Goose Island Celebrates 10 Years of Bourbon County Stout with Rare Barrel-Finished Beers

This year's Bourbon County Stout line will feature rare finishes like Weller 12 and Birthday Bourbon.

Goose Island Beer Co. is toasting to 10 years of their famous Bourbon County Stout with some very special releases for both bourbon and beer lovers.

Along with their traditional Bourbon County Stout finished in a variety of barrels from distilleries like Heaven Hill and Wild Turkey, the Chicago, IL brewery has borrowed barrels used to age some of the most sought-after bourbons in the world from Old Forester and Buffalo Trace.

One headliner sure to draw a crowd is the Anniversary Bourbon County Stout, finished in Buffalo Trace’s elusive wheated Weller 12-Year bourbon barrels.

“Our Original Bourbon County Stout is aged in 4-5 year old barrels for one year, so the added age of these Weller barrels, paired with an extra year of the beer in the barrel, adds stronger barrel flavors and notes of dried dark fruit,” says a press release from Goose Island.

“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Goose Island through the use of our Weller Bourbon barrels, especially for this year’s 10th anniversary release,” said Harlen Wheatley, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery in a press release. “It’s always great to see bourbon barrels find a second use, since so much skill and craftsmanship go into making each one. Our Weller 12 Bourbon and Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout are two of the most anticipated releases each year, and we hope fans will enjoy our collaboration.”

Another big-name beer in the line (perfect for the beer’s first double-digit birthday), is certainly the Birthday Bourbon County Stout. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is released just once a year by the distillery on September 2nd, the birthday of Founder George Garvin Brown. Bourbon lovers line up around the block for a chance at a bottle, and we’re sure this beer will inspire the same excitement in beer fans. We’re told the special barrels give the beer notes of “chocolate, vanilla, maple, berry, [and] cinnamon.”

“2020 is a special year for Old Forester,” said Campbell Brown, President and Managing Director of Old Forester in a press release. “We’re celebrating our 150th year anniversary as the only bourbon continually sold by the same company before, during and after Prohibition, showing our resilience and resourcefulness since 1870. While we’re certainly proud of our past, innovation and strategic partnerships that are true to the core of Old Forester are an important part of our vision moving forward. Both Old Forester Birthday Bourbon and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout are highly anticipated releases, so it’s been fun to bring these two celebrated products together.”

Another rare find in the lineup, Bourbon County Caramella Ale, is finished in Heaven Hill’s Larceny wheated bourbon barrels. This special recipe was crafted to taste just like a homemade apple crisp with notes of “creamy caramel, red apple, cinnamon, and funnel cake.”

“Caramella is a recipe I have been dialing into the past three years at Goose Island,” said Joey Tidei, Goose Island Lab Tech and Caramella Ale creator. “Inspired by my Aunt Jean’s insanely delicious Apple Crisp dessert, I decided to make it my own with BCS by adding a lick of caramel to support the sweet and toffee-like Wheatwine base. The aroma leans heavily into sweet caramel and cinnamon spice, while the taste comes in to show off the bourbon-soaked Larceny casks and red apple notes, reminiscent of a bold apple brandy. I’m truly honored to be able to continue the legacy that is Bourbon County Stout and release Caramella in this year’s BCS lineup. From my family to yours, cheers.”

“Heaven Hill Distillery is proud to continue a partnership with Goose Island built on the shared ideals of quality and innovation,” said Heaven Hill Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll. “Each year we look forward to tasting the creative, complex Bourbon County Stout variants that showcase how Bourbon and beer can make a special pairing. This year’s use of Heaven Hill Distillery barrels is no exception.”

Bourbon County Stout 2020 Line. Courtesy Photo.

The full line of seven beers, pictured above, will be available for sale on Black Friday, November 27th, 2020 at Goose Island Beer Co. Link here to find out more about the Bourbon County Stout family. The full 2020 list is below.

  • Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Special #4 Stout
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Caramella Ale
  • Goose Island Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout
  • Goose Island Birthday Bourbon County Stout
  • Goose Island Anniversary Bourbon County Stout