Since its introduction in 1992, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout has gone through a lot. When it first hit the market, the quickly acclaimed stout introduced the idea of aging a beer in a bourbon barrel much of the world. When Anheuser-Busch InBev bought out Goose Island in 2011, Bourbon County proved it could maintain its reputation and demand despite losing the allure of its independent pedigree. But last year, the brew faced possibly its biggest challenge to date: infection. Four out of the six varieties of Bourbon County Stout shipped in 2015 were vulnerable to off flavors caused by unwanted bacteria infiltrating the beer. Though this sort of infection isn’t harmful physically, it does impact the taste – which for a beer routinely ranked as one of the best in the world is a big deal.
To prevent this anomaly from occurring in the future, the Chicago-based brewery is taking an unprecedented step: Goose Island will begin pasteurizing all of Bourbon County’s varieties this year, the first time the brewery has pasteurized a beer in its 28-year history. The change is just one of a number of quality control issues announced for the 2016 edition of the line of beers set to be released the day after Thanksgiving.
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