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

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2,349 Ratings
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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: Rotating

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

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,349
Reviews:
637
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
715
Gots:
734
For Trade:
88
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,349 |  Reviews: 637
Photo of GABrew
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mcallister
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

We've got liftoff. No seriously this is a fine looking brew and even better smelling. Christ almighty.

Dank dirty chestnut in appearance with a tan creamy head that leaves the party a little early.

Wonderful aromas in this. Lead by toasty vanilla infused oak and soft hints of bourbon. Than a rich caramel malt comes through and a musty hop aroma with fig and date characteristics. Some walnut and brown sugar as well.

This is a brew I'd love to have every day for the rest of my life. Great barrel aging art on this. Rich and creamy middle showing off caramel and toffee. Ripe dates and dried figs, alcohol, brown sugar, rum soaked raisin, thick tight vanilla and wood with a Jefferson's Reserve bourbon flavor. I have no clue what bourbon barrels they used or why I even said that. A showing of residual sugar towards the late middle ends in earthy hop bitter bliss balancing things impressively.

 902 characters

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.

 1,157 characters

Photo of funkel81
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruddy orange with moderate light tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet vanilla with some overripe dark fruit (plum, raisins), toffee and oak. Somewhat boozy as well.

Taste: Fairly sweet and fruity with a big blast of vanilla. While there is some definite toffee, plum and raisin driving home the malt base, this is mostly about the bourbon barrel aging, which imparts vanilla, coconut and light oak. Some light spicy hops on the finish.

Feel: Sweet, full and boozy body with moderately low carbonation. Finish is barely dry, struggling against the sweet taste.

Overall: More so than most Bourbon Barrel beers (which are often Stouts), this is truly a showcase for the Bourbon, making the beer secondary. This makes for a mighty tasty Barleywine, but one that is slightly hampered by sweetness and alcohol.

 884 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: rich dark brown ale, opaque; thick finger of head slimmed to a filmy collar

S: sweet malts and sugared fruits glazed in bourbon; dry wood vapors

T: dark dried fruits and whiskey - hints of dates, raisin, and fig; toffee and brown sugar sweetness; impressions of herb and earthy hops; there are suggestions of something like coffee and peat; almost a smoky quality, too

M: smooth, dense, slightly chewy, muted carbonation

O: a super American BBA barleywine, spot-on and full of flavor. Highly recommended.

 511 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a mostly clear dark brown color with reddish hues and a small off-white head.

Great aroma with bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel.

Flavor is similarly awesome, very bourbony but not too much som with caramel and toffee, raisin and prune, brown sugar, vanilla, and oak.

Medium-bodied and smooth on the palate, not too boozy.

Drinkability is pretty high. This one really kicks ass overall. Phenomenal BBBW, up there with Perfect Storm. A damn fine beer.

 475 characters

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, 2014 version. Pours deep caramel brown, off white head fades to thin layer that coats the glass. Roma is full of bourbon, vanilla, wood, raisins. Big sweet malty flavor up front. Followed by vanilla and bourbon, lots if it, ends with lingering oak. Nice soft mouthfeel. Overall really tasty Barleywine, maybe a little heavy on the bourbon, but quite good.

 369 characters

Photo of thampel09
4.75/5  rDev +11%

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

Photo of Crosling
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Label is the same as the regular Kosmyk Charlies Y2K Catastrophe Ale, but with a circle shaped green sticker on the right side of the label that states, "aged in bourbon barrels." Only available at the brewery. Ruby brown color. Fairly powerful nose, mainly dominated by the bourbon barrel (vanilla, bourbon, oak, coconut.) Palate is okay, could be more textured and creamier. Flavor is good, but not sublime. Fairly well balanced, but the flavors don’t come together very well. I’ve had several better bourbon barrel aged barley wines.

 538 characters

Photo of herman77
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Murky dark amber/muddy brown. Small of white head. Very minimal lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon, sweet carmel malt, toffee, vanilla, oak and raisins.

T: Big hints of bourbon up front. Vanilla and oak dominate followed by a rich carmel/toffee malt. The integration between the maltiness and the bourbon is really good. Nice warming alcohol in the finish that lingers. I'm sure it mellows with age, but the heat from the bourbon works really well with this right now.

M: Fuller body, smooth and soft carbonation. Chewy and thick, love it.

O: Very impressive. Pretty damn good drinkability too considering what it is. Bummed I only picked up a single of this and I need to try the base beer.

 691 characters

Photo of mdillon86
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of woemad
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle courtesy of the largesse of @Ri0. My first Central Waters beer, and it’s a big one. 2016 vintage.

Poured into a River City snifter, this was a dark, muddy, russet sort of color, taking on more of a rubyish hue when held up to light. Modest, sudsy beige colored head. Not a huge head, which wasn’t surprising, given the beer’s potency, but what there was showed surprising staying power once it receded to a foamy collar. Beer neglige-type lace.

Boozy and sweet aroma, initially, more or less as I expected. As it warmed, I picked out elements of caramel and dark fruit in addition to the bourbon and oak notes present from the start. There’s some more bready malts, too. While more complex than some of the style I have known, the most overriding sense given off by the aroma is that of a big, boozy barrel aged beer, which is, after all, what it is.

Whoa! This may be a 2016 vintage, but, damn, it’s smooove. I was expecting an alcoholically hot beer. That’s there, to be sure, but it’s behind a curtain of more subtly sweet and smoky flavors (one gets the feeling it’s barely being held in check, in fact). The booze and oakiness is most prominent at the finish, but not to the point where it’s overwhelming. This might not be the case if it were in a 22oz format, so Central Waters should be applauded for doing more with less, in that regard (now that’s pretty much the only way the word less could appear in the context of this beer).

Full bodied, with a rich, coating mouthfeel.

Tasty, yet in a very real sense, on the verge of being undrinkable, and would be if just a tad less mellow. I’d love to sock some of this away and revisit it on a yearly basis.

 1,702 characters

Photo of Devman171
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of grover37
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of SierraFlight
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of xtonytx
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Damian
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 12 fluid oz bottle acquired in a trade with surge1311
Vintage: 2013
Served in a snifter

The nearly crystal clear, copper-mahogany liquid was topped by small, light tan crown that quickly faded to a ring of bubbles. Droplets of lacing clung to the glass.

The aroma was really intense and complex. Candied fruits came through strong. Quite sweet and boozy overall with a robust caramel malt presence. Lots of toffee and brown sugar. Good dose of vanilla. As the beer warmed, the bourbon and vanilla notes really intensified.

A stiff, caramel malt backbone led things off in the flavor profile. Toffee, brown sugar and candied fruits were apparent. Bourbon notes hit hard mid-palate. Loads of vanilla as well. The bitter, boozy finish was super hoppy and contained strong notes of pine sap and orange peel. A bit sharp for my liking.

The mouthfeel was somewhat lighter than I anticipated, but the super fine and zippy effervescence lent the beer an exceedingly creamy and smooth frothiness. After every sip, the liquid left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

Central Waters's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale is an interesting and complex beer that makes for a perfect sipper on a cold winter night. I aged my bottle for a year, but I feel that even more time might help mellow out some of the booziness and the bitterness on the finish.

 1,349 characters

Photo of lemmy187
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

Photo of einman
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FreshHawk
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice tawny ruby color. Small to medium sized, tight, creamy, smooth, off-white head. Average retention leaving a very nice layer of lace.

S - Strong toffee/caramel backbone. Interplay between vanilla and dried cherries and dates. Aroma is very fruity with touches of alcohol and bourbon. Slightly sweet with just that subtle hint of booze in the back.

T - Oaky flavors off the bat, with subtle notes of vanilla in the back. Gives way to a nice dried fruit flavor. Cherries, dates, raisins providing a definite sweetness. Strong toffee and butterscotch malt throughout. Finishes on a slightly tart and boozy note with bourbon and caramel flavors sticking on the tongue.

M - Medium body. Average carbonation. Slightly wet and slick feel.

D - Pretty drinkable, although it is more of a sipping beer. Flavors meld nicely. Bourbon is definitely present but it doesn't overpower or have too harsh of a burn. Strong malt backbone and fairly sweet but nowhere near cloying.

Notes: Much more of an English BA barleywine in my view. Nice for a sweet sipping beer that definitely presents bourbon flavors but isn't too harsh. Nor does it necessarily rely on the bourbon (although I'm not sure if it'd be anything special as a regular barleywine). It's a nice treat, but it isn't anything earth-shattering for the style.

 1,317 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. This is the 2010 version I traded for at Dark Lord Day then cellared for a while. I had to crack into this to see how it's coming along!

The beer looks good in the glass, but it's nothing exceptional. It has a caramel color with a touch of gold and red around the edges. The film of a head dissipates and I'm left with a random bubble or two. The beer is murky and could look better, but it's not going to make me think twice about consuming it.

The smell is great - Central Waters ages their barrel-aged beers for the perfect amount of time IMO and they get such great notes from the oak instead of straight wood and bourbon. In addition to the sweet malt and dark fruit typically noted in Barleywines, this has some wonderful injections of bourbon, vanilla and coconut. There's also a touch of toasted malt in the mix which certainly adds to the complexity. Very expressive. Little to no hoppiness - just a touch is left after the aging and adds some earth and a touch of citrus.

The taste is fantastic. This is easily one of the best -bal aged American Barleywines on the market, especially considering its price. The huge malt base is sweet and gives great caramel and toffee notes with a touch of toast. Some cherry, fig, and prune skin deepens the complexity. The bourbon comes in next and has a touch of sting but is well integrated. The oak lends some vanilla and coconut to round out the experience. There is some booze, but that's to be expected with a beer this big, and it's not something that defines this or jumps out too much. The hops aren't prominent but add some bitterness to round out the flavor.

The mouthfeel is defined by a creamy carbonation and medium to heavy body. The beer is decadant as it should be, but that hurts drinkability a bit. Just a fantastic brew and one I will stock up on every year when it's available.

 1,877 characters

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,349 ratings.
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