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

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,361 |  Reviews: 642
Photo of Qbdoo
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A pretty delicious and deliciously drinkable powerhouse of a beer. Beautiful looking: a cloudy orange-ish brown. It looks like your dream of a barrel-aged barley wine. Mouthfeel is somewhat thinner than many barleywines but wonderfully creamy. Taste is surprisingly smooth - the aging seems to iron out the coarseness I find in many barleywines. Vanilla is the most prominent flavor. There's really just a hint of bourbon, which is a big plus in my mind, and the alcohol taste is slight as well.

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Photo of Beerbom
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this as a gift beer. Since I like bourbon it was right up my alley, but if it's not your thing beware

A: poured a blackish-red with a nice head.

S: Mine smelled of almost straight bourbon.

T: Did not taste as strong as it smelled. I thought it was very enjoyable. It had the bourbon bite on the flavor but it had a very complex taste. There were fruity notes and maybe some vanilla in there as well. There was so much that I may go get another to see if could pinpoint more.

M: it was a great lingering flavor, a sipper indeed.

D: I really don't think more than one per sitting is doable, but you'll enjoy that one!!!

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Photo of TooGood
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of FriedSlug
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep reddish caramel color with an off white to light tan head. The aroma is sweet and boozy with malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak and bourbon. The taste is amazing with vanilla, oak, coconut, bourbon, and some dark fruits. The finish is bitter and a bit hot but nice. This is a really tasty beer.

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Photo of Mikeluzzjr
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Phoodcritic
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of crossovert
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage, have a few of these, gonna age the others for awhile.

Pours a dark, dark brown, pretty much black with hues of ruby and magenta when held to the light, a pretty divine looking brew. The head his large and tightly foamed, it is an off white and takes some time to recede leaving some nice lacing.

Smell is ultra sweet and carmally, there is a hint of rasin and of course a nice large hit from the bourbon barrels lending it some vanilla, alcoholic, and oaky notes.

THe mouthfeel is incrediably creamy, thick, and smooth. The carbonation is low but it works very well. This beer is pretty sweet, but not cloying. The bitterness is up there as well, though it mellows out as you go. The alcohol is noticeable but not overbearing. Most of the flavors include bittersweet, tons and tons of caramel, dark fruits, alcohol, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and a small reminder of the hops that once were.

This is an extremely complex brew, and it was suprising to me at how good it was, I wasn't expecting this monster of a beer but I guess I should have. Despite the largeness I find it pretty drinkable, though it is a slow sipper. An amazing brew.

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Photo of Dope
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage

A: Pours a deep, dark mahogany. Big, fluffy tan head. Head fades away very, very slowly. Great head retention. Fairly thin streaks of lacing.

S: Heavy on the bourbon and the malts. Loads of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and coconut. Make that, LOADS of vanilla. Very sweet and strong.

T: Heavy bourbon up front, it's quite ...spicy? Interesting. It's sort of a sharp, boozy alcohol, toasted malt, plus oak, plus resinous (and maybe a bit of piney) hops giving it a unique spicy flavor up front. Heavy caramel everywhere, pure decadence. Mild raisin in there but it's mostly covered up - apparent in the middle and into the finish however. Lots of vanilla and coconut in the aftertaste with more drying oak.

M: Heavy, heavy and sweet; sticky sweet. A bit resinous and drying in the aftertaste.

O: A very interesting bourbon barrel barleywine. Very strong and sharp flavors. Quite hoppy, enough to not get drowned out by all the malt and bourbon (which are pretty substantial). Pretty hot right now, further intensifying the flavors. A sipper for sure, but definitely an enjoyable one.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rated in 2013

A: Deep copper color, slight haze, nice head that dissipated. 3.25
S: deep bourbon and roasted malt, some heat 3.75
T: deep bourbon taste, bourbon dominates over roasted malt, a bit too much bourbon that makes it unbalanced for the style 3.75
M: warm, roasted, full 4.25
O: 3.75

Re-rated with 2008 bottle sampled in 2016
A: 3.5, reddish brown, nice head that dissipated
S: 4.25, medium nose, dark rich stone fruit, plums
T: 4.25, incredibly smooth, deep rich rounded taste, not much bourbon noticeable
M: 4.25, very smooth and rounded
O: 4.25

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The amazing extras from AleWatcher just kept coming and coming. This is another off of my most wanted list that I was floored to see as I pulled bottle after bottle out of a heavy box.

2009 vintage, shared with my girlfriend who has a new found love for bourbon barreled stuff.
A- Not much head, but I wasnt expecting that at all. The beer is a semi murky brownish color. A little bit of purple, a little bit of red. Really nothing out of the ordinary.

S- Right off I can tell that this probably should be an English Barleywine or that the time this beer spent in the bottle made it mellow out A LOT. Either way, the bourbon here is pretty laid back. It doesnt fuss too much with the smooth caramel and raisiny stuff going on. Im getting nice amounts of wood and vanilla as well.

T- Yeah, really mellow. Not much in the way of hops. Its tasting like one of the best American takes on an English barleywine, only with a nice subtle bourbon aging. Nice vanilla and bourbon tones. The bourbon is very much incorporated.

M- Low carbonation, full body and an ABV that is a secret to anyone tasting it.

This beer in one word: Venerable

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Photo of Jason1221
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lunarbrew
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 12oz bottle.

The beer pours clear amber red with about an inch of cappuccino-colored head. Head died quick with only a little lacing. Sweet, smoky, fruity and exciting. I can clearly smell honey, vanilla, and oak. A full, rich nose. Flavor is pretty boozy at this point. Not a ton of heat, but there is a huge bourbon flavor. The flavor also matches the smell, but I love that the barleywine is not too sweet. Very good profile which will be amazing with some age. Creamy, medium-bodied, and leaves syrup on the tongue. Already and very good beer. I can't wait for the booze and heat to mellow out. It will be fantastic.

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

L: Translucent orange mahogany color. Some tiny bubbles formed after pouring, quickly dissipated to no head
S: Sweet caramel licorice aroma
T: Some nice Bourbon heat plus I'm tasting sticky hops; not sweet at all
F: sticky, resiny
O: pretty darn tasty, warming up nicely. I'm going to sit on the next bottle to see if the bourbon mellows out a bit.

 350 characters

Photo of Stigs
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle via trade, served in a DFH signature glass

A - pour yields about half an inch of frothy yellowish colored foam. the beer is crystal clear ruby in color (very pretty). head sticks around for most of the drink, leaving the glass covered.

S - smell fills the room when poured. big biting bourbon, dark figs, plums, dark chocolate, toffee, brown sugar. very sweet but the bourbon heat balances nicely. faint earthy hops at the finish.

T - begins with some massively sweet barleywine characteristics...dark fruits, caramel, toffee. bitterness from tobacco, ash and somewhat piney hops. bourbon-heavy throughout, very a fault at the end when everything gets lost in alcohol. still yummy though.

M - medium bodied and syrupy, but carbonation cuts through (both body and flavors) nicely. goes down easy until alcohol kicks in.

D - a *very* good barleywine, no doubts about that. so glad I have another bottle as this definitely needs to sit and mellow. i will be looking forward to that.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Moses_Malone
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%

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

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

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks! 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, wood, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and hops. There is also some vanilla, wood/leather, and anise.

Overall - Not as sweet as I expected but that leaves it a little more drinkable for a big beer. A very solid example of the style. I wish more beers like this were available to me locally. Also, for a 2012 beer this has a surprising amount of hop bite.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
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 is a bourbon-aged barleywine, so would you expect it to be otherwise? Heavy-medium body, chewy, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of portia99
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip, 2009 release. Bottle courtesy of nonstick - thanks again, Chris!

A - Pours a deep, dark brown with reddish highlights...almost opaque, but not quite. Short, cream colored head that recedes quickly and leaves a good, thick collar around the edge of the glass. Good looking barleywine.

S - Aromas are little on the light side, but I'm getting a combination of bourbon, molasses and caramel.

T - First impression...very nice. Plenty of bourbon character and flavor, but no hotness from it...a pleasant surprise. Tons of caramel and sugary sweetness. This blends really well with the bourbon flavor...this is very smooth. The bourbon cuts the sweetness and gives a bit of balance. Not much hop character - defninitely malt centered.

M - Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Thick enough to be satisfyin but not so much to be syrupy. No real heat from the bourbon, but I get a tingle on the lips and the roof of the mouth that I typically get with bourbon, scotch, etc. - just a reminder of its time in the barrel.

D - Quite a good barleywine...but no idea of ABV. I'm feeling it about 2/3 through the bottle so I'm guessing it is fairly high. Don't think I could have more than one of these at a time, but it is rather drinkable for what it is. The lack of bourbon heat is a plus and helps make this more drinkable than it could be. Good bourbony flavor without the heat...this is a good thing.

Overall, really enjoyed this beer. Definitely would not mind getting another one of these.

 1,528 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1482nd Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

2011 Vintage
Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one

App- A deep and rich coloring intermixed with reds/browns/ambers and a little bit of mahogany. A nice puffy 2 finger head that was a bit tan and eggshell lasted longer than I though. Good lacing as well.

Smell- A bit think for my bourbon liking but was really nice aromatically. Boozy, malty, rich and creamy. A good note of toffee and darker fruits. Not per se quad like but close with figs and dark cherry.

Taste- Its a very good beer. Lots of depth of flavors with nothing really competeing with eachother but working together. Darker fruits and toffee along with boozy notes. Its a bit thick with creamy malts.

Mouth- A thinner medium body with a semi-prickly medium carbonation. Good flavors remain with malts, booze and candy sweetness.

Drink- Its a very tasty and solid 12oz. Love the fact its single serving. The booze is very well layered and doesnt over power. Glad I have a 12 to hold onto until next year.

 1,013 characters

Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter. Feb 2010 vintage. A huge thanks to ipa247 for just handing me this bottle cuz he knew I wanted to try it. Thanks Jeff!

A: Pours a hazy dark ruby with about a finger of dark tan head that faded into a dense film that left bubbly streaks of lacing down the glass.
S: Fragrant notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and toast, with a touch of bourbon and barrel spices.
T: Follows the nose with sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar balanced out by spicy and warm notes of bourbon, wood, and bread crust. There is a bit of cocoa and fruit in this beer as well, with sweet notes of ripened apples, grapes, raisins, and dates. The finish is sweet with a hint of vanilla, and the aftertaste has a bit of tobacco and is warm and lingering.
M: Medium-thick body with tingly carbonation and a very slick, sticky mouthfeel that is warm from a good dose of bourbon heat.
O: A really rich and complex sipper. The bourbon could maybe use a few more months to calm down even more, but as it stands it’s not all that hot. I definitely wouldn’t mind having a few of these in the cellar. Thanks again for sharing, Jeff, you the man.

EDIT: 7/2012, Just opened another bottle from 2/10 and all the heat I mentioned in my review is gone. Another year in the cellar has done wonders.

 1,308 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Purchased from Riley's Wines of the World in Madison Wisconsin in early February. Bottled on date is January 2011. $10.99 a four pack.

Appearance: Pours hazy ruby/amber color. Thin foamy half finger head, minimal lacing.

Nose: Dried fruits. Nice bourbony/vanilla nose. Typical barleywine, but wait, theres more to it. Great oak/char back.

Taste: Unique flavor profile. The initial palate is bourbon barrel. Not overly boozy, but you can taste the vanilla and oak...slight charring, only to be washed away by the bitter barleywine flavor. The malt flavor is supported nicely by the bourbon/oak, and drifting away to the hop finish. Real nice balance.

Mouth: Great mouthfeel. I feel the carbonation is right where it should be. And at 11.5% ABV, no need to have a higher carbonation. Very drinkable, the booze isn't completely overbearing.

Drink and overall: Awesomely drinkable, high ABV barleywine. I like the oak barrel aging, it's done alot for Charlie. Fantastic beer, I have a few left and I am going to let them chill for a year or so.

 1,106 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2012 vintage bottle into a snifter

A- CWBBBW was a dark red mixing in with hazy brown making for a dark drink in the 12oz portion. It's not the dirtiest BW i've seen but it's pretty dark and difficult to see through. A nice beige cap up above leaving small splotz.

S- This smells amazing, it's really pungent with bourbon scents seeping out the glass. Wow! After getting around that a small candy scent and a big pile of roasty/toasty malt. Even some hop scent reaching out to be sniffed. Oak, vanilla, the works.

T- This is a great barleywine, I've never had the base, but can tell the original is no slouch. Bourbon hits my palate 1st and than the vanilla and oak come a blazing. Sweet caramel middle with malts and than some alcohol and piney hops afterwards. It's boozy still but it's also delicious.

M- Feel is approaching thick and somewhat syrupy, it's also a tad hot. It's also a big ass bourbon barleywine with 11.5%, so theres that. I get a somewhat candy gloss coating my mouth over some time. It's carbed up well.

O- I was really impressed with this one. Worthy of the praise it recieves. The only problem I had was drinking it. It tastes and feels great but it is a sipper in every sense of the word. I m loving sitting down at the crib with this one on a sunday night.

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Photo of dtm426
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,361 ratings.
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