Posted 1 year ago | Beer, Reviews, Virginia Beer

Old Bust Head Barrel-Aged Chili Chocolate Gold Cup


I don’t say this often, but I prefer Old Bust Head’s standard chipotle and chocolate variant of their Russian imperial stout instead of this bourbon barrel-aged version. This particular bottle of Gold Cup (10% ABV) is from 2016 so I’m sure that has an affect on my decision. The big brew doesn’t feel or taste old or like it’s been in the bottle for too long — I’m just not sure that, in this case, the addition of a barrel influence really does anything for it.

The chocolate and base flavors of Gold Cup are still present, but the addition of old wood, vanilla and soft bourbony notes tend to muddle the experience as bit. As expected, with the beer’s age, the chili presence is quite toned down, providing just a tingle of heat and not much flavor. The imperial stout is appropriately full bodied and warming as it finishes long with a lightly drying and warming finish. When compared to a fresh glass of the brew, this particular bottle just does not stand a chance.

Chocolate chili Gold Cup is my favorite beer from Old Bust Head. I love how everything interacts with the other elements. With this vintage-dated bottle, things just get a bit muddled. Perhaps the barrel-aged variant is more lively and cohesive served closer to its bottling date, but seeing as how the brewery intentionally held onto them for this particular release, I don’t believe it lived up to their expectations.
At least, there wasn’t anything off about this particular bottle as there was with the barrel-aged coconut variant.


A dense cap of brown foam drops unevenly to a full ring and sparse surface cover atop the opaque, black brew.

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