View Full Version : New Beer to try.
This one is NOT for the feint of heart.
Goose Island Bourbon Stout (http://www.gooseisland.com/beers/beers.asp). While their site claims 11% alcohol, it must vary by batch. On the label of the batch I had it said 13%...
Very dark, black beer with a flavor that will over power any but the strongest flavored foods. It is a rich creamy beer with a hop bite and a bourbon flavor finish. They age the beer in bourbon barrels before bottling. Of the 5 of us tasting the beer, 2 of us liked it--really liked it. One was iffy the others couldn't stand it. This stuff makes Guinness taste like Coors Lite...
If you are a fan of big heavy dark beers and live where you can get it(limited distribution) give it a shout.... oh, bring a lot of cash, it's expensive. Just released December this year...limited production for their 1000th batch celebration.
I believe this is a Russian Imperial Stout, thus super strong and super sweet. I tried one last year and found it not to my liking.
I've never met an oak-aged imperial stout I didn't like. I love the Goose Island Bourbon Stout. Really rich, robust. Inky, almost. Only for after dinner or a cold night by the fire, but spectacular in that context.
But my favorite Goose Island beer is the rye stout I had on draft at the brewpub in March of last year. It blew my mind, and I need to make my own version. A great brewery, IMO.
One could discuss variations amongst strong stouts for a long time. I would agree in general, the high gravity stouts and porters tend to be sweet or rather malty. But some are balanced either by a strong hop character or a bracing acidity. The acid can be produced (intentionally) by injecting brettanomyces, which is an attempt to duplicate the souring which bacterial infection of wooden vats imparted in the 1700's and 1800's. Rogue's Russian Imperial Stout is to my taste a particularly authentic one and in some samples (especially if you age them), the leathery, vinous notes seem to exceed the sweet malty ones.
The style of strong stout aged in bourbon barrels can indeed be quite sweet and richly alcoholic.
These serve well as after-dinner drinks in snifters and are an analogue to a fine port or cream sherry.
There is a tradition of strong sweet beers like this, and Okocim makes one (from Poland) that is quite good of its type. Rasputin Imperial Stout is a long-established one from the West Coast (U.S.) which also stresses the malty side of the equation.
The very origin of (medium-gravity) porter seems to have been to emulate in one brew a pub-made combination of young, sweet beer (perhaps close to an English mild of today - strong hopping was not necessary because the beer was consumed young or mixed) with a wood-aged, sourish one in which Brett and other influences of aging made the brew strong, vinous (or sour-sweet) and not too heavy in body. Rogue's Imperial Stout might well taste like a well-aged porter or stout of the 1800's. Then as now, some people liked to drink them straight (unblended). However you can get interesting combinations by following the old pub habit of mixing two or three beers. The Goose Island stout mixes very well with bottled Guinness, for example, or any light-bodied, bitter style of stout or porter. The Rogue might be combined with Rogue's own brown ale, and it goes on.
These are great with age on the bottle. I put away a case of each release since 04. The 05's are hitting their sweet spot IMHO right now.
This one is NOT for the feint of heart.
Goose Island Bourbon Stout (http://www.gooseisland.com/beers/beers.asp).
This is a great beer! I have for a few months enjoyed craft beers. As one that has drank MGD, Buds, Heineken, Corona, (in other words...mass marketed beers) I am blown away by craft beers.
The Goose Island Bourbon Stout was awesome!
One thing is I had a Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA (Goose Island Imperial IPA is another great one). I HIGHLY recommended pairing an Imperial IPA with dried Mango fruit. It's a match made in heaven.
Have you have the Three Floyds Alpha King? I assume the Dreadnaught has more alcohol, but how does it compare hop-wise? I haven't seen three floyds since I moved to the other side of Indiana, but there may be somewhere across the border I can get it.
One of my "rules of thumb" for beers at brewpubs is to avoid things with "golden" in the name or "refreshing" or "crisp" or "smooth" in the description. This is usually the beer they make for people who say "what's the closest thing you have to MGD Light?"
On the other end of the spectrum are beers that are marketed directly at hopheads like me. "Hop" in the name is obvious, but when I saw New Holland's Mad Hatter I knew before I read the label that it was a hoppy pale ale.
The Three Floyds Alpha King, though, went straight for the heart. Those of us who dig into beers know it's the high alpha hops that make us pucker. The cover art, with a green king sprinking hops in a mug, didn't hurt, either.
OK, I found the distributor for Three Floyds (and New Holland, and a bunch of others) for Indiana, and their Web site has a great feature: it allows one to search for retailers they sell to and to see a list of the beers they've purchased. It doesn't show inventory, of course, but it's a great place to start. It showed me a store in Clarksville that has purchased that Dreadnaught, and there's a bar in New Albany that has purchased Alpha King by the keg.
Have you have the Three Floyds Alpha King?
As of yet I haven't. At this time, I've tasted 10 craft beers.
Goose Island Imperial IPA
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Sierra Nevada Stout
St Bernaurdus Abt 12
Capital Brewery Special Pilsner (not to thrilled with this one)
Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA
Old Rasputin Stout Russian Imperial Stout
Trappistes Rochesfort 10
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
Allagash Curieux (sigh...not to thrilled with this one either)
The others were great! For the price, I think I can have the Sierra Nevada Stout regularly. The Goose Island were about $6.00 for 12 ounces. So I can't taste them regularly.
However, as with whiskey, I see that certain beers have certain glasses. So I might have to kept a log of which beers I like. I can't recall how much I enjoyed the above beers except for the 2 Goose Island Beers and the Three Floyds. And Big Bear Black Stout was excellent and a beautiful black color! I wish I drank it in a specific beer glass to enjoy it better.
The Three Floyds site says the Imperial IPA has 100 IBU, which makes it quite a puckery beer.
I love the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, I've got a T-shirt, and I even made the pilgrimage to Chico a bit over a year ago when I was in the Sacramento area for business.
But I don't think I'd call them a craft brewer. They are either the fourth or fifth largest brewer in the country, and they are proud of it. Unlike some other brewers (like maybe the one in New England with a lot of TV ads), they don't throw around the term "microbrewery" to make it seem as if they are one.
On the other hand, unlike any other big brewery I've toured, they are focused on the beer, not the packaging and distribution. And they do produce a lot of low volume beers for the local area. The number of beers on tap in their restaurant is impressive for such a big company.
OK, I tried the Bell's Hopslam last night, and I have found a beer too hoppy for me.
It's not that it is too bitter. I'm pretty sure I've had and enjoyed beer more bitter than this.
The problem is the hop flavor. It's huge. It overpowers everything else. It's like chewing on hops.
I can drink it. I just didn't enjoy it enough to pay over $12 or $13 a sx for it.
I got a growler of it at Liquor Barn. I've never seen a liquor store that sells draught beer to go in other than keg quantities.
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