Bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts are one of the most popular beer styles out there. Each year the release of these brews brings big excitement to craft beer fans as they check out how the unique profiles of each barrel change a beer from year to year. Without a doubt the most well known of these brews is Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. Take a look at the upcoming 2016 release.
Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016
The yearly release of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout is likely the most widely anticipated beer release of the year for craft beer lovers. It’s a beer that has turned many on to the amazing qualities of bourbon barrel-aged beers and one that even craft beer veterans make time to seek out each year.
Goose Island was the first brewer to release a bourbon barrel-aged beer all the way back 1992 and it’s changed the world of beer. While barrel-aged beers have become commonplace in the current craft beer climate, 24 years ago they simply didn’t exist. When Goose Island first poured this brew (made to celebrate the 1,000th batch at their original Clybourn brewpub) at the Great American Beer Fest, people had never tasted such a beer.
The 2016 release of Bourbon County Brand Stout is yet another world class brew and continues to show that ownership had no impact on Goose Island’s dedication to creating amazing beers.
The bottle pours a thick, viscous black liquid into the snifter with a dense deep-brown foam forming atop. Swirling the glass coats the walls in an oily resin that slowly slides down the walls of the glass and prevents lacing from attaching itself.
Inhaling deeply, there’s heavy bourbon in the nose with notes of charred oak, a touch of chocolate, and coffee. A touch of the 13.8% ABV make itself known too, but it’s fairly light and certainly not what you’d call hot.
When you finally move beyond inhaling the wonderful aroma and take a sip, your palate is met with super smooth malt sweetness that dries quickly. Flavors of chocolate, light caramel, and hints of vanilla with a bit of charred oak dance on the tongue.
The aftertaste is as smooth as the upfront flavor and leaves a light sweetness but remains nice and dry. Bourbon flavor remains on as do hints of chocolate and a medium roastiness. There’s a light hint of alcohol but it’s subdued already and will certainly mellow to the point of vanishing with just a bit of time in the cellar.
This brew tastes absolutely fantastic right now and will certainly cellar wonderfully for years to come. My advise is to enjoy it on tap where you can find it and put a couple bottles away in the cellar, opening them from time to time to see how it matures. This beer is awesome fresh or even after several years of aging.
Goose Black Friday
Forget fighting it out at big box stores and the shopping mall on Black Friday. The release of Bourbon County has become a far more important (and less frustrating) event for beer lovers to attend instead. The Black Friday release of Bourbon County has become a tradition for many craft beer lovers.
In addition to bottle releases, numerous bars tap Bourbon County and the variant offerings, giving you a place to enjoy a couple killer beers when avoiding or winding down after the holiday shopping kickoff.
Check out your local beer event blog or social calendar (@DrinkingMN for Minnesota beer events) to find out where you’ll be able to get this brew on tap. Spend your Black Friday doing something far far more enjoyable than shopping, sipping. Follow and use the hashtag #GooseBlackFriday to see and share all the fun of this big beer release.
Bourbon Barrel Beauty
The annual return of Bourbon County brings excitement to the craft beer community, and with great reason. It’s truly one of the best bourbon barrel-aged beers ever created. The original, and still one of the greatest, this beer helps us welcome the cooler weather of winter and many nights spent sipping big beers when the weather turns cold.
So forget the holiday shopping, it can wait. Plan to spend Black Friday grabbing a couple bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016 and sipping some at your local beer bar. Stout season is coming and one of the greats is about to be here to welcome this wonderful time of beer.