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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class
613 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 | 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:
613
Ratings:
2,255
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
715
Gots:
719
For Trade:
93
User Reviews
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Reviews: 613 | Ratings: 2,255
Photo of dougofthefuture
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a fair amount of this on a recent WI trip - now that it has a couple month's age on it, it is time to try it again.

A - Bright red color - fairly high clarity. The head faded pretty quickly but it remains an attractive beer.

S - It smells like a vanilla-cherry kool-aide with a bit of bourbon added it. I mean that in the best possible way. It smells delicious, with very little heat present.

T&M - Very rich and full bodied, especially as it warms from cellar temps. Packed with sweet roasty barleywine flavor with quite a bit of bourbon - especially on the finish. If anything it makes it a little harsh, but age has the potential to make this world class. Other than the bourbon burn, the flavor are very well blended. I love the way the vanilla oakiness comes out.

D - A sipper for sure, but the balance makes it very difficult to stop sipping.

I cannot believe how good this is for the price. I wish I bought more!

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Photo of emmasdad
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of a rusty copper penny, with a good three fingers of light beige foam. Aromas of bourbon, oak, vanilla and cinnamon. Flavors of bourbon, dark caramel, dark fruits and vanilla. A very nicely put together beer. I love the way barley wines are helped with the addition of the bourbon barrels. An excellent example of the style.

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

Many many many thanks go to klikger for this bottle. I have been trying to get this forever!

A- Pours a amber orange copper color. Light tan one and a half finger head that stays a short bit before dying down. Light lacing that falls back into the glass.

S- Big vanilla and oak notes that clash very nicely with big malt sweetness. Light boozy alcohol soaked darker fruits in the back end of the aroma. Light bourbon and toffee notes come and go through the entire beer. Makes my mouth water just smelling it.

T- Wow this is great! Well worth the wait. The taste follows the aroma dead on which was a nice surprise. The bourbon notes in this are a little more present than in the nose but don't drown out the rest of the barleywine like flavors which I was worried about. Nice sweetness to this without a lot of barleywine style alcohol sweetness that plauges a lot of other BB barleywines. I don't know if anybody else will get what I mean but oh well....

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Chewy beer in the mouth. Carbonation is great for the style. Big darker fruit and oak flavors left on the palate with some sweet alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Flavors blend together well without fading one flavor out with another. Bigger drying on the palate with every sip.

D- This is a highly drinkable beer that I wish I could find at my local store. Sadly, I hope it doesn't take this long to get some more of it. I think this beer was well worth the wait and hope to be able to get more of it. A very well made beer...I can see why it gets the scores it does.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage served in a snifter. Beer is dark brown and clear. Forms a thin off white head of tiny bubbles. The head leaves some but not much lacing on the glass. The beer leaves legs on the glass more than lacing, it looks really good.

Aroma is like liquor. Its strong with a bourbon backing and sweet caramel follow up. There is a hint of some hops but it is over shadowed by the bourbon and other alcohol aromas. Smell is strong and complex and I think it smells good.

Its a sipper. Beer is medium in body and finishes dry. Lots of sweetness up front but its not cloying at all. The liquor and alcohol flavors are bright and pretty forward in the midpalate, I imagine some age on this would really help this beer out a lot. There is no aftertaste and connectivity is pretty good. I believe this will age well the malt is there and some really interesting things can develop. I enjoyed this a lot.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in an in person trade with guyinchicago at DLD- thanks!

A: pours a reddish orange, some light passes through, little head to speak of, some lacing

S: huge notes of vanilla and oak from the bourbon which meld nicely with a sweet malt profile, some notes of molasses and figs followed by alcohol presence

T: taste is very similar to the nose but with more complex bourbon flavors, the oak character along with the bourbon pair perfectly with this barleywine, all of the flavors are well balanced and delicious, a nice heat at the end from the abv makes for a good sipper

MF: body on the thicker side, not syrupy although it leaves a little stickiness in the mouth, warming on the finish

D: this is one of the most delicious barleywines I have experienced, the bourbon really works well with the style

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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 drpdaddy
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance :Tulip dark amber tan creamy head with good lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt, bourbon, alcohol and fruity esters.

Taste: Quite sweet caramel, plum, raisin, some tropical fruity esters, vanilla with subtle but present bourbon flavor

Mouthfeel: Creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation, was not to thick

Drinkability: I am not the biggest fan of barley wine but this one was quite good, I couldn't handle more then one of these in a session but it was quite drinkable. The alcohol was well hidden. I am definitely going to pick up some more of this for the cellar.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
Poured into a tulip glass. pours a nice deep, translucent amber red brown color with a 1 finger head that faded fast into a light colored tan head. Strong aroma of sweet malts with a slight touch of bourbon. First sip is a slap in the face of flavors! I expected this from being so fresh but WOW. Initial sweetness slowly transitions to a slighly strong bourbon and alcohold flavor followed by slight bitter hop at the end. Dry almost citrus like finish.
Medium mouthfeel.
For sure a sipper at 11.5%, but very good indeed. Can't wait for it to have some age on it and try some again at a later date.

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

Finally getting around to reviewing this. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

appearance - auburn-brown liquid. little to no head.

smell - fantastic. smell is so sweet and caramelly. can smell the booze too.

taste - caramel & bourbon. enough said.

mouthfeel - syrupy feel. kind of coats your tongue. very smooth.

overall - great beer. the bourbon barrel aging is very prevalent.

side note: I had a sample of this at the beer store, and it was served quite cold. When I drank this bottle it was served at cellaring temp and I enjoyed it much more. I would recommend letting it sit out of your refrigerator for a while before drinking.

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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 BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An insanely seductive Barleywine. Central Waters have figured it out.

I'll speed through the look, because the aroma is where this beer is at. A deep, truely amber colored beer carries a light majestic haze, moderate head formation and retention, and light lacing.

Now.. this beer's aroma is among the very best. Deep aromas of maple syrup, jelly beans, strawberry jam, raspberries, red licorice... it's unlike anything I have ever experienced in a beer glass.

With that nose, there's no way the flavor can measure up, right? Actually I am right. After the initial shock of ethynol and strong bitterness, I begin to appreciate the same attributes that I found in the nose. Caramel malts, toffee, sweet bourbon, and maple candy begin to describe the more prominant features of malt flavor. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves and waves.

The flavors of succulent malts and fruits are abruptly interferred by intense bitter bite and strong alcohol numbing and prickling. The attenuation is quite high for Barleywines, making the beer more drinkable and less syrupy than most. Still, malty rich and medium-full textured.

Sure, there's some criticism here. But those aromas are the best. Simply put.

Thanks Cheezdawg!

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a few of these on my Wisconsin trip, and it certainly wins best in show. Wonderful beer.

A: Pours a rusty reddish brown color. Clear. It's got a small white head that dissolves into a splotchy cap that never quite goes away and leaves light lacing.

S: Killer. Terrific deep caramel malt is the backdrop for oak, vanilla, and the other hallmarks of bourbon aging. All of the smells blend together wonderfully -- this is a big point for me. I love bourbon beers, but often the booze overwhelms the nose.

T: World-class. Again, the big caramel malt holds it all together. The vanilla is very strong, as is the booze from the bourbon. A little less oaky than the nose. There's a significant hop presence in the finish, but it doesn't stray into DIPA territory like so many of its American Barleywine comrades. And again, it's all balanced beautifully, as if an engineer had spent years calibrating it perfectly.

M: Thick and smooth, with low carbonation. A total mouth-coater. A decent amount of alcohol burn, but that doesn't bother me at all with this style.

D: Brilliant. I weep that I can't walk a quarter mile and pick up a four pack of this anymore. Truly, Madison, WI was forged by the gods themselves.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of butterscotch, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla, in that order. Also present are hints of deeper chocolate malt aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Rich caramel malt flavors with loads of bourbon flavors joining in shortly thereafter. Butterscotch and toffee flavors lead the pack with amounts of vanilla that are larger than that in the aroma. The sweetness subsides just a bit midway through the sip but other than that there is really no influence from hops. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thickness is on the more viscous side with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could drink a whole lot of these.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more so when I discovered the low price. This beer is a steal and well worth a shot.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to joe1510 for hooking me up with some of the latest CW offerings. We popped this while watching the Final Four games at my place. 12oz bottle split two ways into nonics.

A - Pours brown with a reddish hue, off-white head, no cap on top after the head disipitates. Some lacing here and there along the sides of the glass but not a whole lot.

S - Burnt candy/sugars, hot bourbon. The sweetness melds with the bourbon pretty damn well. For being a 2010 vintage, the beer is put together nicely.

T - Lots of bourbon, sweetness, candy notes, burnt sugars. Maybe a tad too hot for me right now, but impressive again, considering it just been put into the bottle. Sweet sugary finish with some nice hot alcohol.

M - Medium to full bodied, rich and smooth, syrupy finish.

D - Half of the bottle was enough for me right now. I have a couple of bottles left to cellar and will see how they improve as they get a chance to age.

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Photo of hawks10
4.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage - 12oz. bottle poured into my Central Waters pint glass, enjoyed at cellar temp...

Pours a thick glowing burnt orange with some ruby highlights. Slightly hazy with a thin one finger of soft white head that leaves a cap of haze on top of the beer for the whole drink...

Caramel, toffee and a nice boozy bourbon aroma with hints of vanilla and some wood scents as well. Sweet and complex, smells absolutely fantastic...

This beer sure is green! Heavy bourbon flavor with a distinct alcohol burn up front, undesirable to some, for me however, it is smooth and delicious. Lots of vanilla and small hints of all those smells; oak, caramel, toffee, bready, just overall thick and malty. Having a hard time picking out any hop bitterness at all...So complex, so smooth, feel like I am sipping on some liquor...

Thick and creamy, very slick from the low carbonation. Coats the entire palette and leaves behind a nice sting from the booze...

This beer is very fresh and ready to drink now, it will mellow out and change with age, but it is fantastic as is and if you're patient, it will also be fantastic down the road. Had a 2009 vintage about a month ago and it had calmed down a bit but was still quite boozy and nice...the 2010 picks up right where the 2009 left off, great beer from Central Waters, gonna drink one of these every few months for the next 2 years or so...

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours maroon amber color with a light head, one finger head,

Aroma is of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malts, and bitter hops. Very rich in aroma, great for the style.

Wow, this beer is amazing. Lots of bourbon up front followed by a big wood (oak) flavor. Some vanilla and other subtle flavors come through on the finish. Seeing as it is a 2010 it seems a little hot, but it is still very good. I have heard much about this beer, lots f hype, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Terrific beer by Central waters.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a little hot. Age could do this beer well, as I'm sure it will only get better. Medium carbonation, smooth finish.

Very drinkable for the style, I want to get a lot of this beer, and keep it forever.

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

Poured into Old guardian glass

Pours hardly and head. Color of head is beige. Not a lot of lace due to the low amount of head. Color of beer is a light colored copper. Fairly clear.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, oak up front. Caramel and toffee malt. Then a layer of sweetness hits. The smell is great. The bourbon really adds to the already complexity of the base beer. Stunning.

Taste: Whoa, big bourbon kick. Oak and vanilla follow up quickly. Very malty. Bread, caramel, and toffee all present. I get a fresh layer of grassy/earthy hops with this beer. The main flavor is a major level of bourbon, however. Pretty solid beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation, higher than other ba bwines. The flow is nice. Ends a little hot and malty. I can see the mouthfeel getting better once the heat dies down. I don't expect it to take too much time.

Overall, this is a solid bwine. A little hot right now, but I can see this getting extremely tasty with time. I am glad we have CW so close to us. This is a beer that needs to be tried. Very drinkable. Well done.

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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 PeprSprYoFace
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to krtman for giving me this as an extra!!!

Poured into my stone Old Guardian BW glass. Pours a cherry red with a nice thin head and lacing.

Aroma is amazing. Lots of caramel and candy coated fruits. Smalls very sweet. Little bit of hop spicyness in the nose. A little vanilla

Tastes very good. Lots of oak bite. Must have been an oaky bourbon. Has a lingering hop bitterness that im not too fond of. Very caramely and some alcohol burn. I would love to see how this one would age.

Mouthfeel is fairly light for a BW. Still heavy but i have had some heavy ass BW's. Nice carb

Overall I would like to put some age on it. I think it would improve greatly

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Photo of goethean
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Intense candied oranges, sweet cherries, and amber malt, overlaid with a decent amount of assertive herbal flavor hops. A dry, hoppy finish. Malt complexity is hidden, I feel, by the substantial hop presence.

I usually don't cellar beers which are not bottle-conditioned, so I probably won't keep this beer long enough for its hops to mellow, which is a bit of a shame.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exiled for sharing this bottle.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a white head. The aroma is bourbon, caramel, brown sugar and chocolate. The flavor is chocolate, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, alcohol and molasses. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. An excellent barleywine that is enhanced by the bourbon-barrel aging.

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Photo of vacax
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle vintage 2009.

Pours a rich dark color somewhere between copper and black but nicely translucent. The head is present but not too lively, which is expected at 11.5% ABV, but has an unexpected high level of retention and a fine layer of microubbles that carpets the glass when swirled and leaves a surprising amount of lace. The aroma is luxurious with malt, sweet oaky bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, maple, and a touch of vinous character to mellow it all out.

The flavor begins on a note of delicate balance between rich malts and assertive bitterness that carries through gracefully to the finish. The initial profile starts with maple, brown sugar, and oak the develops on the midpalate with plum and bourbon. The finish has the duality of lasting tongue prickly bitterness along with a bready cookielike lingering next to some masked flora. Feel is chewy with a feeling of full but soft carbonation that pleases the palate just right, hard to get better for a barleywine.

A few people I trust have told me that this beer is the real deal, including Overlord and Mikedashg (thanks Mike for this bottle). They were right. Deliciously complex, rich, balanced, elegant, and flat out tasty.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep ruby red with a slight purple tinge to it. Semi transparent with just a little bit of light that shows through. About a half finger's worth of head that leaves a little cap on the top and leaves some good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A good sweetness that is similar to a sherry or port. Some dark fruits are very apparent and a touch of oak in there as well. The deeper you smell the beer, the bourbon starts to peak its head out but never over powering. A hint of grape comes out as it warms along with the alcohol but not in a pungent, burning way found in some BA beers.

T- Well balanced and pretty complex come to mind right away. Some fig and dates to go along with a brown sugar sweetness but not cloying or syrupy. A touch of bourbon and some oak to make this a smooth beer. The alcohol is barely even noticeable and just adds to the overall smoothness and greatness of the beer.

M- Smooth and almost creamy. The carbonation is barely even noticeable but it works very well. There is a little heat on the tail end at the back of the throat as it goes down. A medium to full bodied that goes down smooth after every sip.

D- Exceptional. Goes down nicely and very well balanced. This is definitely a sipper which cuts down on the drinkability but this one is meant to be cherished. I would have to say that one is all you really need in a sitting. This would be great for after dinner or right before bed. Central Waters again shows why it is an up and coming brewery.

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Photo of bound4er
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage.

A. Redish amber color, off white two finger head with good staying power for a barleywine. Decent amount of carbonation bubbles and loads of lacing.

S. Almost Sherry-like on the nose with a caramel nuttiness that hits first followed by brown sugar, molasses and vanilla. Very complex for a beer - might a say nearly perfect - with the barrel aging adding complexity without overpowering anything.

T. After how nicely this poured and its intoxicating aroma, I was salivating anticipating my first sip. Wow, this is no wimpy beer. Lots going on here with Fino Sherry flavors (vanilla nuttiness) and some booze hitting you at first followed by some hop bitterness and a bit more booze on a long, long finish. While present, the alcohol is not off-putting by any means - it actually adds to the enjoyment of this beer - something I normally wouldn't say.

M. Very creamy and an excellent mouthfeel without the "syrupiness" one might expect from such a big beer.

D. This style of beer is meant for slow sipping. One and done for me. I am not a big barleywine guy but this is a very good beer and one that I will enjoy drinking from time to time. CW delivers again.

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Photo of Soneast
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled February 2010.

Pours a clear, burnt copper in color, developing a small fizzy head that disappears immediately leaving just a thin, bubbly ring.

The aroma has a lot of malt character, almost (but not quite) overwhelmed by the bourbon qualities. Some brown sugars and caramel aroma are evident, with a touch of wood and marshmallows coming through but mostly dominated by a rich bourbon smell.

The flavor is intensely delicious! Brown sugar, malt characteristics stand out first, rich caramel and creamy vanilla qualities are less perceptible, the barrel aged qualities come through in an oakey, bourbony flavor that encompasses everything else. A very nice, smooth finish, without much heat nor overly bitter. I dig it!

The mouthfeel is spot on for the style, very mild carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. The flavors of this beer combined so nicely, nothing really overwhelming the other components (unlike some other barrel aged beers, that basically taste like carbonated Maker's Mark). CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is well balanced and delicious. I have high expectations for this beer with some age on it.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.
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