816: Bourbon County Stout

816 - Bourbon County StoutName: Bourbon County Stout
Brewery: Goose Island Beer Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Chicago, Illinois
Style: American Double / Imperial Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 13%
First Brewed: 1992
Price: $3.99

Tasting Notes
A load of vanilla, caramel, and chocolate on the nose. Tastes a lot like chocolate ice cream with whiskey sauce. Substantial middle, but balanced and not overly sweet. Smooth, bittersweet finish, long and very dessert like. Notes based on a three-year-old-sample.

Ricky’s Thoughts

It’s been a while since I have had this beer, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I LOVE this beer, and I like pretty much everything this brewing company makes. Having had the Bourbon County Coffee Stout, this might not impress me as much as before… but I am sure it is good. Sheryl was mad it wasn’t a bomber… but at 13%, I am not sure we could share a bomber and not be hammered!

When I was pouring this, I could smell the bourbon… and with the current trend in aging beers in bourbon barrels, I hope the brewing company that arguably started aging in barrels is able to surpass my expectations in BA (barrel aged) beers. Speaking of barrel aged beers, we have a few BA beers coming up including the Black Gold from Full Sail. Anyway, let’s start drinking the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Cheers!

In the Glass: The beer is pitch black in a glass. It poured somewhat thick… think cough syrup. The head is thin, but a nice dark tan color. Not much lace, but who cares. I can smell the bourbon from here! I wonder what the first batch of this tasted like. I wonder if there are any bottles of the first batch still around. That would be a beer worth celebrating!

Nose: Like I said, I could smell the bourbon while I was pouring this. I can still smell it sitting in the glass. When I stick my nose in the glass, I am getting smacked with vanilla and booze. You can totally smell the 13% ABV here. I am getting some dark chocolate notes, too. It’s booze, vanilla, THEN chocolate… in that order. Age will do wonders for this beer. I think we have one more bottle in the cellar. I might, after drinking this today, drink that in 4 or 5 years. It needs time to settle.

Flavor: Holy booze. That might as well be carbonated whiskey. OK, not quite as intense as a bourbon, but you taste the booze. There are also a lot of bubbles (served this cold) attacking your palate. My favorite part is the finish as it lingers for several minutes. The whiskey flavors are obvious, and if you don’t like whiskey, I would suggest staying away from this. This is what a bourbon barrel aged beer SHOULD taste like. Breweries and brewmasters take note… this is a prime example of a BA beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is not as thick as I expected, and has more bubbles than I expected. But that’s OK, because as it finishes you get some nice carbonation that settles to a drying heat. The whiskey really comes out toward the back of the palate. Even if you don’t like barrel aged beers, you should try this just to see what other breweries are trying to replicate when aging a beer. This beer also gets me excited about the Firestone Walker Parabola that comes out in a few weeks. They use the best barrels in the world to age that beer.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is immediately drying, and this is where the dark chocolate flavors come into play. It’s not quite an Irish stout kind of dry, but close. After one or two swallows, the heat is still there… and reminds you of the 13% ABV this bottle packs. Every time I swallow, I am reminded of how good this beer is, and why I miss Chicago! Sure, they have the Bears and the Cubs and the Metro… but Chicago should be known for Goose Island!

I don’t miss Indiana, but I miss being able to drive to the Windy City and drink this from the source. We had the Bourbon County Coffee Stout at the source, and that quickly became one of our favorite beers of all time. This one isn’t far behind. Top 10, for sure! Bravo, Goose!

Bourbon County Stout – The bottle says: “NA”

Rating: 5/5 (I wish I could rate this higher… but I force myself to stop at 5. Maybe I should rate this 6/5!)

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Today we are reviewing the Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island. I’m excited about this beer. I absolutely love the Bourbon County Coffee Stout. It is one of my favorite beers ever. I don’t know if I’ve ever had just the Stout. I’m anticipating that it will be almost as good, but probably not quite.

It certainly looks just like the Coffee Stout in the glass, which is expected. It’s very dark, almost black, with not a lot of head. You can’t see at all through the glass, as it’s thick and dark. I’m expecting such high things out of this beer that I’m disappointed that this is only a small bottle and not a bomber. Ricky made fun of me for that. But I’m expecting it to be a really good beer! It smells a lot like the Coffee Stout. You can smell the boozy bourbon scent to it. It smells amazing. I could sit here and smell this beer all day. Ricky would likely say that the beer is too warm, anyway, so there’s nothing wrong with not drinking it yet. I’m guessing that once I do, I won’t want it to end.

Okay, time for the first sip. First taste is really boozy. There’s a lot of heat in it, and a lot of booze taste. But it’s good! It really does taste a lot like the Coffee Stout, just minus the coffee flavor. (Which is what you’d expect, right?) It leaves a long, hot aftertaste too. But I really do love it all. This beer is just a great experience. There’s a lot of dark chocolate flavor in it as well – dark chocolate and bourbon. Those are really the flavors you taste the most, and they are very strong and rich. It’s not a beer to be chugged, that’s for sure. There is really not a bad thing about this beer, in my opinion. Goose Island Bourbon County Stouts are kind of the lamborghinis (or insert some super awesome fancy expensive car here) of the beer world. I have yet to find beers I like more. They really are just that good. I’d definitely buy more! And will, when I get the opportunity. These are just not easy to find.

Rating: 5/5

815 bottles of beer on the wall…

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