Beer Review 0366: Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Peruvian Morning Brand Stout
All week, we’ll be looking at beers from Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve series.
Central Waters brew beer in Amherst, Wisconsin. In 1996, Mike McElwain and Jerome Ebel bought an old brick building and spent two years restoring it — when it was ready for beer production, the home brewers acquired some used dairy equipment and retrofitted it into a brewery. Using their own recipes, the pair produced many different styles of beer, but most notably, an award winning Barleywine.
The brewery continued to grow, even as ownership changed. In 2001, McElwain and Ebel sold the facility, and shortly after, the main brew kettle cracked beyond repair. So on its fifth anniversary, Central Waters purchased what amounted to a new brewhouse.
Today, Central Waters is owned by Paul Graham and Anello Mollica, who together have 24 years of brewing experience. Another move took place in 2007, which saw Central Waters locate to Amherst.
The Brewer’s Reserve series, as you might have guessed, is the place in the portfolio where the limited release brews reside. Peruvian Morning is an Imperial Stout brewed with fresh roasted coffee from Emy J’s in nearyby Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The beer is then aged in bourbon barrels. While the ABV (alcohol by volume) isn’t listed on the bottle, Internet research confirms this is 8.5% ABV; Central Waters have a place on the label to notch the bottling date, but this label isn’t notched.
Emptying the bottle into a glass provided a small, creamy, lasting head. The beer was dark brown in color with ruby edges; when held to bright light, the body was clear, free of particles and sediment. Lacing was thin but coated the glass in solid sheets.
The aroma was candy bar-like at first; the sweetness from caramel and chocolate collide, along with some vanilla from the bourbon barrel. There’s fresh roasted coffee, but it is overtaken by the bourbon and woodsy oak barrel. That’s certainly not a bad thing; pretty much like the Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout, you’ve got candy bar, bourbon, and vanilla, and it’s quite nice. Peruvian Morning simply adds a coffee element.
The flavor is subdued and smooth up front, giving off milk chocolate and caramel at first, then opening up to a major pop of fresh coffee. The bourbon rears its head, mixing with the coffee like a stiff breakfast drink. Throw in some vanilla, and you’ve got a pleasurable wrestling match taking place on your tongue! After a brief touch of coconut, the finish comes on with deep, black, fresh roasted coffee, and leaves a residual of bourbon barrel. Medium-bodied, the texture is just into the medium category and is creamy when swirled around the mouth.
The coffee flavor here is very excellent and this is a highly drinkable beer. I will say one thing about Central Waters’ barrel aged beers: they’ve got the vanilla note down to a science. Peruvian Morning layers up in flavor, like a multi-tiered cake. Good stuff; a definite thumbs up from me. A must try if you like a little coffee in your bourbon. Or bourbon in your coffee.
Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Peruvian Morning Brand Stout, 91 points. Price: $3.59 US for one twelve ounce bottle.