Goose Island Announces 2021 Bourbon County Stout Variants

A cola-flavored stout and a strawberry ice cream-inspired brew are among this year's offerings

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout 2021
The 2021 Bourbon County Stout variants.
Goose Island

We’ve still got a few weeks left in August, but it’s never too early to start thinking about fall touchstones like cozy sweaters, pumpkin-spice everything and, of course, Goose Island’s annual Bourbon County Stout release on Black Friday. Today, the Chicago brewery announced its lineup of eight variants on its popular stout for 2021.

This year’s offerings include a few classics (including the return of a fan-favorite from 2014) as well as some intriguing new brews like a cherry wood stout and the brewery’s first-ever cola-inspired variant.

“From starting in a crawl space under our original Clybourn Brewpub, to constructing a world-class barrel warehouse in Chicago, to partnering with the world’s most sought-after distilleries — Bourbon County Stout is at the heart of Goose Island’s DNA,” Goose Island President Todd Ahsmann said in a statement. “For more than two decades we have been integral to the evolution of the barrel-aged beer category, helping to develop it to what it is today. It’s all made possible by the passionate family of innovators at Goose Island – and this year’s Bourbon County Stout lineup reflects just that, creativity and true craftsmanship.”

Check out complete descriptions of each 2021 Bourbon County Stout variant below.

  • Bourbon County Stout (14% and 14.4% ABV): The original Bourbon County base comes blended from a mix of Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey and Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels and aged for eight to 14 months. Goose Island says to “expect flavors of chocolate and vanilla, oak, whiskey, and molasses, followed by caramel, berry fruit, and almond.”
  • Bourbon County Cherry Wood Stout (14.3% ABV): For the first time in its history, Goose Island took the base Bourbon County Stout and finished it with toasted honeycomb-shaped cherry wood chips. “The versatility of the cherry wood and honeycomb shape allowed for maximum flavor extraction, revealing complex characteristics like red fruit, ripe cherry, and light toffee, which are not found in the original oak barrel itself,” the brewery explains.
  • Bourbon County Reserve 150 Stout (15.6% ABV): To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Old Forester, the distillery hand-picked 150 barrels from “resting places within the Old Forester barrelhouse” and aged this beer inside them. The result includes “barrel-forward flavor with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and coconut, followed with molasses, almond, berry, and oak.
  • Bourbon County Double Barrel Toasted Barrel Stout (16% ABV): This year’s booziest variant was aged for one year in Elijah Craig’s Small Batch Bourbon Barrels, then another year in Elijah Craig Toasted Bourbon Barrels. That second year of aging gives it an added intensity, and you can expect notes of “chocolate, caramel, and vanilla” along with “flavors of toasted marshmallow and a very pronounced fruit and oak finish.”
  • Bourbon County Reserve Blanton’s Stout (15.4% ABV): This reserve was aged for 18 months in Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Bourbon barrels. You’ll be able to pick up on “rich dark chocolate and oak notes,” as well as “warm aromatics of baking spices such as clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon,” according to the brewery.
  • Bourbon County Classic Cola Stout (14.1% ABV): If you’re a fan of whiskey cokes, you’re in luck. Goose Island’s Cola Stout is inspired by that classic mixed drink, combining cola flavors (and yes, whiskey, of course) with “lime and orange juice and zest, plus coriander, cassia bark, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla.”
  • Bourbon County Fourteen Stout (ABV TBD, based on final bottling details): For the first time ever, Goose Island is digging into its Proprietor’s vault and bringing back an extremely popular variant from 2014. The recipe has been tweaked slightly, however; this time they’re adding rye to the mash bill. Still, fans can expect “cassia bark, cocoa nibs, panela sugar, and coconut water” that will provide an “intricate, sweet and spicy flavor profile.”
  • Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout (ABV TBD, based on final bottling details): The annual Proprietor’s variant is only available in Chicago, and this year’s is inspired by a strawberry ice cream bar. It’s aged in bourbon barrels and blended with strawberries, vanilla and coconut to create a flavor profile not unlike that of a shortcake.


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