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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

3,351 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,351
Reviews: 354
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 383
Gots: 1,149 | FT: 205
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: jplopez21 on 10-04-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,351 | Reviews: 354 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Sammy, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of spycow
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

spycow, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Retsinis for sharing this one at Instant Replay in Canoga Park, CA.

Bottled 9/24/13.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great bourbon presence even though the barrels were third use for the barrel aging process.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 18, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -11.7%

djrn2, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

zestar, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -11.7%

acurtis, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Thorpe429, Dec 19, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -11.7%

nmann08, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Texasfan549, Jan 24, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -11.7%

GRG1313, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

kjkinsey, Jan 31, 2014
Photo of brentk56
4.06/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown, just a shade lighter than a stout; the modest head fades rather quickly. thought the lacing is leggy and viscous

Smell: Caramel and Bourbon, with tones of sugar cake, dates, coconut and vanilla

Taste: The closest thing to a Bourbon sundae I have come across, with Bourbon-infused caramel sauce topping vanilla ice cream; hints of coconut, milk chocolate and dates; the finish is treacly, with some ethanol

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: This is a very nice beer though a bit too sweet for my palate; perhaps it will settle down with some age

brentk56, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its with incredible resplendence that Goose Island even dares to follow up their King Henry that shared elements of both their famed Bourbon County Stout and their second-use Pappy 23 barrels. Yet, there's more life to the ale as Bourbon Barrel Brand Barleywine is borne.

Its pour would be easily mistaken for stout because of its black and ominous body, except for its tawny low-lights around the edges. As its initial pour yeilds a rich mocha-laden blanket of foam, the eventual collapse leaves the ale with an appetizing brandy-like appearance, equipped with streaming legging and all.

Its aromas are a culmination of all things both sweet and savory- black-strap molasses, toffee, maple, honey and sorghum all play a part in the beer's malty scent. Light coffee, nutty aromas, and a rich "umami" tone of something soy sauce and fudge wrapping around the sweetness. A trailing fruit liqueur note, similar of brandy, rum and bourbon all contribute to the beer's character and rich scent.

Its lavish taste is sultry, decadent and seductive with its very first scent as its booze-infused flavors of maple syrup, molasses, chocolate and coffee play equal parts in the beer's early complexity. After that, the taste really opens up to share savory port wine and aged sherry tones as the rich and "meaty" taste takes hold. Adding a sprinkle of salt to amplifiy its taste, a flavor of soy sauces joins with the judge-like richness for a taste that's spot on with the aroma. A trailing bitterness in lightly coffee-like and timidly signals its closure.

Silky smooth and lightly peppery, the ale's texture opens with a creamy film that coats the palate with a cling of sweetness. Its middle retains much of its richness while the mild acidity of seemingly wine lightens the body as the carbonation recedes. Finishing like port, its long linger of boozy sweetness is satisfying and rewarding to the palate like fine dessert or cognac.

The ale is alive with a tremendous amount of savory sweet notes- appealing to all that is sweet, earthy, boozy and salty all at once. Beers like this might as well be like catnip to a savory fiend like me.

BEERchitect, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Bottle: Poured a deep murky brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with medium retention and limited lacing. Aroma of toffee, heavy caramelized malt notes and some vanilla and bourbon notes. Taste is also dominated by loads of toffee and caramelized notes with a healthy dose of residual sugar notes with some nice bourbon and vanilla notes. Body is quite full with a good amount of carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Very well brewed with nice balanced with the barrel-aging notes. Maybe a tad too much residual sugars.

Phyl21ca, Thursday at 09:06 PM
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

ygtbsm94, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

jaydoc, Mar 23, 2014
Photo of kylehay2004
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Single finger off white head on a very deep dark amber brown body with excellent lacing. Aroma is a bit light with notes if dark fruit, caramel, some coffee and the bourbon but mild. Flavor follows with more dark fruit mostly raisin, dark grapes and strawberry follows buy caramel malts coffee and brown sugar rounded off at the end by the bourbon finish. This one is unapologetically boozy. Medium to full body and light carbonation. Although I have had better barleywines, few compare to this one.

kylehay2004, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Knapp85, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

SocalKicks, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

largadeer, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of emerge077
4.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown nearly black with mahogany highlights around the edges in the light. Initial finger of light tan foam that settles after a few minutes. Wispy broken skim on the surface.

Rich and sweet caramelized sugars in the aroma, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon. Reminds me of a glaze I've made with those exact ingredients. Trace woodiness.

Toffee and caramel in spades, bourbon-soaked wood, vanilla, plum, malty bread crust in the aftertaste and dry wood. Full bodied and smooth, though the bourbon is fully present, it's more of a warming feeling. Very rich but drinkable, with some nice complexity from both the barrel and base beer. Different from King Henry obviously, but not a bad substitute by any means.

emerge077, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

JAHMUR, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of zeff80
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

zeff80, Jan 19, 2014
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

worthy of all the high praise, this is a social barleywine with a great bourbon complexion and so much body it drinks like syrup. the looks are the only part that didn't really turn me on, dark mahogany in color with almost no head, and even a vigorous twirl of the glass can't arouse one. thick and dense and viscous. the nose is very sweet, tons of layers of grain and sugar, but also a great deep char and vanilla aspect from the barrel, not unnecessarily complex, but dynamic to say the least. i feared a sugar bomb that would be close to undrinkable, and almost immediately wished i had shared the bottle, but after the first sip it eased up a bit, temperature helped it unfold, and by the bottom of the glass i was wishing for more. a toffee style sweetness starts off a long flavor journey that bounces from toasted marshmallow to vanilla extract to charcoal and rum raisin cake. some spice to this, classic english ale yeast, a bunch of residual sugar, and not much hops at all. the finish is long and smooth, and while the alcohol is there, it adds a layer rather than distracts. more body than i thought possible, almost gelatinous, slippery and slick, but chewy too. mild carbonation is all it needs. i like this at least as much as the stout, if not more. its a world class beer that showcases the barrel very neatly. id like to have one with some age on it just to compare.

StonedTrippin, Feb 08, 2014
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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,351 ratings.