A lot of the Bourbon County Stout beers, especially the original brand stout, can age beautifully. The flavors blend and the heat from the booze recedes. Different characteristics of the beer take turns at becoming more prominent each year. It is really one of the best beers to age.

The exception to the Bourbon County series that begs to be consumed fresh is that of the coffee variant. The concept was born out of the literal act of pouring a cold cup of coffee, left over form the morning, into a glass of Bourbon County Brand Stout. The beer had already been barrel aged and the coffee, though cold, was still fresh from just a couple of hours ago. The flavor combination was seen as good and the coffee variation of the brand was born.

When you have this beer fresh it is very rich in coffee and it dominates the aroma and is more than amply found in the flavor as well. It's a remarkable blend of cocoa, oak, bourbon, and loads of coffee that plays so well together. Over time, that coffee note begins to fade, much like hops in a citric, piny IPA. After 2 years, we took a look at a Bourbon County Coffee Stout to see just how it has changed.

The nose has a lot of fig and raisin with a bit of cherry and cocoa. There is a large booze note to it. The 14.3% ABV is far more noticeable now than it was back when it was fresh. The roasted aroma of the coffee must have hidden it well, but now the coffee is buried well beneath the rest of the beer's body. It's detectable, but only upon a long, deep sniff.

The taste is very rich and sweet. Very malty with the most notable flavors being raisin, fig and molasses. There is a very faint coffee hidden beneath the sweetness and fruit, but it is almost entirely gone. Dry chocolate hangs in the aftertaste. Once the beer breathes a bit, the sweetness tones down and more of the roasted grains come through. The alcohol is present in the overall taste from start to finish.

This beer definitely still drinks well, but it is more reminiscent of the original Bourbon County Stout than a coffee variation. After only two years, the coffee has faded enough to be tasted, and quite possibly mistaken, as just a characteristic of the dark malts. Drink this beer fresh.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on September 5, 2014 .