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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

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

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 617 | Ratings: 2,269
Photo of monitorpop
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottling

A: Thick, ruby caramel with a half finger off white head.

S: Candied sugar, malts, bourbon.

T: Bready malts, faint vanilla, dominant bourbon. Lingering bitter sweet finish.

M: Thick body, mild carbonation with warming alcohol.

O: A solid barely wine, but a bit overly bitter in the finish for me.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass, sharred with Sournotes and Mothman.

A- Pours a burnt orange/red color, really clear, ½ finger off white head that dissipates to nothing, as it settles the beer looks very flat, splotchy lacing.
S- The aroma is really boozy, nice vanilla comes out right away, toffee, caramel, bourbon is present, nice sweetness as well.
T- The taste is amazing, bourbon, vanilla, sweet brown sugar, caramel, hops are still present, warm as it goes down.
M- Medium/ big mouth feel, really smooth drinking, crisp finish, nice heat is present as it goes down.
O- This is a very impressive BA Barleywine, smooth drinking and enjoyable.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks to pmarlowe for this.

Dark copper body with a hint of settlement. Smooth pour yields a very small half finger of tight yellowish head. Fades to nothing rather quickly with some stick on the glass.

Caramel, toast and some dark fruits notable cherries. Oak, bourbon and alcohol waft up from the glass with incredible fortitude.

Initial blast of caramel and brown sugar complimented by dark fruit and bourbon. Some medicinal hops and a slight acidic zest on the back end. Finishes with a oaky and bourbon flavor and alcohol provides a slight warming.

A touch flat and chewy but very smooth and a good body that doesn't get weighed down by the malt despite the carbonation. Only slightly sticky.

Flavorful barleywine, tasty stuff. A little bit of carbonation could help stir up more complexities but no complaints here. Nice way to cap off a night.

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

Thanks for the hook-up Brophmonster!

This fine brew pours a dark amber and settles a ruby infused brown color. Oily legs cling to the glass after an inch of off white head dissipates. The nose smells very sweet with notes akin to caramel apples. There is a bit of a hop presence in the aroma but nothing too strong. The taste is also very sweet with a well masked alcohol level. The oak and vanilla bourbon characteristics offered by the oak barrel are shining through in this beer but not overpowering. You can still taste the caramel and light hop offerings as well. Some butter notes are also picked up in the flavor that add to the sweetness. The mouthfeel is full-bodied with a suiting low amount of carbonation. Overall, pretty damn smooth for such a brew and damn tasty as well.

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

A-Rich amber, almost maroon body with a short off white head. Decent retention and good lacing.

S-Big load of caramel backed up with some biscuit, behind all that I started to get some sweet bourbon and a light oak character. I also got some light fruity and almost floral notes that added a really nice depth to all those rich aromas that you normally get.

T-Again, rich caramel and some biscuit, but this time with a sweet chocolate flavor, and the bourbon comes up sooner. I feel like the bourbon is better blended in this than in their bourbon stouts. The oak and hop flavors are pretty tame, the only oak I got was a light almost vanilla like flavor, and there is just a touch of a bitter kick at the finish, overall though it is very malt driven. There is some heat, especially evident at the finish, but its pretty well hidden.

M-Smooth and sugary with very low carb.

D-I felt that this was a great use of a bourbon barrel, Very nice and balanced flavor, decently complex, and the mouthfeel was very good for what it is. Drink this one fresh, I don't see much need for age.

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Photo of Ri0
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Muddy brown with some amber tones with a thin khaki head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon is not as strong as I would have believed and there are complex aromas. Notes of thick caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit, malt, and bourbon make it a treat to inhale.

T - Sweet bourbon, vanilla, thick caramel, dark fruits dusted in brown sugar. Toffee and butter scotch and also hidden in teh back. Slight bit of alcohol and I do not notice any bitterness from the hops.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. It is smooth and rich on the palate.

O - I had this to do a comparison with Insanity. This was less harsh and more mellow and sweet compared to Insanity. I would have thought Insanity would have been less bitter since it is an English style, but the bourbon was too prevalent in it. Going to age both and see how they are. I do recommend this one.

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Photo of kevanb
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter. 2013 vintage.

The beer pours a super dark, rich, brown color, hues of caramel and khaki with a thick beige head that has decent retention, settling nicely into a surplus of film around the rim of the glass, yet yields just a spot or two of lace. The aroma is really lovely, lots of burnt marshmallow, brown sugar, rich toffee, sweet grain, light oak, smooth bourbon with mild vanilla. Super sweet, but very complex and rewarding. The flavors resonate well, incredible marshmallow character initially, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, chewy oak, smooth and subtle bourbon, vanilla is mild with a nice smooth malt finish. The body is where this beer stumbles, lots of zippy carbonation, a bit unpleasant at times, that is a little too lively. It coats mildly well, but could do with a much richer and smoother feel. The finish is easy, a bit peppy but still fairly smooth and warming.

Verdict: A delightful Barrel Aged Barleywine from Central Waters, and one of their finest products. The body really doesn't do this beer justice as the flavors are so spot on, perfect marshmallow toastiness. It reminds me a lot BB4D, which is one of my favorite beers to date.

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Photo of wyatt13
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Half Acre snifter.

A - pours a dark toffee or burnt caramel with a half finger off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S - bourbon and oak are most noticeable, with a nice sweetness of caramel & dark fruits.

T - wow, great barrel character here. Nicely balanced with the base beer without being overpowering. Also manages to rein in the sweetness. A bit of heat on the aftertaste, but it doesn't detract too much.

M - sticky, but not too thick. Lots of carbonation here for a barrel-aged beer.

O - really liked this one. Nicely warming without impeding the drinkability. Great for a snowy winter day.

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Photo of bsp77
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruddy orange with moderate light tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Mostly sweet vanilla with some overripe dark fruit (plum, raisins), toffee and oak. Somewhat boozy as well.

Taste: Fairly sweet and fruity with a big blast of vanilla. While there is some definite toffee, plum and raisin driving home the malt base, this is mostly about the bourbon barrel aging, which imparts vanilla, coconut and light oak. Some light spicy hops on the finish.

Feel: Sweet, full and boozy body with moderately low carbonation. Finish is barely dry, struggling against the sweet taste.

Overall: More so than most Bourbon Barrel beers (which are often Stouts), this is truly a showcase for the Bourbon, making the beer secondary. This makes for a mighty tasty Barleywine, but one that is slightly hampered by sweetness and alcohol.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great barleywine, courtesy of Derek. Alias the Y2K barrel-aged. The bourbon aroma is mellow and pleasing The ruby colour and white bubbly head. Beatiful lace. Rich taste, the bourbon is intrinsic and its mellowed somewhat.Woody,sweetish, balanced. ABove average mouthfeel.A great sipper.

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: typically low (for the style) head with light retention, refreshing itself with each tilt of the glass, the beer is an appealing deep amber in color

s: full, grainy caramel malt aroma, boozy bourbon with great notes of vanilla and malt soaked oak, loads of date and some raisin, quite strong, moderate piny hop presence

m: low carbonation, full body

t: rich caramel malts, considerable malt-soaked wood, vanilla cookies, moderate bitterness, nice

d: a slow sipper

12 oz. from dirty louis, into my Brooklyn snifter

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Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage - Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours slightly hazed light brown with a very well-retained creamy tan head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of rich caramel/toffee, dates, figs, prunes, brown sugar and bourbon/wood.

The taste is of caramel with dates/figs/prunes. Booze and bourbon/oak stand out in the sharp finish.

It has a full-body. Black pepper/booze and dry wood linger on the palate.

This one is very young - the alcohol really stands out. It may take some time to mellow, though it is certainly enjoyable now. The aroma itself is simply wonderful!

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Loud light brown head standing about an inch tall. The body a deep purple to reddish dark brown color with a thick haze. It appears dense.

S - Apricot, anise and alcohol soaked yeast.

T - Sweet black licorice with pungent fruity notes. There is a pungent hops here that really makes this special.

M - Smooth feel with a light bubbles texture. It goes down bitter-sweet.

~ This is a good beer. I've been a fan of the Central Waters brand and I have to say, "they haven't let me down here either." I'm thinking they may never let me down. I appreciate that. Thanks CW.

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Photo of TK5150
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage.

A- Pours a nice opaque burgundy color with a small beige head. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Looks just like a barleywine should.

S- A nice shot of caramel, vanilla, barrel, and alcohol. The caramel and vanilla show nicely.

T- A big shot of caramel and bourbon hit me first. Loads of raisin and dark fruits appear after...grapes as well. The flavors come in waves. Lingering bitterness.

M- Full bodied, with a surprisingly spritzy carbonation.

O- A very nice barleywine; recommended. Would like to have this again.

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Photo of Treebs
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served in a Deschute snifter. 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a nice combination of grapefruit and ruby with a one and half finger off white head forming on the pour. The head has some nice retention as well and it leaves some sticky lace. There is some slight sediment in the pour that takes some away from the look.

S: The smell is a mix of subtle bourbon with a malt sweetness. Some light caramel and vanilla come into play with minimal fruitiness. The alocohol is there ever so slightly.

T: The bourbon is very upfront with this one giving a nice warming sensation. It subsides to a nice caramel malt and a very light vanilla. There is some minimal oakiness with an addition of some subtle dark fruits. Very nicely done.

M: A little thinner and lighter then I would expect and not as sticky as I would like it. It does go down easy though even with the minimal heat. There is a slight drying finish to it.

O: A very nicely done BBBW. The barrel presence was solid and the heat really played nicely with the other surrounding flavors. I do wish the body of the beer was a little heavier though.

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Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

February 2010 bottling

12oz bottle received as anA extra in a trade with my most frequent trade partner thanks!

Appearance: Pours an attractive medium iced tea with red/honey folds. The crown is 1 finger, slightly off white, shows moderate retention and some lace.

Smell: Sweet malt with a hint of lightly toasted oak and a whisper of bourbon. Nothing bad but nothing exciting either.

Taste: Same as nose. Nice sweetness toward the end that subsides a bit quicker than the lingering bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Thick side of medium bodied with decent carbonation. Works with the flavor profile.

Overall: A pretty solid brew that I probably should have tried fresh first to get a baseline on.

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Photo of lstokes
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Norse, this came out dark with red highlights and smelled like woody cherries and bourbon. Taste is very sweet, with ripe fruit flavors, vanilla, lots of caramel and oaked wood. I like the fact that the bourbon isn't overwhelming, and that the beer gets more and more complex as it warms. I'm also genuinely surprised at the 11.5 ABV--this was so smooth! So light! So easy to drink! I don't normally love this style, but this I would have again in a second.

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Photo of Roguer
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful dirty nut brown brew, fairly dark in the glass, topped by a decent creamy tan head. Retention is so-so; lacing is bubbly but sparse.

Huge malty notes of caramel and toffee erupt from the glass, chased by vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon is much stronger on closer, careful sniffs, but not overpowering; there's plenty of room for pecans and walnuts, prunes, chocolate, vanilla, and a complete toasted malt bath.

Flavor follows the nose, with an added bite from earthy and herbal hops. Bourbon up front; followed by caramel, toffee, and toast; and finished with vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, oak, and some alcohol heat.

Long wet finish allows vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon to dance across your gums and tongue in waves. Brew is relatively thin up front, but with a silky wetness that coats your mouth. Lots of alcohol heat, but it's not unpleasant.

This beer tastes like they took the malt boil, poured it into a bourbon barrel, added some green hops, and called it a day. It's absolutely delicious.

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Photo of morimech
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

Pours a dark brown with minimal head. What head that did form, disappeared in a few seconds. Very little lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is very complex. I detect bourbon, vanilla, coconut, and some dark fruit. Alcohol is noticed. A nice flavor as well. Surprisingly the bourbon is not the prominent flavor. It is vanilla with dark fruit mostly until the bourbon comes into focus. The finish is very warm with alcohol but not harsh. Unfortunately there is not much flavor that actually comes from the base beer. It is all barrel. Full bodied with low carbonation that lends a nice texture. A good example, not great. I wonder how an older example would taste?

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Photo of cfrances33
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to yamar68, poured into HF stem.

Pour: Ugly, muddy copper, with barely a finger of head that diminishes to a rim. Nice sticky legs, alcohol definitely there.

Smell: Toffee and bourbon up front, with some chewy raisins and vanilla. A hefty oak presence lends an almost smokey character.

Taste: A lot of barrel here, both with bourbon characteristics and a significant oak presence. Nice toffee and very chewy dates and figs. Some vanilla. Ends extremely woody, almost smokey, and any lingering taste is gone.

Mouthfeel: I can't decide if this is too sweet, or has too much of an alcohol presence. As it warms, these concerns are alleviated as it all blends together.

Overall: A very nice barrel aged barleywine, but not in the same league as KH, Sucaba, and Leon.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter; Jan 2012 bottling

A somewhat murky mahogany body, with a small, ecru colored cap that fell quickly. Just some bubbles remain along the edges.

The nose is of figs, caramel, dates, maple syrup, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and some cocoa powder. Big and bold, assertive in all the right places.

On the palate, toffee and caramel with figs/raisins/dates quickly in tow. Some brown sugar and cocoa powder through the middle before a huge wave of bourbon and oak seal the deal. The finish is sugary and full of toffee and bourbon.

The body is on the lighter side of full with low carbonation. I felt this needed a little more body to really put it over the edge. A little undercarbonated as well.

This is a tasty beer in all aspects. Big, bold flavors and with a fuller body and better carbonation, this beer would really shine.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 edition, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to everyone who sent me this.

Pours a clear crimson mahogany color with a moderate light beige head with average retention and lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is the highlight, a potent complex blend of bourbon, caramel malt, mild citrus hops, oak, maple, berries, etc with surprisingly little booziness. Unfortunately the flavor isn't quite as complex and balanced at the nose; I guess this could use some more age on it. Flavor starts with an intense vanilla and bourbon booziness before the base of a more English style barleywine with complex caramel malts and dark fruity esters. Finish is exceptionally boozy and drying with light citric hops. Body is medium thick with light carbonation and overall has a smooth, soft texture that covers the palate with a lingering dry bourbon finish. I really enjoyed this and look forward to aging some, but was a little let down by the hype on this as I enjoy Weyerbacher's Insanity almost as much and can buy that off the shelf.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Got this in an a BIF box from rebis1bear.

Served in a snifter.

I've had this beer a few times, but never this fresh. I am amazed at how much more I like it fresh. Recently we cracked an 09 and 10 side by side-- I was unimpressed. Had I rated those bottles, this beer would be getting a C- to D!
I like the fresh beer much more.

Anyway... Nice burnt orange color with a dark tan head formed from a surge of bubbles up the sides-- a rolling, cascading, and tumbling journey that really looks nice. The head has decent retention and leaves some hefty thick rings of lace.

Smells... well, like a bourbon barrel-aged barleywine. Big malts are sweet and doughy while bourbon encompasses all with a blanket of sweet booziness. The beer has some dark fruit/raisin note with a touch of earthy character (from the hops? Barrel?), big sweet malts and boozy bourbon. The flavor is nice-- lots going on, with a solid bourbon bite to finish me off and linger a bit.

The body is nearly full with a surprising and delightful prickly feel. Excellent carbonation level. Really, quite nice on the feel.

This is a very nice beer. Any bottles I get from here on out will be consumed fresh. I shall not age them!

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Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to milwaukeeclassic for throwing this in as an extra.

Pours a deep woody brown with a thin tan head. Very rich color.

The nose has a collection of bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, mellow hops and caramelized sugars.

The taste is more subtle, a tasty blend of whiskey, wood, toffee, pitted fruits and bitter hops.

Top knotch, I think I am starting to prefer bourbon aged strong ales over bourbon aged stouts. At least until my next BA stout. The residual sugars in this barleywine really pick up the complexities created by the barrels.

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Photo of TheBrosy
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from fresh growler into pint glass. 2016 vintage.

Appearance: Copper-brown, opaque. Pours with a nice tan head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Alcohol smell gut-punch. Earthy hop smell and a caramel aroma can be detected.

Taste: Only slight hop flavor, perhaps less so than style dictates. The strong alcohol smelt is well balanced with the caramel and toasted bread malt flavor.

Mouthful: Rich body, fairly stick.

Overall: A very interesting American barleywine. Seemed to be slightly under-hopped and a bit too 'boozy'. Very good if not exceptional barleywine.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,269 ratings.
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