Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beer Review: Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Reviewing the infamous and retired Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Company.
Score: 100

Bottled on 11/05/10. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 03/24/12. After having a couple of ounces of this stuff the other night, I could not resist opening a bottle and enjoying a full glass.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color, totally opaque, with a thin layer of creamy mocha-colored head that quickly settles into a pencil-thin ring around the glass. Average, maybe slightly below average, lacing, but pretty solid lacing -- especially for an imposing imperial stout. 5/5

Smell: Rich, sweet vanilla upfront. Molasses/maple, raisin, smooth bourbon, cocoa and dark chocolate. Just a ton of sweet vanilla and molasses and brown sugar sweetness in the nose. Not too much sweetness though, and the aroma is not overpowering. Rather, this beer strikes the perfect balance and blend of barrel aged imperial stout aromas. Truly perfect. 5/5

Taste: Blissful synergy. Like the aroma, this beer is perfectly and delicately crafted in flavor. The first sip reveals waves of sweet vanilla with bourbony maple and molasses. The midpalate is drenched with bourbon soaked raisin, milk chocolate and dark chocolate flavors. The beer is on the sweeter side of bittersweet, but oh so perfectly so. Each rich sip layers, refreshing the palate with more and more vanilla and maple sweetness that absolutely lingers on the tongue. There is a robust, velvety bourbon flavor, without any of the alcohol bite or any booziness, towards the back half of the beer that lingers with the vanilla -- growing as the beer warms and layers. There is a bitter chocolate backbone that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the vanilla/maple/raisin/bourbon flavors. There's a hint of a smooth tobacco flavor in the mix too. More chocolate as this brew warms. The beer has a modicum of warming effect on the palate as it approaches room temperature, but it's not a booziness. Truly delectable. Each sip soaks the palate with plenty of long-lasting flavor. There's is nothing more I could possibly ask of this beer. 5/5

: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Finishes on the sweeter side of bittersweet with lots of bourbon soaked raisin flavor. 5/5

Overall: The only thing that is wrong with this beer is that it is no longer made. I need more. I could live without every other stout if I could only have this beer at my whim.

Recommendation: Seek this beer out, and do it sooner than later. This beer will never be made again, and I just reduced the remain and limited supply by a bottle. If you are sitting on a bottle, on the other hand, crack it open now. It is drinking perfectly and can go nowhere but down from here. This one, at least right now, is drinking better than Bourbon County Coffee.

Pairings: The finest steak in all the land, served with caramelized onions.

Cost: $11.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle back when it was briefly on shelves in November 2010. It'll cost you much more than that now, but it is well worth the cost.

No comments:

Post a Comment