Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine. Chicago, IL 12.1% ABV.
Served semi-chilled from a 12 oz bottle and poured into a goblet. Pours a dark brown to almost black color (with perhaps a hint of purple?) with a frothy 2 finger tan foam head. After about 30 seconds the head is completely gone (took some skill to get the picture the way I did!). Smells are of bourbon, dark fruits, yeast, vanilla and hints of tobacco. Carbonation is light with a very full body. Taste is sweet and malty, with hints of the vanilla and oak from the aging process. The barrel used here was originally a bourbon barrel, then used for Bourbon County Stout and then for the Bourbon County Barleywine. Through this 3 layer process, complex flavors, aromas and appearances are evident. Aftertaste is quite sweet, and the alcohol is well hidden.
During the snowstorm last weekend, I was sitting in my apartment looking at the snow and felt that it was a perfect stout evening. Moreover, I had yet to try the 2014 Barleywine, and had set aside several for aging. I still have 4 of the 2013s and plan on doing a vertical at some point this spring. I love all of the Bourbon County varieties, and it really is hard to pick a favorite. This barley wine has quickly climbed up my rankings, and I would score this extremely high.
$6/12 oz bottle
100/100 Beer Advocate