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

BA SCORE
95
world-class
2,351 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
2,351
Reviews:
639
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
714
Gots:
735
For Trade:
88
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,351 |  Reviews: 639
Photo of rossracing
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of _morandi_
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hallertau
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Narthax
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing 2011, have had 2008-2011 before.
Pours a translucent cherry brown with a reasonable tannish-white head. Smells just fantastic: caramel, vanilla, bourbon. Just knocks me outta the park. This is a very fresh barley wine, with hops in the finish and big sweetness upfront. A bit boozy, bourbony and just generally, a beer that needs some time to calm down. From experience, it doesn't take long for this beer to mellow quite a bit. Based off of this fresh and generally over time, this is a barley wine for people who like them relatively sweet. Very solid levels of carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. In it's current state, it's not the most drinkable beer. As it mellows, the sweetness emerges, putting a ceiling on the drinkability. In general, this beer has well integrated bourbon without being a bourbon/booze bomb, that is on the sweeter side of an already sweet style. Fantastic, and that's before I mention that you can't pay more than $3/12oz when it's available.

 983 characters

Photo of pisano
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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

09 vintage on tap at the old eagle tavern. First time, I will be back.

A- comes to me with a solid finger of light tan head that does hold for a second then settles leaving only thin ring and a few wisps on top. Murky brown orange in color with a good glow.

S- wow! What a nose. Tons of bourbon and vanilla hits with a deep roasty chocolate flourish. Bits of coffee and brown sugar and caramel with a touch of stone fruits.

T- opens up with a smooth semi sweet bourbon and brown sugar punch. The malts are nicely toasted giving a touch of nuttiness and bakers chocolate. Hints of fall spice and a great dessert bread touch. With a subtle but clean bourbon finish.

M- a few steps above medium in body with a bit of chew to it. Nicely carbed for the style and its lightens things up in the mouth just right. Great heat on the palate, I'm always looking for that right amount of heat in a bbbw.

O- amazing brew, plain and simple. One of the best bbbw I've ever had. The time down has done wonderful things to this.

 1,021 characters

Photo of shehateme
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of lackenhauser
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep,deep mahogany color with a nice tight head-bordering on black but not quite so. Huge sweet malt aroma with a heavy hand of bourbon to boot. Very sweet, almost spirit sweet like one of the trendy "schnapps"...Big and heavy malt flavors-raisens, figs, caramel, dried fruit. Huge caramel and toffee like flavors. Enough hops to be there but this is certainly all about the malt here. Still holds a touch of grain flavor. Lingering spice-almost cookie like. Huge body and lick the lips sweetness going on. A big sticky, sweet mess that I simply love. Body goes on for miles. Just a great, great beer all around. A true sipper in every sense of the word. Just great. 2009 vintage. Don't know if this is done each year but oh what a cellarable beer...

 750 characters

Photo of italianstallion
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Nice ruby color with solid retention but does dissapate to nothing as it settles down and warms up.

Fantastic notes of bourbon with a good backing of darker fruits and a little medicinal hop kick. Even the oak is apparent in the nose,subtle but does pop its head up.

Heavy caramel and fruit upfront. Nice vanilla following that makes way for the huge bourbon blast that takes over the ride.

Full bodied and a little too flat. A slight chew as well.

Not a bad beer, a little bit much as warms up.

 524 characters

Photo of HoistinBrews
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of bigbeers84
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of needMIbeer
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of josephwa
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

Photo of DerekMorgan
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of coz
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Chico1985
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

February 2010 vintage. Received in a trade from jmp485, this has been sitting in my fridge for a while. 12 oz to a snifter.

Pours a purple/red color, very much like the color on the label. Small off-white head turns to a swirly cap and leaves pretty nice lacing.

Very malty smell. Rich caramel, dark plums, sweet cherries and vanilla bourbon goodness. Dessert-like. Not much hops, but excellent.

Taste follows the scent to a T, very sweet and malty. Huge notes of maple join what's listed above along with a tiny bit of hops. Reminiscent of an English Barleywine and high-quality liquor flavors (bourbon and rum) without any burn. Super caramel aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, carbonation on the low side. Alcohol is insanely hidden, truly a great example how to make a barrel-aged beer without letting the bourbon take over, it is only a compliment to the beer here 100%.

Obscenely drinkable for what it is, finished it faster than I should have. So glad I have 3 more bottles, I imagine this aging excellently. Probably the best Barleywine I have had so far.

 1,082 characters

Photo of jshusc
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to nflmvp for sending this rare barleywine my way. As soon as I uncapped the bottle, my nose was bombarded with tropical fruit aromas. It was then that I knew I was in for a real treat. Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle into my snifter glass and allowed to warm up for 30 minutes. Served at 55°F. Appears a slightly cloudy, deep amber-red color with barely half an inch of tan head. The head fades rather quickly, leaving a thin ring around the inside of the glass and no lacing to speak of. Smells of tropical fruits (mainly pineapple), as well as toasted coconut, vanilla, bourbon, caramel malt, and oak. The bourbon really hits you upfront once you take a sip, as it should. This is followed by notes of pineapple, more bourbon, prunes, vanilla, and a nice peppery bite across the tongue. Great malt balance. The alcohol burn starts as soon as you take a sip and continues into the dry finish, although, it is always kept in check. Mouthfeel is a notch or two above medium in both body and carbonation. For me, this is certainly a sipper in order to take in all this beer has to give you. I'm glad I was able to try this rich and complex barleywine. I'd love to revisit it in a year or so to see how it's changed. If you have the chance, definitely give this one a try.

 1,286 characters

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,351 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.