Goose Island is one of my favorite breweries because they make so many really great beers. According to their website, for their 1000th batch of beer, they decided to make a special beer that ended up being the Bourbon County Stout. This is an imperial stout that is aged in bourbon barrels for 100 days.
I bought a single 12-oz bottle at Lukas Liquors, although like some of the brewery’s other special beers, it comes in 4-packs usually. The beer pours black and thick. There are no highlights whatsoever on this beer, even held up to a strong light. It’s BLACK. Very little head forms even with a vigorous pouring. The brewery site lists this beer as 11% ABV, so it’s high alcohol, with a 60 IBU. My bottle was labeled “2008,” but I’m not sure if any other vintage year is available or not. I think this would be an appropriate beer to cellar for several years.
I served it around 55-58 degrees. At that temperature, there is a TON of aroma…. vanilla, burnt sugar, hints of bourbon, but not like sniffing a straight shot of the stuff… more the sweet edges of it if that makes sense. I might even get a bit of maple syrup. A nice complex aroma, no doubt. My sense of smell pretty much sucks and standing at the counter after pouring I could catch aroma, three feet away, if that tells you anything.
Lots of bourbon throughout my first taste. WOW! It really goes throughout the whole flavor spectrum from beginning to end to aftertaste. The initial shot of bou
rbon flavor gives way to warm alcohol, then bourbon, burnt sugar and vanilla are carried through the flavor. The aftertaste is pure bourbon. I have that “warm” feeling you get after a shot, after just one sip, and the flavor on the back of my tongue and throat is like I just sipped a smooth bourbon. Very nice!
I’m a little worried that drinking the full 12 oz of this will be overkill for me. It is a big beer and a little goes a long way. I will be a trooper, though! lol Two people to share one of these would be perfect, I think. Nice, very delicate smoke in the flavor, too. This is very, very enjoyable to me.
The low carbonation makes this a very smooth beer with a silky mouthfeel. I can see how much sugar and alcohol is in this beer. After a sip the “legs” run back down the side of the glass like a glass of red wine. I haven’t drunk too many ports, but in some ways this reminds me of the character of port. This is definitely a sip and linger beer, requiring lots of concentration to pull all the complex flavors out. I imagine this would be good with a cigar or pipe, too. Don’t pass this up!