Goose Island Brew Pub opened its doors in 1988 when the craft beer movement was in its infancy. John Hall, founder of Goose Island, was influenced by travels to Europe and was convinced that his visions of what a beer should be, would be widely accepted by others. He was right! The “Goose Island Movement” began in Chicago and quickly spread across the country.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is a stout aged in Heaven Hill whiskey barrels for about eight months, resulting in a massive 15 percent alcohol by volume. This is not for the novice beer drinker!
The beer pours almost black with a dark brown hue. Once in the glass it’s as black as a winter night. The chocolate colored head is thin and dissipates quickly although it re-emerges with every movement of the glass.
The nose is over run with a boozy chocolate note. Amidst the alcohol and chocolate there is a distinctive aroma of sweet dried fruits like raisins and figs. The bouquet closes with an ever so slight anise note.
On the palate, this big beer is thick and creamy with solid carbonation. The dominate flavors upon its entrance are the boozy and sweet raisin notes from the nose. The flavor is reminiscent of a Pedro Ximenez Sherry. While that profile remains through the finish it is joined with unsweetened chocolate, molasses, dark roasted nuts and espresso on the midpalate. The finish keeps the alcohol laden raisin note but is overpowered with the espresso and unsweetened chocolate flavors that cut the sweetness and allow a slight bitterness to linger. The “bitterness” is exaggerated by the drying sensation from the alcohol content. If the ABV was significantly lower it might not even be detected.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is simply complex. It has a lot going on, but all the flavors work together in harmony to complement each other. This is, without question, the perfect fireplace beer. Very similar to a port or sherry, this is a great sipper and should be drunk slowly in order to truly enjoy all it has to offer.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5
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