Beer Review

Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2013 ed., Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Stout label

Bourbon County Brand Stout label

It’s the Bourbon County Brand Stout, the BCBS. Goose Island has been brewing this beer since 1992. It’s a seasonal brew, meaning they brew a set amount once a year and when it’s gone for that year, it’s gone until next November. Sorry!

BCBS is considered a very, very good beer by almost every beer drinker that cares enough to think these types of things. As such, it is incredibly difficult to get, especially in Chicago (I know, that sounds counter intuitive). Goose Island releases this beer every year on the day after Thanksgiving. So while Aunt Molly and Cousin Jimmy are out waiting in line for the latest iPotholder, all the beer nerds in Chicago are lining up at liquor stores. Unfortunately we were out of town this year so I was only able to obtain 2 12oz bottles from a hole in the wall liquor joint south of The Loop. Even more unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any of the variations they released this year. From what I’ve read, I need to be up and out the door by 5:00 next year. We’ll see.

Appearance: 4.5/5

Deep, dark, black. Completely opaque. No glittering transparency at the edges on this one. Just thick and black with a bit of a fine head on top. The head is very light tan, I swear it looks as if it has a hint of red, a reddish tan.

Aroma: 4.5/5

A lot of oak up front. A lot of bourbon up front. It is similar to Deth’s Tar in that the aroma reminds me of whiskey, or bourbon, but this is smoother. Gentler. There’s a sweetness in there somewhere, but I can’t place my finger on it. Maybe brown sugar.

Taste: 4.75/5

Wow. I was expecting to be let down by this beer. There was so much hype, I figured it couldn’t really be as good as I kept hearing.

I was wrong.

It’s a fantastic medley of deep flavor. Dark caramel, sweet malt, that brown sugar, spicy oak, smooth chocolate, and a little roasty grain at the tail end of the taste. It’s a big beer, definitely, but the alcohol flavor, while present, isn’t over bearing. And what alcohol flavor is there definitely has a whiskey/bourbon flavor to it.

Mouthfeel: 4.25/5

Luscious. Smooth. The carbonation in this bottle is spot on, just a slight tickle.

Label:

It’s great, elegant almost. It’s a flat black background under white text with gold highlights. No superfluous drawings, no crazy stories, just straight to the point.

Overall: 4.75/5

I would give it a 5 but then what would I do if something better came along. It’s very good, I hate to admit it but I think it’s probably better than Deth’s Tar. Drinking it makes me regret only being able to get 2 bottles.

Weighted Final Rating[1]: 4.64/5

aFR[2]:


Notes:

  1. My final rating is a weighted average of the 5 component ratings. See the Beer Review Methodology Page.
  2. The aFR (adjusted Final Rating) is my attempt at standardizing beer ratings across the increasingly vast pricing and container volume differences. It ranges from near 0 to near 25, the higher the number is the better the beer is in terms of quality and value. See the Beer Review Methodology Page.
  3. To see a list of all my beer reviews and ratings, check out the Summary of Beers Reviewed page.
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