Bourbon County '12 bottle date variation

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by Arbitrator, Feb 2, 2013.

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  1. Arbitrator

    Arbitrator Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2008 California

    Has anyone else done a side-by-side of different bottling dates (presumably different batches) of BCBS '12?

    I've been drinking the 09/06/12 date for the past couple of weeks, including a bottle last night. It's sublime: very forward vanilla character and general sweetness with mild heat. We were jokingly referring to this as the "Pappy bottling date."

    Tonight, I'm having an 09/17/12 date. The vanilla is less forward; it's more tannic and caramelly, with slightly more heat than the 09/06 date.

    They're still fundamentally BCBS, but they don't taste the same to me. Has anyone else encountered this difference? Are there other bottling dates with further differences?

    This is not a complaint thread, so please don't suggest that I should e-mail the brewery. I am just looking for other experiences.
    claaark13 and Rempo like this.
  2. strangebrew321

    strangebrew321 Disciple (313) Feb 18, 2009 Indiana
    Beer Trader

    Ha! I'm glad you mentioned this. I've been drinking these two batches for a while now. The 9\6\12 is very vanilla forward, a real BCBS gem. The 9\17 is very chocolate forward, but still very good. Though last week I tasted both and they seemed much more similar to each other than before....
  3. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    I have the same two dates, and also noticed the tannic character in the 17th. I was taken a bit, so I did a second side by side a couple weeks later, semi blind (wife poured 'em) and it didn't take more than a moment to note the difference. I think it's there, even if we sound crazy to some folks. I also felt the 6th had more of a mineral character.
    drtth likes this.
  4. Kwaz

    Kwaz Initiate (149) Mar 31, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    I didn't have them side by side, but I have had both an 8/23 and a 9/6. It's possible it was my imagination but I felt the 8/23 had a slightly astringent quality (really splitting hairs here) while I felt the 9/6 was everything that embodies the awesomeness of Bourbon County for me.
  5. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (473) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    iso: of 2012 BCBS 09/06/12!!! :slight_smile:
  6. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,426) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    i have to go check my bottles in the cellar hope its 9/6 on them
    poopinmybutt and gustogasmic like this.
  7. Sneers

    Sneers Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That's an interesting observation. I'd expect to brewery to be blending batches from different barrels, accounting for exactly this, to keep the product consistent. If you have any left, maybe try them side-by-side to see if it wasn't just you.
  8. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    If anoyone is familiar with GI's Fulton St. Brewery possibly they could chime in...

    Just a possible scenario for and example. The beer is brewed in 100bbl batches and fermented in either a 100bbl fermenter, or 200bbl and , maybe even 300bbl. Each fermentation will have it's respective fermentation byproducts. The base beer starts at 30* Plato which is HUGE! The yeast is stressed by the gravity and towards the end the alcohol.

    So just guessing they are blending somewhere between 80 to 240 bourbon barrels per bottling run. The barrels are probably several different types (young and old, different bourbons etc.) What goes into one bottling run will most likely not be what goes into the next etc.

    Bottling date all bottles should be consistent... Comparing different bottling dates...base beer should be close but barrel character could shift quite a bit but remain in ballpark...
    gustogasmic likes this.
  9. BrettHead

    BrettHead Devotee (479) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    I have 9/26 and 11/12 (or 11 something not going to check right now). There is some definite difference with me preferring the 9/26 but they are both still fabulous beers. I'll compare them sooner or later and get back with something more specific.
  10. immobilisme

    immobilisme Aspirant (231) Nov 8, 2005 Illinois

    Back in November I had '11 BCBS, and the 8/23, 9/6, and 9/17 bottling dates from '12 within two days of each other.

    The '11 and 9/6/12 bottles were significantly superior to the three of us who tried them side-by-side.

    The 8/23 and 9/17 seemed much hotter straight out of the gate. It will be interesting to see how all of these age.
  11. Highbrow

    Highbrow Devotee (473) Jan 7, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    to the original post, haven't had the fortune to compare varied bottle dates.

    also factor in it seems to be common knowledge GI bled in a small percentage of the wheated bourbon barrel aged base.

    on top of what you illustrated, we could also wonder if the addition was exact each batch & whether or not the wheated version tasted exactly the same (each time) in its own batch form - before being bled into each actual bottling batch.
  12. crusian

    crusian Crusader (743) May 14, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Arnt these aged in barrels... meaning 1 barrel? So it is safe to assume that barrel to barrel characteristics are different... so bottle dates are irrelevant, as they would bottle say, 100 barrels that day... so you have a 1 in 100 chance of getting that great tasting barrel...
    Then you have the possibility of multiple batches in one barrel, half barrel from one fermentor, etc. So... yeah, beats me. Just tossing it out.
  13. HopHead84

    HopHead84 Poo-Bah (3,190) Nov 29, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    They blend the beer. They don't bottle single barrels.
  14. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    If I understand what you are saying...each barrel is bottled individually? No way that could even be feasible! They 'dump' the contents of say at least a 100 into a conditioning tank, chill it to 32*F carbonate it and send it to the bottling line. It would take 'forever' to do it any other way.

    I just saw HopHead84 reply...and what he said too.
  15. crusian

    crusian Crusader (743) May 14, 2010 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Makes more sense than my dumb ass thoughts for sure.
  16. Willbfun

    Willbfun Initiate (0) Sep 28, 2012 New York

    I have an empty 9/20/12 but I've had loose bottles of it a few times. Not sure which one I'm still holding exactly. I have a cherry rye bomber that's 11/12/12 that replaced that empty on a little pedestal & the coffee stout that is also 11/12/12 though cherry rye came in early December the coffee a few weeks ago (jersey). 1st time I had 12 oz of Bourbon County was on Oct. 12 followed by Widmer Bros SXNW according to my dell web cam pics. I was quite happy. happy tippling.
  17. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    lulz @ 50/50 brewer commenting on bottle variation. you know a lot about this, eh? :wink:
  18. Arbitrator

    Arbitrator Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2008 California

    So I had an 08/23/12 last night. To compare notes:

    08/23/12: slightly 'meaty', almost mocha-like (I'd attribute that to higher roast and chocolate). It was a little warm, but not hot.

    09/06/12: very vanilla-forward, with pronounced bourbon flavor, but the least heat of the 3 I've tried.

    09/17/12: more caramelly (I'd say that's the bourbon speaking out), but less vanilla, and more heat than the 09/06/12 date.

    I dig the first two the most. I'm considering mixing these into a [blind] vertical and seeing how the results shake out. I bet they'd be pretty interesting.

    I see there's a 9/26 and an 11/xx date -- I'll have to keep my eye out for those. It's pretty fun to track the little nuances from date to date. I've been doing that for some Russian River beers, but it's clear that even larger breweries can't fully tamp down the natural variations of beer.
    BrettHead and pmarlowe like this.
  19. Andygirl

    Andygirl Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2013 Michigan

    I have a 9/20. Very carmelly sweet on the front, coffee on the back, not very boozy.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  20. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Initiate (84) May 25, 2005 Nebraska

    mine are 8/11 and 9/26
  21. mattafett

    mattafett Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2009 Iowa

    all of mine are 11/08/12
  22. meanmutt

    meanmutt Crusader (719) Feb 6, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I've got some 9/26/12 and some 11/08/12. I haven't drank any of the 11/08/12 bottles yet, but this thread has me wanting to do a side by side comparison.
  23. SkeeterBoganski

    SkeeterBoganski Devotee (487) Feb 25, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I've got 9/6, 9/20, 9/26, and 11/8. I thought the 9/26 was hot, while the 9/20 I drank last night was pretty close to perfect. Thankfully, I have a ton of 9/6 and I'll update when I take one down. I have one 11/8 outlier and have no idea how it's drinking, but agree that different bottling dates = subtle variations in heat and flavor forward notes.
  24. BeastLU

    BeastLU Disciple (326) Dec 20, 2012 Virginia

    Obviously AB fucked up all the other batches except the 9/6.
  25. Scotty

    Scotty Initiate (0) Jun 29, 2012 Maryland

    Wasn't this already discussed when the '12 first came out?
  26. captwalt

    captwalt Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2011 Maryland

    This makes me fell much better. A friend brought some by in early Dec. and my wife and I went nuts for this stuff. It was absolutely fantastic. A few weeks ago he saw it at a store and got me a 4 pack. We were very excited for this but it just wasn't the same, most noteably much more heat from the alcohol which seemed to dull many of the more delicate complex flavors. It wasn't bad but definately different. i never guessed that they would be bottles from different batches but this explains a lot.
  27. tbadiuk

    tbadiuk Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2009 Manitoba (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    Bookmaked this thread a while back for when I got my 2012 bottles in. So far, compared 9/26 and and 11/8 and much, much prefer the 11/8. The 9/26 is a lot more boozey and rough around the edges, whereas the 11/8 is very smooth and balanced. Not sure how much age will change this though. I will say that I was suprised to see that batch variation is at least, if not more, greater than the vintage variation. That is, comparing 2010 to 2011 BCBS is the same amount of differece to comparing 9/26 and 11/8.
    BrettHead and pmarlowe like this.
  28. JerryM1984

    JerryM1984 Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2012 Florida

    9/6 is creamy vanilla of the dates ive had....I thought 8/23 was pretty hot out of the gate but just had one a couple weeks ago and I think age has done it well...starting to smooth out
  29. tbadiuk

    tbadiuk Aspirant (268) Feb 9, 2009 Manitoba (Canada)
    Beer Trader

    CORRECTION - replace 9/26 with 9/20 in the above. It's 9/20 that I opened and compared to 11/8.
  30. chussein

    chussein Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2013

    I don't have any of these in my cellar, would love to add some. Need a Bourbon County contact - message me. :slight_smile:
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