Friday, August 17, 2012

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

Well, here it is - the last episode of Chad'z Beer Reviews (at least for the foreseeable future). I got this beer in a trade with Joe from back in the spring. I've been waiting for a special occasion to drink it and I think the last episode counts as such. Shaun of course couldn't say no to helping me drink and review this one. I was hoping we could've got Henry to come down but he's just so busy we couldn't make it happen.

Anyway thanks to all my viewers and subscribers for 4 years of fun times and great memories. I will be posting a separate "Thank you and goodbye" video next week. And as I said before Chad'z Beer Reviews will continue in text form on my website, twitter and Facebook. Thanks for watching!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Chad9976 (708) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 5, 2012
I’ve always thought Goose Island’s world famous "Bourbon County Brand Stout" was a little overrated and I can name many imperial stouts I consider superior. Well, apparently all this beer was missing was a bunch of coffee added to the recipe because it went from a by-the-book imperial stout to a pretty amazing imperial coffee stout.

I received a 22oz bottle in a trade with a friend (thanks, Joe!). I split it with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Extremely dark black body, completely opaque (is an understatement). Forms a small, dark brown, fizzy head which evaporates almost as quickly as a soda and leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Strong coffee aroma for sure, like a pot of coffee sitting on the burner. Certain alcohol sweetness as well like a rum or Kahlua.

Taste: There’s two ways to look at this beer: is it an imperial coffee stout or is it an imperial stout plus coffee? It may seem to be splitting hairs but there definitely is a difference. While this beer, GIBCBCS, is indeed robust in pretty much every way, I can honestly say I’ve had other beers with more pronounced coffee flavor - imperial or otherwise. This is more accurately described as Kahlua - the beer. There’s a strong sweetness throughout the entire palate, a simultaneous combination of vanilla extract and baker’s chocolate. Rich sweetness plus noticeable bitterness from coffee and chocolate.

There’s not much to describe in terms of the usual beer attributes of hops and malts. Well there definitely is a prominent roasted malt flavor, especially through the middle. Then as it finishes there’s a strong burst of gentle warmth, slight dryness and additional sweetness. What’s remarkable is how clean the beer finishes with very little aftertaste. The alcohol definitely works with the palate but upstages the genuine imperial stout quality a tad. Not that I mind because in the end you’re left with an absolutely delicious, complex and very satisfying beer. I can only see this improving with age.

Drinkability: I drank GIBCBCS on a hot summer’s night and I have to admit that it was actually a little refreshing for the first moment or two. Much like how an iced coffee would be even though there’s bitterness and sticky sweetness to it. The body is much thinner than I was expecting and quite tepid as well . It goes down extremely smooth and has no cloying aftertaste (I would’ve been okay with a coffee, chocolate or vanilla aftertaste, though).

The 14% does make itself known as there is significant heat on every swig, but it didn’t overwhelm me or fill me up at all. I’d drink this beer all the time if it were reasonably priced and readily available. As a special occasion beer it definitely does the job, though.

GRADE: 10/10

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