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It's that time of year again, as we’re approaching Black Friday on Nov. 27, with the official release of Goose Island Beer Co.’s Bourbon County Stout (BCS) and this year's six variants.

“This year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup is special because it marks a milestone that we are particularly proud of, the 10th anniversary of our namesake Black Friday release. Back in 2010 we had no idea the impact our Bourbon County Stout release on Black Friday would have on the craft beer community, and today we are proud of the tradition it’s become. Cheers to our fans and those who have been with us all of these years!”Todd Ahsmann, President, Goose Island Beer Co.

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“This year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup includes some of the most exciting flavor combinations yet.." - Keith Gabbett, Brewmaster, Goose Island Beer Co.

Goose Island will release its namesake Bourbon County Stout along with 6 exclusive variants:

1.     Bourbon County Stout

2.     Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout

3.     Bourbon County Special #4 Stout

4.     Bourbon County Caramella Ale

5.     Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout

6.     Birthday Bourbon County Stout

7.     Anniversary Bourbon County Stout

“When we set out to develop the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout lineup, our fans are always top of mind as we hope to continue to exceed their expectations; providing not only the best barrel-aged stout out there, but pushing ourselves to create a lineup that is unparalleled.” This year’s release continues in that tradition and we hope you enjoy it, cheers.” – Keith Gabbett, Brewmaster, Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Caramella Ale

Bourbon County Stout (14.3% and 14.6% ABV): The Original Bourbon Barrel aged Imperial Stout. This year’s Bourbon County Stout is 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 boasts a blend of flavors such as fudge, vanilla and caramel — topped off with a rich, complex mouthfeel.   

Tasting Notes: Cocoa, fudge, vanilla, caramel, almond, plus leather and tobacco

Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout (14.1% ABV):  The first-ever tea-inspired BCS variant. Brewer Paul Cade brought this idea to life, inspired by his girlfriend, Martha, who prefers tea over coffee. Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout is a take on the London Fog tea drink. With that flavor profile in mind, they've added Earl Grey Tea and Black Tea from Kilogram Tea, as well as clover honey from The Honey House.

Tasting Notes: Black licorice, white pepper, citrus, florals, graham cracker

Bourbon County Special #4 Stout (13.3% ABV): Bourbon County Special #4 Stout is an oatmeal stout variant of our original Bourbon County Stout recipe, also aged in bourbon barrels, that uses crystal oats to add a nutty character, as well as a smooth mouthfeel. After barrel aging, they add Intelligentsia Coffee, both their cold coffee and single origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, called “Metad Buku,” bringing out a fruity coffee character. 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.

Tasting Notes: Coffee, vanilla, toasted nuts, cocoa, maple

Bourbon County Caramella Ale (14.6% ABV): Caramella or ‘candy’ in Italian is a wheatwine aged in Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels with apple, cinnamon, and natural caramel flavor added after aging. The sweet smoothness from the Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels adds a lingering warmth that complements the added flavor nuance. Its flavors are reminiscent of a caramel apple. 

Tasting Notes: Creamy caramel, red apple, cinnamon, funnel cake

“Caramella is a recipe I have been dialing into the past three years at Goose Island. Inspired by my Aunt Jean’s insanely delicious Apple Crisp dessert, I decided to make it my own with BCS by adding a lick of caramel to support the sweet and toffee-like Wheatwine base. The aroma leans heavily into sweet caramel and cinnamon spice, while the taste comes in to show off the bourbon-soaked Larceny casks and red apple notes, reminiscent of a bold apple brandy. I’m truly honored to be able to continue the legacy that is Bourbon County Stout and release Caramella in this year’s BCS lineup. From my family to yours, cheers.” – Joey Tidei, Goose Island Lab Tech and Caramella Ale creator, Goose Island Beer Co.

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The 2020 BCS Line-Up

Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout (14.2% ABV): 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 is complex and layered with cocoa, nut, and dark fruit notes with hints of vanilla and oak.   

Tasting Notes: Cocktail cherry, pistachio, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak

“I think about BCS so often, that sometimes it appears in my dreams. I had a dream that I was in the Goose taproom serving spumoni ice cream and BCS. The moment I awoke,  I knew that was it! Spumoni would make a fun new variant. As an Italian American,  spumoni has always been my favorite flavor of ice cream. Notes of chocolate, sweet cherry, pistachio, and vanilla paired with the rich, oaky, bourbon base of BCS is the dessert of my dreams.” – Emily Kosmal, Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout Brewer, Goose Island Beer Co.

Birthday Bourbon County Stout (14.6% ABV): Goose Island partnered with the Old Forester Brand and paired Bourbon County Stout with barrels from 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 and never replicated. 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.” 

Tasting Notes: Chocolate, vanilla, maple, berry, cinnamon

Anniversary Bourbon County Stout (15.2% ABV): Anniversary Bourbon County Stout is aged 2 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. The Original Bourbon County Stout is aged in 4-5 year old barrels for one year, so the added age of these Weller barrels, paired with an extra year of the beer in the barrel, adds stronger barrel flavors and notes of dried dark fruit.

Tasting Notes: Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, burnt sugar, oak, dried dark fruit


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