Arkansas has not historically known for its craft beer, but a release from Ozark Beer Co. is changing that.

The beer in question is Bourbon Double Cream Stout—or BDCS, as it is commonly known in the craft beer community—a 10.2 percent ABV imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. First brewed in 2014 and released in 12-ounce cans in 2015, the stout is fermented in steel tanks before being aged for “several months” in bourbon barrels that each held Kentucky bourbon for between 6-12 years.

Ozark’s website give a few more details:

The contents of around 30 or so barrels are blended with care to ensure the most even representation of the beer.  Our Bourbon Double Cream Stout is then slowly carbonated and allowed to condition cold for a few days in her brite tank.  After some time, the blend is then canned and kegged and prepared for sale.

As has been the case since it debuted in 2015, the 2017 incarnation of BDCS was packaged in four-packs of 12-ounce cans ($19.99) with a limit of three four-packs per person per day when it was released on May 5 at the brewery in Rogers.

Ozark Bourbon Double Cream Stout 2017 pours a motor oil black with a half-finger of dark tan head that dissipates swiftly, leaving a thin ring behind that sticks around for quite a while. Visually, there does not seem to be all that much carbonation, and the aroma from the glass reminds me strongly of a combination of bourbon and chocolate brownie, along with notes of raisins, roasted coffee, caramel, oak and slight dark fruit.

The profile of the Bourbon Double Cream Stout is complex from the start, featuring loads of rich flavors including roasted coffee, bourbon, oak, cinnamon, bitter chocolate, dark fruit and tobacco. In addition, there is quite a bit of sweet bourbon and vanilla on the finish, along with a touch of espresso bean bitterness that really adds to the overall enjoyment. The mouthfeel is fantastic with an extremely thick viscosity that is almost chewy, and despite what my eyes told me, the amount of carbonation is close to perfection. Finally, the alcohol level makes itself obvious without being overwhelming at any point, and the brownie and vanilla sweetness in the profile does increase noticeable as the stout warms up.

Ozark Bourbon Double Cream Stout 2017
BREWERY: Ozark Beer Co.
LOCATION: Rogers, Ark.
STYLE: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.2 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $5 (Four-Packs of 12-Ounce Cans, $19.99)
RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2017
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce Cans
Don’t let the makeshift-looking label fool you, the Ozark Bourbon Double Cream Stout is a world class beer. The amount of roasted coffee, creamy oak and brownie sweetness in this stout’s profile is almost unbelievable, and the way that all of the flavors are balanced with the alcohol is quite impressive. While comparisons to Bourbon County Brand Stout are inevitable, there are a number of obvious differences between the two beers: the Ozark has a more roasted coffee note to the profile, is substantially less sweet on the palate and features a much thicker mouthfeel. If given a choice, I would drink Bourbon Double Cream Stout over BCBS every day and twice on Sundays and that is high praise indeed.
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