We’ve tried the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout a while back, so we were excited to try the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout. According to the Goose Island website, the brewery changes the coffee beans used in this beer every year. This batch (bottled in November 2012) used Intelligentsia La Tortuga Beans. We don’t know exactly what that means, but it sounds delicious.
This coffee stout is super decadent. It pours dark and thick with a very small amount of dark tan foam. Both its nose and flavor is heavy on the oak bourbon barrel. It’s very sweet, with strong chocolate and vanilla flavors. The coffee flavor isn’t too strong, but it does make the beer very thick and syrupy in your mouth. At 14.3% ABV, it packs a boozy punch. The Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout is very filling. It would be a nice beer for dessert as it’s a lot like drinking a cake.
We’ve been on the hunt for Goose Island Bourbon County Stout for a while with no success. Lucky for us we have really awesome friends (and readers!), because this weekend our friend (and extremely talented poet*) Ron Spalletta delivered a bottle to us! Hooray! On to the beer!
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout that comes in at a nice and strong 14.5% alcohol by volume. First off, its appearance is awesome. It’s super dark, so dark that it’s almost mirror-like. Seriously. We looked down into our glass and got lost searching for the bottom. (OK, not seriously.) Our beer poured flat and with almost zero foam, which could be strange considering their official photo and description advertise a thick foam head. That said, it still had a nice, sparkling carbonation.
It has a strong smell of molasses, chocolate, and coffee. There’s also a subtle coffee flavor at the fore, which we found surprising since Goose Island also makes a Bourbon County Coffee. Accompanying flavors are chocolate and the vanilla and oak flavors from the barrel. There’s not really a bourbon flavor, so we assume this is one of those beers that is aged in bourbon barrels but without actual bourbon, as some bourbon brews do. That’s not a bad thing, though, just an observation, as the flavors are still very strong. Each sip finishes off with a strong molasses linger. It also had a sort of sour flavor like the Brooklyn bourbon stout that Rachel found unpleasant. I didn’t mind it, though. The sour flavor came up toward the end of the glass with the Brooklyn beer, which made it seem like drinking two different beers. In the Goose Island case, it was a persistent flavor that I felt complemented the darker, sweeter flavors. I tend to prefer stouts when it comes to beer though, so I found Goose Island’s Bourbon County right in my flavor wheelhouse.
*For more info on Ron and his poetry, check out his poem "Blank Villanelle" at Slate or his website.