Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Hidden behind the counter, with a label attached to it with my name scrawled across it, this beer was waiting for me at City Sliquors, even though I had never heard of it, and it doesn't match my normal preferred taste profile (at least based on the label). Well, I say the label, but there is only a rear label on this bottle. Instead, the presentation is that of a very high-end beverage, as the bottle has embossed lettering on the front, and I love the look of this.

The beer pours like a syrup with its deep, dark brown body and almost no head to speak of. There are maybe seven bubbles on top of this thing, and they are really tiny (like nitrogen-sized), so I may be off by about three. The aroma is unmistakable thick, dark fruits and heavy brown liquor. Here's the thing, I'm usually not a fan of bourbon barrel-aged beers, but I find myself oddly looking forward to this particular one based solely on the past experience with Goose Island and the recommendation from City Sliquors' reliable proprietor, Jeremy.

First sip is definitely strong. It's heavy with the hard liquor, but it also has a body and taste of its own that is managing to beat back at the bourbon. Mind you, the bourbon is still sitting out front and in command of everything. Still, I can taste the dark fruits and even a sweet malt that are not bad at all. I'm starting to think that this might be the taste that all of the barrel-aged beers were going for.

Tip-in is oddly tart with oak and dark fruits wrapped in smoke; let's not beat around the bush, it's too strong for a beer. The middle is smooth and syrupy sweet (also in texture) with more smoke and oak than before and the addition of some refined vanilla. The finish swaggers in with a snap of bitterness, hard alcohol, and a mix of the previous flavors added to some caramel.

Bottom Line: Even though I'm not usually a fan of these, I could recommend this to people who like hard alcohol or really, really complex beers.



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