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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,172 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2172
Reviews: 281
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 7.93%

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
Aged in third use bourbon barrels (previously bourbon and Bourbon County Brand Stout).

(Beer added by: jplopez21 on 10-04-2013)
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Ratings: 2,172 | Reviews: 281 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AndyAvalanche


4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip/snifter style glass. Liquid portion comes out a deep mahogany reddish/brown color. Slightly lighter highlights on the edges. Tan colored head pretty much all small bubbles, but it goes away pretty quickly, not much in the way of lacing.

Smell is sweet, but really good. Caramel, vanilla, some butterscotch, molasses, and obviously some bourbon and wood. Meshes nicely together.

Not that I dislike the smell (cause it's awesome), but the taste is a step up. Can really taste a blend of the bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Back flavors of molasses, some dark dehydrated fruit, and some sticky caramel. Really good, everything meshes together really well.

Really good mouthfeel, probably the best part. Certainly full bodied with a strong lingering flavor that lasts. The alcohol has a nice warming effect but it's not too boozy and has a nice carbonation level. Silky smooth with a nice warming and slightly bitter finish. Nice drinkability and a slow sipper. Great beer, thanks BBG for sharing. You're the man and you'll always be the BBG on some level to me.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 06:39:44 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of Kramerwtmf


4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sadly I only got one of these bottles because this beer is underrated even though it's in the top 25. I will definitely need to get a few more bottles and try to age them, but I might not be able to keep my hands off of them. My only knock on this beer is it's ever so slightly under carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 04:04:23 | More by Kramerwtmf
Photo of ksimons

New York

4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on September 24, 2013

A-a dark chestnut with a thin layer of khaki head that quickly disappears to leave a bit of lace around the top

S-bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt, brown sugar, and sticky bourbon soaked dark fruits

T-taste is similar to the smell, a caramel/toffee malt backbone with brown sugar, vanilla, sweet fruits, and finishes with a bourbon kick. You would hardly know it is 12.1%.

M-incredibly smooth, rich full body, moderate carbonation,

Overall this beer is dangerously drinkable with a smooth body, rich full flavors, and a nice bourbon warming to finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 21:40:29 | More by ksimons
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

4.74/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 9/17/13, poured into a Teku

A- pours a thick and viscous dark brown color with ruby hues around the edges of the glass, small foamy light tan head retains for a while, eventually reducing to a small layer floating on top, a ring of foam around the edges leaves some short lasting lace behind

S- the sweet caramel and molasses aromas literally jump out of the glass. Notes of butterscotch, dried fig, maple syrup, honey and toffee all play in to a big sweet malty aroma. Coffee and nutty chocolate fudge kick in. Oaky barrel aromas give notes of vanilla and bourbon on the finish

T- sweet and rich malty notes up front give flavors of dark fruit, caramel, black-strap molasses and coffee. A slightly savory meat-like flavor kicks in mid-palate, sweet notes similar to port wine kick in before moving into the barrel flavors of vanilla, red wine, oak and warming bourbon on the finish

M- Viscous body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that coats the mouth, eventually finishing smooth and warming

O- I love English barleywines and this is one of the best beers that I've ever had. The complexity of the aromas and flavors can be pondered for a ling time over a 12 oz glass. Another winner from the Bourbon County series

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 02:37:15 | More by Treyliff
Photo of ThickNStout


4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Hop City (Atlanta, GA). 19.99/ 4 pack. Bottled 09/23/13. Served in a Bruery snifter.

Pours opaque russet brown with barely a half finger of beige head yielded from a vigorous pour. The head fades to a hazy layer that leaves only the smallest ocassional spots of lace.

Smells of toffee pudding, caramel, sweet bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit and brown sugar. Good stuff.

The lucious, boozy, sweet blend of flavors follows the nose well. Toffee, bourbon, molasses, burnt caramel, vanilla, pralines, dark fruit, brown sugar, oak and a little chocolate, all with an appropriate alcohol presence drifting in and out. So many delicious layers that become even richer as it warms.

Syrupy, fairly heavy body with mild-to-moderate carbonation. The sweetness really coates the tongue for a finish of bourbon, toffee and raisins.

An outstanding drinking experience. The bourbon and subtle-yet-present imperial stout notes fill it with rich and flavorful layers. Certainly one of my favorite examples of a barrel aged English barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 12:40:28 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of mynie


3.4/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Points I have sought to prove in the past:

-English Barleywines aren't very good.
-Accordingly, it's good to barrel age them, so you taste the barrel whiskey instead of the cloyingly sweet syrupness that limeys apparently enjoy so much.

The best BAEBW's, then, would be the ones that take the barrel-agedness to the extreme. Which means that Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Bidness should logically make an excellent BAEBW, since their barrel nodes are, to put it bluntly, intense.

Instead, nope. We get this. Big super sweet English Barleywine against aggressive vanilla nodes and a depressing lack of booziness or burn. NOTHING cuts into the sweetness. Nothing.

It's still not a *bad* example of its style. It's just that the style is bad. The beer's midwest hype and semi-rareness has inflated its score, no doubt, but seriously it's not worth whatever you're being asked to pay for it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2014 03:24:14 | More by mynie
Photo of hops202

District of Columbia

4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 9/24/13. Poured into a snifter.

Had this as soon as it was released, but very excited to try again.

Look is super dark brown/reddish hints. Aroma is a spectacular barleywine mixed with bourbon and coconut and sweet candies berries, maybe cherry or blackberry. Taste is that of barleywine, coconut smoothness and bourbon. Quite an incredible combination and hopefully will be present next year as variant.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 23:16:21 | More by hops202
Photo of bryanbullock

District of Columbia

4.94/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best barleywine that has ever touched my lips, the aroma off the nose screams barrel aged, with malt sweetness and the taste does not disappoint. The flavor is malt, caramel, chocolate, and vanilla sweetness, with the smooth finish that is indicative of a barrel aged beer. Mild carbonation in mouthfeel, with lingering resonance of flavor and texture.


bottled on 9.24.13

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 22:52:05 | More by bryanbullock
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.96/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barley-wine Ale, malt beverage aged in bourbon barrels. 2013 release.12.1% alc. by vol. "Brewed and bottled by Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago, IL. Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years." I wish I had more than one bottle, but as it is, I have one, and I'm drinking it now. (Thanks to Brandon for the sample bottle.)

Strictly black. No head. Very still. Deep and mysterious.

Aroma: bourbon first, massive, thick, viscous, bourbon-y aromatics. Charcoal, vanilla, whiskey, chocolate-covered cherries….there's bound to be a barley-wine under there, too.

Taste: In the mouth, immense-ness, huge-osity, and mucho massive. I'll bring them back: thickness and viscosity. Giant. The bourbon covers everything in this, and I'm getting no flavors of the barley-wine below. Fullest of bodies here, long, long finish, stays forever in the mouth.

I do wish I'd have been able to taste the base beer in this one. Without that, I'm tasting tons of bourbon barrel effect over some kind of barley-wine that's not showing itself. What it is, though, is very tasty. It's the perfect beer for right now, my last of the night. Good way to go out.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 01:49:52 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

4.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a small size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, chocolate, bourbon

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, chocolate, and dark fruits. There is also some vanilla, bourbon, and a woodiness.

Overall - If I had to fault this beer, it would be that it is a touch sweet. But it is not an every day beer, and it is a definite treat. This might be one one of the best tasting beers I've had.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 00:35:30 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Immortale25

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Back label says Bottled On: 24SEP13

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before soon becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and random specs of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- Very sweet smelling with tons of raisin, sherry and vanilla notes. A bit overbearing and boozy.

T- Flavor's definitely more balanced with the sweetness coming through but slowly transforming toward a roasty finish with the bourbon making its contribution the whole way through. Notes of more raisin, dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and figs. Alcohol is certainly well concealed making for a neat sort of controlled chaos, however there is a slightly boozy aftertaste.

M- Soft, silky and smooth with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- While the aroma is way too heavy on the raisin (maybe some more age would mellow that out?), the rest of the beer checks out just fine. A complex, aggressive yet very drinkable barleywine that belongs in the top rankings.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 00:24:20 | More by Immortale25
Photo of DoubleJ


4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Bourbon County line has become fashionable again. Heck, even the standard Bourbon County Stout has become popular among beer geeks and hoarders alike. So, what does one do when a barleywine is aged in barrels previously used for the stout? You sample it. I was lucky to spot a tap at Out of the Park Pizza, even if a 6 ounce pour would cost $12. Sometimes you just have to make the opportunity. On to the beer:

It's dark ruby brown and not topped with much of a head. Instead, it yields a few glossy legs around the glass (now we're being haute classe!). But that's nothing compared to the rest of this story. The aroma is very sweet, and in many ways resemble the classic Bourbon County Stout. There's no shortage of sweet bourbon, molasses, raisins, and toasted sugar, suck it all in.

Greatness is further achieved through a taste that few beers can match. Full flavored, but still balanced and sophisticated. The taste of raisins, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, sherry/oxidation make their mark and make the beer intriguing to keep you coming back to your glass for more. Although it's full bodied, the texture is very smooth, and to a great surprise the alcohol is hidden as well as any beer with a content this high (that's high praise right there!).

At the end of my glass, I felt like a relived my first moment with Bourbon County Stout. A thick, succulent big beer that I fear cannot get much better than it stands. At this stage, only Old Ruffian and J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale can compete with this monster of a barleywine. As a bonus, this becomes my favorite new beer of 2014. Amazing!

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2014 04:03:57 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of 01001111


4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, viscous, largely opaque brown with yellow hues where it thins out enough to become translucent.

S: Dates, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, mollasses.

T: Tart dark fruit up front; cherries and dates. Then some tobacco and booze washed in brown sugar.

M: Chewy, syrupy with a lot of heat.

O: A great beer but perhaps not as balanced and complex as some of the competitors.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 03:43:14 | More by 01001111
Photo of Brick_Frog


4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - pours a deep black. Cola hues show upon being held up to light. No head at all.

S - Jesus H. Bourbon, chocolate, figs, fudge, vanilla. Lots going on here. I can see why BW purists would be put off by this, but it really does smell awesome.

T - Again the bourbon is right up front, but there's too much going on for it to stick around too long. Everything flows through: Dates, figs, a touch of rum-soaked raisin, oak, coconut. A bit of alcohol warmth on the end to make sure you know it's there. As soon as you think you're done you get more chocolate and vanilla. Outstanding.

M - Thick, but velvety smooth. Coating. Sticky. The way a good barleywine should be.

O - again, I can see why BW lovers wouldn't like this as much as they should. I get it. At the end of the day though take it for what it is: A shining example of a BA barleywine that maybe found too much influence from the beer that was previously housed in the same barrels.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 23:46:31 | More by Brick_Frog
Photo of Sumdeus


4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at a barley wine festival. 5oz pour with Helldorado, Big Worster, and Mirror Mirror.

A: dark/black like a stout with a small cream head.

S: bourbon sweetness, malt and faint vanilla. Smell is fairly subtle compared to taste.

T: malty sweet bourban. Caramel, vanilla. Had in a flight with Helldorado, Mirror Mirror and Big Worster and it was the sweetest of the four. Big and tasty.

M: thick and syrupy. Moderate carbonation in the mouth, but very smooth.

O: looks like a stout, but more malty than most. Excellent dark appearance and great flavors and aromas. Wish I got more than 5oz.

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2014 22:39:16 | More by Sumdeus
Photo of raynmoon


4.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: murky dark brown, some amber and and red hues coming through. Light alcohol legs, no head, no lacing.

s: lots of molasses and figs. Dark fruits dominate the palate, which would be the barrel speaking.

t: taste follows but with a very nice burnt sugar, caramel note. Pretty sweet but not TOO sweet. Heat does come through but does not linger, it transfers into a sugar sweetness.

mf: very silky, light to medium carbonation.

overall: very nice. more comparable to Mother of All Storms than Sucaba.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 05:52:59 | More by raynmoon
Photo of magictacosinus


4.58/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the bottle, angrybabboon! Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottling date is listed at the back as "24/09/13." (Also, a European bottling date? Huh? Why?)

Pours nearly exactly like BCBS, with a few key differences - it's pretty much opaque and blackened at first, but when you hold it against some light it not only shows itself to be slightly translucent, but also contain some brief maroon/reddish streaks that confirms that this is indeed a barleywine. Due to the lower ABV of this beer, the head is a little larger at first (about 2 fingers high) with a tanned, off-kahki appearance before dissipating to a ring. Some bubbles show at the top, but no carbonation throughout. Extremely viscous, as you'd expect, and each swirl leaves behind a stained film at the sides of the glass. Pretty intense stuff!

Holy crap! I've always known all of these offerings to be rich and decadent in the past, but this probably takes the cake. I've never had King Henry, but I suppose this may be what's it smells like at this point (which is why I'm not really bothering to track it down). However, let's get to the beer at hand, which is extraordinary in its own regard. Huge dark fruits hit you at first, showing plums, figs, and raisins, with cherry pits and blackcurrant as well. Then, the bourbon starts to work its magic, melded with residue of the BCBS base - sweet toasted toffee, caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, molasses, and notes of roasted chocolate, fudge, anise, light leather, and cherry toasted tobacco. This is sweet at first, but the finish is an herbal, dried malty goodness that lasts for a while, and is quite a delight to dig your nose right into this. It's impressive how well the alcohol is hidden on this, but it's definitely no surprise given the high amount of residual sugars. This may be the most opulent effort yet from GI in their latest barrel program release.

While the aroma takes me to a bourbon malty fruit paradise, this doesn't taste as bright and refined - but, man, does it taste good. Absolutely world class in every respect of the term. The fruit character is still driven up front, displaying a good deal of raisins, plum, figs, and cherry pits (maybe even dried currants), with the roasted malt and bourbon flavors following in immensely well. At the middle of the palate, the chocolate and nutty flavors of BCBS explode, and are coated with a brief leather and tobacco. The finish is undeniably more bourbon forward, with strong notes of burnt toffee, caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon. Finishes very buttery and vanilla forward, and to be honest, this perhaps my favorite part of drinking this - cocoa butter notes in beer are extremely delightful and decadent, and this melds terrifically well with the fruit and roasted notes to the beer's advantage. Overall, this feels way better carbonated and balanced in body than BCBS, and therefore, far easier to revisit whenever I feel in the mood.

It's too bad that I don't have more of these - I'd love to see how this would develop over time and witness how the barrel character would probably shine through. The fruits are just at the right sweet spot at this point, although I'd imagine as they fade and taste drier that they will compliment the earthier barrel flavors even better as it ages. Nevertheless, in terms of something that I could have more often (of the recent GI releases), this is by far my favorite. Whether it will evolve over time as well as regular BCBS is up to others to decide, but it melds together what I love so much about English barleywines and bourbon aged beers and melds it intriguingly balanced and wonderful results. Don't pass this by just because it isn't regular BCBS - this is a genuinely beautiful beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2014 19:07:10 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of M_C_Hampton


4.66/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: served on tap into a short Goose Island glass, very dark brown basically black with almost no very dark tan head, clear

S: heavy on phenols and higher weight alcohols, sweet, sugary malt, brown sugar, molasses, prunes, dried dates or figs

T: very sweet bourbon at first almost like a bourbon flavored maple pancake syrup, chocolate, molasses, cane sugar, prunes

M: thick with low carbonation, alcohol is almost hidden even though the content is so high

O: this is a very sweet almost dessert or after dinner digestif beer, the small 6 oz pour I had was a nice size serving, reviewed from notes taken on 3/6/14

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2014 00:54:17 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of caskstrength


2.73/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown. Or black. Probably black. looks like a stout

smells are pruney molasses with brown sugar. some oak/vanilla from the barrel, but too much malty brown sugar.

Damn, this is malty, sweet, and pruney. the other things I like are in the back. things like tobacco, leather, oak, coconut. But they're not driving the car. They're in the trunk.

Too gooey on the mouthfeel. But that's how bourbon county usually does it. when tobacco and leather and barrel juice cut the gooey-ness, it works. It doesn't work here. It's like the yeast gave up 1/2 way through fermentation, and the 3rd use barrels didn't have enough bite left to cut the residual sugars.

I have one more bottle. I'll open it in 2017 at the earliest, maybe time will help things here.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 23:43:20 | More by caskstrength
Photo of Cubatobaco


4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated 17 Sep 13
Poured into a Founders snifter

A - This pours a deep, dark brownish-red, very murky when held to the light, displays a khaki head, with little retention. slippery lacing that slides down the glass when swirled, light carbonation is seen around the edges.

S - Dark fruits, brown sugar, carmel, toffee...reminds me of my grandmothers butterscotch pie, vanilla from the barrels, molasses. Beautiful nose! I could smell this all night.

T - Tastebud overload! Let me see if I can name most of what I'm getting from this massive barleywine. Everything mentioned above is present. The first flavors, for me, that hit the tongue is the bourbon barrel and brown sugar. I'm just going to list everything because there is so much going on: carmel, chocolate, faint alcohol, figs, candy sugar, molasses, toffee, coffee and vanilla. I'm sure there is a bunch I'm missing.

M - Milk-like creaminess, medium-weight, frothy, medium-bodied, and a light carbonation feel. It supplies a long finish that leaves you tasting it for 45+ secs.

O - I haven't been in the craft beer game very long (1.5 years) and I haven't had the chance to drink a lot of BW's, but this and Sucaba set the standard for all others. I find it hard to believe that there will be better BW's made in the future that will rival them. If anything comes a long, it will probably only equal it as you can't beat it.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 03:04:17 | More by Cubatobaco
Photo of Duhast500

Rhode Island

4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at Stevie D’s in Cumberland for a Rhode Island BA meet up.

Poured from the tap into a Goose Island sipping glass.

The color is a dark black with no highlights. There is a finger of foamy brownish head with no lacing left on the glass.

The smell is strong oak aroma with hints of vanilla. There is a smoky aroma that is from the char in the barrel. The aroma just fills the nose with character is a lingering, holding that oak barrel smell for a while.

The taste is vanilla with a dark cherry and oak flavor. There is a deep boozy flavor that is very reminiscent of whiskey but has a nice malty finish. Hops are there but they give to the strong barrel flavor. There is a presence of dark fruit, blackberries and boysenberries are just hidden around the edges at this beer’s flavors continue after finishing eat sip.

The feel of this beer is big as expected and feels like it needs to be handled with two hands. This beer is meant to sipped and not rushed through. There is some nice smooth feel to this beer but still heavy and is best enjoyed being sipped and savored. Character is the best name for this beer. It will stay with you for some time and you'll be enjoying it even after the beer is gone.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2014 05:43:34 | More by Duhast500
Photo of BradC


4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish opaque brown, very little head or lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, dark fruits, vanilla and bourbon boozy.

Taste is dark caramel, toffee, dark fruits, vanilla from the bourbon barrels. There's a slight alcohol burn, but not overbearing.

Very heavy mouthfeel that is made tolerable by the slight carbonation.

Overall, great barleywine, with a lot of Flavors going on. Have a couple more to age, be interesting to see where they go.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 01:56:25 | More by BradC
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Consumed 3/4/14

Appearance: Deep brown with some lighter brown hues around the edges - pours with a medium-sized beige head that quickly fades to nothing - keeps a little collar, though, and leaves some specs of lacing - the lack of carbonation is quite acceptable though, given the style

Smell: Rich, decadent malts and a variety of sweet aromas - big, chewy caramel malts and malt extract - a range of candy-like, sweet aromas including caramel syrup, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, and even some honey - definitely sweet and definitely smells young for a barleywine, although there is some light oxidation in the back - chocolate, dark fruits, and alcohol - bourbon is moderately strong, not overwhelming - vanilla and wood

Taste: Big, chewy malts, bourbon, and sugar, in some kind of balance - decadent caramel malts, malt extract syrup, lightly toasted grain - lots of sweet flavors, already mentioned above, particularly caramel syrup, molasses, honey, and milk chocolate - nice bourbon undertone with some vanilla and wood - some dark fruits, like figs, plums - some noticeable alcohol - some oxidation, but definitely tastes young, as some of the flavors haven't quite yet melded

Mouthfeel: Full body with some light carbonation that prevents it from becoming syrupy, very smooth, touch of alcohol heat in the finish

Overall: In a couple years this prince may become a king

This is the second time I've sampled this beer, and I can now confirm that the rest of these bottles are going deep in my cellar, for at least two years. It tastes too sweet, too young for a barleywine. But it tastes like potential. While I doubt it will somehow evolve into something akin to King Henry II, I think my scores will go up when I update this review in approximately 2018.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 06:53:59 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of glazeman


4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a 1 finger off-white head. Lingering crown, not much legs.

S: Lots of toasted malt blended nicely with bourbon. Some brown sugar and a little bit of honey.

T: A little sweet at first with maple syrup and brown sugar, followed by a nice bit of bourbon and slight amount of French toast. Overall full of flavor and complexity. Some caramel at the front too as it warms.

M: Not too thick that it's creamy, but not so thin that it's watery either. Nearly Perfect. Nice lingering taste of toast, bourbon, and maple syrup. Masks the abv well with only slight etoh burn at the finish.

O: Quite good, probably not the very best. It's been a while since I had King Henry...think I still have 4-5 sitting around the cellar...probably time to open one up to compare.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 02:02:38 | More by glazeman
Photo of Chico1985


4.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sept. 2013 bottling. Split the 12oz this time around, had this once before too at a tasting.

Appearance - Very dark red with a beige head. A thin+swirly cap and thick ring is left for most of the duration.

Smell - Decadent stuff. Caramel/chocolate/bourbon/dark fruit/butterscotch goodness without much booziness. Some earthy and spicy tones. Definitely some Bourbon County Stout flavors in there, great mixture of flavors between those and the barleywine.

Taste - Very sweet and bourbon forward. Lots of candy caramel, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit. Light oak, some spiciness (perhaps from the bourbon), and some earthy hoppiness buried in there. The taste is missing most of the stout-ness from the scent but there is hints of some roasty chocolate.

Mouthfeel - I have in my notes: "like the Motley Crue song - 'sticky sweet'". Syrupy, lowish but ample carbonation, somewhat boozy as it should be.

Overall - Kinda undeniably tasty, the barrels previously containing Bourbon County Stout definitely made a difference/make this unique. Sweetness+booze is a little tolling, 6 oz. was a good serving size.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 23:05:05 | More by Chico1985
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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,172 ratings.