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It's that time of year again, as we’re approaching Black Friday on Nov. 26, with the official release of Goose Island Beer Co.’s Bourbon County Stout (BCS) and this year's seven variants.

“From starting in a crawl space under our original Clybourn Brewpub, to constructing a world-class barrel warehouse in Chicago, to partnering with the world’s most sought-after distilleries – Bourbon County Stout is at the heart of Goose Island’s DNA. For more than two decades we have been integral to the evolution of the barrel-aged beer category, helping to develop it to what it is today. It’s all made possible by the passionate family of innovators at Goose Island – and this year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup reflects just that, creativity and true craftsmanship. I hope you enjoy the complexities and unique flavor profiles of this year’s lineup as much as we do. Cheers!” – Todd Ahsmann, President, Goose Island Beer Co.

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While I may be biased as a lover of Bourbon County Stout and good whiskies, I will say that this year’s lineup really isn’t one to miss out on." – Mike Siegel, Barrels and Beyond Beer Innovations Manager, Goose Island Beer Co.

Goose Island will release its namesake Bourbon County Stout along with 7 exclusive variants:

1.     Bourbon County Stout

2.     Bourbon County Cherry Wood Stout

3.     Bourbon County Reserve 150 Stout

4.     Bourbon County Double Barrel Toasted Barrel Stout

5.     Bourbon County Reserve Blanton’s Stout

6.     Bourbon County Classic Cola Stout

7.     Bourbon County Fourteen Stout

8.     Proprietor's Stout

Bourbon County Stout (14% and 14.4% ABV): This rich Imperial Stout is blended from a mix of bourbon barrels from distilleries such as Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace, each aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for 8-14 months. Expect flavors of chocolate and vanilla, oak, whiskey, and molasses, followed by caramel, berry fruit, and almond.

Bourbon County Cherry Wood Stout (14.3% ABV): At the heart of each Bourbon County are the wood characteristics. This year, the BCS team took fully-matured Bourbon County Stout and finished it with toasted fruitwood—specifically, honeycomb-shaped cherry wood chips. The versatility of the cherry wood and honeycomb shape allowed for maximum flavor extraction, revealing complex characteristics like red fruit, ripe cherry, and light toffee, which are not found in the original oak barrel itself. The result is a notable difference from Original Bourbon County Stout.

Bourbon County Reserve 150 Stout (15.6% ABV): The Bourbon County Reserve 150 Stout is aged for one year in Old Forester’s 150th Anniversary Bourbon Barrels. To celebrate the anniversary, Old Forester’s hand-picked 150 barrels from resting places within the Old Forester barrelhouse, to create three batches honoring founder George Garvin Brown and his process of batching from three original distilleries. These hand-picked, limited-edition barrels—combined with Imperial Stout—create a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration bourbon and beer fans alike will appreciate. Expect barrel-forward flavor with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and coconut, followed with molasses, almond, berry, and oak.  

Bourbon County Double Barrel Toasted Barrel Stout (16% ABV): A Double Barrel Toasted Barrel Stout was aged for one year in Elijah Craig’s Small Batch Bourbon Barrels, then another year in Elijah Craig Toasted Bourbon Barrels. These toasted barrels are built to the same specifications as normal bourbon barrels, but are more heavily toasted and very lightly charred. Not only does this stout embody delements from Elijah Craig’s award-winning Small Batch Bourbon Barrels—like warm spice & vanilla—it also deepened in intensity during its second year of aging. In addition to the familiar chocolate, caramel, and vanilla comes flavors of toasted marshmallow and a very pronounced fruit and oak finish. Bourbon County Double Barrel Toasted Barrel Stout has a rich complexity and flavor only attainable through true craftsmanship, partnership, expert blending and, of course, patience. This is only the second time the BCS team have packaged a “Double Barrel” Bourbon County Stout.

Bourbon County Reserve Blanton’s Stout (15.4% ABV): The BCS team partnered with their friends at Blanton’s and aged their Imperial Stout for 18 months in barrels from one of the world’s most sought-after bourbons—Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon. Taken from the center-cut or middle sections of the famous Warehouse H, Blanton’s Original Single Barrel was once only available for ambassadors, dignitaries, and friends of the Blanton family, but now is available for everyone. The partnership has created a reserve filled with rich dark chocolate and oak notes, finished with warm aromatics of baking spices such as clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

“With Blanton’s Bourbon being the original single barrel bourbon and Goose Island Beer Company being the original Bourbon County Stout, we knew this collaboration would be special. And after 18 long months in wet Blanton’s barrels our patience has been rewarded with something truly exceptional. Experts in their craft, the Goose Island Beer Company has mastered the art of barrel-aged beer in this expression. We are excited for our loyal fans to enjoy this special collaboration.” - 

Aaron Lawrence, Global Brand Ambassador, Blanton’s Bourbon

Bourbon County Classic Cola Stout (14.1% ABV): The BCS team brought to life their first-ever cola-inspired variant. Brewers Paul Cade and Jason Krasowski bonded over their love for a classic cola while creating the Classic Cola Stout. Combining the refreshing nature of classic cola and picking up the flavor profile from a whisky cola, they added lime and orange juice and zest, plus coriander, cassia bark, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla to bring out the complex characters of the classic drink. This is a twist on a whiskey cola and a must-try for Bourbon County Stout, cola or whiskey/cola lovers.

Bourbon County Fourteen Stout (13.2% ABV): For the first time ever, the BCS team is digging into the Proprietor’s (Chicago-only release) vault and bringing back a fan favorite with Bourbon County Fourteen Stout. But this time, it’s with a twist. They're paying homage to the popular Proprietor’s 2014 recipe, but upping the rye ante by adding rye to the mash bill. Layering cassia bark, cocoa nibs, panela sugar, and coconut water, this stout has an intricate, sweet and spicy flavor profile.

Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout (12.8% ABV): For the second year in a row, Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout is inspired by a classic frozen treat and brewed again by the mastermind, Emily Kosmal. A flavor house specialist, Emily has the knowledge and skill to bring her dessert treats to life. Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout is aged in bourbon barrels and blended with luscious strawberries, vanilla and coconut, reminiscent of a classic strawberry ice cream bar. These elements come together to create the indelible flavors of decadent shortcake, layered with vanilla and topped off with the slight fruitiness of strawberries, similar to the ice cream bar’s strawberry core. Emily—who also created the concept for 2016 Proprietor’s and 2020 Proprietor’s—is the first brewer to have three Proprietor’s concepts picked for release.   


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