Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 2,990 | Reviews: 325 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by TheBrewo:
4.48/5 rDev -1.1%
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.
01-15-2014 23:07:44 | More by TheBrewo
More User Reviews:
4.64/5 rDev +2.4%
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.
07-31-2014 01:38:35 | More by minterro
4.98/5 rDev +9.9%
A: I was a little surprised here, but not that surprised considering a stout was previously used in these barrels, it pours that magnificent dark ruby/burgundy color, but resting in the glass it is pitch black like a stout, left an espresso colored head as well, the beer looked great but I think it would have been just that much better if it was that dark ruby/burgundy color you got from the pour
S: Up front I got booze, bourbon, and dark fruits, then it mellowed out with some caramel, toffee, and coconut. I absolutely love how this beer smells, a perfect blend of barley wine and stout!
T: Initial flavors are bourbon chocolate and dark fruits, very reminiscent of BCBS, but then transitions to the barley wine side and you get booze, caramel toffee, and light hints of coconut, again I love how this beer tastes, stout/barleywine mix, it is crazy good!
M: Very much like the bourbon county line ups, syrupy, smooth, dries quickly, and the taste lingers but compliments the beer!
O: It is not a very traditional barley wine, but damn it is good!
07-18-2014 05:19:55 | More by KnowYourCraft
4.69/5 rDev +3.5%
A: A cloudy dark brown beer that looks super think as it pours and produces very little head. What head can be roused is made of fine expresso colored bubbles that leave a faint bit of lacing on the glass.
S: The smell is that of thick layers of malt and oak with the malt bring caramel, toffee, some bready notes and a moderate level chocolate while the moderately strong oak brings cinnamon and bourbon barrel character to the party. There are some fruit esters of raisins and a little orange. A floral, moderate alcohol sweetness noted.
T: The alcohol and malt dominate but are closely followed by the oak barrel notes and some chocolate flavors. The malt brings a medium sweetness with toffee character set against a medium-low hops bitterness giving a balance that is somewhat sweet. There are also coffee, raisin and light citrus flavors in there. The finish is sweet with a chocolate, oak and coffee aftertaste.
A full bodied beer with a moderately-low level of carbonation and a fair amount of warmth.
O: My first impression was if the beer taste half as good as it smells it's going to be pretty awesome and it is. Hovering somewhere in that land between Barleywine and stout the dark malt brings a nice chocolate character to the beer. It's a sweet beer but not enough to keep me from enjoying two in an sitting; the abv will do that for me.
12-10-2013 02:29:54 | More by MadScientist
4.8/5 rDev +6%
Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.
Pours deep and dark, almost syrupy, with very little foam. A very small tan head that quickly dissipates to trace on the top and along the edge. Quite lovely.
The first smell is a hit of boozy bourbon along with roasted malt and char, maybe a hint of coffee, vanilla and chocolate.
The taste is amazing. A quick shot of bourbon then a rush of sweet caramel, then coffee and dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla. There is a lingering pleasant and slight bitterness and a touch of a dry, boozy bite. I was surprised by the sweetness of this beer.
The mouthfeel is very nice. A bit creamy with a slight stickiness.
Overall, just a great beer. The taste is about as good as it gets. The best barleywine I've had the pleasure of tasting.
02-09-2014 22:52:05 | More by SD-Alefan
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,990 ratings.