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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4,184 Ratings
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Ratings: 4,184
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 8.15%
Wants: 531
Gots: 1,831 | FT: 301
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,184 | Reviews: 463
Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4.94/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of TonyLuvsBeer
4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of Pete_IV
4.18/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of kkleu357
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Coopers Tavern during Madison Beer Week. Dark brown body with a small head. Big sweet aroma. Very sweet tasting. Hints of dark fruits, oak, some vanilla. Mild bourbon bite. Had this right after Vanilla Rye so it’s tough to appreciate, but still very good.

Photo of hopsputin
4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: a rich muddy ruby red color with some mahogany color

S: dark fruits, bourbon, licorice, oak, dark chocolate. Loads of sweet caramel. Very lovely smelling beer

T: sweet dark cherries, fig, sweet sugary syrup, vanilla, sweet bourbon, a hint of roasted malts, rich milk chocolate. Ends with a bit of bourbon and some alcohol in the flavor

M: medium mouthfeel. Carbonation level is medium, but works nicely

O: a fantastic beer. Well harmonized and complex. Not much alcohol in the flavor which makes it dangerous. Get some.

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

83 Proof - San Francisco, CA - draft (Goose Island Migration Week)

Photo of Footballtennishockeygolf
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What puts this beer up there is the aging in bourbon barrels that previously contained BCBS. Such an amazing finish to this beer.

Photo of elvisdoc
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very nice barleywine. Highly recommend.

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

Damn Jeanna! Poured from a chilled 12oz bottle into a snifter glass. Brownish merlot color that is opaque when held to the light. Minimal head during the pour that quickly dissipated. Smells of fruit, vanilla and sugar sweet grapes or raisins. Beautiful aroma. Tastes like a traditional English barleywine but thick and full in the mouth. Big blast of raisins, vanilla with subtle undertones of bourbon aged in oak barrels. Huge abv and slight burn. Amazingly doesn't taste like bourbon. Sweet. Grapes, raisins and vanilla. Chewy almost. Really complex. Struggling to identify flavors. Really smooth and drinkable for such an abv bomb. One of those "Let's get everyone up in here pregnant" beers. Will definitely acquire more! Got this as an extra for crying out loud! Dang this is good!

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.76/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage. Poured in a snifter, the beer is a very dark, cloudy, opaque, brown coloring with no head. The beer pours thick like liquor. Aromas of rich caramel and molasses forward, solid booze undertone, notes of pineapple and cream, vanilla, woody highlights, and subtle char notes. Very rich and sweet nose. Flavors are richly sweet forward, with a heavy dose of vanilla, molasses, and caramel, all rich and sweet, on a roasted backbone with a booze kick and building warmth. Amazingly balanced, with old world fruit notes of date, plum, and raisin layering on. Woody and bourbon highlights, with some char notes, too. This is layered, yet balanced and super smooth. The body is robust and velvety smooth, with a building warmth adding to the molasses and toffee rich aftertaste. The finish is heavy and smooth, with a sugary sweet and boozy linger. Fantastic beer, and amazingly drinkable despite the depth, weight, and robust flavors. Wow!

Photo of chrisjws
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage poured in a snifter glass. Refrigerated and left at room temperature for 15 minutes before pouring.

A: Dark, dark brown. Hints of ruby at the edges. Brownish head is less than a finger. Some alcohol legs when I swirl.
S: Tobacco, caramel, dark fruits, small amounts of chocolate, spiciness, bourbon.
T: Slight bitterness with caramel, followed by strong whiskey combined with dark fruits. Tobacco and bourbon in the aftertaste.
M: Slight carbonation, coats your mouth. Heavy but smooth.
O: Excellent barleywine, made better with bourbon.

Photo of papat444
4.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

***2014 Vintage***

Strong on the bourbon but never overbearing. Hints of coffee and smoke are also present. One of the best barleywines i`ve had.

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

Also, having this in CA on tap has been great and even better when I was able to get a couple of bottles. Worth the capture.

Photo of danieelol
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Wyatt. Bottled 17 Sep 13

Pours dark black but with the occasional red/purple when swirled. Head looks nice, decently tanned. It's not that aggressive but can be summoned with a swirl and becomes markedly more vigorous.

Nose is first off plum. Then chocolate. Lots of chocolate actually. Bourbon and muscatel grapes. Comes across like a Christmas pudding with stewed fruits and lots of brandy. And chocolate veers into caramel at times.

Appearance and nose are truly exceptional.

Taste has lots of grapey muscatel, hint of chocolate but more subtle and fruits. Definitely can feel there's a lot of sugar there but it's kept in check to some extent by the barrel char and a bit of booze.

Plummy sweetness does creep up a bit in the mouthfeel but it stops short of cloying.

Overall an amazing beer. Nose is potentially the best of a barleywine I've ever had. Just love the huge dark fruits, bourbon but also chocolate and caramel. Best of both worlds.

Photo of Noahtrumble
4.89/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great beer, all time great

Photo of robgutie
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I enjoy barleywines but tend to be more of a fan of stouts. This really blew me away. Poured, 6 months after bottling) dark as night, virtually no head. Smell was pleasent but mild. Taste sweet with big burbon notes and raisin.

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

Bottle. Dark brown pour with a kaki head. Dark fruit and barrel aromas. Big bourbon, dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel notes dominate. Vanilla, and oaky low lights. Average body. Very good mouthfeel. Doesn’t drink like a 15%er. A little time in the bottle might help this beer.

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled September 2014, poured into a snifter on March 21, 2015. So about 6 months age on it.

Look - Probably the darkest barley wine i've ever seen, it looks more like a stout than anything, very dark brown, appears black in most lights. Gorgeous.

Smell - Very pleasant smell. Slightly sweet, mixed with a malty smell and a small amount of booze. much less of a boozy smell than most barleywine.

Taste - The best part of any beer (or else your drinkin' the wrong stuff). This is crazy smooth for an 11%+ barleywine. It is very earthy, nuts, figs, and maybe a little sugar cane. It truly is delicious. The burn of the alcohol is very discreet but it's definitely the flavor that stays with you the longest in between sips.

Feel - Not as thick as I was expecting, but that is most definitely not a bad thing. Based on the flavor profile the thinner mouthfeel is spot on to complement the flavors.

Overall - Can't think of many other beers of this style I would rank ahead of this. Maybe J.W. Lee's off the top of my head but this is an excellent representation of the barleywine style. If you find it, don't pay attention to the price just buy it. I promise it will be worth it.

Photo of zotzot
4.86/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Awesome, supurb
as good as their stout

luscious on the mouth

Photo of JohnnyMc
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Very complex, but so drinkable too.

Photo of Gobearswalter34
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bourbon county #2 for me. I'll make this easy...5.

Photo of dmgeng
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this one on trade since I needed to bridge the gap on a more expensive bomber.

A - Very dark garnet. Has a light tan head that subsides quickly to leave no trace of carbonation or head.

S - Sweet bourbon smell mixed with strong maltiness and some coconut and light chocolate notes as well. Very complex smell but predominately sweet and barrel forward.

T - The bourbon barrel is the main event. The full bourbon flavor is accompanied by the malt and the sweet caramel tones of the base beer. The barrel also carries with it oak, vanilla, and a distinct toasted coconut character. There seems to be no bitterness and the only slight salvation for the sweetness is the alcohol on the back end.

M - High mouth-feel with almost no carbonation. Very much like taking a shot of bourbon and dropping it into a tepid barleywine.

Overall, this is a very complex beer with a sweet bourbon forward flavor. If you don't like sweet beers or bourbon this one is probably not a good choice. I wouldn't pay $10 for this beer again but I could see someone wanting this beer occasionally. I do not feel that this is a good representation of the style and you shouldn't judge your experience of the past on this beer. This beer is a beast of it's own that you need to make your own decision on.

Glass- Snifter

Photo of TempeBeerMan
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 Vintage
Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours an opaque ruby-brown with a one-finger tan head which quickly vaporized, leaving a thin, bubbly film behind. Rings of lacing consisting of teeny, tiny, bubbles.

S - Powerful aroma of toffee, fruit cake, date, plum, fig, and prune. Smells delicious.

T - Matches the nose well, with extra caramel, oak, and sherry/port notes not as prevalent in the smell. Rich sweet plums and cherries in the mid palate. Hints of tobacco, leather, vanilla bean, and molasses. Some earthy hop comes through in the long finish. ABV present as a bite in the finish but still well hidden. The flavors blend and swirl in seemingly endless complexities. Fantastic.

M - Full body with delicately low carbonation. Slick, slightly syrupy finish; coats the tongue completely Overall feel is smooth.

O - Lives up to the hype, and pretty much perfection. Certainly the best barleywine ever to grace my lips. 5/5.

Photo of Kennethzelljr
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Every stat,perfect 5.2013 vintage.decedent,bold flavor

Photo of buckslayer50
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really good, but really sweet. Could only drink one even if I wanted more but would get it again.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 4,184 ratings.