April 29, 2018

2016 Goose Island Proprietor's Bourbon County Brand Stout

Brewed By: Goose Island Beer Company (owned by AB InBev) in Chicago, IL 
Purchased: 16.9oz bottle bought at Binny's in Chicago, IL; 2017 (bottled 15SEP16 aka September 15, 2016)
Style/ABV: Russian Imperial Stout, 13.1%
Reported IBUs: 60

Being into weird fetish shit has its payoffs. Like when Goose Island InBev (Dilly Dilly) drops a beer brewed with chipotle peppers, cocoa nibs, and maple syrup bourbon barrels.

Prop is -- of course -- the "Chicago exclusive" deviant of Bourbon County. Every year Goose Island brews something different (exclusively for Chicago; because Goose Island are the abusive husband and Chicago beer drinkers are the helpless spouse), and it looks something like this:

Dilly Dilly
This was not out of my cellar -- by the way. I acquired this bottle after painstakingly camping in line for some odd 20 hours at Binny's on Black Friday 2017. The appearance is like every other Bourbon County. Dark, black, Stout-y. Head retention is like "nah."
2016 Proprietor's Bourbon County Brand Stout
Straight away on the aroma...magic. The chipotle peppers they used in this beer are beautiful and impart a rich and earthy aroma that touches coffee, ash, roasted chipotle, chipotle pepper seeds, and lively chiles. There's a touch of chocolate and fudge hanging around in the back to bring home the Mexican chocolate. The bourbon/barrel on the nose is pretty mute. That could be due to the fact that this beer is over a year old at this point.

On the taste: weird fetish things I love. Prop 16 is divisive...throwing a bunch of hot peppers at Bourbon County is always going to upset a few people. I love this more than any other Prop vintage, I think. This is a rich, dense, Mexican-chocolate stout. You get ample chipotle, tons of chocolate and truffle chocolate, tons of earthy spice that brings in coffee and ash and earthy peppers. There's a kiss of the maple sweetness and bourbon, and the finish is heat with some booze. 

This is full-bodied, complex, has great depth, and great duration. I dunno what else to say. Up front: big Mexican chocolate, chocolate, fudge, COMPLEX peppery heat; the mids roll into more spice and pick up bourbon. The spice adds earthy notes, coffee, ash. The back end kisses you with maple sweetness and fades to light spice and heat. 

Rating: Strong Divine Brew (5.0/5.0 Untappd)

This is a criminally underrated beer if you are into this kind of thing. If you're not, cool.

Random Thought: I wish more BA releases would consider these peppery beers. Peppers go so well in these big barrel-aged stouts. I'm just amazed at how well Bourbon County plays with basically all the adjuncts.

April 22, 2018

Revolution Deth By Cherries 2017

Brewed By: Revolution Brewing Company in Chicago, IL
Purcased: 12oz CAN from a 4-pack bought at Revolution Brewing Tap Room in Chicago, IL; 2017
Style/ABV: American Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout, 13.1%
Reported IBUs: 27

In keeping with my plan to review Revolution's 2017/2018 lineup of barrel-aged beers, I'm looking at the 2017 vintage of Deth By Cherries. Deth's Tar is Revolution's barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout, and the base for their Deth by Cherries, Cafe Deth, VSOD, Double Barrel VSOD, and a handful of variants that were tap-only.

The can reads: "Unfermented tart cherries add a mild acidity and subtly rounding sweetness to our Deth's Tar Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. Flavors and aromas of bourbon and oak meld harmoniously with the fruit, each balancing the other. Enjoy now or store cold.

The appearance is basically mantit for hipster tat to Deth's Tar. It looks stocky, probably under-dressed in clothes slightly oversized. It waits patiently in line. It's black. Wait...
Revolution Deth By Cherries 2017

This smells amazing, by the way. Take everything that could be better about Deth's Tar, dial up the chocolate, and throw in the cherries. My untappy notes said, "surprisingly balanced and barrel forward. Cherry w/ dark truffle, wood tannin, light kiss of bourbon and vanilla. Nice alcohol, whiskey." I DO get a lot of wood and barrel on the nose. The woody notes are really surprising. I also get a lot of chocolate a la those chocolate truffles. The cherry note on here is natural and integrates with the raisin notes from the whiskey. It definitely inspires some cherry-chocolate liquor comparisons.

So how does it taste? Well, amazing. This is really a pleasure to sip. The depth and duration are huge, and the layers are complex. The finish smacks you with vanilla and bourbon, and then lingers with warming alcohol heat and spice. The front end is loaded with fudge, chocolate truffles, bourbon, and then cherries. The cherry sweetness really shows up in the middle, with slightly tart natural cherries. I'm getting a lot of cherry skins, raisin-cherries, and light acidity. It never drifts into sour territory, and the cherry note is very much restrained. Unlike numerous other cherry beers (many featured previously on my blog), this never dabbles in cherry pie filling.

Fruited stouts are the type of thing that can divide a beer community. I would say this is one of the better ones. Aggressive sips are revealing for me some of that splintered wood and raw barrel power you get in the base. There's some anise hugging the edges of this too. I bet this ages pretty good for a few years. As it sits out, I get more fruit. Full-bodied, complex, long duration, good depth, good sipping beer...front loaded fudge/chocolate...fruity mids...fade out to vanilla, bourbon, and spice/heat.

Rating: STRONG Above-Average (4.5/5.0 Untappd) 

Cherry pie, be gone! The fact that "cherry pie" or "cherry pie filling" are completely absent from my review should be a positive thing for 99% of beer drinkers. This is a legit fusion/addition of cherry to an amazing base beer, and the big ass wood, barrel, anise, bourbon, and Stout presence holds up and integrates well with the lightly tart cherry notes. Revolution, I tip my hat to you.

Random Thought: So where does this stack up as a variant? Or just in general? For me....I would go DBVSOD > VSOD > Deth By Cherries > Cafe > Reg. I understand RevBrew is doing a currants variant next year, I'm sure that will be awesome.

April 8, 2018

Destihl Dosvidanya Vanilla Rye 2017

Brewed By: Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works in Normal/Bloomington, Illinois 
Purchased: 500ml (1 pint, .09oz bottle) bought at Destsihl in Bloomington, IL; 2017 (batch date: 2017)
Style/ABV: American Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, 12.5%
Reported IBUs: 83

Rumors of infected bottles of Destihl's DVR make a man do crazy things, like actually drink the beer you bought. About Destihl
Destihl is a brewery (Bloomington) and brewpub (Normal, IL & Champaign, IL) based out of the Midwest. Specifically, the middle of Illinois in the middle of the United States. Daaaa midwest. The brewery was founded by CEO & Brewmaster, Matt Potts, in 2007. Like many brewery founders, Potts started out as a homebrewer, and would eventually trade his law school education and law practice for those sweet barley suds. Destihl currently brews a myriad of regular and barrel-aged beers, including an increasing portfolio of tasty sour brews. For more info, check out their website
So Dosvidanya is Distihl's big barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout. It is clearly inspired by beers like Bourbon County Brand Stout, but has its own unique flavor profile. The Vanilla Rye was a special 2017 release along with the brewery's 10th Anniversary Special Release of Dosvidanya. This is a "Russian Style Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla aged in rye whiskey barrels." The bottle says, "10th Anniversary special release 2007-2017." The back says:

"In 2007, we opened our first brewpub in Normal, Illinois with a mission to brew beer styles that are bold and flavorful. Staying true to that mission, this special batch of Dosvidanya was brewed at our old production brewery as a farewell to that facility and aged at our new brewery as a celebration of that expansion and our 10th anniversary. We've come a long was and learned a lot in our first decade. With this release, we raise our glass and look forward to another 10 years. Cheers!"  

Destihl Dosvidanya Vanilla Rye 2017
Breaking news: this looks Stout-like. I'll give a shout out to the bottle, which is awesome. The blue wax is fucking cool, man. This also has good head retention and isn't totally lifeless. The aroma here is awesome. You get Lindor chocolate balls, and the vanilla leans towards the sweet and fruity with raspberry and berries. The berry/vanilla-chocolate sweetness invites raspberry truffles and chocolate truffles. 

The taste is pleasantly rich (and not infected, praise be). The rye profile and bourbon come out first, followed by dense chocolate, fudge, vanilla, and then some nice drying dark chocolate cake, more earthy roast, coffee, and rich earthy chocolate truffles. The finish on this is fantastic. It's deep and rich like when you bite into a nice piece of chocolate cake. That lingering dry chocolate profile hangs around in your mouth adding to the duration and palate experience. It is tempting to go in for another sip, but you want to enjoy that lingering finish just a bit longer. As I sip this more, I pick up more of the alcohol and spirit.

You know, I like this a lot. I don't think this is a game changer or anything crazy, but it is dialed in and perfectly executed. It is not quite Vanilla Rye good, but hey, not many beers are. And I don't need this to be Vanilla Rye. Like I said, the duration of this beer is amazing. Palate depth is pretty solid too, with bourbon and chocolate up front; rye and vanilla mids; and that bumpin' chocolate cake finish. It brings a full body, and rides the 12.5% ABV just right. 

Rating: I'm feeling a Strong Above-Average (4.25/5.0 Untappd)

Random Thought: There is a paradoxical irony about this beer, because while I don't think it is a game changer, it is still vastly underrated. Which is good, for me, the local Destihl customer. Stay away beer nerds.