2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout Review
Bourbon County Barrel Stout is brewed by the Goose Island Beer Co. located in Chicago, Illinois. Goose Island started out as a small brew pub in 1988 and eventually grew into a larger brewery that was opened in 1995. The brewery was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011 for a total of $38.8 Million.
Goose Island has been brewing the BCBS since 1992 however only started nationally distributing in 2008. This is the first year that the BCBS has been released in 16.9oz bottles. Previous years bottlings were available in 4 packs of 12 oz bottles. I am really enjoying the raised lettering on the glass as well as the simple, yet classy black and white label with gold lettering. Supposedly Goose Island partnered up with a design firm for this years release. The 2015 release saw the following variants along the standard BCBS: Coffee Stout, Barleywine, Regal Rye, and Rare Stout.
The highlight for this year was the BCBS Rare which is the same stout but was aged for a total of 2 years in 33-35 year old Heaven Hill Boubon barrels with a MSRP of $60. I wasn't getting in line at 3AM for the Rare Stout release but I did manage to get my hands on a few bottles of BCBS without issue. All the retailers in my area had a per person, per bottle purchase limit that ranged from 1 bottle to 6 bottles person. Not going to lie here - I employed my Mother-In-Law who was visiting from out of town to help me with the 2 bottle per person purchase limit at an unnamed large retailer. Thanks, Roxy.
Paid: $9.99 before tax in SC
Brewery: Goose Island Beer Co. (owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev)
Style: Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels.
Size: 16.9 oz/500 ml
Barrels: Aged in unspecified Kentucky Bourbon barrels for up to 1 year before blending.
IBUs: 60 (Based on specs for 2014 vintage from Goose Island Website).
Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, De-bittered Black (Based on specs for 2014 vintage from Goose Island Website).
Hops: Willamette (Based on specs for 2014 vintage from Goose Island Website).
Tasting Glass: Served in a Snifter at 57 F.
Tasting Notes: Poured an Espresso colored head that disappeared at nearly the speed of light. The nose was like a syrupy thick, boozey hammer that continued to hit me in the face (in a good way) throughout the tasting. Aromas of raisons, black cherries, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and chocolate covered espresso beans. The body was was fizzy and medium thick. Flavors of a cappuccino covered in chocolate and carmel syrup with a side of barrel proof bourbon dominated my palate. The dark fruit notes on the nose really reminded me of Stagg, Jr (3rd release).
All the hype aside from this years black Friday release, BCBS is a very, very tasty Imperial Stout. This one hit all the marks I would like to see in this style of beer in a big way. Would love to taste this one aged in Bookers and Knob Creek barrels. Bourbon County Barrel Peanut Butter Stout, anyone?
In retrospect I kind of wish I had made an effort to get at least one bottle of the barleywine, coffee, rye, and rare - but not the sitting around in camping chairs at 3am kind. You may notice some folks posting their haul pictures from this year with plans to cellar and/or swap. I too have plans for my remaining bottles from this years release. A few will be shared with friends while the rest will lay in the cellar for later tastings to see what effect time has on this big, boozey baseball bat of an Imperial Stout.
- Mark @ Entry Proof