UK release for US barrel-aged stout

The range of craft beers available in the UK from Chicago brewer Goose Island is set to grow next month with the release of the latest vintage of its Bourbon County Stout.

Importer and distributor James Clay has secured “plenty” of the 2012 production of the stout after only a handful of cases were made available in the UK with previous vintages.

It reflects the growing popularity of Goose Island bottled beers in UK bars, including the India Pale Ale, Honker’s Ale and 312 Urban Wheat beer. James Clay also imports Goose Island’s traditional soft drinks, Chicago-Style Root Beer and Orange Cream Soda, into the UK.

Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout – known as BCS – is often credited with kickstarting a barrel-ageing frenzy among experimental craft brewers in America. To meet the exceptional demand, Goose Island has brewed five times as much BCS this year as it did in 2011.

“We’ve only been able to get hold of a handful of cases of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout over the past five years so we’re delighted to have secured plenty of the 2012 vintage,” said Andrew Asquith, purchasing manager at James Clay.

Bourbon County Stout is aged for eight months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and comes with an ABV of 14.5 per cent.

It is dark and dense with thick foam the colour of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke, with a bold full flavour.

While it officially develops in the bottle for “up to five years”, it can be enjoyed for up to 15 years if stored in a cool, dark place, which will allow the flavours to evolve.

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