Friday, November 2, 2012

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout - Gus #13

Friday's brew is a big one.  It's a big one all the way around.  It is huge in the ABV, huge in the flavors, it's pretty pricey and it has a big name in the craft beer world.  This was my first year to have it.  I'm really glad I got to try some if this stuff.  Highly toughted and considered to be the first barrel aged beer, today's review is none other than this year's batch of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout.

How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from Goose Island's website:
Brewer's Notes:
"Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub.  A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel.  The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke.  One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer."

Recipe Information:
Style:  Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume:  14.5%
International Bitterness Units:  60
Color:  Midnight
Hops:  Willamette
Malt:  2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black

Serving Suggestions:
Preferred Glass:  Snifter
Food Pairings:  Flourless Chocolate Cake
Cheese Pairings:  Capriole Bourbon Chocolate Torte
Cellaring Notes:  Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years

Limited Release
Bottles:  4pks

I poured this brew into a 10oz snifter with a half aggressive pour.

Appearance:  The brew poured absolutely black.  I mean black like morning coffee with the consistency of brownie batter it seemed.  There was a half of a finger of khaki/brown head on there.  It did dissipate pretty quickly but, with a ABV of 15% I wouldn't expect anything else.  There is absolutely no light getting through this thing at all.  It is so dark.  When I swirl it in the glass it leaves this dark brown film all over the glass.  Very apparent alcohol legs on this one too.  Such a good looking stout.  If you aren't a beer lover this thing would probably look intimidating.

Aroma:  I could already tell when I popped the top there would be huge bourbon characteristics in this one.  The aroma ran out of the bottle as soon as the top hissed.  Getting a nose from the glass those were even more amplified.  Instant bourbon aromas fill your nostrils.  Then some malt characteristics start to come out.  Milk chocolate sweetness, some woody oak aromas as well.  Vanilla undertones mixed with some dark chocolate bitterness surprisingly.  Very complex to be able to have that bitterness mixed with the sweet aromas on such a big beer.  There is some brown sugar or molasses notes mixed in.  Maybe some dark fruits like figs or raisins.  After a while I do start to get some coffee back bone in there too.  Maybe an espresso type aroma.  There is some alcohol in there but again, you can expect that with such a big beer.  It's not off putting by any means.  It plays into all the aromas together.

Taste:  First sip, those huge bourbon characteristics just take over your mouth all the way down your throat and into your belly.  Slight alcohol burn and warmth as it goes down too.  I poured this brew just under room temperature to be sure to get all that it had to offer.  The coffee tastes come right in.  Sweetness from the malt and alcohol give it some milk chocolate flavors.  Roasted coffee mixed with some dark chocolate right at mid palate.  Aftertaste gives you some of that vanilla and other tannins from the barrels.  Very thick mouthfeel.  Almost chewy in fact.  It's right on the border of being too hot with the alcohol.  But this just means it will age all the better.  I'm glad I have a few bottles to let age for a bit.  This is really some awesome stuff.

Verdict:  A pretty phenomenal brew.  Very complex and impressively done.  Perfect for sipping after a meal or would be great sitting around a fire on a chilly night.  It could go well with a nice rich cheese cake or maybe some ginger bread cookies.  But I like it as a stand alone drink.  Definitely going to give this one an A+.  It will get even better with age I'm assuming.  This beer has a huge hyped name but honestly it's a really good brew.  It's considered the first barrel aged beer.  I have had some big cult following beers and not been blown away.  But this one I truly loved.  

Thanks to Tom for sending me some.  This guy hooks me up with a lot of stuff we aren't able to get down in Mississippi.  Let us know what you think of the reviews.  We really appreciate all the views we have been getting and would love some feedback.  As always comment, subscribe and follow.

Thanks for reading!