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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,994 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,994
Reviews: 325
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 334
Gots: 1,043 | FT: 204
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,994 | Reviews: 325 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by LambicPentameter:
Photo of LambicPentameter


4.68/5  rDev +3.3%

After missing the boat on getting my hands on a bottle of this, I stumbled upon it on tap at Bier Station in Kansas City. Happy (late) Thanksgiving to me! Enjoyed out of a small Belgian-style tulip glass.

Appearance - So, I wasn't aware of the third-use bourbon barrels, so when it came out almost black, I was surprised. For a second, I wondered if they had just labeled the tap incorrectly. At any rate, it was a dark rum and walnut black with the slightest dark brown hints at the very edges of the glass. Head is minimal--a three-quarters finger of creamy tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving nothing but a thin rim of fine foam around the edge.

Smell - Quickly erases any doubt (from the color) that this is a barleywine. An intoxicating blend of molasses, fresh barley and rye, vanilla and a maple woodiness and bourbon underlying all of it.

Taste - Again, the barleywine aspect comes through strong, maple syrup, malty sweetness, brown sugar and molasses, bourbon glaze, and some esters and tannins to cut the thickness More bitter elements like roasted malt, faint baker's chocolate, burnt caramel also cut the sweetness and even some dark fruit elements figs and dates provide yet more complexity. It's tasty at the chilled temperature they served it at, but only gets more enticing and deep as it warms. I know it's a little bit out there for the style, but this might be the best barleywine I've ever had.

Mouthfeel - It's cloying and clings to the inside of the mouth like cough syrup, but with 12% alcohol, you're better off sipping one of these over a few minutes anyway. As long as you come in expecting a night cap or dessert style beer, it's not a problem. However, I certainly wouldn't be drinking this chewy masterpiece out by the pool or on a float trip.

Overall, I'm just blown away by this beer. I've had the standard BCBS before, but never any of the variants. The third-use bourbon barrels impart some characteristics of the stout and really bring a fascinating and wonderful dimension to this beer. It's one of those that you try and are so blown away by the experience that can't wait to share the details. Would be ecstatic to somehow get my hands on a bottle of this.

12-12-2013 03:05:12 | More by LambicPentameter
More User Reviews:
Photo of minterro


4.64/5  rDev +2.4%

Served as the start to the goose island themed tasting (we did start with Fred from Hair of the Dog). Short notes from 7/27/14. Bottled 9/17/13. Served in a snifter.

A&S: The beer is a murky brown color. Pieces of unfiltered specks float around the bottom of this beer. No head present when poured. The aroma was amazing, it was the kind of smell you wish could be stuck in your nose all day. Caramel tones blended with raisins, sugary belgian candy sweetness, and boozy bourbon tones. Really about as good as I have seen it.

T&M: This beer was extremely complex, transforming and opening up continuously as it sat in the glass. It started with a characteristic that most decent barleywines share dark fruit tones. The dark fruits were primarily raisins but later on I think I got some plums. Towards the end I was odd enough picking up on some dark chocolate flavors. No real hop presence. The carbonation quantity was excellent, just right to make it not completely dead, but not too much to make it any bit sharp. Body wasn't as thick as it could have been, but I was for sure more than just a medium thickness.

Overall: The was the opener for the afternoon and I have to say I like it the best! All three (this one, the cherry rye, and the coffee) of the goose island specialties were spectacular, but for me, this one took the cake. I would be interested to see how this beer develops, however it would be a tough task considering it was so epic at this stage. One of my favorite beers I have had the pleasure to try this year.

07-31-2014 01:38:35 | More by minterro
Photo of KnowYourCraft


4.98/5  rDev +9.9%

A: I was a little surprised here, but not that surprised considering a stout was previously used in these barrels, it pours that magnificent dark ruby/burgundy color, but resting in the glass it is pitch black like a stout, left an espresso colored head as well, the beer looked great but I think it would have been just that much better if it was that dark ruby/burgundy color you got from the pour

S: Up front I got booze, bourbon, and dark fruits, then it mellowed out with some caramel, toffee, and coconut. I absolutely love how this beer smells, a perfect blend of barley wine and stout!

T: Initial flavors are bourbon chocolate and dark fruits, very reminiscent of BCBS, but then transitions to the barley wine side and you get booze, caramel toffee, and light hints of coconut, again I love how this beer tastes, stout/barleywine mix, it is crazy good!

M: Very much like the bourbon county line ups, syrupy, smooth, dries quickly, and the taste lingers but compliments the beer!

O: It is not a very traditional barley wine, but damn it is good!

07-18-2014 05:19:55 | More by KnowYourCraft
Photo of don1481


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

04-20-2014 04:24:53 | More by don1481
Photo of aszatk01


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

06-07-2014 01:23:09 | More by aszatk01
Photo of DanGeo


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

12-01-2013 16:47:08 | More by DanGeo
Photo of tectactoe


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

01-13-2014 13:56:58 | More by tectactoe
Photo of MadScientist

New York

4.69/5  rDev +3.5%

A: A cloudy dark brown beer that looks super think as it pours and produces very little head. What head can be roused is made of fine expresso colored bubbles that leave a faint bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The smell is that of thick layers of malt and oak with the malt bring caramel, toffee, some bready notes and a moderate level chocolate while the moderately strong oak brings cinnamon and bourbon barrel character to the party. There are some fruit esters of raisins and a little orange. A floral, moderate alcohol sweetness noted.

T: The alcohol and malt dominate but are closely followed by the oak barrel notes and some chocolate flavors. The malt brings a medium sweetness with toffee character set against a medium-low hops bitterness giving a balance that is somewhat sweet. There are also coffee, raisin and light citrus flavors in there. The finish is sweet with a chocolate, oak and coffee aftertaste.

A full bodied beer with a moderately-low level of carbonation and a fair amount of warmth.

O: My first impression was if the beer taste half as good as it smells it's going to be pretty awesome and it is. Hovering somewhere in that land between Barleywine and stout the dark malt brings a nice chocolate character to the beer. It's a sweet beer but not enough to keep me from enjoying two in an sitting; the abv will do that for me.

12-10-2013 02:29:54 | More by MadScientist
Photo of CavemanRamblin

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

07-30-2014 14:26:28 | More by CavemanRamblin
Photo of Zakk


4/5  rDev -11.7%

05-31-2014 05:19:19 | More by Zakk
Photo of jono0101


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

12-06-2013 18:04:58 | More by jono0101
Photo of brownbeer


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

02-14-2014 01:37:21 | More by brownbeer
Photo of Schlais


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

03-07-2014 05:47:38 | More by Schlais
Photo of Tiernan


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

07-14-2014 07:15:18 | More by Tiernan
Photo of Spaten454


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

06-14-2014 05:57:33 | More by Spaten454
Photo of delaced21


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

03-03-2014 20:31:39 | More by delaced21
Photo of Krafty34


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

02-07-2014 10:57:59 | More by Krafty34
Photo of SkiBum22

New York

4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

12-12-2013 12:05:36 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of bsideone


4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

07-04-2014 15:16:06 | More by bsideone
Photo of Ben7773


5/5  rDev +10.4%

01-01-2014 22:02:09 | More by Ben7773
Photo of sabitu


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

12-01-2013 00:12:00 | More by sabitu
Photo of NWer


4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

01-26-2014 06:45:57 | More by NWer
Photo of SD-Alefan

South Dakota

4.8/5  rDev +6%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pours deep and dark, almost syrupy, with very little foam. A very small tan head that quickly dissipates to trace on the top and along the edge. Quite lovely.

The first smell is a hit of boozy bourbon along with roasted malt and char, maybe a hint of coffee, vanilla and chocolate.

The taste is amazing. A quick shot of bourbon then a rush of sweet caramel, then coffee and dark chocolate and a hint of vanilla. There is a lingering pleasant and slight bitterness and a touch of a dry, boozy bite. I was surprised by the sweetness of this beer.

The mouthfeel is very nice. A bit creamy with a slight stickiness.

Overall, just a great beer. The taste is about as good as it gets. The best barleywine I've had the pleasure of tasting.

02-09-2014 22:52:05 | More by SD-Alefan
Photo of DaftPatrick


4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

02-28-2014 20:25:56 | More by DaftPatrick
Photo of warnerry


4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

11-29-2013 21:22:21 | More by warnerry
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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,994 ratings.