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

BA SCORE
95
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2,318 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:
2,318
Reviews:
628
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
8.88%
 
 
Wants:
716
Gots:
727
For Trade:
85
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,318 |  Reviews: 628
Photo of DerekMorgan
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of HoistinBrews
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Hallertau
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Nice ruby color with solid retention but does dissapate to nothing as it settles down and warms up.

Fantastic notes of bourbon with a good backing of darker fruits and a little medicinal hop kick. Even the oak is apparent in the nose,subtle but does pop its head up.

Heavy caramel and fruit upfront. Nice vanilla following that makes way for the huge bourbon blast that takes over the ride.

Full bodied and a little too flat. A slight chew as well.

Not a bad beer, a little bit much as warms up.

 524 characters

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

A huge thanks to nflmvp for sending this rare barleywine my way. As soon as I uncapped the bottle, my nose was bombarded with tropical fruit aromas. It was then that I knew I was in for a real treat. Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle into my snifter glass and allowed to warm up for 30 minutes. Served at 55°F. Appears a slightly cloudy, deep amber-red color with barely half an inch of tan head. The head fades rather quickly, leaving a thin ring around the inside of the glass and no lacing to speak of. Smells of tropical fruits (mainly pineapple), as well as toasted coconut, vanilla, bourbon, caramel malt, and oak. The bourbon really hits you upfront once you take a sip, as it should. This is followed by notes of pineapple, more bourbon, prunes, vanilla, and a nice peppery bite across the tongue. Great malt balance. The alcohol burn starts as soon as you take a sip and continues into the dry finish, although, it is always kept in check. Mouthfeel is a notch or two above medium in both body and carbonation. For me, this is certainly a sipper in order to take in all this beer has to give you. I'm glad I was able to try this rich and complex barleywine. I'd love to revisit it in a year or so to see how it's changed. If you have the chance, definitely give this one a try.

 1,286 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2012 vintage, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber body with a pinky finger of light beige head. Retention isn't great, but there is a thick swirl of bubbles on top of the brew for quite some time, with a thin collar that leaves a little ring during a swig. No lacing that sticks.

S: Bourbon... This is very bourbon-forward, wow. Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, brown sugar, molasses. Lots of sweet things. Vanilla, even some oak. Very pungent, very nice.

T: Almost a metallic bent to it, which recedes but doesn't fully vanish as the beer warms. It's very caramelly and sweet. Lots of toffee, butterscotch, and nuts to accentuate the bourbon character. Vanilla and oak are also found. Hops are quite strong in this beer, contributing bitterness but no particular flavor. Instead of balancing the rest of the beer, the bitterness clashes oddly. Somewhat poorly integrated. It starts off great, but the finish is metallic and astringent.

M: It is viscous, resistant to swirling in the mouth. Full-bodied in flavor, with low carbonation and a creamy presence. It's drier than expected, and the bitterness/metallicity helps prevent this from tasting too sweet as well. I detect the ABV only subtly as a warming effect.

D: This is an excellent deal. However, it could use a little more work to integrate the flavors properly. I'll definitely keep chasing it down in the future, but it's not a beer I need in large quantities. I like this approximately on par with Abacus; this one is more flavorful and less boozy, but Abacus has a better finish. The cost tips it in CW's favor.

 1,653 characters

Photo of elkinbrown
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of portia99
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip, 2009 release. Bottle courtesy of nonstick - thanks again, Chris!

A - Pours a deep, dark brown with reddish highlights...almost opaque, but not quite. Short, cream colored head that recedes quickly and leaves a good, thick collar around the edge of the glass. Good looking barleywine.

S - Aromas are little on the light side, but I'm getting a combination of bourbon, molasses and caramel.

T - First impression...very nice. Plenty of bourbon character and flavor, but no hotness from it...a pleasant surprise. Tons of caramel and sugary sweetness. This blends really well with the bourbon flavor...this is very smooth. The bourbon cuts the sweetness and gives a bit of balance. Not much hop character - defninitely malt centered.

M - Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Thick enough to be satisfyin but not so much to be syrupy. No real heat from the bourbon, but I get a tingle on the lips and the roof of the mouth that I typically get with bourbon, scotch, etc. - just a reminder of its time in the barrel.

D - Quite a good barleywine...but no idea of ABV. I'm feeling it about 2/3 through the bottle so I'm guessing it is fairly high. Don't think I could have more than one of these at a time, but it is rather drinkable for what it is. The lack of bourbon heat is a plus and helps make this more drinkable than it could be. Good bourbony flavor without the heat...this is a good thing.

Overall, really enjoyed this beer. Definitely would not mind getting another one of these.

 1,528 characters

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.

 1,013 characters

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.

 698 characters

Photo of jshusc
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of grover37
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IpeeA
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

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

Photo of rossracing
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Narthax
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to milwaukeeclassic for throwing this in as an extra.

Pours a deep woody brown with a thin tan head. Very rich color.

The nose has a collection of bourbon, oak, vanilla, fruity malts, mellow hops and caramelized sugars.

The taste is more subtle, a tasty blend of whiskey, wood, toffee, pitted fruits and bitter hops.

Top knotch, I think I am starting to prefer bourbon aged strong ales over bourbon aged stouts. At least until my next BA stout. The residual sugars in this barleywine really pick up the complexities created by the barrels.

 556 characters

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

Bottled January 2012.

Pours a hazy medium amber with hints of red. One-finger yellowish tan head, good retention and lacing. I like the looks of it.

Smell is simply fantastic. A wonderful blend of rich sweet fruity barleywine goodness with robust-but-not-overpowering bourbon notes. Caramel galore, some pungent over-ripe stone fruit. Wow.

Taste doesn't quite live up to that, mostly cause it's kinda hot. The first 3/4 of the taste is great, with rich sweet peaches and plums, caramel, and an undercurrent of bourbon. But in the last quarter, the bourbon blasts in, making me cough lightly and want a reprieve.

Mouthfeel is sticky and heavy. Not thick, but syrupy and clingy, sticking to the mouth and lips for quite a while. Carbonation is medium-low, as it should be, but provides a little shake-up at the end.

This is a very fine barleywine. I'm going to let my remaining bottles sit, in the hopes that the bourbon kick in the finish will mellow out. I find it darn tasty, but a bit hot. The base barleywine is quite good on its own, and it shows through well here, and blends well with the bourbon.

 1,108 characters

Photo of Chico1985
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

February 2010 vintage. Received in a trade from jmp485, this has been sitting in my fridge for a while. 12 oz to a snifter.

Pours a purple/red color, very much like the color on the label. Small off-white head turns to a swirly cap and leaves pretty nice lacing.

Very malty smell. Rich caramel, dark plums, sweet cherries and vanilla bourbon goodness. Dessert-like. Not much hops, but excellent.

Taste follows the scent to a T, very sweet and malty. Huge notes of maple join what's listed above along with a tiny bit of hops. Reminiscent of an English Barleywine and high-quality liquor flavors (bourbon and rum) without any burn. Super caramel aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, carbonation on the low side. Alcohol is insanely hidden, truly a great example how to make a barrel-aged beer without letting the bourbon take over, it is only a compliment to the beer here 100%.

Obscenely drinkable for what it is, finished it faster than I should have. So glad I have 3 more bottles, I imagine this aging excellently. Probably the best Barleywine I have had so far.

 1,082 characters

Photo of JeffTheJuice
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of jegross2
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Company. It is no secret that Central Waters is my favorite brewery in Wisconsin.
Score: 90

January 2012 vintage bottle served in an oversized brandy snifter glass and enjoyed on 02/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep and mostly opaque mahogany color with some highlights at the top of the beer when held to light. Pours a finger-plus of tan sea foam head that settles into a thin foggy layer atop the beer and ring around the glass. Above average, oil lacing. 4/5

Smell: Strong notes of vanilla and molasses. Sweet and malty vanilla extract, light and fluffy vanilla cake, and a little tiramissu. Sweet raisin, caramel malt and astringent alcohol too. 4/5

Taste: Very strong and malty-sweet vanilla extract flavor throughout. Molasses/brown sugar, sweet raisin and alcohol flavor/warmth on the midpalate. Lingering caramel malt and vanilla in the finish. There is a light barley flavor in the back half of the beer as well. As the beer layers and warms, increasing amounts of raisin and alcohol come out. This brew grows in sweetness as it warms and layers as well. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, low carbonation. Super malty and sweet, but not sticky. 4/5

Overall: Bold, malty-sweet flavors render this one a sipper. The barrel aging here has vastly improved the quality of the base beer (the Kosmyk Charlie Y2K).

Recommendation: Especially for those who missed out on King Henry and/or do not have access to upcoming re-release of Abacus, this is a barrel aged barleywine worth seeking out. The bold flavors might turn off some casual beer drinkers, but I feel that the flavors if this brew are balanced and mass-appealing enough to likely intrigue the majority of casual beer drinkers.

Pairings: Pretzels.

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack.

 1,851 characters

Photo of Evan
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of Eaglefan344
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,318 ratings.
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