Brewery: Central Waters Brewing Co., Amherst, Wisconsin
Beer: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine
Serving: 12 oz bottle
Information: 10% ABV
Style: American Barleywine
Availability: Winter Seasonal
Cellaring: Under proper conditions, this beer can be cellared for extended periods.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A real treat, Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine is one of those vintage releases each year that must not go without enjoyment. 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.
Score: 95 / 100 – World-Class