Barrel-Aged Beer Advent Calendar Day #4: Culmination Brewing MCS

MCS is Culmination Brewing’s bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout that was formerly supposed to be released black friday, but will hit cans at the brewery today. MCS is the beer formerly known as Multnomah County Stout, the name a winking nod to that formerly independent Chicago-based brewery that shall not be named. Culmination still calls the beer Multnomah County Stout but the cans are emblazoned with a bold red font saying MCS – and we are assured it’s only for brevity.

“The name is definitely a play on Bourbon County Stout but is not inspired by the recipe itself, just a wink, a nod, and soft jab towards a very well established brand,” says Culmination’s Paul Francis, who hasn’t drank a BCS since that brewery’s buy-out.

As we count down the 24 days of December leading up to Christmas, we are highlighting one barrel-aged beer each day. View all of the beers on this year’s Barrel-Aged Beer advent calendar after they have been posted at

Just like Sunriver Brewing’s new Haole at the Moon and Mi Case es Su Casa barrel-aged Imperial Stouts, MCS is being packaged in big 16oz cans for $9 or $32 a 4-pack of 11% ABV gooey-goodness.

This years Multnomah County Stout has the slight change of becoming a vegan beer for the first time after the brewers dropped lactose from the recipe (a milk derived unfermentable sugar.) Culmination is dropping all lactose from their beers – fitting, since they host a vegan pop-up on Sundays. MCS has big notes of chocolate, caramel, and bourbon soaked oak from the still very wet Heaven Hills barrels that it aged in for 10-11 months. Next years edition goes into barrels soon and the brewers plan to increase the body and sweetness, nudging it closer to a pastry stout in flavor profile.

 This years BCS also comes in a vanilla variant – spiced with Tahitian and Madagascar Vanilla Bean. Culmination plans more variants in the future, exploring other influences and flavor profiles.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: