Goose Island Rare Bottles are about to be the Subprime Mortgage Crisis of the Beer World

Rare holders right now be like-


If you have had the misfortune to stumble into beer trade forums recently there is a staunchly divided contingency of beer nerds, beset in two camps.  The first consists of the dudes who went to Rare Day and are attempting to loot any and all dinnerware from the sinking Titanic before tens of thousands of bottles hit nationwide distro.  You will be able to spot these dudes a mile away because they will argue things like “well trade value is based on QUALITY AND TASTE” or “even if 60,000 bottles are released, uh, well that’s like, you can’t really say that’s all that many…really…because uhm…demand…” These dudes are riding the crest of a profiteering wave attempting to land Blauw and Armand Seasons before shit crashes in a salty barrel. Take a shot once they reference the quality of the entirely unrelated bottles of 2010 Rare, you’ll be wasted quick enough.

The equally ridiculous demographic on the opposing side consists of pangloss guys who assume that these $60 bottles will show up in their local Walgreens, gathering dust for years to come.  These are the guys who have ever expanding speculative quotes about how many bottles are going to be released.  It should be well in the six figures by the time DDB posts this. You can spot them a mile away offering like HUNA+ or some Trickery-tier ticks, fully prepared for some Sharks vs. Jets scrap.

The best part about all of these RareCiceroNies is that the vast majority of them can’t identify why the barrel treatment matters in any meaningful way.  Sure, explain to me why you prefer 35 year age stated bourbon.  Tell me all the various single cask three decade old bourbons that you have tried, I will wait.  When Pugachev 25 year came out, every one of them was still having sex with lukewarm melons and complaining about HEAT, but wait 35 year barrels? PASS THAT RARE.  I mean, sure, the bourbon was never released to retail but PUTTING BEER IN THOSE BARRELS MUST BE INCREDIBLE BECAUSE MOAR YEARS.

It is hard to know who to root for, since both have wildly skewed perceptions of value and will only degrade the beer culture by waiting in 8 hour lines for things they have no intention of opening.  It’s like when your alcoholic stepdad shows up to fight the racist school bully: can’t both of them just get knocked the fuck out concurrently? I can only hope for a Battle of the Marne result where both sides wear one another down to a nub and there is no winner by decision.

They would need to make significant advances in microspectronomy to detect the fucks I give about the actions of these rapacious hucksters at this point. If anyone needs me I will be opening a Saison Dupont and turning my rare box into a lacquered fleshlight.



Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Rye, It is Actually that Good. God Damn it.

DDB is no stranger to eating shovelfuls of molten crow.  Back when I was yapping off at the nanners before the BA Barleywine tasting, the midwest cleaned up and Great got the heisman right to the chest.  It’s fine to be wrong and tuck the acorn peen between the thighs.  In this instance being speculatively wrong has never felt so right: BCBVR is amazing.  I can’t backpedal or use artful qualifiers to wriggle out of this one.  It really is that good, lamentably.  Let’s get to it already and get this pageantry over with.

NUCLEATION!? This review is now completely worthless.

NUCLEATION!? This review is now completely worthless.

Imperial Stout, Chicago, 13.4% abv, whalezbro

Ok so what sets this apart from the previously, already good, BCBVS? Different beans to flick, different BALs to juggle.  Bourbon in the previous iteration and rye in the current one.  Let’s get to it.

A:  This has a thinner aspect than coffee and the other variants with less sheeting and less, more carb, and just overall seems livelier.  There is a degree of balance to what is typically intensely massive and just looks dead on in every aspect.

S:  The nose is rich and decadent with layers of waffle cone, vanilla milkshake, Whoppers, nougat and of course sticky vanilla.  This is not vanilla extract or Yankee Candle or Glade Plug In, legit WE ARE BAKING SNICKERDOODLES, vanilla.  It is frustratingly good, it’s difficult to take in the layers of smells concurrently with the gnashing of teeth.

I got Xannies in a Bourbon County bottle, I dont take them shits but you

I got Xannies in a Bourbon County bottle, I dont take them shits but you

T:  This is a touch thinner than regular BCBS but shines as a result.  Without hefty residual sugar flab, the bakery goes into full production with mounds bar, almond joy, rich chocolate notes, cake pops, and a lingering sweet vanilla finish.  IT never becomes too sweet for its own good and delivers without excess the promise of that bean.  It is an unquestionable improvement over regular and coffee BCBS, I prefer it to Propreeshitors, baconator or otherwise.

M:  The rye barrel takes this to places that made the original BCBVS seem uninteresting.  The spicy crackle from the rye helps to offset the sticky vanilla and seems to thin out the vanilla oils with a touch of balance adding nuance and depth to a beer that could have been like sticking your cock in a soft serve cone.  It is the thinnest of the BCBS treatments since Cherry Rye and just works so well with a light fusel heat and crackle along the gumline.  It is silky but never flabby, excellent carb and you keep hitting up the ATM to get more vanilla singles/fun tickets to rain on the stage.



D:  This is just an outright phenomenal beer and no amount of brow furrowing, or quoting distro numbers, or making fun of dipshits on the trade boards will change that fact.  I could try to whip up a 2 minute youtube masterpiece to bring myself to terms with this but, it is just simply too well done and widely available to the masses.  Sure there are other stouts that are better, but with a much steeper casting cost.  This wont tap your lands that hard, relative to the other top tier stouts. It would be absurd to tell a DDB reader to seek this out, but I would temper that sentiment with “within reason.”

A solid stout for the holidays, but don't crack your nuts landing it.

A solid stout for the holidays, but don’t crack your nuts landing it.


Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Brand Stout: PART 3 – Revenge of the Midwest Shelfwales

Ah those old 13,000 bottle release shelfwales, they have entered our fair community with panache and aplomb that would make even Balzac blush. This has been a noticeable oversight for quite some time and beer nerds have often asked me why this beer of all the variants was so scornfully cast out of the house like a coffee drinking Latter Day Saint. The simple answer is: this is the worst of the BCBS variants. Now it is still BCBS at heart so that is like saying that the Gallardo is the shittiest lambo; it will still get you some lackluster handjobs. Let’s look at what kinda beans this beer is grinding in today’s review:

Oh shit, the elusive non-standard toaster shot. This is like the BCBVS rookie card up in this mix.

Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
American Double / Imperial Stout | 13.00% ABV

A: Get ready for some serious Hitchcock twist to this review: IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE BCBS. There are no raw pieces of vanilla or flecks of artisnal beans up in this medium. It is just deep dark murky blackness with minimal lacing, light sheeting and carbonation that phones it in harder than the Miami Dolphins. Not a particularly beautiful beer but, whatever, I AM JUST LOOKING TO LAND A BOOS WITH THIS ALRIGHT.

I feel bad for anyone who drops crazy bottles on this in a trade, you know that feel.

S: This is overridingly sweet, not in that Bruery White Chocolate fashion where you give it a playful shove, like so sweet that you ask it to pull over so you can get out. This has the roast and charming marshmallow meets oak profile with coy little chocolate peeking downstairs at mama bourbon wrapping presents, then holy fuck, Papa Vanilla comes home and starts making declarative statements about how he pays that bills and no one respects him. This is just sweet sticky vanilla extract overload that ends up coming across less like an Oreo/Coffee/Chocolate treat, and more like the lipsmackers lip balm from all those chicks you weren’t making out with in 9th grade.

T: This starts out pretty awesome as BCBS is wont to do, then vanilla jumps with its sweet cloying claws like the T1000 getting dragged behind what would have been a pleasant stout journey to Skynet. There’s a chocolate and coffee presence and vanilla adds this Torani syrup quality like drinks from Starbucks that prevents everyone from getting laid, just beanblocking. This beer seriously makes me just want a regular old BCBS and to leave this sticky sweet interloper out of things, a boy can dream.

This beer tries too hard and ends up coming out as a lesser product as a result. JUST BE YOURSELF BCBS, WE LIKE YOU FOR YOU.

M: This has a generous coating and leaves a deep lingering roast, char, sweet milk chocolate and guess who is riding shotgunning, fucking Vanilla, messing with the radio controls making you listen to Static X and other shit you don’t need or want. I am not saying this is worlds worse than even ::gasp:: BRAMBLE, but what I am saying is that, it would have been better if what makes it so desired was left out. No one is pining after megan Fox because she has toe thumbs, its just something you put up with for the rest of the package.

D: This is less drinkable than every other variant and as it warmed I wish I shared this with someone. Again, this is not a bad beer, it is still BCBS at heart, but you just wish it would cool it with the Baskin Robbins sticky sweet overload. The vanilla is distracting and the types of things that this beer is commanding at this point is downright confusing to me, but then again, toottoot shelfwalez only get more rarerer and not less rare, no walez on the train, mixed metaphor leaving the station. vrroooooom.

Disagree with the midwest cadre about one of their crown jewels? Fuck the police.

Narrative: “Ok here he comes, he’s walking up the drivewa- oh no, his cousin Nigel Beansington is with him, everyone get down get ready to yell surprise!” All of Mark’s friends hid in his small one bedroom apartment and could smell Nigel’s sickeningly sweet DKNY APPLE cologne as he entered the room. “AND SO I TOLD THEM IT WOULD BE OBVIOUS TO YOU THAT THEY WERE PLANNING A SURPRISE PART-” “SURPRISE!” the crowd groaned in unison. Nigel had ruined things again. He was sweet enough and it was hard to fault his blissful ignorance but he just always ended up in places that he did not belong. “Ya see? Told ya, surprise party, obvious right?” Nigel quipped and pushed a finger into the uncut birthday cake and ate a dab of frosting. “EWW BUTTERSCOTCH frosting, what is this a COSTCO, oh KIRKLAND, ya KIRKLAND means Costco cake.” The party universally exhaled and reflected how this overpowering asshole ruined what would have been an incredible affair.


Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Stout, Time to Confront RARity Itself

Well look at what we have finally come to, the grand dragon of most beer nerds’ collections and/or nocturnal alemissions: GI RARE. You see forums flooded with requests for this damn bottle and it sits proudly on a litany of top 100 lists. There were about 13,xxx (?) of these made, but ask any kid from the midwest and they will act like it was a 1 day, brewery only release, 25 bottles made. They were pricey back in 2010, around $50, so in modern day currency, your anus is gonna get some fissures. This is the regular old amazing BCBS aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old barrels for a whopping 2 years. It doesn’t get much more ridiculous than that. Oh and as a trivia point, the barrels later house King Henry that stupid beer nerds love to obsess over. AND THEY WILL NEVAR BE MAED AGAIN.

On other beer blogs, pours of this are usually 1 molar unit in a baby asprin eye dropper just to say they had it. Fuck that, I slay whales alone and cry myself to sleep at night while gripping a banana clip: the way proper beer reviews are done.

Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
American Double / Imperial Stout | 13.00% ABV

A: This looks literally identical to regular old Bourbon County Stout, did you seriously expect it to have some magic Pappy Properties (Paperties) to make it glow radiant black? It looks like a sheet of hateful obsidian, like lava that had freshly cooled into dark sheets of igneous glass. The lacing is minimal at first and then erupts from below like gastritis in the lower colon. The mocha foam dances like a whirling dervish and makes a proud obeslisk to stout craftsmanship. This beer is really nice looking, but smells even better. OH SHIT I JUST SEGUED SO HARD RIGHT NOW-

If you want to land Rare, you have to pull something huge. Try using “harden” on it.

S: This is a complex but incredibly balanced beast. This is a melange of toffee, caramel, toasted marshmellow, bourbon, oak, chocolate, light char, some bakers chocolate and a cookie batter that just blends together seamlessly. The whole thing just makes you feel sad about most all other stouts, pricetag notwithstanding. It’s like in the late 90’s when everyone had tongue rings, we had it so good, now it is just a series of crestfallen resignations. There are certainly cheaper beers within this ambit, Parabola comes to mind, but this has a certain incredible joie de vivre that keeps midwest traders up at night, unable to enter REM.

T: This just soars in every aspect of the stout world. It is the platonic paradigm of malt and bourbon integration. The heat is there, but it is restrained, like a patient mage with plenty of mana. You get chocolate, sweet bourbon, a nice roastiness like a s’more, It was incredible to just sit on this beer and wait for it to warm, at almost room temperature, it hits its zenith and ranks among the top 5 stouts that I have ever tasted. I cant belabor this point any further, it is absolutely incredible.

Every stupid jackass on the beer trade forums wants this beer, disregard donkeys, acquire currency.

M: Despite the other PERFECT aspects of this beer, this is hands down my favorite element of this beer. There is this intense fudge and bourbon crackle that sizzles with microbubbles along the gumline that have this bubbly heft to them that is both energetic and sticky like a drunk Delta Gamma. If they made bourbon Pop Rocks, this is what it would taste like, and everyone would be twisted like a bag of ropes.

D: It is strange to say that a $50(+) bottle of 13% stout is drinkable…but it is. It is incredibly drinkable. It is like how those Star Ocean games are 100+ hours and ruin your life, but you would still call them “playable.” I just want more of this but, let’s be honest, the asking price simply isn’t worth it at this point and by my calculations, it should be on the downhill slope any time now. These are the realities of the beer world, but like those ball busters gripping their Depurations so tightly, reason and actual quality is often not a factor in the beer trading world. Also, I still need a 2007 Kaggen and I will give my left kidney for it. ISO.

If you want more Rare, build more Supply Depots.

Narrative: The users on the CraftWorld forums could not take it anymore. Raven Darkriven had consumed their arts and crafts website and entirely denatured their entire endeavor. “Raven, your bezzled grimoir viewing portal is lovely, but you are taking all of the server space, none of the other crafters can offer their items.” Raven spun a handcrafted garnet ring on his index finger and rubbed his slender fingers together. “You see JANET, when I began crafting in the dark arts of beading and bedazzling, I invoked liche spirits of the highest order to ensure that MY CRAFT WAS SUPREME AND DEVOID OF ALL IMPURITIES. Your server space is host to the macaroni art that is evil incarnate, and the masses clamor for it.” Janet adjusted the waistband of her Lane Bryant elastic sweatpants. “Right, I mean, that pasta mosaic you made was nice, but all this evil stuff is making some of the other ladies uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, it is amazing, but everyone pretty much wants to quit at this point. Felisha hasn’t made a single dream catcher since your products started being listed on the CraftWorld website.” Raven drew small triangles on his alabaster skin and replied coldly “If other inferior manufacturers quit, then so be it. That is the will of the obfuscated embroiderer. I will make this product but once, to fade into the blue flame of obscurity to leave my dark legacy on this niche industry. I will ruin it all with my greatness. I will leave them all wanting and hating their own glueguns in my wake. This is the will of the skeletrix, carved into the throne of bon-” Tracy had heard enough of this and she had to check on her dried roses.


Goose Island King Henry Barleywine, Time to Commit Some Regicide

I have a conflicted relationship with this oppressive monarch. Initially I went after this at the brewery release on Black Friday, landed it, drank it, and that was that. Landed a few more bottles and thought nothing of it. Then all the Johnny Come Latelies jumped on the bandwagon and all of a sudden people who discovered Blue Moon last August thought they were slaying whales. Technically any beer that had 12,000 bottles available off shelf shouldn’t be mentioned during Whale Week, but oh well, after enough demands to review this beer, the time has come to depose this asshole.

The King has left the building. Or at least the ability to trade for the King has left the building of reasonable values.

Goose Island Beer Co.
Style | ABV
English Barleywine | 13.40% ABV

By way of background, here’s the deal behind this beer:

Aged in Pappy Van Winkle 23 bourbon barrels, previously used to age Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. King Henry is a burgundy hued English-style barleywine with aromas of vanilla, oak, and dark fruit. Caramel and toffee flavors blend together with bold notes of bourbon delivered in a smooth body followed by a malty finish. No matter the occasion, King Henry promises a regal drinking experience.

A: This beer is a bit dark for my liking and seems to have picked up some of the residual traces from the barrels. I don’t like my barleywines cross polinated with huge stouts, but call me crazy for that. The carbonation is dead on and the lacing looks like a B-Roll from a haunted house combined with a Lil Jon skeetfest.

You gave up 4 bottles to land a King Henry? Dood wut?

S: As much as I have distaste for this beer and what it has done to the trading community, I cannot deny how amazing this smells. This is the archetype of BA Barleywines on the olfactory profile. You get a full brown sugar, carmelized sugar, sticky caramel, marshmellow foam, light roast, and turbinado sugars. I have reviews that list a ton of items because it connotes “seriously? You picked up all that, liar.” But seriously, there’s a huge medium of dark cherries, currant, and plum on the backend. Those usually belong in quads but I will let it slide this once, I GUESS.

T: This tastes incredible. There is a nice sticky brown sugar that is as decadent as a trip to Gene Wilder’s house. The taste could never match how it smells but it is still incredibly well done the sticky sugar notes integrate with the smashed dark fruits. I would never mix plums and brown sugar but somehow this works well. The barrel presence seems kinda muted since it took the sloppy seconds from BCS Rare, but I guess it bears mentioning that the bourbon aspect is smooth and imparts a light crackle on the backend like a janky sparkler. One thing I have to mention is that it has a sort of chocolatey roast to it that is offputting, not on style, and makes me wonder how much of the residual BCS Rare splooge was left inside the barrels.

King Henry VIII destroyed papal rule and displaced the religion of thousands, this beer shattered the beer trading world and replaced it with false idols.

M: This has a chewy mouthfeel with heavy sticky coating that lingers long after the beer is swallowed. The bourbon tosses a light tingle on the gumline like doing Ajax rails, been there done it. The sweetness has a good balance with the oak and vanilla from the wood and is very refreshing for a massive 13% abv. I am just glad that I drank my last bottle of this so that I can be free from its tyranny.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and maybe that it the reason so many people are jumping headfirst into the trading came to lock it down. The bottom line is, you don’t need to go name brand on this when world class “Shasta” BA Barleywines will do. The following barleywines are AT LEAST as good as this beer:

Alpine Great
Kuhnhenn BBBW
BA Owde Engwish
Arctic Devil

The list goes on. If you can try this, go for it, but don’t pawn nana’s broach collection to try this.

This beer reminds me of so many other amazing offerings that are slightly off but far less expensive.

Narrative: The Wars of the Roses were raging in the streets and the public discontent was palpable in the air. Despite the decimated and overtaxed populace, King Henry VII turned to more pressing matters: making sticky treats for his court. The pressing from the Papal dynasty was reaching intolerable levels and yet Henry was left to wonder how he could improve upon sweet bread puddings and brown sugars that most vassals would never even lay eyes upon. “Sire! MY LIEGE! The Earl of Warwick is mobilizing forces and marching upon YORK- sire?” “Mmmm nom, awhh yeah that’s the stuff there” Henry moaned decadently while dipping mallow foam into a pool of baker’s chocolate. The smeared chocolate ran down his pronounced jowls. Henry had become everything that was wrong with the ruling classes, a hyped up product of yes-men and an illegitimate dynasty. It was his turn to rule, but at what cost? The masses were teeming in support but destroying house, home, and industry in the process. “Nahmm now we take the apple slices and mmm awh yeah” he exhaled an epicurean sigh that reeked of beef jerky and chocolate while dipping apples in what appeared to be chocolate milk and vanilla extract. The court looked longingly on the product of their support, an inflated, overbearing beast.