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.


Hill Farmstead CAGEMATCH: Regular Everett vs. Barrel Aged Everett Porter, feefeeefeeeenfeeeeennnnnn

Hillfarmstead all dark up in this mix

Hill Farmstead Everett Cagematc- OH SHIT STOPLOSS IS ON? This night just got amazing.

Two 7% abv Porters duke it out for their father’s affection. Also, hey, Stop Loss is on.

Each one will plead their case in turn with a verdict at the end.



A: There is a deep watery mahogany to the color, not black but a rich chocolate brown. The carbonation is excellent and billows up with tiny bubbles. It’s like Ryan Phillipe’s lack luster presentation, you respect it but you know it could be a bit better.


A: The same as the BA version but with khaki bubbles instead of off-white. So like if Ryan did a summer at Catholic camp up in the high desert.

Winner goes to the regular version.


Barrel Aged

S: Warm boozy toffee and caramel notes, vanilla, nice cocoa waft, and a deep roasted honey note. There is a dryness of oak and a warm bourbon waft. It’s like dad came home looking all like a Tennessee Williams play but he brought you some Werther’s Originals.


S: The nose is less boozy but with more of a deeper chocolate waft. There is more of an almond and walnut, it is simpler in execution but not as much heat and simpler. It’s more like dad is a Eugene O’ Neill play and he has no candy.

Winner goes to the BA


Barrel Aged

T: There is fantastic prickly heat to the outset that gives a great boozy taste and a warming sweetness. The oakiness has a dryness to the swallow that gives your chest a nice warmth with a sweet cocoa finish. Imagine if you were 12 years old and ate a whole box of alcohol chocolates, not taken from autobiography, you’d be bloated but smelling all sultry like a community college student from Alabama.


T: There is far less heat and it’s a much more direct approach. The body is the same but without the intense prickliness and hot vanilla, the wood and almond notes stand out more and give a nice creamy finish like chocolate milk. It’s like the BA version goes for a high note and the regular supports a more standard chocolatey simplicity. You’d be more stoked if the Econoline van had windows in addition to chocolate, but hey sometimes thems the cards you’re dealt when your parents send a proxy to pick you up.

Winner goes to the BA


Barrel Aged

M: The mouthfeel is swift and hot, it is intense along the bittering zones but confuses the sweet palate with a strangely warm vanilla aspect that pulls this experience all over the place. The carbonation is a little bit less impressive in the BA version and feels less effervescent. Give old Nana a sloppy wild Turkey Kiss.


M: The mouthfeel is creamy with a fantastic chocolatey finish. The carbonation has tiny bubbles that crackle like woody alka seltzer. It is incredibly smoothe and washes away with a sweet toffee flavor.

Winner goes to the regular version


Barrel Aged

D: This beer is more fantastic to savor and ruminate on. The intense heat and pleasant warmth are more delicious, but ultimately hinder the drink ability of the beer. I was able to drink the regular version much more easily, but it was less memorable.


D: These are easily two vastly different beers and ultimately the regular version is easier to drink and much simpler to enjoy at first blush. It is like how an Accord is easier to drive than a Lambo, but ultimately the difficulty has its own pay offs.

Winner goes to the regular version.

What we learned

Ultimately, the regular version was amazing, more refreshing, and ultimately, disappeared faster. However, it simply wasn’t as memorable and it didn‘t shock me like a Step By Step Halloween special. Overall, was the regular version better? Sure I guess, but I preferred the barrel aged version because it was so much more vibrant and interesting. Short Circuit 1 was good and easy to enjoy but Gold Baller Version of Johnny 5 in Short Circuit Two was cooler, despite the fact that there was no Steve Gutenberg.

VERDICT: Regular Version Is The More Desirable, Popular Sister With Clearly Less Inherent Merit, Nerdy Interesting Sister
Who Lived in A Barrel Will Ultimately Develop a Sick Rack.

Remanded and Affirmed.


Goose Island Juliet American Wild Ale, Jamammy name Juliet

Wherefrought Art Thou

Juliet, My Sun, wherefrouartthou, Jamammy name Juliet

Goose Island Juliet 6.7% Wild Ale

A: Deep amber and light ruby notes, almost no carbonation, no lacing, very tame in body not very sticky, and like the foam parties of the late 90’s I like dem bodies all sticky icky. Also Chemical Brothers, where applicable.

S: Huge wild notes, funk vinegar, grape peels, sour blackberries, tart wood finish, but let me tell you about the REST OF HER. Ba dum tish.

T: The fruits are more mellow, but refreshing. I will rarely give Consecration a run for its money but this is very on point for the style and finish. I ultimately love the oaky and high abv of the Consecration but this is just fantastic. The vinous notes are supported with background sweetness and the tannins are great and add a layer of complexity to it. It gets down all tart and starts merking the gumline, popping and locking all up in the sweet and sour zones, popin lockin dropin that birthday cake.

M: It is very light in maltiness, thank god, and lets the fruits and wild aspect take charge with the full character. The drying fruit skin notes resonate for just long enough to make you want to reengage. I love that it doesn’t cop out the indistinct sweet/cider route or try to be a gueuze in disguise. This is distinctively sour and the experience is top notch. It’s doing things well without additives, like when sours rock fake contact lenses or extensions, you know something is up. Or when your sour only earns $800 per pay check but has that LV bag, you know something straight questionable. Not here, Juliet keeps it real.

D: All. Day. Long. This is a great beer and the abv makes it universally accessible and great to offer anyone. The light character with HUGE taste makes a crazy synergy that makes me want multiple bombers of this. If I had more patience, I would age it further and enjoy the mellowed version but, I do not and it is great as it is. It’s pretty legit, not exactly too legit to warrant quitting, but, quite legit.

Narrative: Juliet knew she had something special to her. At first it was just idle whispers when she was younger. As she came of age, she learned to hone in on the narratives and focus in on the voices in her head. She had learned to learn a lot of things from the flowers, especially in the month of June. It was an ethereal talent that really did not give her any special insight to the world, but it was a power her own. “JULEZ? Are you still sitting out in the boysenberry patch?” Her conversation was interrupted abruptly and she had to put the rhododendron on hold. “Yeah mom, hang on.” The flowers really just complained and imparted sour notes into her life, but, somehow being so in sync with the idle problems of the flora made he feel whole. Juliet was a sweet minx, but sour through and through. “BUT PRAYTELL, HOW SHE FIT ALL THAT IN THEM JEANS?” the tawdry floral chorus sang in unison as she walked away.


Victory Storm King, 9.1% abv; Crown King Nothing

The King of Drizzles

King is Loose Term for Storms

Victory Storm King Stout, Imperial Stout 9.1% abv

A: This has a slightly watery deep blackness to it, like the thin ink of a Pentel pen. The carbonation is outrageous. I mean that in the classic sense, inclining one towards outrage. It creates a huge 5” head that just maintains like mocha whipped cream. The lacing looks like a perverse Rorschart painting. It is a very attractive stout, for those so inclined.


S: The nose is a bit thin and doesn’t present much beyond a sweetness and a candied malt. I get a bit of a burnt vanilla and….that’s about it. T: There’s a bit of chocolate at the outset that gets very herbal very quickly. This feels far more like the Black DIPAs coming into vogue than the traditional stouts that I have come to grow and love. The taste finishes with a deep piney bitterness that is more like Hopsicle but with chocolate malts. I don’t know how this was classified as an imperial stout, but, variety is the spice of life, so says my Home Ec…er…”Teen Living” teacher.


M: Again, this doesn’t coat like a stout, nor does it present a big frothiness. It has a thin mouthfeel with a big hop body to it, if I didn’t know better, I would say that this tastes like a messed up DIPA that has a ton of high alpha acid hops. But, I guess I would welcome innovation over and above the same damn dancer/boxer/football team movie year in and year out. At least I have something to tell my children with this one, a good old epic tale about the old Imperial Stout/IPA that I enjoyed on a weeknight. Ah, memories.


D: This isn’t exceptionally drinkable. It is too bitter and doesn’t present all those Preggo delights that I enjoy: where’s my chocolate and deep smoky malts. To be clear, only negligent expecting mothers should drink this, if at all. Wait, ok, to be clear, this is a confusing malty hoppy bomb that belongs in that confusing penumbra category of Black IPA madness. Notwithstanding, it is welcome in my mouth. It’s hard to end on that but, oh well.


Narrative: “I need to get my Wiz Khalifa on, aint tryna be coding .DLLs all up in this shit,” Walter Lee protested voraciously from his cubicle. “They always posting on me tryna front on some spaghetti code ass bullshit, acting like I haven’t seen a debugged kernel up in this bitch.” His supervisor shook his head at the recalcitrant associate and tapped his red pen lightly against his clip board. This wasn’t the first computer coding job that Walter had been fired from. Admittedly, it was Neoscript’s own fault for hiring on a latent racist basis assuming that Walter Lee would be a successful coder. “I see dems, they post all up on this cubicle like they OWN ME. I post up on my set, peep this OH WHO JUST SET UP A BEOWOLF CLUSTER? Oh shit, that’s right, Walter. Ha haaaay!” the resonant call not unlike Jadakiss’s patent sound clipped against the aluminum ceilings. This was a clear case of a mismatch. This was someone who was ill-equipped to fight in the market in which he was competing, despite his inherent merit. “watch, watch, someone gonna write about this situation and be STRAIGHT RACIST!” Walter uttered from his Ukranian lips.