Bourbon County Stout Tasting

I’ve never organized a big tasting before. I’ve been to big bottle shares but as for doing a themed tasting, I’m pretty new at this. Here’s the lineup and details:

  • 12 People, 3 have had BCS before and the rest have not.
  • We’ll have snacks and BBQ or Pizzas to snack on to keep soaking up the alcohol and obviously, LOTS of water.
  • Most people are bringing an air-mattress so I believe no one is going to drive home that night which is a good thing!
  • Also, we have 2 girls and the rest are guys..not that it matters but just a fun fact.

The Bottle Lineup I put together:

  • Bombers:
    • BCS Rare (2010)
    • Vanilla (2010)
    • Bramble (2011)
    • Cherry Rye x2 (2012)
    • Backyard Bramble (2013)
    • Coconut (2013)
    • BCS Regular (2009)
    • Coffee 10
    • Coffee 11 x3
    • Coffee 12 (Bottle + 5.2 Gallon Keg)
    • King Henry
  • 12oz Bottles
    • One each of BCS 05 – 08
    • Two each of BCS 09, 10, 12
    • Four 2011 and 2013
    • Coffee 2013 x4
    • Barleywine 2013 x4

Assuming we open only 1 of every bottle and ignore bottles I have multiples of, the total ounces comes to 242 Ounces (Bombers) + 132 Ounces (12oz bottles) for a total of 374 ounces of 13-15% Bourbon Barrel Stouts. Divided 12 ways, that’s 31.16 ounces per person or about 1.4 Bombers per person of beer.

Anyone that’s craving more BCS can opt to open another bottle of some of the variants or regular ones or I’ll have 3 beers on tap, a 15% BCS Clone aged on Blanton’s Oak with vanilla beans, a 13% Bourbon / Vanilla Barleywine and a 5.2 Gallon keg of Bourbon County Coffee and a 5.2 Gallon keg of Regular BCS 2012.


  1. So the question I have here is on how to break things up. There are some insanely professional expert beer drinkers reading this blog. My thought was that I’d have a mix of Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella and Regular Gueuze from 3F, Cantillon and Tilquin available as palate cleansers. I’d just keep a few 1-2 ounce samples poured at all times so people could use those to wipe the sticky booze from their palate as needed.
  2. I don’t want to serve snacks that mask the stouts taste either so what sort of snacks should I have? You’d think after 2 years at this I’d have more of an idea but this actually is my first hosted tasting. I have almost every style imaginable down in the cellar and just need guidance on what’s an acceptable palate cleanser.
  3. Finally, how long should this tasting take? I thought 7PM – Midnight would be too long but with food and breaks, that sort of makes sense.
  4. Oh and serving! I want to make sure every serving is a clean surface, not reusing glasses and I want to control pours so people don’t overdue their 1 / 2 ounce pours. Can I buy plastic 1-ounce servers online? Is that something that’s common? How do you guys split a bomber 12 ways?
  5. OOOH and one more thing! Crap, I keep losing track of questions. How would you organize the order? Do we do it based on year so 2009 BCS gets paired with Rare + Vanilla? Or do we do all regular BCS in a row like a true vertical then start doing variants?