2016 Bourbon County Review

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Bourbon County Brand Stout

Just like 2015’s vintage, this year’s BCBS is very smooth for being so young. A fresh bottle tastes as if it was already aged in the bottle for a year or more—the alcohol is very well hidden and there’s no barrel heat—just delicious vanilla notes from the bourbon barrels that complement the chocolate and roasty coffee malt. This is the first year that BCS beers have been pasteurized and there was no difference in taste or mouthfeel that we could tell. Drink fresh or age—it’s absolutely delicious!

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Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

The brewery yet again partnered with their neighbors at Intelligentsia for this year’s BCBCS—blended with Flecha Roja beans from Costa Rica. You’ll detect a ton of berry and fruit flavors in this year’s version. It’s not quite as nutty as 2013’s vintage or roasty as 2014’s dark-roast coffee. Drink this beer fresh! You’re meant to enjoy the coffee’s profile as fresh as possible. I’ve been drinking the actual coffee for weeks now and love it.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine

This is probably the biggest departure for the BCS line this year. This year’s BCBW is the first vintage aged in second-use barrels, not third-use BCBS barrels, as usual. Because of this, you’ll get a lot more cherry and dried fruit in comparison to previous versions. It drinks a lot lighter also. I wouldn’t even try to compare this version to previous ones, because it’s a completely different beer. What I will say is that we really appreciated this compared to the previous vintages because it really showcases the bourbon barrels more. This will likely age very nicely as sweetness mellows out.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout Proprietors

As always, this beer is sure to be a topic of conversation—and likely a polarizing one. Its flavor profile is unlike that of any BCS beer we’ve ever tried, and because of that, some people will probably love it and some people won’t.

We loved it.

Right away you get the smoke from the chipotle, which is very prominent, but not overpowering. There’s a nice spice level that makes its presence known right away and fades quickly. I like that the chili didn’t build-up on my palate to overpower the balance of beer’s other adjuncts. The rich cocoa nibs follow and impart a sweet and chocolatey flavor. This year’s version was aged in third-use bourbon barrels that previously aged maple syrup, instead of being blended with any actual maple. Because of that, this year’s doesn’t have such a huge maple presence and isn’t nearly as sweet as last year’s. As you drink, the maple builds on the palate but isn’t overpowering. Again, some people will love this beer and some just won’t—probably because of the smokey pepper—but we really loved how unique it is. And like all the BCS beers, it will surely be a great one to share.

Stay tuned for upcoming Bourbon County events here and on Instagram and Twitter @WheresTheBeerNY

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