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 | 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:
615
Ratings:
2,265
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
714
Gots:
721
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 2,265
Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer took a lot of the same flavor cues from the non-bourbon ale. This adds a light whiskey element near the end. The aroma is pleasant, with the oak and vanilla, but still too weak. The drinkability was pretty good and unlike many other barleywines. Worth a try, very tasty.

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Photo of tut2528
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage from MatttYCE. Thanks man!

A: pours a murky caramel in color, with touches of ruby tints, with about 1/2 fingers worth of head formation. without much lacing.

S: big caramel/toffee and vanilla right up front. there is a some oak and bourbon barrel presence as well, but it takes a back seat to the primary characters. i also pick up a slight hop note.

T: caramel sweetness right up front with a oaky bourbon presence coming out much more. i also pick up on more hop qualities here than what I was expecting from the smell. and the finish is vanilla creaminess. alcohol is definitely present.

M: flat, very thin for its style, and it doesnt quite coat the palate as it should.

O: its a nice brew. and this would be a great introductory barleywine to people who aren't familiar with the style.. and it has high drinkability.

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Photo of boralyl
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 2011 vintage poured into a snifter. The beer produces a small light tan head that quickly fades away . The beer is clear and ruby red in appearance.

S - There is a very strong bourbon presence in the aroma along with hints of oak and vanilla. As it warms slightly the dark fruit aromas become apparent.

M - Medium in body with light-medium carbonation and some creaminess.

T - A little bit of vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, plum sticks out in my mind. A huge bourbon flavor mixes in with the dark fruit and overpowers it leading to a hot alcohol heat in the finish.

Pretty good, but the bourbon flavor was a bit too strong for me. It may be that this vintage was too fresh for my tastes. I'll have to give an aged vintage a shot sometime soon.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Piraat snifter. This beer pours a thick looking, dark honey color with bright ruby colored highlights. A massive, thick, sticky, off-white head rises up out of nowhere in a beautiful cascading effect. The head lingers around for approximately seven minutes before receding into a white cap floating on top and a ring around the circumference. Soapy lacing is sparingly left around the sides of the class.

The nose on this beer is a lot of bourbon, caramel, roasted malts and toasted grains and maybe some bittering hops. Slightly floral and definitely sweet to the nose, this one smells great.

Taste is heavy on the bourbon, and like the nose full of caramel. Toffee and brown sugar make an appearance making this beer sweeter than I thought it was going to be. The lack of astringent, over the top hops found in the other big American barely wine is nice. There is quite a bit of boozy notes in the taste as well. This one could use a little time.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, like sipping on liquid caramel. It is actually fairly hot on the palate, possibly from the alcohol, possibly from the bourbon barrel aging. Like I said, I think some time will certainly help mellow this beer out and bring out some more of its subtle complexities. I didn't realize the abv on this bad boy was 11.5% until I pulled it up on here. With this alcohol content the heat isn't much of a surprise, and this is actually fairly drinkable considering that.

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Photo of TheDTrain
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow 11.5 abv! A very sweet barley wine. Pours a cloudy mahogany with great amber highlights. Taste is hot from the bourbon but gets overpowered by the sugars. As it warms, the awesome flavors of burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and bourbon whiskey really shine.

The sweetness is a bit fatiguing and could be toned down a notch. This one will probably get better with age. Nevertheless, a great barley wine that will keep the D train warm along the tracks.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 from cellar to snifter

Caramel colored with reddish highlights, minimal white froth puddles and recedes to the edges

Really nice on the snoot: sweet bourbon, dark fruits, and coconut shavings that hints at german chocolate cake...nice

It seems that my recommending this to a recent poster in search of a rich, malty, non hoppy barleywine may have been misguided. Bitter hop grip from the get-go, followed by a massive dose of hot bourbon in the form of vanilla, and rich maltiness. Hot damn, this beer is a load. The oak barrel is very present, as the woodiness and booziness of the bourbon barrel really make their appearance. This is an 11.5% monster that makes herself known.

Carbonation level is low but appropriate. The drinkability suffers a bit due to the heat. For me, CWBBW is difficult to figure. Last summer we had a two year old bottle that had aged horribly. Not sure if there is a bottle to bottle variance, but this beer could use some aging, but for how long before a decline is unknown.

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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 corby112
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage.

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with slight caramel colored edges. Half finger yellowish head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind and visible carbonation bubbling up.

Earthy, leathery malt aroma with hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit as well as some subtle hops and boozy alcohol sweetness. The barrel aging is evident in the aroma with a nice amount of bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla and marshmallow. It's refreshing to encounter a bourbon BA beer that is complex and doesn't smell like a complete booze bomb.

Medium bodied with tight carbonation up front and a good bit of alcohol heat that lingers throughout and warms the chest. Lots of sweet caramel malt with earthy, leathery notes and slight bitter hops. Hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit countered by the bourbon barrel notes. Sweet and boozy but not too hot with plenty of bourbon, oak and vanilla. As it warms the heat tones down a notch and the silky caramel, toffee, vanilla and marshmallow flavors become more prominent. Very complex but a bit just a touch too hot at this stage. I would love to see how this is doing in another year or two. Very good but definitely a sipper.

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Photo of jbwimer
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extra from a trade with Jaycase. Great trader. Excited to try this. 2014 variant, so it's pretty fresh. Let's do this.

A- Poured aggressively from a 12 oz. bottle into a Great Lakes tulip/snifter. Finger and a half of creamy beige head. Has great retention and sticks to the glass. Deep, clean amber color.

S- This is pretty fresh, so there is still some hop presence. Not smelling too much barrel. Bourbon and wood are faint. Mostly hops, caramel, and some booze. Underwhelming.

T- Again, not much barrel character. Definitely get more oaky flavors, but not much bourbon. Still tastes great! Just not quite what I want in a BA barleywine. Other flavors include caramel, toffee, candied figs. Faint alcohol presence. I'd just really love some more barrel.

M- Nice, smooth feel to this beer. This is probably the highlight of this beer. Oily and smooth. Alcoholic warmth. Medium mouthfeel. Light carbonation. Well done.

O- This is not a bad beer by any stretch of the imagination. I did enjoy it. However, it was too similar to a standard barleywine. If this was a standard barleywine, the smell and taste scores would be higher. However, reviewing it for what it is, this beer leaves me wanting more influence from the barrel. Perhaps age helps this beer. If I get my hands on more, I'll lay a couple down for a year. A good beer. But not amazing.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours an dense body of aged copper red with a thick creamy tan head that has a few tiny bubbles sticking to the glass. The head last for a good bit.

S- The sweet smell of rich caramel malt has a nice pine and herbal hop hint at the finish.

T- This beer has a rich malty flavor with a soft sweetness and a hint of caramel to it. This finish is a big pine note with a soft wood hint that lingers after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer is all about the big caramel sweet malt with some nice support from the pine hops and a very faint hint of barrel only after each sip. This beer does not have much depth of flavor but the flavors it does have are big and robust. I kind of miss the alcohol kick that cleans out the sweetness at the finish but it still goes down smooth.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive thanks goes out to the person (BM me if it was you and I will give you proper credit) who shared this one with the group at the "Evening Wood" tasting graciously hosted by cmrillo! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a deep red-orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. However there wasn't anything really interesting going on in it to make it overly memoriable. The flavor did however mix and compliment each other quite well. Pretty smooth for an 11.5% heavy hitter. Definitely worth trying!

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Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Company. It is no secret that Central Waters is my favorite brewery in Wisconsin.
Score: 90

January 2012 vintage bottle served in an oversized brandy snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep and mostly opaque mahogany color with some highlights at the top of the beer when held to light. Pours a finger-plus of tan sea foam head that settles into a thin foggy layer atop the beer and ring around the glass. Above average, oil lacing. 4/5

Smell: Strong notes of vanilla and molasses. Sweet and malty vanilla extract, light and fluffy vanilla cake, and a little tiramissu. Sweet raisin, caramel malt and astringent alcohol too. 4/5

Taste: Very strong and malty-sweet vanilla extract flavor throughout. Molasses/brown sugar, sweet raisin and alcohol flavor/warmth on the midpalate. Lingering caramel malt and vanilla in the finish. There is a light barley flavor in the back half of the beer as well. As the beer layers and warms, increasing amounts of raisin and alcohol come out. This brew grows in sweetness as it warms and layers as well. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, low carbonation. Super malty and sweet, but not sticky. 4/5

Overall: Bold, malty-sweet flavors render this one a sipper. The barrel aging here has vastly improved the quality of the base beer (the Kosmyk Charlie Y2K).

Recommendation: Especially for those who missed out on King Henry and/or do not have access to upcoming re-release of Abacus, this is a barrel aged barleywine worth seeking out. The bold flavors might turn off some casual beer drinkers, but I feel that the flavors if this brew are balanced and mass-appealing enough to likely intrigue the majority of casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Pretzels.

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4/5  rDev -6.5%

This beer is easy.

It's easy on the pocketbook ... under $4 for a barrel aged beer.

It's easy on the palate ... incredibly smooth. The bourbon aroma and flavors are there, but they are not overpowering. The underlying barleywine is more subtle than many barleywines ... a wonderful mix of flavors, but not something that knocks you in the face.

And it's easy to miss the alcohol in this one. Somehow that 11.5% ABV gets masked by the wonderful flavors. But the flavors call for sipping, not guzzling, so you should be OK.

Easy to love this one.

Serving from a 2014 bottle into a snifter.

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Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Chico1985, reviewed from notes. Bottle is about a year old.

A- Hazy deep red with a small cloud and bubbly ring. Legs fall and a minimal spot or two of lace sticks behind.

S- Oak and whiskey spice atop of dark fruit and a deep stale caramel old ale profile.

T- Old ale malt with some whiskey flavor and spice. Nice oak flavor and some dark fruit/cherry. Good ol' stale caramel, probably from the age on the bottle.

MF- Nice moderate carbonation with good alcohol warming and thickness to the body.

DB- Good balance of oak, barleywine malts and Bourbon flavors. I would like to try this one again in the future.

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Photo of claytong
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - dark auburn with hints of mahogany. head was small on a controlled pour, lacing stayed.

smell - off first smell, things are a bit mixed. oak dominates, bourbon comes in with heat, and then a bit of vanilla extract and lots of malt.

taste - malts come in too strong with a plain wood taste. bourbon just brings heat and not much bourbon. a bit too fresh i think.

mouthfeel - medium bodied and medium carbonation, drank with lots of other barleys so i felt a sweetness overload.

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to joe1510 for hooking me up with some of the latest CW offerings. We popped this while watching the Final Four games at my place. 12oz bottle split two ways into nonics.

A - Pours brown with a reddish hue, off-white head, no cap on top after the head disipitates. Some lacing here and there along the sides of the glass but not a whole lot.

S - Burnt candy/sugars, hot bourbon. The sweetness melds with the bourbon pretty damn well. For being a 2010 vintage, the beer is put together nicely.

T - Lots of bourbon, sweetness, candy notes, burnt sugars. Maybe a tad too hot for me right now, but impressive again, considering it just been put into the bottle. Sweet sugary finish with some nice hot alcohol.

M - Medium to full bodied, rich and smooth, syrupy finish.

D - Half of the bottle was enough for me right now. I have a couple of bottles left to cellar and will see how they improve as they get a chance to age.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very interesting barley-wine. It pours a murky reddish-brown with not much head. Aroma is intensely malty with some cereal-ness, which is not unexpected from the style, but didn't get me very excited (I am not a big fan of cereal-y or grainy dominated flavors). Aroma is something different altogether. Generally I find barley-wines fall into two categories - a very hoppy beer that could be called a DIPA, or a malt-monster. This was something different altogether. While this beer is more malt-monster than DIPA, it offers two other characteristics. It is both intensely fruity (much like a wine made from grapes might be) and a bit bourbon-y (no doubt due to the aging). It is really a good tasting and unique barley-wine.

I would recommend this beer. I found it different than other barley-wines and really good-tasting. I bought this 12oz bottle at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received a dingle bottle of this as an extra from kbutler1, many many thanks for the chance to try this beer, which was on my wants list by the way. It pours a reddish orange color, with about one finger of white heading. From the nose there is big bourbon, and some maple syrup. More of the same from the taste, except the hops come through to add a bitter element to the experience. There is also a nice caramel sweetness that accompanies everything. Mouthfeel is thick, and pretty boozy, but does not get in the way of drinkability too much. If you want a clear picture of this beer taste wise, it is very similar to the Lost Abbey Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel Aged beer, just a bit hotter and more bitter. With a few years in the cellar, it might even pan out to be a better beer. Centrsl Waters made a great Barleywine here. Cheers

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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 Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429 and Amyliz4. Thanks Mike and Amy!

Served in a blind taste test with Alpine Great and Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywine.

A: This beer appears umber hued and very slightly hazy, with a thin, wispy head that leaves a just a touch of lacing on the glass.

S: Bourbon, molasses, sweet malt, dark fruits, toffee, caramels, oak.

T: Dark fruits, caramels, oak. Nicely done. Rich and flavorful.

M: Medium-thin in body, with a fairly low carbonation level.

D: I found this beer to be similar in many regards to the Kuhnhenn brew I had alongside it, albeit 3% less abv. I'd definitely have it again.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to CaptainCougar. Hazy brown with a small beige head. Sweet bourbon, lightly tart wood, plenty of malt, and fruit in the aroma. The flavor is mellow and malty with a nice bourbon and caramel touch. The balance of the beer and the barrel is great, with just a light wood flavor and not much alcohol. Full bodied with medium-light carbonation. Very nice barrel integration, with a good spread of flavors.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review input from notes.
Thanks to hu5om for the bottle

Poured into snifter. Rusted copper colored body, free of haze and sediment. Modest one finger white head is set atop. The head recedes rather quickly leaving minimal lacing behind.

Deep caramel and burnt sugar aromas are heavy in the nose. Brown sugar, toffee and vanilla scents emerge with warmth. The bourbon is more subdued than what I would expect.

The flavor provides a nice combination of warm bready malt, caramel and raisin up front. As the beer works its way back on the palate stronger vanilla and burnt sugar flavors emerge. The bourbon is not heavy in flavor but provides a decent amount of heat. The heat is not off putting but could use some time to mellow.

Full bodied Barlerywine, carbonation is on the lower end. The texture is slightly chewy but the beer falls far short of syrupy. The finish is long and pleasant.

Very enjoyable beer, one I wish I had immediate access too. While CWBBBW would struggle to compete with the top tier barrel aged Barleywines, it is an impressive beer none the less. A bit of a fuller body, slightly more depth and heat dialed down it would be spot on. Excellent beer, worth seeking out.

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Photo of DearthVader
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle provided by my new found trading partner DoctorRock. Thanks for this big time want Andy!

Pours a cloudy maroon-ish brown with a slightly off white head that falls insanely quickly to just a swirl of film on the top. No legs are left behind on my NOLA snifter.

Smell is great, granted it's hard to mess up the beautiful aroma of a bourbon barrel aged barleywine. All the usually suspects clock in here. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, and dark fruits.

Taste is well balanced with the vanilla, dark fruits, and bourbon. I really wish there was more barrel characteristics in it. I like some good oakiness in BA BW's. Very nice flavor profile nonetheless.

The mouthfeel is decent. Slightly too light for my liking.

Overall this was a good beer. Unfortunately the only other two BA Barleywines I have to compare it to is Abacus and BA Decadence. Both are among my favorite beers and some of the top in the style. Very enjoyable though.

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Photo of BZero007
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Starrdogg at a BA tasting for the DC area. Thanks!

Pours a very mixed amber color, seems to be confused as to weather it is red or orange. The head forms with a bit of work and head is a nice tan color. The aroma is honestly what threw me for a loop. Nice sweet malts power through with a slight hop and bourbon aroma in the background. A very nice aroma and it made the brew all the more enjoyable. The taste was a bit un balanced for me, nothing that age can't fix. I feel with age this brew would eventually balance out. The sweet malt and body I felt was great but the Hops and Bourbon were a bit over the top. The body I felt was perfect and overall was a very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Sparty1224
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Bottled on 1/15/15, making this exactly 2 months old.

A: Pours a nice, dark mahogany. Turns a reddish-orange up to the light. Thin, off-white head rings the beer.

S: Caramel, butterscotch, pecan. Lots of fresh oak and bourbon.

T: Lots of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, maple, oak. Very, very boozy and hot in the finish. Not like a bourbon heat, just pure alcohol.

M: Full. Good carbonation. Way imbalanced with the booze on this one. Very spicy and alcoholic on the finish.

O: Not sure if this was left in the barrels too long or what, but this thing is hot. Recently had BBS, and that was way more enjoyable and balanced compared to this. The heat just overshadows the base beer, that I think is otherwise pretty good. Nice, English-style Barleywine. Great nose on it. Just way to spicy and boozy on the finish.

Recommendation: Somewhat overhyped for me. Way better BA Barleywine options out there. Would try to get a hold of their Bourbon Barrel Stout or Cherry Stout instead. Those are fantastic.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,265 ratings.
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