Bourbon County Brand Barleywine by Goose Island

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine by Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois

© 2014 popsonhops

Tasting: November 29, 2014
Style: Barleywine
Beer #: 657

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine

Yesterday was the annual Black Friday release of Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) and some of its related variants – BCBS Coffee, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine and BCBS Vanilla Rye. I was staying with family in Pennsylvania so I didn’t have my regular places and connections to lean on for the rarest variant – Vanilla Rye. I went to a real nice bottle shop called The Beer Store in Southhampton, Pennsylvania about two hours before store opening and was early enough to secure number nine on a line of about sixty other beer geeks. The first twelve in line got a bottle of BCBS coffee, a bottle of BCBS Barleywine as well as three of the standard BCBS. They raffled off the rights to buy a bottle of the Vanilla Rye variant for $28 – but I wasn’t so lucky. However, I was able to purchase three additional BCBS after the line was satisfied.

On my way home, I made my stops to my three regular New Jersey shops and walked away with an additional five BCBS, three coffee and two barley wine. I’ll make another trip to New York today but for now the total take was eleven BCBS, four coffee and three barley wine. It didn’t match last year when I was able to get thirty-six of the standard BCBS, four coffee and two of last year’s hardest to find – Backyard Rye.

Last night, I opened a bottle of the 2013 BCBS and it has mellowed nicely over the past year. I’m savoring my three remaining bottles of 2012 and hope to do a five year vertical after the 2016 release.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is aged in a “third use” Kentucky bourbon barrel, first came the original bourbon, then came the flagship Bourbon County Brand Stout and finally this 12.3% alcohol by volume barleywine. Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is purported to be an English-style barleywine, meaning it should have little hop influence than its American-styled counterpart. Others report oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and bourbon heat.

I get the tobacco and vanilla. I also get some of the familiar BCBS dark fruit (like raisins) and cocoa. The advertised heat is certainly present and will mellow with some age. Mouthfeel is rich and sticky. I’ll put Bourbon County Brand Barleywine at 93 points.

Here are some of my additional thoughts on other Bourbon County Brand offerings…

Flashback to my initial thoughts on 2012 BCBS Coffee Stout Here

Flashback to my initial thoughts on 2012 Bourbon County Brand Stout Here

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