Friday, December 6, 2013

Beer Review: Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout (aged one year)

Reviewing Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago, Illinois. This variation on Bourbon County Brandy Stout is aged in rye whiskey barrels with cherries added.

Score: 90

Bottle 11/11/12. Served in a stemmed Cantillon taster flute and enjoyed on 11/10/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a dark soda syrup color with a thin coating of brownish head that quickly dissipates to a ring around the glass. Poor lacing and retention, but good oily legs. Par for the course. 4/5

Smell: Mostly molasses-like sweetness and a dash of cinnamon, with minimal barrel character other than light notes of oak. There's a little bit of chocolate and cherry too, but the cherry is quite muted. Fresh, the cherry was not very prominent either. The nose has a light booziness to it, more so than the regular 2012 vintage Bourbon County Brand Stout release did, but its not "fusel." 4/5

Taste: More cherry flavor is present on the palate than it was in the nose, gradually growing towards the finish, but there is never a lot of cherry flavor present. Rather, the amount of cherry present from the time this beer first hits the tongue to the finish increases from "a hint" to merely "some." Molasses and chocolate notes here too. Surprisingly not complex for having Bourbon County Brand Stout as its base. A little rye spice kick on the finish. Molasses lingers in the finish. Warming heat, but not boozy. Average integration of flavor here, but hardly seamless. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, low carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel. Sweet, but less sweet than regular Bourbon County Brand Stout is. 4/5

Overall: While certainly not a bad beer, this is easily one of the most overrated high profile stouts out there, and the weakest beer in the Bourbon County Brand Stout variant portfolio. Unlike Bramble, which started out medicinal and overly sweet, this beer did not mellow out and morph into a seemlessly integrated and jammy cornucopia of contrasting characteristics with age. Additionally, for a beer called "Cherry Rye", the cherry character was lacking.

Cost: $19.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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