This beer, annually released—and invariably sold out—on a Tuesday in late October, is considered a cult-beer classic to many, and for good reason. It's just about as intense and powerful a Bourbon barrel-aged stout as you can get—typically clocking in around 20% abv—and one that's perfect for cellaring to witness the progression and evolution that a beer like this can achieve. This year's release is almost a full alcohol percentage point behind the 2016 vintage, and it shows in its slightly more approachable character and less viscous and warming mouthfeel. Don't get me wrong—it's still big, bold and plenty boozy, with oodles of Bourbon-soaked vanilla bean, raw cocoa nib, roasted malt, mocha, caramel sauce and black licorice, finishing warm and spicy. Nuances of dried fig, date, cigar box, char and burnt leather tease the beer's more mature and complex future.