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:
2,260
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
716
Gots:
719
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 2,260
Photo of msubulldog25
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (2009 edition) sent last fall by alctradamus (thanks, Adam). Poured at cellar temperature to a snifter, enjoyed on a glorious mid-summer 72°(!) Saturday.

A little poem on the label:
"Flavors of bourbon, malt and hops meld quite good
Served at cellar temp like it should
Unified in one voice, Our fans can rejoice
Charlie now comes aged in wood!"

A: A rusty-ruby gem, perfectly clear and replete with bubbles as streaming tendrils. Not much of a head, maybe 1/8" of sandy tanness at best; holds, however, as a perfect ring with an amorphous blotch at the center. Crawling lace, like a snail's mucous trail...a beauty to behold.

S: Strong with the Booze is this one, a warm blend of vanilla, berry fruit and charred wood that spins a Bourbon Barrel tale. Brown sugar/candy notes compete with toasty nuts, raisins and a healthy dose of spiced hops.

T: Sweet with bourbon-laden fruit and toasted grains, loads of dry/earthy spice (nutmeg) and vanilla. Has a 'Sugar Daddy'-caramel quality, borderline *too* sugared, then brasher roast and enough hops reign it in with a fine bitterness and subtle tang. Remarkable, tightrope-worthy balance.

M: Creamy smoothness defined. An initial burst of carbonated prickle followed closely by a soothing warmth, full of spice and malt and woody bourbon. Medium feel that grows/thickens. Fleeting spicy tingle in the finish.

D: A fine sipper that could use a bit more to time to mellow to the point that I write songs to pay tribute to its amazing-ness. In the meantime, I'll write a BA review to record the moment this damn fine barleywine hit my taste buds and to encourage you, dear reader, to seek it out. Glad to have a second bottle (2010 edition) for the cellar.

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Photo of e11a627
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pumpkin orange, brown color, translucent

S: Aged fruit, aroma of cherry twizzlers

T: Fruity, but not overwhelming at all.
Chocolate, bourbon, cherry.

M: Great flavor, tingle post-swallow, feel
warm while drinking it - yummmm.

D: Tastes amazing. Don't taste the ABV at all -goes down surprisingly smooth. I could drink more than one of these easily. I've had some bad barleywine experiences in the past and this changed my mind about barleywine completely. SO GOOD!

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Photo of newk340
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a rosy mauve color that is slightly opaque that leaves no head after a slow pour.

S: a twinge of bourbon burns the nostrils while a faint aroma of cherries lingers in the back of the mind. phenomenal smell accurately predicts the exceptional taste.

T: a fantastic bourbon taste with black cherries lost in an oaky combination of flavors. simply wonderful.

MF/D: gives off a slight heat that coats the mouth and throat with a smooth finish. a great special occasion beer. no wonder this is in such high demand. thought about trading the rest of my stock, but also contemplating saving it...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours to my glass a rich, murky brown/purple color with a 1/2 finger off-white head that fades quickly to a lasting ring around the glass. My glass stays laced throughout. The aroma that arises from this beer is nearly divine. A great, sweet bourbon hits me first. Next I find notes of brown sugar/caramel and a little molasses. The taste is similar to the nose here. Less bourbon and more malty flavors. Warming does this beer a lot of good, too.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Just the right amount of present alcohol. Not too boozy, but enough to let you know it is bourbon-barrel aged. Drinkability, in my opinion, is great. I picked this up tonight thinking I would just slowly enjoy the one bottle I had, but think if I had more than one, I could put down another. A great drinking, great tasting, stand out in its class beer. Lived up to any hype or preconceived notions I had about it.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with levifunk

A - A brownish orange color with a lot of yellow that comes through. Very minimal head that dissipated quickly and didn't anything on the sides.

S - A lot of charred wood and brown sugar. Caramel and some vanilla from the barrel influence. Some bourbon in there as well, the smell is good but there is a little too much burnt wood in here which is taking the taste down.

T - The taste has some nice brown sugar and caramel complete with the vanilla from the barrel aging. The bourbon is nicely there but does not drink hot. This actually tastes very good except there is too much burnt wood in there, that is a real downer on this.

M - Medium bodied, syrupy, needs a little more carbonation.

D - Don't get any alcohol on this, and very smooth, highly drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AgentZero for this.

12zo bottle into my Rochefort glass, 2010 version.

Pours a murky light to medium brown, very light for a bw. Not much carbonation, light tan around the sides, poor lacing...Nice aroma, malty to start nice caramel and dark fruits with lots of wood and bourbon mellowing it out. Light cherry finish with a little more wood...The first thing on the taste is tons of wood, very bitter wood, too strong. The second is less wood but its still too much, at the end a bitter wood/grain alcohol finish. Not very sweet, not super complex. The taste is a big disappointment. Maybe needs a couple years to chill out...The feel is ok, very warming, lastin feel...Tough to drink because of the wood.

Overall, can't believe this a top 100. Not a great beer, has potential down the line maybe. This is unbalanced and totally too woody.

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Photo of hu5om
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

split 12 oz in 2 6oz tasters with newk340
a- translucent rosy amber, little foam

s- wood, smoky, ripe dark plum, slight heat.

t- bourbon smokiness, ripe, ripe fruit, a bit of heat with sweet malts lingering

m- low/med. carbonation. active boozy tingle on the palate, but not as much as i'd expect with the abv as it is. a gorgeous lingering sweet smokiness.

d- any time, any place, i'll drink this. i traded away way too much, but i hope everyone is enjoying it. god knows i did. definitely belongs in the top 100. it's in my top 10 easily. yum. super delic. call your sconsin ba's and get yourself some!

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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.

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Photo of flexabull
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle courtesy of klikger, thanks again!

Pours a bright amber color with a small white head.

Aromas are of ripe figs, sugars, cereal grains, and booze.

Flavors are full and outstanding. Tastes like sweet cereal grains almost like grape nuts soaked in bourbon. Grainy with almost a rye bread like flavor as well as some dark fruit flavors. Finish is warm and boozy.

Mouthfeel is decent, but seems a touch thin.

Drinkability is quite good. This is a tasy powerhouse of a barley wine. It has a few flaws, but they were easy to overlook when I take a sip...

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a clear ruby red liquid with a tight khaki head.

S-the nose starts with the barrel, notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. caramel, carmelized brown sugar and cherries in the back.

T-the taste is quite boozy and hot. the wood is much less pronounced, light notes of oak and vanilla, much more bourbon. caramel, caramelized brown sugar, sweet, cherries, hint of raisin and heat in the finish.

M-very smooth and syrupy on the palate, a good carbonation, full bodied.

D-this is quite tasty and has a great nose. a little heat in the back but nothing that crushes the beer at all. great oak presence, a little more bourbon in the flavor but still very nice.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Joe for sharing this. What a nice treat! Review from notes on 6/12/10.

Deep garnet with lovely clarity in the light. Off-white head that lasted throughout most of the experience. Bourbon wafts through the air as it's being poured. Oh the luxury! Oak, rum, vanilla, hint of toasted nuts, and figs fill my nares and makes my mouth water. Delicious caramel, vanilla, and a touch of cocoa makes for an immediate loving of bourbon aged barleywines. Followed by toffee, black currants, and a touch of berry. Nicely full bodied and smooth carbonation. Out of this world.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Bobby8405 for the hook-up. As always, you are the man.

2010 vintage.

A - Beautiful ruby-amber, perfect translucence, nice off-white head that reduces to a thin cap but leaves good lace for a BA brew.

S - Phenomenal barrel, cinnamon-raisin, a pickled cherry aroma, and a vague earthiness.

T - Huge raisin-malty-dark bread flavor, finishing with a big and lingering maple impression. Big cherry and Bourbon flavors creep up, as well. Also a bit of chocolate. Just a great tasting brew all-around. I imagine this will age very well.

M - Very nice balance of booze, viscosity, and effervescence.

D - This is one of the nicest examples of a Bourbon barrel treatment I've come across.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in Feb. 2010 vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy pale/blush red color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly down to bubbles.

(S)- A rather fruity nose of ripe fruits; I am getting bits of cherry, cranberry, fig, and raisin. Some warmth of vanilla with a light spicy note of a ginger/cinnamon woodiness.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. Has a robust bitterness in the middle, but goes along great with the sweet vanilla and fruit.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet and rich, but is counterbalanced well with the fruits and bitterness. Not as thick as I was expecting, but its actually not a bad thing. Rather smooth despite the ABV and bitterness.

(D)- A great barleywine with a great future ahead of it. Tastes great now, but age will continue to work wonders on this guy. Rather fruit driven, but goes well with the bourbon barrel aging. Reminds me almost of a port wine. Great stuff; seek this out and buy a case to set aside and drink over the next 4 years at least.

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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 coldmeat23
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees
VINTAGE: 2010

This one is a nice, golden amber color with honey colored tinting. It forms a thin head, which is the color of burnt caramel. This dissipates rapidly, but the lacing is spotty and nicely sticky.

Chunks of creamy caramel wrapped in flakes of toasted coconut sail in a boat made of toast and marshmallows down a stream of butterey goodness. This has tons of deep, rich, maltiness to it. A good deal of oak is present. Lots of sticky, dark fruit notes. Mild traces of vanilla.
This has all of the barrel characteristics that you'd find in a stout of this style, except that they are with a barleywine here. I think they may even blend better here than with a stout.

The taste follows the nose. It brings some charred oak notes along to the party. Caramelized sugar notes. Mild presence of hops combine with the woodiness, to help give a nicely dry finish.
Bourbon flavor is apparent, but alcohol presence is fairly well hidden.

This has a very nice full body, verging very close to being downright thick. The carbonation level is mild-to-medium. It is very smooth and has just a touch of light creaminess going on.

For 11.50%abv this is very drinkable. If I had a four pack of this, I'd probably be passed out by now, but I'd have a great time getting to that point. This stuff is tasty!

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Photo of kels
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this 2010 bottle from NorthsideFred as an excellent extra - cheers!

It pours a rusty shade of brown and is more opaque than clear. The high ABV actually becomes visible in a slightly layered effect within the beer. The initial 1/2 finger white head fizzles out immediately to a bit of swirly skim and a few spots of spitty white lace.

Very interesting aromas in this beer. I do get the syrupy grains and some dark, sticky fruits in the nose, but the dominant scent is specifically the vanilla and oak - not the bourbon - from the bourbon barrel. It gives a really nice, softening effect to the normally nose-singing boldness of a barleywine. The alcohol is actually hardly detectable.

Alcohol hiding in the nose certainly comes through, almost too strongly, in the taste. It does hold the essence of the bourbon, but the alcohol is definitely more sharp, more like rubbing alcohol, than like the full and softly warming feel of a good bourbon. The vanilla and the oak come through deliciously, with a nice mellow sweetness and charred flavor. As with the nose, I get the barrel a little more than the barleywine, but that's okay with me in barrel-aged beers even if it isn't others preference. A bit of the deeply caramelized grains and that essence of sticky raisins and prunes comes out in the aftertaste. Feel isn't as thick and viscous as it would appear, though is far from thin or bubbly. It has a slick and moderate presence that keeps the flavors hanging around in the aftertaste forever.

Drinkability is definitely impacted by the sharpness of the alcohol in the taste, but not necessarily any more than in other beers of this style. Overall a tasty and somewhat unexpected beer that I'm glad to have enjoyed.

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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 Shumista
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received two bottles in a recent trade at DLD. The only thing better than a barleywine is one that has spent some time in a barrel. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a thick, syrupy dark golden amber with a small rising off white head. Smell is bourbon and oak, dried dark fruits, alcohol. I think the barrel really takes the smell over. Taste is a wonderful intermingling between the natural flavors of the beer and the flavors imparted by the barrel. Charred oak, bourbon, sweet caramel malt, cherries, caramelized brown sugar, then dried dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness. The finish is sticky, warming a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is soft (that's the only thing I can think to call it), sticky, warming and comforting (an adjective that I think should be more widely used when describing beers like this). Drinkable enough, you're not really supposed to want another. I'd love sit back and relax with this after a great meal then slip into a buzzed food coma and sleep like a baby.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 2010 version. Thanks to justn. Had the 2009 a while ago but jusr a taste.

A- Lighter than expected. Amberish. Moderate creamy peanut-butter-cookie head. Slight lacing, good retention.

S- Caramel toffee bourbon goodness. Rich, almost butterscotch (good though). Barleywine is in the background but there... faint raisins or figs.

T- In a word- awesome. I think bourbon bal-aged barleywines are my kryptonite. The flavors work so well. The bourbon and wood notes are most noticed... very woody actually. Smooth and sweet caramel, a bit of a spicy wood note, vanilla and burnt sugar, mild creamed coffee (light roast).... and finally we get to the barleywine. Dried fruit, booze. I'm having a hard time picking out more than that but its all good. Lots of flavors at work and the barleywine is a perfect springboard for the other flavors in play.

M- Finesse- Really one for the record books. Is it hot? Yes. But not out of control or messy. I'm curious what some time would do to this as I'm really digging it now.

D- Moderately high- Rivals any other bal-aged barleywine I've had. Impressive stuff. If you have access to this stuff, consider yourself lucky.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the bottles! 2010 Vintage, from notes.

Pours with a caramel-orange hue, not too much lace but some faint wine-like legs are evident after a short head fades.

Aromas of rich caramels and moderate barrel impact. The central waters barrel aged beers are so distinct in their barrel character.... not sure what kind of barrels they use though. Butterscotch and this charred/toasted wood character that is so distinct in the taste. Some sweeter vanilla and brown sugar combine with the robustness of the barrel notes. The base beer is not as complex as I remembered from the 2009 vintage, still boasts some darker fruity notes and toasted nuts for added depth. Upper medium bodied, low carbonation, felt a little 'heavy' at times. Alcohol becomes surprisingly evident as this got closer to room temp. Still, this was not too hot, but rather warming - making you constantly aware of the ABV. This is a pretty good BA Barlweywine, though not quite as magical as when I first had the 2009 vintage.

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Photo of Strix
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly clear orange-amber, decent initial head, fading to nothing.

Smells of vanilla, malt, and bourbon, hint of cherry.

Tastes of sweet malt, cherry, caramel, brown sugar, oak, and bourbon. Boozy heat permeates. Nicely blended.

Smooth, nearly invisible in the mouth.

A nice sipper. It will be interesting to see how this ages.

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Photo of jahfool
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DP34 for the bottle. Poured into a wine glass, taking a break from working on a beautiful saturday afternoon. A small consolation for missing the Boonville beer festival.

Appearance: Brilliantly clear dark amber color, decent head that recedes relatively quickly. Not much lace. No yeast/sediment, not bottle conditioned. Inviting.

Smell: Hot, boozy. Rich malt presence, bourbon is noticeable but not overwhelming. No hops to speak of, seems like a english-style base barleywine.

Taste: For a bw, fairly dry. The bourbon barrel is the biggest component of the flavor, but the oak and whiskey notes are balanced by a sweet maltiness- well done. Noticeable alcohol, just a little hot.

Mouthfeel: Really clean, great carbonation- if anything slightly high for style, but with the sweet malt and barrel flavors, it helps liven up the beer. Smooth but not cloying.

Drinkability: Yes. This one goes down nice & easy. A very approachable barrel-aged BW, doesn't challenge the drinker while maintaining a nice complexity of flavor.

Overall: A solid effort, I'm impressed with the first Central Waters brew I've had. Well-balanced and the barrel-aging hits all of the right notes for me without being overwhelming. It doesn't make the 'top tier' for me, but is a very worthy beer.

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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.

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Photo of getkrunkhoe
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

App- pours a really rich red almost burgundy color with brown hues. A thick and big as FU*k creamy tan head just stares at you. Looks like it'll fade quick.

Ar- I get vanilla and bourbon and a hint of plum(?). also the alc. is present.

taste- BOOZY, sweet, red fruit, a bit of caramel, and brbn of course.

mf- is creamy and lush, big and forward. Very inviting

Dr- needs time to age, a year or 2 will open this big bold beer imensely.Lots of potential.

I recommend this ish.

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