Scot opened this to celebrate the birth of my daughter. The normal beer is rare as it is, this version more so. So as a beer drinker I'm particularly grateful, and it's amazing. As a rule, I don't think anything is perfect, so I don't give out 10's, but I think it's fair to call this rare gem- something you'll likely never try near perfect.
Look: I must admit, there is a 1/8" translucence on the edge of the beer. Stouts should be near black and this suggests it is less than it. This is by no means a flaw, it's just not as black as night.
Aroma, Smooth bourbon dark sweet malts.
Taste: Tastes like Bourbon County, but amazingly smooth. Almost no heat. So easy to put down. Amazing.
A: Darkest of deep mahogany, exudes richness. Some brownish foam, but main show is the oily cling to glass as I do a slow swirl in the snifter.
S: No disappointment at all. The depth of the darkness of the molasses, coffees, sugars, fruits, and bourbons are infinite. The initial whiff indicates to me this is indeed a blue chip brew, a top seed among bourbon stouts. The flavors and scents are in perfect harmony, no single element stands out which leads to this gorgeous intermingling of perfectly in-synch parts.
T: Still 100% on course as the first sips go down. The A
after taste is perfect. You know there's alcohol and it's not masked, but it's warming and inviting (almost too much so:). I often think a great brew's characteristic is when the aroma and taste match up perfectly. In the case of Rare the differences are a strong attribute not a miss. The blend of burnt brown sugars, prunes & raisins, dark chocolate, columbian coffees, and top shelf bourbon is 110% on track. And the oily viscocity make the superb flavors last that much longer.
D: Absolute perfection, and demonstrates that Goose Island is the leader in bourbon aged brews, not just first but still the benchmark. Yeah it's costly, esp in a shitty economy, but I've wasted a lot of dough on crappy brews that I'd like to have back to buy more of this Rare. Hats off to the brewers of Goose Island (and distillers of Kentucky).
Shared on New Years Eve with Rich and my wife. Bottle 11903 bottled on November 19, 2010.
Pours opaque with minimal brown foam (more in the tulip glasses but I used a snifter). Retention was fleeting while lacing was non-existent.
Aroma is big, bold, and beautiful. Chocolate seems to be the forefront while dark fruits (prunes for sure), molasses, and brown sugar. Smooth bourbon, which is also a focal point, gives way to vanilla and slight oak. Alcohol tinges the nose hairs.
Taste is phenomenal. Subdued and smooth is the way I can explain the bourbon profile. Chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, etc all play a wonderful part. The finish is smooth with a swell of bourbon leading to dark, creamy chocolate that really isn't bitter.
Bit body with minimal carbonation. Dries the mouth but is a nice chocolate cream in the mouth.
As good as any of the new Bourbon County releases which begs the question of affordability and comparative cost. Not getting into that here, so this beer is flat outstanding. Smoother than any Bourbon County that I have had fresh or, realistically, any year. I shared a bottle but I could definitely throw one back on my own. Damn glad I have a couple more. Which brings up cellaring: I don't think that it would do it much good. Drink it now. Enjoy!
This stout was aged for two years in the finest old barrels Goose Island used in its 18 years of bourbon barrel-aging beers! A true rarity—savor and share it only with those you hold dear, as it will never be made again.
"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers." - Cliff Clavin, of Cheers