same price as GI BCS per bottle, I am expecting something great.

2009 bottle.

Pours a ruby hued brown color with a light carbonation. Uneventful head that was gone in a second, which I have come to find the norm in bourbon barrel aged beers.

Subtle bourbon hints mix well with caramel, toffee, dark fruits and a nice bitterness. Without the added bourbon, this would still be a great nose for a barleywine, but the bourbon takes this to a whole new level of goodness.

Taste is spot on the aroma. Thick bourbon and caramel malt base dominates this one, but subtle dark and citrusy fruits and grapefruit and piney hops blend to make this a very impressive beer. Nothing is overpowering and all the flavors play with each other to add to the complexity.

Smooth and creamy, with a light carbonation bite. Great drinkability as well.

I wish this were more widely available. Central waters only recently made it to Hudson, and at this point I think I'd be missing out if they hadn't. Highly recommended.

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage just picked up. Also had this on tap at Central Waters anniversary party over the week end.

Amber orange and cloudy with light tan head. Smells is super sweet bourbon with alcohol coming through. Taste is fantastic!! Sweet brown sugar, big bourbon with slight tang. Heat lingering well after swallowed. Mouthfeel is clean and a little silky, not as silky as their Y2K, but very nice. Overall this is another Central Waters to seek out if you like this beer style you will not be disappointed. Picked up a case and will be aging some of this one.

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

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

Pours a deep redish-brown with a tiny white head small bubbles floating up even after the head fades, great lacing. Smells like vanilla toffe with dark fruits and a little oaky scent. Taste is amazing big bourbon vanilla upfront blends very well with the sweet maltyness of the barleywine. Mouthfeel is great for a strong barleywine, not huge carbonation but its nice for the style just enough. Overall amazing beer I really wish I had more than the one bottle, thanks dyan for the hookup.

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Photo of KI9A
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh boy...can't wait to post his review, so I can look at what the others say about it!

A: Bottle pour, tulip glass. Beautiful deep mahogany. Puffy head.

S: Wood barrels, no doubt about that. Boozy, fruity, malty aroma. Nice.

T: YIKES! This is great. White vanilla-chocolate covered apples. Thats as close as I can explain it. Malts, maybe a grapefruity bitter finish. Very nice!

M/D: Clean for a barley wine. Nice bourbon finish, along with a little boozy heat. I am glad I bought 2 of these, one for now, one to cellar.

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

Reviewing the 2011 vintage

Pours a hazy hazelnut brown with amber highlights. Head is 1/3 inch and off white. Head retention is good and lacing is very good.

Smell is of classic barleywine aromas. Caramel malts, Belgian candied rock sugar, and some dried apricots/dates. Hints of pine and citrus linger and bourbon barrel aging is pretty apparent. Alcohol smells of slight oak, molasses, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste is pretty complex. Sweet caramel, bready rich malts, smokey almost like scotch. Alcohol has a big presence here but it isnt overpowering at all. 11 percent is definitely tasted but oak and bourbon impart a nice butterscotch/vanilla alcohol sweetness. Hops arent very present. As the beer warms, different flavors become more noticeable, mainly bourbon.

Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied and carbonation is good, especially for such a rich syrupy beer. Would have scored a perfect 5 if only head would have been pronounced and added that creamy texture that is so rare in high alcohol beers

Overall this is the best barleywine I've ever had. Flavors are rich, complex and for almost 12 percent, nowhere near overbearing. Only flaw to this beer is that the alcohol was definitely there, not that I dont mind it, but it prevented me from giving this beer 5 in some categories. I sampled this vintage at about 11 months old, hopefully I can find some more of this barleywine and revisit it in another year.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.
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