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

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2,349 Ratings
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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged for 1 year in used bourbon barrels.

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,349
Reviews:
637
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
715
Gots:
734
For Trade:
88
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,349 |  Reviews: 637
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.

 287 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of jaydoc
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

2011 vintage. Bottled in January.

Pours a murky iced tea color with a huge 3 inch light orange head that fades to a chunky cap on the top of the beer. Nice distinct thin rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of brown sugar, toffee, biscuity malt, bourbon, along with some wood notes. Taste is of bourbon and wood up front, with brown sugar and malt coming through in the middle, and some nice citrus zest hop flavors on the finish. This beer has a low level of carbonation with a creamy yet sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with nice balanced bourbon flavors that don't overpower the traditional barleywine smells and tastes.

 725 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

so there does exist a barley wine that lives up to its hype, and it is this central waters offering. hazy and rich caramel colored beer with an awesome white head over an inch tall and lasting all the whole time. it smells like caramelized grain sugar, raw sugar, toffee dessert, and booze, but only just enough. the nose and taste both suggest ridiculous barrel influence, i mean, tons of vanilla, tons of char, tons of everything, sugars too but its not too sweet. i get good bourbon all the way through, with that oaky earthen character and all the vanilla in the world, while the booze remains way back, but persistent enough for me to want to let this warm and drink it slowly, although neither the body nor the sugar makes this hard to drink. smooth down, long vanilla finish, like creme brûlée in many ways, to rich for a ton of it, but highly appreciated in reasonable doses. a good twelve ounce to share, and finally a central waters beer worthy of its high praise, this is wonderful barleywine, as good as american made english style gets.

 1,051 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Knapp85
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a hazy brown color with a cream colored head. There was a decent retention as well as some lacing for a while. There was some oily legs on the glass as well. The smell of the beer is boozy, lots of ethanol on the nose, hints of vanilla and caramel. The taste of the beer is sweet, malty with more vanilla and some subtle hop bitterness. The mouthfeel smooth, oily, moderate carbonation and kind of thick. Overall this beer is really quite good, big amounts of flavors. Has a lot of the characteristics of a solid barley wine. Worth trying for sure!

 567 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of nmann08
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

From a bottle, pours a very murky brown with ruby hues. A very thin and wispy head sits on top and there is a fair amount of clumpy sediment.

The smell is dark fruit, sweet malt and a fair amount of bourbon. Even after 3 or 4 years, this still has great barrel character. A little bit of hop content and vanilla still hang around.

The flavor is fruity, berry, not much bourbon at all. This is very mellow, balanced, in line with an aged barleywine. The barrel has faded considerably. Nice citrus hops with a faint taste of vanilla sweetness. This is in a great spot right now. Mouthfeel is clean, refreshing. Not much booze on the flavor.

Drink any 2011's you have now.

 694 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of metter98
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very hazy dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that died down, leaving some webs of bubbles down the sides of the glass, a collar around the edge, and delicate lacing on the surface.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of oaky vanilla are present in the nose from the bourbon barrel aging.
T: The taste has flavors of bourbon, oak, and vanilla along with underlying notes of caramel malts. A bit of alcohol (separate from the bourbon) is also noticeable.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with some warming from the alcohol.
O: The taste of this beer has an excellent balance between the bourbon and the underlying barleywine. It definitely tastes strong—making it a slow sipper—but the alcohol doesn't really detract from the taste. The smell is really nice if you like the vanilla associated with bourbon barrels.

Serving type: bottle

 950 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An insanely seductive Barleywine. Central Waters have figured it out.

I'll speed through the look, because the aroma is where this beer is at. A deep, truely amber colored beer carries a light majestic haze, moderate head formation and retention, and light lacing.

Now.. this beer's aroma is among the very best. Deep aromas of maple syrup, jelly beans, strawberry jam, raspberries, red licorice... it's unlike anything I have ever experienced in a beer glass.

With that nose, there's no way the flavor can measure up, right? Actually I am right. After the initial shock of ethynol and strong bitterness, I begin to appreciate the same attributes that I found in the nose. Caramel malts, toffee, sweet bourbon, and maple candy begin to describe the more prominant features of malt flavor. Fruity esters of plumbs, figs, dates, strawberries, ripe raspberries, red grapes, anise, and vanilla all make secondary impacts in waves and waves.

The flavors of succulent malts and fruits are abruptly interferred by intense bitter bite and strong alcohol numbing and prickling. The attenuation is quite high for Barleywines, making the beer more drinkable and less syrupy than most. Still, malty rich and medium-full textured.

Sure, there's some criticism here. But those aromas are the best. Simply put.

Thanks Cheezdawg!

 1,319 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard unbranded gold pressure cap and simple straightforward label served into a flared stem-tulip glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Acquired from Duff27 in a recent trade; thanks, buddy! "Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels." 2013 vintage. Label is an orange-brown and differs from the photo currently used on this webpage. Expectations are quite high; I loved the Y2K barleywine I had from Central Waters.

Served slightly chilled; I like my barleywines a bit warmer. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger light khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention (~5-6 minutes) for the high ABV. Even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes. Body colour is a refined rich amber. Looks like a fine brandy. Semitransparent. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'm impressed with the head. It looks as a barleywine ought to; understated and classy. Though the translucency/transparency is atypical of the style.

Sm: A bit of candi sweetness, candied fruits, subtle vanilla from the bourbon barrel, light toasted oak (less prominent than I'd like), caramel, toffee, maple, and rich malts. Refined and appealing, but I'm concerned about the sweetness. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable; this is shockingly un-boozy for its ABV. I like the fruits and vanilla. They play well together. A mild strength aroma.

T: The candi sweetness is problematic, but not to the degree I feared. Light vanilla. Very buried toasted oak notes. Caramel, toffee, and a heavy rich malt build. Sweet up front. Fruity on the climax, but these notes really fall off towards the finish, never quite feeling seamless in the build. No hop notes are detectable; maybe some minimal floral hopping at most. Some syrupy maple on the finish. ABV is decently hidden; some alcohol does come through. No yeast character. I want more from the oak; the bourbon notes are well integrated but shallow. It's balanced, if overly sweet. Well built for the style with good barrel aging execution.

More aggressive hopping is needed here to add bitterness and thereby balance the malty sweetness.

Mf: Silky. Refined. Smooth and wet. Even a biteen creamy. Good presence on the palate. Good thickness. Perfect carbonation. A well done texture for a barleywine. Good body.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV, but I can tell this one needs some time to age. The sweetness is just too high at the moment. Don't get me wrong though; this one is definitely a sipper - you couldn't chug it. It'll probably take me a good half hour to finish the bottle. It's a fine barleywine with good bourbon notes, but it just needs to develop more. I'd like to revisit this one with some age on it - no more than five years. Fans of the style will love this one - even fresh. Another solid brew from Central Waters. There's serious potential here. Thanks for the bottle, Duff27!

High B+

 3,043 characters

Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a layer of off white head that fades to a ring with some carbonation wisps on top of the pour.

Smell: Caramel malt sweetness with some hot bourbon and mild vanilla, and dark fruit notes.

Taste: Quite smooth, but still hot because it is young. Bourbon heat with dark fruit and vanilla notes. Warm alcohol with a very slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side and a bit syrupy. Tingly, smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a smooth beer given how new it is. Nice flavors from the barrel, I would definitely have another.

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Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: A rising pour managed to bring out the head on this one, albeit only a finger deep, though it did leaves some strands; the liquid itself was a tawny brown color

Smell: Pure wort, with a grainy raisin character

Taste: Grainy fruit cake, up front, with a bourbon accented bitter character that develops by mid-palate; rum-soaked raisins appear as well; after the swallow, the the flavor grows increasingly resinous and boozy; a minty apsect appears in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: This beer didn't resonate with me as well as it did for other reviewers; I thought it was too boozy and had an astringent character that cut through both the sweet malts and the hops; I like a bourbon barrel beer where the bourbon adds a subtle element; in this beer it was neither subtle nor dominant and, because of all the other flavors that clashed, I forgot that there was a bourbon element to the beer in the midst of the tasting

Note: Just re-visited with a year+ old bottle of the 2013 and came to the same conclusion even before checking my review so I guess I will go against the crowd on this one

 1,184 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of emerge077
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark crimson with two fingers of tan foam. Creamy consistency and long lasting retention. The deep crimson color is nice. Stewed prunes in the nose, not as nice. 2009 bottle, but it smells aged. Cotton candy, brown sugar, sweet and syrupy.

Some heat at first that's soon eclipsed by a gargantuan battle cruiser of bourbon and malt flavors. If you like those two things, you can't go wrong. Sweet vanilla aftertaste, plenty of rich malt and some residual hop bitterness. Drying finish, somewhat concealed in the booze department. Rich and syrupy feel, thankfully dry on the end like Y2K and not a sickly sweet aftertaste like so many barleywines. The barrel is integrated here, and it's not too hot, but you know deep down this is a booze bomb. Plenty of warmth, but not in the taste. Very well done overall, one to look forward to every year.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a quite large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of light bourbon notes with the typical vanilla notes and some sweet caramelized malt notes. Taste is a nice mix between some sweet, though not overly so, notes of caramelized brown sugar with some notes bourbon and vanilla. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Easily drinkable with good balance and level of complexity.

 470 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,349 ratings.
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