HonkeyBra (3516) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - AUG 19, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Reddish with a tan head. Aroma is buttery, vanilla, oak, butterscotch and, mostly, hot with alcohol. FLavor is oaky, bourbon to the forfront with some hops and candied malts. Alcohol is very present, with a creamy mouthfeel. Finish is long lasting and bourbony. I think this needs to be cellared a bit.
Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - AUG 18, 2008
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tasted at Great Taste, but rating is from a bottle. They now have a new bottle (not pictured above) that lists this as "Bourbon Barrel Barleywine" with a purple label and a description. Onto the beer: I enjoyed this side by side with JW Lees 1997 Harvest Ale, which was the superior of the two. This has the notes of vanilla and a touch of soy one the nose leading into date and caramel, with a hoppy, dry finish. I imagine this will be drinking better in about 3-4 years, when the hops are more muted and it sweetens up a bit. Overall it lacked the complexity of some of the best barleywines, although it was still solid and enjoyable.
illinismitty (2270) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - AUG 16, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: AUG 17, 2008 Bottle shared with grimreeser. Pours deep amber with dissipating off white head. Boozy and butterscotch aroma. Flavor of sugary caramel and toffee countered by a medium bitterness. Alcohol and hops on the finish. Not bad but not great.
phishpond417 (2088) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 12, 2008
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Central Waters is quickly rising to the top of my favorite Wisc brewers. Pours a muddy caramel colour with a decent sized vanilla head. Aroma is sharp, dank- lemon, alcohol and fermented cherries. Taste is full, and pungent- straightforward to the palate, impressive beer, with a kickass abv, im assuming around 8.5.
rudolf (2342) - Buffalo, New York, USA - AUG 10, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Orangey brown, big tan head. Nose is a bunch of bourbon, woody vanilla, candied orange, butter and a bunch of toffee & caramel. Candied dried fruits come out in the nose as it warms. Flavor is bourbon, buttery malt, alcohol - a good amount of it. Less fruit than the nose suggests. Tobacco comes out as it warms. A bit alcoholic.
AgentSteve (1640) - SF Bay Area, California, USA - JUL 30, 2008
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Tasted at the City Beer RB Party, wonderful oak and bourbon nose with flavor to match. Smooth and thick on the palate. Finished a bit hot.
pantanap (3366) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 12, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: SEP 11, 2008 12oz bottle thanks to pepsican.... appearance is almost identical to that of its non barrel-aged brother with a longer withstanding head..... aromas of caramel, rich toffee, coconut, wood, and bourbon. a much more assertive progile that the standard version. pretty nice.... sweet chewy caramel and dark fruits equalized by a woody bourbonness with some added and coconut and sweetbrandy flavors. a slightly bitter/hoppy alcoholic bite in the finish that wasn’t as apparent in the non-ba version. this one has lots going on and works quite well together.
MoDog (927) - Griffith, Indiana, USA - JUL 6, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured from a 12oz bottle (2008 vintage) and served in a snifter. This beer poured a ruddy brown with almost no head. Just a lingering ring and a few scattered bubbles. A small amount of slippery lacing was left around the glass. The aroma of the beer was made up of smooth bourbon notes, rich caramel, and some oak and vanilla. The flavor included chewy caramel, toffee, very mellow vanilla, dates, apricot, and finally ended with a warming alcoholic/bourbon finish. A fantastic sipper! The mouthfeel was full-bodied and slightly sticky. Very light carbonation. The bourbon blended in with the sweetness of the beer flawlessly. Really nice!
JJClark (551) - Roscoe, Illinois, USA - JUL 5, 2008
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2008 bottle. Pours lighty clouded amber color with a small light brown head. Aroma of oak, bourbon, vanilla and toffee. Flavor of caramel, bourbon, toasted malt, hops and fermented fruits. Semi sweet finish topped off with a nice warm bourbon taste that lingers.
Ughsmash (7181) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JUL 2, 2008
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2008 bottle. Poured deep, mostly translucent reddish-brown with a creamy cap of brown mustardy head. The aroma was mighty fine, and not far from a 10.. sweet, yet deep and powerful bourbon and vanilla from the barrel draped elegantly over warm toffee, candied caramel, and faint marshmallow.. everything I was hoping for. The flavor did not dissapoint.. caramel and toasted barley with lesser dark fruits at the core surrounded by ample bourbon, vanilla, and lighter oak sourness that really popped at the finish.. warm finish that let you know that the booze was there, but it didn’t make certain where it was hiding. Thick and creamy on the palate with building herbal and woody bitterness toward the back.. sweeter finish with a bit of sherry on the finish. Excellent stuff!