Beer collectors, take notice. Your cellars are about to gain some new bottles.
Goose Island Brewery has unveiled their 2020 Bourbon County Stout lineup, and announced when these beers will hit retail shelves nationally.
This year, Goose Island celebrates the 10th anniversary of releasing Bourbon County Stout and its variants on Black Friday. The first variant was introduced in 2009 at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago.
“This year’s lineup is a celebration of innovation made possible by our entire Goose Island family and our distillery partners with highly-coveted brands like Buffalo Trace’s W. L. Weller, Heaven Hill’s Larceny and Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon,” the company says in a release.
The brewery will release seven variants this year:
- Bourbon County Stout: This year’s Bourbon County Stout aged in a mix of bourbon barrels from whiskey distilleries like Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill Distillery and Wild Turkey. Barrel-aged for a year, Bourbon County Stout has a blend of flavors such as fudge, vanilla and caramel, the company says, topped off with a rich, complex mouthfeel.
- Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout: A take on the London Fog tea drink. With that flavor profile in mind, the brewery added in Earl Grey Tea and Black Tea from Kilogram Tea, as well as clover honey from The Honey House. Tasting Notes include black licorice, white pepper, citrus, florals and graham cracker.
- Bourbon County Special #4 Stout: An oatmeal stout variant of the original Bourbon County Stout recipe, also aged in bourbon barrels, that uses crystal oats to add a nutty character and a smooth mouthfeel, the company says. After barrel aging, they add Intelligentsia Coffee, both their cold coffee and single origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, called “Metad Buku.” Lastly, bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup from Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio is added, which provides complexity to the nutty oats and coffee to round out the flavors, the company explains.
- Bourbon County Caramella Ale: Caramella or “candy” in Italian is a wheatwine aged in Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels with apple, cinnamon and natural caramel flavor added after aging. Just like last year, the sweet smoothness from the Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels adds a lingering warmth that complements the added flavor nuance, the company says.
- Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout: This year’s Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout was inspired by third-generation Italian American brewer Emily Kosmal’s love of spumoni, a classic Italian frozen treat. Spumoni is a tri-colored frozen dessert that contains candied fruit and nuts between each layer, historically including flavors such as pistachio, cherry and chocolate. Blended with fresh pistachios, cacao nibs, candied Amarena cherries and natural vanilla flavors, the 2020 Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout has flavors of cocoa, nut and dark fruit notes, with hints of vanilla and oak, the company says.
- Birthday Bourbon County Stout: The brewery partnered with the Old Forester Brand and paired Bourbon County Stout with barrels from one of the world’s most sought-after bourbons — Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. The limited-edition bourbon, released each year on the founder George Garvin Brown of Brown-Forman’s birthday, is made in hand-selected 11-year old barrels and chosen from one specific day of production — resulting in flavor profiles that vary every year. Old Forester’s tasting notes for the 2019 Birthday Bourbon are, “Rich oak spice and blackcurrant coupled with light maple, caramel cake, and white floral notes.”
- Anniversary Bourbon County Stout: Anniversary Bourbon County Stout is aged two years in Weller 12 Year barrels, and is a special variant this year to celebrate Goose Island’s 10-year tradition of releasing Bourbon County Stout on Black Friday.
“This year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup includes some of the most exciting flavor combinations yet, brought forth by Goose employees and backed by personal inspiration,” says Keith Gabbett, brewmaster, Goose Island Beer Co. “With each sip of BCS we want fans to be taken on a journey through flavor profiles and nuances that are thought provoking and truly unique.”
More than twenty years ago, brewer Greg Hall wanted to make something unique for the brewpub’s 1,000th batch. A chance encounter between Hall and Jim Beam’s Booker Noe led to Goose Island acquiring the barrels for what was to become the brewery’s popular, much-collected Bourbon County Stout series.