1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,863 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,863
Reviews: 425
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.17%
Wants: 454
Gots: 1,587 | FT: 270
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.
View: Beers (212) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,863 | Reviews: 425 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of originsbrewery
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of kmos27
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Matthewpakula
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Quackus
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of nearengine
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of dirtylou
4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


I enjoyed a few of these bottles over the holiday break at Duckworths (Ballantyne). This is a very large and rich BW that lands very heavy on the barrel side and finishes sticky-sweet. The finish was actually very similar to the Coffee varietal - just entirely too sweet in my opinion. There aren't many other bad things to say about this beer - smooth and a pretty optimal booziness, rich caramel malt, sticky caramelized brown sugar. Very good stuff, but my first reaction was that there are plenty of peers in this class, with Central Waters BBBW remaining the breadwinner in my opinion (and at half the price).

Photo of br3wmeister
3.55/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served from bottle into Surly darkness snifter.

I love bourbon county stout so I was really excited for this beer. I poured the beer do find a dark brown beer with little head that faded quickly, the beer was slightly hazy as well. The aroma was subtle, malty, some vanilla and dark fruits. Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary for a barrel aged beer so far. This beer tasted plain. It was syrupy and strong but really lacked complexity. Over all I would have to say this was a disappointing beer. I am not sure if I had to high of expectations or if it really is just meh, but I can say there are several much better barrel aged beers out there.

Photo of KevinGordon
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of jlindsey
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of uvm2003
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of mocar
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of lovindahops
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of vermilcj
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of trevorpost
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of Dirtinabottle
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Davit
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of BGsWo22
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of charlesjwinkler
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of Phobicsquirrel
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of fx20736
4.91/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bought a 4pk from Southtown Beverages in Rochester, NY on Saturday Nov 29th, 2013.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Nonic, served at cellar temp.

Appearance: Lignite Brown with a thick mocha head that recedes to a thin film.

Aroma: Perhaps the best beer I have ever smelled; rich, luscious caramel, butterscotch, some alcohol esthers.

Mouthfeel: weightless, ethereal

Taste: Figs coated in chocolate, molasses, vanilla, Bourbon

Notes: the closest I have been to beer perfection

Photo of JohnParadee
4.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I really did not want to like this, as I am not a big fan of barleywine ale to begin with, but...I have to admit that (could not help it) I liked this very much. Deep dark pour into chilled pint glass. Thin light brown head, which dissipates quickly. Lacing is good and even/consistent, with a zillion tiny bubbles which do not cling to glass for long. On the nose, the scent is very similar to the regular BCBS, with prevalent coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel/toffee, but that's where the similarities start to part ways. On the palate, the heavy malt and alcohol of the barley wine style emerge, which I thought at first would lead me to dislike this gem, but with each sip, I found myself more and more mesmerized by the balance of competing flavors. A veritable tastebud orgasm of sorts, as I moved from one pleasurable hint to another (coffee, YES...chocolate, YES...toffee, YES...vanilla, YES...YES, YES, YES!!!). Mouthfeel was full and ample throughout, leaving a nice burn on the back of the palate. In the future, I'll probably still choose BCBS and/or BCBCS over BCBBW every time, but the divide is not as great as I had previously surmised. This is good shit, indeed.

Had this again on 2/7/14, from tap at Roast House pub in Frederick, MD (after visiting Flying Dog brewery for BA Gonzo release), and I do hereby reaffirm all dat shit I said herein above. BCBBW is da bomb!

Photo of mikeburd1128
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of KAF
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Photo of MrBoh
4.79/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured dark brown into oversized snifter. Not enough head to even cover the top. Very opaque, where there is potential for lacing, its there.

Boozy smell, dried fruit, coffee grinds and a little oak. Sweet caramel vanilla lingers.

Sweet fruity alcohol taste. Coffee and a little chocolate on the back end. Also oak, plum and dark fruit. A little bitter.

An initial burn from the alcohol, first in the mouth and then the throat. Nott too much though. Very chewy and a sweet, lip-licking sweet finish.

Overall it is very intriguing. Not nearly the bourbon barrel character of BCBS, but I think I get equal amounts of the barrel and base beer of BCBS in this one. I also noticed the alcohol in this one seems smoother at first, but lingers longer than BCBS. Barleywines aren't my favorite, but I don't see how this could be a better one. The lingering sweetness truly makes it, as it works so well.

Photo of caguiar
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,863 ratings.