Goose Island Brewing Company, Bourbon County Imperial Stout, Chicago, IL
This one weighs in at a whopping 14.9% abv. It was brewed in August of 2013 and I cellared it until today. I should have waited longer, but I have another one that I am going to let sit for a couple of years. I'll be sure to compare notes when I review it again. Thankfully it comes in a 12oz bottle, it is a force to be reckoned with.
Pours tar black with a thin tan head. Good carbonation generated through the middle of the beer. On first smelling this beer I get an immediate oaky bourbon aroma with a fresh raisin scent and touch of mild espresso. Plums and other dark fruits as well. The huge round body of this beer is obvious on first sip. It is big, syrupy and boozy.
This beer has 450 calories! I just walked two miles and I should have walked a few more before cracking it open. While the alcohol is clearly present in each sip, even adding a peppery spicyness, it is not overwhelming. You want to drink this beer slowly of course, but it really doesn't become overbearing at any point. What an incredibly complex beer. I am getting oak, bourbon, sherry, molasses, maple, tobacco, coconut, candy sugar, dark chocolate, coffee, plum, raisin, figs, and a light citrusy hop flavor...and that is just in one sip. After about 10 more the gums start to tingle and the belly warms right up.
I stepped slowly away from this one for about 20 minutes and now I am back. The smell is simply amazing. Now I am catching a distinct bourbon vanilla aroma with some raw sugar, maybe even old school ribbon candy...yes, that shit your grandma used to give you and it would cut your tongue and gums! I am tasting new flavors as well, anise, dates, charcoal smoke, burnt caramel, and dried orange zest. This beer is fantastic. It gets more and more astringent with each sip due to the intense malt profile, but not in a bad way. It might be a really good thing that this beer is incredibly hard to find. I could drink it all night, but at 450 calories per bottle it is like adding an additional breakfast to your daily intake...it is so worth it though.