Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2018) by Goose Island Brewing

I got a few bottles of this beer in December before I moved down to Florida. I shared two of the bottles, one with my IT guys before I left and the other with a friend we met down here in Tampa. Now, as I write this, it’s nearly Valentines Day. This beer was vanilla heavy the first two times I had it. So, what’s it like now? Let’s crack it open and find out.

Bourbon County Vanilla (2018) pours like black coffee with a dark caramel head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is vanilla and bourbon. The vanilla on the nose is even better than when I had it in December.

img_1583I took notes when I had this in December. This is what I thought: “So much tasty sweet vanilla on the tongue. Damn I want to hate this but it’s so damn good. This is such a sweet tasty stout.” Ok, that’s pretty lame, yes, but I had been drinking a lot and that’s all I had at the moment.

Now, however, the taste is different. The vanilla is nearly gone from the taste. It’s still there, but it’s not near as prevalent as it was in December. Bourbon County Vanilla (2018) is medium-bodied, which is a huge disappointment for a beer clocking in at nearly 15%. There’s a lot of bourbon bite on the back end, which in this beer is slightly unpleasant. The bourbon tastes almost artificial, which is interesting and weird all at once. There’s some vanilla on the back end as well, which slightly gives it a softer feel. There’s a bit of coffee bitterness in there, too.

It’s not a terrible stout, but I liked it a lot better when this beer was fresh. I don’t know why people cellar stouts with additives. Those flavors vanish or change if they’re not consumed fresh. This beer is no exception. I recently shared Coffee Abraxas and Vanilla Bean Abraxas from Perennial, and the coffee was overpowering in the former and the vanilla was non-existent in the latter. I love vanilla in my stouts, and Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout smells amazing. It just doesn’t taste amazing only a few months after bottling. It’s good, not great. I’m sure the Goose Island fan boys would disagree. 🙂


Beer Stats

  • ABV:  14.9%
  • IBU:  60
  • Untappd Rating:  4.53
  • # of Ratings:  24,647

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