Six months of trading, a lot of planning, 10 people participating and a whole lot of snacks. Here’s the sort of run down for this whole shindig. At the end of the summer, I realized that I had a bottle of BCS Coffee 2012 and regular BCS 2009-2012. With 2013’s release approaching, I started trading for every bottle I didn’t have. From September to December, I traded for every commercially available BCS bottle and invited some friends to join in the fun so we could enjoy them all side by side.
We had a total of 42 unique beers from 5PM -to 3:30AM. There were 13 people in my house but 10 people were participating in the tasting and we all drank an equivalent of a 6-pack per person of high ABV stouts. It was a crazy evening. Most of the Hill Farmstead was brought out when only 4 of us were still standing and we watched Jackass 2 and sipped on Damon & Flora and snacked on what was left of that awesome sandwich platter that Adrien brought. Also, these guys can eat some freaking popcorn and pretzels. Jeez.
Everyone has different palates but from 2005 to 2013 BCS to every variant and four years of Coffee BCS, I had some thoughts on where all of these sit currently. Also, thank goodness I didn’t send a Hill Farmstead Ann to that guy who had a 2003 & 2004 BCS. That’s what he was asking for because they were rare employee only bottles and the 2005 was barely drinkable so good riddance.
Comparing regular plain Bourbon County Stout:
This beer falls off at year 5 like a cliff. Every year starting from 2005 and going forward got better and better until I hit 2012 and preferred 2011 to it and 2013 I liked less than 2012. As most people out there know, 2 years is really the best spot for this beer and at year 2, it starts fading. The vanilla, coconut, molasses fades and there’s almost no sweetness in the 2005 and instead you get a cardboard roasted charcoal taste more pronounced. Obviously, each year the carbonation drops and the 2008 we poured had no head at all. The cap hissed on every BCS except the 2005 but only the 2009-2013 had a head form on the pours.
Comparing BCS Coffee every year:
This is a no brainer as well that fresher is better but not as extreme as I thought once coffee is a year old. The 2010 – 2012 were equally as coffee forward and equally as good. I would drink all 3 of those. The 2013 was worlds better like OMFG this is amazing and the others were all similarly great. So my advice, if you have coffee stouts over a year old, they’re not getting any worse but they’re not as good as they were fresh.
Comparing the Templeton Rye Whiskey fruited variants:
First of all, I need to edit my Bramble Rye review. What was a cough medicine bomb is now actually pretty good but I would say that that Goose Island’s bottles get better every year like Bramble was my least favorite and all the way up to Proprietor’s as the best one. Backyard Rye was so jammy and Cherry Rye really came into its own but I liked it only equally as much as Bramble.
King Henry Versus Barleywine:
Don’t trade for King Henry. Barleywine and KH are identical except Barleywine is fresher and will be similar to KH with time. Yes, the Pappy / rare barrels make KH better, but not at what the trade value currently dictates. I’d take 2-4 packs of Barleywine and hold them for 2 years instead of trading for a King Henry
Rare & Vanilla:
If you have these, you’ve held on to them long enough. Trade or drink them. Rare is 5 years old now and Vanilla is 3. It’s time to drink them now. Vanilla is not as good as it was 2 years ago and I’ve had it now twice this week. Rare was the best of all of the regular BCS beers BUT only marginally better. If you said “here’s a case of BCS or you can have a bottle of rare” I’d take the case of regular BCS.
As for everything else we drank, it was an awesome time. Everyone in attendance was very chill and people that weren’t staying the night had designated drivers or got a hotel room nearby. I’m really happy everyone was so responsible and friendly. I took a few photos and I’ll update this post in a few days if photos arrive from other attendees. I know there was an SLR floating around so I’d like to see those pics.