13% ABV bottled (2008 BATCH)
Beer connoisseurship is kind of like drug addiction. I just realized this. Every “lower” beer a gateway to something higher. Once you’ve had a 6% stout it becomes hard to ever enjoy a 5% one. And once you’ve had a 10% beer it becomes hard to enjoy that 6% one you so used to love. Bourbon or whiskey barrel that 10% brew and now a “normal” 10% tastes like a Coors Light! It’s a slippery fucking slope. Us beer geeks are always looking for the higher buzz and it makes us jaded men and women. It’s not a good thing to be at the point where throwing back pale ales is like drinking a root beer.
I’d been anxious to try Bourbon County for several years now. It’s not exactly a rare beer, but it never seems to make it to the East Coast. Though it seems now that its distribution has been kicked up a notch throughout all of America. The 29th ranked beer in the world, my friend had lucked into a bottle the day before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, when he went to grab the bottle, it placed atop the fridge, he slammed the Kenmore a little too strongly and the bottle rocked, rocked, rocked and then in slow motion tumbled the five feet, shattering with a glorious and potent explosion.
In shock and holding back tears, we fell to the floor, using our fingers like a cat uses his paws in a milk dish in order to taste a little of the wasted brew. Yes, despicable but true. We had no choice. We thought we might never get to try it again. Fortunately, I again found a bottle of it this week and snatched the sucker up.
Aged in sixteen-year-old charred oak bourbon barrels for 10 months this is one massive brew. One Beer Advocate commentator described it as a “beer-aged bourbon.” That about sums it up. This one kicked my ass and I spent well over two hours indulging in the 12 ounce bottle.
Packed with hints of vanilla, caramel, smoke, chocolate, and a prominent and scalding bourbon booziness which I totally dig, this is right up there with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and the likewise bourbon-barreled Schlafly Reserve. In fact, I will go so far as to say that this is the second best stout I’ve had in my life after Darkness.