Every year since 20091, Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem, N.C. has released a barrel-aged variant of its extremely popular Sexual Chocolate imperial stout2 at an event taking place at the brewery in September.

Foothills Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2014 Bottle

This year was no different, and the lines started early on Sept. 6 3, full of people waiting to get their six-bottle allotment, up from four the year before. Although exact numbers were not released, the brewery noted on its website that “this year’s yield is significantly better than it has been in years past.” Coming in at 9.75 percent ABV, the imperial stout was sold only in 22-ounce bottles, which retailed for $20.

Foothills Sexual Chocolate Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2014

The brewery has some about the makeup of the beer on its website:

A cocoa infused Imperial Stout. Opaque black in color with a dark brown head. Big chocolate aroma with notes of espresso, blackstrap molasses, dark sweet toffee and dark fruit. Smooth dark chocolate backbone with complex notes of coffee, dark toffee and dark fruit.

The Foothills Bourbon Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate pours a thick, jet black color that allows no light through at all, and features a dark tan head with a slightly red lacing that lingers for quite a while after the pour. Aroma from the glass is a combination of huge dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, cherries and fudge.

Foothills Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate 2014

From the first sip, the combination of sweet fudge and bourbon take center stage, with a rich, dark cocoa bitterness the strongest note on the finish. Other flavors of oak, espresso beans, roasted nuts and figs were also present at different points, leading to an extremely complex profile. I do notice some licorice-like sweetness that is well integrated and never becomes so strong as to be overpowering that morphs to more of a vanilla bean note as the beer gets warmer. The mouth feel is a bit thinner than I expected from how it looked when it was poured, but still quite creamy overall, and the carbonation level was exactly where it should be for the style.

Foothills Bourbon Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate (2014)
BREWERY: Foothills Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Winston-Salem, N.C.
STYLE: Imperial stout
ABV: 9.75 percent
IBU: 85
PRICE: $20
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 6, 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
This is quite simply one of the best barrel-aged imperial stouts I have had, bar none. While I tend to find some examples of the style to be too sweet on the finish, the Foothills Bourbon Barrel-Aged Sexual Chocolate was extremely nuanced and well-balanced, with the bourbon note from the barrel integrating wonderfully with the rest of the flavors in the profile. It could have used a bit heavier mouthfeel, but after enjoying the beer as much as I did, that seems to be a bit nit picky. Well worth the time and effort to track one down.
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