Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Goose Island – Chicago, IL

goose island vanillabcs 233

Information: Site – “Each year at the festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in Chicago, drinkers enjoy hundreds of wood aged beers. Goose Island poured this beer at the 2009 fest, and drinkers loved it so much we decided we had to bottle it. We hope you enjoy it as well.”

13% APV

There’s always something to be said for a beer so special you almost struggle to open it. And I don’t mean because the top’s on too hard. What I mean is, a beer so special that only a specific number are allotted to distributors and to their specific stores in one batch and then it becomes nearly impossible to locate. Fortunately, for me, I work at one of the stores that was given three 650 ml bottles of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Vanilla Stouts. And I was lucky enough (well, thank my ridiculously awesome boss, Jim, from the Portage City Wine Cellar (represent!!) for setting one aside for me) to get a hold of one. Then, as much as I wanted to open it right away and drop a review on you all, it seemed almost more appropriate to save it for Christmas as kind of a gift to myself. And there you have it. So, after the better part of a month and a half, here we go…

The pour is absolutely jet black with a light, deep tan head that mounts subtly and then fades into a slight cap. The nose is heavily bourbon scented (barrel aging for five full years will do that) and stunningly rich with vanilla. The addition of whole vanilla beans are bright and lively in their life-giving remanence and absolutely give the beer a slight cookie-scented quality. It has many hidden notes that belay its stout roots (even though it tells you right on the bottle what it is) offering up slight cocoa qualities and a certain twinge of cappuccino.

The flavor is sodden with deep, clean vanilla flavors that mix beautifully with the stout nuances. Just as vanilla flavorings pair quite well with coffees and chocolates, this beer is literally an alcoholic version of that axiom. Though it is quite easy to locate the bourbon cask-aged body (astringent and oaky with a kick of peppery backbone) the all-round sweetness of the vanilla and the stout style does well to keep the throaty burn at bay. It’s surprisingly easy to drink and has an interesting ‘wet’ quality that leaves just enough remaining in the mouth to prod you n for another sip. This is, without a doubt, one of the finest samples of a cask-aged stout I have ever had. It, and it’s brethren I have also tried, are amazing samples of what a craft brewery can do. This is simply something that must be tried and savored. Pairing it with food, I’d have to go with a chocolate torte or possibly a honey-glazed ham. Simply delicious.

Rating: * * * * *
Goose Island does it again with its Bourbon County Vanilla Stout