A message fom our brewmaster Keith Gabbett:
Bourbon County has always been one of my favorite beers, even before I worked at Goose Island. From those early days of drinking it at the Clybourn pub as a fan to actually getting to brew it as a brewer and now overseeing this year’s creation of Bourbon County as Brewmaster, I’m excited that it has come full circle and I have the opportunity to share details of this year’s release with everyone
This year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup includes some of the most exciting flavor combinations yet, brought forth by Goose employees and backed by personal inspiration – such as this year’s Bourbon County Proprietor’s, brewed by Emily Kosmal for her love of spumoni, an Italian frozen treat. With each sip of BCS we want fans to be taken on a journey through flavor profiles and nuances that are thought provoking and truly unique.
By pushing ourselves each year, we are providing not only the best barrel-aged stout out there but creating a legacy that is unparalleled. This year’s release continues in that tradition and I hope you join me in that excitement.
Bourbon County Stout: The Original Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout. Our primary focus every year is to make this beer the best that it’s ever been, with the best ingredients, which includes the finest of bourbon whiskey barrels.This year’s Bourbon County Stout is aged in a mix of bourbon barrels from whiskey distilleries like Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill Distillery and Wild Turkey. Barrel-aged for a year to develop the complexity that only time can provide, Bourbon County Stout boasts a unique blend of flavors such as fudge, vanilla and caramel — topped off with a rich, complex mouthfeel.
Tasting Notes: Cocoa, fudge, vanilla, caramel, almond, plus leather and tobacco
Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout: we’re excited to debut our first-ever tea-inspired variant. Brewer Paul Cade brought this idea to life, inspired by his girlfriend, Martha, who prefers tea over coffee. Our Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout is a take on the London Fog tea drink. With that flavor profile in mind, we added Earl Grey Tea and Black Tea from Kilogram Tea, as well as clover honey from The Honey House, to make a Bourbon County Stout variant with a complexity like none before.
Tasting Notes: Black licorice, white pepper, citrus, florals, graham cracker
Bourbon County Special #4 Stout: Bourbon County Special #4 Stout is an oatmeal stout variant of our original Bourbon County Stout recipe, also aged in bourbon barrels, that uses crystal oats to add a nutty character, as well as a smooth mouthfeel. After barrel aging, we add Intelligentsia Coffee, both their cold coffee and single origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, called “Metad Buku,” bringing out a pleasant fruity coffee character. Lastly bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup from Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio is added which provides complexity to the nutty oats and coffee to round out the flavors, ultimately reminiscent of your breakfast ‘special’ at the local diner.
Tasting Notes: Coffee, vanilla, toasted nuts, cocoa, maple
Bourbon County Caramella Ale: Caramella or ‘candy’ in Italian is a wheatwine aged in Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels with apple, cinnamon, and natural caramel flavor added after aging. Just like last year, the sweet smoothness from the Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels adds a lingering warmth that complements the added flavor nuance. It’s nostalgia-inducing flavors are reminiscent of a caramel apple. Our Lab Tech, Joey Tidei, created this variant as a tribute to his love of seasonal flavors. This luscious embodiment of caramel perfectly paired with a slightly-tart apple flavor will transport you to a crisp autumn day.
Tasting Notes: Creamy caramel, red apple, cinnamon, funnel cake
Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout: This year’s Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout was inspired by third-generation Italian American brewer Emily Kosmal’s love of spumoni, a classic Italian frozen treat. Spumoni is a tri-colored frozen dessert that contains candied fruit and nuts between each layer, historically including flavors such as pistachio, cherry and chocolate. Blended with fresh pistachios, cacao nibs, candied Amarena cherries, and natural vanilla flavors, the 2020 Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout is incredibly complex and layered with cocoa, nut, and dark fruit notes with hints of vanilla and oak. Emily, who also created the concept for 2016 Proprietor’s, is our first brewer to have two Proprietor’s concepts picked for release.
Tasting Notes: Cocktail cherry, pistachio, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak
Birthday Bourbon County Stout: We partnered with the Old Forester Brand and paired Bourbon County Stout with barrels from one of the world’s most sought-after bourbons – Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. The limited-edition bourbon, released each year on the founder George Garvin Brown of Brown-Forman’s birthday, is made in hand-selected 11-year old barrels and chosen from one specific day of production – resulting in flavor profiles that vary every year and never replicated. Old Forester’s tasting notes for the 2019 Birthday Bourbon are: “Rich oak spice and blackcurrant coupled with light maple, caramel cake, and white floral notes.” This year’s Birthday Bourbon County Stout is a truly unique variation that is a must-have for bourbon and beer lovers alike.
Tasting Notes: Chocolate, vanilla, maple, berry, cinnamon
Anniversary Bourbon County Stout: Anniversary Bourbon County Stout is aged 2 years in Weller 12 Year barrels and is a special variant this year to celebrate Goose Island’s 10-year tradition of releasing Bourbon County Stout on Black Friday. The Weller brand is one of the most universally loved collections in all of bourbon, with Weller 12 Year being one of the hardest to get and most sought after. Our Original Bourbon County Stout is aged in 4-5 year old barrels for one year, so the added age of these Weller barrels, paired with an extra year of the beer in the barrel, adds stronger barrel flavors and notes of dried dark fruit.
Tasting Notes: Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, burnt sugar, oak, dried dark fruit