Fifteen | Central Waters Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
95
world-class
56 Reviews
THE BROS
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FifteenFifteen
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mobius387 on 01-28-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
348
Avg:
4.36
pDev:
9.17%
 
 
Wants:
425
Gots:
69
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 348
Photo of jegross2
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing Fifteen from Central Waters Brewing Company out of Amherst, Wisconsin. This beer is Fourteen Fourteen aged for an additional fourteen months. Fourteen Fourteen, in turn, is Satin Solstice aged for fourteen months in select fourteen year old bourbon barrels (essentially their Bourbon Barrel Stout with extra TLC). In short, this beer is Satin Solstice aged for twenty-eight months in choice fourteen year old bourbon barrels.

Score: 93

January 2013 vintage bottle served in a Portsmouth snifter and enjoyed on 02/24/13. Review is adapted from iPhone notes. I lost my original photo, so I am using the picture I took of my tap pour at the Local Option during Chicago Craft Beer Week.

Appearance: Pour a deep brown color with a nearly black colored core and a caramel-brown halo when held up to light. Minimal bubbly tan head off the pour. Oily lacing, minimal retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, alcohol (not quite "fusel" but the booziness is apparent in the nose), bourbon, molasses, chocolate and faint coconut. Dark fruit too, but not as much as 1414. The nose is more "barrel" and less "stout" than Fourteen Fourteen. 4.5/5

Taste: Boozy bourbon, fudge, oak and smooth vanilla primarily. Hints of raisin, licorice and fig. A little caramel too. Lots of barrel flavor here, and the bourbon qualities outweigh the chocolatiness. The marry of the chocolate and oak is noticeably choppy, and not as seamlessly integrated as Fourteen Fourteen was. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, low carbonation. A little dry, but not too dry. A little sweeter than I recall 1414 being. 4.5/5

Overall: I have had the opportunity to sample this beer off tap twice (at the release party and at Local Option during Chicago Craft Beer Week) and out of the bottle several times since the release. The bottles that I have had have been "hotter", "rougher" and less smoothly integrated in the flavor profile than the tap pours that I have had, and there has been some quality variation bottle-to-bottle as well. Fifteen is a very good beer, but Fourteen Fourteen -- both aged and fresh -- is the better beer. Fifteen needs to age a little in the bottle in my opinion.

Cost: $15 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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Photo of oline73
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Served side by side with 1414.

The beer pours a mahogany color with a layer of tan head. The smell is sweet and quite rich with some nice dark fruit, vanilla, and bourbon notes. The booze level is a bit high. The heat carries over to the taste with a nice sweetness level. I'm still getting dark fruit, mild vanilla, and some bourbon. The finish is a touch more bitter than expected. The mouthfeel is thinner than expected but not so much that it's a problem. There is an aggressive amount of carbonation with a finish that's quite dry.

Overall I really enjoyed this one and would love to have it with some age on it. I liked this better than the 1414.

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Photo of Ri0
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured about 6oz left from a growler.

A - Dark obsidian with brown highlights around the edge of the glass. Only a very thin head and no lacing. I'm sure sitting in the growler reduced the appearance.

S - Huge bourbon nose (even after a year), bitter dark chocolate, rich caramel, vanilla, marshmallow, milk chocolate, and some wood.

T - It is quite bitter with a big bourbon presence. Plenty of dark bitter chocolate, caramel, vanilla, marshmallow, milk chocolate, and some wood.

M - Medium-bodied, silky, light carbonation, not very thick but still smooth.

O - This is good, but it did not quite live up to my expectations. Excited to try 16 as a comparison.

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Photo of seeswo
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened alongside 1414, Peruvian, BBBW, BBS, BBCS. Also, I'm a huge fan of CW - they are really good people and I have been supporting them for a long time.

Pours black, like you'd expect. Short tannish cocoa head. Looks good. Smells of vanilla, a bit of dark chocolate and bourbon. Smells nice, though maybe a touch mellow. Certainly inviting. Taste was very balanced and smooth. Dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon spirit and a bit of wood come through. The body was inviting - smooth and relatively full. Enjoyable. Overall, this beer was one of the better from the balanced and subtle category. Nothing big in the flavor at all, but a nice drinker. I might even say it is a bit modest. Time was nice to this one, as it opened up (not from warmth, as it was served slightly above cellar) and you spent some time with it. Probably not the perfect beer to enjoy at a tasting unless you wanna give it 45 minutes to sip and get a decent pour (like I did do).

So, we decided to open a BCBS. This really popped in contrast to the 15. Following that, we opened Black Tuesday and Grey Monday. BT was a little hot and I think the argument could be made the 15 was better, but not substantially. Grey Monday was just better and that is that. Having recently enjoyed a lot of these barrel-aged imperials, this is the order of some recent ones I've done: Grey Monday = BCBS > BA Pt5 > 15 = 1414 = BT > Black Note > CW BBS.

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Photo of mjpolzin
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was the first time I had the opportunity to go to The Great Taste Of The Midwest, one of the best collections of beer in one place that you will ever find. On the top of my list of things to try was Fifteen by Central Waters. CW is probably my favorite brewery but I had previously missed out on other chances to try their 15th anniversary stout.

The beer was poured in small 2 ounce servings but with the line at Central Waters not being that crazy, I was able to get a few samples of this beer. It poured very black and thick without much head. It looked similar to Goose Island BCS but not quite as thick. The smell was of bourbon, chocolate, dark malts and some fruits. The taste was very similar to the smell but even better as all of the scents I described were amplified in the taste. This beer basically tasted to me like what a good imperial stout should (dark malts, fruits etc.) and the bourbon complimented it nicely instead of overpowering it like is sometimes the case in barrel aged beers.

This was far as away my favorite beer of the festival and it cemented Central Waters for me as my favorite brewery.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with 2 fingers of medium brown head. The head has some nice staying power, but eventually drops down to no head on top of the beer.

Smell: very strong barrel notes! Massive oak, vanilla, and sweet bourbon. Also got some smoke and a hinting of chocolate.

Taste: Similiar to the nose. Massive barrel notes mostly notable is a sweet yet nicely integrated bourbon. Complimented by big vanilla, oak, and smoke flavors. A really fudgy chocolate flavor as well. Hint of nuttiness as well just for good measure! Everything is in balance and is down right delicious!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. Creamy and slighty silky body. It does feel just a little bit thin, but its not a big hang up for me with this beer. Pretty smooth and the abv isnt harsh at anytime. Really nice drinking beer.

Overall: This beer is another awesome anniversary beer by Central Waters. They are ahead of the game when it comes to barrel aging stouts! I think that you are splitting hairs between 1414 and 15. They are very similiar beers, but I think that 1414 has the edge in the mouthfeel department. Taste is the biggest difference between these beers, the barrel notes are much better with 15. Much more flavorful and robust, without being over the top. Cant go wrong with either of the barrel aged anniversary stouts by Central Waters honestly I am on the fence with which beer that I like better. They are both wonderful.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thank you to Robbie for this bottle! Consumed on my birthday, March 7th.
Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Poured black with a thin layer of espresso brown head that reduced to a ring around the glass.

S - Sweet chocolate fudge intermingles with massive barrel aromas of charred oak, bourbon and vanilla. Some roast and sweet molasses with a hint of coconut in the background.

T - The barrel really shines in this beer, which is expected given the 26 months of barrel aging. Bourbon, charred oak and vanilla are dominant with some lighter chocolate fudge, molasses and roast flavours also present. The charred oak stands out more and more as the beer warms.

M -Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

O - This was a huge barrel bomb. A little more barrel than I would like but drank very nicely nonetheless.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes- had this on tap at the Great Taste '13 also, but these notes come from the first whale tasting at Rob's from July 13, 2013, so about 6 months of age at this point. Poured into a BCBS snifter. Thanks Rob.

This beer is a pretty typical BA stout- pours a viscous, black body, minimal tan head that recedes quickly into nothing. Not much lacing, not much collar, not much of anything to be honest- just thick black molasses.

Nose is full of bourbon. A bit of chocolate, roast malts and dark fruits but pretty much bourbon with a bit of oak. It's a strong nose here.

Flavour wise, it demonstrates the bourbon very well. It's not explosively overpowering like some of Central Waters' other offerings, but it's very strong. Reminds me of Parabola but the flavour profile just seems to showcase the bourbon more than does Parabola. More chocolate and some marshmallows, than in the nose.

Thick bodied, not BCBS level but definitely full bodied. Not much carbonation as expected. Smooth and creamy. Runs quite hot, but that is also expected from Central Waters.

Very good bourbon barrel stout, probably one of the best in the business really. This beer is difficult to get, but it's worth trying at least once for any bourbon barrel stout fan.

Re-reviewed last week, 11/26/2013. Thanks to Regen for bringing over a bottle to share. This bottle is at about the 11 month mark in terms of age. Poured into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass.

Basically, everything from the previous holds here except for the taste. The flavour has gotten a bit more complex, more chocolatey and savory- perhaps umami is the right word to describe it. It could be from oxidation of being aged nearly a year, but it's a lot more complex and interesting. The bourbon and the barrel notes are still present as ever. Easy to drink with not a ton of heat. So in the end, I have to bump up the taste score to between the original 4.25 and 4.75 that it's drinking at now. It's drinking remarkably well right now and I would recommend cracking a bottle soon if you have a bunch in the cellar.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Evan for sharing this at my place a few weeks back; reviewed from notes.

A: Pitch black body, 1 finger of fine tan head. Decent retention and lacing for the style. Quite nice.

S: Rich, complex, and very barrel-forward. Lots of coconut, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Some sweet toffee and chocolate behind. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose, but with the addition of some interesting graham cracker and marshmallow notes. This tastes like a s'more soaked in bourbon, and I'm a fan. The finish is slightly roasty and warming, but not boozy at all. Delicious.

M: Medium-to-thick body, with a moderate amount of creamy carbonation. Good, but not quite as viscous as I was expecting for a big BA stout.

O: Terrific beer, and definitely far better than the CW BB Stout I've had in the past. I won't be trying to trade for more, but I'm extremely thankful I got to try it.

Cheers!

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Photo of nrs207
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pretty dark, but not as dark as something like BCBS. Minimal head, not a surprise there.

S - Smells like bourbon at this point. That's actually my biggest complaint. It's dominated by dark fruits and bourbon notes. The actual base beer is minimal at this point.

T - Same as the smell. It is excellent if you want a bourbon bomb. I think the base beer just couldn't hold up to 26 months in barrels. Maybe that's what they were going for though. But It's barely a stout at this point for me. It tastes like some kind of strong ale, lacking big roasted, chocolate, and other notes an imperial stout should have.

M - Not hot, but big bourbon presence which can be mistaken for alcohol presence. It's very smooth and low to moderate carbonation.

O - It's a very interesting beer, and unlike anything I've ever had. I would never turn it down and I'd even seek it out because the flavor profile is pretty unique to me, but I think it went a little overboard in the direction of bourbon. That said, I had the opportunity to try it again, and I thought it smoothed out a bit after a few months, and it definitely was better than other BA stouts I had that night like Black Note. I think with a bit more time, it'll be even better.

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Photo of WI-Beer-Man
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank this as part of our Central Waters Anniversary tasting (Fourteen Fourteen, Fifteen, Black Gold '13, 16, Black Gold '14, 17)

Much thicker/creamier mouthfeel than 1414. This was definitely a highlight from the tasting. I would guess it is at its apex right now. Delicious bourbon notes, chocolate, vanilla and slight taste of dark fruits.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark brown color with a slight head. Scent is strong with delicious bourbon. The taste is smooth and mellow with lots of good oaky, bourbon flavor with hints of vanilla. Overall very malty and rich with flavor that gives a much different flavor than Bourbon County Stout or Dragon’s Milk.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/6/2013

Thanks! Snifter. Very dark brown with an inch of light brown foam. Slightly smoky aroma with big fudge and toffee notes. Huge bourbon component with roasted grains, vanilla, and oak. Touch of oxidation with a little coconut. The nose is amazing. The flavor exhibits a firm oak presence with lots of toffee. Notes of vanilla blend with roast and chocolate. Alcohol heat is present but not harsh. Big bourbon character throughout with lots of oak. I liked this a lot, about as much as Fourteen Fourteen, though my score of that beer doesn't accurately reflect how much I like it. Anyway, Fifteen is fantastic.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%

Bottle from a generous trader. Thanks man! Pours dark brown to pitch black on my glass with a small ring of brown head on too. Excellent aroma of bourbon and vanilla, anise, roast, wood. Really nice nose here. Flavor is bourbon and roast, vanilla, graham cracker, coconut, some dry cardboard notes. Nice chocolate sauce sweetness to go along. Long caramel vanilla marshmallow and bourbon finish. Rich silky body with low plus carbonation. This is really nice. I think better than 16 and Black a Gold.

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Photo of Jfriz25
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Dark brown with some ruby edges. Light brown head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell- The dominant smell is dark fruit followed by huge bourbon notes.

Taste- Bourbon dominates. The dark fruit that was in the nose isn't there. Some booze finishes. The highlight is super smooth bourbon that I'm attributing to 26 months in the barrel.

Mouthfeel- Thinner body then expected but it is still super rich and smooth. Moderate carbonation that helps boost the feel.

Overall- The bourbon is amazingly smooth and balanced. I love the mouthfeel and nose. It is a little lighter in color than Id like from a RIS but overall it was delicious.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This has been a long time want of mine ever since missing the 15th anniversary party. Pours opaque black with a diminishing mocha head. Velvet chocolate, oak, figs, vanilla, and a bourbon breeze in the nose. Nutty flavors seem to underlie chocolate, graham crackers, sweet malt, and bourbon which begins hot then gradually becomes tolerant as the beer returns close to room temperature. The thin mouthfeel might be largely attributed to some age on it. Overall, a solid beer and somewhat complex for the style which is something I always look in new beers that I try. I look forward to trying the CW16 and CW17 this year for comparison in flavors.

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Photo of maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Finally popped a bottle open with my wife after drinking a few glasses of this at the Anniversary Party...with the creeping beginnings of a cold. Glad to enjoy it properly now. 22 oz. bottle split in half...almost.

Pour is black & fairly still, even with a harder pour. The nose is much more impressive, & mimics almost exactly a bourbon-soaked, double-chocolate Ghiradelli fudge brownie. That's a pretty nice smell. Actually, that's a damn marvelous smell. Nice start.

Fifteen isn't going to get you a supermodel GF, make you popular, or thicken that hairline, but hey, only dumb beer geeks expect things like that of a brew. What it is, is much like the smell. Bloody big bourbon jars the palate right out of the gate: no subtle touch, & that's fine by me, I hate searching for the booze in my barrel-aged beers. That lovely fudginess comes up right behind, almost batter-like. Big vanilla & nice roast add to the mayhem. Drying, toasted wood rides up at the end. Thick & chewy. Ridiculously drinkable, I'm sipping this like ice tea in the Sahara.

Is Fifteen the end of beer evolution? No. Haters are hatering, though, the backlash being so obvious as to be amusing. Anyways, I love this beer less than my daughters, which by geek standards means this beer is a miserable failure. Wait, no, actually, it's excellent. A beautifully constructed brew.

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Photo of dar482
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Compared to 16, 17, and Black Gold, this seems to be falling off slightly by now. Not much too much, but the least complex of the bunch. Still however with rich milk chocolate flavor, cacao, an intense ashy roasty bitterness.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewed from notes. poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Half Acre snifter.

A- Pours black with a 2 finger tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- big fudge and chocolate, bourbon, vanilla

T- lots of chocolate, fuge brownies, vanilla and just enough bourbon

M- full body and medium carbonation. Syrupy and thick, but smooth.

O- amazing beer! Perfect amount of chocolate/fudge, vanilla, and bourbon. I guess that's what 26 months in the barrel does!

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Photo of ncketchum
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a chimay chalice, split with my father

A - pours a deep chocolate brown, initially lots of head, fades quickly to a ring of lacing.

S - great nose, chocolate, malt, vanilla, bourbon

T -very complex, chocolate, coffee initially, followed by intense bourbon, then lingering vanilla and hops

M - thick, smooth, little carbonation, for 11%, alcohol is well hidden

O - fantastic offering from CW, first of the anniversary series that I've been lucky enough to have, very glad to have had this one, too bad I don't have another to hold on to

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Photo of lunarbrew
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I'm happy I had a chance to try this at a tasting the other night. Thanks to Skippychop!

Beer poured with a higher viscosity than regular BBS, thank god. Actually, the body appeared quite nice, with minimal head. Dark black.

Smells fantastic. Mostly bourbon and and roast notes. Not a ton of the umami flavor which is so popular with other big BA stouts. This is especially noticeable, considering we just went through a bottle of Assassin. Smell is rich and inviting.

The bourbon is most present in this one. It is the cleanest execution of a bourbon stout aimed to simply highlight the bourbon and the base beer. The beer is void of the other (more sweet and gimmicky) big BA flavors, such as umami, maple, toffee, etc... Don't get me wrong, I love these flavors, but this beer is designed to be pure, rich, simple, and delicious. There is a decent amount of dark chocolate/fudge flavor. It reminds me of Parabola, except not as hot, much smoother, and clean.

Mouthfeel is indeed fuller than CW BBS, which I appreciate. It's low-medium carbonation. The beer is excellent in this category.

To me, this beer is the quintessential example of a classic BA stout. Not as complex as some, but that's not the point. It's awesome.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.69/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Major thanks to Treebs for sharing!

(A)- Pours practically pitch black in color. Subtle tan froth that dissipated rather quick, but still left a light layer for quite some time.

(S)- A lovely rich chocolate and raisin caramel bourbon oak profile. Ever so slight vanilla hint on the finish.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A lovely rich chocolate/vanilla/raisin bits. Just a superb barrel showing that surpasses its younger brother (14).

(M)- Very smooth and mellow carbonation level but fitting for what you are getting out of this. Just awesome barrel notes yet extremely smooth and drinkable for the style.

(O)- This really is just a superb showing of what a barrel aged stout can be like without having a massive cloying sweetness or thickness. At least for me, this exceeds the 14 in almost every way.

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Photo of tut2528
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: deep jet black in apperance, with a slight film of khaki colored head (but this was created due to forced carbonation. alcohol legs are definitely evident

S: big big chocolate, nice amount of coffee, and big bourbon booze, alcohol, and it is extremely well balanced.

T: excellent balance here. big bourbon, coffee, alcohol heat, sweet ass bourbon, light graham cracker, and a nice finish of vanilla.

M: full bodied, leaves a big bourbon note on the palate with a nice sugary sweetness

O: just fk'in fantastic and so stoked to finally try this. simply amazing brew and the complexity was awesome!

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.71/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Central Waters Fifteen

Poured from 22 ounce bottle into CBS snifter. Served at cellar temperature....

A) Black with a slim tan head, which settles to a wispy dusting, and eventual collar. Some legs here too.

S) Wonderful.... But specifically, big vanilla notes with sweet wood and a hint of chocolate. This is so good...

T) Follows the nose very closely... The bourbon makes it's presence felt, but does so in a very smooth and balanced manner. Delicious....

M) A nice thick full body with soft carbonation. So smooth and palate coating. A light alcohol tingle with a pleasant woody finish...

O) Central Waters has clearly brought their A game with this brew. My goodness, this is just phenomenal. Reminds me of my favorite brew, BCBS. This is world class all the way.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I acquired this recently via trade. Very excited to try this, based on the rave reviews. typical big stout appearance. Near black with an oily beige head. Fantastic aroma. Bourbon and oak in abundance. Vanilla, chocolate, roast. Dark chocolates and bourbon. So smooth. Just silky on the palate and teeming with flavor. Beautifully balanced. Dangerously easy to drink. Mild warmth in the finish. I understand the high review average. This beer rocks.

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Fifteen from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.36 out of 5 based on 348 ratings.
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