Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 7,574 | Reviews: 2,326 | Display Reviews Only:
4.56/5 rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Glad to have seen these around here after a good long wait - I have some '12 bottles (which I will review here later), but I was morbidly curious to see how this is beer drinks fresh. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip wine glass. Split with a friend. 2013 vintage.
Yeah, that's a pretty dark beer right up front. I could perhaps make up some light brown strokes at the rim of the glass, but even when pressed against a bright light, it seemed futile. Pours a very light fizzy off-mocha colored head that dissipates into pretty much nothing. From afar, alongside viscousness, it looks like a chocolate coffee liqueur of sorts. While I definitely have seen better looking imperial stouts, I doubt there's any that look this opaque, still, and yet appealing in the sense closer to wine than to beer.
Wow, that's really a fabulous aroma - good to see that GI is indeed cranking up their BCBS recipe at their flagship location in Chicago. Notes of bourbon abound, complete with vanilla, toasted coconut shavings (the resemblance is remarkable), roasted coffee, chocolate, burnt toffee, light nutmeg and baking soda, and maybe a little bit of tobacco. No booze or heat on the nose, with only the relatively (and shockingly) mild sweetness overall. Dark fruits make up a good deal of the aroma, with dark ripe cherries, raisins, and prunes adding extra complexity to the flavor profile. What's so striking about this isn't even the array of flavors, nor the near perfect melding of bourbon with a high quality stout, but rather how pleasant, opulent, and elegant the beer is overall. This is what every bourbon aged stout should strive for, in my view.
The flavor is equally present, and - amazingly - full of surprises at every additional sip. At first, there's an immediate bourbon/roasted malt combo that soaks the palate, delivering a combination of vanilla, coconut, caramel, burnt toffee, and vividly roasted notes of dark chocolate, espresso beans, and dark cherries and raisins. Contains an array of spices both from the oak and malt profile, ranging from tobacco, licorice, and black strap molasses. Finishes both roasted, caramel-y, and nutty, with flavors of almonds and peanut butter. No matter what, however, this is enormously restrained in terms of holding back any potential sweetness, and the alcohol is horrifically hidden well. Nevertheless, it's relatively syrupy in feel, and its liqueur-like still texture (inhibited by some mild carbonation throughout) makes it quite decadent. I didn't sip this because of its richness. I sipped this throughout because I didn't want this magical elixir to leave my glass, well, ever.
A legend among the great craft brews, in my distro at last. While some of us could argue that the ends do not justify the means in the politicized debate involving GI, this is an undeniably wonderful beer. In a way, it kind of transcends everything you know about beer - I handed this over to some exclusively wine-only drinkers and they commented how delicious this was. Because, in the end, it is. And, it's extremely well made - one does not simply throw in a stout into bourbon barrels and achieve successful results. This is a very well thought out beer in every sense of the word. With that said, I give myself a graceful and humble bow to the brewers at GI, and rejoice.
UPDATE (1/6/2014): You know what it is they say about hype... This totally lost during a bourbon barrel stout blind tasting, which bummed me out. Pretty syrupy and ranges on Dark Lord sweetness the more this warms up. At the same time, the flavor is pretty top notch, but perhaps this is best when aged. I'm going to see how the '13 vintage goes, and crack open some '12 vintages all in good time. Until then.
Serving type: bottle
12-10-2013 21:44:32 | More by magictacosinus
4.76/5 rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
I finally had this beer after hearing about it for a year. Even if you are not a Stout fan I would try this just for the experience. As you can see, it is higher in alcohol so splitting it with someone would be allowed (maybe even encouraged). There is nothing like a tasty, hardy, stronger stout on a cold winter night and this is the perfect beer for that. I also put one aside (had to hide them from my brother-in-law) and will crack it open next holiday season.
Serving type: bottle
12-10-2013 21:13:57 | More by NERM
4.33/5 rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2013 bottle from Proof Bottle Shop. I set the bottle out about an hour before I opened it. Poured into a large snifter. Deep opaque black with a thin chocolate colored head. Head lasted well under a minute. No lacing, but some sticky legs. Lots of vanilla, bourbon and molasses in the aroma. Not much else in the nose. Nice bourbon warmth throughout the taste without it being overpowering. Typically I don't like a ton of bourbon booziness in a stout, but this holds it up extremely well. Bourbon taste without the booziness. Nice vanilla sweetness in the front with some toffee and chocolate up there as well. Mid-palate is some of that molasses with the bourbon and earthy oak at the end. You certainly don't get any of the 14.9% abv in this bad boy. Mouthfeel is nicely viscous without being thick, very low carbonation. Great beer...but I am slightly underwhelmed by all the hype.
Serving type: bottle
12-09-2013 20:57:09 | More by mverity
4.83/5 rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
2013 vintage. Poured from a bottle into a goblet, the beer is jet black, with hints of chestnut highlights around the edges when held up to light. Sparse, filmy surface coat of tan colored head. Looked oily and thick when poured. Aromas of vanilla, oak, booze, cocoa nibs, and mocha coffee. Very rich, very robust, and very inviting. Flavors are very roasted and bitter on the forward tongue, but with a subsequent vanilla and cream character that provides an amazing balance. Chocolate notes, bittersweet, present mid-tongue, with more of the woody and booze characteristics coming, as well. Building warmth as you drink, as a 14.9% ABV is wont to do. The body is velvety smooth, and supports all the rich and robust character perfectly. Rich, bitter roasted aftertaste, with coffee, vanilla, and booze all lending themselves to a linger. The finish is smooth, but boy does it finish slow, which is exactly how you want this beer to leave your palate. This is a heavy beast, and a sipper to be sought after. Great beer.
Serving type: bottle
12-09-2013 17:38:20 | More by GarthDanielson
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 7,574 ratings.