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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
615 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
2,260
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
716
Gots:
719
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 2,260
Photo of levifunk
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting around to reviewing this. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

appearance - auburn-brown liquid. little to no head.

smell - fantastic. smell is so sweet and caramelly. can smell the booze too.

taste - caramel & bourbon. enough said.

mouthfeel - syrupy feel. kind of coats your tongue. very smooth.

overall - great beer. the bourbon barrel aging is very prevalent.

side note: I had a sample of this at the beer store, and it was served quite cold. When I drank this bottle it was served at cellaring temp and I enjoyed it much more. I would recommend letting it sit out of your refrigerator for a while before drinking.

 642 characters

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

Review #900

Thanks to Craig for sending me several of these. I've had both the 2009 and 2010 now, both delicious! This review is of the 2010 batch.

A: The pour is a crystal clear copper color with a mild white head.

S: The first sniff gives off plenty of sugary goodness. Caramel and burnt sugar lead the way and as the beer warms up, a very pleasant vanilla note comes through. Just a bit of bourbon and some nice dark fruits as well.

T: A really fantastic combination of caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, and vanilla comes through right away. The bourbon/barrel character is there, but not overpowering at all. There is, once again, a mild (but very ripe) fruit component that works quite well.

M: The body is medium to full with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: Even at 11.5%, plus barrel aging, there really isn't too much alcohol to this beer. One of the best barrel aged barleywines I've had.

 903 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Big thanks goes out to CaseyK for hooking me up with this one in a recent trade. Split with airohead2001.

A: Murky brown with a hint of red. A vigorous pour yields a 1/3 finger off-white head. As far as retention goes, this one has a bit a swirl of bubbles that lasts the duration of the drink and a nice crown.

S: Rich bourbon notes on the nose. Reminds me greatly of bourbon barrel angel's share. Some maple syrup in there as well, which overall gives this a very nice smell.

T: Wow, there is no shortage of bourbon in the flavor here. Besides the dominance of the bourbon I get some butterscotch, syrup, caramel, and a little alcohol heat. All in all, this is a great tasting, interesting brew.

M: Very nice mouthfeel. I would say this has a nice medium-bodied feel and a great aftertaste. It sits on the palate well.

D: For me, bourbon aged beers are either hit or miss, and this one was without a doubt a hit. The bourbon was pronounced, but not overwhelming as it was in angle's share. This was a delicious, interesting, fun drink. If you haven't tried it, you should.

 1,123 characters

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

Lovely head on the dark amber brew. Huge head, creamy and smooth. Rich and sharp on the tongue. Intense aroma of vanilla and single-malt scotch, even if it's really only run through a cask of Old Fitzgerald.

Excellent bourbon taste. More whiskey and less of the cheap boozy, barrel. It does have a distinct woody flavor, but it really tastes like the old oak. What a great tasty, mellow, and intriguing beer. This proves that the barrel-aged style is a real bonus for the brewing world and not just a silly flavoring.

From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Food and Friends in Philadelphia. The strength is homage to the virile flavors. Thank you for the late-night sipping pleasure!

 681 characters

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

12oz. bottle from, who else?, nflmvp. He should get beer credit from this brewpub for all of his marketing efforts on their behalf!

Poured a dark, tea colored liquid. Little bit of bubbles, languidly drifting to the surface to form a small, light tan head. The head faded fast. Not much lacing, but very leggy.

Figs and alcohol (bourbon). Weird mix of scents which I am assuming come from the barrel - vanilla and coconut. Molasses/toffee. Cherries. Hops are completely AWOL.

Very sweet compared to non-barrel aged. Bitterness is present towards the finish, and does linger into aftertaste. Alcohol bites quick and strong, this mellows as I drink or my palate gets wrecked...Other flavors include raisins, bourbon, dark cherries, just a bit of roasted malt/coffee. Vanilla and caramel. Overall, the experience is very much like a cognac or port. Very complex and well integrated.

Medium + body, seems very different than non-barrel aged version. Low to no carbonation. Fruity, not particulary drying from hops, but alcohol does the job. ABV present from first sip and throughout. You know this isn't a lightweight. Seems stronger than younger brother.

I was impatient after the pour, and I have to say that this beer is pretty rough if too cold. Lots of alcohol and flavor is muted. Patience is rewarded as it warms and the flavors open up. My suggestion is let it get almost to room temperature before drinking.

A "by the fire sipper" or put it in a flask and go play in the snow beer.

 1,504 characters

Photo of JayCheG
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle

A: an earthy brown, almost muddy waterish color. Poured with a one finger head and had quite a bit of lacing.
S: Huge burst of bourbon, smells delicious. Also vanilla, brown sugar and plums.
T: Sweet bourbon and vanilla mainly. Hints of the brown sugar and plums from the smell as well.
M: Creamy in the beginning and a fizzy carbonated feel at the end.
O: Big smell and flavor. Very nicely balanced. Only negatives is it sort of looks like I'm drinking sludge water and wish it had a smoother drink.

Have another 4 pack in the cellar and looking forward to seeing what its like at 6 months and on!

 614 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in an in person trade with guyinchicago at DLD- thanks!

A: pours a reddish orange, some light passes through, little head to speak of, some lacing

S: huge notes of vanilla and oak from the bourbon which meld nicely with a sweet malt profile, some notes of molasses and figs followed by alcohol presence

T: taste is very similar to the nose but with more complex bourbon flavors, the oak character along with the bourbon pair perfectly with this barleywine, all of the flavors are well balanced and delicious, a nice heat at the end from the abv makes for a good sipper

MF: body on the thicker side, not syrupy although it leaves a little stickiness in the mouth, warming on the finish

D: this is one of the most delicious barleywines I have experienced, the bourbon really works well with the style

 812 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass this brew is a wonderful cloudy amber color with a 1 1/2 in white head that leaves a nice cap on the brew and lacing sticky as glue! The smell is a wonderful bouquet of plum, raisin, grapes, and some hints of caramel and floral hops. This has a lot going on and in my first sip it was not jumbled it was subtly smooth. The taste is sharp with fruits that meld into a delightful flavor. The brew is a medium body with just enough carbonation to let the taste explode in your mouth. Great work, a must have brew!

 535 characters

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

2011 vintage...poured from 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Vibrant orange color with one inch of thick tan head. Beautiful pour with a more stunning color contrast. A film of creamy head sits atop the body. Very unique for a barrel aged beer.

Smells of bourbon, vanilla and oak. Astringent alcohol presence. Caramel and toasty undertones with a hint of molasses. Fantastic sweet malt and oak bourbon aromas.

Oak bourbon flavor invades the palate. Sweet toasty malt is superbly balanced by bitter oak. Caramel and vanilla notes ties it all together.

Creamy and smooth, medium mouthfeel. Has adequate carbonation. Pleasant warming alcohol finish. This is definitely one to be sip and uncover all the amazing complexities.

A unique and boldly flavorful brew. Full on bourbon oak profile with sweet toasty malts. The only knock is the astringent alcohol presence. Some more ageing should take care of that. Well worth seeking out.

 928 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to seeswo for the trade. Served at 53 degrees in a tulip. Bottled on January 2011 indicated on the label. Pours a bright amber hue with candy apple highlights. Clarity is almost translucent, but there's a slight haze. Head is an 1/8th of an inch, loose and cream-colored and immediately dissipates into a thin band around the shoulders. Some short strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Love the nose on this beer! Bourbon, buttery notes, sugary and candied fruits. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's definitely an alcohol presence here - it's still a little hot but not in a bad way. There's also some hops bitterness that manifests towards the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a slightly oily consistency that is somewhat masked by an assertive carbonation. There's definitely some residual alcohol heat. Overall, this is a top notch beer. I'm glad I opened it but would love to see what a few years does to it. That said, if you like the hops character in a your American Barleywines, open it sooner than later; however, this one is really going to open up over time in my opinion.

 1,129 characters

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

Sampled April 2009
A salty, almost peat like aroma is noticeable as I vigorously pour this beer into my 25cl tulip glass. It forms a three-finger thick, amber tinged tan colored head that rests on top of a darkish brown beer that shows a hazy, plum-amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has a huge coconut note to it along with notes of vanillin; this is definitely quite distinct and definitely nice smelling. Sweet caramelized malt aromatics contribute notes of brown sugar, toffee and sweet brown bread play a supporting, subtle, but boosting role to the coconut and vanillin notes. As the beer warms up the brown sugar notes pick up and combine with the toasted coconut aromas. A touch of warming, spicy alcohol becomes more noticeable in the nose as well.

The beer feels thick and viscous as it hits my tongue. It has a complex, caramelized sweetness from the chewy malt. The coconut note is here in the flavor as well, playing a big role but note quite as big as it did in the aroma. Spicy alcohol notes add some warmth and a touch of drying character to the finish that balances the up front sweetness. The barrel influence doesn't just provide flavors of coconut, but also touches of vanillin, a Bourbon spiciness, spicy oak notes, a touch of butterscotch and a slight tannic edge (this last is pretty subtle though). This is really a sipping brew because of the full body and overall richness. Brown sugar and caramelized malt notes just ooze from this beer. Other malt influences of toasted, concentrated pale malt flavors, a slight nuttiness at times and a big biscuit-like malt character. Resinous hop notes play a role here as well, quite a significant role actually, but I didn't notice them until quite a bit of time had passed because of all the other things going on; bitter earthy pine notes, a nice menthol touch and this eve has some essential citrus oil flavors.

This is much more enjoyable than I was expecting. The coconut notes from the barrel are really nice and it really works with the thick, sweet, rich base beer; without the barrel influence, the base beer might note even be all that good or balanced. The aroma is not as complex as the flavor, but it is quite distinct with its inviting coconut note. This is definitely an enjoyable beer that I am quite glad to have tried.

 2,318 characters

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

Poured into Old guardian glass

Pours hardly and head. Color of head is beige. Not a lot of lace due to the low amount of head. Color of beer is a light colored copper. Fairly clear.

Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, oak up front. Caramel and toffee malt. Then a layer of sweetness hits. The smell is great. The bourbon really adds to the already complexity of the base beer. Stunning.

Taste: Whoa, big bourbon kick. Oak and vanilla follow up quickly. Very malty. Bread, caramel, and toffee all present. I get a fresh layer of grassy/earthy hops with this beer. The main flavor is a major level of bourbon, however. Pretty solid beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation, higher than other ba bwines. The flow is nice. Ends a little hot and malty. I can see the mouthfeel getting better once the heat dies down. I don't expect it to take too much time.

Overall, this is a solid bwine. A little hot right now, but I can see this getting extremely tasty with time. I am glad we have CW so close to us. This is a beer that needs to be tried. Very drinkable. Well done.

 1,113 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours an orange amber color with high carbonation and one inch of an off white colored head.

s - Smells if bourbon, sweet fruit and malts, molasses, and oak. Very nice

t - Tastes of bourbon, molasses or sugar, sweet fruit and malts, and hints of alcohol.

m - Moderate carbonation and full body. Pretty smooth. Some alcohol warmth but not much.

d - Overall a great barleywine. Has a great bourbon and sweet smell and taste. Some great oak as well. Would love to have again.

 528 characters

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

12oz poured into snifter

A - This beer pours a murky apple cider colour with a nice light yellow head. Good sticky lace

S - Lots of sweet sugars, some vanilla and woody oak. The bourbon is integrated in the nose very well

T - A nice balance of bourbon, vanilla, sugar plums, English toffee, brown sugar. Incredible taste

M - Sticky, medium-heavy, slight heat.

O - This is an incredibly well balance BB barleywine. One of my favourites so far, awesome. Highly recommended.

 477 characters

Photo of dwagner003
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is wonderful, but would be amazing with 2+ years of aging to settle down the hot alcohol. Smell is toffee and amaretto. Taste is vanilla ice cream, malt, toffee and burnt sugar. Blows Sucaba out of the water.

 218 characters

Photo of dukedevil0
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm that guy again...reviewing at the BA gathering at goose island.

A: pours a cloudy yellowish brown with a white colored head that leaves lacing on the glass.

S: smells like sweet malt, spices that I can't pick out, some red/dark fruits, vanilla

T: tastes just like the smell with more vanilla and even bourbon but in a mellow way, like a fruity, sweet, light bourbon..some alcohol flavor too

M: very full bodied, almost to the point of creamy

D: highly drinkable for the flavor but less so for the alcohol kick

 518 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this today (2014 version) after having a 2014 Sucaba last night...CW BBA BW is just as good. Just wish I had access to this as easy as Sucaba is.
But unfortunately I have to trade for this.
Worth the trade though

 217 characters

Photo of BoJengs
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle reviewed 2/27/2014. Purchased from Woodmans, fresh... Just reviewed the 2013 a few nights ago and loved it. Lets roll on this one.

A- Lighter appearance than the one yr old version. Has the same color as a typical whiskey, copper, reddish, can see the light of day through the beer (could not see through the one yr old) Good looking brew here.

S- Sweet smells right away. sweet bourbon, vanilla, caramel. sweet

T- Follows the nose. Very sweet. Much sweeter than the one yr old although still complex. Sweet bourbon and vanilla dominate, alcohol is there but still enjoyable. After tasting the one yr old the other night I expected this beer to be harsher. Somehow the fresh beer is sweeter and less resinous than the beer with a yr on it, confusing to me considering the nature of hops.

M- its a good mouthfeel although I feel the beer with a yr on it had more/better carbonation and mouthfeel, although totally subjective.

O- Great beer. I will buy at least 1-2 4 packs of this every yr - consuming a few fresh and laying a few away for good times later. After comparing the fresh to the 1 yr old I would have to say that I do prefer the brew with a year on it. It matured nicely and became a more balanced beer after the year. I suspect this will continue to improve at least to the 3 yr mark and I look forward to enjoying the journey.
___
~~~

2013 bottle reviewed 2/25/2014 after 1 yr in cellar.

A- murky reddish copper. Not much head if any at all. Even though this beer is more red/copper colored, when held up to light, barely any passes through. Looks good.

S- bourbon right away, then maybe a lil cherry. Definitely smell the bourbon radiating off the glass though.

T- Bourbon up front, slight tastes toffee, cherries, and a little vanilla. Can definitely taste the alcohol although it is very pleasant.

M- amazing mouthfeel. Although appearance doesn't lead one to believe there is carbonation the mouthfeel certainly feels like there is, and just the right amount. Very solid.

O- this beer was great fresh, and is still great after one yr in cellar. I have 2 more bottles of the '13 that I will open after 2 and 3 yrs and see how they progress (I am thinking this beer is only going to get smoother and smoother with time). Delicious offering as always from a great Wisconsin brewery. Nicely done Central Waters.

 2,350 characters

Photo of Freethyhops
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received in a trade with jojomdma, thanks Joe.

a- rust/brown with good clarity. a film and collar of beige head hung around the whole time showing great retention but not heavy lacing.

s- bourbon soaked caramel with a seemingly candy like sweetness. fairly strong oak and vanilla adds to a pleasant aroma.

t- mmm...mmmm this is my first BA barleywine and I'm surprised how smooth it is. I enjoyed what the barrel does, some great oak and vanilla adds some creaminess and is likely the source of the smooth feel too. The bourbon doesn't make this beer overly boozy. there's little to no alcohol that doesn't tast like clean warming bourbon. there's also a surprisingly strong bitterness battling to keep this one from being overly sweet. overall I love the way everything melds together, caramel candy, bourbon, vanilla, cream, bitter, bread, and wood.

m- the barrel did wonders for the feel of this beer. excellent thick creamy feel is so smooth. good carbonation keeps it from seeming cloyingly thick. really exceptional

D- 12oz was enough for one sitting but it takes some true willpower to keep the other 3 bottles I have in the ghetto cellar. hopefully I'll be able to keep at least one bottle to compare with a fresh one next year.

 1,253 characters

Photo of robbyc1
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, nice little head, some lacing, cloudy deep orange color, very inviting.

Nose has huge alcohol and barrel flavors, slightly sweet. Very nice.

The taste is subtle, very easy in front, oaky malt with nice backbone, the strong oak follows again, and then at the end alcohol and slight sweetness (not cloying) and bourbon from the barrels, very tasty. ABV must be in the 10%-12% range here, tastes very strong, but not overpowering. A sipper for sure.

Beautiful mouthfeel, heavy but not overly, and enough carbonation to scrub the sweetness out.

Easy sipper, will get some more to age nicely. Smooth enough now to have, but I'm sure it will get better .

Update-drinking the 2009 version 6/6/2013. Looks a deep dark amber w little head or lacing, nose is all malt and a sharp wiff of alcohol.

Wonderful taste of deep stone fruits and roasty malt, deeply satisfying. One of the best all time, a sipper for sure.

 941 characters

Photo of mabermud
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Deep mahogany, reddish-brown body. Light brown, dense head. Nice curtains of fine lace.
Smell: Awesome rich butterscotch/toffee and vanilla...bourbon barrel. Background alcohol. Dark bread is sitting in the back.
Taste: Wow. Sweet. Vanilla and caramel. Bourbon barrel. Sweet bread.
Feel: Full...maybe a little syrupy.

Overall - Very good. Strong bourbon barrel. I will have it again.

 409 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A mucky nutmeg colour with antique brass gloss. There is absolutely no head. None. The beer may appear dull, but hold it up to the light and appreciate all the liveliness that is otherwise concealed; warm fiery tones of pomegranate will greet you.

The aroma is almost equal parts bourbon and barleywine; the blend is sublime. It seems like the hops themselves were soaked in bourbon and then dipped in caramel before being used. This fusion of resiny hops and butterscotch-like malt is masterfully orchestrated into the domain of buttery oak and lots of dark honey.

The barleywine shines through foremost. The malts impart caramel and butterscotch that are so sticky and rich you'll find yourself licking your lips after every sip. The hops, in true American fashion, border on excessive and add a whole bucket of resin. Charred oak and plenty of dark honey ring out.

The bitterness is surprisingly high, I'm sure this could take a couple more years in the cellar. The alcohol is present, as it should be, but not overwhelming. A smaller sample size would be ample but I'm happy to have the whole 12oz bottle to myself. I doubt I'll have any problem finishing it.

Flavours are seamlessly blended but the barleywine is never drowned out. This is a beer foremost, and rightfully so! A lot of brewers who experimented with barrel aging couldn't quite find the balance. Often the beers become overwhelmed by whatever was inhabiting the barrel before it. Not in this case...

This is a wonderful little brewery from Wisconsin and this is the second simply spectacular barrel aged beer I've had from Central Waters (their bourbon-barrel aged stout being the other). I owe a big thanks to the Packers Fan who made both possible, thanks nflmvp, this was one serious treat!

 1,771 characters

Photo of matttttYCE
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage. Huge thanks to Timmyj21 for sending me a few of these in our last trade! You're awesome man!

Pours into a large snifter with a murky, amber-brown, slightly purple hue. The head, light tan in color, reaches it's crest at about a finger high and dies out near as quick as it arose. All I'm left with is a small ring around the glass.

My initial thought is that it's very barrel forward and a touch hot with alcohol. Lots of bourbon barrel juice, hearty oak wood, vanilla, toasted coconut, and even some hints of char like charcoal filtering of the bourbon. Behind that is a nice presence of toffee, burnt brown sugar, plum and dark fruits hinting at chocolate covered cherries, caramel and "heavy" smelling malts. Very pleasing aroma, albeit a tad bit strong.

Starts off with a bit of peppery spice and twinge of alcohol, but it never reaches a hot or boozy level. Part of that may be hints of hops as well. Bourbon, dark charred notes, lots of oak barrel, hints at vanilla and coconut comes through a tad from the nose. Behind that are pleasant notes of toffee, caramelized and burnt brown sugar, candied sugars, dark fruits, plums and raisins, hints of light chocolate and chocolate covered cherries, and plenty of strong malt characteristic. Bourbon and spicey charred oak are on a whole other level in this one. Not that they are insanely intense, just a different side of barrel aging I had yet to taste. That is, I've never really experienced a beer that's had as much charcoal, strong oak, and peppery/spicy bourbon influence as this one. Truth be told, I find myself thoroughly enjoying it.

Carbonation is medium, while consistency is viscous and a bit filmy but not in a bad way. The body is nice and medium to medium-heavy. And the finish is a bit dry and leaves you with more of that peppery bourbon spice. Actually, I'm quite enjoying the finish...it's close to sipping on a nice spicy bourbon.

One word - Outstanding! This beer is wholly enjoyable and actually showed me another side of bourbon barrel aging that I hadn't experienced previously. I love it. Do I love it as much as I love, say, King Henry or Mother of All Storms? Well, I'm hard pressed to give an answer on that. I might have to have the three side by side to determine a favorite. In any case, very well done bourbon barrel aged barleywine. Also, I suppose you could call this one "hot" or "boozy" at this stage. Personally, I enjoyed it like that, but I'm thinking it should start to mellow after little while (say 8-12months). Might even hit a sweet spot. Can't wait to try them down the road a bit.

 2,599 characters

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

Poured from bottle into my KTG Snifter. 2012 Vintage.

Poured a semi-hazy brown/red color with an off white head that was big at first but dissipated quickly.

I will admit, the smell was a bit off-putting. Smelled somewhat like grain alcohol, with a faint smell of vanilla and oak.

Taste was phenomenal. Well balanced. Great bourbon flavors including vanilla, oak, and plums/raisins. Slight alcohol taste, combined with a bit of brown sugar and belgian candy sugars. Absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel is a bit warm, but given the 11.5% abv, not overdone. Definetely thick, with a bit more carb than most barleys I have had, but awesome none the less.

Wow, great great great barleywine. Glad I have a few more. Awesome use of the barrel.

 738 characters

Photo of nataku00
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2012 bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy mahogany, with some tints of red and orange. Little to no head dissipates quickly to a thin collar. Lots alcohol legs as you swirl the beer around. Nice looking barleywine.

Even straight out of the fridge, really big aroma on this. Molasses, toffee, dark fruits, hint of cocoa, dark caramel, vanilla. A bit of bourbon heat as the beer warms a little, spicy graham cracker and orange and oak barrel notes. Really nice smelling beer.

Taking a sip, caramel and toffee, dark fruits, cocoa and milk chocolate, sweet vanilla. Middle of the tongue, more roasted malt and a hint of citrus hop flavor, finishing medium with a linger caramel, cocoa and bourbon.

Medium to full body with excellent carbonation, helps to lighten it up and brighten flavors. There is a bit of heat on the back of the throat on the swallow and in your belly, but an excellent sipping beer.

 922 characters

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe