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The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves #54 cover by John Byrne. 1975.
1970 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/3
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Goose Island “Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout”
Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout is an imperial stout brewed with Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso beans, then aged in bourbon barrels. This particular bottle dates back to 2010, and the label suggests no greater than five years in the cellar, so I assume the coffee character will have greatly diminished. Its release is rotating, but will prove difficult to locate.
Aromas are packed with bourbon, but carry a surprising amount of fruity notes resembling cherries and dates. Finer hints of licorice. Thick malt notes stand out like dark cocoa and baker’s chocolate over an edge of coffee. Malts give heavy sweet notes like molasses, while the bourbon adds a warm vanilla character with a fine hint of oak. Alcohol adds some prominent boozy notes.
The palate begins with abundant sweetness flavored like brown sugar and maple syrup. Coffee surfaces in a light roast as malts dig deeper toward a body of chocolate with flavors of malted milk balls and fudge. Fruity tones arise in a black cherry likeness with a touch of licorice. The malt continues to expand, developing a slightly deeper roast as 60 IBU’s of bitterness weigh things down. Loads of bourbon notes envelop the back-end with flavors of vanilla, leading up to a sour, lactic acidity while alcohol rises to the surface in a gentle climax of spice. Sweetness then pushes past the aftertaste in a semi-sticky display of syrupy molasses. Finishing notes reveal deeper characteristics of oak with suggestions of tobacco. The mouthfeel provides a wet, slick, well-rounded body over dull carbonation. It’s got a smooth texture and viscosity like chocolate milk, which allows for some surprisingly drinkability, despite the high ABV. Alcohol departs with considerable chest warmth, requiring slow sipping.
This reminds me of coffee with vanilla ice cream and syrup. It’s a sweet, malt-forward double stout. I’m getting a huge bourbon presence, much more than coffee. I would prefer a bit more roast to help balance the sweetness, but this may be a factor related to the age of my bottle. Overall, this is a dessert beer probably best suited for two. I recommend it to those of you with a palate deep enough to appreciate the flavorful impact of a bourbon barrel on a double stout. Cheers to you, Vic!
Known Hops: Willamette
Known Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black