Welcome to the second annual Beer Advocate Bourbon County Online Tasting Thread! We are hosting this tasting to celebrate the 2021 release, which occurs (each and every) 'Black Friday'. All Bourbon County beers are welcome. This includes Base (2005 - 2021), Barleywine, Coffee, Wheatwine, Reserve(s), and all other variants. The thread will be open through Sunday (the 28th). This tasting event provides the opportunity to share your thoughts, experiences and pictures as a community. Share how your experience has changed across the years you have consumed BCBS. Although have been many variants, there are X core beers: (1) Base, (2) BCBBW (Fresh BBA or 3rd use), (3) Coffee BCBS, (4) Vanilla Variant, (5) Rare Variant, (6) Berry Variant, and (7) Propreitors, and finally (most recently), various "Barrel treatments," i.e. the BCBS "Reserve" series. Although some of these are defunct and many of these vary from year to year, there are few enough (and few enough "common" variants from each year) that the list is manageable, and allows for compare and contrast. Post anytime starting now! Thanks for @FBarber for sponsoring this weekend, @ChicagoJ for kicking this off last year (and his enthusiastic support this year), and to @Todd and @Jason for creating and keeping the community going through good times and bad. Also, don't forget. There exists the Vintage Bourbon County Review Thread! Please feel free to cross post your post in this thread with that one (located here). Now, onto the beer and other juicy details! I've been on BA since 2017, and what brought me to BA was a desire to find 'world class beer' for a friend of mine. Well, I got hooked; I became a member, and quickly I decided that trading seemed cool. It wasn't long after that obtaining Bourbon County would become a primary focus. First it was any BCBS, and once I tasted BCBS, it became an obsession. Obtaining any BCBS turned into 'vintage' BCBS (2014 and earlier), then BCBBW (gotta try that 3rd use barrel!), BCBCS (i.e. Coffee BCBS), and then...2015 Rare. And if I wasn't obsessed enough, I became engrossed in the Bourbon County legends. -VR (2014 Vanilla Rye), Prop 14, BCBVS (I.e. OG Vanilla), and...OG Rare. While there were others that I lusted after (and failed to ever obtain), one that I tracked down but just couldn't push myself to open was King Henry....Until tonight. Goose Island – King Henry Barleywine Ale (2011) 13.4% ABV The beer is listed as a “Barleywine – English” on BA. The beer was removed from a 40ish degree temp fridge after having been refrigerated for approximately 3 years. Beer poured into 2012 BCBS Tulip. First Impression: Bottle hissed, and an aroma of raisins rose to my nose. Beautiful color. Low carb. 4.5 Appearance: Poured beautifully. A wonderful, deep mahogany with a seemingly black backing. Limited head quickly disappeared. Murky (but it is 3rd use, so of course it is); only visible at the edges. 4.75 Smell: Rich and boozy. Alcohol heat up front followed by sugars (momentarily), before quickly giving way to granny smith apples, cotton candy, gummy candy, and finally raisins. Man is this complex. No barrel on the nose (but never is with BA barleywines compared to stouts). 5.0 Taste: This is heaven. There’s so much here. There’s layers. Heavy and prominent is the classic leather, with tobacco taking a back note (more so than in 2013/2014). The taste leads with vague sweet fruits, followed by sweetness and leather followed by a drying, oakiness. The booziness is subdued compared to a fresh Bourbon County, but the alcohol is warming and “soft”, starting in the chest and moving up. How does this compare to 2013/2014? There’s a smoothness with more rounded corners compared to 13/14. The same way that a more refined whiskey has fewer harsh edges, the same thing here. In this case, there are no harsh edges. This is rich and decadent without an overemphasis on the raisin, which is where many barleywines suffer. (Yes, Raisin is a common and delicious flavor, but sometimes it becomes overpowering.) 4.80 Mouthfeel: It’s about perfect. It has just the right viscosity, but perhaps once warm – if anything – it comes off a tad syrupy. It feels wonderful in the mouth. (Yep, I said it.) 4.75 Overall: I’ve had this for probably 3 years, and I’ve been scared to open it. I looove 2013/2014, but particularly 2013. I’ve always dreamed of this, particularly after having rare and especially being a fan of wheated whiskies. I’ve built this up to be this monolith that I’ve worried it wouldn’t live up. Turns out, it does, but not at first. When I first opened the bottle, I was disappointed. I said, oh man, this must be past it’s prime. The flavor is every bit as good as MJK (which I had just 3 days ago), but there’s something about it – perhaps it not being as fresh – that just left it feeling like it was lacking. Well, first impressions aren’t everything. After a few ounces, these first impressions faded away. It’s a little low carb compared to what it should be from the age, but that hampers it only a little given that it’s a barleywine (and something like MJK is served still). https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1146/61100/?ba=Beer_Economicus#review This is every bit as good as MJK. Really, the only thing that sets those two beers apart is the age (this is older now), and the ABV. That beer is 20%, and the booziness is noticeable. For some reason it works, though, and it works well. I’m getting a bit lost in this comparison, but the point is that this isn’t just world class, it’s at the pinnacle. I am very grateful that I got to experience this beer, and feel fortunate to have done so. 4.75 BA Review Score: 4.83 My review can be found here.