Last month we shared a GBHype podcast interview with Goose Island brewmaster Jared Jankoski discussing the presence of Lactobacillus Acetotolerans in a variety of Bourbon Country Stout offerings in the latest release. While the souring bacteria had been identified in two variants and traced to specific batches, it had yet to show a consistent pattern in Original BCS and Proprietors, and investigations were still underway. Now, the company has determined the scope of the issue, and is releasing recall information to consumers.
WHY IT MATTERS
Goose Island's barrel program is the largest in the country, and seen by many as the most advanced. Certainly with the resources of AB-Inbev behind them, the presence of a beer spoiler in the famous beer came as a shock to many. Research showed that this particular bacteria, Lactobacillus Acetotolerans (most common in rice wines and vinegars), was outside the normal testing protocols for brewers, extremely challenging to grow on lab media, and difficult to determine its veracity for spoilage at different dilutions in the blended stout barrels. It continues to be an issue for the company as bottles sit on shelves across the country at different temperatures.
This is a major setback for the program, both in terms of reputation and financially. While many consumers have sworn off the brand in response, others have expressed their appreciation for a situation well-handled and vowed to return. Opinions vary wildly. While Goose Island has largely emerged from the unsurprising negativity associated with AB-Inbev acquisition, it remains a question of how much latitude consumers will give a brand that's now seen as both craft and corporate in future challenges.
If you have bottles of BCS that may be affected, you can find out here and follow the instructions for a refund. (The site's status has been intermittent all morning. Check back later if it doesn't load.)
— Michael Kiser