My wife and kids are at religious education tonight, so I’ve got the house to myself. I’ve been bringing beers in from the garage, since I had to empty the beer fridge, because we’re moving. I was able to snag this a few years ago at the local liquor store before they became so impossible to find. It’s been sitting at the bottom of the beer fridge for a few years now. The bottle says, Each year at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in Chicago drinkers enjoy hundreds of wood aged beers. This island poured this beer at the 2009 best, and drinkers loved it so much we decided we had to bottle it. I hope you enjoy it as well. Cheers! Bottled on 11/5/10.”
Location: Poured into a snifter glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 13% ABV, ~400 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s dark black in color and I couldn’t see any light through it when I held it up. The head was thin with tiny bubbles, falling to just a thin, tan ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Despite the thin head, there appears to be a good amount of carbonation in it. The aroma is heavy, with lots of bourbon and barrel char and roastiness.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is viscous and smooth. The flavor up front is sweet with a bourbon barrel char-like roastiness. The middle gets much sweeter with a good dose of vanilla, with the barrel flavors behind it. The finish has a fair amount of roasty barrel char flavors with vanilla and bourbon flavors slightly behind it. The aftertaste has a nice alcohol warming sensation and is a smooth mix of vanilla sweetness and charred bourbon barrel flavors.
Food Pairing: This is a very bold flavored beer, so pair it with something lighter in flavor that can help cut through all the sweetness, such as turkey, pork, or chicken.
Overall Impression: The beer is extremely bold, with big, very sweet flavors. The vanilla makes it a very smooth big stout, but it also sends the sweetness up to the edge of being too much sweetness (and over the edge after several sips without something to break it up). I enjoyed the vanilla and bourbon barrel flavors together, and appreciated the boldness. However, comparing this directly with the regular Bourbon County Brand Stout, I’d have to say I prefer it without the vanilla. This is still a very good beer, it’s just that the regular BCBS is nearly perfect.