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

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel BarleywineBrewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by Atron67 on 03-02-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
615
Ratings:
2,265
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.29%
 
 
Wants:
714
Gots:
721
For Trade:
90
User Reviews
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Reviews: 615 | Ratings: 2,265
Photo of 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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Photo of dmgeng
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one as a bonus on trade and I was letting it age a little before I tried it. Bottled: 2015.

A - Dark amber color that is somewhat cloudy from the journey this beer has taken. Has a bone colored head that subsides quickly and leaves only a few spots of lacing.

S - Big sweet malt character and then sweet bourbon mixed with caramel and some vanilla. The booze is still very strong but it doesn't burn the nose. It's a sweet and pleasant bourbon barrel barleywine.

T - As you would expect the robust, sweet malt character is first and then a wash of big flavors takes the tongue. Toward the middle is the full bourbon flavor rich with oak, caramel, and vanilla. The finish has the dark fruits associated with a barleywine and some warmth from the alcohol.

M - High mouth-feel with low carbonation. This is how a bourbon barrel barleywine should be; soft on the palate, full flavored, and not too cloying.

Overall, this is a supreme example of the bourbon barrel barleywine. It isn't as complex, as boozy, or as easy to drink as some out there but being in the middle of it all give this beer perfect stature for the style. This is a sweet barleywine with plenty of bourbon and goes down nicely. If you haven't tried this style this is a great one to start with since it will be the baseline on what to taste for when sampling more offerings of the style.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of guityler83
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A dense tan colored head was poured about a finger tall into a snifter glass. Head retention was good for such a high gravity beer, a thin coat of lacing was left on the side of the glass as it was being consumed. Alcohol legs can be shown when swirled. The beer is a dark mahogany brown color, very murky with not much light coming through.

S: Big nose composed of prunes, raisins, plums and other dark stone fruits. A woody character melds with the complex malt profile so well it seems very organic. Fairly moderate dank and dark piny hop aroma.

T: Very complicated malt profile similar to the aroma. Prunes, plums, raisins, tobacco and pomegranate. The balance is on the malt side with a moderate sweetness, almost a syrup like flavor, but there is a medium bitterness at the beginning with an earthy, pine flavor. Last but not least the oak, vanilla, slightly coconut flavored barrel flavor develops throughout and melds very well and naturally. Very tasty.

M: Big warming sensation from the alcohol on this one, definitely a sipper. Big body with moderate to medium carbonation. The woody/oaky tannins are left on the pallet giving a slight drying sensation.

O: A big malty barley wine with an organically natural tasting barrel flavor thats great for sipping on a cold winter night. Cheers CW, keep up the good work.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured 2012 Vintage into a New Belgium snifter. It is a very amber colored cloud.

smell is sweet dark fruit... plum, dates, and a small alcohol burn. maybe some bourbon and sugar in it to.

Taste is where it all gets awesome, first vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, nice dark fruit, alcohol is strong at end.

mouthfeel is perfect fot the style.

Wow this beer is another one that makes me happy to live in Wisconsin. I would put this up against pretty much any other barlywine that is out. The bourbon really works nice. If you are a Bourbon aged fan this is just about perfect

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Photo of cbeer88
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted blindly in the Blind BIF. Poured into Duvel tulip.

Apperance: Dark orange, bordering on brown. Decent finger and a half head on an aggressive pour, lots of carbonation bubbles. Light spotted lacing.

Smell: Caramel malt, oak, and a bit of a hop profile. Also a good amount of alcohol presence on the nose. Bourbon I do believe.

Taste: Really hot, the alcohol dominates the palate on this one. Bourbon barrel for sure. Underneath I get some caramel, some sweet bread-y flavor, and a good amount of pine flavored hop punch.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, moderately carbed.

Drinkability: Very low - this beer is really hot and needs some time to mellow.

Overall: I do think there is a very good beer in here, but it is so masked by the alcohol that I'm having a hard time tasting what lies underneath. I'll get through it alright without a struggle, but I would lay this down for a bit before attempting it again.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(12oz bottle courtesy of guyinchicago!). Pours cloudy amber color with sediment and off-white head. Aroma of candied sugar, dried 'pit' fruit and bourbon. Taste is sweet almost like a tootsie pop with a bitter pop at the end.. Full bodied and slick texture. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overpowering. This is a pretty interesting beer.

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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.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour is a funky murky amber. No head, but a depth to it that screams "drink me". Spectacular aroma of bourbon, caramel, and sugar. Taste is a similar line, with more of a fruity vibe (not that it's a bad thing), with raisins and a little bit of apricot.

Mouthfeel is simply hit out of the park. Thick, sticky. I'll gargle with this stuff, thanks.

One of the best beers I've had. If King Henry is a clear cut above this...I really gotta try King Henry.

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Photo of rodkin
3.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Very small head, that quickly dissipates. A thick, translucent dark red. It's got some yeast sediment or something in there that's pretty gross looking.

Smell is vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel. Very sweet, but not cloying. The bourbon comes through with some added complexity, but it doesn't smell boozy at all.

Smell is vanilla, oak, cherry, booze, raisin. Some leather, kinda. Hint of caramel. Boozier than the nose.

Medium thickness, decent carbonation. A little more carb and a little less body than I'd like.

A fine barleywine. Probably the best thing I've had from Central Waters.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage

A: A hard pour into a large snifter produced a 2 fingered frothy yet creamy tan colored head. It displayed good retention and some lacing settling atop this deep red bodied, semi-transparent brew.

S: Loads of caramel and dark fruits, only little hints of bourbon. Good smell that lacked in complexity.

T: Follows the caramel found in the smell, but the new found complexity elevates this beer to the next level. Dark fruits were less prominent and blended nicely with the oak from the bourbon barrels.

M: Heavy, creamy, still pretty hot. Gonna hold onto my remaining bottles for later.

O: A surprisingly great Barleywine that I can see only getting better with time.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yep, that guy Gillard is up to his old tricks by sharing amazing WI brew offerings. Thanks buddy.

Pours deep copper with light tan head. Nice aroma with tasty wood and bourbon notes that don't really over shadow the fruity esters and faint maltiness. The alcohol heat does build up and singe the nose a bit. The taste starts with mildly sweet maltiness and roasty malts that then becomes wood and barrel like flavors before a formidable vanilla flavor takes hold. There's also dark fruity esters of grapes, cherries and prunes before the alcohol hotness builds to a distracting level. It could use more age. Darn tasty now though

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Photo of muttyd
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wisconsinality for this amazing extra.

Poured into a stemmed chalice with an apple-cider / hazy amber body and thin, offwhite head that settles into about a 1/8 inch thick haze. Very cloudy, decent lacing.

Aroma is all over the place. I get a caramel-dipped apple up front, some cinnamon & sugar toast, and vanilla/oak. The aroma really changes as the beer warms up and as you take a deeper whiff. Finishes with a burnt sugar, alcoholic presence. The flavor brings out the barrel a bit more than the nose with a pleasant vanilla frosting combined with wet oak flavor. Some citrusy/pineapple hops in there as well. Rich dark caramel sweetness makes this one sweet, without being too cloyingly sweet. Medium carbonation with a heavier body that finishes very sticky, coating the mouth.

Very generous extra, huge props again to Winsconsinality. Would love to get a hold of this one again.

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Photo of Yesac
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 fresh vintage

A- Opaque murky orangy red in color with a small bright white head.

S- Fruity nose.. cherries come to mind. Not much bourbon aromas present. Some caramel malt.

T- Right along with smell. Fruity notes on the nose and throughout. Sweet caramel malt and some candy sugar. Earthy tones and a saltyish finish. Very slight hints of bourbon. ABV is very well hidden.

M- Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Not sticky.

O- I'm glad to see something with "bourbon" on the label and it not taste like it's over powered by it. This brew is a good blend of barelywine aged in bourbon barrels and made for some interesting sipping. A little on the bitter-sweet side for taste however.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty, burnt orangeish brownish. Okay head, okay lacing.

Bits of hops, orange, caramel, burnt sugar, nice.

Yum. Lots of caramel and candy in this one. Hops are dominated, mainly just dessert: vanilla and chocolate wrapped in an easily drinkeable, lightly hopped dessert beer.

Rich, full mouthfeel, well done. Leaves a pleasant sweetness on the tongue. Alcohol controlled masterfully.

This is a truly great beer. Best I've had from Central Waters. Very impressed, seek out.

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Photo of vic21234
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 Vintage. Was happy to get my hands on a 4 pack of this today.

A- Pours a dark red, almost brown color. A small amount of off-white colored head quickly fades.

S- Nice aromas of bourbon and dark fruits. Some sweetness and caramel is noted too.

T- Really nice stuff. Starts very smooth with tastes of dark fruits and sweet malts. Then comes the bourbon and oak notes, which takes over the back half of each sip.

M- Low carbonation, drinks hot, a great sipper.

This is a great barleywine. Drinking kind of hot right now but not a bad thing at all. I'm anxious to see how it mellows out.

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Photo of boatshoes
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this as an extra from alcstradamus in a recent trade. A serious want of mine, thanks for the hookup!

Appearance- Pours a very dark amber brown that borders on opaque. A minimal cap of tan head off of a very aggressive pour. However, some carbonation present beading up the side of the glass throughout the drink and head remains throughout. Lots of sticking lacing left as well.

Smell- Huge notes of bourbon and vanilla coming through in a big way on the nose. Lots and lots of malt with a touch of fruitiness. Some sharp alcohol astringency with perhaps just a very subtle touch of underlying hop bitterness.

Taste- Pretty unlike any barleywine I've had thus far. Very prominent bourbon and vanilla with a touch of tobacco. Lots of underlying sweet malt that comes across like candied fruit. Some warming alcohol on the way down and maybe just the slightest bit of hoppy resin on the backside.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Very nice levels of carbonation with a thick and slick mouthfeel. Drinkability suffers just a bit because of the overwhelming sweetness of this one. Quite nice on the whole though.

Overall, very interesting and quite nice. An excellent barleywine worth picking up if you get the chance.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 Bottle

A: Pours a very dark ruby, with a small, light tan head.

S: Oak, sweet vanilla, layers of delicious caramel and bourbon.

T: Layered caramel, candied dark fruit, big vanilla, bourbon. Not one dominating characteristic--very complex. Very nice warming and toasty malt flavour in the finish.

M: Smooth and velvetty. It may be the slightest bit sticky/syrupy, but it remains exceptionally smooth and pleasant.

D: So smooth, with a complexity that keeps it very interesting and enjoyable throughout. I look forward to "more of the same" from Central Waters. Fantastic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of hopsbreath
2.06/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had a little barrel aged barleywine tasting at MADhombrewer and Witchsbrew's residence last night. Filet mignon's were provided by our host's for TulipSnifter and I. Thanks guys!

In the lineup were Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Hellshire I, BA Hi-Fi Rye, BA Old Ruffian, Abacus, and Alpine Great. Our intention was to also open up Perfect Storm '09, Mother of all Storms '10, Kuhnhenn BBBW, and Arctic Devil but we agreed it best to hold off on those beers for another day due to palate fatigue. Small two ounce samples of the six beers from last night were first tasted and notes were taken before returning to the bottles for more tastes and refined notes.

Thanks to graniteskunk and zimmerbloke for providing me with 2010 and 2011 vintages of this.

A: Golden-tan, fizzy white head falls to nothing. Not particularly viscous looking and we get some spotty lacing. 3/5

S: Honey, grassy hops (slightly stronger in the '11 but very similar between the two vintages), and non-pleasant slightly putrid wood. 2/5

T: All hops and barrel. Any complexity that may be in here is currently hidden behind the more aggressive characteristics. It will need some time to develop complexity and in my opinion, the '10 batch is still very similar to the '11. Three years in the bottle might make this better but for now it's not very good. 2/5

M: Thin and spritzy compared to the other beers in the lineup. 2/5

O: Simply not up to par with the competition. 2/5

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Photo of kbwalters
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Warmed up some before pouring into tulip glass. Bottled on Jan 21st, 2014, consumed on 1/7/15.
Look = 4.75 Pours a deep mahogany color with red highlights and 2 fingers of thick off white head. Great lace and retention. Big time sediment, including big chucks. Usually a bigger negative but it seems to fit fine here.
Aroma = 4.5 Big sweet aroma at first, malty toffee and caramel, complimented by the bourbon and vanilla notes. Boozy.
Taste = 4.5 Big sweetness upfront and through the middle of the taste. Sweet malt toffee and caramel, a really good barelywine. Then come the bourbon! On the backend with deep notes of vanilla. The bourbon in the finish is the strongest I’ve ever come across. At first the tastes are really separated but after a few sips it all blends together very well.
Feel = 5.0 So velvety and smooth, thick and creamy. Very substantial mouthfeel.
Drinkability = 3.0 Wow, the bourbon is really overpowering at first. Combined with the big ABV, drinkability of this is low.
Overall = 4.4625 Crazy good barelywine combined nicely with significant bourbon profile. After it all starts to blend it really is something else.

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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.

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Photo of br3wmeister
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Lightly hazed dark brown liquid. Small bubbly off whit head that dissipated quickly. No lacing.

S- Lots of sweet malt and woody oak aromas up front. Hints of chocolate honey and bourbon are also present. Some good alcohol sting and light citrus hops.

T- Very sweet up front, lots of molasses, hint of honey and some vanilla. Great roasted barley notes as well, chocolate, nuts, and bitter roasted flavors. This beer also has a good hop presence giving it some nice bite. Thought the whole experience there is a large bourbon and boozy alcohol presence.

M- This is a full bodied beer that coats your mouth with an oily feeling. Good balance and prefect carbonation.

Overall- This does not taste much like a barley wine to me. The bourbon and oak character kind of take over letting the original beer be a subtle after thought. With that said, this is still a great beer. Great flavor, aroma and mouth feel.

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Photo of ryanhooks81
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from bottle into tulip. pours a cloudy reddish brown. small light khaki colored head. dissipates into a thin ring. smells boozy, with vanilla and toffee. big vanilla flavor, along with dates and toffee and vanilla. perfect carbonation. very good. i wish i had more.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a few of these on my Wisconsin trip, and it certainly wins best in show. Wonderful beer.

A: Pours a rusty reddish brown color. Clear. It's got a small white head that dissolves into a splotchy cap that never quite goes away and leaves light lacing.

S: Killer. Terrific deep caramel malt is the backdrop for oak, vanilla, and the other hallmarks of bourbon aging. All of the smells blend together wonderfully -- this is a big point for me. I love bourbon beers, but often the booze overwhelms the nose.

T: World-class. Again, the big caramel malt holds it all together. The vanilla is very strong, as is the booze from the bourbon. A little less oaky than the nose. There's a significant hop presence in the finish, but it doesn't stray into DIPA territory like so many of its American Barleywine comrades. And again, it's all balanced beautifully, as if an engineer had spent years calibrating it perfectly.

M: Thick and smooth, with low carbonation. A total mouth-coater. A decent amount of alcohol burn, but that doesn't bother me at all with this style.

D: Brilliant. I weep that I can't walk a quarter mile and pick up a four pack of this anymore. Truly, Madison, WI was forged by the gods themselves.

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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.

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