Goose Island's annual release once again features eight different takes on the beloved barrel-aged stout.

By Mike Pomranz
August 14, 2019
Goose Island

It's beginning to look a lot like… well, if not Christmas, at least autumn. So far this week, we've already received news of Dunkin's pumpkin-themed autumn menu and Oreo's Halloween- and winter-themed cookie releases. Now, another seasonal rite of passage: Goose Island Beer Company has officially announced this year's Bourbon County Brand Stout variants set to be released on Black Friday.

As one of the world's most highly-regarded stouts — even among other barrel-aged options — Bourbon County Brand Stouts come with another annual tradition as well: early speculation. But despite the usual rumors, Goose Island is once again back with eight variants in all — a mix of old and new, straightforward barrel-aged beers and more far-out flavors. Specifically, Café de Olla Stout and Mon Cheri Stout will probably grab the most attention, thanks to the addition of coffee and cherries respectively.

"Our goal every year is to make the best Bourbon County Stout we've ever made, so it means raising our game with each release," R&D Manager Mike Siegel said in the announcement. "It's one of the most important beers we make as we continue to build on the legacy Greg Hall laid out over 20 years ago."

Another interesting addition to the 2019 lineup is the Vertical Collection which includes the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Bourbon County Stouts all in one box, "giving BCS lovers the opportunity to experience multiple years of beloved Bourbon County Stout side-by-side," Goose Island explains.

Goose Island

But for those who prefer to drink BCBS beers one at a time, here is 2019's entire list, along with some notes directly from Goose Island, all of which will be released, as usual, on Black Friday:

Bourbon County Stout: This year's Bourbon County Stout, aged in a mix of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey barrels, yields a richer, more complex mouthfeel.

Goose Island

Bourbon County Double Barrel Stout: Double the barrels and double the time…. This stout was first aged in 11-year-old Elijah Craig barrels and then aged in award-winning 12-year-old Elijah Craig barrels resulting in a stout like none other. "The layering of two coveted barrels from the same distillery and the extended aging time allows us to really showcase what's possible with Bourbon County Stout," added Brewmaster Keith Gabbett.

2-year Reserve Bourbon County Stout : 2-year Reserve Bourbon County Stout spent twice the amount of time as traditional BCS in 11-year-old Knob Creek barrels creating an oak-forward intensity accented by hazelnut and chocolate notes, all while allowing the signature flavor profile of the Knob Creek Bourbon to shine through.

Reserve Rye Bourbon County Stout: The Reserve Bourbon County Stout series is intended to showcase the nuances and flavor impact of a premium single source and highly sought after bourbon, this year's being Rittenhouse Rye.

Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout: 2019 Proprietor's Bourbon County Stout is an homage to variants of years past fusing flavors of toasted pecans, coconut, cocoa and vanilla.

Bourbon County Wheatwine Ale: The 2018 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB) award-winning variant is back for its second year, this year aged in Larceny wheated bourbon casks. The result is a softer flavor profile, full of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and toffee flavors, all while carrying the nuances of Larceny bourbon barrels.

Bourbon County Café de Olla Stout: This variant is inspired by a traditional Latin infused coffee. This year we took Bourbon County, added Intelligentsia Coffee beans and cold brew. To round out the coffee flavor, cassia bark, orange peel, and panela sugar garnish the beverage resulting in an intriguingly complex flavor and aroma. "Bourbon County Café de Olla Stout was inspired by my friends and family," explained Café de Olla Brewer Austin Niestrom. "This concept pays tribute to the cultural diversity and beloved people of our city to celebrate the wonderful traditions that blend us altogether."

Bourbon County Mon Chéri Stout: "Mon Chéri" means "my darling" in French and this recipe is a love letter from the brewer, Quinn, to his wife who loves cherries. "I had been toying with using granola in Bourbon County Stout for some time, and Cherry has been a classic flavor in stout, and it was my wife that thought to marry the two together," said Mon Chéri Brewer Quinn Fueschel. "After many tweaks, we found a nice mix of granola, oats and brown sugar, that gave us a ‘pie crust' element to the beer, then layered in a mix of Balaton and Montmorency Tart cherries."

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