Brewery: Central Waters Brewing Co., Amherst, Wisconsin
Beer: Bourbon Barrel Stout
Serving: 12 oz bottle
Information: 10% ABV
Style: American Imperial Stout
Availability: Winter Seasonal
Cellaring: Under proper conditions, this beer can be cellared for extended periods.
Pairings: A warm fire on a cold day, rich dark chocolate (or desert), sharp cheese.
Pours out almost black, it appears the same in the glass. Very small highlights of dark brown around the edges. A rather modest pour creates a two-finger tan head with moderate retention and wisps of thin lace here and there.
The bourbon barrel is so strong and robust. It’s just a tad too much…or the malts not strong enough? Oaky wood notes are somewhat closed in comparison to the massive bourbon nose. Hot alcohol but not solvent-like or burning. Bold vanilla cream too. The roasted malts are strong here but still overwhelmed. I picked up light notes of semi-sweet chocolate chunk and a drizzle of molasses.
The roasted malts really pull through and come out in a big way. After the nose, I was a little scared it would be a little too unbalanced but the first blast consists of heavy milk chocolate and mocha with very smooth and delicate roasted malts. Right away the profile shifts gears to a relaxed vanilla cream and deliciously smooth bourbon barrel flavor with minor hints at wood. The alcohol adds warmth too but not flavor or kick.
Hot damn! It’s not even a month past bottling and this is one of the most smooth beers I’ve ever had. It’s like plush velvet meets baby’s bottom meets James Brown smooth. It just glides down the throat with finesse. It’s full-bodied and robust with a very mild carbonation finish.
This beer is so drinkable the first thing I did after sipping this was text my buddy Beer Wolf that I’m pissed I didn’t buy a case of this at Central Waters. I’d love to put some away to age for a long time but holy crap, this drinks so well now I don’t know how I could resist! Central Waters has a barrel aged beer that stands up to time, but isn’t rocket fuel fresh either. A yearly buy of mine, don’t pass up this beer!
Score: 97 / 100 – World-Class