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David Sapsis's picture

Bourbon County Stout

February, 2017
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

BJCP Category  33B  Wood Aged Imperial Stout

Instructed to serve the beer in a snifter, my assistant uses a large one from the cabinet and fills it vigorously  about half full.  It presents a  deep brown-black color that is opaque when viewed  through the  glass, but holds hints of deep ruby  when swirled to only a couple mil thick.  The head is a medium brown color  of mixed bubbles  that while full at first, does not  persist.   The aroma is intensely sweet, roasty, woody, and boozy:  coffee notes with raisin, vanilla, and an obvious oaky note,  all powered  out of the glass with the assist from ethanol.   As it warms, the coffee  angle smoothes out to a more light  cocoa  with raisin/prune sweetness and apparent whisky.  It's a massive nose. 

The  flavor is lush and thick  with coffee, chocolate and  dried, dark fruits;  the bitterness is very tame  through mid-palate: nothing is getting in the way of this big malty  bomb of a beer.   The late palate lingers  very long with a balanced  soy-roasty edge  complimenting the fruity-sweet finish  with  strong solera-whisky flavors and heat.  The finsh is full, thick and super sweet,  with no astringency.  The nose was not lying:  this is a boozy beer.   Overall, it  shows both massive stout and wood-whiskey  construction.   While all the flavors marry, and it makes for an outstanding dessert beer now, I think some time in the cellar  would improve the beer with more complexity and softening.