Monday, April 30, 2012

Beer Review: Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout (2012, fresh)

Reviewing the 2012 vintage of the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout from Central Waters Brewing Company. I have never met a "cherry stout" I liked, but friends assure me that if I will ever like one, it will be this one. Thank you Kendra for handing this one over as an extra. Thank you even more for not giving me the one with the screwed up label.
Score: 85

2012 vintage bottle with the February month ticked on the side of the label. Served in a Great Lakes snifter and enjoyed on 04/24/12.

Appearance: Pour a deep black color with a thick layer of caramel color at the top when held up to light. Less than half a finger of creamy khaki colored head at pour settles into a ring around the glass. Decent lacing with decent, but inconsistent, lacing. 4/5

Smell: Primarily fudge, but there's a light amount of coffee, some dark chocolate and a light amount of cherry in the aroma too. Hint of vanilla. A real nice blend and balance of stout aromatics with a light cherry twist here. 4/5

Taste: There's some complexity here, but those complexities do not blend well together. There's a little tart cherry sweetness, bready malt and a little caramel upfront. Then creamy chocolate and a modest amount of vanilla on the midpalate. The finish is slightly oaky chocolate with residual sweetness from the cherry. Honestly, that cherry is almost like a backbone in the beer and it's too contrasting without any real sense of belonging with the rest of the flavors. There's honestly no bourbon flavor here whatsoever. Growing cherry flavor as the beer warms/layers -- especially on the midpalate and in the linger. The residual aftertaste is a real nice chocolate-covered cherry flavor that you wish the rest of the beer tasted like. No real booziness to the beer at all. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, medium-plus carbonation. Honestly a little too much carbonation here. Or maybe I'm mistaking the prickly tartness from the cherry for carbonation. Either way, the mouthfeel is too thin and bubbly on the palate for an imperial stout. Has a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. 3.5/5

Overall: This beer certainly has potential, and it has the flavor components needed to be pretty good, but as crafted is a bit of a sloppy mess. The flavor components are too "individualized" and blend about as well as oil and water on the palate.

Recommendation: Give this one a try if you get a chance, but do not go out of your way to find it.

Pairings: Chocolate cake.

Cost: $3.49 for a single bottle or $11.99 for a four pack.

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