4 Bourbon County Brand Stout Variants You Can Make At Home

Drink Lists bourbon

Every year on Black Friday, shoppers line up before dawn at stores around the country seeking out deals on gifts for the holidays. Craft beer fanatics are out there too, but for a slightly different reason. We’re up at 4am for a little taste of heaven…aka Bourbon County.

Goose Island has been releasing new variants of their Bourbon County Brand Stout, or simply BCBS, on Black Friday since 2010. In the months leading up to the release, craft beer drinkers gather with their buddies to speculate what the new variants will be (Maple? Bacon?…?), how they will measure up to last year’s and map out their plan of attack.

As the craft beer industry has grown, word has gotten out about the ingenuity of BCBS, and its popularity has expanded, making these beers even harder to come by. On top of that, stores sell out fast, they limit the amount you can purchase, the prices are high and some of us simply can’t get to the beer store by 5am.

If you are one of the many who missed out on this years variants, or just cannot wait ‘til next year rolls around, why not try replicating the variants yourself, or better yet, coming up with your own version? No, you don’t have to work at Goose Island or have a brewery in your backyard to do this. But shh, don’t tell Goose Island.

Here are four Bourbon County Brand Stout variant options to try at home. No brewing experience necessary.

Mexican Cake Variant
With all the excitement over Westbrook’s Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake variants, why not create a Bourbon County version?

What you need:
?A French press
?Habanero pepper
?Vanilla extract
?Cocoa nibs

Directions: After pouring ¾ of your BCBS into a French press, add ? of a habanero pepper, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, cocoa nibs, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Put a stopper in the remaining BCBS. Let your beer sit for an hour or two and then press. Add the remainder of your capped BCBS or some fresh BCBS to re-carb your beer.

Thin Mint Variant
Since Girls Scouts are too young to make beer, we’ll help them out and do it for them.

What you need:
?French press
?Fresh mint leaves
?Cocoa nibs

Directions: For this variant, pour ¾ of your BCBS into a cup, and add the fresh mint leaves and cocoa nibs. We use the cup first because the oils from the mint will cause the beer to foam and could overflow the French press. After an hour, begin to taste-test the beer to find the level of mint desired. Pour the beer into a French press and simply press. Add the remaining BCBS or some fresh BCBS to re-carb your beer.

Vanilla Variant
Yes, Vanilla BCBS has been done twice, but at a fourth of the price without having to wait in line, why not try your own? There are two ways to make this happen.

What you need:
?Vanilla beans or extract

Directions: Split the vanilla bean, put it in the bottle of beer and put the stopper in the bottle. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next day, pour the beer into a glass, and add some fresh BCBS to re-carb if necessary.

OR, the quick ‘n easy version: Pour the entire beer into a glass. Add 2-3 drops of vanilla extract to the beer, depending on the level of vanilla desired.

Coconut Variant
Once again, the poor-man’s version of 2013 Proprietors. You have two options for creating this concoction, the second one a bit ambitious.

What you need:
?French press
?Shredded unsweetened coconut or a whole coconut
?A drill (only if you use the real coconut)

Directions: Toast the shredded coconut in a pan. Then pour 3-4oz of BCBS into the French press. The more BCBS you add to the press, the more of a coconut bomb you’re going to get in your finished product. Add the coconut to the beer, cover it and let it steep for an hour in the fridge. Press. Pour the finished product into a glass, and add the remainder of your bottle or fresh BCBS to re-carb.

OR try this: Drill a hole in your coconut, drain out the milk, and refill it with the beer (entire bottle. Cork the hole and leave it for one to three days, depending on how much coconut flavor you want. Pour the BCBS into a glass, and add some fresh BCBS to re-carb if necessary.

Note: Having these beers sit out while you experiment will cause a loss of carbonation. If you want to get some of that carbonation back, it helps to have a fresh BCBS on hand to blend into your variants at the end.

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