Goose Island Announces This Year’s Bourbon County Variants

Yep, Goose Island is owned by Budweiser, but the Bourbon County variants continue (after the sour year) to impress. The level of brand-awareness they have for Bourbon County is unheard of, and for good reason. If you remember way back to our Imperial Stout Blind Taste test podcast, Bourbon County was one of the many surprises.

Anyways, here’s their press release:


More than twenty years ago Greg Hall wanted to brew something truly unique for the brewpub’s 1,000th batch, he just needed inspiration. Then a chance encounter between Greg and Jim Beam’s Booker Noe led to Goose Island acquiring the barrels for what was to become the world’s first bourbon barrel aged beer, Bourbon County Stout. 

Today, Bourbon County Stout is not only a local favorite but globally known for setting the standard of barrel aged stouts. This year’s lineup is unique as through our partnership with Heaven Hill Distillery we have been able to release a more barrel-forward lineup of variants. We’re super excited about this year’s variants, and we hope you are too! 

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 6.05.04 PM.png
Bourbon and beer is a partnership that makes sense. It not only gives our barrels another life, but when you partner with another team that values quality and innovation, it allows for a creative, educational space for the consumer to enjoy these special products. We are fortunate to continue developing this partnership with Goose Island and look forward to expanding what they can offer through Bourbon County Stout using Heaven Hill Distillery barrels.
— Conor O’Driscoll, Heaven Hill Distillery Master Distiller

We are releasing eight variants this year:

Bourbon County Stout

This year’s Bourbon County Stout, aged in a mix of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey barrels, yields a rich, complex mouthfeel. Flavors of cocoa, fudge, vanilla, caramel, almond, plus leather and tobacco, permeate this beer and deepen with each sip. We’ve bottled Bourbon County Stout for 15 years and this year’s vintage is one that you will want to hold on to for years to come.

Tasting Notes: Cocoa, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Rich Chocolate, Almond

Bourbon County Double Barrel Stout 

Bourbon County Double Barrel Stout has a depth and flavor that can only be achieved through time, patience, and partnership. This stout was first aged 12 months in 11-year-old Elijah Craig barrels from our friends at Heaven Hill Distillery. We then emptied the beer from those barrels and filled fresh 12-year-old Elijah Craig barrels, the same barrels that housed the Whisky Advocate 2017 Whisky Of The Year. We let it age for another year in those barrels and the result is a stout like no other. Incredibly intense, this beer will be a true gem for the faithful fans that seek it out and get to try it.

Tasting Notes: Barrel-Forward

2-year Reserve Bourbon County Stout

2-Year Reserve Bourbon County Stout was aged 24 months in 11-year-old 25th Anniversary Knob Creek barrels. The barrels of this once in a lifetime bourbon delivered an oak-forward intensity accented with subtle hazelnut and chocolate notes that complimented the flavors inherent in Original Bourbon County Stout. 

Tasting Notes: Oak-Forward, Maple Syrup, Nutty (Almond or Hazelnut/Nutella), Chocolate 

Reserve Rye Bourbon County Stout

Our Reserve Bourbon County Stout releases showcase how a premium single source bourbon barrel can influence the nuances and flavors of our original BCS.The 2019 Reserve Rye is aged in 100% Rittenhouse Rye barrels - lovingly referred to as "the bartender's favorite" rye. Rittenhouse's Barrels had a unique effect on the original imperial stout, imparting flavors of fruit and spice. Reserve Rye accentuates all that makes Rittenhouse and Bourbon County unique. 

Tasting Notes: Spicy, Fruity 

Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout

2019 Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout is an homage to some of the most beloved ingredients from Bourbon County variants of years past. Toasted pecans, coconut, cocoa, and vanilla mingle together to create flavors reminiscent of Tiramisu. Expect an aroma of dark chocolate, toasted coconut, and caramel to round out this decadent stout. 

Tasting Notes: Coconut, Pecan, Vanilla, Chocolate, Marshmallow

We saw last year how Wheatwine can really showcase the intricate characteristics of traditional bourbon, and this year we wanted to take it one step further. We were fortunate to get the opportunity to utilize the barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery’s Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which uses ‘...wheat as the secondary grain, instead of the traditional rye...’ and we jumped on it. This year you will find a smoother note to Wheatwine than last. It will continue to maintain an amplified body with notes of butterscotch and toffee, while carrying the nuances of Larceny Bourbon Barrels.
— Tim Faith, Wheatwine Brewer

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 100% in Larceny wheated bourbon casks from our partners at Heaven Hill. The result is a softer flavor profile, full of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and toffee flavors, all while carrying the nuances of Larceny bourbon barrels. 

Tasting Notes: High Caramel, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Toffee

Bourbon County Café de Olla Stout

Created in partnership with our next door neighbors, Intelligentsia Coffee, Café de Olla is inspired by the traditional Mexican beverage of the same name. We added coffee beans and cold brew coffee to Original Bourbon County Stout and then enhanced this beer further through additions of cassia bark, orange peel, and panela sugar. The resulting beer is layered in complexity. Coffee and orange permeate the nose and are followed by notes of cinnamon, chocolate, and a pleasant sweetness. 

Tasting Notes: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Orange, Cinnamon

Bourbon County Mon Chéri Stout

“Mon Chéri,” or “my darling” in French, is a love letter from our brewer Quinn to his wife, an avid lover of all things cherry. Mon Chéri is made with Balaton and Montmorency cherries, oats, and a dash of brown sugar. The interplay of these ingredients creates aromas of amaretto and almond. With each sip you’ll instantly be reminded of cherry cobbler. Mon Chéri has a silky, velvety finish thanks to the addition of oats to the beer. 

Tasting Notes: Aromas of Amaretto and Almond, Oats, Cherry, Vanilla and Chocolate; Silky, Velvety finish

In addition to the above lineup we will release a Vertical Collection inclusive of 2017, 2018, and 2019 Bourbon County Stout.

Focus on the Beer