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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

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

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3,697 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,697
Reviews: 386
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 418
Gots: 1,418 | FT: 248
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)
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Ratings: 3,697 | Reviews: 386 | Display Reviews Only:
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5/5  rDev +10.4%

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5/5  rDev +10.4%

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4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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2/5  rDev -55.8%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of DerekMorgan
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of maximum12
4.83/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After not believing I was going to get a bottle of this, here I sit, snifter in hand, thanks to the kindness of a friend. 12 oz. bottle snuck while my wife is off at Drink Club, er, Book Club.

Pour is all sort of fresh-churned clay riverbank, carbonation is fairly low, as expected. For third-use bourbon barrels, this brew has all kinds of nose on it: thick bourbon & vanilla, ticklings of heat, molasses, toffee, caramel, heavy hand of sherry. You name a (positive) barleywine trait, it's lurking in here someplace.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine lives up to the hype & then does a triple-axel right over it. Gorgeous dose of bourbon & vanilla right up front sets a kick-ass tone, & there's so much sherry it has to be a kissing cousin. Mid-palate, just like the nose, is littered with minor triumps: toffee/caramel, mild alcohol nip, brown sugar mixed in with the molasses, plums, & I'm pretty sure I glimpsed a Grammy Award in there somewhere. Finishes with a tumbled impression of complexity that defies an easy summation. Thick enough to stick an upright spoon into, & drinks like it, though I'm hammering this like it's 4PM session-time.

I was prepared to be let down & now I'm all grinny. Not a chink in its armor, this is a masterpiece. If I'd have known, I'd have been hunting this one down with an elephant gun. Wow. Off to enjoy.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. The pour is very dark, but not opaque. It's a clear ruby-tinted mahogany and, when held to the light, you can see through it. It sports a very thin tan head that doesn't last long. This beer has a fantastic nose. I get dark fruit, figs and raisins primarily, but I also get lots of sweet toffee, vanilla, a hint of chocolate, and some bourbon. It's not as strong as I expected it to be, but what it lacks in strength it makes up for in sheer complexity and delight. The nose has the complexity of a top-shelf quad.

Full body, slick, oily feel, and an incredibly intense, sweet flavor. It is not as bourbon-forward as I thought it would be. Instead, the focus is on the malt and the bourbon is simply cast in a supporting role, allowing the beer to remain incredibly smooth and drinkable. Toffee-like notes up front coat your tongue with a layer of caramel-like sweetness. Then, that bourbon starts to flare up a bit, but it doesn't get hot and boozy at all and, again, the bourbon doesn't really seem to dominate (at least, to me it doesn't). It stimulates the palate and adds spice, oak, vanilla, and a rich, creamy complexity to that foundation of intense sweetness. The flavors continue to develop towards the back of the palate, as sarsaparilla, molasses, and candied fruit join in. The finish is warm, sweet, and lingering. Hats off to Goose Island for putting this in 12oz bottles too. It's so rich and flavorful, it might take one person 2 or 3 days to drink a bomber. This is a sipper of the highest order. A little goes a long way.

I am a big fan of bourbon-barrel-aged English barleywines. In fact, I might even like them more than bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stouts. The combination of sweet, toffee-like malt and rich bourbon is hard to beat. Unfortunately, very few breweries that I have access to produce them so I've only had a couple of them. The bottom line is that they do not compare to this one. This is one of those beers where you think to yourself ``I wish Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, could have tried this. What would he think of it?'' I think I know what he'd say - that this is simply a masterpiece of the brewer's art.

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4.55/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of roger617
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Black with little to no head. Pours very thick just like the whole BCBS series does.
S: Bourbon, roast, chocolate, boozy, some dark fruits in there too.
T: The biggest difference in the taste comparing this to the regular BCBS is the after taste. Up front it is very similar with loads of bourbon and chocolate, but later it lingers with the darker fruits I pick up in the aroma. Very delicious.
M: Thick, low carb.
O: While I love every beer I've had in the BCBS line, this is at the bottom of the list. That being said, I guessed this would be the case just due to the nature of barleywines. Delicious, yet I'm comparing it to the original.

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4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

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5/5  rDev +10.4%

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5/5  rDev +10.4%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of notchucknorris
4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep, ruddy brown color with a thin, cream colored head.

S: Toasted coconut, a slight berry note, burnt caramel, toffee, slight earthy hop note and bourbon.

T: Heavy sticky caramel right off the bat. Milk chocolate, burnt raisin, charred wood, toasted coconut. Finish of bourbon, burnt brown sugar and oak. A very good barleywine, but I don't think it's in the same class as Sucaba or Mother of All Storms.

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4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,697 ratings.