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.

3,230 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,230
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 4.53
pDev: 8.39%
Wants: 357
Gots: 1,121 | FT: 202
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,230 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of carmike813
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

carmike813, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of griffiam03
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

griffiam03, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Rish907
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Rish907, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Hammdesigns
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Hammdesigns, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of rudzud
4.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a few four packs up this. Lets jump on the train and see where it takes me...

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark brown almost chestnut hue with a thin quarter inch head that fades to leave thin light tan wisps and a slight halo.

S - Nice aromas of smooth bourbon, big sweet malts, nice dark fruits, some light vanilla. The booze is there but is not distracting. Nice brown sugar notes. I was expecting this to be much more of a nasal assault.

T - Taste is quite nice. Definitely flashes of the BCBS in this with some tasty chocolate and vanilla bourbon notes along with wood. Very light flashes of coconut from the barrel. Very nice dark fruits and brown sugar sweet notes. Quite delicious. Alcohol is not even remotely noticeably on the pallet, which is crazy. I like how someone else described this as beer concentrate.

M - Mouthfeel is excellent. Smooth, not much carbonation but that works as it lends a nice heavy feel. Alcohol is hidden wonderfully.

O - Overall, this is a delicious beer, I just wish the nose was as rich as the flavour. I bet age is going to make this wonderful. Not overly sweet this has so much going for it. Tons of upside here.

rudzud, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of MaseFace
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

MaseFace, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Nightrain
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

Nightrain, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of jsh420
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

jsh420, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of brewdog444
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

brewdog444, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is almost completely black and you can start to smell it from a foot away. Lots of chocolate, vanilla, dark caramel and spices. A similar flavor profile with less roast /chocolate and more dark sugar. A bit of alcoholic warmth in huge finish and lots of vanilla and whiskey character. It smells great, though the bourbon is almost too much and really tends to overwhelm everything else, especially in the flavor.

nickfl, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of velcrogrip
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

velcrogrip, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

CuriousMonk, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Myst
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Myst, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Lemke10
4.36/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This pours a dark brown color with little to no head. The aroma is full of barley and bourbon scents. The taste is sweet and has a thick volume to it that you have come to expect with the bourbon county label. Among the molasses and sweet flavor is just the right amount of rye flavor with hints of vanilla. Very delicious and very drinkable.

Lemke10, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of lonewolfcry
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

lonewolfcry, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Thedrizzle
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Thedrizzle, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of Beerdudenumberone
4.75/5  rDev +4.9%

Beerdudenumberone, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of mnphish
4.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to have my hands on a couple bottles, this was the hardest for me to get excluding 2013 bombers. Served at room temp into a GI glass.

Very dark reddish-brown pushing black, could probably be classified as a stout based on appearance alone. Decent head that recedes very fast and leaves a tiny light brown circle at the top. Not much for lacing or legs.

Incredibly complex aroma and quite sweet. First comes bourbon then big malts, dark fruit, sugar, and those vanilla-oak tones.

The taste is very dynamic. Big bourbon flavor is followed by some chocolate, figs, raisins, grape juice, vanilla, and wood. Extremely difficult to try to explain because there is too much going on. I was hoping for a bit more of a warming bourbon taste on the finish.

Thick, lightly carbonated, and definitely a sipper that should be a prime candidate for any cellar.

mnphish, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of orangesol
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden.

A - Pours pitch black with a one finger tall tan head, dissipating down to next to nothing, leaving no lace at all down the glass.

S - Smell of mild bourbon, caramelized brown sugar, vanilla, fresh baked toffee, dark fruits and some mild booziness. Smells great, just gets a little too boozy at the end, some more time should help that out.

T - Starts off with the combo of sweets - Mainly the vanilla, brown sugar and toffee - quickly giving way to a mix of dark fruits, oak and warming bourbon. Finish is still pretty sweet with a smooth hit of warming booze, lingering on the palate long after the finish. The flavors are well integrated and the bourbon isn't over the top which is nice.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, sweet feel with less alcohol than I was expecting which is always a plus.

O - It is no KH so people can stop with that, it is however a really nice BA barleywine. It has everything I love in a BA Barleywine and it was still fairly easy to finish. I am going to need to get a few bottles of this before its all gone.

orangesol, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of CruisaC
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Able to score 3 bottles of the recent release, probably would've bought a case if I could've

Pours dark chestnut with a thin 1/8" of khaki head, settling to the thinnest of rings. I know this bad boy means business.

Smells of dark fruits, raisins, bourbon, sweet malt. Quite pleasant

Taste is wonderful. More dark fruits and toffee rolled around in a barrel. Sweet but not cloying. Nice amount of oak on the back end to balance some of the sweetness.

Nice prickly carbonation but goes down smooth. Just a hit of heat, but this is 12%.

GI knocked it out of the park again. Wish I could've landed more. Hopefully I can trade for some without sacrificing children or appendages.

CruisaC, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of stephenjmoore
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a dark brown, which settles into the glass as a very dark brown body. Just enough brown and amber in the body to make it look somewhat brown, but this one is very dark. Bubbly mocha colored head that lingers around as a ring of bubbles.

S- Tons of oaky bourbon with lots of toffee aroma. Rich caramel comes through, along with vanilla, cocoa powder, burnt sugar and some roasty aromas.

T- Very sweet and extremely rich in flavor. Tons of sugary-sweet bourbon, roasted oak, roasty malts, caramel, toffee, vanilla. Surprised by the amount of stout flavors that come through just from the barrel. The depth of the flavors is just crazy, it is almost like it is beer concentrate.

M- Incredibly thick, very smooth, medium-low carbonation, but more than I expected. A sipper for sure, but a real pleasure to drink.

O- Just an intense beer. An extremely enjoyable experience to drink. The aroma, flavor and feel are just incredible. Really different than anything I have had. Hard to compare it to the great barleywines out there since this one drinks somewhat like a stout. Extremely well done.

stephenjmoore, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of RuckusDu
3.75/5  rDev -17.2%

RuckusDu, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of ahbithwabm
5/5  rDev +10.4%

ahbithwabm, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of jegross2
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%

jegross2, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of Billolick
4.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, bottled on dating on the rear label, but the info is unreadable.

Dark mahogony, moderate dark mocha head, that slowly goes to a tiny bubble film, thicker collar and leaving minor spots and strands of fine lacing.

Bold nose of scotch, caramel, vanilla and smoke.

Full flavor, full bodied, full throtle kinda beer.

Loads of scotch, caramel, again some smoke and vanilla in the finish. 12% nowhere in sight.

Thick and oily as it rolls around the mouth.

One to savor and enjoy every drop of.

Billolick, Dec 04, 2013
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 3,230 ratings.