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

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BA SCORE
95
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611 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:
611
Ratings:
2,253
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
715
Gots:
718
For Trade:
92
User Reviews
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Reviews: 611 | Ratings: 2,253
Photo of Odysseyalien
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: caramel, bread, alcohol,woody.

Appearance: brown, cloudy, tan foam, frothy.

Taste: medium sweetness, virtually no bitterness.

Palate: medium body, thin feel, soft carbonation, subtlely bitter.

Overall: I don't think this is an American barleywine. It's more akin to a British barleywine. A nice barleywine, not too unlike Weyerbacher's Insanity though thinner; not unlike Lost Abbey's Angel Share but half the price. I picked this up in Pennsylvania last week but only got one. I'lll buy more if I get back down there sometime soon.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This is the 2012 vintage.

Appearance: medium amber-brown hue with a huge haze and a thin finger of tan foam. Looks pretty decent for the style!

Smell: big, rich malty aroma with lots of great dark-fruit complexity: dates, raisins and cherries especially, with a generic alcoholic fruitiness to boot. On top of this are some very nice vanilla and only tangentially bourbon-y notes; quite well put-together indeed.

Taste: strong, strong, strong. More of those great malty, fruity flavors right up front with an approachable bourbon character and plenty of alcohol burn. This might be a good one to mellow out with age, although this January 2012 bottle is still hot to trot. Tasty, but dangerous!

Mouthfeel: plenty of body, but relatively light carbonation, so not a huge creaminess. Still, pretty nice.

Overall: I like this beer, although it is hard-hitting in the strength department. I'd say, though, that it needs more than just one or two years to mellow.

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Photo of stortore
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review, not first time consumed. 2014 bottle in a Pipeworks snifter.

Beautiful color, little flavor clouds swirling. Smell is just heavenly, boozy, malty. The taste is amazing, still smokin' hot after 9 months or so. Strong bourbon flavor, but balanced by the maltiness creating a complex and robust flavor. Full and rich mouthfeel.

This is a really outstanding beer that I look forward to every year. CW makes many outstanding BBA beers, and this one is my favorite. Run to get this one.

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Photo of joe1510
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2009

I got this one a few months back from the man, d0b, thanks bitch! I have to pour this puppy with some height to conjure up a slow growing khaki head. When the bottle is empty the head sits at one finger in height atop a deep brown body with heavy tones of mahogany. When lifted to the light the body shows surprising clarity and a bright ruby glow. Carbonation bubbles creep from the bottom of the glass and pick up speed as they rise, eventually keeping the head in place throughout the drink. Sheet lacing splashes down the sides of the glass and shows great staying power.

Damn, this is a fine smelling barleywine! It's sweet right off the bat with loads of toffee and brandy soaked raisins. The nose is so sweet and rich it nearly puts me in a diabetic coma of pure bliss. Mild but noticeable candied citric notes come through the middle and the bourbon barrel adds notes of vanilla and spicy oak. Rich brown sugar, caramel, and a soft sweet note of bourbon make for a deeply complex nose on this English barleywine.

The flavors complexities are on par with those of the nose and may even surpass them. This barleywine starts off already in its prime. Deep, rich caramel and toffee wash of the tongue and stick around through the entirety while a lasting flash of the sweet candied citrus come through mid-palate. The bourbon barrel characteristics and dark brown sugar bring up the rear. Spicy oak and soft vanilla combine with rich brown sugar and mild but sweet bourbon. There's a touch of alcohol heat on the swallow that adds complexity instead of detracting from the overall flavor. This beer is a gem.

The weight is on the heavier side of the spectrum with a tongue and cheek coating viscosity that leaves me tasting this beer a minute or two after each drink. The carbonation seems soft on the front and middle of the tongue but the back has a surprising frothiness, well as close to frothiness as a beer this heavy could have. The aftertaste is highly enjoyable and seemingly everlasting.

A bottle of this is easy to kill by myself but it is without a doubt a sipper. The sheer complexity, depth, and viscosity keep me drinking this slowly and would limit me to one with each sitting. With all that said I will slowly and greedily drink this bottle all to myself and love every last drop.

Central Waters can do no wrong with their special releases. This is a gem from a lineup full of gems. Next time I'm up north a few more of these bottles will be picked up without a doubt. I can't recommend this enough if you're a fan of English barleywines. Thanks again for the bottle, Dave!

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a swampy mahogany amber. 2 fingers worth of off-white bubbly foam. Quickly recedes but is quickly rescued with a brisk swirl.

S - the aroma is intense yet elegant. Bourbon is noticeable but blends well with the caramel malt creating the illusion of a pot of freshly melted caramel. Notes of oak and vanilla are very prominent as well. Deep almost vinous fruit character such as cherries, figs, raisins, and raspberries. Cereal grains and hints of spice round out the nose.

T - grainy malt flavor on the tip of the tongue followed by the sticky sweet flavors of toffee and caramel. A peppery alcohol hit comes in mid palate along with woody notes and vanilla. Dark and dried fruit notes on the backend. Finish is lengthy and complex with peppery alcohol, vanilla, caramel and fruit flavors all fighting for attention.

M - creamy texture. Fuller side of medium bodied. High carbonation. Tight full bubbles. I would assume this was bottle conditioned.

O - an excellent barrel aged beer. CW just knows what to do with beer in a barrel. Something i would love to drink again.

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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 BobZ
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to cfrances33.

Appearance: Dark amber/orange with a nice 2" head that recedes to nice cap, healthy lacing.

Smell: Bourbon soaked caramel and toffee.

Taste: All of whats good in a barleywine, caramel and toffee soaked with a tinge of bourbon. Oaky vanilla from the barrel weaves itself throughout the beer providing an accent to the malty base. Rich candied flavor. The alcohol is present in both heat and bourbon flavor.

Mouthfeel: Warm on the palate but still smooth.

Overall: Excellent example of a BA Barelywine a rich tapestry of flavor.

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.95/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass , deep mahogany color to this beer , thin head with little lacing , might have been some residue in the glass or just might be on par for this brew.

The aroma is outstanding , the heavy malty sweetness hits you at the start , then you pick up on the hints of vanilla , oak and the bourbon with a whiff of alcohol at the end. Just makes your mouth water

The mouth on this beer is the best I've had in a Barleywine , it is not to heavy and not too thin with just the right amount of carbonation

The taste is just flat out spectacular , the malty sweetness hits you at the start and rides all the way through this brew , you can taste the flavors of the malt , the bourbon barrels and the hops really working together to make wonderful taste.

Overall this was my first ba barleywine , and I'm hooked , I will for sure be on the hunt for more of this great brew , just an outstanding beer

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Photo of GJ40
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12ox bottle. Thanks Surge1311! This is a big, boozy beer. In fact it might be a bourbon with a hit of beer. The aroma is strong bourbon. The flavor follows with a rich malt backbone. This beer is flavorful and intense. I think the bourbon dominates too much but it's a fantastic beer that leaves you with a lot to think about.

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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 weonfire
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage.

A - Amber/Burgundy, finger of cream head- dissaptes quickly into a small ring around rim. small lines of carbonation rising. small amount of light is barely visible at bottom of glass - mostly opaque.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, oak, sweet carmel, aged fruits

T - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, toffee, carmel, oak. finish is a somewhat boozy taste, bitter hop is real low (2/10)

M - excellent carbonation, froth level is very good, high viscosity

O - Very good. Enjoyed very much. Yes, very sweet and a bit boozy at times - but it is 11.5 ABV. flavors are excellent. Bourbon/vanilla/oakiness are very drinkable. nose bursts with awesomeness.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes. Thanks to Shane for this one!

A: Pours a reddish/brown color with a small tan head on top. The head lasts for a few moments before dissipating to a thin coating on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon upfront, some vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. A little bit of dark fruit comes out, more so as it warms. Some bready malt as well.

T: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla on the flavor profile. The bourbon comes through and there is a sweetness on the finish.

T: Full bodied with low to medium carbonation. Slight heat.

O: Another great BA beer from Central Waters, have enjoyed pretty much everything I have tried from them.

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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 wisrarebeer
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep copper color, slight haze, nice head that dissipated.
S: deep bourbon and roasted malt, some heat
T: deep bourbon taste, bourbon dominates over roasted malt, a bit too much bourbon that makes it unbalanced for the style
M: warm, roasted, full

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Photo of MCImes
3.1/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

I like bourbon barrel aged anything, but CW goes way too far over the top with this beer. There is literally no beer flavor, its just bourbon nose, bourbon taste, bourbon finish.

I you LOVE bourbon this is YOUR beer. The bourbon is overwhelming. Its just booze, vanilla, and bourbon through and through. Very unbalanced. (this could be a good thing if you love bourbon)

Overall, if you cant get enough bourbon in your beer, this is for you. If you like a more balanced barrel flavor, there are better choices.

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Photo of pcstuck
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is more of a dark auburn with a fairly tall head. Smelled the bourbon right when i cracked it open. Great aroma. Bourbon with earthy hop notes along with chocolate. The bourbon is upfront in this, so if thats not your style you may not like it. Almost a sweet taste to the bourbon. Maybe a caramel. Great brew all around.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pmarlowe for sending me this in a trade.

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark cloudy bronze color with minimal head that dissipates pretty quickly. It does leave a little lacing on the glass.

S- Wow! Is this whiskey or beer? The bourbon hits you as soon as the bottle is cracked open. Even more huge bourbon notes as I poured it. As this brew mellows and warms, I can start to notice more sweetness and the dark fruit aromas come out.

T- Again, more bourbon. But I like it. I almost want to say that CW did not empty the barrels out completely before they added the beer. The bourbon, oak, sand barleywine mesh well in my opinion and produce a very flavorful brew. I can see how it may be too overpowering for some but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

M- Medium carbonation and it goes down easily. Definitely has an alcohol bite to it.

O- Not for the faint of heart. If you do not like bourbon, you will not like this one. I, for one, found it to be delicious and would pick it up again if I had access to it here in Louisiana.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Medium brown body, one finger white head that quickly drops into a thin white film. Not much of a collar or lacing.

S- Caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, oak. Rich vanilla. Lots of complexity.

F- The vanilla isn't as strong here as it is on the nose, but it is there. Lots of caramel, sweet lighter malt, and bourbon barrel flavours. Its certainly hot, but it brings all the bourbon barrel you'd want in a barleywine.

M- Medium body, low carbonation, slick and drying finish with plenty of bourbon.

O- Very bourbon-forward barleywine; sometimes I find this one to be a bit too hoppy but time always does this beer well.

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Photo of deebo
2.3/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nothing like saying FU to snow on May in Minnesota with a big ass beer. Will go with Central Waters BB Barleywine. 2013 vintage.

A-Poured into a snifter this beer has a murky light brown color with a thin tan head that quickly recedes.

S-Aroma of bourbon is quite strong. Also notes of oak, dark ripe fruits (prune-like) jump out of the glass.

T-Also bourbon heavy. The bourbon dominates this brew. Sure there are other flavors in here (ripe fruity malt, oak and a hint of vanilla) but the bourbon is overpowering.

M-A slick mouthfeel, plenty of carbonation and an alcohol sting in the finish.

O-A barleywine for the bourbon drinker. Too bourbon forward for me. This one is too much like a shot of bourbon in every sip to be enjoyable. Big time sipper.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've had this beer ever since attending the CW Anniversary party earlier this year, not sure what took me so long to give it a try.

Appearance is pretty cool, verry reddish when held to the light.

Smell is great, typical CW bourbon barrel treatment.

Taste is excellent, a slight bitterness on the tongue and then the bourbon takes over. Roasty malt notes take over, and then a tinge of sweetness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is solid.

Overall, and excellent beer, and definitely a sipper. I enjoy the dominance of the bourbon and roast, as opposed to the cloying sweetness sometimes found in a bareywine. Well done CW!

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Photo of Clonies720
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. 2013 vintage. No freshness date. Gold cap. Poured into tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a dark-reddish-orange tint. 1/2th inch tan-colored head. When held up to the light, none passes through this fearsome brew. (It clears up as it gets warmer)

Smell: A spicy woody character hits my nose first. It's quickly followed by notes of dark, bourbon-soaked fruits. Medium hints of vanilla. Caramel and rich toffee titillate my senses as this beer warms up. It's very malt forward. Perhaps even a touch bready. Slight earthy hop aroma.

Taste: It's an explosion of flavor! A light sweet honey gently skates upon my tongue. Then the symphony of flavors melds into huge vanilla and a strong, spicy bourbon flavor. Finally, the concerto climaxes with a smooth, rich toffee & caramel presence.

The alcohol heat is there, but it's not overpowering or overdone. Perfect for a cold night.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-high carbonation. Somewhat chewy. Velvety and luscious

Overall: Bravisimo to the conductor of this symphony! I stood up and applauded furiously to express my gratitude and appreciation of the music that was presented to my tastebuds.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 4.15.13

A - Pours an opaque reddish-amber with a one inch tan head that fades quickly.

S - Bourbon up front, subtle oak and some toffee.

T - Tons of carmel and toffee with vanilla and al ittle bourbon in the finish. Very good.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Great carmel and vanilla with a hint of bourbon. Stellar!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. 2013 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and hazy brownish copper amber with some hints of ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about one finger of off white head which fades into a thin creamy layer. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A sweet and rich aroma of whiskey barrel hints, toasty caramel malt, and fruit undertones. Big barrel presence upfront with hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Burnt brown sugar along with some hints of maple syrup. Sweet bready toasted malts with big hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, butterscotch, and grain. Fruit esters of dried apple and banana as well as dark raisin, fig, cherry, and dates. Hops are kind of subtle with some hints of grass. Some booze scents as well. A huge and complex aroma.

Taste: As big and complex as it smells with a mix of sweet malts, barrel notes, and fruits. Big bourbon barrel notes with a taste of whiskey, oak, sweet vanilla, and wood. Adding to the sweetness is some brown sugar and maple syrup. Bready toasted malts with a taste of caramel, toffee, biscuit, butterscotch, grains, and yeast. Dried fruit taste of apple and banana. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of raisin, fig, dates, and cherry. Earth hop notes along with some grass in the background. A fair amount of alcohol taste. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Big full body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, rich, and somewhat chewy. Starts sweet but has a fairly drying finish. There is some alcohol heat as expected.

Overall: A really great Malt forward Barley Wine. The barrel aging adds some great notes. Sweet but far from cloying.

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

Received a 2013 from mishuggah as an extra in a trade; thank you sir!
Enjoyed in my favorite DeMolen tall tulip glass.
A-The coloring was red-orange and foggy, lingering white head with light, lacing.
S-Super welcoming, warm aroma of dark fruits, caramel, toffee, bourbon.
T-Sticky, brown sugar, candied bourbon, sweet caramel, very appealing and relaxing flavors as a whole, malts and some floral aspects. The abv flavor was very subdued. The taste develops nicely as it warms up.
M-Medium bodied, low carbonation, thick and chewy.
O-Excellent, top notch beer that does well in a style that’s crowded with competition.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown-red with small yellow-ish head.

Tons of oaked vanilla, almonds, nutty, creamy, lactic. . . Odd, yet unique.

Lots of resinous raisin, sticky, biting, bitter, perky amount of vanilla, high bourbon heat, carbonation is a bit too much for me. A touch on the overly sweet side.

Recommended. but not overwhelming... Thanks for this one mr. parker.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 611 ratings.
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