Bourbon County Variants On Tap vs. Bottle / Vanilla Disappointment

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BeerPlusPlus, Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. BeerPlusPlus

    BeerPlusPlus Initiate (101) Mar 14, 2013 Illinois

    I'm a longtime visitor to the site as a guest and this topic has finally driven me to create an account and seek feedback.

    Last week I attended a GI Bourbon County Tap Takeover with one of my friends. Prior to the event the only Bourbon County we had had was '11, '12, Coffee, and Cherry Rye, all out of a bottle. We started out with BCBVS and were immediately underwhelmed at the vanilla flavor. Next we had the Cherry Rye, which was great, and also seemed to be underwhelming in its variant flavor though not to the extent of the vanilla. Later in the night bottles of Bramble Rye were opened and sampled to everyone in attendance. The berry flavor, to me, was significant, and I enjoyed the hell out of my ounce-and-a-half.

    The only bottle vs. tap comparison I have is Cherry Rye, and the bottle had much more cherry flavor to me than the tap. I was expecting a lot more vanilla out of the BCBVS, and was kinda disappointed with it, especially since it was the main reason we were attending the takeover. So I'm wondering if something about the tap mutes the flavor of the variant? Has anyone else experienced this? Do I need to track down a BCBVS bottle to get the vanilla experience all the reviews suggest I should have had? Go easy on me, I'm new(ish) here...
    Hermthegerm likes this.
  2. Luv2Brew422

    Luv2Brew422 Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2012 California

    I have heard that the Vanilla flavor in the BCBVS bottles has faded significantly since it was first released back in late 2010, early 2011. Kind of how hops would fade with time. Although, I cannot verify this myself as I have never had the beer. I did however recieve a bottle yesterday afternoon via trade!
  3. ChicagoNick

    ChicagoNick Disciple (364) Nov 16, 2012 Illinois

    I've had a vanilla out of the bottle, recently. The vanilla was overwhelming to me. I'm not a huge vanilla fan but couldn't pass up the chance to try it.

    As for the Cherry Rye on tap, I was at Stoutuary at Hackney's in Chicago. We got the first pours after the keg was tapped. Very little cherry flavor. However, the cherry was far more significant in the following pours. Perhaps there's some settling in the kegs... or the bar had dirty lines. I'm not sure.
  4. RyanBeer13

    RyanBeer13 Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 Virginia

    Vanilla was my least favorite
    Onenote81 and ADTaber like this.
  5. RacerX5k

    RacerX5k Devotee (412) Feb 11, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I actually think the Cherry has faded a little bit in the bottle already, last weekend's was great but not other worldly like it was in December - January. On draft recently I thought was very cherry forward, like the super fresh bottles. Ive also had the Coffee recently on draft, much better than bottle, real chocolate, coffee bomb. Either way, these two, along with regular are by far the best beers in the world, IMO.
  6. chuckycheese

    chuckycheese Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2010 Maine

    The pedigree bottled Vanilla carries is puzzling. A slightly sweeter version from the regular is all I took away.
    Dope likes this.
  7. dmfc906

    dmfc906 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2010 Illinois

    had a bottle of vanilla when it was released and again last November, the flavor has dropped off a little but still pretty prominent IMO. Never had it on draft though.
  8. Rosty

    Rosty Initiate (42) Nov 29, 2006 California

    I had the BCBCCS on tap a few days ago and I actually went back and asked if they had given me the regular one and not the coffee. There was little or no coffee anywhere. But it was still super tasty.
  9. pmoney

    pmoney Crusader (794) Apr 15, 2011 Illinois

    I've had Vanilla out of the bottle multiple times (as recently as November) and on tap. Everytime I've had it, the vanilla character has been amazing. When I had it in November, the vanilla flavor was slightly less, but it was still very noticable and extremely delicious. It's still my favorite varient, hands-down.
    sholle, crushedvol and buffs9 like this.
  10. FUNKPhD

    FUNKPhD Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2010 Texas

    The only time I've had Coffee, I, too, didn't get much coffee from it, at least not like I got from coffee forward beer. It made me wonder why people tripped so hard on it. I wouldn't question if it were the regular base beer, but it was definitely a bit lacking.
  11. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (952) Mar 17, 2009 Washington

    I never found BCBSVanilla to have a big vanilla flavor even when released. It was maybe slightly better than regular Bourbon county.

    Not surprising you got more fruit flavor out of bramble compared to cherry rye. Bramble is over-the-top in that department. Its like a jelly chocolate donut milkshake all up in your shit not giving a fuck. Cherry Rye is for the weak.
  12. mocktm

    mocktm Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2011 Virginia

    I found the vanilla to be just a creamier, slightly sweeter version of regular BCBS. Definitely liked it, but I wouldn't give up what it takes to land another bottle.
    RyanBeer13 likes this.
  13. Kmccabe33

    Kmccabe33 Aspirant (230) Nov 4, 2011 Georgia

    I think the variation of Vanilla throughout the batch was huge, I have had BCBVS out of the bottle twice and both times I just thought it tasted like a well aged BCBS. I had trouble finding any major vanilla flavors, it was very enjoyable but I was kind of hoping for the vanilla bomb that some describe.
  14. t8000shx

    t8000shx Initiate (191) Mar 2, 2004 New York

    I've been lucky enough to have BCBVS bottles quite a few times since release as well as on tap on several occasions, most recently a month or so ago. In my experience, the vanilla flavor in particular (and the quality of the overall flavor profile) of the kegs has fallen off MUCH more than the bottles. Very much the opposite of what I'd expect, but from what I've sampled it's a marked difference.

    I have one last bottle of vanilla that's scheduled to be opened in a month or so, we'll see how it goes.
  15. crushedvol

    crushedvol Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2008 Illinois

    Unshockingly people's palates are different and your brain (read expectations) affects your taste much more than people realize or seem to admit. There are ceratin flavors (vanilla, mint etc) that people react to strongly whether it be beer or food. I shared a vanilla with a non beer drinker not too long ago and his response was "tastes like straight vanilla extract" where as i did not get a huge vanilla flavor, but i've had it multiple times and know what to expect. The reason i think the vanilla is fantastic, is that while it imparts a vanilla flavor, it seems to bring bourbon county (already a great beer) to a new level, by smoothing and integrating the flavors in the base beer.
  16. kodt

    kodt Defender (630) Mar 6, 2013 Illinois

    I was at the same event. The Cherry Rye on tap had a very strong Cherry flavor I thought. But not overpowering. The Vanilla was more subtle, but it was very nice. When you drink it next to a Cherry it seems mild, but next to a 09 or Badounia it was very good.

    The Bramble Rye had a very strong flavor, but it was delicious. It was on the verge of being too much though.
  17. FishPondManager

    FishPondManager Aspirant (261) Feb 28, 2012 Colorado

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is the different experience you can have when drinking the same beer in different locations. I've had BCBCS in three different locations on draft and many times in the bottle. I think it always tastes better at home. The bar environment always seems to make it harder for me to get the full experience. There's usually a lot of different food being cooked, people wearing cologne and perfume, dudes farting everywhere, one may or may not have already had another beer, and the first few sips are usually a bit colder than one would like. I think this is further exacerbated when you're drinking a < 4oz pour out of a smaller vessel. Of course it could be variation and age, but the overall olfactory environment of a bar seems less conducive to getting the full experience of a beer like BCBS and its variants.
    davey101 likes this.
  18. jakeox

    jakeox Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2012 Illinois

  19. Dope

    Dope Poo-Bah (2,883) Oct 5, 2010 Massachusetts

    I'm going to echo what most are saying in that the vanilla in BCS vanilla is pretty mild, especially at this point. I had a bottle maybe a year ago and it was only a mild change from normal BCS. It's mild enough that I think if someone made me take a blind taste test I would not have identified it correctly (unless immediately comparing vanilla vs normal bcs). I hope they re-release vanilla at some point, I'd love to try a fresh bottle.

  20. BeerPlusPlus

    BeerPlusPlus Initiate (101) Mar 14, 2013 Illinois

    Pretty much exactly what I experienced, a smoother, creamier BCBS. I probably wouldn't have guessed it was vanilla if i didn't know beforehand.

    I can relate perfectly. I'm so glad I was able to try this great beer that I probably will never have again, but at the same time I wanted the vanilla to knock me out.

    Good to know I'm not the only one thinking this way. Looking forward to future discussion now that I've finally broken the seal, so to speak. Thanks for the feedback everyone!
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