660. Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Barleywine

660. Goose Island - Bourbon County Brand BarleywineI’ve had multiple beers tonight during our Tales, Taverns & Towns tour of Chicago. Our last stop of the night was Sheffield’s, and I discovered the “Beer School” room, which had some awesome beers. Since I figured this was my last beer of the evening, I went big with this one. I love their Bourbon County Brand Stout, so I was looking forward to trying this one.

Location: On tap and served in a small snifter glass at Sheffield’s in Chicago, IL.

Numbers: 12.1% ABV, ~200 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It was very dark in color, with some brown highlights when held up to the light. It had a decent sized, tan, foamy head that had good retention and great lacing. The aroma was a complex mix of caramel maltiness, bourbon, and barrel smells including raisins, vanilla, wood char, and some sweet booziness.

Taste & Feel: The body is definitely full  with a smooth and viscous mouthfeel. Up front there’s a lot of caramel-toffee malty sweetness. After you get past the initial sweetness, it transitions smoothly with some oaky vanilla and charred barrel flavors in the middle. In the finish, it’s a big mix of caramel-toffee malt sweetness and bourbon with hints of vanilla, raisins, and dark fruits. The aftertaste is a mix of caramel maltiness and bourbon with some warming alcohol noticable.

Food Pairing: This beer is big and bold enough that I believe it should only be savored on it’s own. However, it would make an excellent pairing with a juicy burger with grilled onions and mushrooms. If you could handle all the sweetness, this would also be incredible with bread pudding or other cinnamon-raisin desserts.

Overall Impression: This is an incredible beer. The big caramel malt flavors mix perfectly with the vanilla and charred oak flavors, and the bourbon flavors complete the taste trifecta. With all the flavor in this beer, it’s definitely a beer to sip and enjoy, as the flavors last for a good while in the aftertaste. This small snifter was $10, and it was well worth it. If you can find this beer, grab one.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Author: Kevin

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