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 John_M
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Last of my central water beers from my trade with Garrett. This is the 2012 version of this beer.

The beer pours a fairly dark brownish amber color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The beer is quite attractive on the nose, as I pick up light milk chocolate, noticeable vanilla, toffee and butterscotch. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this sweet, excellent beer. Also, maybe it's from the extended aging in my cellar/closet, but there's a soft creaminess on the palate this is very, very nice. The finish is long as well, and there is a hint of heat from the alcohol on the finish. Otherwise, the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile.

Very nice beer from Central Waters (which is what I've come to expect from them). My only complaint is that I really didn't pick up a whole lot of bourbon, etiher on the nose or the palate. Otherwise, this is a very fine beer from CW.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade with eyncognito. 2008 Vintage. Pours the color of rust with a 3/4 inch head. Retention is good and there's some lacing on my glass. The aroma is sweet and malty. Toffee and caramel notes are strong. Some earthy hops are present but are not prominent. The bourbon aroma is nice and strong. The bourbon is strong in the flavor and complements the sweet toffee. There's a medium level of hop bitterness, as well as some vanilla and caramel. The alcohol is quite strong. Mediumfull bodied with good carbonation.

Update: Received the 2009 vintage in a trade with eyncognito and bumped the drinkability up to 4.5

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Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle...
Appears a crimson toned amber with a a small, off white head that slowly fades.
Smell is of big bourbon and oak up front with caramel, toasted nuts, and fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mild citrus hop bite that joins nicely with the toffee and caramel flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a small amount of CO2 leading to a smooth finish.

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Photo of corby112
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage.

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that is completely opaque with slight caramel colored edges. Half finger yellowish head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind and visible carbonation bubbling up.

Earthy, leathery malt aroma with hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit as well as some subtle hops and boozy alcohol sweetness. The barrel aging is evident in the aroma with a nice amount of bourbon, earthy oak, vanilla and marshmallow. It's refreshing to encounter a bourbon BA beer that is complex and doesn't smell like a complete booze bomb.

Medium bodied with tight carbonation up front and a good bit of alcohol heat that lingers throughout and warms the chest. Lots of sweet caramel malt with earthy, leathery notes and slight bitter hops. Hints of caramel, chocolate, toffee and biscuit countered by the bourbon barrel notes. Sweet and boozy but not too hot with plenty of bourbon, oak and vanilla. As it warms the heat tones down a notch and the silky caramel, toffee, vanilla and marshmallow flavors become more prominent. Very complex but a bit just a touch too hot at this stage. I would love to see how this is doing in another year or two. Very good but definitely a sipper.

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

I had this after the Y2K Catastrophe, and this one completely blew it away.

A: Hazy amber-brown, light tan head, good retention, slight lacing.

S: Alcohol with hints of bourbon, very woody, nice caramel.

T: The wood aging really shows, while the bourbon is pleasantly subdued. Some caramel, nut & spice with hints of fruit & dark chocolate. Good bitterness. Alcohol is slightly warming. It's between a 4.5 & a 5, so I'll be generous.

M: Moderate body, slight residual sweetness, carbonation on the low side of moderate.

D: An awesome sipper.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.42/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a copper color with good carbonation and a small white head.

S: Mainly bourbon, hops, booze and caramel

T: I get some dark fruits, caramel, oak, vanilla,the bourbon increases from begininng to end leaving a very prounounced bourbon feel on the end.

M: Tends to be a bit thin for my liking, syrupy end leaving an aftertaste

D: Good but would not want another

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle received in a trade. Thanks jgam115! 1,100th rating or review!

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve- Barleywine Ale. Malt beverage aged in used oak bourbon barrels. Let's go!

Pours a murky brown, with some garnet hues. A small half inch head fizzy head descends quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing, and some visible carbonation.

Smells really incredible- I basically exclaimed "oh fuck" when I first smelled it. Strong brown sugar and toffee, some sweet sultry bourbon, and maple syrup.

The taste is similarly awesome. Just so many flavors from the clearly superior base barleywine, whatever it is, plus so many added flavors from the barrel aging. Strong maple syrup, some candied raisins and plums, brown sugar, toffee, sweet bourbon, rich, strong vanilla, light coconut, and some pleasant wood bitterness. There's a small amount of hop bitterness. The maple and vanilla flavor in this one is so strong, it almost tastes like it was made with them as adjuncts, which shows the strong brewing talents of the folks over at Central Waters.

This brew is medium bodied, but feels light and silky on the tongue. Really quite drinkable, which is a miracle, given the 11.5% ABV. The booze doesn't show up much at first, but as it warms, it becomes a bit spicy, but warming and awesome. Low carbonation, despite it's visible presence after the pour.

This is really awesome. It's barreled perfectly, it's got to be one of the smoothest barleywines I've ever had. It's decadent, and a rare treat to drink.

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

Received in a trade. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a clear coppery garnet hue with a nice almost two finger head that faded down into a thin halo and light wisps.

S - Great aromas of bourbon right here. Light vanilla and oak with sweet caramel malts.

T - More of the sweet vanilla and caramel malts with good bourbon aspects here. Light toasted coconut. So delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is sweet with lots of bourbon. The alcohol is hidden, slightly, but is still there. To be expected. Bit on the thinner side too.

O - I have 4 or so of these left and definitely thing they will benefit from some extended time aging. Delicious.

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours an dense body of aged copper red with a thick creamy tan head that has a few tiny bubbles sticking to the glass. The head last for a good bit.

S- The sweet smell of rich caramel malt has a nice pine and herbal hop hint at the finish.

T- This beer has a rich malty flavor with a soft sweetness and a hint of caramel to it. This finish is a big pine note with a soft wood hint that lingers after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer is all about the big caramel sweet malt with some nice support from the pine hops and a very faint hint of barrel only after each sip. This beer does not have much depth of flavor but the flavors it does have are big and robust. I kind of miss the alcohol kick that cleans out the sweetness at the finish but it still goes down smooth.

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Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An old Kosmyk Charlie bottle with a green 'Aged in Bourbon Barrels' sticker affixed. From NFLMVP if my notes are reliable.

A: The barleywine is a dark reddish hue, one that looks brown from afar. Up close, the crimson shades are difficut to miss. A small head accompanied the pour, leaving no lace behind.

S: The nose has a rustic barleywine nose, quite sweet with caramel grains. The bourbon barrel is no slouch, adding light vanilla and a strong boozy streak. The bourbony sweetness needs some time, but it comes through nicely.

T: Sweet bourbon, sweet, sweet nectar. A bourbon barrel may have been made for a beer like this. The barleywine is big and strong, plenty of malts creating a dark, fruity landscape. The nearly cloying malts benefit from the barrel, adding vanilla and coconut. Vanilla is stronger and has a bit of pepper behind it. The barleywine and barrel together are a nice package, albeit one that packs a huge punch.

M: The mouthfeel is malty sweet, chewy before the bourbon sets in. Once it does, the ale picks up steam. It becomes a sweet, liquory drink from there. I'm not sure how old this bottle is but it has done quitely nicely.

D: At 11% or so, it is a nightcap. A nice blend of bourbon and barleywine.

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

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 5/8/12
*From notes

-- This review is for the 2012 vintage only --

A: Unflitered honey comb in color. An elegant, straight pour down the center of the glass yields a 1.5 finger off-white, bubbly head.

S: Sweet bourbon, wild field flowers, sherry and ripe vine fruit.

T: Pretty on point, though not entirely. Pleasant sweetness hits first and lingers from start to finish. I should say that it becomes overly cloying as I continue drinking the beer. A jolt of juicy, almost tart hops hit the mid. Creamy malt rides to the back, and the bourbon packs a lot of heat on the finish. It doesn't linger long, and it feels a bit watery the longer I wait between sips.

M: A lighter BA Barleywine. Sure it's pretty thick, and the carbonation is alright. It just doesn't pack the punch you'd hope for in a big beer like this.

O: Certainly the best brew I've had from Central Waters, yet it doesn't reach the echelon of the best in-class. It gets to be too much, as the residual sugar is overly cloying and makes this hard to put back. An above average offering.

*I had a 2010 next to this. My notes are as follows:

A: 3.5 / A bit darker, though overall it's extremely similar.
S: 3 / Not nearly as pungent or rich. Not a lot of fruit or spirit to it.
T: 4 / Dryer. Less imediate heat, and the bourbon is much more subdued. Heavier on the char.
M: 4 / A touch more weight, though it's almost spot-on.
O: 3.5 / I preferred it fresh.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks! 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, wood, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch/caramel, and hops. There is also some vanilla, wood/leather, and anise.

Overall - Not as sweet as I expected but that leaves it a little more drinkable for a big beer. A very solid example of the style. I wish more beers like this were available to me locally. Also, for a 2012 beer this has a surprising amount of hop bite.

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

12oz bottle obtained in the No BS 4 BIF via dirtylou. Thanks for the opportunity. 2009 edition.

Poured into Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy red brew. Head is quickly down to a swirly skim, with heavy legs and light but lasting lace. Aroma is syrupy sweet, with prominent alcohol.

Taste begins sweet, passes through some leathery tannins in the middle, barrel character near the close, and then alcohol comes on full bore at the end. Numb lips, warming down the gullet, it's all there. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is good in the I want another sometime sense, not the I want another bottle or three right now sense. At least not if you have any sense, with abv such as it is.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Did a 2013 and 2014 side by side. 13 is more caramel, toffee, and vanilla forward. 14 has more booze and oak flavor. Like it better with a year plus on it. I'd imagine it would probably be even better with another year on it. Definitely less sweet and thinner than say BCBBW or Sucaba.

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Photo of dwagner003
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is wonderful, but would be amazing with 2+ years of aging to settle down the hot alcohol. Smell is toffee and amaretto. Taste is vanilla ice cream, malt, toffee and burnt sugar. Blows Sucaba out of the water.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a teku pint. Appears to be some numbers on the bottleneck, but they're smudged.

A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Rich boozy aroma of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. Quite bourbon-forward with the heat rising off the bouquet.

T- Excellent bourbon character with lots of marshmallow, more vanilla and more caramel coming through along with a nice tannic, woody finish. Heat on the back end but only slightly so. Man this is so tasty and smooth but I've got to go slow since this is a hefty 11.5%. Also a nice pecan nuttiness in the aftertaste.

M- Velvety smooth with medium-low carbonation and a fullish body.

O- If it has the words "Central Waters" and "Barrel" on the label, you know it's gonna be fantastic (unless there are also the words "Peruvian" and "Morning" on the same label but I know nothing about that from firsthand experience). Anyways, expectations met and exceeded as usual. Definitely very bourbon-heavy with some heat, but welcomed all the same. Cheers!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in Feb. 2010 vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy pale/blush red color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly down to bubbles.

(S)- A rather fruity nose of ripe fruits; I am getting bits of cherry, cranberry, fig, and raisin. Some warmth of vanilla with a light spicy note of a ginger/cinnamon woodiness.

(T)- Pretty much just like the smell. Has a robust bitterness in the middle, but goes along great with the sweet vanilla and fruit.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet and rich, but is counterbalanced well with the fruits and bitterness. Not as thick as I was expecting, but its actually not a bad thing. Rather smooth despite the ABV and bitterness.

(D)- A great barleywine with a great future ahead of it. Tastes great now, but age will continue to work wonders on this guy. Rather fruit driven, but goes well with the bourbon barrel aging. Reminds me almost of a port wine. Great stuff; seek this out and buy a case to set aside and drink over the next 4 years at least.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

aggressive pour into snifter.

Appearance: Reddish amber that almost looks like it glows. Small white head that disspates into a white ring around glass. Sticky lacing on the side of glass is noted.

Smell: Bourbon, Oak, and Malt.

Taste: The bourbon is immediate and quickly followed and complimented by the sweet flavor of malt. Oak and vanilla also compliment each other. Caramel, coconut, and toffee are detected with a more sweet bourbon flavor that just keeps coming at you unrelentingly. Nice dry oak in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with slightly warming boozeiness. Moderate carbonation, a bit more carbonation than expected with a barrel aged barleywine.

Overall: Another solid beer by Central Waters; i am becoming a big fan of their beer! I cant think of a better bourbon barrel barleywine that comes in 4 pack format. Great barrel notes and fantastic malt profile.

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

12oz bottle received from nflmvp in a recent trade. Thanks a bunch, Steve! Split with largadeer after lunch on day 3 of our decadence.

A: Garnet red with ruby highlights and a thin beige head that eventually recedes to a ring. Good carbonation

S: Soft oxidation with sherry that complements the gentle bourbon barrel character. Rich malty sweetness with toffee, mild tobacco and caramel

T: Opens up with great bourbon barrel character - bourbon, vanilla and oak flavors well integrated with the sweeter barleywine character. The toffee and sherry flavors meld well, yielding a rich, complex palate. Mildly dry and a little bitter on the finish with no tannic astringency. Great stuff

M: Big in body, solid carbonation and a nice finish

D: Enjoyable stuff, my other bottle is going to the cellar for a few years.

**Edit 23 Nov 2010. I got a couple of bottles of the 2010 vintage from CaseyK and asmokingoat. Thank you, guys! I haven't had this since my review in 2008, I'm curious to see what I think.

The color is beautiful, a rich garnet and ruby red with great clarity. A dense, off-white head recedes to a thin disk leaving a little lace.
The nose definitely does scream BBBW. Plenty of bourbon with quite a bit of oak, more than I was expecting. This seems a lot more aggressive than the 08 version. Moderate barrel tannins are present along with vanilla and bourbon. A touch of char and coconut as well, this does have a modest sweetness to it with caramel, some brown sugar and toffee. The toffee and the bourbon work particularly well together. In particular, it reminds me of the Bourbon barrel Angel's Share. Mildly fruity, there isn't much oxidation here.

The palate opens with a lot more bourbon heat and quite a bit more sweetness than the nose would suggest. The bourbon is pretty strong here, almost a little too much. The sweetness has caramel, mild nutty character along with some brown sugar. Crunchy toffee with a pleasant char are also present. Not as fruity as the nose would suggest. The barrel expression is quite beastly, intensely hot, rather than boozy. Tannic on the finish, this really has leached plenty of life out of that bourbon barrel that it sat in. While full in body with a moderately sweet finish, the tannins do dry out the palate a little bit. Carbonation is low, making this soft and creamy, but the barrel character is a little too harsh for my liking. Intense, but enjoyable, this vintage needs another year or so to settle down. I'm retaining my original scores as this beer is excellent when tamed a bit.
4.5/4.5/4/3.5/3.5

**Edit 12 Jun 2011**
Drinking a 2009 vintage that I got from Ian. Thanks, man! Drinking this during game 6 of the finals. This vintage seems to have plenty of brown sugar and bourbon. Vanilla and mild booze are present. A little oxidation is present as well, with some mild papery character present. The palate has a great balance between brown sugar and bourbon. The oak is great here, there's some tannic astringency to balance the sweetness. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel here. Excellent stuff. After breathing for 2 days in my fridge, it's gotten even better. S/T/M = 4.5/5/4.5

**Edit 26 Feb 2012**
Drinking my other bottle of the 2008 vintage.

Oxidation has kicked in, lending a moderate cardboard character. Bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, licorice, a little anise. The palate still has a sharp, boozy bite, but the flavors have fallen off. Thin on the mid-palate. Alcohol spice on the finish. I should have drunk this two years back.
3.5/3.5/3.5

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Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours hazy, orange-brown, with 1/3 inch head. Taste is pine, toffee, alcohol, tangerine, wood, and light vanilla. The wood adds a dryness to the beer that plays well off of the sweetness of the base beer. Really tasty beer that I will look to get again.

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

Big thanks to grub for opening up this treat.

Pours a hazy dark orange, pumpkin colour, light bit of brown, thin off white head forms, drops immediately to a ring around the glass, not much lacing, looks okay. Smell is crazy, tons of bourbon, toffee, oak, vanilla, very buttery, alcohol, rum raisins, very malty, bourbon really complements. Taste is intense, big toffee, rough alcohol edge, bourbon, vanilla and oak, coconut, more toffee, raisins, bananas Foster, toasty butter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, very smooth. This stuff is great, right amount of bourbon and great oak flavour, need to get some more of these. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky looking crimson. Thin, creamy beige head. Good retention and lace propensity. Nose is quite sweet and quite bourbony. It really just drips caramel and nougat and a little booze with the vanilla like bourbon notes. Really good aroma. Pretty hot feel to it right off the bat. But also nice traits of bourbon, caramel malt, nougat and passion fruits. It's got a little of that spiked punch feel to it but it's not overboard. Spicy alcohol lingers. It's lightly carbonated and about medium bodied. I think this beer needs to sleep for a few years to take the edge off. Nowhere near as good as the fresh Kosmyk Charlie or especially the aged Charlie I've had in years past. But then again, those were as close to perfection in a beer as I've ever seen.

Props to BA nflmvp for this beer on the day the NFL MVP said his good-bye.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter; Jan 2012 bottling

A somewhat murky mahogany body, with a small, ecru colored cap that fell quickly. Just some bubbles remain along the edges.

The nose is of figs, caramel, dates, maple syrup, oak, bourbon, brown sugar, and some cocoa powder. Big and bold, assertive in all the right places.

On the palate, toffee and caramel with figs/raisins/dates quickly in tow. Some brown sugar and cocoa powder through the middle before a huge wave of bourbon and oak seal the deal. The finish is sugary and full of toffee and bourbon.

The body is on the lighter side of full with low carbonation. I felt this needed a little more body to really put it over the edge. A little undercarbonated as well.

This is a tasty beer in all aspects. Big, bold flavors and with a fuller body and better carbonation, this beer would really shine.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 4.15.13

A - Pours an opaque reddish-amber with a one inch tan head that fades quickly.

S - Bourbon up front, subtle oak and some toffee.

T - Tons of carmel and toffee with vanilla and al ittle bourbon in the finish. Very good.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Great carmel and vanilla with a hint of bourbon. Stellar!

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

A - Pours a hazy chestnut color with a very thin lacing ring and steady, but light carbonation.

S - Bourbon, toasted caramel and toffee, figs, oak, brown sugar, molasses, and some alcohol effervescence.

T - Bourbon and oak is right up front out of the gates and stays throughout with a big presence. Toffee caramel, some vanilla, figs, and warming alcohol presence. There's a slight pine/citrus bitterness at the very end, but it's light.

M - Medium body and a little light for a barley but still works very well.

O - A very enjoyable barleywine, I'm glad I finally had the opportunity to try this.

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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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