Learn the Secret Behind a Cult Barrel Aged Beer

Though a slew of copycats have followed since its invention over 22 years ago, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout remains the gold standard when it comes to bourbon barrel-aged beer. So with this year’s crop of the classic, plus a number of new varietals, being released on Black Friday, Esquire has done us the kindness of explaining what exactly goes into producing such a legendary brew.

Turns out, unlike similar products, Goose Island’s stout starts with a base brew that is not intended for consumption. In fact, the beer that ages in the almost 3,000 barrels, which are sourced preferably from Heaven Hill distillery, is “intentionally off-balance and bitter.” It’s only after a full year of barrel aging, with its temperature changes, expansion and contraction of the wood and additional fermentation, that Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout becomes the rich, sweet beer that dedicated fans have come to love.

Good things really do come to those who wait. [Esquire] [Photo: Flickr/Don LaVange]