Online Tasting: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout! (November 27-29, 2020)

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ChicagoJ, Nov 26, 2020.

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  1. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Crusader (753) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    2020 Kentucky Fog

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    4.34/5 rDev +0.2%
    look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

    Poured into a Lost Abbey long stemmed tulip. Inky dark stout body with ample fluffy brown head which dissipated slowly leaving some lacing. Gorgeous smell even when still at cellar temperature; dark honey sweetness, malts, booze and a hint of tea. Taste mirrors the smell but before it warmed the tea taste was a little off putting as oddly out of place. As it warms the tea fades back and lets the others flavors take over. Mouthfeel is typical for BCBS.

    Although variants like this exemplify the craft beer ethos, this didn't work quite as well as others at least to me. That said, my point score illustrates that I'm not sorry to have tried it.
     
  2. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,194) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    First BCB 2020 variant for me, Caramella Wheatwine. I’m a huge sucker for well done Wheatwines, and very much enjoyed the previous BCB iterations of the style. Excited for this one, even if the adjuncts wouldn’t have been my first choice.

    Pours a translucent light caramel color with 1 fingers width of head which dissipates quickly and leaves essentially no lacing. Aroma is immediately like a candy apple. Sugary sweetness, slightly tart green apple, and caramel up from. Boozy fusel ethanol on the back end. Barrel characters are quite subtle but pleasant. Taste is so fucking good. My god it’s just a caramel apple explosion. Huge cinnamon too. Boozy alcohol to balance the sweetness. Moderate barrel characters are more prominent than on the aroma with a bourbon-esque oaky vanilla. Mouth feel is super smooth, and although the alcohol is noticeable it is in a positive way and adds to, rather than detracts from, the profile. It’s insanely drinkable, dangerously so. All in all, an absolute hit with me. Buy this. Drink this. You will not be disappointed.

    4.25/4.25/4.75/4.5/4.5

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    #202 zac16125, Nov 29, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2020
  3. SWChi

    SWChi Defender (696) Oct 25, 2012 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Drinking a 2017 Northwoods...

    Poured a jet black, Blueberry and almond aromas, chocolate smell at the back end, taste is sweet, but smooth, chocolatey, it's definitely drinkable and wish I had another bottle.

    Cheers!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. SierraNevallagash

    SierraNevallagash Meyvn (1,175) Sep 23, 2018 Maine
    Society Trader

    I've yet to see any of these Kentucky Fog reviews mention bergamot. It's specifically Earl Grey tea, right? Anyone have any insight into whether or not there's a bergamot presence in it?
     
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  5. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,370) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Society

    I remember the thrill of landing my first Bourbon County haul in 2014. It was the first time I had ever "hunted" for a beer. I was doing some field work in NYC and drove out to a Whole Foods in Brooklyn to find some. I asked the guy in the beer dept of they had any and he kindly pulled out a 4-pack of BCBS and two 12 oz bottles of Barleywine from behind the counter. My excitement was palpable.

    Fast forward to 2020 and it's not something that I purchase anymore. In fact, I don't think I've bought any since 2017 or 2018. Just a change in personal tastes, I guess. Funny how those things work. It's still a great beer though and I can relate to the anticipation and excitement around the releases each year.

    Anyways, I've got a 2016 BCBS in my glass tonight and I'm happy to report it's held up very well. Bottled on 16SEP16. ABV 13.8%. I've always loved the nose on this beer. It's got one of the best aromas of all-time, in my opinion. Rich chocolate, burnt malts, port, and fig. There is more vanilla in this than I remember in the past. The alcohol presence has mellowed quite a bit and it's silky smooth. Always a treat; a classic American beer.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Crusader (753) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    This is an example of what happens when I review something too hastily before it has a chance to fully breathe and develop. This has turned into a superb sipper with the tea serving to enhance the experience. Although this is something different than the straight BCBS, it's something uniquely good as its own entity.

    Or maybe I'm pleasantly hammered; the quintessential BCBS 1 pint 9 ounce experience. Now to edit my review.
     
  7. MacMalt

    MacMalt Poo-Bah (4,483) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

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    Caramella. It achieves its goal of tasting like an apple cobbler but it's a little sweet for my liking.
    The 14.6he% ABV is really well hidden.
     
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  8. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (3,701) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
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    I thought I’d drink this next beer for breakfast Sunday morning (coffee stout and all) then decided it would compliment a turkey leftovers with pies meal...I’m glad I popped it - BCB Café De Olla Stout:

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    Bottled 8/17/19. Poured at 54 degrees. Thick creamy tan head; black with ruby edges; ok to minimal cap retention; solid ring; soapy lacing; thin legs. Toasted marshmallow and burnt wood nose; bourbon and orange exhale. Cocoa nibs, bittersweet dark chocolate, a dusting of cinnamon, light coffee, and bourbon; sugary candied orange peel up front, with a citrus rind layer that asserts itself midway through; cocoa powder and bourbon finish that includes orange flavor ever lurking in the background. Creamy smooth tongue coating, medium full body, moderate minus carbonation; warmth in mouth from 13.5% abv. Overall, I’m blown away by how a year in I’m getting so much orange; I thought this was a so so coffee stout last year, and coffee is less a factor now, but the barrel and base flavors are enhanced by orange peel I did not originally appreciate; a beer that reminds me to buy a couple to age so I can see what happens a year or two down the road...did not see orange happening, and so glad it did!

    4.25 | 4.25 | 4.5 | 4.5 | 4.5

    Thanks @ChicagoJ for a great format to share and learn from others regarding one of my personal favorite BA stouts, with all its variants. Cheers!
     
  9. GreenBayBA

    GreenBayBA Meyvn (1,393) Aug 30, 2015 Wisconsin
    Society Trader

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    I remember taking my first sip of 2019 BCBS on the day it was released, and immediately believed it was my favorite version ever. Every sip after, of many bottles, confirmed it. I did a 2016-2019 vertical this fall and they were all amazing, but 2019 stood out while comparing them closely. All of the 2015 bottles I tried were infected, and I have also tried some of the years prior to that, which I believe were incredible, and better than the 2016-2018 versions. The 2020 BCBS that I just drank did not blow me away like the 2019 BCBS, but it was still amazing. I would rank the last 5 BCBS releases from 1st to 5th as: 2019, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2018. I am not good at reviewing beer, but I believe 2019 had an immediate brilliant milk chocolate flavor, and the 2020 has more of a very nice dark chocolate flavor. I like both types of chocolate, but prefer milk chocolate.
     
  10. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (3,056) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts
    Society

    Going in for a cuvée blend of 2016 Barleywine and Stout leftover that's been capped since the pour last night. Don't usually do this type of thing because I don't usually save beers overnight and blend them, but I thought the remnants of last night's stout might have a further purpose, thus cuvée. This is amazing. It's like oaky chocolatey covered blackberries with some dried fig and raisin notes, roasty chocolate and coffee blending with the dark fruity plum cherry grape and dark berry notes. Chocolate vanilla oak taste, dark caramel, English toffee, molasses, caramelized brown sugar, amber maple, coffee, dark red fruity notes, spice, dried fruit, leather, tobacco, ashy char, earthy hops balancing. Real interesting mix, pretty close to 50-50% blend, basically the last 4oz or so that was left after my ~12oz+ pours. The aged beers are fairly complex and the blend is even more so. This is pretty fun. Cheers to experimentation!

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  11. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (3,308) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
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    There’s a shit ton of bergamot

    Pours a ruby-hued, near-black color with an overly-massive dark tan head that’s much longer-lasting and rockier than other BCBS I remember. It leaves clumpy, stringy webs of lacing that are damn impressive.

    Huge Earl Gray in the nose — dried bergamot, earthy tea and a kiss of honey sitting on top of some light chocolate and bourbon with vanilla. There’s a whiff of alcohol, too.

    Chocolate, vanilla, bergamot and strong alcohol stand out first in the taste. There’s some underlying earthy, honey sweetness as well. A cola impression, too. A flowery finish gives way to lingering herbal bitterness in the aftertaste.

    Oily feel on the thick side of medium bodied. Fairly sharp carbonation.

    This one is definitely an odd duck. Others have called it polarizing, and I can see why. To me, the Earl Gray comes on a little too strong. I’m gonna guess allowing this to mellow for a year or three will dull the intense citrus and make the flavors meld better.

    Awesome. Kudos!
     
  12. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,854) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, in my own notes I probably should have been more specific about the bergamot, but that's exactly what I meant when I said "kaboom". :wink::grin:

    Online Tasting: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout! (November 27-29, 2020)
     
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  13. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,384) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Trader

    A conversation in the not so distant future...
    "I read they once used to package BCBS in 12 oz bottles?"
    "Yes, they did. And it was glorious."

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    Well, I've been negligent in drinking my older BCBS bottles so thanks to @ChicagoJ & @FBarber for providing the boot up the proverbial.

    Cut to the chase, my preference was 2013 then 2014 and then 2012. 2012 was clearly losing the bottle with oxidation although there was still some barrel presence and other remnants of BCBS past. 2014 was still in good shape flavor wise and a fine, fine iteration of BCBS. However, 2013 seemed to have a 'whole greater than the sum of its parts' quality. Aroma was not ideal but the meld of flavors was the best of the three. Having said this, I don't think 2013 has much longer until it moves into the 'BCBS bygone' phase like the 2012. Sadly, after digging into the cellar I still have a 4pk of 2012 and no 2013 bottles left. Drink fresh(er), folks.
     
  14. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,194) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    Have only been skimming these posts, but wait a second, the “regular” BCBS 2020s specify which barrels were used based on bottling dates?!?! I feel like these could almost be considered distinct variants.
     
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  15. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,257) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Psh. Just cause you haven't posted a formal review doesn't mean you don't regularly review beers on this site in your posts. :wink:
    They're still sold as BCBS, so I don't think they are intended as distinct variants.
     
  16. guinness77

    guinness77 Poo-Bah (1,794) Jan 6, 2014 New York
    Society

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    Maple is strong. I don’t get much coffee (or barrel) until the finish. Pretty smooth and silky. I think a little more time will improve this, it’s kinda all over the place and not in a symbiotic way.
     
  17. russpowell

    russpowell Poo-Bah (10,625) May 24, 2005 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    This 2020 is better than any of the last few years. Barrel is more front & center once warmed up. Plenty of dark fruit. Nose ain't what it was. This one will keep me in the hunt for a few years, even getting a little coffee, vanilla & dark chocolate. This may not be the mid blowing beer I tried 14-ish ago, but closer to it

     
  18. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Crusader (753) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    I think you're stating what a lot of us implicitly understand. The end of summer means Oktoberfest and fall oriented beers and ales that start upping the malt content and don't need to be as hoppy while festbiers are still refreshing. But Black Friday, and the BCBS association, mean that it's drop the hammer time with the styles you mentioned plus winter warmers, barleywines and old ales to make it through the long winter nights. The story of how Russian Imperial Stouts came into existence encapsulates where we are on the calendar.
     
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  19. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,257) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Evening all! Finally picked up my 2020 bottles and decided to crack this one first. I only bought one bottle since I really wasn't sure if I'd like it or not.
    [​IMG]
    2020 Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout


    Pours pitch black, oily and viscous. Initially, there is a one finger mocha colored head that forms on the beer, but that dissipates rather quickly leaving just a residual ring of foam along the outside of the top of the beer.

    The aroma is like pungent fresh brewed earl grey tea. Strong notes of orange citrus, fresh shaved orange rind, floral notes, bergamot, black tea - these dominate the aroma. Underneath that there is a light roasted malts, cocoa and some musty, oaky bourbon. Its pretty much as advertised - bourbon county stout with early grey tea ... that being said, I am a bit surprised at how strongly the earl grey notes dominate the nose.

    Taste follows the nose with notes of orange citrus, orange rind, bergamot, floral notes, black tea, bourbon, and oak. Although I really did not get much in the way of honey on the nose - there is a distinct sweetness from the honey in the flavor profile. Reminiscent of an orange blossom honey providing a moderate sweetness to the beer. Again the barrel character is dominated by the earl grey notes.

    Feel is oily, slick, medium to full bodied. Spritzy carbonation.

    Overall I've spent an hour and a half sipping this one and I'm about done and I have no idea if I like this one or not. I will say, its unlike any variant GI has ever produced. It is as advertised - an earl grey tea stout - and it accomplishes that masterfully - but I think one bottle of this will be enough for me.

    Also, this might be controversial, but I don't see any benefit to aging this one. It would just end up muting the aroma/flavors that make this beer unique. Either you like it or you don't - aging it won't change that one way or another.
     
  20. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,194) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    Agreed they are marketed as the same beer, which in and of itself is an interesting discussion (if we are to believe that the same beer aged in different barrels does not warrant consideration of being a different entity then why would we consider Birthday or the various recent years release Reserves to be distinct from “regular” BCBS).

    We as a BA community have generally come to accept that a base beer aged in different barrels make the product unique enough to be distinctly different beers, and brewers often release entire series of beers with the primary/only difference being the barrel it’s aged in (50/50 Eclipse for example).

    For what it’s worth, I agree with the assertion that the specific type of bourbon/whiskey barrel makes a notable difference in the end beer product to the extent that they can be considered unique beers. It just seems kind of odd that GI would make the effort to differentiate the type of barrel used for the specific dated batch of BCBS but do it in a subtle way and not suggest that they are different products. Particularly as it seems like it would be an opportunity for a marketing ploy technique by them (“Single
    Barrel BCBS- Aged in Heaven Hill barrels”, for example).
     
  21. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,257) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    The biggest difference in the one off variants GI has released in the past has vernally been time spent in the barrels. But also, lets be honest, its been partially a marketing gimmick.

    I think GI knew exactly what they were doing with this and they knew that by making it subtle and quiet it would spread like a wild fire once it was figured out and would immediately rekindle the sought after nature of the "regular" BCBS

    Edit: The bottles I got today were Heaven Hill and Wild Turkey and frankly I want to try them blind, side by side, because I tend to suspect there would be little discernible difference between the two.
     
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  22. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,652) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Have the different barrels of regular been all mixed together at the stores youve all seen or does it look like they come in cases of individual variants?

    I'm questing for mine tomorrow and won't be looking for anything but regular but I will be curious to see if I can find a couple of the single barrels to compare.

    Some great reviews so far, if I can manage it I may try to crack a 2018 before the fun ends tomorrow
     
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  23. mschrei

    mschrei Poo-Bah (2,632) Jul 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    So I went to a store near my house on my way home from work yesterday, thinking they might still have some Bourbon County left over. They had three variants, and I had no problem getting the first two. To get the Anniversary, however, you had to buy a three year vertical pack of 17, 18, and 19. I already have one of those, but screw it, I thought, it’s Bourbon County, and the vertical I already have is my last bottles of those years anyway.

    And damn, I’m glad I bought it.

    This is the first one I’m trying from this year’s variants, and if any of them can top it, I’d be surprised. Standard stout appearance-dark, fizzy head that dissipates quickly, little in the way of lacing, some legs when drank. Smell is straight up Bourbon County-that dark roasty malt base with a wood/bourbon scent over it. Taste is exquisite-plenty of bourbon that plays well with the roasty stout flavors. Some sweet notes of chocolate, brown sugar, a bit of molasses. Not cloying in the slightest. Feel is where I was worried, but it isn’t thick or sticky, nor soy saucelike. Definite booze burn, full bodied, slightly mouth watering.

    Tomorrow, I have an opportunity to pick up one of everything from this years in a lottery I won, and if this is still there, I’ll definitely buy it and give it a little age before drinking. Very well done beer, would highly recommend it.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Pinz412

    Pinz412 Devotee (467) Nov 20, 2019 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I drank this bottle of Special #4 Stout last night, but the desired effects left me unwilling to write up the review then. Luckily, I took notes on this one. I usually don't buy any of the variants, but for some reason decided to try one this year. By the time I made it to my retailer on Friday this was the most interesting one they had left.

    It poured the usual jet black color topped with a fizzy one cm head that quickly dissolved into a slight crown. The aroma on this one was interesting. After the initial pour the coffee was the biggest standout. It was akin to walking into a high end coffee roaster. This was not the aroma of brewed coffee to me, but that of whole beans. The bourbon was subtle on the nose throughout, but the maple made itself known as the glass warmed. Because the bourbon took a bit of a back seat, the roasted malt of the stout was more prominent than in other iterations I've tried. The taste showed the coffee had a bit more restraint, but had a beautiful dark roast flavor on the finish. The bourbon was more noticeable on the palate than the nose. It offered some vanilla, and the barrel offered a good deal of char. The maple was subdued, but offered a nice sweetness. The label mentioned some blueberry flavors, but I found those only sporadically. I sometimes notice those same notes in different coffees. It was similar to those notes, and not the taste of fresh, sweet blueberries that some may expect. The mouthfeel was a medium body with a slick finish. This was was not as chewy as the base or other variants. Overall, I very much enjoyed this bottle. I think when you essentially describe a breakfast stout on the label, that some drinkers will have very specific expectations of this beer that won't be met. Special #4 is instead an exercise in balance and restraint to me. I would happily drink another bottle of this.
    [​IMG]
     
  25. mickyge

    mickyge Meyvn (1,342) Nov 1, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society

    Throughly enjoying this one for sure

    2919 Mon Cheri bottled 8/24/19
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    Pours dark Brown with a quickly dissipating 1 inch head into a Stout glass at about 50 degrees
    Aroma is cherry up front with some roasted malt and a hint of bourbon
    Taste is cherry followed by a crunchy sweetness and slight bourbon notes
    Mouthfeel is full and chewy. Low carbonation and smoothish finish, really hides the alcohol, slight to no alcohol burn. There is a lingering stickyness.
    Overall it’s a tick sweeter then most stouts but not on the dessert level. It’s easy drinking and the cherry/ granola taste is prominent. Really nice one.
    4.5. 4.5. 4.25 4.25 4.25. 4.33. 07dev.
     
    #225 mickyge, Nov 29, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  26. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (1,976) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota
    Society

    This is why I complete my notes and write the post while still drinking the FIRST half of the bottle! :grin::beers:
     
  27. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (938) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio
    Trader

    Cross WBAYDN post - drinking this 2018 delight...so damn good....will be sipping on this all day most likely....

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  28. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,635) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I’ve never dinged a beer for being too boozy, I’m not sure such an animal exists in my world. Many years ago Foothills made some experimental beers using Hoppyyum aged in PVW barrels. Those beers were so dark they almost looked almost like a porter, you couldn’t see well thru the glass, it tasted like an old fashioned boilermaker. I’d give that beer a 4.75 4.80 on my enjoyometer. Just a unique beer, and he even blended it with other beer to get it to that level, the first barrels were much hotter. Lol, you couldn’t drink one and pass a breath test, you’d smell like whiskey. I like unbalanced beers sometimes like some IPAs, certainly that batch of BA Hoppyum. If they brew it again I will come and buy.
     
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  29. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,257) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    From what I've seen the bottles in the case are all the same. So whatever code they have, its going to all be the same.
     
  30. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Initiate (190) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois
    Trader

    [​IMG]
    Having a 2020 Regular. So smooth but there is a big punch of alcohol heat on this sucker! I expect this to transform into its typically excellent self as the glass warms up. I’m already getting some great dark chocolate notes and a lingering bitterness on the finish. Should be the perfect accompaniment to some eggnog French toast and sliced salchichon.
    [​IMG]
     
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  31. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (1,652) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Thanks, that seals it then, I'll be stopping at both the places I've found it in the past in the hopes that they got different coded cases.
     
  32. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,257) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    Whoa, thats brilliant. I've never thought of that ...
     
  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,635) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Fresh from Pa. My dads first time shipping and boy did I get lucky, he stuck them in a box with no other insulation but the BC boxes, sloshy, I’m lucky someone didn’t hijack them. Either way they’re safe and in my fridge.

    [​IMG]
     
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  34. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Meyvn (1,263) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Trader

    I was going to go back to a different 2017 vintage, since the two I have had this weekend were excellent. I decided instead to go to my oldest variant, also the most polarizing version across all Proprietor releases, and perhaps outside of 2018 Northwoods, the most polarizing non-infected release ever. With a user name "ChicagoJ", I wanted to share at least one Proprietor experience this weekend.

    This version was created by the same brewer who created this year's Proprietor's release, Emily Kosmal. Now I actually liked this beer when released, but my trepidation is the result of an extreme pepper take-over reported by many over the past few years, though it may not have changed but rather their reaction to the pepper period.

    I present the one, the only, 2016 Proprietor's Bourbon County Brand Stout.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Per my original review:

    (4.5/5 rDev +7.1% look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5)

    12/9/17: 10 ounce draft pour into snifter at Rabbit's Bar and Grill ($15 w/ tip). Dark black pour, thin tan head. Strong jalapeno, chocolate and bourbon aroma, in that order. Interesting blend, with the taste topping bourbon with the jalapeno spicy kick, and slight chocolate noted. Firm spicy mouth feel, thin texture, very smooth drinking. Overall great beer, love spicy food and I am glad Goose Island went in this direction for an excellent Proprietor's offering!


    Time to see how it held up, and whether it has changed.

    Bottle Information: 16.9 oz bottled 9/15/16, bottle number 1116. 13.1% ABV. Develops in the bottle up to 5 years. "Stout aged in bourbon barrels with maple syrup, chipotle peppers, and cocoa nibs added." and "Brewed with immense gratitude for our hometown."

    Time to dive in.

    Appearance: same dark black pour though the head was negligible leaving no trace almost immediately. (3.75, 1 -0.5 reduction).

    Aroma: The pepper for me was less strong than my original rating. I'm getting strong smooth bourbon and maple syrup on the front end, light pepper and chocolate after several sips. This is after 40 minutes of warming at room temperature after pulling from the refrigerator. (4.25, no change).

    Taste: I really like it, even more than my original review. I find this to be more balanced, with syrup leading, the peppers complementing well, and the bourbon incorporated perfectly. I would rate this a 4.5 or 4.75, based more on a stricter scale today vs. when I first started reviewing, though I would take this now over the one I had a year after release. Perhaps draft vs. bottle makes up the difference, or maybe the aging. All I know is I really like this bottle. (No change).

    Mouthfeel: Very balanced, the pepper and syrup plays well with syrup having a slight edge. Feel the texture is more creamy than originally reported, body full and excellent. Slight pepper aftertaste, but very pleasant. (I'd bump this up to a 4.5 or 4.75, the aftertaste accounting for the possible reduction).

    Overall: This is an amazing beer, I'll take any bottles from those who don't like it. (Rating would go up .25 to 4.75).

    Now I have slight regrets from selecting BD over a 2020 Prop, though hopefully I'll run across at least a draft pour over the next year.

    I may be brave and try one more bottle today, but will definitely come back later this evening to recap the tasting, and provide rankings in terms of top vintages selected and perhaps a "Best of Show" award in the thread. Hope you are able to enjoy at least one more beer today!
     
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  35. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,635) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Makes me crave a fresh Westbrook Mexican Cake, that Habanero hit at the finish makes my mouth water. Fresh it’s the best Pepper Stout I’ve ever had. Habanero Sculpin was a winner as well mixed 75% Grapefruit 25% Habanero, sometimes 50/50 , but it was too spicy to drink straight up.
     
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  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,635) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Pepper is tough with age, sometimes you can taste the flat chili pepper hit, but time diffuses the spice and heat. It’s one reason I think Bomb is way overrated, you get flat some Chile but zero heat, for $10 a bottle , no thanks.
     
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  37. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,194) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    I tend to believe this is exactly what they are trying to do. And it’s probably working.
     
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  38. zac16125

    zac16125 Poo-Bah (2,194) Jan 26, 2010 South Carolina
    Society Trader

    Three Bourbon Counties in 3 days, thanks to this thread for an excuse to drink elite beers (and perhaps my all time favorite “series” of beer) all weekend!

    Pours opaque black with a darker tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is immediately dark fruits which I typically don’t get very strongly with regular BCBS. Tons of dark fruits, fig, dates, even a bit of a vinous red grapes character. Following the dark fruits I get fusel ethanol, and more sweet notes with some barleywine-esque notes of caramel and candied sugar. The typically massive BCBS roastiness notes are stunningly almost unnoticeable on the nose, and the barrel characters are much more subtle. Like the nose the taste is actually quite different than most BCBS, especially when fresh. It’s much more mellow without nearly the typical huge roastiness, and just like the nose way more dark fruits than usual. Boozy ethanol is notable. More barrel characters than the nose, with a smooth charred oak and vanilla bourbony goodness. Mouthfeel is full bodied and it’s pretty smooth, but drinkability is limited a bit by the fusel alcohol burn on the finish. Overall, a tasty treat as always. I drink a lot of Bourbon County, a lot, and I can pretty confidently say that this years batch has a notable difference in flavor profile. I would personally lean towards a preference to the more roasty and overall bold flavors of previous years, but this is great nonetheless.

    4.25/4.5/4.25/4.25/4.25

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    CaptCleveland, Reef, Pinz412 and 23 others like this.
  39. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (3,056) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts
    Society

    Happy Sunday everyone! I grabbed a variant early yesterday along with a regular BCBS. Saw that a small shop near me had the Bourbon County Brand Special #4 Stout for sale, which was the only variant of the main 3 available that I was interested in at least for the cost. Fortunately the place that got this variant also tends to sell stuff at a fair price and lower than most other stores, the downside is it is a very limited selection and only a few doors of craft beer with mostly AB and macro products, along with the popular wine brands and liquor, snacks etc. Cool to see that they have this and for $19.99. I saw the Kentucky Fog variant at another store for $26.99, Caramella Ale for $18.99, and last year's Café de Olla for $28.99. Glad to be able to pick up the one I was interested in for a bit cheaper. I would like to try them all, at about half the price though...

    Brewery notes:

    "Bourbon County Special #4 Stout is an oatmeal stout variant of our original Bourbon County Stout recipe, also aged in bourbon barrels, that uses crystal oats to add a nutty character and a smooth mouthfeel. After barrel aging, we added Intelligentsia Coffee, both their cold coffee andsingle origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, called “Metad Buku,” to bring out a pleasant fruity coffee character. Lastly bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup from Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio is added which provides complexity to the nutty oats and coffee to round out the flavors, ultimately reminiscent of your breakfast ‘special’ at the local diner."
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    Drink By: 10SEP22 - 13.3% Alc/Vol

    Served near cellar temperature. Pours a dark black color with some maroon red brown highlights around the edges, and a small frothy receding light brown tan foam head that fizzes away for the most part.

    Smells really intriguing and different than I anticipated. At first big toasted bread notes come out with rich dark maple syrup, then roasted coffee comes into play with some extraordinary and wonderful fruit aromas, blueberry then morphing into a strawberry banana type aroma, dark chocolatey malts in the background with some charred oak barrel, mild bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark toffee, and a touch of earthy hops.

    After basking in the aroma for some time my first sip let out an expletive. Mass amounts of dark roasty coffee first and foremost, dark baking chocolate, oats, some dark maple syrup, roasted malts, charred oak barrel, smooth bourbon, vanilla, slight coconut, mild dark fruity notes complementing the coffee like blueberry, caramelized brown sugar, dark toffee, caramel, toasted bread crust, hints of roasted nut, marzipan, with a touch of earthy hops in the finish. The taste is pretty well balanced I think, it's certainly not too sweet or dessert-like, the coffee is forward in the taste but adds to the nuances and complexities instead of completely taking over. The maple syrup is dark tasting and pleasant, not too pancake syrupy sweet here right now which adds to the overall drinkability. The fact that this is an oatmeal stout too is a reason to acknowledge it's difference with a typical BCBS variant, and could add or detract from the flavor experience depending on personal preference I suppose.

    Feels medium-medium plus bodied, a bit chewy and thick, rounded, creamy and smooth with moderate carbonation and a whiff of alcohol heat. Could be a bit more full for me though nothing wrong and the chewy smooth mouthfeel is pleasant.

    Overall this is really nice and different. I'm enjoying the glorious sensations given off by this beer. I thought I've tasted some good coffee blend expressions, but this might be the best unique expression of a particular coffee yet. Maybe the oatmeal stout, maple syrup and bourbon barrel are contributing to the fruity aromas and flavor as well, either way the blueberry and strawberry banana notes I'm picking up are quite intriguing. Glad I got this beer and decided to drink it today. BCBS was the first bourbon barrel aged stout/beer I ever had and another reason for the passion that made me pursue the goods of the craft beer world. Thanks to @ChicagoJ for this event. Cheers everyone and happy Bourbon County Brand tasting!
     
    CaptCleveland, Reef, Pinz412 and 18 others like this.
  40. mschrei

    mschrei Poo-Bah (2,632) Jul 4, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Hit three stores this morning, got the full seven plus one extra regular at one store (won a lottery for them) and then got two more regulars at the third place. Drinking a 17 to celebrate (and to help me get through decorating the tree). I think this one is starting to fade a little. Or I was spoiled by that 2020 Anniversary last night.
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    Reef, Pinz412, ChicagoJ and 20 others like this.
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