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Happy New Year!  2016 is finally behind us!  While this end of year/holiday season has left me short on time, it has given me plenty of opportunities to drink some great beer.  For now stout season powers on, this time in a slightly smaller bottle.


Beer Name: Bourbon Barrel Stout

Brewer: Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, WI)

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.5%

Description: This beer is part of the Brewer’s Reserve Series of special releases.  It’s apparently their most sought after brew, which has been aged in oak bourbon barrels and features “hints of bourbon and vanilla with roasted overtones.”  This came in a 12 oz. bottle and was from the 2016 release.  It was a Christmas gift, so the cost is unknown.

Appearance: Black body topped off by a thin and foamy light tan head.

Smell: Subtly sweet with trace amounts of bourbon on the end.

Taste: Sweet malts upfront with an oaky bourbon finish.  Starting out there was just a touch of heat and the beer was pretty mellow overall with a lingering bittersweet chocolate taste to go with the barrel notes.  As the beer sat in the glass, it opened up a lot as the bourbon and oak influences became steadily more pronounced.

Mouthfeel: Moderate to thick bodied, the carbonation level was generally pretty low save for a slight tickle of bubbles at the end.  Otherwise very smooth and rolled right on down.

Hype: None that I know of.  This beer was something of an enigma to me.  My wife got it for me as a Christmas gift, and she found out about it based on the recommendation of a beer store employee.  I don’t know that I’d ever heard about or even noticed it on the shelves before.

Overall: This was a very good beer, one that really grew on me the more time I spent with it.  While I wasn’t as taken with it as I was some of the other stouts I’ve had recently, this is no doubt a brew worth checking out.  Much love to my wife and props to the beer store worker for the solid recommendation.  Pick this up if you see it.