Posts Tagged ‘Bourbon County Stout’

Stout Week: Bourbon County Vertical

Friday, November 28th, 2008

This evening, after the family Thanksgiving celebration, Matt and I had a mini vertical tasting. This is when you open several vintages of the same beer and compare. We are both fans of the special reserve beers from Goose Island, so we’ve got a few still around from last year. Perhaps at some point we can do a vertical with Matt’s Matildas.

Tonight we had a 2007 and a 2008 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. This is a serious imperial stout, probably weighing in around 10 or 11 percent alcohol, before it is aged in bourbon casks for several months, bumping it up to 13%. The story goes that every year when this one is bottled the Goose Island top brass comes around to the packaging line to ensure they get their cases.

Bourbon County pours a thick hazelnut black with no head, just a few stray bubbles. Make sure you drink this out of a thin, clear, ideally stemmed glass, as it will reward you with an enchanting copper coating. The aroma is sweet and playful, with notes of black licorice, light oak, and some bourbon. The 2008 has a sharp alcoholic nose as well as something that smells like twizzlers. The roast aroma is more prominent in the 2007, which has an overall rounder, more robust nose.

Bourbon and roast malt ride the egg-nog thick wave of this ale. Caramel, licorice, and some anise round out the flavor. The 2008 is again just a bit too boozy. The palate is chewy and sweet but not at all cloying, and somewhat smoother on the 2007.

Overall both vintages seem very similar. Where there are differences I attribute them to the varied fermentation of the beer in each batch rather than to aging. Somewhat more care was taken with the 2007 batch, and whether it was the fermentation or barrel aging, it did not pick up the unpleasant sharpness of its younger brother.

++Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2007

RateBeer: 4.2 (4-9-8-4-17)

+Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008

RateBeer: 3.9 (4-8-7-4-16)