462. Goose Island – 2011 Bourbon County Stout

Goose Island - 2011 Bourbon County StoutToday’s my birthday, and I had a nice dinner out at Lucca Grill here in Bloomington, IL with my family, and enjoyed a couple of Boulder Beer Mojo IPAs (but I didn’t get a picture so I won’t count it here, yet).  When we got home, I put the kids to bed, and finished off my birthday evening in perfect fashion with this beer.  Thanks to my sister Kelly who gave me a four pack of this beer as a thank you for always giving her homebrew.  Coincidentally, her birthday is the next day.

Location: Poured into a snifter glass from the bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 14.5% ABV, ~ 440 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: When I poured it into the glass, it looked viscous and deep black.  Almost no light passed through it when I held it up to the light.  There was a thin brown head on it that fell rather quickly.  The aroma is bold with a mix of bourbon, vanilla, molasses, and dark chocolate sweetness.

Taste & Feel: The body is very full and solid, and the mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.  The flavor up front is sweet, with plenty of vanilla and oak, but other bourbon barrel flavors start to join the mix.  In the middle, these bourbon and barrel flavors are joined by some solid imperial stout flavors of roasted barley, dark chocolate, molasses, and hints of coffee.  The finish has a slight coffee-like bitterness to it, as well as a good dose of bourbon barrel flavor and warmth.  The dark chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon flavors last for a little bit in the aftertaste.

Food Pairing: This is a really big, flavorful beer, and I’d recommend enjoying it totally on its own.  If I had to pair it with a food, I might enjoy it with a fudge brownie covered with raspberries or sour cherries.  The fudge would definitely mix nicely with the vanilla and chocolate flavors in the beer, and the fruit would add an additional sweet pop on top of an already complex mix of flavors.

Overall Impression: Over the last few years, I’ve become a fan of both bourbon and imperial stouts.  In my opinion, this beer mixes the two perfectly.  It’s possibly the most full bodied, smooth and viscous beer I’ve ever had, and from an imperial stout perspective, it delivers some big, complex flavors.  When you add a smooth dose of bourbon and oak to the mix, the flavors mix together to become a truly wonderful beer.  I don’t know that I’ve ever rated a beer this highly, but this one certainly delivers. At $20 for four 12oz bottles, happy birthday to me.  Thanks sis!

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Author: Kevin

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