Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Goose Island Beer Company - Bourbon County Brand Stout

For a while now, I've been wanting to try a beer from Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company. They make quite a few beers that make their way our here (Matilda, Sofie, Demolition) and a few with names that make me wish they made it out here (Goose Appeal, Foxxy, Bourbon Barrel Aged Extra Naughty Goose). One that I had heard a lot about was their Bourbon County Stout, a bourbon barrel aged double stout weighing in at a hefty 13% ABV. Finally, I picked up a couple to try- one for now and one for a little down the line.

Bourbon County Stout pours like motor oil. No matter how aggressively I poured, there was no head to be found. A few milk chocolate colored bubbles make their way onto the slick black surface but quickly disappear. This beer is intimidating to look at. Just a thick mess of black in a glass. The smell of it just about knocked me out. I made the mistake of taking a pretty big whiff and it was pretty much the equivalent to taking a big whiff of Jim Beam. For at least the first 15 minutes after the beer was poured, the only smell I could pick up was pure bourbon. As it warmed there were hints of fig and raisin, but they were pretty faint. The smell reminded me way more of Old Ales like Adam and Coton than a stout.

I was glad when I took my first sip that the beer didn't just taste like bourbon. In fact, the taste was remarkably complex. The bourbon is definitely there, but it's mellowed a lot by notes of milk and dark chocolate, molasses, and some vanilla. The alcohol is definitely evident and makes it hard to do much but sip this beer. The finish leaves that dry and heavy bourbon flavor on the tip of your tongue. The consistency is probably closer to honey than to a lot of beer and it works well with the flavor profile. I'm really excited to see how the other bottle of this one ages and I'm thinking that the bourbon won't be as harsh in about a year or so.

Final Grade: A

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