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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

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

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 618 | Ratings: 2,271
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 jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, label is notched as bottled at Feb 2012.

appears a cloudy muddy color, some copper highlights. no head. big aroma of vanilla and whiskey. brown sugar.

taste is also big on the bourbon flavors. sweet caramel malt, but not cloying. minimal hops. medium thickness, but it coats the tongue, lower carbonation.

overall a well executed example of the style.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AgentZero for this.

12zo bottle into my Rochefort glass, 2010 version.

Pours a murky light to medium brown, very light for a bw. Not much carbonation, light tan around the sides, poor lacing...Nice aroma, malty to start nice caramel and dark fruits with lots of wood and bourbon mellowing it out. Light cherry finish with a little more wood...The first thing on the taste is tons of wood, very bitter wood, too strong. The second is less wood but its still too much, at the end a bitter wood/grain alcohol finish. Not very sweet, not super complex. The taste is a big disappointment. Maybe needs a couple years to chill out...The feel is ok, very warming, lastin feel...Tough to drink because of the wood.

Overall, can't believe this a top 100. Not a great beer, has potential down the line maybe. This is unbalanced and totally too woody.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to seeswo for the trade. Served at 53 degrees in a tulip. Bottled on January 2011 indicated on the label. Pours a bright amber hue with candy apple highlights. Clarity is almost translucent, but there's a slight haze. Head is an 1/8th of an inch, loose and cream-colored and immediately dissipates into a thin band around the shoulders. Some short strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Love the nose on this beer! Bourbon, buttery notes, sugary and candied fruits. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's definitely an alcohol presence here - it's still a little hot but not in a bad way. There's also some hops bitterness that manifests towards the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a slightly oily consistency that is somewhat masked by an assertive carbonation. There's definitely some residual alcohol heat. Overall, this is a top notch beer. I'm glad I opened it but would love to see what a few years does to it. That said, if you like the hops character in a your American Barleywines, open it sooner than later; however, this one is really going to open up over time in my opinion.

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

Shared by Chico1985, reviewed from notes. Bottle is about a year old.

A- Hazy deep red with a small cloud and bubbly ring. Legs fall and a minimal spot or two of lace sticks behind.

S- Oak and whiskey spice atop of dark fruit and a deep stale caramel old ale profile.

T- Old ale malt with some whiskey flavor and spice. Nice oak flavor and some dark fruit/cherry. Good ol' stale caramel, probably from the age on the bottle.

MF- Nice moderate carbonation with good alcohol warming and thickness to the body.

DB- Good balance of oak, barleywine malts and Bourbon flavors. I would like to try this one again in the future.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head slowly recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving thick lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of butterscotch, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla, in that order. Also present are hints of deeper chocolate malt aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Rich caramel malt flavors with loads of bourbon flavors joining in shortly thereafter. Butterscotch and toffee flavors lead the pack with amounts of vanilla that are larger than that in the aroma. The sweetness subsides just a bit midway through the sip but other than that there is really no influence from hops. The ending is sticky and mildly sweet, leaving bourbon flavors lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thickness is on the more viscous side with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could drink a whole lot of these.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer and even more so when I discovered the low price. This beer is a steal and well worth a shot.

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Photo of maximum12
4.79/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ncbvc for sending this little gem along as an extra in a trade. It's extras like this that make opening every box that lands on the front stoop almost as good as a six-year old's Christmas morning.

This brew is light in the glow of the monitor, almost IPA light. Smell is overwhelmingly alcohol & bourbon, putting me immediately on the list for a nose-hair transplant.

Taste is orgasmic. The bourbon is riding herd on this beer but not drowning out the rest of the band or blowing out the amp (to mix metaphors rather generously). The dark fruits in the barleywine, the apparent alcohol, the dry tartness, the need to take another sip immediately...man, this rocks. This might be my first barrel-aged barleywine, & if this is representative of this rather rare genre, I'm going to be seeking out a lot more of them.

Find this. Drink this. Great beer.

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

2012 bottle with a big thank you to Steasy66!

Appearance. Pours a viscous deep amber-orange with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Smooth bourbon and oaky vanilla, caramel, some dark and orchard fruits ...even a little citrus rind.

Taste. Burnt sugar, light bourbon and plenty of oak, vanilla and caramel, grainy malts, and some bitter citrus rinds.

Mouthfeel. Full body with some boozy warmth, smooth low carbonation.

Overall. A great bwine that probably could have stayed in the cellar for another year or two and possibly benefited. Fairly hoppy and still tastes a little young ...in my expert opinion anyways. ;-)

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

12oz single, rileys $3.99

appearance: dark dignified label...pours into a snifter a modest amber shade with a decent beige head and light retention

smell: strong whiffs of bourbon and vanilla right off the bat, sweet brown sugar, big malty nose with a high booze level, raisins and other dark fruits present. huge aroma here

taste: huge bourbon body, brown sugar, raisins and dates, plum soaked in bourbon, caramel malts, small amount of numbing bitter hops, a definite sipper from central waters that is quite the task to consume

mouthfeel: creamy but highly bitter, boozy, and powerful

drinkability: a monster

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters snifter.
2013 bottle. No date or info.

A - The deeply hued rusty amber colored beer is dark but clear still and vibrant. A tall pour creates a short and short lived tan head which collapsed from the high alcohol level. Specks of lace adorn the glass and stay steadfast while legs dribble down around them.

S - This fresh bottle has quite a large bourbon nose with a strong alcohol presence seeping from it, though deep complexity continues to emerge. Vanilla and damp wood work well with the rich bread-like malts that express some caramelization and toffee as well.

T - Maltiness erupts in flavor, overtaking the large bourbon presence that dominated the aroma; dribbles of sweet caramel and a thin smear of plum jam spread over a slice of toasted whole wheat bread. Notes of vanilla, oak, and unsalted pretzel finish with the smooth bourbon alcohol.

M - Smooth as velvet, this bourbon barrel barleywine is decidedly malty with a overarching sweetness, but not without balance. Alcohol is warming and present but not overwhelming, rather, soothing and complimentary on the finish, lightly drying it out for a lingering presence that constantly requests another light sip.

O - A real treat, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is one of those vintage releases each year that must not go unenjoyed. It's rich presence carries from aroma to flavor though the smooth feel rounds out the alcohol nicely for a bourbon barrel beer that's quite drinkable fresh. This one will still age with the best of 'em.

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Photo of ZAP
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love bourbon barrel aged beers but it is real tough to mess up the aroma....this one has everything you'd expect when you take your first smell...nougat, vanillla, oak, bourbon, dark fruits, caramel...the only off note if you want to call it that is a little red apple....

First sip brings a velvet like smoothness....full bodied but not immense...flavors are more muted on the taste...vanilla....oak...dark fruits...a good dose of bittering hops (perhaps chinook?)....

This is a BW and it has a little booziness to it as expected...the red apple notes are also evident on the taste...

I expected more out of this beer. That is not to say this is bad. Just seems kind of muddled and overall does not stand up to some of the better barrel aged beers I have had.

Certainly worth trying but this falls a little short for me.

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Photo of Resuin
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a goblet. This is a 2014 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a deep caramel color and leaves a finger of off-white head that fades relatively quickly to a layer atop the beer.

Smell: Molasses, sweet dark fruits, toffee, brown sugar. Not overly sweet, but plenty of sweet tones in here.

Taste: Wow - very sweet - sugar coated plums, figs, molasses, toffee, sugar coated pecans, oak, caramel. The sweet flavors mask the alcohol, although some still comes through.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a medium, creamy body.

Overall: A very nice, sweet barleywine. Dark fruits and sugar dominate the flavor, making this a nice, dessert beer.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of HopsMatt, thanks bro! Initial smell of the bottle is the same as sniffing a Jack Daniels or Crown Royal bottle: pure whiskey. The beer was an amber color, scant head. The aroma from the glass was more subdued bourbon with notes of vanilla. Flavor was vanilla, heavy booze, whiskey, caramel, decent but not great. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. I would not put this in the upper echelons of bourbon barrel barleywines but it was a decent offering overall.

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

on tap at devils den during the bella vista bash - 09 vintage

Pours a deep amber color, fairly dark, thick froth of off-white head retains well with some patchy lacing on the glass.

Strong bourbon notes, vanilla and oak, slight sweetness, notes of hoppiness and dark fruit.

Big bourbon flavor right up front with wood and vanilla tones. Boozy and full flavored, residual dark fruit with raisin and dates. Hops slice through in the beginning and towards the finish, which is warm and smooth.

Full bodied, somewhat higher carbonation, a bit creamy, lasting finish on the tongue. Drinks really nice, I was psyched to try this and I'm happy I have a 2011 bottle at home to compare this to.

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Photo of papat444
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2010 Vintage (bottled Feb.)***

Thanks to grub for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Body is a mix of brown and red, like a light leather. Hard pour reveals less than half a finger that disappears pretty fast. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: Sweet bourbon, dark fruits and wood. Quite strong and nice.

Taste: Dry cherries ,aged wood, bourbon with traces of leather. Sweetness balanced with some bitterness. Rich flavors.

Mouthfeel: A bit rough with some residual bitterness from the alcohol heat. Smooths out as it warms.

Overall: A bit rough around the edges but ends up being good. Drinkable and not too heavy

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a clear ruby red liquid with a tight khaki head.

S-the nose starts with the barrel, notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. caramel, carmelized brown sugar and cherries in the back.

T-the taste is quite boozy and hot. the wood is much less pronounced, light notes of oak and vanilla, much more bourbon. caramel, caramelized brown sugar, sweet, cherries, hint of raisin and heat in the finish.

M-very smooth and syrupy on the palate, a good carbonation, full bodied.

D-this is quite tasty and has a great nose. a little heat in the back but nothing that crushes the beer at all. great oak presence, a little more bourbon in the flavor but still very nice.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle from Homer321 poured on 5/21/14. Big thanks man! Pours murky brownish amber with a small creamy yellow khaki head. Big caramel toffee aroma with vanilla, raisins, dark fruits, sweet smooth bourbon, oak, very slight oxidation. Flavor is sweet caramel bourbon, oak, dark sweet fruit, and a huuuge vanilla marshmallow finish that lingers a good while. Plenty of carbonation and a chewy body with some nice booze bite.

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Photo of Pencible
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: This poured a clear reddish copper with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like cherry and toffee and caramel, with some citrus and alcohol.
T: It tasted like sharp citrus and rich caramel, with some toffee and biscuit and toasted oak. It had a bitter aftertaste with strong alcohol.
M: It was slick and oily with moderate carbonation.
D: This had a great scent and taste, somewhat similar to Gratitude, but rough around the edges. Definitely too hot and fresh, with dominant alcohol presence that made this a bit tough to sip. The bourbon barrel didn't come through very much either, with only subtle toasted oak notes. With some age, this could develop into a fantastic brew that contends with the top barleywines. But I don't recommend even trying it fresh.

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

Shango42 does it again with a KILLER extra. Feb 2010 vintage.

a - opened the bottle and filled my cigar city snifter. nice murky amber orange color with some carbonation sticking to the glass. the head was thin and gone quickly and lacing was not evident at all (but this IS a bourbon barrel aged beer, so that's what I expect).

s - as soon as the top was popped off the air filled with a nice raisin plum smell. after the pour and a closer sniff I could pull the delicate balance of a great hop/malt syrupy mix along with the wood from the barrels. Really nice and really well balanced.

t - very intense. caramel malts and some dark fruit. the bourbon is not in your face, but this beer has over a year on it. being a fan of in-yo-face-booziness, I'd love to try this one fresh. I'd also love to try the base beer Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. again, very nice balance of everything going on, wish the bourbon taste was more stand out.

m - full and rich. alcohol is tamed down and shows itself more on the aftertaste than the initial sips. also i noticed a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste.

o - overall, very nice. buzzing through some reviews, seems like the bourbon really tames over time (as expected), but is very in your face fresh...would love to check out a freshy. another fine barleywine.

*** ** * ** ***
had a chance to have the 2011 side-by-side with the 2010 at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 - the 2011 is exactly as predicted. the bourbon is very in your face. the 2010 is much dryer and more mellow. i'd say this beer is better with a year on it.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage courtesy of FrankenBrew pours a murky crimson color with a small cap of tan head...leaves a nice lacey collar.

Nose is definitely oxidized, and sweet. Bourbon comes in a distant third, followed by peanut brittle and wood. Interesting mix or aromas and smells like a big beer for sure.

Mmmm, this is what I am talkin bout! The bourbon soaked wood, oxidized sherry flavors and sweet malt come together damn near perfectly. The mouthfeel is bigger than the 11.5% would indicate and is awesomely rich. ABV is so well integrated at this point, it is very smooth. This is awesome, one of the best beers I have had in quite some time.

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Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deeper burnt orange, short yet dense head of khaki foam that leaves thick lacing.

Highly complex nose. Very sweet, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, pound cake, maple syrup.

Huge barleywine sweetness intertwined with a huge hot bourbon punch. Underneath lies all of the complex flavors of spiced rum, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, maple syrup and caramel. The warm flavors and alcohol linger forever.

Hot and sticky with deep down heat lingering what seems forever. Full bodied with a sappy feel on the finish.

An absolute knockout of a brew. The price is a amazing for the quality of the product also. A sipper for sure, but an absolute pleasure of one.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive thanks goes out to the person (BM me if it was you and I will give you proper credit) who shared this one with the group at the "Evening Wood" tasting graciously hosted by cmrillo! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller flute. Poured a deep red-orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. However there wasn't anything really interesting going on in it to make it overly memoriable. The flavor did however mix and compliment each other quite well. Pretty smooth for an 11.5% heavy hitter. Definitely worth trying!

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

12oz bottle into Portsmouth snifter. Feb 2010 vintage. A huge thanks to ipa247 for just handing me this bottle cuz he knew I wanted to try it. Thanks Jeff!

A: Pours a hazy dark ruby with about a finger of dark tan head that faded into a dense film that left bubbly streaks of lacing down the glass.
S: Fragrant notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and toast, with a touch of bourbon and barrel spices.
T: Follows the nose with sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar balanced out by spicy and warm notes of bourbon, wood, and bread crust. There is a bit of cocoa and fruit in this beer as well, with sweet notes of ripened apples, grapes, raisins, and dates. The finish is sweet with a hint of vanilla, and the aftertaste has a bit of tobacco and is warm and lingering.
M: Medium-thick body with tingly carbonation and a very slick, sticky mouthfeel that is warm from a good dose of bourbon heat.
O: A really rich and complex sipper. The bourbon could maybe use a few more months to calm down even more, but as it stands it’s not all that hot. I definitely wouldn’t mind having a few of these in the cellar. Thanks again for sharing, Jeff, you the man.

EDIT: 7/2012, Just opened another bottle from 2/10 and all the heat I mentioned in my review is gone. Another year in the cellar has done wonders.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow!! Another BIG THANKS to @ASUBeer for this one.

Not going to break it all down into separate categories.

Pours a beautiful ruby meets dark honey in color with a half inch of quickly dissipating creamy head. The aroma brings pure bliss. Gives that well balanced barleywine, not sweet enough to be a truly English one, but sweeter than some of the ones out there that the hops flatten out the sweet. Smells a bit like Mother of all Storms, with some barrel thrown in. Very tantalizing. The flavor is quick to grab. A bit of Bourbon barrel, malt, hint of fruity caramel ( I know that one sounds a bit off), and...gentle heat. Mine is a young one, 2012, and this is August. But not offputting in the least-just the opposite, Nirvana. Mouthfeel is full enough with a silky, slightly oily finish. Malt and Bourbon barrel linger in the aftertaste--thankfully.

Now I need another 3-4 bottles to sit on, and see how they are in a year or two. Great Barleywine!

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Photo of AgentZero
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with levifunk

A - A brownish orange color with a lot of yellow that comes through. Very minimal head that dissipated quickly and didn't anything on the sides.

S - A lot of charred wood and brown sugar. Caramel and some vanilla from the barrel influence. Some bourbon in there as well, the smell is good but there is a little too much burnt wood in here which is taking the taste down.

T - The taste has some nice brown sugar and caramel complete with the vanilla from the barrel aging. The bourbon is nicely there but does not drink hot. This actually tastes very good except there is too much burnt wood in there, that is a real downer on this.

M - Medium bodied, syrupy, needs a little more carbonation.

D - Don't get any alcohol on this, and very smooth, highly drinkable for the ABV.

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Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 2,271 ratings.
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