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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
BEER INFO

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

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:
620
Ratings:
2,280
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
714
Gots:
723
For Trade:
88
User Reviews
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Reviews: 620 | Ratings: 2,280
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 noticeable...it 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.

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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
12oz

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.

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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.

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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.

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

2012 vintage into a snifter

A: Pours a really dark amberish ruby color. A very thin, and quickly vanishing white bubbly head.

S: Loads of vanilla, caramel, bourbony goodness. Some dark fruit sweetness too, raisins and plums perhaps?

T: Vanilla, molasses, caramel, and a little burnt sugar flavor. A warming booze presence with a generous bitter hop dosage as well. Good, but age will do this one well.

M: Very nice creamy texture. Really nice

O: Really good, but I think a year or 2 will do some good. Alcohol warming is pretty strong, and will likely mellow over time. Still very good now though.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy chestnut amber with a thin beige head

S - Vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, very sweet malt with slight bourbon notes.

T - Some bourbon heat upfront followed by a big dose of sweet caramel malt, raisins, brown sugar with a lingering bourbon, vanilla finish.

M - On the full side of medium body with slightest touch of syrupy quality, smooth with low carbonation.

D - Slightly on the sweet side for my tastes but a very nice sipper with great bourbon qualities (me likes me my bourbon).

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

A: Very nice brown, with an ambery red int. The head was very thin, and lasted for a minute or so.

S: Raisins, vanilla, wood, sweet. Malts. Oak. And the bourbon finishes.

T: Alcohol up front, with malts. Then bourbon. And finishes sweet, w/ the raisins.

M: Very nice. Good carbonation. Nice and chewy. Very nice.

D: I wish I had more than one.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle of the 2012 vintage. Poured this into my Pinocchio's (Media, PA) brandy snifter.

A: Pours a murky (initially), ruby orange kinda color. It clears out as it warms up. Not a ton of head, but there is carbonation. Wouldn't expect that much head at an ABV this high. See some bubbles off the bottom of glass. Definitely some alcohol feet. Nice lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon notes. Vanilla, toffee, caramel and booze for sure. Digging in you get some char and woodiness. Pulling some sweet malt too.

T: I get a little hop bitterness on the tip of the tongue. It's mild for sure. Then you bombarded by those sweet malt and bourbon notes in the mid palate. They actually just sit there on your tongue for a while. You get that caramel and toffee note that comes with the barrel. Sticky sweet malts. It doesn't taste boozy but you do get a nice warmth in the back of your thought that grows. I actually didn't know the ABV, but really can't believe this was 11.5%. It's there, but just in warmth not boozy flavors.

M: It's full bodied, even though looks can be deceiving. A little chewy.

O: It's a solid beer. A for me, for sure. Central Waters barrel program is killing it for me.

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Photo of Soneast
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled February 2010.

Pours a clear, burnt copper in color, developing a small fizzy head that disappears immediately leaving just a thin, bubbly ring.

The aroma has a lot of malt character, almost (but not quite) overwhelmed by the bourbon qualities. Some brown sugars and caramel aroma are evident, with a touch of wood and marshmallows coming through but mostly dominated by a rich bourbon smell.

The flavor is intensely delicious! Brown sugar, malt characteristics stand out first, rich caramel and creamy vanilla qualities are less perceptible, the barrel aged qualities come through in an oakey, bourbony flavor that encompasses everything else. A very nice, smooth finish, without much heat nor overly bitter. I dig it!

The mouthfeel is spot on for the style, very mild carbonation with a rich, creamy texture. The flavors of this beer combined so nicely, nothing really overwhelming the other components (unlike some other barrel aged beers, that basically taste like carbonated Maker's Mark). CW's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is well balanced and delicious. I have high expectations for this beer with some age on it.

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Photo of shadetree67
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle - 2014 vintage

Appearance - Dark amber in color. Pour yielded 1/2 finger of head. Slight lacing

Smell - Toffee, caramel, boozy bourbon, slight vanilla.

Taste - Bready Malts, caramel, vanilla. Not getting much barrel in this though the bourbon flavor is present.

Mouthfeel - Medium to thin mouthfeel. Slight carbonation. The alcohol warms the back of my throat for quite awhile. A bit too hot for my tastes

Overall - This is a pretty good BB barley wine and hopefully the booze mellows out with some age on the bottle. It has a lot of potential.

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

2012 bottle

A - Pours a medium brown hue with one finger head. Carbonation bubbles rush to the top of the glass.

S - Sweet malt, bourbon, toffee, black licorice.

T - Starts out with a wave of alcohol heat then the bourbon takes over followed by a touch of bittering hops. Notes of raisin, figs, plum and alcohol soaked cherries. Very nice.

M - Full bodied with good carbonation for this style. Coats mouth nicely of bourbon flavors throughout.

O - The bourbon barrel aging takes this beer to another level. Very solid barleywine. Well done.

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Photo of katan
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz into a pint - 2009 edition - the young kind

A - Pours a dark black to mostly brown color. Almost a red tinge to it. Very very hazy - could be a yeast suspension. Head formation is off white, lightly retained. Carbonation appears light.

S - Sugarly sweet with a high amount of bourbon backdrop. The bourbon barrel comes across as mostly sweet, somewhat sour. A light oaking does come through. No hopping.

T - Starts off incredibly sweet, with an immediate backdrop of alcohol burn. Mid-stream does start to be more balanced, but it is more due to a flash of bourbon barrel char. Incredibly sweet finish, extreme sugars off toffee and caramel. Intense flavors.

M - Thick, creamy, sugary and clinging. Tongue grabbing. No carbonation is detectable. Extremely fully bodied.

D - Does get a bit filling at times. A one time only beer by far - alcohol will sneak up on you, but when it does, look out. Flavors aren't that overwhelming. If i could manage not passing out after 2, I'd be signed up for more.

I'm thrilled with the way the bourbon came through on this beer for being so young. Almost too young perhaps. I have another that I'll age for a year to compare against. It does remind me of some of the young 2008 GI BCS I had.

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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 Inflames
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aquired in a trade with overlord, (thanks again)
Pours a deep red-brownish color with a very dark center. Minimal head.
Aroma is nice almond,oaky,roastiness that has a tinge of sweetness.
Taste is malt forward with the bourbon and oaky nutiness leading into a slightly bitter roast, then a lingering of bourbon on the palate.
Mouthfeel of this beer reminds me of a bock, so heavy yet so light.
I could definately find my self drinking a couple of these in a night, so enjoyable all the way through.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes are unbelieveable malty sweetness, breadcrumbs, yeast, brown sugar, sherry, bourbon, wine sediment, hops, American crystal, mugwort and flowers. Smells are brown sugar, booze, straight-up booze, cornchips, malt liquor, vanilla and mango slices.

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

2016 vintage served fresh and cold in a snifter

Appearance: classy bottle label, poured a deep ruby color with a nice tan head that sank fairly quickly

Nose: totally Barrel forward, bourbon, caramel, coconut, roasty, toasted oak, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, delicious candy sweetness

Taste: chewy mouthfeel, boozy up front with a medicinal quality and some significant warming action, Barrel character, nutty with some hot boozyness going on, the base beer is overpowered by the barrel, tastY if you like Bourbon and barrel characters

Overall: weirdly I need the barrel to settle down a bit and let the barleywine shine through. I think this one will age out well but time will tell.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A: A hard pour into a large snifter produced a 2 fingered frothy yet creamy tan colored head. It displayed good retention and some lacing settling atop this deep red bodied, semi-transparent brew.

S: Loads of caramel and dark fruits, only little hints of bourbon. Good smell that lacked in complexity.

T: Follows the caramel found in the smell, but the new found complexity elevates this beer to the next level. Dark fruits were less prominent and blended nicely with the oak from the bourbon barrels.

M: Heavy, creamy, still pretty hot. Gonna hold onto my remaining bottles for later.

O: A surprisingly great Barleywine that I can see only getting better with time.

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Photo of yamar68
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burgundy with a modest off-white and lovely, thin beading. The nose is pretty massive - caramel, dark fruit, booze, toffee, some licorice, sweet grains, quite a bit going on, evolving with warmth. The taste is big on the sweeter, darker malt notes. The barrel does play a very dominant role but it definitely brings the beer in a different direction. The booze hits harder than I would expect which was also the case with their BA stout. Very good, nonetheless.

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Photo of Etan
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2012) into a brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brownish-red with a small off-white head.

S: Raisin, brown sugar, strawberry shortcake, vanilla, a bit of oak and perfumy alcohol. Smells like dessert.

T: Sweet wave of barleywine malt - sugary prune, raisin, cherry, a bit of dark grain, cidery hop. Vanilla and spicy dark alcohol behind. Some hot tannic oaky bitterness. Throat-warming alcohol, vanilla, and coconut in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied with a nice tingle to it.

O: I'd be happy drinking this all year. Very solid -bal barleywine.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/2011 (2011 vintage): very similar to the 2010 after a few months, except the figs and dates are even more buried by the booze--can't wait to try the 2010 later. On a side note, mixing a few ounces of this about 50/50 with red's rye p.a. turned out amazingly well.

9/2010 (2010 vintage):
a 4 slightly haz coppery amber. film lasts a modest while.

s 4.5 at first the deep fig and date aromas i remember from regular charlie, then the bourbon hits me bigtime.

t 4 the bourbon is big on the palate as well. this beer is slick, hot, and boozy. wow, this might really benefit from some age, whereas i like the y2k just the way it is.

m 4.5 thick, slick, enough carbonation of fine quality.

d 4 will have to crack another open in a year or so and see if the bourbon settles down at all. right now this is huge and impressive, but i don't like it as much as the regular charlie.

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Photo of waltonc
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up thanks to a gentleman visiting from Milwaukee thus week. Tastes like a clone of Abacus, which is to say I think it's delicious. Pours dark brow/ruby with a creamy white head. Smells outstanding - vanilla, toffee, and bourbon predominate. The flavor follows, but is a touch too hot and boozy for my taste, resulting in a slightly diminished score. Body is fairly thick with perfect low to medium carbonation for this style. Overall, a great beer. I wish it was just a little less hot.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,280 ratings.
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