Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 2,836 | Reviews: 321 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheBrewo:
4.48/5 rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
This elusive brew was poured from the tap at the Renshaw Lounge in Clawson, Michigan. Huge thanks to Ashley P. for the heads up!! It arrived in a generic half sized snifter, showing a ruddy, rusty deep chocolate brown coloring, letting up more ruby hues of light towards the stem of the glass. It held a half finger tall head of coco colored cream, showing decent retention into a film across the top of the liquid and archipelago lacing across the glass. Carbonation appeared to be light and slow to rise, with no haze or sediment otherwise appreciated. The aroma was warming and delicious, giving notes of soy sauce and hot boozy bourbon fresh off the top, with a background symphony of raw molasses, licorice, salted biscuits, heavy oak, crushing buttery diacetyls, phenolic clove and medicinals, thick grainy bite of rye and caramel roast, and softer coffee malt chalkiness. With warmth came frank brandy and maraschino cherry fruitiness. Our first impression was in line with the nose in that the base flavoring fit comfortably into the bourbon county family, showing untouched barreling and a slightly sweeter and less sticky swill than the traditional stout or the likes of King Henry. As we sipped, the taste began with sticky plum sugars and roasted pudding, darkly cooked coffee, chocolate, and caramel maltiness, huge buttery diacetyls, sweet butterscotch, black pepper, and permanent marker phenols. The beer’s sweetness came to peak through the center of the swallow, with sweet honey, sugary candied coconut, olive oil meatiness, dark chocolate syrups, burnt toffee, dried brown grassiness, and ancient, dried and cracked oak barrels, with rusted copper around its edges. The end washed through with stark green apple acetaldehyde bite, gingerbread crumbles, cooled vanilla coffee, vinyl plastics, burnt rubbers, smoky leathers, fusel brandy and bourbon booziness, pear, plum, and cherry syrups, and the heaviest grit of caramel and bittered rye graininess. The aftertaste breathed of medicinals, oaked woodiness, fusel bourbon, darkly roasted coffee, caramel, and rye grain, black pepper, dirty licorice buttons, cheesy musk, diacetyls, toasted coconut, sour and soapy hoppiness, tobacco smokiness, chalked oak chips, cedar mulch, maple and honey sugars, and a base wheat breadiness. The body was thick and full through and through, while the carbonation was surprisingly medium to high. Each sip was silky smooth and heavily syrupy, giving wonderful slurp, smack, cream, froth, pull, and pop. The lips were left sweet and nearly granular with residual sugar, while the mouth was coated from end to end. This feeling dragged forever before slowly, slowly slipping away to leave a fleeting burn and prickle to the tongue, and a quiver to the cheek. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank excellently as a sipper.
Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its taste. Everything about this guy is just so, so rich and complex, with layers upon layers upon layers, as you would expect from the BC brand. The first big noticeable difference stylistically is how damn dark it is. It’s like black barleywine status, a la the Sierra Nevada black barleywine from a few years back. While each sip begins and peaks with bright sweetness, much like the standard bourbon county stout, it is through the end and aftertaste of the sip where this beer really begins to take its own unique form. The malts sweeten up with warmth, helping to create some cracks in the darkness of themselves, allowing for the fruit and inherent bitterness of booze and wood to shine through. This is where the true complexity of the beer lies, once it all begins to fall into place. The aroma, while intensely rich, roasty, and robust, and hinting at the darkness of the beer, doesn’t quite come to that same level of glory as the flavoring. Again, this is just a treat all around, and although it isn’t quite as sticky, dank, and “forever” as King Henry, we are extremely happy to have been able to track down and consume this beer, especially since we thought it was gone forever.
Serving type: on-tap
01-15-2014 23:07:44 | More by TheBrewo
More User Reviews:
4.29/5 rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pours rich mahogany with a minimal cream colored head that dissipates quickly. Thick and unfiltered look. Sep 24 2013 bottling date. Nose is malt, caramel, whiskey and cigar with background notes of brown sugary sweetness. Taste follows the nose..slow and sweet with just a little heat. Flavor is buttery and rich. Mouthfeel thick and gratifying. Overall, an outstanding barleywine with a lot to offer for the style.
Serving type: bottle
07-31-2014 02:41:28 | More by fgmiele
4.64/5 rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Served as the start to the goose island themed tasting (we did start with Fred from Hair of the Dog). Short notes from 7/27/14. Bottled 9/17/13. Served in a snifter.
A&S: The beer is a murky brown color. Pieces of unfiltered specks float around the bottom of this beer. No head present when poured. The aroma was amazing, it was the kind of smell you wish could be stuck in your nose all day. Caramel tones blended with raisins, sugary belgian candy sweetness, and boozy bourbon tones. Really about as good as I have seen it.
T&M: This beer was extremely complex, transforming and opening up continuously as it sat in the glass. It started with a characteristic that most decent barleywines share dark fruit tones. The dark fruits were primarily raisins but later on I think I got some plums. Towards the end I was odd enough picking up on some dark chocolate flavors. No real hop presence. The carbonation quantity was excellent, just right to make it not completely dead, but not too much to make it any bit sharp. Body wasn't as thick as it could have been, but I was for sure more than just a medium thickness.
Overall: The was the opener for the afternoon and I have to say I like it the best! All three (this one, the cherry rye, and the coffee) of the goose island specialties were spectacular, but for me, this one took the cake. I would be interested to see how this beer develops, however it would be a tough task considering it was so epic at this stage. One of my favorite beers I have had the pleasure to try this year.
Serving type: bottle
07-31-2014 01:38:35 | More by minterro
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,836 ratings.