Feb 20, 2018

Old Bust Head Barrel Aged Gold Cup

Old Bust Head’s Gold Cup is a solid Russian imperial stout, providing a softly robust character with good flavor. The brewery’s chocolate and chili variant of that same beer is outstanding and my favorite release from the local company. Just a couple of weeks ago, I happened across freshly released bottles of Gold Cup and two variants on the shelves of a local shop. This bottle of Bourbon barrel-aged Gold Cup didn’t display a vintage date, but the other two bottles were labeled 2016 so I can only assume this is from that same release.

For the most part, just about any beer that has spent time in any time of barrel, comes out a much different and sometimes improved version of itself. With Bourbon barrel aged Gold Cup, we see a beer that carries a very mellow barrel influence. A good bit of charred wood meets roast malt, anise, a hint of vanilla and Bourbon. The beer is balanced amongst its flavors and still carries a solid robustiness, but isn’t quite as dynamic as its barrel-aged peers. A solid measure of age in the form of cardboard/oxidation lingers at the edges letting you know that this is not a fresh brew.

I like Old Bust Head’s standard Gold Cup. It’s a no-nonsense imperial stout with good flavor and robust nature. I’m not sure barrel aging it has really done that much for it. Or, at least, releasing bottles a couple of years after they were originally made available doesn’t feel like the right move. This particular bottle isn’t bad or off by any means, but it’s certainly not in its prime either. Perhaps the other two vintage dated variants will prove more interesting.