Goose Island has been bottling its Bourbon County Stout for 15 years now, which makes them one of the longest running bottlers of bourbon barrel-aged beer. With that kind of track record, it’s not surprising that so many of their Black Friday releases have been well-received by the boozy beer-loving masses. Lucky for those folks, the brewery’s dedicated, large-scale barrel-aging facility and plenty of production muscle (they’ve been owned by InBev since 2016) made this year’s release the easiest to track down yet. In the bottle, you’ll find a brew of two-row, black malt, caramel, chocolate, Munich 10, and roasted barley malts and Millennium hops aged in a mix of bourbon barrels from the likes of Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, and Heaven Hill. Let’s dig in!
This year’s Bourbon County Stout pours the classic midnight black with a touch of dark caramel head. The aroma is lighter and a bit less malt-forward than last year’s release but with the same spice cabinet notes. A drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, along with toasted marshmallow and freshly brewed, medium roast coffee make this nose one of the best on a barrel-aged beer I’ve had this year. The palate is a touch less creamy and silky than last year’s release but still impeccably balanced. A slight black coffee bitterness gives way to loads of vanilla cream and double fudge brownie. The lengthy finish is all sweet biscuits and dark chocolate. Larger scale production has not diminished the quality on this one.