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

BA SCORE
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2,322 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:
2,322
Reviews:
630
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
716
Gots:
729
For Trade:
85
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,322 |  Reviews: 630
Photo of mdillon86
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

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

Photo of Prost76
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Devman171
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of thampel09
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of herman77
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Murky dark amber/muddy brown. Small of white head. Very minimal lacing.

S: Lots of bourbon, sweet carmel malt, toffee, vanilla, oak and raisins.

T: Big hints of bourbon up front. Vanilla and oak dominate followed by a rich carmel/toffee malt. The integration between the maltiness and the bourbon is really good. Nice warming alcohol in the finish that lingers. I'm sure it mellows with age, but the heat from the bourbon works really well with this right now.

M: Fuller body, smooth and soft carbonation. Chewy and thick, love it.

O: Very impressive. Pretty damn good drinkability too considering what it is. Bummed I only picked up a single of this and I need to try the base beer.

 691 characters

Photo of Mersh
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of woemad
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle courtesy of the largesse of @Ri0. My first Central Waters beer, and it’s a big one. 2016 vintage.

Poured into a River City snifter, this was a dark, muddy, russet sort of color, taking on more of a rubyish hue when held up to light. Modest, sudsy beige colored head. Not a huge head, which wasn’t surprising, given the beer’s potency, but what there was showed surprising staying power once it receded to a foamy collar. Beer neglige-type lace.

Boozy and sweet aroma, initially, more or less as I expected. As it warmed, I picked out elements of caramel and dark fruit in addition to the bourbon and oak notes present from the start. There’s some more bready malts, too. While more complex than some of the style I have known, the most overriding sense given off by the aroma is that of a big, boozy barrel aged beer, which is, after all, what it is.

Whoa! This may be a 2016 vintage, but, damn, it’s smooove. I was expecting an alcoholically hot beer. That’s there, to be sure, but it’s behind a curtain of more subtly sweet and smoky flavors (one gets the feeling it’s barely being held in check, in fact). The booze and oakiness is most prominent at the finish, but not to the point where it’s overwhelming. This might not be the case if it were in a 22oz format, so Central Waters should be applauded for doing more with less, in that regard (now that’s pretty much the only way the word less could appear in the context of this beer).

Full bodied, with a rich, coating mouthfeel.

Tasty, yet in a very real sense, on the verge of being undrinkable, and would be if just a tad less mellow. I’d love to sock some of this away and revisit it on a yearly basis.

 1,702 characters

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

Drank from a 12 fluid oz bottle acquired in a trade with surge1311
Vintage: 2013
Served in a snifter

The nearly crystal clear, copper-mahogany liquid was topped by small, light tan crown that quickly faded to a ring of bubbles. Droplets of lacing clung to the glass.

The aroma was really intense and complex. Candied fruits came through strong. Quite sweet and boozy overall with a robust caramel malt presence. Lots of toffee and brown sugar. Good dose of vanilla. As the beer warmed, the bourbon and vanilla notes really intensified.

A stiff, caramel malt backbone led things off in the flavor profile. Toffee, brown sugar and candied fruits were apparent. Bourbon notes hit hard mid-palate. Loads of vanilla as well. The bitter, boozy finish was super hoppy and contained strong notes of pine sap and orange peel. A bit sharp for my liking.

The mouthfeel was somewhat lighter than I anticipated, but the super fine and zippy effervescence lent the beer an exceedingly creamy and smooth frothiness. After every sip, the liquid left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

Central Waters's Bourbon Barrel Barleywine Ale is an interesting and complex beer that makes for a perfect sipper on a cold winter night. I aged my bottle for a year, but I feel that even more time might help mellow out some of the booziness and the bitterness on the finish.

 1,349 characters

Photo of SierraFlight
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: rich dark brown ale, opaque; thick finger of head slimmed to a filmy collar

S: sweet malts and sugared fruits glazed in bourbon; dry wood vapors

T: dark dried fruits and whiskey - hints of dates, raisin, and fig; toffee and brown sugar sweetness; impressions of herb and earthy hops; there are suggestions of something like coffee and peat; almost a smoky quality, too

M: smooth, dense, slightly chewy, muted carbonation

O: a super American BBA barleywine, spot-on and full of flavor. Highly recommended.

 511 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice tawny ruby color. Small to medium sized, tight, creamy, smooth, off-white head. Average retention leaving a very nice layer of lace.

S - Strong toffee/caramel backbone. Interplay between vanilla and dried cherries and dates. Aroma is very fruity with touches of alcohol and bourbon. Slightly sweet with just that subtle hint of booze in the back.

T - Oaky flavors off the bat, with subtle notes of vanilla in the back. Gives way to a nice dried fruit flavor. Cherries, dates, raisins providing a definite sweetness. Strong toffee and butterscotch malt throughout. Finishes on a slightly tart and boozy note with bourbon and caramel flavors sticking on the tongue.

M - Medium body. Average carbonation. Slightly wet and slick feel.

D - Pretty drinkable, although it is more of a sipping beer. Flavors meld nicely. Bourbon is definitely present but it doesn't overpower or have too harsh of a burn. Strong malt backbone and fairly sweet but nowhere near cloying.

Notes: Much more of an English BA barleywine in my view. Nice for a sweet sipping beer that definitely presents bourbon flavors but isn't too harsh. Nor does it necessarily rely on the bourbon (although I'm not sure if it'd be anything special as a regular barleywine). It's a nice treat, but it isn't anything earth-shattering for the style.

 1,317 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. This is the 2010 version I traded for at Dark Lord Day then cellared for a while. I had to crack into this to see how it's coming along!

The beer looks good in the glass, but it's nothing exceptional. It has a caramel color with a touch of gold and red around the edges. The film of a head dissipates and I'm left with a random bubble or two. The beer is murky and could look better, but it's not going to make me think twice about consuming it.

The smell is great - Central Waters ages their barrel-aged beers for the perfect amount of time IMO and they get such great notes from the oak instead of straight wood and bourbon. In addition to the sweet malt and dark fruit typically noted in Barleywines, this has some wonderful injections of bourbon, vanilla and coconut. There's also a touch of toasted malt in the mix which certainly adds to the complexity. Very expressive. Little to no hoppiness - just a touch is left after the aging and adds some earth and a touch of citrus.

The taste is fantastic. This is easily one of the best -bal aged American Barleywines on the market, especially considering its price. The huge malt base is sweet and gives great caramel and toffee notes with a touch of toast. Some cherry, fig, and prune skin deepens the complexity. The bourbon comes in next and has a touch of sting but is well integrated. The oak lends some vanilla and coconut to round out the experience. There is some booze, but that's to be expected with a beer this big, and it's not something that defines this or jumps out too much. The hops aren't prominent but add some bitterness to round out the flavor.

The mouthfeel is defined by a creamy carbonation and medium to heavy body. The beer is decadant as it should be, but that hurts drinkability a bit. Just a fantastic brew and one I will stock up on every year when it's available.

 1,877 characters

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

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

Reviewing 2011, have had 2008-2011 before.
Pours a translucent cherry brown with a reasonable tannish-white head. Smells just fantastic: caramel, vanilla, bourbon. Just knocks me outta the park. This is a very fresh barley wine, with hops in the finish and big sweetness upfront. A bit boozy, bourbony and just generally, a beer that needs some time to calm down. From experience, it doesn't take long for this beer to mellow quite a bit. Based off of this fresh and generally over time, this is a barley wine for people who like them relatively sweet. Very solid levels of carbonation with a medium mouthfeel. In it's current state, it's not the most drinkable beer. As it mellows, the sweetness emerges, putting a ceiling on the drinkability. In general, this beer has well integrated bourbon without being a bourbon/booze bomb, that is on the sweeter side of an already sweet style. Fantastic, and that's before I mention that you can't pay more than $3/12oz when it's available.

 983 characters

Photo of pisano
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of loganburgh
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

09 vintage on tap at the old eagle tavern. First time, I will be back.

A- comes to me with a solid finger of light tan head that does hold for a second then settles leaving only thin ring and a few wisps on top. Murky brown orange in color with a good glow.

S- wow! What a nose. Tons of bourbon and vanilla hits with a deep roasty chocolate flourish. Bits of coffee and brown sugar and caramel with a touch of stone fruits.

T- opens up with a smooth semi sweet bourbon and brown sugar punch. The malts are nicely toasted giving a touch of nuttiness and bakers chocolate. Hints of fall spice and a great dessert bread touch. With a subtle but clean bourbon finish.

M- a few steps above medium in body with a bit of chew to it. Nicely carbed for the style and its lightens things up in the mouth just right. Great heat on the palate, I'm always looking for that right amount of heat in a bbbw.

O- amazing brew, plain and simple. One of the best bbbw I've ever had. The time down has done wonderful things to this.

 1,021 characters

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

Deep,deep mahogany color with a nice tight head-bordering on black but not quite so. Huge sweet malt aroma with a heavy hand of bourbon to boot. Very sweet, almost spirit sweet like one of the trendy "schnapps"...Big and heavy malt flavors-raisens, figs, caramel, dried fruit. Huge caramel and toffee like flavors. Enough hops to be there but this is certainly all about the malt here. Still holds a touch of grain flavor. Lingering spice-almost cookie like. Huge body and lick the lips sweetness going on. A big sticky, sweet mess that I simply love. Body goes on for miles. Just a great, great beer all around. A true sipper in every sense of the word. Just great. 2009 vintage. Don't know if this is done each year but oh what a cellarable beer...

 750 characters

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of italianstallion
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of shehateme
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of xtonytx
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of bigbeers84
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,322 ratings.
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