Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2013

February 19th, 2014 by in Other Beer Reviews

IMG_0573-2Have you ever read an article and wished it were an article from The Onion?

The other day I read an article about Miller working on a bourbon-flavored beer. Supposedly it’s to compete with offerings such as Budweiser Black Crown as well  as hard liquor, but I think they also see beers such as Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout and are trying to pick up some of the barrel aging market without dealing with the expenses of purchasing and storing barrels of beer to age.

IMG_0574-2Also, remember Goose Island is now owned by AB-InBev. I’m not a huge fan of AB-InBev, but so far it’s worked out fairly well for Goose Island. It’s brought Goose Island beer to all 50 states. Goose Island flagship beers such as their IPA and 312 Urban Wheat have moved out to Fort Collins, CO instead of Chicago. In exchange, the Goose Island brewers get to concentrate on providing specialty beers such as Lolita and Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Five variants of Bourbon County were released in 2013, including a barleywine and a coffee stout. However, because of Texas labeling approval delays (from what I hear anyway), only the original Bourbon County made it down here.

Bourbon aroma fills the air as I pour the deep brown liquid into the glass. A small chocolate-colored head forms. A closer examination finds chocolate and toffee mingling in with the bourbon aroma. Smooth bourbon flavor up front that blends with roasted malt, chocolate, a bit of wood from the barrel, and a slight dark fruit taste. This is absolutely delicious and worth the hype.

The Bourbon County beers usually come out on Black Friday. Instead of lining up for after-Thanksgiving “deals”, line up at a store selling Bourbon County for some delicious beer. If you miss Black Friday like I did, stores were being replenished with BCBS in December as well. I have another bottle that I’m hanging onto in order to see how it tastes with some additional age on it.

  • Tom

    A great beer Scott, was able to grab a case of the regular BCBS and another case mixed with the barleywine and coffee (my favorite) versions this year. Regular BCBS availability was pretty good this year in the NYC metro area.


  • Dean Finder

    Have you found that bottled beers improve with age? I’d think that the pasteurization makes bottled beer pretty much inert; unless they’re bottle conditioned, with a bit of yeast at the bottom.


    • Scott Post author

      Short version: it depends.

      All beers will change with age. Usually, the higher gravity beers are more likely to improve with age but it really depends on the beer. IPAs often do not age well because the hoppy flavors fade away (Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is an exception here). Stouts, porters, and barleywines are often good candidates.

      Bottle conditioned beers still have active yeast, so they may change more than beers that have been filtered. All beers will change, but the difference may be more apparent in a bottle conditioned beer.

      I usually keep mine at the bottom of the pantry. Anywhere you can keep bottles at a consistent temperature and out of the light is a good place to store some beer for aging.


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