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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale

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444 Reviews
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Reviews: 444
Hads: 4,361
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: 2.22%
Wants: 594
Gots: 1,936 | FT: 304
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jplopez21 on 10-04-2013

Aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then our renowned Bourbon County Stout, this traditional English-style barleywine possesses the subtlety of flavor that only comes from a barrel that’s gone through many seasons of ritual care. The intricacies of the previous barrel denizens – oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and that signature bourbon heat – are all present in this beer. Hearty and complex, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is a titan and a timeline; a bold, flavorful journey through the craft of barrel aging.
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Reviews: 444 | Hads: 4,361
Photo of Jovial_Libations
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 09/17/2013. Poured into a tulip glass.

L - Dark brown, rust colored with little carbonation.
S - Oak, Bourbon, Vanilla, Caramel
T - Sweet but balanced. Raisin, fig, vanilla, oak notes.
F - Surprisingly balanced, not too full-bodied or thin.

Overall I prefer this to BCBS. While BCBS tastes execellent fresh or on draught this one has aged pleasantly after 2 years in bottle. BCBS does not age well IMO, but this one could actually handle another year or two. (474 characters)

Photo of SoCal_Matt
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2014 vintage poured into a Teku glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with just a bit of carbed head, reminiscent of cola.

S - Bourbon, sweet dark fruits, a bit of vanilla.

T - Mostly bourbon, with a fruity sweetness like candied raisins/figs/dates.

F - Perfectly thick and viscous, although a bit thinner than BCBS.

O - Solid BA barleywine, but I was expecting a bit more. A bit too much of the sweet, dark fruits to me. (418 characters)

Photo of LADaveBN
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From draft. Nose is toffee, bourbon, burnt caramel. Taste is bourbon, a bit of oak, hints of vanilla. Subtle sweetness. Very nice. Finish is chocolaty and roasty with a little bit of alcohol burn. IMO, very similar to FW DDBA flavor profile, but not nearly as subtle. This takes those flavors and punches you in the face with them. Overall, outstanding. My first time trying a Bourbon County offering and it did not disappoint. (436 characters)

Photo of ljjpowers
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

MMMM (like Homer Simpson drinking a ‘Duff’). Barley Wine. And an aged barley wine at that. The nose gives off the classic English style in its truest form. Rather than the chocolate/coffee/vanilla/bourbon dominant concoction indicative of most other Bourbon County brews, though, this particular batch is more sophisticated; you smell dates, roasted malt, and brown sugar and taste these same components as well. Caramely barley wine is absolutely stacked with sweetness and the style makes these beautiful flavors more perceptible than they are in the context of a dark stout. A little more carbonated. A little more sophisticated. A little better. Yes. A little better than BCBS. The barley wine is the perfect partner in crime to Bourbon County with its light booze and oak. (781 characters)

Photo of BigBadBeerSnob
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle drank on 6/23/15. This beer is absolutely phenomenal and although I don't typically like BA barley wines, this is easily my favorite 12oz bottle from the BCS line. Pours very thin and with a little more head than I'd like but the taste is great. Third times the charm on these barrels cuz there isn't much heat. (323 characters)

Photo of Shaler_Tate
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am not a huge barleywine guy, but this one was spectacular. There was so much barrel character and the complexity of the flavor was intense. Mine was a 2014 so it was still drinking a little hot, but the overal balance was still great. (237 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

look: Very dark brown. Some cola highlights. Sparse tan head.
smell: Rich caramel, bourbon, vanilla.
taste: Rich and decadent. Wow. Popping with caramel, vanilla, bourbon. An interesting slightly bitter finish to answer the brown sugar, dark fruit sweetness. (259 characters)

Photo of jow_42
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 Vintage poured into a Stone RIS tulip glass

A - Rich, ruby red appearance w a half finger of khaki head. Super tight bubbles.

S - Wow. Massive bourbon, dark fruits - cherries, plums, figs. Tons of caramel, toffee, some vanilla from the barrels. Very "desserty".

T - Amazing, especially for an 11% beer. Sweet dark fruits up front - cherries, plums. Some caramel and toffee, with bourbon on the finish. Stupid easy drinking for the ABV. So darn good.

M - Full bodied, velvety, low carbonation.

O - for my money and availability this is the best BABW I've had. 100/100. (586 characters)

Photo of Moose90
3.97/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 bottle, tasted in July of 2015

A — Pours a deep ruby hued brown into the glass, actually quite dark for a BW. Little bit black around the edges, there is a puffy, but quickly fading off-white colored head. Looks quite thick.

S — Smells very boozy and rich, notes of vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel, oak, and bourbon.

T — Much like the nose, though quite a bit sweeter, lots of caramel, vanilla, sugar, plum, fig, bourbon, oak, chocolate.

M — Full bodied, sticky and long finish, hot.

O — Good overall, I kind of expected more, but this is still a good beer. (585 characters)

Photo of Zonk
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A little too much heat (odd since it is actually lower ABV than the BCBS )for me but still a really nicely made Barleywine. Lots of fig plum and dried fruits. A bit port like. (177 characters)

Photo of Budlum
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The top of barrel-aged barleywine. Strong charred vanilla with dark fruits and smooth smoky bourbon. Wonderful nose and velvet feel with a small hint of alcohol for 12% ABV. (173 characters)

Photo of -Rick
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A dark brown/red look, this beer has an amazing smell/taste. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee. There are so many well balanced tastes in this beer. One of the best I have tried. (181 characters)

Photo of emyers
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter. Bottled on date 9-23-13

Appearance: Pours cloudy dark brown with a very thin off-white lacing which dissipates quickly. Similarly to King Henry it looks somewhat lifeless.

Smell: Bourbon, tons of dark fruit - raisin, fig, plum - oak, vanilla, hints of coffee and chocolate. Extraordinary complexity. Tons of depth. Despite everything that is going on it melds beautifully.

Taste: Everything suggested by the smell and then some. Very big bourbon presence up front (which is extremely smooth, virtually no alcohol heat) which transitions into fig, raisin, chocolate covered cherries. Once again just a touch of coffee presence from the residual BCBS in the barrels. Nowhere near enough to come off anything like a stout but enough to add another layer to an already complex barleywine. Finish is more bourbon and dark fruit with a touch of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, smooth, viscous. Very low carbonation.

Overall: After King Henry I had pretty enormous expectations for this beer, and it was exactly what I hoped it would be. Not quite at level of King Henry, but captures all of the components that were present. Another example of Goose Island's world class skill with barrels. (1,246 characters)

Photo of Awolter
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2014 release

Granted this is my first barrel aged barleywine, it seemed a bit more like a stout to me. I loved it though!

Great smell, fantastically smooth. Drank at cellar temp, and no hint of booze the entire way. Can't wait to see how this one develops. (258 characters)

Photo of EveningCordial
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dank dark fruits like raisons, cherries, and plums on the nose, along with a nice faint bourbon. Taste is outstanding for the style. Again, dark fruits with just enough bourbon to make this a great barleywine. Nice notes of vanilla, oak, and tobacco. Perhaps my favorite BW. (278 characters)

Photo of apasternak
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not enough bourbon, too much sticky sweetness. Most people I know point to this when I say I don't really like barleywines, but this beer just does not live up to the hype for me. (179 characters)

Photo of mabermud
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a 15.5 oz brandy snifter.

Look: Pitch black body that is more dark brown around the edges. The darker mocha head is thin and very fine. The initial pour created a smallish, skinny head that quickly retreated to a thin film over the top, then to a slim halo around the glass. Lacing is slick.
Smell: Bourbon barrel, cherries, prunes, vanilla, bakers chocolate, molasses, and Big Red chew...Very rich aroma.
Taste: Big. Bold. Robust. The taste follows the nose. Among the other tastes, dark fruit is apparent. This becomes syrupy as it warms.
Feel: Thick and silky in the mouth. Lower level of carbonation. The lather is very thin and fades away smoothly.

Overall - A superbly crafted, fine piece of art. (754 characters)

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

amazingly complex beer, its staggering that goose island continue to improve year after year on these world class beers. the barleywine definitely distinguishes it from the original stout and its simply the best barleywine ive ever tasted. (239 characters)

Photo of brurevu
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a deep opaque brown to black with slight ruby hints and an almost imperceptible head. The pour left some strange whitish oil slick like traces on the top which I found odd but that wasn’t going to stop me from forging through this phenomenal beer. The aroma was very similar to the Bourbon County Stout that was heavy on the bourbon with slight hints of vanilla but mostly Bourbon. The taste had those familiar Bourbon County flavors of Bourbon and vanilla with the slight coconut hints coming at the tail end. Very malty and very bourbon forward the Bourbon County Brand Barelywine is one beast of a beer. Another barrel-aged masterpiece from Goose Island that takes over your palate as it warms and becomes a divine drinking experience. (761 characters)

Photo of Ian_B
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Innocent and mundane in appearance, the insane raisin-y sweetness smacks you across the face with a solid, almost cloying strength. It was almost enough to turn me off, but the taste comes through very well-balanced in comparison, with loads of sweetness handsomely accompanied by earthy roastiness. A smooth, spicy burn from the alcohol thins the mouthfeel a bit and let's the bourbon really shine. This style isn't something I am in the mood for too often, but this is a damn solid recipe. (491 characters)

Photo of Fux
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle.
A: Very dark brown with a quite large but fizzy mocha head which doesn't last. No lacing to speak of.
S: Smell is sweet and boozy with tons of vanilla, chocolate, ripe and dark fruits. It gets more mellow as it opens, with the vanilla dominating the scent.
T: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, leather, prune and fig. Complex with a good balance but with a quite boozy aftertaste, with ashes and cold tobacco lingering in the back of the throat. It really get better and better as it opens but the booziness also gets more overpowering as it warms up.
M: High bodied, with a thick, oily mouthfeel, which fits the style very well. The booziness on the finish is a bit harsh though.
O: This is pretty much focused on the barrel treatment (as expected for a bourbon county variant). Very good, not in par with King Henry but still a very enjoyable sipper. (865 characters)

Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours dark golden brown and sits in the glass much darker. Smells the opposite of dead fish. Has an incredible mild fruit taste at the end, this is seriously the best barley wine you will ever have. All fins up. (211 characters)

Photo of Sintech
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz Bottle.

Appearance - Dark brown hue.

Smell - Bourbon, caramel, smokiness, very complex...

Taste - Brown sugar, caramel dred fruits. No preceivable alcohol. Delicious.

Mouthfeel - Incredibly drinkable. Medium attenuation. Perfect carbonation.

Overall - Highly recommend. Best barleywine I have ever had!

Grade (A+) (324 characters)

Photo of TonyLuvsBeer
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was able to try this at the 2015 World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, MI the other night. Had BCBS and BC Vanilla Rye to compare it to. This was my least favorite. All three smelled very similar - incredible aroma. I felt this one was a little syrupy for my liking. Overall - still very solid but I preferred the other 2 a lot more. (337 characters)

Photo of Pete_IV
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle. Pours dark brown mahogany color with a small tan head. Might have poured too aggressively but bits of yeast sediment throughout. Smells of sweet malt, fig. Tastes like a sweeter barleywine up front then leads to flavors of regular bcbs. Slight bit of booze going down, but all around smooth. (305 characters)

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 444 ratings.