Available for Sale Monday May 8th.
Goose Island’s Cooper Project is a new rotating series of bourbon barrel-aged beers. Its first release is Scotch Ale and it does a great job of highlighting caramel, toffee and roast flavors.
It uses three types of pale malt, roasted barley and three types of crystal malt, including one variety called Simpson Crystal Rye. For those not familiar with the Scotch or Scottish style, it highlights malt, but does not have the intense burnt coffee-type roast you would find in a stout, and to a lesser extent, porter.
The Cooper Scotch Ale poured a dark brown color with red highlights and a half-inch frothy head, and the caramel malts were immediately evident in the aroma, along with a slight chocolate background.
The aroma was mirrored in the flavor — caramel and background chocolate, but also with toffee notes. There was a pleasant slight tang in the aftertaste — not citrusy, but a character often found from the use and manipulation of certain malts. In this case, it may be because of the caramel rye malt.
The beer had a rich mouthfeel without being cloying, and like many beers of this style, was medium sweet. It had a somewhat dry finish that prevented the sweetness from lingering, however.
The sweetness was not overpowering, such as McEwan’s Scotch Ale from Scotland, which is one of the sweetest beers in the world — I try one every couple years and the sugars are just too overpowering. Not so with the Goose Island version.
I liked the 8.7% ABV of the beer — enough to provide a warm glow, but no unpleasant alcohol flavor.