Now if I didn’t know anything about these beers other than the names, I would be intrigued. But I’ve tasted both of them, and I hope to sufficiently describe them so you can decide if you would like to try them yourself.
Seduction: Brewery Ommegang; Cooperstown, New York. 6.8% ABV. This is a limited edition brew by Ommegang. I purchased this 750 ML bottle several months ago at Total Wine, but kept it in Mac’s beer refrigerator until the right moment. That moment arrived on Sunday October 7, 2012.
Seduction is a Belgian style Chocolate Cherry Stout. It pours dark, dark, dark red with a tan head that was fairly thick, but faded rapidly. The aroma is sweet chocolate, with no hops in the nose. The cherry is quite subdued, and I only noticed it after reading the label.
The flavor is chocolate with some cherry notes. It’s not bitter, but it’s not sweet, either. I guess that would make it well balanced. The carbonation level is high (it’s a Belgian style beer – you’ve got to expect that after all!) which lends some bitterness in the mouth. The aftertaste is all chocolate. The label says to serve at 40° F, but I think a warmer serving temperature is advisable. After warming up, the chocolate cherry aroma and flavor drastically increased, making this a very good beer.
I tasted this along side Mac’s Black Forest Stout, and I must say Mac’s stood up very well to Seduction. Sheila had a blind taste of both and picked Black Forest Stout over Seduction. Mac’s had much more body (that’s what you get when you have 2.5 lbs of oatmeal in the mash) and the flavor is more intense. The alcohol content of the Black Forest Stout is much higher (9.0% ABV vs. 6.8%), but is well hidden and not a factor in the flavor.
I don’t know if Seduction is available any longer. It was distributed in January 2012 and is a limited edition beer. I have not seen it recently at Total Wine. However, if you can find it, I highly recommend it, especially if you are a stout drinker looking for a complex tasting beer.
Bourbon County (2009): Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago Il. 13% ABV. This is the 2009 version of Goose Island’s bourbon barrel aged stout. This 22 oz bomber has been in my refrigerator for a couple of years (it was bottled on 10-09-2009; not sure when I purchased it, but it was sometime in early 2010). According to the label, it can be aged for up to 5 years in the bottle. I drank this beer on 10-21-2012 (just over 3 years after bottling).
Bourbon County pours dark as night with no head. It has a sweet, slightly boozy aroma (well, after all, it’s 13% alcohol) with some vanilla and a little bit of smoke in the nose. It is silky smooth with lots of body; there is very little carbonation.
It has a sweet chocolate flavor with a slight bitterness in the middle. The flavor is VERY rich, almost overwhelming. There is a nice bourbon barrel flavor at the end (vanilla and oak). A very pleasant bittersweet chocolate aftertaste lingers on the palate. The alcohol is noticeable but not hot.
Overall, Bourbon County is a top quality beer, better than almost all of the bourbon barrel stouts I have tasted (Black Tuesday, by The Bruery in Placentia, is far and away the best I have ever had, but it’s $30/bottle). The bourbon flavor with the sweetness and the alcohol make this a sipping, dessert beer. Take your time drinking this one, and savor every swallow.
I tasted Little Levi’s Bourbon Barrel Stout along side this one, and had Sheila do a blind taste test of the two. Sheila preferred Little Levi’s (she liked the chocolate flavor with the coffee aftertaste and thought the Bourbon County was too sweet and boozy). I prefer Bourbon County hands down because the beer is all about the vanilla/bourbon flavor. As with any big stout, the flavor improved as the beer warmed to the 60° range.
If you are interested in finding this beer, I doubt that the 2009 version is still available. You just might be able to find it on ebay or Craig’s List, but be prepared to pay a premium for it (I think I paid $10 – $13 at Total Wine when I bought it almost 3 years ago). I will start looking for the 2012 version (if it’s available) and buy a couple of bottles if/when I find it (one to enjoy now and another to cellar for a few years). The label says, “One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.” I would have to agree, and I can’t recommend this beer enough – it’s REALLY GOOD!