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 angelmonster
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the 2011 vintage

Pours a hazy hazelnut brown with amber highlights. Head is 1/3 inch and off white. Head retention is good and lacing is very good.

Smell is of classic barleywine aromas. Caramel malts, Belgian candied rock sugar, and some dried apricots/dates. Hints of pine and citrus linger and bourbon barrel aging is pretty apparent. Alcohol smells of slight oak, molasses, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste is pretty complex. Sweet caramel, bready rich malts, smokey almost like scotch. Alcohol has a big presence here but it isnt overpowering at all. 11 percent is definitely tasted but oak and bourbon impart a nice butterscotch/vanilla alcohol sweetness. Hops arent very present. As the beer warms, different flavors become more noticeable, mainly bourbon.

Mouthfeel is good, medium bodied and carbonation is good, especially for such a rich syrupy beer. Would have scored a perfect 5 if only head would have been pronounced and added that creamy texture that is so rare in high alcohol beers

Overall this is the best barleywine I've ever had. Flavors are rich, complex and for almost 12 percent, nowhere near overbearing. Only flaw to this beer is that the alcohol was definitely there, not that I dont mind it, but it prevented me from giving this beer 5 in some categories. I sampled this vintage at about 11 months old, hopefully I can find some more of this barleywine and revisit it in another year.

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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.

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Photo of biglite351
3.14/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Very merky dark burnt honey color. Vanishing near white head

S - Bourbon malts, caramel, vanilla. Strong on the bourbon

T - Mostly bourbon, but not actually overpowering. Caramel, vanilla and a

bitter yeast hit in the end

M - Thick but only a medium coating. Mild tingle on tongue with an

alcohol burn in the throat

O - Not bad at all, but not really my thing

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

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

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Photo of sleuthdog
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage pored into tulip

A: This brew poured an brown-orange color without any head. There was some evident carbonation upon the pour and I do see some slight bubbles through the murky color of this beer. Not overly impressed with the appearance of this one.

S: The first and somewhat dominating smell I get is the bourbon. I also after that get a nice sweet toffee, brown sugar and vanilla and these are melded together wonderfully with a booziness that works really well together. Really getting into this I do pick up a very slight oak character. The awesome smell has made up for the lacking appearance.

T: The taste follows the nose as I was hoping it would. I get the alcohol and the bourbon first. This is followed by some sweet notes like toffee, brown sugar, caramel and sweet malts and this just plain sticks to my tongue like a syrup. It just lingers for what seems like forever. The alcohol is evident to me but does not burn but instead I would describe it as a nice warming effect. Enjoy the taste on this one.

M: The feel is rather thin and watery to me but like I said it is also sticky and syrupy. The flavors do linger from sip to sip despite its thin feel.

O: I was not expecting this to taste like it did being that it is classified as an American barleywine. I expected more hop bite but got more sweetness that I get from the English style. Since I tend to enjoy the English version this was a pleasant surprise to me. Overall I really liked how the alcohol and the bourbon are not overly dominating but do play nice with the sweet and oak characters.

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Photo of KI9A
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh boy...can't wait to post his review, so I can look at what the others say about it!

A: Bottle pour, tulip glass. Beautiful deep mahogany. Puffy head.

S: Wood barrels, no doubt about that. Boozy, fruity, malty aroma. Nice.

T: YIKES! This is great. White vanilla-chocolate covered apples. Thats as close as I can explain it. Malts, maybe a grapefruity bitter finish. Very nice!

M/D: Clean for a barley wine. Nice bourbon finish, along with a little boozy heat. I am glad I bought 2 of these, one for now, one to cellar.

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Photo of djmichaelk
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, courtesy of alefish (thanks!), into a 7venth Sun snifter. 2012 vintage.

A - Pours a fairly clear dark auburn, with a finger of off-white head that quickly recedes to a thin cap. Good lacing, though.

S - Toasted coconut, a bit of hazelnut, toffee and brown sugar, and vanilla. Some barrel-aged barleywines stray into suntan-lotion territory, but this does a nice job of staying away from that.

T - Caramel, toffee, and just a little bitter dark chocolate at first, then vanilla and nuttiness. The finish is more American Barleywine, with the bitterness from the hops shining through.

M - Thick and creamy, with a velvety carbonation that compliments the flavors nicely. Bitter but not too drying.

O - This one went pretty quickly, in spite of the ABV. It's not quite at the level of Abacus or MoAS, but it's pretty close, and a a third (or quarter) of the price. Amazing that they can keep the cost so low. Well worth seeking out. (And glad I have another 4-pack on the way!)

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

3/2011 (2011 vintage): very similar to the 2010 after a few months, except the figs and dates are even more buried by the booze--can't wait to try the 2010 later. On a side note, mixing a few ounces of this about 50/50 with red's rye p.a. turned out amazingly well.

9/2010 (2010 vintage):
a 4 slightly haz coppery amber. film lasts a modest while.

s 4.5 at first the deep fig and date aromas i remember from regular charlie, then the bourbon hits me bigtime.

t 4 the bourbon is big on the palate as well. this beer is slick, hot, and boozy. wow, this might really benefit from some age, whereas i like the y2k just the way it is.

m 4.5 thick, slick, enough carbonation of fine quality.

d 4 will have to crack another open in a year or so and see if the bourbon settles down at all. right now this is huge and impressive, but i don't like it as much as the regular charlie.

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Photo of ibbjamin
2.63/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Paid $3.99 for a 12oz bottle from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. This is the 2009 vintage and I am tasting in JAN 2010, so it is likely about a year and a half aged (I am unsure of bottling date). I pour into a snifter to review.

A very aggressive pour yields a half inch, tan colored, dense head that leaves a nice ring of lacing after dissipating. Color when held to a light is deep mahogany ruby; certainly opaque in darkness. Some lacing has stuck around.

Aroma is pretty boozy, with bourbon and lots of oak picked up from the barrel it was aged in. Some resinous hops have stuck around, even through the aging and cellaring. Fig, plum and molasses also evident.

Too much bourbon in the taste for my liking. The other characteristics I noted in the nose become quite muted.

Medium full body. Light on the carbonation. Long boozy finish.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a deep ruby red with a slight purple tinge to it. Semi transparent with just a little bit of light that shows through. About a half finger's worth of head that leaves a little cap on the top and leaves some good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A good sweetness that is similar to a sherry or port. Some dark fruits are very apparent and a touch of oak in there as well. The deeper you smell the beer, the bourbon starts to peak its head out but never over powering. A hint of grape comes out as it warms along with the alcohol but not in a pungent, burning way found in some BA beers.

T- Well balanced and pretty complex come to mind right away. Some fig and dates to go along with a brown sugar sweetness but not cloying or syrupy. A touch of bourbon and some oak to make this a smooth beer. The alcohol is barely even noticeable and just adds to the overall smoothness and greatness of the beer.

M- Smooth and almost creamy. The carbonation is barely even noticeable but it works very well. There is a little heat on the tail end at the back of the throat as it goes down. A medium to full bodied that goes down smooth after every sip.

D- Exceptional. Goes down nicely and very well balanced. This is definitely a sipper which cuts down on the drinkability but this one is meant to be cherished. I would have to say that one is all you really need in a sitting. This would be great for after dinner or right before bed. Central Waters again shows why it is an up and coming brewery.

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Photo of sponberg
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish amber, slightly cloudy, with a thin offwhite head that is gonna do some lacing, you knows it.

Yeah, this one's hit the barrel - big, butter/smoke/vanilla/bourbon aroma with slight pepperiness; almost more of an anejo tequila note than bourbon in here. Diggin' it.

Starts out with this vast bourbon malt attack - huge flavor going on. Really get the bourbon barrel in this one - almost but not quite too much. Woody, spicy (pepperiness again) with big dark carameliness but dry as can be. Not cloying in the slightest. Finish is almost dominated by the combination of that smoky bourbon maltiness and the growing alcoholic presence. I like vanilla, but this one's got the bean well under control and all for the better of it. Big, warm, round, smooth, with a warming surge o' in the finish that almost numbs the tongue. A beer made for sipping, Two of these would be plenty - but I'd enjoy every sip.

Thanks to theFatKid13 for the bottle - :thumbup: F'n Furley!!!

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Photo of charlesw
2.14/5  rDev -50%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Beautiful ruby/brown, you can just see through it. A few nice inches of head - nice small bubbles and they hang around a few minutes to leave a lasting covering lace. To make it perfect the head would need to last longer.

Smells fruity and rich like an English barleywine. Sweet prunes and whatnot.

Tastes, well. It doesn't taste English like it smells. Well, sort of. But, see, it's completely buried under an overwhelming woodiness. This is over the top. Yuck.

Other than the over-the-top wood (which really ruins this beer for me), I get English flavors only without the sweetness. Strange, to say the least. And, sure, I get bitterness but I associate that with tannins from the wood and not with hops. A most unpleasant experience. Given another 10 years in the bottle I might think about actually drinking one (as in, when it has mellowed down to something only slightly more extreme than a normal barleywine) but, as it is, neither I nor the wife even wants to smell it again.

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

A nice deep red color with a monster off white head. Shrinks into a thin ring.

I get a lot of prunes and plums in the nose. Woodiness and bourbon as well. Never quite sniffed a beer like this before!

Bourbon is very smooth upon first taste. Very smooth and sweet. The dark fruits are coming through as well. Very well-balanced.

You can't drink a lot of these in a sitting, but this velvety barleywine is so unique and delicious. Central Waters needs more reach as this beer should be enjoyed by as many as possible.

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Photo of Brez07
3.82/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing from notes. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Dark cherry red color. Partially opaque. Small amount of cream head that stays for a few minutes

S: Great smooth bourbon presence up front. Combined with vanilla and some oakiness. Light citrus sneaks it's way through, mostly in the form of zest/rind. Notes of cherry and caramel. Sweet malt towards the end

T: Booze soaked caramels. Vanilla and dark fruit (still going with cherry). Definite bourbon presence. Subtle hop bitterness. Wood-like dryness

M: Medium bodied. Pretty high carbonation for the style. Fairly strong hop and alcohol finish

D: Might have opened this one a little early. With a little time I could see this being great. Decent now, but I'll sit on the other one I have

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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 buffs9
3.29/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 version: 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

murky plum color, with half a finger of off white head. Dies down quick to a ring of foam with wisps of foam on top.

Smells of caramel, toffee, a little figgy, vanilla and bourbon. A hint of spicy/resinous hops as well.

Tastes of caramel, raisins, toffee. Followed by oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Then a tobacco bitterness. complex and interesting, but everything seems a bit muddled to me.

Creamy, medium carbonation, medium body. A bitter finish that is hot and not very enjoyable for me, and I don't mind hot.

Worth trying, I'll have to try another to see if I notice differences. I was expecting more w/ such great reviews.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.1/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Had at a fun tasting. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance- Much lighter than anticipated. A nice copper color with a thin cap.

Smell- Vanilla and bourbon. Very nice. Caramel is very prominent.

Taste- Hot. Not as much bourbon as I'd like. A hot, stickiness that isn't balanced by anything.

Mouthfeel- Way too thin for my tastes.

Drinkability- No more than one. Probably not even one.

It's caramel. And some wood. And booze. Not a favorite.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle '09 into a tulip. It pours a very nice clear ruby. A minimal tan head forms and quickly reduces to almost nothing. Carbonation is visible and no sediment.

The aroma is a good blend of caramel malt sweetness balanced by a bourbon/vanilla mixture.

The taste is similar to the nose with a upfront sweetness balanced by a boubon-booziness that seems to be followed by oak. Definitely, some alcohol.

The mouthfeel has a medium body with a crispy carbonation. Syrupy with a potent alcohol burn at the end. Quite good.

Overall, this beer is easy to drink but the potency in flavor and ABV makes it limited as the palate and brain head south quickly.

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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 pmccallum86
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours maroon amber color with a light head, one finger head,

Aroma is of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malts, and bitter hops. Very rich in aroma, great for the style.

Wow, this beer is amazing. Lots of bourbon up front followed by a big wood (oak) flavor. Some vanilla and other subtle flavors come through on the finish. Seeing as it is a 2010 it seems a little hot, but it is still very good. I have heard much about this beer, lots f hype, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Terrific beer by Central waters.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a little hot. Age could do this beer well, as I'm sure it will only get better. Medium carbonation, smooth finish.

Very drinkable for the style, I want to get a lot of this beer, and keep it forever.

 738 characters

Photo of Odysseyalien
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: caramel, bread, alcohol,woody.

Appearance: brown, cloudy, tan foam, frothy.

Taste: medium sweetness, virtually no bitterness.

Palate: medium body, thin feel, soft carbonation, subtlely bitter.

Overall: I don't think this is an American barleywine. It's more akin to a British barleywine. A nice barleywine, not too unlike Weyerbacher's Insanity though thinner; not unlike Lost Abbey's Angel Share but half the price. I picked this up in Pennsylvania last week but only got one. I'lll buy more if I get back down there sometime soon.

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

12oz bottle from a couple of awesome MN BA traders!

Ruby red elixir poured into Hoppin' Frog snifter. Clear liquid, minimal lacing, thin, white rim hugs the edge.

Wonderful complex aromas: oak, vanilla, dried fruit, bourbon, caramel. Could sniff this all night.

The caramel and vanilla are right up front, then comes a nice bourbon bitterness that really balances the brew. The bourbon pleasantly lingers.

Medium body, smooth, sticky, like toffee.

This really hits the spot. Complex melding of flavors. Was thinking of sitting on a couple, but really drinking well right now.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A pretty delicious and deliciously drinkable powerhouse of a beer. Beautiful looking: a cloudy orange-ish brown. It looks like your dream of a barrel-aged barley wine. Mouthfeel is somewhat thinner than many barleywines but wonderfully creamy. Taste is surprisingly smooth - the aging seems to iron out the coarseness I find in many barleywines. Vanilla is the most prominent flavor. There's really just a hint of bourbon, which is a big plus in my mind, and the alcohol taste is slight as well.

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Photo of Scott17taylor
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby red with minimal head. Great lacing throughout.
Smells very bourbon forward. Lots of oak with toffee and fig.
Tastes very well balanced between bourbon character and barleywine. I get lots of butterscotch candy and darkfruit with some bourbon. Finishes slightly dry leaving you wanting another drink.
Mouthfeel is medium doesn't really cost the mouth but does fill it with flavor.
Overall definitely pick this up. I don't feel it can be beat as a barrel aged barleywine at $14 a 4 pack.

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Photo of N_Schleret
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark amber color with a 2 finger tan head that dissipates quickly to a light ring. Blotchy lacing.
S: Big boozy bourbon fills the nose with hints of caramel, vanilla, and toffee.
T: Again sweet bourbon overpowers everything. I get hints of brown sugar, vanilla, and toffee.
M: Fills up the palate nicely with a creamy sticky feel.
O: Another good bourbon barrel beer from Central Waters. A little age might mellow this out.

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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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