November 15, 2019
Introducing the 2019 Bourbon County Stout Lineup from Goose Island
For fans of American craft beer, few bottles garner as much excitement and anticipation as Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stouts. Released on the Friday following Thanksgiving, these special barrel-aged brews are some of world’s most highly regarded dark ales, often inspiring beer enthusiasts to line up the night before for a chance to take a few bottles home.
In 2018, Heaven Hill Distillery collaborated with Goose Island on the Bourbon County Stout Reserve, which was aged in 12-year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof barrels. These barrels aged the Barrel Proof Bourbon awarded “Whisky of The Year” by Whisky Advocate, the highest honor in the world of international whiskey.
For the 2019 lineup, Heaven Hill collaborated with Goose Island to produce not just one but three special beers aged in barrels from across our award-winning American Whiskey portfolio:
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 for one year in 11-year-old Elijah Craig barrels, and then aged for a second year in fresh 12-year-old Elijah Craig barrels, the same barrels that housed the Whisky Advocate 2017 “Whisky of The Year.” The result is an incredibly intense flavor that will be a treat for both Bourbon and beer fans alike.
Brewmaster Keith Gabbett says, “I’m extremely proud of Bourbon County Double Barrel Stout. We aged Bourbon County for a year in 11-year old Elijah Craig barrels before we decided to up the ante and age it for another year, this time in 12-year old Elijah Craig barrels. The layering of two coveted barrels from the same distillery and the extended aging time allows us to really showcase what’s possible with Bourbon County Stout.”
Reserve Rye Bourbon County Stout showcases how a premium single source barrel can influence the nuances and flavors of the original Bourbon County Stout. 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.
Bourbon County Wheatwine Ale: The 2018 Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers award-winning variant is back for its second year, this time aged 100% in Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels. The result is a softer flavor profile, full of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and toffee flavors, all while carrying the nuances of Larceny Bourbon barrels.
Wheatwine brewer Tim Faith says, “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.”
In addition to these specialty variants, Heaven Hill also contributed Bourbon barrels to this year’s standard Bourbon County Stout vintage.
Regarding the 2019 collaboration, R&D manager Mike Siegel is excited about the continued relationship. “In 2015, we partnered with Heaven Hill Distillery for our Rare Bourbon County Stout release, and again last year with Reserve Bourbon County Stout. This year we are lucky enough to partner with them on three different releases. They share our love of bringing together beer and Bourbon, and they make outstanding whiskey across the board. We are fortunate to call them partners.”
Heaven Hill Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll couldn’t agree more. “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.”
Each Bourbon County Stout is aged in a non-climate-controlled “Barrel House” near the Goose Island brewery on Chicago’s West Side. There, as in Kentucky, cold winters and blazing summers cause the liquid to move in and out of the caramelized wood, extracting barrel flavors at an accelerated rate.
Check out this article to learn more about how Goose Island uses our Bourbon barrels to age their highly-sought after beers: