Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goose Island 2008 Bourbon County Stout review

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008The other day I was looking through the singles section at a local beer store when I spied a few bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2008) sitting there. I was surprised that this store even carried this beer let alone seeing a year old bottle of an acclaimed stout on hand. I quickly scooped up a bottle and took it home with me to enjoy during the cold snowy weekend here in Colorado.

I had previously tried a sample of this beer at Nick's 10-hour Birthday Bash and knew that I wanted to get more of this beer. Surprisingly, Colorado does get shipments from Goose Island Beer Company, a brewery from the Chicago, Illinois area. I jumped at the chance to try a full bottle of this potent 13% ABV bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

Goose Island put a lot of dark malts into this brew including: 2-row, Munich, chocolate, caramel, roast barley and de-bittered black malts. Bourbon County Stout has a fair amount of bittering units too as it weighs in at a respectable 60 IBUs from all the Willamette hops that were put in.

This beer was from the 2008 batch and has a white label. I noticed from Goose Island's web site that as of 2009 the bottle now sports a black label (see image below). I was more intrigued by the 2008 batch however as it had already been aged an additional year and would supposedly have mellowed in bitterness a bit more. The beer itself had been aged slightly in bourbon barrels and would supposedly pick up a lot of character from the wood and lingering traces of bourbon.

BCBS 2013 bottleAppearance: I poured the Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) into a large snifter type glass to help bring out all of the aromas and wow did it ever! The brew poured a thick jet black with just a slight 1 finger head, even with an aggressive pour. There was just a trace of lacing on the glass that didn't stick around long. That's fairly typical of an aged impy stout in my experience.

Aroma: I immediately smelled a huge aroma of bourbon and vanilla and alcohol in this brew. Woah! The aroma was insanely intense as I had hoped. I could pick up on the sweet chocolate malts as well. Without looking I could tell this was unmistakably an imperial stout. It was just as it should be. The brew had a nose that reminded me of a Sam Adams Utopias. The vanilla from the bourbon barrel came out quite noticeably.

Mouthfeel: The brew was thick and chewy and coated my tongue slightly. BCS had a roasty sweet big body that was bitter on the side. It was creamy and smooth right from the start. Instantly I started getting a nice warming effect from this beer.

Taste: BCS had the elements of chocolate, vanilla, sweet malts with a nice alcohol kick. I could pick up on some slight coffee tones as well but not as much as the vanilla. The wood aging had done this beer a lot of good, not to mention the extra year of cellaring that the store had already done for me.

While the alcohol bite was there it wasn't overpowering. Still, it was a nice slow sipper that lasted me the better part of the first half of a football game.

Goose Island BCBS Beer FloatMid-way through the tasting, I got the strong urge to make a beer float out of this beer. I got a small cup of premium vanilla ice cream and poured about an ounce of BCS over the top and swirled it around a bit. And the taste was absolutely heavenly! This was by far the best beer ice cream float I had made with any dark beer. The beer with it's vanilla overtones from the barrel aging blended perfectly with the vanilla in the ice cream. Oh yes! You've got to try this.

Overall: I was extremely impressed with Goose Island's imperial stout. The bourbon barrel added a lot to the entire experience. The inviting aroma won me over immediately. Goose Island claims that you can age this beer up to 5 years. I might just head back to that store and buy up the rest of their stock and do just that. Bourbon County Stout is one of my top all-time beers. You won't be disappointed.

Related articles:
- Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale review.
- Goose Island 2012 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout review.
- Goose Island India Pale Ale review. (2013)
- Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009 review.

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