In its dark and rather plain packaging, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout doesn’t look spectacular by any means. Black labels with old-school print, Bourbon County is minimalist advertising at its best.
At $20 for a four pack of 12 oz. bottles, it’s not a low-priced beverage by any means and not something I’ll be drinking every weekend, but it’s a nice treat to have on occasion.
Without ever opening the understated bottles, you learn a few things. Aged in bourbon barrels, this imperial stout clocks in at an impressive 14.5% and has been brewed since 1992. If it was terrible, hopefully Goose Island wouldn’t continue making it for 20 years.
Pouring the Bourbon County into a brandy snifter, the beer looks thick, leaving a slight creamy brown head. As light hits the dense brew, reddish hues appear, making the Bourbon County look a bit less sinister.
The aroma is a whiskey lover’s dream, with a rich bourbon and maple scent emanating out of the snifter.
The first sip is a combination of smooth — and strong — bourbon notes and oak flavors. The beer is sweet, but with a very prominent alcohol finish. The brew has more of a carbonated feel than I expected, but still keeps a full-bodied, heavy character.
I found Bourbon County to be much easier to drink than the strong smell at first implied. That being said, if you’re not a bourbon fan, this may not be for you. While you still get the chocolate-y and caramel hints of most stouts, the bourbon flavor is a bit strong and slightly overpowering.
For more info on Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout, visit http://bit.ly/kA4o4.