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

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BA SCORE
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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 dukedevil0
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm that guy again...reviewing at the BA gathering at goose island.

A: pours a cloudy yellowish brown with a white colored head that leaves lacing on the glass.

S: smells like sweet malt, spices that I can't pick out, some red/dark fruits, vanilla

T: tastes just like the smell with more vanilla and even bourbon but in a mellow way, like a fruity, sweet, light bourbon..some alcohol flavor too

M: very full bodied, almost to the point of creamy

D: highly drinkable for the flavor but less so for the alcohol kick

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a darker beige/brown, almost maroon. Darker red hue in the light. Nice khaki colored ring of head to compliment it.

Smell is pretty robust with bourbon, oak, wood, and nice malty sweetness. Vanilla and toffee comes through as well. Big and boozy, you can tell the taste is gonna have to be the same.

Similar to the nose, the taste is pretty oak and bourbon foward. Plenty of smoke and toffee goes along with it. Getting some caramel notes, butterscotch, mixed with a hint of vanilla. Nice bourbon and boozy oak in the back end.

Mouthfeel is very filled bodied. Robust, sweet, boozy and rich.

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Photo of Skrypt
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz pour into a snifter.

A: Pours a thin wisp of head that quickly disappears. Leaves a little lacing inside the glass. Color is that of strong, southern sweet tea (maybe a shade or two darker).

S: This smells great. Lots of oaky bourbon laced with sweet maltiness and vanilla.

T: It tastes just like it smells. Sweet and malty with really strong bourbon barrel characteristics. Very faint notes of vanilla and toffee. Lots of bourbon. The finish is warm and boozy, but surprisingly smooth. There's a strong alcohol aftertaste.

M: Full bodied, low carbonation with a bit of heat from the alcohol.

Overall, this was very enjoyable. Definitely recommend it if you enjoy bourbon because it really shines through.

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Photo of bigaltemple
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz. 2013 Vintage

Pours a dark amber with ruby highlights at edges. Mild, 1/4", tan head disappears immediately leaving only a thin collar. Some spotty lacing.

No mistaking this has seen a barrel. First impression is all bourbon with heavy vanilla and oak notes. Caramel malts and dark brown sugar start to sneak past. Very light earthy hops bitterness is buried in there as well.

Very boozy. Barrel is quite prominent in each sip. Lots of oak. Some caramel and vanilla sweetness mingle with the alcohol. Very low on bitterness. Drinks like a full bodied brew, but seems just a touch thin to me. Very dry finish. Definite sipper.

Thought it was very good. Wouldn't mind having more to open every few months to note any mellowing/changes.

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Photo of langchops
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. Bottle poured into snifter

2013 Vintage

I was expecting more bourbon based on the reviews I've read here, but was a little disappointed by the lack of this. It's a smooth barleywine but I would not say this is a bourbon bomb by any means.

Solid barleywine, would drink this again

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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 mnredsoxfan69
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 release, poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my favorite tulip glass.

A dark amber pour, like grade A maple syrup, with half a finger of antique ivory head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring around the edge that leaves some spotty lacing on my glass as I sip it. I swirl the liquid in my glass and smell traces of bourbon, caramelized sugar and faint alcohol. Complex flavors wash over my tongue as I sip it: bourbon and caramelized sugar, vanilla, maraschino cherries, and just a touch of bitterness at the end with a long, protracted finish. Warm, almost hot on my tongue, creamy and strongly alcoholic, reminiscent of amaretto and rich bourbon mixed together.

Overall, I would put this up against any Belgian quad or dark strong for the beauty of its complexity, and overall taste. I've read that it gets even better with age. Well, I've got three more bottles and I may pick up more in the next week or so. This is heading for the cellar.

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Photo of Mississipping
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled in January of 2011. Huge thanks to StayWhatYouAre2 for sending this, along with 11 other Wisconsin brews to me. You're the man!

A: Pours a very hazy burnt orange/amber color with a small off-white head that seeps slowly back into the liquid from whence it came. Beautiful sticky lacing is left behind, creating a webby/stained-glass appearance on the sides as it descends towards the stem of the glass.

S: Huge bourbon smell is undeniable. However, it's not overwhelming because it's accompanied by sweet caramel and vanilla, dark fruits (fig and raisin), and a touch of oak to round out the complexity.

T: The taste is continually transitioning throughout each sip. It's hard to map the transitions, but here's what I've got: starts off with bourbon and wood and then quickly subsides to allow the sweeter characteristics of caramel and vanilla become prominent. The dark fruits almost simultaneously show up, then everything melds together for a finish comprised of each of the complex subtleties. The bourbon and booze are not so subtle at the finish and create a bit of heat. For 11.50%, though, the booze is masked pretty darn well. This is ridiculously tasty!

M: Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium, with carbonation that is more evident in the glass than it is on the tongue. Slightly heavy and slightly sticky with just enough carbonation to keep it lively. The finish is quite drying and makes your tongue beckon for the next sip, which creates the whirlwind of tastes and transitions all over again. Pretty exceptional.

D: This is a sipper for sure, however, the smell and flavors make it difficult to just sip. I keep going back for more quicker than I should, and it can catch up with you if you're not careful.

This is a really nice barleywine. I wish this was available to me where I live as it'd be one that I'd go back to as often as I could. Thanks again Alex!

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Photo of fondyball20
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 and 2011 vintage served at Palm Tavern on 2/4/16

2010 was unlike any other barleywine I have had. The flavors were muted, a touch of heat, very smooth, and tasted almost like sipping on a bourbon. 2011 had a bigger flavor punch but again was very smooth. The aging really mellowed out both beers.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage served in a snifter. This amber-ruby beauty pours w a half-finger of khaki head that recedes quickly and is retained w decent legs and spotty lacing. The aroma is of burnt brown sugar, figs, and rum-soaked raisins w a hint of vanilla. The flavor is caramel, smoky bourbon, and a lot more hops than other reviews would have led me to believe. I'm sure this ages well, but this is pretty hot fresh. Still very very good, and worth the acclaim.

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

Received two bottles in a recent trade at DLD. The only thing better than a barleywine is one that has spent some time in a barrel. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick, syrupy dark golden amber with a small rising off white head. Smell is bourbon and oak, dried dark fruits, alcohol. I think the barrel really takes the smell over. Taste is a wonderful intermingling between the natural flavors of the beer and the flavors imparted by the barrel. Charred oak, bourbon, sweet caramel malt, cherries, caramelized brown sugar, then dried dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness. The finish is sticky, warming a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is soft (that's the only thing I can think to call it), sticky, warming and comforting (an adjective that I think should be more widely used when describing beers like this). Drinkable enough, you're not really supposed to want another. I'd love sit back and relax with this after a great meal then slip into a buzzed food coma and sleep like a baby.

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Photo of amphion1065
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. from 2011, served in a Duvel tulip. Thanks Chris! Reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark ruby, garnet shad with a 1.5-finger tan head that has phenomenal retention. The lacing is wonderful, thick and clingy throughout. Beautiful beer.

The smell is a pleasant combination of malt and barrel. There is a deep, dark fruit aroma, reminiscent of prunes, but also a stone fruit note that reminds me of apricots. Very nice oak, vanilla quality complements this well. Some alcohol phenols, but they're not overpowering.

"Well-integrated" is the best way I can describe the taste. This is fruity and sweet up front - I taste strawberries in abundance, and they're delicious. Brown sugar, caramel. The bourbon really comes through in the finish, and there is an astringent alcohol note, but it's not overwhelming in the slightest. Some leather and oak in the mix, too. There is almost no alcohol, only a little warmth going down.

CW nailed the mouthfeel, and the low-to-medium level of carbonation befits the thick, lush body perfectly. It might sound odd, but in spite of the many big flavors at work this is an incredibly easy-drinking barleywine.

I cannot believe that this bottle was so young, as the flavors have settled so nicely already. An excellent barrel-aged barleywine, one I will absolutely seek out again.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Huge thanks to Timmyj21 for sending me a few of these in our last trade! You're awesome man!

Pours into a large snifter with a murky, amber-brown, slightly purple hue. The head, light tan in color, reaches it's crest at about a finger high and dies out near as quick as it arose. All I'm left with is a small ring around the glass.

My initial thought is that it's very barrel forward and a touch hot with alcohol. Lots of bourbon barrel juice, hearty oak wood, vanilla, toasted coconut, and even some hints of char like charcoal filtering of the bourbon. Behind that is a nice presence of toffee, burnt brown sugar, plum and dark fruits hinting at chocolate covered cherries, caramel and "heavy" smelling malts. Very pleasing aroma, albeit a tad bit strong.

Starts off with a bit of peppery spice and twinge of alcohol, but it never reaches a hot or boozy level. Part of that may be hints of hops as well. Bourbon, dark charred notes, lots of oak barrel, hints at vanilla and coconut comes through a tad from the nose. Behind that are pleasant notes of toffee, caramelized and burnt brown sugar, candied sugars, dark fruits, plums and raisins, hints of light chocolate and chocolate covered cherries, and plenty of strong malt characteristic. Bourbon and spicey charred oak are on a whole other level in this one. Not that they are insanely intense, just a different side of barrel aging I had yet to taste. That is, I've never really experienced a beer that's had as much charcoal, strong oak, and peppery/spicy bourbon influence as this one. Truth be told, I find myself thoroughly enjoying it.

Carbonation is medium, while consistency is viscous and a bit filmy but not in a bad way. The body is nice and medium to medium-heavy. And the finish is a bit dry and leaves you with more of that peppery bourbon spice. Actually, I'm quite enjoying the finish...it's close to sipping on a nice spicy bourbon.

One word - Outstanding! This beer is wholly enjoyable and actually showed me another side of bourbon barrel aging that I hadn't experienced previously. I love it. Do I love it as much as I love, say, King Henry or Mother of All Storms? Well, I'm hard pressed to give an answer on that. I might have to have the three side by side to determine a favorite. In any case, very well done bourbon barrel aged barleywine. Also, I suppose you could call this one "hot" or "boozy" at this stage. Personally, I enjoyed it like that, but I'm thinking it should start to mellow after little while (say 8-12months). Might even hit a sweet spot. Can't wait to try them down the road a bit.

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Photo of schwaeh
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from January 2011. An extra from readbaron, thanks man.

A: Pours dark mahogany with a little ring of lace, no head. Decent carbonation flowing and an overall murky look.

S: Smells a touch boozy. This rivals Firestone in the barrel aging, it really comes through loud and clear. Soft sweet malt and dark fruits blend with a lofty dose of bourbon. Toffee, dark fruity esters, sweet bourbon, plum, and fig are all showcased here.

T: Toffee, caramel, fig, vanilla, sweet & smoky bourbon, and a good alcohol burn are what I get. I like that the bourbon seems a little more complex than most in this. Stinging sweetness and some hop bitterness on the finish.

M: Full mouthfeel, low carbonation, sticky, and bitter.

O: This was a long-time want of mine in what is becoming one of my favorite styles. I wanted to have this mellowed out a touch more, the bourbon was unmistakable. If you really take your time with this there are lots of complexities that come out. Well done Central Waters

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Photo of Jparker37
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass. Bottled in 2013 is all that is described. Excited to judge this versus the y2k barleywine.

A - Hazy brown in color with some amber highlights. Smaller vanilla colored head from a gentle pour. Left some bits of lacing.

S - That barrel smell is beautiful. Toasty malt holds up well to those smells though. I get some cigar tobacco mellow tones.

T - Has a short bit of caramel and toasty malts early on but the barrel flavors begin to take over. Midway through some hops try to peek in but are overwhelmed by the huge whiskey barrel flavors. A lot of the toasty oak and spicy booze warmth last well into the aftertaste.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation, a touch of sweetness early that dried up at the finish.

O - This beer seems a little young and could use a bit of time to really tame down and let some maltiness come through better. The booziness is getting a little too much for me. All in all, the beer has complexity and I would love to age one of these bottles to see what it can morph into.

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

Awaiting the Central waters limited releases (to hopefully come soon!) I cracked this 12 oz bottle open and poured into a snifter.

A: Dark raisin skined body that doesn't give way to much light. Tan 1.5 cm head fades with a thin layer that silkily stays atop to the mud sliding lace.

S: I am a sucker for bourbon: big caramel, vanilla, wood, cream soda, could blind smell the barrel aging in this one. Just fantastic.

T: The nose of the beer is great, the caramel and bourbon make a pleasant introduction. Midway these flavors peak and the finish the beer comes...it's pretty hop 'n' spicy, leather meets leaves and wood chips? ABV has to be above 12, maybe 13%. This bourbon version of their barleywine would mellow more with age, as the y2k suffers from a similar though not as intense hotness.

M: Medium-Thick bodied, creamy head.

D: Awesome looking and smelling beer, just have problems with the hotness and rather spicy leather alcohol finish. I look forward to purchased some more of these and letting them get a little age on them.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle 2013 vintage courtesy of Wiscokid920

I'm trying another beer given to me by a local BA today. I might say *spoiler alert* this is fantastic! Well let's get to the review. This brew is a little mischievous when it comes to the label. Simple label stating just that it was bottled in 2013 and it's barrel aged. Yet it's not labels that make the brew. Time to pour. This pours gorgeous deep brown body with ruby hues. Small light khaki head, minimum lacing. Very impressive! Time for the sniff test. This brew is money! Bourbon Whiskey all the way. Caramel/toffee, toasted nuts, oak, subtle coconut and vanilla! I mean it's rich! Well I just blew a Bourbon load smelling it, let's go for the taste! Just like the aroma, caramel sweetness that carries the bourbon notes to sublime! Huge coconut, vanilla and toasted oak flavors in the aftertaste. Finishes dry with some booze. The feel on this brew is medium-light soft body carbonation helps to make the flavors pop.

Overall: Heh, this brew gets me excited, every time I smell it. This is one of the best Barrel Aged BarleyWines, no lies no gimmicks. It sucks that I can't get this brew regularly, yet it keeps me hoping for the next release of Bourbon County Brand BarleyWine. The mouthfeel holds this brew back from dominating BCBBW. This is now one of my favorite Bourbon Barrel Aged BarleyWines. This is Recommended.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Update, May 12, 2014. Opened another bottle....absolutely awesome!

Another awesome Central Waters beer! So nice and smooth, this is one of the better barleywines I have enjoyed lately. Pours a reddish brown with a small head. Big notes of bourbon and mash! I soo wish that CW was distributed in my area! Overall....awesome!!

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Photo of ncketchum
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Duvel tulip, 2012 vintage

A - pours a murky reddish brown with minimal head

S - bourbon, vanilla, caramel, not too boozy, not too sweet.

T - wow, lots of the bourbon up front, however, very well-balanced with vanilla and caramel as in the nose.

M - thick, good amount of carbonation, definitely some alcohol burn but not too much like in some barleywines I've had.

O - Awesome. The time of the year when this and its stout counterpart come out make me happy I live in Wisconsin. Definitely world class in my book.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. Out of my Maudite tulip

A- A glowing reddish amber color. Nice 1 finger off white head. The beer is pretty clear.

S- Smells of caramel and bourbon, dark fruit and vanilla. Smells sweet, with a bit of oakiness. I smell some light hoppiness, but nothing crazy.

T- Coats the mouth with a wondeful smooth caramel flavor, which quickly transitions to a prominent piney hop flavor. The bourbon is there, but melds well with the other flavors. A little booze and vanilla too.

M- It's really pretty nice. Could have used some more time to mellow, but it is very drinkable. The hoppiness is a little strong.

D- More of a sipper, but plenty drinkable. A nice and complex barleywine, with a near perfect bourbon blend. Would love to try some of these with a couple years of age on them

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Photo of Verecund
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, consumed on 11.21.2010. Thanks go out to madtowndmb1 for this surprise.

Pours a reddish-brown, earthy color [sinopia]. Somewhat opaque, with almost no visible head, though the beer leaves tiny, tiny bubbles as lacing. (Second pour yields a darker, richer red body and, more importantly, a nice nearly one finger, mostly dissipating head. Bumped from 3.5 to 4.0.)

Truly appetizing nose. Sweet, sticky toffee and caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla custard, and a soft bourbon wood.
Toasted oak comes through most in the taste, with some combination of nuttiness, caramel, and vanilla rounding out the flavor profile. There's a citrusy/resinous hop bitterness on the finish which is swallowed by a wave of strong bourbon alcohol heat.

The nose is strangely soft and finessed, like that of a younger English barleywine, but CW BBBW packs a punch in the mouth.

All of 11.5%. Appropriately sticky, with low-medium carbonation.

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Photo of SummitVA
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear deep auburn with ruby highlights on sides of glass. Light pop when opened, quarter inch white rocky head when poured. Steady carbonation.

S - Booze foremost. Licorice, then vanilla (and vanilla, then licorice after the glass warms to room temp), and wet oak. Lovely caramel and burnt sugar. I'm getting very little alcohol in the nose, strangely enough.

T - Bourbon and huge malt. Some dark caramel flavors, but little crystal sweetness. A little plum and date in the finish, along with a firm herbal bitterness. Alcohol far more apparent here; it is the last, lingering note, and it warms throat.

M - Medium bodied, but a good deal thinner than I was anticipating. Without bigger body, the alcohol in the finish tends to overwhelm.

O - Really happy to have had this at long last. A lovely, complex sipper. That being said, very glad to have another bottle that I can sit on for a year to see if the alcohol heat lessens.

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Photo of bret27
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle courtesy of Diomede

S: vanilla, bourbon, malt, booze

A: medium ruby brown. minimal head

D: Vanilla, wafers, biscuit, oak, maybe a little tannins

M: medium, syrupy

D: Sweet w/medium body. Alcohol presence is warming but not overwhelming or burning.

Overall: Really impressive. In the top 5 bourbon barrel BW's I've had... I think.

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage. Appearance in the glass is a very unattractive murky brown color with a thin khaki head. When held up to the light the beer transforms, displaying a very cloudy yet magnificent ruby red body. Caramel and toffee dominate the nose, dark fruits, booze, subtle barrel notes. Taste is extremely boozy, unbalanced. Seems like a beer that requires at least a half year to develop in the bottle. Getting the same toffee and dark fruits on the taste with minimal bourbon and vanilla. There is an earthy/musty bitter hop aftertaste. Need to track down another bottle to age and (hopefully) appreciate more.

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Photo of garbercury
3.57/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to Beerwolf77 for this guy, Thanks Todd!!

A--Reddish, burnt orange color, a little lighter than I expected, not any head or retention of note.

S--Definitely a mix of bourbon and barleywine notes. Strong aromas.

T--HOT. This sucker has some burn to it. The alcohol burn just really overtakes this one. The bourbon flavor is a little off/odd.

M--Nice silky mouthfeel, this has a nice feel.

D--This one was a bit of a letdown for me, something just was missing for me on this one. Really glad I got to try it though!

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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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