chanokokoro (138) - Illinois, USA - MAR 4, 2012
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
2011 Vintage served in a 10 oz. glass @ the Beer Bistro, Chicago, IL
Ar: Strong aroma of bourbon, oak, and coffee with just a hint of roasted malt.
Ap: Pours deep black with a half-finger beige head that quickly dissipates into a foam ring that borders the inside of the glass
T: Opens with a strong salvo of bourbon and espresso that carries through to a warm bourbon finish
P: Low carbonation, silky syrup consistency that coats the mouth. As with all BCBS variants the warmth from abundant alcohol is ever present.
O: I had previously had this brew from a bottle and still have a few in the cellar, but the draft is even better. In my opinion, from the bottle the coffee is a bit too forward for me, while on draft it becomes an essential component that complements the other characteristics of this stout. Truly fantastic!
lucke13 (91) - Des Moines, Iowa, USA - MAR 1, 2012
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Suprise find while asking for a regular Bourban Co Stout. 22 oz bottled 1/11/2012. Deep brown/black with minimal head. Smells of roasted coffee beans mingled with the familiar Bourbon Co Stout aromas. Tastes very similar to regular Bourbon Co Stout. Very thick, chewy feel. I was pleasantly suprised by this one. I LOVE the smell of coffee beans, but I hate drinking it. This beer gave me the best of both because the coffee flavor is very subdued but the aroma is intense. Add that to the already wonderful taste of the Stout beer and this is a winner for sure!
radagast83 (5423) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - FEB 24, 2012
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to <em>raveskdr</em> for splitting this bottle! I’m not a huge coffee fan, but I’d say I enjoy a good cup of joe every once in a while. Well, this was about the best coffee flavor I’ve had in... years. Poured a pitch black with a medium-to-small sized dark brown head. Rich, creamy notes of iced black coffee, roasted and toasted malts. Woah. Alcohol is there, but it’s hidden quite well for 14%. Quite impressed.
KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 23, 2012
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
From notes. First reviewed 5/2/2010. 2011 bottle update 2/6/2012. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. 2011 update: The 2011 version of this beer maintains everything that I loved about the first time I had it, and somehow is even better. I opened a 2011 bottle at cellar temperature and another was opened at fridge temperature at Kelly’s Pub.
Like every other bourbon county (and variant) I have opened, this viscous black imperial stout oozes out of the bottle like some kind of black tar. Pitch black with just the slightest mahogany brown edges. The bottle I opened up at cellar temperature manufactured a robust mocha brown head on the initial pour into my snifter. With the ABV, the cap was not destined to last long, but it still provided a nice thin film over the beer and a frothy ring around the edge of the glass. When opened at colder temperatures, it is much more difficult to get much of any head to form, even with an aggressive pour.
The biggest difference in my mind between the two vintages is the aroma. The Anjilanaka coffee beans used in this year’s batch simply explode out of the bottle when opened and waft up from the glass throughout the glass. As a coffee drinker, this is simply heaven. This coffee smells thoroughly roasted, with notes of hazelnut and burnt caramel in addition to a distant fruit note. Dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, molasses, vanilla, oak, and bourbon all fade to the back behind a dominant coffee presence. There is no alcohol anywhere in the nose.
The flavor is still very coffee-forward, but much more balanced than the aroma. Fresh Bolivian coffee roasted to perfection comes through first, with a strong showing from the dark, bitter chocolate, and roasted malt. Each of these blend and interact so well with the others flavors, creating an ever-changing wall of roasted and bitter flavors. Vanilla, molasses, and bourbon step in next, adding some sweetness and further depth to the flavor. The bourbon presence grows as the sip progresses and my tongue accustoms itself to the bitter coffee and roasted malt flavors. By the end, I get a bit more vanilla and some light oak as well. It has varying degrees of bitterness all the way through, with a clear emphasis on the coffee.
The mouthfeel is exactly what I want in an imperial stout, and even though I have tried quite a few since I first had the Bourbon County Coffee, I have yet to find its equal. Each sip coats my entire mouth and tongue with a chewy, grainy, and smooth liquid. The flavors seem to permeate into every part of my mouth, and it is more of an experience that just ’drinking’ the beer. The carbonation is perfectly tuned to the ultra thick and viscous nature of the beer, giving it a milky creaminess and never getting in the way.
This is as close to a perfect beer as I can think of; it is just absolutely incredible.
Original review: 9/4/10/5/19
Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. Bottled 3/26/10. #2133.
This almost oozes out of the bottle, it is that thick. The color is completely pitch black, with thin brown head, which quickly erodes to a ring. It communicates the message - "Be ready, this is intense."
A charismatic aroma; a smooth blend of robust roasted malt, roast coffee, with a nice bourbon presence, some bitter chocolate, and a few lingering alcohol phenols.
Wow. If Bourbon County Stout is a smokey dragon, this is the well-refined dragon you can take out to a fancy dinner. It is wonderfully put together, with a smooth flavor all the way through. Roasted malt with hints of chocolate and vanilla start the sip, with roast coffee and bourbon balancing each other out. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste, and the alcohol warms the stomach. There is no real alcohol bite, though, which is quite surprising. The espresso flavor prevents this from being as overtly smokey and boozy like the regular BCS. Substantially better in my opinion.
Could this be any smoother? Creamy, with perky carbonation contained in a very full body.
I could sip this all day and all night. There is enough complexity to keep the whole glass interesting, but the smooth construction makes each sip wonderfully simple. I just had a revelation.
Fred82 (2115) - Québec City, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 23, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bomber big thanks to ...2010 bottling.
Appearance : Pitch black with small head. Short retention.
Aroma : Big coffee, vanilla, sweetish caramel, big toffee. Light fruits.
Taste : Nice coffee witi vanilla. Caramel and big toffee notes. Sharp coffee on finish with rich vanilla. Long persistent finish. Not much alcohol.
Overall : Heavy and rich. A bit too heavy. Still, quite complex with a rich persistent finish. Nice coffee with enjoyable vanilla. Too sweet with a bit too much toffee. Fine if you’re judging with only a few sips but with a decent serving it gets too much quite fast.
TaktikMTL (6352) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 22, 2012
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Brassin 2010. Bouteille de 22 oz partagée lors d’un souper Ratebeer Montréal. Arôme: Odeur de café frais moulu. Apparence: La couleur est noire opaque. Présence d’un mince col mousseux et d’une fine dentelle sur le verre. Saveur: Goût de café et de vanille avec une pointe de caramel et de chocolat. Durée moyenne de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est plein avec une texture onctueuse. Moyenne effervescence en bouche. Présence de vanille en arrière goût. (Rating #4144)
davey101 (741) - Connecticut, USA - FEB 19, 2012
4.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2011 Release - Intelligentsia Anjilanaka Beans, 22 oz bomber bottled on 1/11/2012 #1431. Poured into a brandy snifter.
A - Pitch black viscous body with a dark mocha head. Fades quickly to some very light edging. Alcoholic legs with minimal lacing. Looks identical to standard BCBS.
S - Very different from the other coffee stouts I’ve tried. It starts off initially with a huge coffee presence, but its very savory and spicy rather than sweet. There is notes of black pepper, leather, licorice, and soy. The finish is burnt oak and light vanilla.
T - Much sweeter than the nose. This is one of the best coffee beers I have ever tried. I don’t even think I’ve even had coffee that has tasted this good. Very very dark roasted espresso beans laced with vanilla, coconut, cocoa powder and charred oak. The finish is smooth with bourbon and lightly bitter beans. Phenomenal, one of the best tasting stouts I have tasted. Mouth feel is silky smooth and the viscous body coats the mouth evenly. 14% abv is not noticeable at all.
O - This doesn’t beat out the base beer for me. I absolutely love the complexity that is BCBS, and I think adding coffee takes away from that experience a bit. Its integrated really well, but its just too much happening at once. However, this is the best coffee beer I have ever tasted. The flavors are just so intense and world class. A near perfect stout.
Aniela (2987) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - FEB 19, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
From a bottle in Sätila new years evening 2011. Dark beer with a tanned head. Licorice, coffee, tar, malty, chocolate aroma. A huge wounderful flavour palette with coffee, chocolate, malt tarand a many mote tastes. This is love in a bottle again :-)
wxman (1536) - O’Fallon, Illinois, USA - FEB 14, 2012
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 28, 2013 Just had it also on tap at Global Brew. Even better! Pours the darkest totally opaque brown I’ve ever seen. Initially, a decent dark chocolate head literally fizzes away (sounded like a cola) to nothing within less than a minute. Aroma is bourbon, espresso and vanilla. Absolutely delicious taste teaming with a number of flavors. Molasses, vanilla, caramel, espresso coffee, chocolate and a warm alcohol mouthfeel are all there. Some evidence of the bourbon from the barrel, as well. Top notch stuff!
dogfishho (656) - Bloomfield, New Jersey, USA - FEB 12, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
The 2010 bottling is really settling in beautifully with a bit less than 2 years of age. This beer was never really hoppy to begin with, but the flavor profie is really rounding out with sweet, rich, chocolate and vanilla, coffee and cream, and caramel. Lovely stuff... Wish I had more of it.