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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
BA SCORE
4.31/5
Outstanding
2,398 Ratings
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: Rotating

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

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#490
Reviews:
654
Ratings:
2,398
pDev:
8.82%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
712
Gots:
742
Trade:
92
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,398 |  Reviews: 654
Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter; 2017 vintage, bottled on 4/11/2017. Pours crystal clear deep reddish copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, grapefruit, apricot, apple, orange peel, pine, caramel, maple, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, brown bread, and biscuit; with light notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke, charred wood, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, citrus/pine hops, and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Mild increasing booze in the aromas as it warms, but never overwhelming. Taste of huge raisin, plum, fig, date, cherry, grapefruit, apricot, apple, orange peel, pine, caramel, maple, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, brown bread, and biscuit; with light notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke, charred wood, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate pine/citrus peel bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark fruits, cherry, grapefruit, apricot, apple, orange peel, pine, caramel, maple, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut, brown bread, biscuit, light chocolate/char, and yeast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, citrus/pine hops, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/bitter/spiciness balance; with zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, creamy/bready/sticky/tannic, and slightly slick/silky/syrupy/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden; a small pleasant warmth, with very mild barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged American barleywine! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, citrus/pine hops, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV. Pretty much perfectly balanced between all flavors. Impressive malt complexity and great barrel presence; without being overly boozy, tannic, or drying. This improved on the hop presence as it warmed up, balancing itself with dark fruitiness. A highly enjoyable offering.

 2,635 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark tawny amber with a haze to it. Pours with very little head, a quater-inch at most. Typical aged barleywine look.

Smell: Musty barrel initially, but as the temperature rises the mustiness fades and the caramel-vanilla sweetness rises to the surface. Whiskey-like notes are very present, adding a slight booziness as well. Subtle oxidation is present in the form of dates and sherry.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich, sweet, full on the palate. Moderate bitterness keeps things balanced, but this is a definite slow sipper. Bourbon flavors are very much present, but in balance with the base beer. Slight sherry-like oxidation has begun to set in, which adds a nice layer of complexity. This one should age nicely for years to come. The finish is bittersweet, with bitter eventually taking the edge. Very solid stuff, as someone who isn't a big barleywine fan I liked this quite a bit.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 1,113 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 2,976 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.92/5  rDev -9%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to bmanning for bringing this to a recent tasting.

Pours a dark brown with some crimson highlights. Not quite hazy and not quite opaque, but definitely not at all translucent. The smell is of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and caramel. The taste is equally impressive, with an absolutely gorgeous bourbon character and flavor without adding too much alcohol heat. Also picked up a little bit of oak. Moderate to full body with the perfect level of carbonation for the style, and just a little bit of alcohol heat. This one was absolutely fantastic and was perhaps the best bourbon barleywine that I've had to date, rivaled only by Kuhnhenn's version.

 659 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of mactrail
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely head on the dark amber brew. Huge head, creamy and smooth. Rich and sharp on the tongue. Intense aroma of vanilla and single-malt scotch, even if it's really only run through a cask of Old Fitzgerald.

Excellent bourbon taste. More whiskey and less of the cheap boozy, barrel. It does have a distinct woody flavor, but it really tastes like the old oak. What a great tasty, mellow, and intriguing beer. This proves that the barrel-aged style is a real bonus for the brewing world and not just a silly flavoring.

From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Food and Friends in Philadelphia. The strength is homage to the virile flavors. Thank you for the late-night sipping pleasure!

 681 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a lighter brown color with a little bit of an orange tint to it. A very thin, white ring clung to the edges of the glass. It actually left a decent amount of lacing for how little of a head it had.

The aroma has a lot going on in it. I get some juicy, fruity, citrus like flavors coming out, with a bit of an orange juice, pineapple flavor to it. The bourbon is there and gives it some woody, boozy bourbon flavors. I'm getting a little bit of a dark fruit soaked in vodka quality to it as well. A little boozy overall and not as smooth as some of my favorites in the style, but not bad overall.

Things come together better for me in the taste. I get more of the malty, caramel flavors mixing with the bourbon up front. Midway I start to get more of the juicy, citrus bitterness to it with some grapefruit and pine present in the finish. A little bit of the woody, oak and vanilla flavor comes through in the finish. Again, a little boozy in the finish overall but not too bad.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a pretty solid beer, but didn't really wow me like some barrel aged barleywines have. It felt a little too juicy, citrusy and bitter as well as boozy at times, but then also smooth and drinkable at times when the malty flavors came out more. It had some very nice high points to it and was a very nice sipping beer this evening, but fell a little short of being a truly world class beer of the style.

 1,552 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle share at Beermonger, Portland, OR
Thanks to writerLJberg for the share!

Poured a slightly hazed caramel brown color with an off-white head that reduced to a ringlet. Aroma of caramel and sweet malts, dark fruits, bourbon. Alcohol warning. Taste is sweet and cakey, woody bourbon, rum raisin, figs and black cherries, finishing with a mild, seemingly hoppy fruit character. As in the aroma, alcohol's presence is noticeable...it is a bourbon-aged barleywine, so would you expect it to be otherwise? Heavy-medium body, chewy, and quite drinkable.

 563 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of atrocity
3.4/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overly harsh and boozy. Had many bourbon barrel aged barleywines that are fantastic... recently Omega Point comes to mind. This wasn't for me though.

149 characters

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

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nathanmiller
4.9/5  rDev +13.7%

Photo of ZEB89
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage courtesy of Beertracker, cheers Jeff!

Pours a chestnut tinged ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Nice viscosity to it! Average head retention & lacing

S: Plums, bourbon, vanilla, fusel alcohol. All drop of the table when warm, except for the booze & figs... Finishes dry, fruity, with praline sweetness, cherry juice & a kiss of booze soaked dark chocolate

T: Raisins, figs, brandy, leafy hops dryness & oakyness up front. Plummy dryness, more booze, raisins & woody hops when warm with a kiss of carob

MF: Chewy, near zero carbonation, warming with nice balance

Drinks great, skews English BW to me, but that could be age. I'm results-oriented & this kicks ass!

 690 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of woodychandler
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back. Now, I am just running through backlog.

From the bottle (in poetic format): "Flavors of bourbon, malt, and hops meld quite good/Served at cellar temp like it should/Unified in one voice, our fans can rejoice/Charlie now comes aged on wood!"

A beautiful finger-and-a-half of dense, tawny head that left beautiful lacing in its wake as it fell. Color was a hazy deep-amber. Nose caused the back of my head to blow off! Coconut/vanilla bourbon melded with sweet malt to create a hot, boozy melange that seared my nostrils, filled my sinus cavity and when I stupidly struck a match to see what was going on, ignited, blowing out my brain housing group. Wheeee! Mouthfeel seemed to suffer from CWBC Disease, i.e. thinness, but the heat of this darling erased all downfalls. I had a Come-to-Jesus moment as it initially had the heat of strained and lit Sterno on my tongue. I was initially overwhelmed, but upon recovering, I got tastes of coconut/vanilla with a big caramel malt sweetness. Where did I score this? Oh, for another bottle or two to cellar ...

 1,223 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body encircled by a ring of white bubbles.

Smell: Heavily fruity caramel aroma and all of the obligatory bourbonesque notes with some coarse wafts of that bourbon (Old Grandad) creeping into the nose.

Taste: Sweetish, sugary caramel maltiness with a slight toastiness to it. Tastes of wood and spiced vanilla from the bourbon. A little bit of maraschino cherry syrup. Medium-high bitterness. Bittersweet finish with a further hint of wood delivers plenty of warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is pretty, Central Waters. I'll cheerfully admit that.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 2,398 ratings
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