1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

3,181 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,181
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 352
Gots: 1,106 | FT: 199
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 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,181 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of strangebrew321
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

strangebrew321, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of bshiban
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

bshiban, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of MarriedAtGI
4.9/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: dark brown, little head, tan foam lacing on the surface like with an imperial stout. Darker than I would expect a barley wine to be. Nothing special in terms of reddish or orange edges.

S: molasses, figs, and of course, the aroma of bourbon county stout

T: molasses, figs, maybe a hint of chewing tobacco. Vanilla stands out on second taste.

M: so rich and thick, like the blankets that the princess and he pea had to lay on

O: seems to be more of a light colored imperial stout, but that's fine with me. I love this beer. The smell and taste of the BCBS barrels is unmistakeable. I've seen many beers called the perfect winter warmer, but I think this one really is.

MarriedAtGI, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a dark brown/black color with some mahogany in the light, a light off ring of head at the rim.

The aroma is wonderful of caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla. Then oak, dark fruit, figs, cherries, a bit of alcohol. A chocolate stout note in there as well.

The flavor follows with those sweet toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses notes. It's sticky and sweet with some dark fruit, rum soaked raisins and plums that melds with a chocolatey stout flavor. It then pops of oak and bourbon and then moves onto a brown sugar flavor that cleans off so well. There tiny bubbled carbonation and alcohol compliment the beer well as it moves the sweetness through onto a finish that asks for more sips. Very complex, very easy drinking.

A wonderful addition to the Bourbon County line. One of the best barrel aged barleywines.

dar482, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of GJ40
4.26/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 12oz bottle purchased at Nikki's in NP, RI. Bottled on 24SEP13.

A - Deep brown with some light coming through and very little head.

S - Bourbon, caramel, vanilla and brown sugar.

T - Follows the aromas closely with a rich sweetness.

M - Silky with a low carbonation.

O - Rich and flavorful.

GJ40, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of AlexChillton
5/5  rDev +10.4%

AlexChillton, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of admonster00
5/5  rDev +10.4%

admonster00, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of bsp77
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Extremely dark for a Barleywine. A very dark reddish-brown with foamy, sustained head.

Smell: Lots of Bourbon, with coconut, oak and vanilla. Toffee, caramel, chocolate and molasses as well. Rich and decadent, and smells like a mix of Bourbon, Stout and Barleywine.

Taste: Complex mix of oak, coconut, chocolate, molasses, licorice, vanilla, toffee, cherry and caramel. All of the flavors are really well melded, and hard to pinpoint flavors. Truly delicious, but just a hair too sweet for me.

Feel: Very thick, but extremely creamy and smooth. Low carbonation with a lot of warmth, but not overly boozy. Starts coating the mouth after a few sips.

Overall: Nothing like any other Barleywine I have had, as aging it in barrels that once held Bourbon County Stout (that of course held Bourbon before that) as done sublime things to the base beer. Extraordinary, and I will likely never have it again.

bsp77, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of beav19
5/5  rDev +10.4%

beav19, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of cmannes
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

cmannes, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.66/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a KtG tulip

A-brown/black cola like appearance, some ruby like hues to the outside and a thin tan head that disappears rather quickly, has some legs to it, looks big and sticky

S- a cornucopia of decadence; oak, cocoa powder, toffee, vanilla, leather, more oak, some dark fruit/plum/prune, bit of fudge.

T- Initially i get a rich toffee, caramel sweetness that then fades into some cocoa powder/slight fudge tones and then into the vanilla kick with the dark fruit on the finish and the oak laying in the background while all this is happening. There is still some heat on this and I'd like the sweetness to mellow out a bit as well, if time can do that to this beer, it'll be perfect.

M- Just enough carbonation to keep the 12oz from feeling like a chore, but still maintains a fairly sticky, big body.

O- This is great, lots of decadence, lots of flavor that you can really sit on for a bit and may still not have a full read on all this brew has to offer. Look forward to seeing how it ages

GonzoHomebrewer, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of BeerSnob1022
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

BeerSnob1022, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of IrishColonial
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

IrishColonial, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of justintcoons
4.03/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Cola colored brown/black with ruby highlights. Has 1 finger of tan head that rapidly dissipates to nothing.

Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, prune, raisin and plum.

Tons of toffee, caramel and molasses maltiness. Sticky, sweet dark fruits all over. Prunes, overripe plum and rum soaked raisin. Well blended notes of bourbon, charred oak and lesser notes of vanilla. Hints of tobacco and earth.

Medium-full bodied, syrupy, sweet, sticky and warming.

Big, sticky and sweet. Nicely warming and complex.

justintcoons, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of sweemzander
4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Kudos to Chris for tracking this down!

(A)- Pours a very deep burnt sienna/umber color. Some solid tan froth that dissipated quickly.

(S)- A big bourbon barrel nose meets a sugary sweet caramel and cocoa/raisin nose. Bits of a coffee-like roast in there.

(T)- A big boozy caramel bourbon flavor meets subtle cocoa and raisin. Ever so slight hint of toffee on the finish. Just a kiss of a dark coffee-like roast element.

(M)- Its big and boozy with a smooth and mellow carbonation level. It is a great combo of a sweet barleywine meets a subtle blend of the stout left over in the barrel.

(O)- Absolutely superb. It is literally King Henry Jr. A superb barleywine with superb barrel aging. King Henry is still better, but this is an excellent replacement.

sweemzander, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of HumanParaquat
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

HumanParaquat, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of kevrice88
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

kevrice88, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of PHBoiler
4.93/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep amber almost brown body with highlights around the glass that catch the light in the room. There are limited cream colored bubbles that require agitation. The smell is dark fruits, toffee, caramel, oak, and light booze. This beer is quite complex. You get all the flavors from the nose. Some candi sugar as well. It is not cloying sweet. There is some bourbon with a few notes of BCBS like vanilla and roast. Mostly toffee and dark fruits. The mouthfeel is rich and satisfying. Top notch brew. Can't wait until my next one.

PHBoiler, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of tswater
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

tswater, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of BuckTuckian
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

BuckTuckian, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

EyePeeAyBryan, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of DavidRose
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

DavidRose, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of blklabel
5/5  rDev +10.4%

blklabel, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of jacewg
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

jacewg, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of auroracrisis
4.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a Bruery tulip.

Murky dark, dark brown with burgundy highlights with a small head that dissipates quickly. Plenty of legs on this as it is swirled around.

Toffee, figs, raisins, and a faint booziness similar to dark rum on the nose at first. A touch of cocoa. A little bit of grape and other brandy-like aromas poke their head in as well. Decadent stuff, rather complex.

Opens up with similar flavors. Fruit cake and rum, toffee, and dark pitted fruits all in balance. Cocoa and a touch of brandy.

Heavy body with lower carbonation. Sticky but not cloying.

Wonderful dessert like flavors mixed with a subtle, sweet boozey character. Great example of a barrel aged English barleywine. Glad I got a bit of this to age, I only see it improving.

auroracrisis, Dec 03, 2013
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,181 ratings.