Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla 2018 Goose Island On the shoulders of giants!

2018 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla

(C) 2018 popsonhops

2018 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla
Tasting: December 31, 2018
Beer # 1,151
ABV: 14.9%

Emerging Styles of Beer

On the banner of this website is a beer glass with the simple expression “Beer is Art” etched on its side. This statement cannot be more true as the ever expanding sea of zymurgists push to create new and interesting culinary twists on this basic ancient brew. As an example, I’ll point to Kim Sturdavant, of San Francisco’s Social Kitchen & Brewery for his creation of a new style called Brut IPA. While Brut IPA may have been introduced by Sturdavant a few years ago, it may very well be the beer that’s created the most buzz in 2018. What’s fascinating about Brut IPA is the addition of an enzyme called amyloglucosidase which minimizes the sugar creating a hoppy champagne-like experience.

The Stalwarts of Style

While many national brewers are still trying to catch up to the New England style hazy IPA, I suspect that we’ll see a plethora of Brut IPA this year as the masses push the style into the mainstream. Craft beer has been a long history of “me too”. Probably the most replicated creative beer genre has been bourbon-barrel aged stout. The first person attributed with putting a beer into a used bourbon barrel to age a beer was Greg Hall from Goose Island Beer Co who did it in 1992. Considering the beer landscape of the time, Hall’s experiment was truly ground breaking and showed that a massive stout could carry the barrel’s influence in a incredibly complementary way.

The subject

Here we are twenty-six years later and I’m holding a descendant of Hall’s work.

In 2014, Goose Island set the secondary beer market on its ear with the release of Vanilla Rye (previously released in 2010). Within an instant, the 2014 bottles were selling for between $200 to $300. This release is not the same as the 2014 release as it uses different barrels (from Heaven Hill) and is aged on Madagascar Vanilla beans. I’ll note the original retail price of this 2018 bottle was $25 and supply was ample enough not to fuel a vigorous secondary market.

The conclusion

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla, totally fascinating…like half stout, half cream soda. Lots of other complexity below that creamy vanilla like layers of chocolate, dark fruit, tobacco and finishing with a sharp boozy heat. That booziness does detract and this rambunctious stout will need a little cellar time to smooth out the edges. The label suggests that it will continue to mature for five years in the bottle and that’s what I intend to do with the other bottle I bought. While the popular community sites have this bottle of 2018 Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla at around 97 – 98, I’m not that enthusiastic — at least right now. While I’d say right now, this is a 92, I’ll check in on this one again in a couple of years, I suspect it will be epic.

and a Happy New Year to all.

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2012 Cherry Rye by Goose Island beer number 900

Tasting: March 18, 2016
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 13.7%
Beer #: 900

(c) 2013 popsonhops

(c) 2013 popsonhops

Bourbon County Brand Stout Cherry Rye

I toyed with the idea of popping open this bottle on the occasion of my eight-hundredth beer. Then I toyed with the notion that I could have a Cherry Rye, Backyard Rye and Vanilla Rye glutton-fest with friends. Then I said what the hell am I saving this for?

I purchased this bottle on its release in 2012 and have aged it in a cool dark place since that day. In my book, stouts with high alcohol by volume (ABV) of say 10% plus can be aged up to five years. There are some exceptions as stouts brewed with coffee or other additives tend to see their “highlight” ingredients drop out within the first year. I was concerned about the fruit in Backyard Rye – 97 points dropping out after two years but the fruit was absolutely bright and amazing. I suspect the same here.

Surprised to get some robust coconut out of the gate and a vivid fudge. I also get some candy sweetness. The cherries are not as bright as the berries in Backyard Rye but they cut in stronger as as the four-year-old stout warms in my snifter. Mouthfeel has that signature BCBS thickness that coats the entire mouth and clings to the inside of my glass.The barrel influence may have subsided a bit but I do get some vanilla undertone. I’d put the 2012 Cherry Rye at 96 points.

This is beer number 900 and as I’ve done before

Want to read my other milestone beers…

Beer # 800 DeStruise Black Albert

Beer # 700 Three Floyds Dark Lord

Beer # 600 Alesmith Speedway Stout

Beer # 500 Fifty-Fifty Elijiah Craig Esclipse

Beer #400 Founders Bolt Cutter

Beer # 300 Mother Earth Trippel Overhead

Beer # 200 Theakston XB

Beer # 100 Sierra Nevada Beer Camp # 37

Beer # 1 Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

March 18, 2016 is beer # 900 and 172 days since # 800
September 29, 2015 is beer # 800 and 228 days since # 700
February 14, 2015 is beer # 700 and 163 days since # 600
September 5, 2014 beer # 600 and 300 days since # 500
November 9, 2013 was beer #500 and 340 days since # 400
December 4, 2012 was beer # 400 and 182 days since # 300
June 5, 2012 was beer # 300 and 195 days since # 200
November 23, 2011 was beer # 200 and 134 days since # 100
July 12, 2011 was beer # 100 and 244 days since # 1
November 10 2010, was beer # 1

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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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2012 in Beer including Maine Beer Company

2012

January 2 marked the second anniversary of this blog. As I had predicted last year, there was no way for me to keep up the 220 beer pace of 2011. I guess you could call 2012 the sophomore slump as I blogged about 197 different beers for a total of 417 beers.

Everyone else puts out an annual list – so, why not encapsulate my favorites of 2012?

2012 My Most Exciting Beer of the Year: Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (96 points)

Flashback to 2011 – most industry people would agree that the craft beer story of the year was the sale of Goose Island to AB InBev (maker of Budweiser). Right about now, you should cue the evil empire music as many feared the behemoth maker of sub-par beer would ruin a craft beer legend. Well, the relationship (for now) is the sole reason this beer made its way to New Jersey. It came and went in a flash and had beer heads like me in a lather back in October.

Honorable mentions to Stone Enjoy by 9.21.12 and Stone’s 10th Anniversary Ruination.

2012 My Best Up & Coming Brewery: Maine Brewing Company

The brewery started in 2009, but 2012 was their coming of age — with increased distribution in multiple northeastern states. Theirs is a great story as two brothers give up jobs as lawyers to pursue their craft beer dream. I enjoyed all three offerings that I tried and can wholeheartedly recommend each. Mean Old Tom (86 points) , Lunch (93 points) and Zoe (92 points)

2012: My Highest Rated Beer added to my list:

My highest rated new beer on the list. came in February Alchemist – Heady Topper (97 points) . Sorry, don’t go looking in stores for this one. It’s brewed in Waterbury, VT and doesn’t travel very far. If you have any ski bum friends — make sure they pick you up some.

2012 My Best New Brewery into New Jersey:
Easy choice here…Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. They made their way to New Jersey shelves in February. I had 8 offerings from the brewery in 2012 and each one was 88 points or better. Here are some of the top offerings:

Lost Abbey Deliverance (93 points)
Port Brewing 6th Anniversary (92 points)
Port Brewing Mongo (92 points)
Port Brewing Older Viscosity (91 points)
Port Brewing Wipe Out (89 points)
Port Brewing High Tide (89 points)

What does 2013 hold in this category? I’m hopeful that at some point — 2013 or 2014, that Bell’s makes an entry in New Jersey. They’ve increased capacity to a level that could make it happen.

2012 My Biggest Disappointment Kane 365 (59 points) This had all the expectations, but it was infected and $15 down the drain.

Welcome to New Jersey Maine Beer Company. wow.

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