KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 14, 2012
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
From notes. My pour is a nearly pitch black color with just a touch of a mahogany edge around the border of the glass. There is visibly almost no carbonation, just a few stray brown bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass.
There is a lot going on in the nose. At first the Bourbon County Vanilla really comes through. Deep roasted malt, dark chocolate, semi-sweet molasses, vanilla, and soft bourbon. After that, though, I get another array of flavors in the nose. Smoke, oak, spiced bread, and more chocolate. Very complex and interesting.
The flavor is incredible as well. The flavors run all over the spectrum, from sweet caramel and molasses to smokey. There is a little bit less vanilla noticeable than in the Vanilla Bourbon County, but with the variety of other flavors present, it is not a problem. The dark, roasted, coffee, and coffee notes that are noticeable in bourbon county stout are joined by a sweet caramel and graham cracker malt presence. The bourbon wanders in and out of the flavor, working well with the malts, vanilla, and oak to really bring this beer to another level.
As one would expect, it has a very full body to go along with a thick and viscous mouthfeel. There is very little carbonation, but that does not get too much in the way of my enjoyment of the beer.
This was a great rare treat to be able to try. Rarely have I been unhappy with Goose Islandís Bourbon County experiments.
Dunt (310) - Illinois, USA - MAY 6, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Poured from a hand bottle. Pours a flat black with some brown hues around the edges. Nose is incredible, itís heavy on the vanilla BCS character which is balanced out by caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and some graham cracker. Flavor mirrors the nose, but is even more full and lush than the nose, absolutely spectacular. Carbonation is non-existent (hand bottle is old), but itís still thick and coats the palate nicely. Nice long finish. Might be my favorite variant to date, absolutely incredible beer. Wish they would bottle this.
csteele2144 (125) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 4, 2012
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Stout Fest 2012, dark pour with almost no head. I donít think this really turned out like they wanted. It was a bit thin and the smoke didnít really seem to infuse the beer. Nice attempt at something new though.
NobleSquirrel (3438) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 28, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft at Stout Fest. Different from what I expected. Pours a deep brown-black with a brown head. The nose gives some subtle vanilla and smoke note suggestions, cocoa and sweetness dominate. Good level of roast as well. On tasting, moderately sweet, smoke is only really available in the finish. The vanilla from the BCBS kind of washes out the palate a little bit. A good experiment, but seems lacking overall in execution.
TheAlum (6956) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - MAR 18, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Samples poured on tap at Goose Island Clybournís Stoutfest 2012 (Chicago, IL). Big John smoked out w/ some BCS Vanilla. Pours a rich viscous blackish pour, dark and thick, a touch of head odffers some life, faint lacing. Aromas are touches of smoked wood chips and cocoa, a gentle touch of toffee, vanilla bean, and faint oak. Caramel, toffee, biscuits. More cocoa. Initial is full bodied, offering vanilla, smoked wood chips, touch of cherrywood, and cocoa. Touches of oak, fudge, rich caramel and toffee into the middle, chocolate cake. Offering gentle smoke, vanilla, and oak into the finish. Richer body due to the Big John, sweeter, yet the smoke and blend give it some complexity. Lingering vanilla, touches of cherry, oak, faint smoke into the finish. Very nice, interesting.