Bourbon County tasting

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ShanePB, Mar 25, 2013.

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  1. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (2,011) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Yesterday, myself and 5 other BA's did a Bourbon County tasting with essentially all the variants. Here was the full line-up:

    Coffee 2010, 2011, 2012
    Coffee 2012 Draft (yep)
    Vanilla 2010
    Bramble Rye
    Cherry Rye
    BCBS 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

    Full size image here

    Anyway, here were some thoughts for me when I was tasting.

    Coffee vertical - 2010 bottle and 2012 draft were the best of the bunch. It was surprising how different the 2012 draft versus bottle tasted. It must have been the coffee used in the 2010 but it was just a stellar tasting coffee beer at a little over 2 years in the bottle.

    Vanilla - Didn't wow me like I thought it would. Vanilla was still there but certainly nothing like I imagined, or hoped, it would be.

    Rare - Drinking excellent. We agreed it has degraded/changed just a touch since it was fresh but nothing in the way of "falling off a cliff."

    Bramble - Fruits are still dominating, but I loved this beer fresh. It's still drinking really nicely, as it warmed though it started to get a bit medicinal.

    BCBS vertical Ranking:

    1. 2009
    2. 2010
    3. 2011
    4. 2012
    5. 2008
    6. 2007

    The bottle of 2007 we had was way past its prime. Green pepper aroma, thin and just really off. We're unsure if it was how the bottle was handled prior to getting it into the group's hands or if 2007 is really just done. It was quite remarkable how different the 2008 was to it (which is doing well). The 2009 bottle was just killer, with the 2010 right behind it.

    Anyway, perhaps the other tasters will chime in with their thoughts but this was awesome to do.

    Cheers to Ray for hosting and all the BA's who contributed!
  2. s_wit

    s_wit Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2012 Wisconsin

    That's a lot of bcbs! Was this all in one day! I think I would be pretty drunk after just a couple of those!
  3. s_wit

    s_wit Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2012 Wisconsin

    By the way, I like the all out comparison, especially the normal bcbs comparison. Kinda shows that the shelf life is about 4-5 years.
    sarch likes this.
  4. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (2,011) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I don't want to look at Bourbon County for another few months.
  5. tectactoe

    tectactoe Poo-Bah (1,816) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan
    Society Trader

    :grimacing: I'm most shocked about how low the '08 BCBS ranked... Had this not too long ago and it blew my mind
  6. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,403) Sep 5, 2007 Florida

    Wow, now that's a tasting event for the ages. Nicely done, I am thoroughly impressed.
    ShanePB likes this.
  7. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (2,011) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    My personal preference, although I don't think anyone had the 2008 ranked really high...
  8. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Aspirant (244) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    Great to see that the coffee versions hold up nicely. I always hear mixed reviews about it.
  9. warriorsoul

    warriorsoul Savant (940) Aug 3, 2004 Pennsylvania

    Same here.
    2007 was all booze but going right into '08 afterwards was sublime. Perfectly balanced w/ hardly any detection of the alcohol. 2012 is also killing it fresh, so not sure how long I want to hold on to what I have left.
  10. huskermike12

    huskermike12 Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2011 Vermont

    This was pretty much my exact experience when I did this except I wasn't a fan of the '10 BCBS bottle I had as it was really hot IMO. Also, noticed you left out the Cherry Rye (which for me was pretty much right in the middle of the pack). I agree 100% on the Vanilla and Rare as well as the BCBCS vertical. That '10 BCBCS was my third favorite overall behind only Rare and Bramble. Cheers!
  11. themind

    themind Initiate (0) Mar 14, 2011 New Jersey

    So coffee basically takes the show, I have yet to try that version but have a bottle aging. Very cool event you planned here, kudos!
  12. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    I had the exact same thought. Had it about a year ago and it was probably the best stout I've ever had.
    jsboots21 likes this.
  13. Greenplastic615

    Greenplastic615 Disciple (312) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    My opinions yesterday were basically in-line with Shane's. I thought the best BCBS bottles (non-variant) were '09, '10. and '11. '12 was still too hot, and there was a big drop-off from '09 to '08; with an even bigger drop-off from '08 to '07. I'm glad we didn't try to go back any further.

    Variant wise, Rare obviously took the best in show. The smoothness and lack of heat in Rare is astounding, and I was really glad to have a 4 oz pour to really take some time and enjoy it as it warmed up. That said, I had it last August, and while I wouldn't say it's "falling off", I would say that it's probably drinking as well as it ever will, and I wouldn't be surprised in a year or two for it to go downhill a bit.

    Vanilla was good, but I was a little underwhelmed. I suppose it was a product of the hype train, and I was most excited for this one because it's the only variant I haven't had previously, but it fell a little short of expectations. Still, a solid beer, just not world-changing.

    Bramble was way better than it was a year or so ago. While still berry forward, I thought a year ago it tasted almost medicinal, and yesterday I quite enjoyed it.

    Coffee '10 was the highlight for me of the BCBCS, which surprised me since I though the fresher ones would be best. I'd rank them '10, '12, '11, but all three were really good, and we finished with them so our palates were a little (a lot?) fried.

    All in all, an awesome event and thanks to Ray for hosting, as well as everyone else who showed up for an awesome day!
    CanConPhilly likes this.
  14. sarch

    sarch Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2013 Illinois

    I had the 2010 Coffee at a tap takeover (or maybe it was the 2011) earlier this month and I definitely thought the coffee flavor wasn't there. Still an excellent beer, and I'd gladly try it again, but I feel that the coffee should be drank sooner than later.

    How'd you get a hold of the Bramble? I've been searching high and low, and have yet to get my hands on one.

    /e Just checked Untappd. It was the 2011, which is surprising how fast the coffee faded.
  15. redsand22

    redsand22 Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2010 Illinois

    I think 08 is still tasting fantastic... I think they used Black Cat in 2010 which is a stellar coffee. We're going to do this tasting (plus King henry and cherry) soon did it about 18 months ago and want to see how things have changed. At that time I had 2010 on draft in my kegerator and we thought that was tops close to 08... this time I'll have 2012 tapped.
  16. Greenplastic615

    Greenplastic615 Disciple (312) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Also - all 6 of us had cherry recently, and I agree with the poster above - right in the middle of the pack as variants go. I would probably rank them Rare>Coffee>Vanilla=Cherry>Bramble.
  17. Greenplastic615

    Greenplastic615 Disciple (312) Nov 4, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Yep, that was one of the biggest motivations behind doing this. I think we agreed that aging beyond four years is risky, at best. One to three years old seemed to be the sweet spot.
  18. kodt

    kodt Defender (661) Mar 6, 2013 Illinois

    For me it was Rare > Coffee > Bramble > Cherry > Vanilla > Regular > Baudonia

    All are great though. I thought Baudonia was too mellow, but I like some heat so others may rate it higher.
  19. TheBeerTruck

    TheBeerTruck Initiate (0) Feb 29, 2012 Michigan

    I'm in the process of building this exact tasting. Bramble and Vanilla are all I need yet as far as the harder to get one goes. I can't wait!!!! Super fun seeing this just done by someone else. Thanks for sharing.
  20. ChefHopMeister

    ChefHopMeister Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2010 Virginia

    What a great tasting line-up. Making memories!
  21. sarch

    sarch Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2013 Illinois

    I wish you the best of luck finding a Bramble. I was told by a Goose rep that GI doesn't have any left in their own personal collection, so it'll be even harder to find one, or even try one.
    On that note, they had a raffle at a tap takeover and were giving a couple out.
  22. BdubleEdubleRUN

    BdubleEdubleRUN Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 California

  23. dvelcich

    dvelcich Initiate (87) Feb 6, 2008 Illinois

    There are usually two coffees used each year. One goes into bottles and kegs while the other is draft only. This year, the bottled and kegged version was La Tortuga, and if I'm not mistaken, the draft only version is Redline Espresso. You'd have to check to see which draft version you got to know how to compare them. They might just be two different beers.
    Alexander likes this.
  24. bryang002

    bryang002 Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2012 Illinois

    Great notes. A group of 6-7 of us are putting the exact tasting together in June. We're going back to '06, so based on your thoughts on 2007 I'm not expecting much with the earlier bottles.
  25. bryang002

    bryang002 Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2012 Illinois

    We also have a keg of 2012 BCS, so we'll be drinking that as well.
    _Joe_ likes this.
  26. TheBeerTruck

    TheBeerTruck Initiate (0) Feb 29, 2012 Michigan

    I'm not too worried about it. It's just a matter of find the right person who wants to trade one away. Where's the tap takeover you speak of?
  27. JimmyW

    JimmyW Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2011 Illinois

    I did a Bourbon County vertical on New Years. '06-'12 with '12 and Baudoinia on tap. I was really impressed with how well the '06 and '07 were drinking. Lots of little differences in all of them, but all were pretty outstanding. I'm sure you won't be disappointed at your June tasting.
  28. DubbelTrubbel

    DubbelTrubbel Initiate (180) Nov 19, 2012 Georgia

    This picture is my new background.
    7clutch likes this.
  29. frankthetank86

    frankthetank86 Initiate (0) Dec 24, 2012 New York

    you didn't mention how the cherry ry held up to the others? what gives? nobody liked it?
    JxExM likes this.
  30. baybum

    baybum Zealot (597) Feb 10, 2011 Pennsylvania

    That was more BCBS in one sitting then I ever thought I’d have. Those palate cleansers weren’t too shabby either!:grinning: Tasting order: Rare, Vanilla, (cantillion), BCBS 07,08,09,10,11,12, (cantillion), bramble coffee 10, 11, 12, 12 draft.

    My ranking of all beers went this way: Rare, Vanilla, Coffee 2010, bcbs ‘09, Coffee 2012(draft), bcbs ‘10, Coffee 2012, bcbs ‘11, Cherry Rye, Bramble, bcbs ‘08, bcbs ‘12, Coffee 2011, bcbs ‘07.
    Here are my personal notes on each one.

    Rare – My first time trying this beer so I can’t say if it has fallen off. But for me it stole the show! Having just tried Pappy 12yr this weekend, I could really taste the barrel. The aroma just made you want to climb into the glass. Although you don’t want to drink this fast, warming up did not improve the aroma or taste. Pour this beer at the proper temp and enjoy it right away!
    Vanilla – I think this was the case of a beer trying to live up to the hype, and just not doing it the way Rare did. The aroma of vanilla is outstanding, but it over powered the taste of the bcbs. I can’t imagine the vanilla when this beer was fresh. Although some in the group weren’t impressed, I thought this beer fell right where it should, below Rare yet above the rest.

    Bramble – The blackberries in this beer are so strong it is hard to get past it. The aroma is sweet and wonderful, but the taste lacked for me. As this warmed up I enjoyed the flavor of the beer even more, but it did reach a point where it was to syrupy tasting.
    Cherry Rye – Everyone agreed that CR was slightly better than bramble and should hold up to some aging.

    Coffee 2010 – This beer might be better then vanilla but I gave vanilla the slight nod. By far my favorite of the coffees we tried. The roasted aroma and taste were a perfect complement to the bcbs. Who knows if this will hold up for more years, but if I had more I’d drink them now as I can’t see a bcbcs getting much better than this!
    Coffee 2011 – Not sure if it was just the style of coffee used or this batch, but I was not overly impressed with this version of bcbs coffee. Very bitter, and I didn’t appreciate the strong aroma that it put out. Might have just been me not caring for the type of beans used.

    Coffee 2012 – This year’s coffee is outstanding right now, and I really hope it holds up like the 2010 did. I’m gonna sit on a few bottles of this and see what happens in a year or two.
    Coffee 2012 Draft – I was shocked at the difference between the draft and bottle. I loved the bottled version, but I think the draft was much better. The high carbonization really made a huge difference in both aroma and flavor.

    BCBC 2007 12oz – Wow this really fell off hard, or there was something wrong with the bottle I got. Green peppercorn is all I could taste. It was hard to finish this beer.
    BCBC 2008 12oz – Definitely starting to fall off, I have one more and I’m drinking it soon before it ends up like ’07.

    BCBC 2009 22oz – Wow, 2009 was the first BCBS I’ve ever had, so it holds a spot in my taste buds forever. But this is drinking just as good as a year ago. Too me this is how bcbs should taste. The bourbon is forever there but it is not too strong. It has mellowed out perfectly.
    BCBC 2010 12oz –It amazed me again that you could drink 6 years on BCBS and really tell the difference between each year. ’10 was a little stronger in bourbon and sweetness then ’09.

    BCBC 2011 12oz – A year of aging bcbs and it is great, much better then fresh and a perfect time to drink it. Compared to ’09 & ’10 it was slightly hotter but not as hot as ’12. As this warmed up the flavor really came through.
    BCBS 2012 12oz – What can I say, ’12 is great for a fresh bourbon stout. I love it and drink it all the time, but I will definitely let several of these sit for a few more years.

    Thanks to everyone for helping bring this together! One of the most epic tasting I’m sure I’ll ever do…or not:wink:
    In no way am I an expect in beers, so please respect that these were just my opinion and you are welcome to disagree.
    7clutch likes this.
  31. sarch

    sarch Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2013 Illinois

    It was at the south loop binnys in Chicago.
  32. Schmoozer

    Schmoozer Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2008 Michigan

    I recently (about 2 weeks ago), did an 06 - 12 vertical without the variants. The tasting group that I had rated the 06 the best overall. The heat was gone, and there was a lot of dark cherry, flavor with the bourbon. Definitely the easiest to drink, and dangerous at 13% or whatever it was that year. I would agree with you on the 09 coming in second overall, but our 07 tasted great. It still had a huge bourbon punch that was a little overbearing for me.

    Keep in mind, you have to make your own judgement on a beer. I'm not sure what happened to your bottle of 07, but mine tasted great.
  33. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    BCBS 2009 is my favorite out of all them. Rare disappointed me slightly. Bourbon was too hot for me, might have fared better with a more robust and fresh base beer or could still do with some age to mellow out the rest of that booze. Won't open my last until for at least another year.

    Coffee didn't really click with me. Lots of candy sugar, not enough coffee.
  34. baybum

    baybum Zealot (597) Feb 10, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for this input! I was afraid that it might have been the bottle, because it was so off from the 2008. I traded for the '07 so I have no idea what conditions it was stored in. Also of note both the 2007 & 2008 where screw tops.
  35. incubuscience

    incubuscience Initiate (0) Jul 26, 2012 Illinois

    I think you may have just had a bad bottle of 2007. I've drank a half dozen 2007s in the past handful of months, and got zero greenpepper. While not at its prime, it's still really damn good. Very chocolatey. Actually reminds me a lot of the flavor profile of a last year's CW Bourbon Barrel Stout, just a bit more complex and with better/thicker mouthfeel.
  36. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Umm isn't a keg a draft? How do you get draft without a keg?
  37. dvelcich

    dvelcich Initiate (87) Feb 6, 2008 Illinois

    Couldn't tell if you were serious, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    La Tortuga is the one in bottles, but it's also on draft.

    Redline is draft only.

    Two kegged versions floating around at bars. You have to ask to find out which one you're getting, and hopefully the server will know.
  38. baybum

    baybum Zealot (597) Feb 10, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Just wondering how someone would know which version it is. I'm assuming Redline is only in the GI area and wasn't distributed. Also the taste of the draft was very similar to the bottle, if it had been a different coffee bean one of the 6 of us would have noticed and commented on a big taste difference.
  39. Alexander

    Alexander Initiate (100) May 29, 2008 Iowa

    Regarding 08...
    Did an identical tasting here recently including all Coffees (less draft). I have a new thought on the 08. We've come to recognize and appreciate how wonderfully huge fresh and recent vintages are that 08 is just simply a different beer now (both in terms of its age as well as our collective palate). More balanced and mellow, but a phenomenal brew. Just way different, not the BCBS intensity we think of. It's as different in relation to 09-12 as 07 is in the other direction. I dislike 07 btw. Don't have enough memory to give a word on older vintages.
  40. BlackDragon

    BlackDragon Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2013 Michigan

    What order and how much of each did you drink (wondering how much being buzzed affected the tasting)?
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