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Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand StoutBackyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels with fresh mulberries, marionberries, and boysenberries.

Added by MasterSki on 10-18-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 170 | Ratings: 2,062
Photo of woosterbill
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip; split with a friend.

A: As expected, it's pitch black with a thin brown head that quickly settles into a ring. Intimidating and appreciated.

S: Lovely, intense combination of barrel and fruit. The oak, whiskey, and vanilla are the most aromatic elements, with the sweet berry notes forming a delightful background for the spicy, vibrant rye. Terrific.

T: Follows the nose, and then some. The whiskey, spice, oak, coconut, and vanilla from the barrel are front and center, but eventually give way to a sweet, chewy, chocolatey maltiness before the deeply sweet fruit takes over toward the finish. Impressively little alcohol flavor, even on the aftertaste - the intensity of each of the beer's three well-balanced components keeps any heat far in the distance. Genuinely outstanding, even among BCBS variants I've had.

M: Thick, chewy, and sticky. Nice creamy carbonation helps, but it's a bit on the cloying side.

O: I expected to like this one the least of this year's variants, but actually enjoyed it more than either the Barleywine or even Coffee (haven't had Prop; ISO!). I loved the way the base beer's sweetness was embraced and enhanced by the fruit and yet offset by the piquancy of the rye barrel. Great stuff.


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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.94/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not going to go too much into detail on this beer.

The appearance is pitchblack and the pour doesn't produce a ton of head.

I don't get a lot off the nose, the bourbon is there, but not much else.

This beer is very much like the Bourbon County regular, but it has a tart cherry taste that to me was good, but slightly cloying. I have to say I prefer the regular, although perhaps this would be better with age.

The beer is very smooth and the high alcohol well-disguised, as is customary with BCBS.

Overall, good, but not great and considering the bottle cost me $23, probably something I'd hesitate to buy again.

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Photo of Roguer
4.38/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thin, 1/2 finger dark brown head with purple hints; quickly fades, leaving almost no trace. Brew is a solid, oily dark black, not completely jet or ebony black, but still opaque.

Whiskey hits the nose first, along with cream, cocoa, wheat/barley, and a hint of sour/tart.

Taste follows the nose, but in reverse order: touch of sweet tartness initially, followed by creamy milk chocolate, mildly roasted barley, vanilla, and whiskey. The berries are most noticeably present on the back-end, with a sweet, blueberry/raspberry-like flavor.

Nice thick and chewy mouthfeel; oily and slick as a residue on the mouth. Superb. Significant alcohol presence: slight burn, and major heat coinciding with the aftertaste. Not unexpected for this beer, of course.

As I've come to expect from the BCB series, this is a truly outstanding beer. The rye whiskey doesn't come across much differently than bourbon barrels (which is logical), although this carries more liquor heat than BCBS. The berries (mulberries, boysenberries, and marionberries according to the label) really add a unique quality to the beer and, while decidedly different, do not detract from the overall experience.

I prefer regular BCBS to this variant, but it's a very, very good beer, notwithstanding.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.31/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Very minimal head that has little retention. The head was a light and creamy beige while the body is an opaque dark chocolate black with a reddish tint from the berries around the edges. Doesn't leave any lacing behind.

Nose- Strong notes of berry, nothing that I can really distinguish and honestly I couldn't tell the difference between the berries used. I'm not even sure I've had each of them. Light chocolate but this is very much dominated by the berry notes.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose and shows strong notes of berries. Once again, I won't even bother to try to identify them or pretend that I understand their nuances. Really crowds out much of what makes the regular Bourbon County such a great beer. There are notes of chocolate and coffee but the berry aspect really tramples this. Alcohol isn't as presence as in the original. Reminds me a lot of the De Struise Blackberry Albert I had yesterday but the berry notes are definitely more forward. Chocolate comes in as the second place note and really works well with the berry aspects. Really good beer but just shy of great. A slight step up from Black Damnation I and does flirt with being great. Very jammy with light bitterness on the end with a slight bit of woodiness.

Mouthfeel- A little more than medium bodied with a good amount of syrup to the texture. Very light carbonation which gives the beer a little more structure and makes it seem fuller.

Drinkability- Very easygoing and doesn't give any indication of the alcohol at all. Pretty pricy at 20 bucks a bottle though. I would rather spend that money on the regular or maybe even the coffee.

Overall- Mostly really good beer that has some inclinations toward being a great beer. Definitely worth a try but not in the same league as the original- the berry notes render it a little too one-dimensional. I think I will be trading my bottle instead of aging. Still a really good beer though.

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Photo of brureview
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured in a Stone Snifter.

1/2F head. Dark opaque chocolate color.

Strong whiskey, cherry, berry fruits, chocolate wafting from the head.

The mouth feel is very carbonated.

Taste: extraordinary. I like this variant better than the standard BCS. An exceptional meld of chocolate, berry, and whiskey. Very smooth with warming.

Overall: this was difficult to find. I got the last bottle from one case purchased by the beer store. It won't be released next year.
A top class act- a melding of different elements of the taste/aroma into a well balanced, outstanding beer.

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Photo of MarriedAtGI
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This may be the best BCS variant I have had. Bottle shared with two colleagues at Stout in Chicago.

A: Deep dark opaque brown with reddish orange edges. Minimal head.
S: Blackberry and a hint of cocoa
T: Berries dominate with chocolate and a bit of roastiness also present.
M: Moderately heavy body with gentle sparkly carbonation. Not too heavy - less syrupy than the regular BCS. Very pleasant
O: I like this more than last years Cherry Rye. Just a fantastic beer. Like chocolate covered berries in liquid form.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Zeb for sharing this.

Let's skip right to the taste. This beer tastes like someone took a spoonful of overly sweet jam and shoved it into your mouth, and then gave you a teeny sip of BCBS to wash it down. That overly sweet berry flavor dominates the palate.

On the whole, this flavor profile did not work for me. I love the taste of Bourbon County, and I did not get that here. The berries took over and would not relinquish their hold. This is still a decent beer, but doesn't live up to the very high standards of your typical BCBS product. With that said, I wouldn't mind trying it again in a couple years to see if the berry flavor becomes a bit more tame.

Update -11/14
With a year on it, this bottle is tasting pretty fantastic. Side by side by side with Bramble and Cherry Rye, this was my favorite of the variants. Very glad I've still got one tucked in the cellar. Score updated form a 3.83 to a 4.25.

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Photo of roger617
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had this multiple times. Always a bomber poured into snifter.

Pours dark black with a thin line of khaki head. Aroma is up front of sweet berries, with a strong lingering bourbon, roast and chocolate - as expected in the base. Taste is surprisingly sweet, fruity, chocolaty with the obvious base beer leading the way. Hard to believe such a strong beer can be dominated by this much fruity sweetness in a good way! Mouthfeel is thick, carbed to fit as expected. Hard to say anything bad about this beer. Takes the base BCBS and twists it upside down with an incredible fruity blend that does nothing but compliments all around.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had, bottle shared at SS'14.
This review is for a bottle from the cellar.

Poured into a Bourbon County tulip (2014 version). Appearance was pretty much like any BCBS, solid black/uber-brown color with a finger of dark brown head that receded to a thick collar, dabs of random lacing on the glass. Aroma of smooth whiskey, dark malts, semi-sweet chocolate, and a good dose of berry jam. I can't quite remember how much the fruit came through when this was "fresher," but it was still pretty prominent at this point. Nice taste, smooth dark malts, whiskey-soaked oak, berry medley, and a touch of tobacco smokiness that lingered into the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel, medium-full body, appropriately lower carbonation. Very nice, even if I still prefer the original.

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Photo of barczar
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Opaque black, minimal head.

Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon.

Fruit shows up in the flavor. Raspberries. Yum.

Body is light. Slight alcohol warmth.

Chocolate and raspberries, with a bit of bourbon. Ecstasy. Not as sweet as this year's bourbon county. More character with the fruit additions.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with Evan! An aggressive pour of this pitch black beer yields a one finger caramel colored head that faded quickly, but had some really nice lacing. The nose is totally dominated by the berries, followed closely by chocolate fudge, espresso, oak, booze, and some subtle rye. The taste is rich and bold with the berries and booze dominating. The oak and whiskey really emerge as it warms along with hints of chocolate fudge, vanilla, fresh berry jam, and subtle rye. The mouthfeel is creamy, thick, and syrupy with a mouth-coating finish. Overall, it's dangerously close to being cloying, and may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Definitely a sipper, desert type of beer, but still very well done.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

8oz pour into snifter from bottle dated 20NOV2013.

Oil black, minimal rim of dark brown head quickly recedes. No lacing, plenty of legs.

Could really sniff this all night. Wonderful berry-choc combo, fudge, a bit of spice and barrel.

The flavors meld well and really compliment each other. Berries are the backbone but don't dominate the barrel-aged goodness. Reminds me of a nice dark chocolate, flowerless tort with a berry coulis.

Nice thick, heavy mouthfeel. Not too oily or slick.

Wow! Took my time and savored each sip. Well done.

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Photo of Resuin
4.61/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into an enlarged snifter. This was bottled November 20, 2013, so is slightly less than a year "old". Opened at cellar temp - around 55 F.

Appearance: Pours black and leaves a tan/light-medium brown head of a finger or so, which fades really quickly to leave just a brown layer around the glass. (4.25)

Smell: Rich milk chocolate/fudge, raspberry, malts, a bit of alcohol heat, molasses, oak. Actually quite jammy, despite the variety in the smell. A nice chocolate/berries mix. (4.5)

Taste: Chocolate, raspberry, cherries, oak, vanilla, some spices, actually really smooth - the alcohol is hardly present. Really well balanced. The finish is medium to long with oak, berries and some cocoa. (4.75)

Mouth-feel: Medium carbonation with a full, creamy body. The finish has flavor but not a whole lot of heat. Fits the style and flavor profile well. (4.75)

Overall: This is a well crafted berry stout. Flavors from each component of brewing are well integrated - the berries, the malts, the barrel. Highly drinkable for the strength. Tasty. (4.5)

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, 11/20/13
Boulevard tulip

A: Pours oily pitch black. Initially a thin layer of light brown, some pink hints. Basically just collar. Alcohol feet.

S: Big sweet fruits on the nose. Really dominated the beer. Dark chocolate. Some fudge.

T: Sweet fruit. Dark chocolate meshing with some coffee. Vanilla. Really any booze heat is deadened by the fruit. Finish in long with lingering chocolate and fruit.

M: Oily full bodied.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.81/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours very, if any, little head that dissipates very quickly and leaves nothing around the inside of the ring. The beer itself is a ark chocolate back with beautiful hints of red. The beer gives off a nice sheen but unable to see through. No lacing but some hints of alcohol on the glass. The beer has a very nice and unique smell. Dark chocolate notes and a bit of alcohol on the nose. The various berries also make an appearance. The taste is divine bordering on perfect. The mix of dark chocolate notes and the tarty berry flavor provide a great contrast to each other. The beer also has whiskey notes and a bit of lingering alcohol and tart berry taste in the aftertaste as well as slight bits of rye. The beer feel is thick bodied with a very smooth, almost velvety feel with very little biting carbonation. Overall, a FANTASTIC variation of the beer.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.88/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

bottled NOV 13 2013. poured into tulip.

pours very dark brown with a coffee hued head. good retention and lacing. smells like dessert. a lot of berry. this same principle follows the palate. too much berry in my opinion, takes away from the rye stout. licorice, rye, oak, bittersweet chocolate. pretty drinkable regardless of the fruit, which I find slightly unappealing. silky smooth body. super full. overall good, just nothing great. I really wish the fruit wasn't in this and it was just rye. the fruit sort of gets in the way. I am not sure what age would do to this, perhaps cool out some of the fruit, but if I had to guess this drinks better fresh.

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Photo of MrBoz21
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From tap - a little cold

Deep black - opaque swirls of khaki creme on top

Aroma: sweet chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla

Taste: like a dessert awesome bourbon notes, sweet vanilla chocolate and coffee. Very slight booze

Mouth is thick slick and creamy

Overall - this beer raises the bar to wine liquor, you taste and savor and enjoy

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Photo of jdb288
3.84/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Pours oily black with sweet smokey aroma. Taste is sweet, boozy whiskey and berries. The distinction in berries is lost on me.

No carbonation, like an oil slick. I prefer the regular and the coffee over this but I appreciate the creativity here. If you like the sweeter, berry-like flavors, this is for you. I'd imagine they fade quickly so fresh is always best here!

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Photo of Spaten454
4.46/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet black, minimal mocha head that dissipates quickly.

S - Strawberry pop-tarts. Berry dominates the nose. You get hints of chocolate and bourbon.

T - Wow. Mixed berry cobbler with a chocolate, but not bitter finish. Deep rich berry flavor that isn't tart or artificial at all. The bourbon gives it another layer of sweetness that is different. Very delicious.

M - I would have liked it to be thicker but it was ok. Not thin by any means.

O - Best variant I've had and best fruit stout ive ever had. This beer drinks incredible right now.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This pours a black color with a slight, brown head. The aroma is sweet with malts and rye. The taste is bold and sweet with berries and rye flavors. This brew is very complex and robust with erupting berry flavors that finishes with a malty after taste.

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Photo of zachary80
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Thanks to Matt, Overml01, for sending this to me. This text is from the second bottle I've had, first one was about 10 months earlier which I gave a simple 4.75.

L: Pitch black, tan head with good retention
S: Need to let this warm up more...tart berries and bourbon are most noticeable.
T: BCS with berries...incredible
M: Just heavy enough on the palate, some recent BCS has been a little thin but not this one. And just the right amount of alcohol kick.
O: Overall incredible. Seriously debating on giving this one a 5/5,the fruit just complements the base beer so well.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.24/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pour is jet black with a light caramel colored head. Nose has rich fudge with notes of charred wood and bourbon. Light tobacco note behind with a hint of the fruity sweet berries as it warms. The taste has a ton of sweetness. The rich malt is an afterthought in the flavor and the nice bourbon and wood notes in BCS struggle to even make an appearance. The sweet fruity berries are incredibly strong, overly sweet, albeit bright. Full bodied with soft carbonation and a hint chewy. The sweetness lingers.

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Photo of Chuck_NE
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What an outstanding beer. Served cool, not cold. Berries and chocolate on the nose. Taste was a perfect balance of berries, chocolate, and barrel. Very smooth for the high ABV and not as boozy as the standard BCBS. Mouthfeel is decadent. I just held it in my mouth and took in all the great flavors, even found myself chewing a time or two. Will be interesting to see how time treats this, but it is spectacular right now.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You hear "fruit beer" and obviously we shrug a bit; because we've been jaded by underwhelming or even God-awful fruit beers before. But this one is different. Its berry character doesn't shy away from the massive stout underneath. Think of it as that decadent fruit and chocolate dessert, and one that shares the stage with cognac-like strength.

As with the other world -class variations of the Bourbon County Brand Stout, this ominously black beer could easily crawl out of the bottle and into the glass all on its own. Its oily viscousness carries a visual weight and thickness that seems to darken the room with its dense shade alone. Its scant head clings to the snifter with a light mauve berry-stained lace. Even a turbulent swirl of the glass patiently reconstitutes int foam character. Beyond that first minute or two, the ale prefers brandy-like legging to any foam lacing.

Its sultry and decadent aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, and all those foreign berries greet the nose with a rich and captivating spell. Savory aged sherry, tawny port, and brownie batter match the bold-roast coffee for a highly complex set of aromatics that nearly overwhelm the senses. Its background of earthen sweetness and whisky aromas usher in the first sip with sweet toasted grain and drunken oak.

Its sweet, savory and lavish taste greets the early palate with black-strap molasses, espresso and bittersweet chocolate. What should be served with a fork and a knife coats the palate like sultry "death by chocolate" cake. Its rich and fudggy body enlivens the fruits of mulberries, boysenberries and marrionberries. With little experience with any of these, if you had told me cherries, blackberries and redcurrants were used, I would have agreed. As The fruit is wrapped by the meaty, salty, and savory threads that give the taste a mild terryaki nudge that's oh-so irresistible. As its sherry and port tendencies take hold, the spicy booziness of rye whisky gives the stout the balance that's required to round the beer out beautifully.

With a blast of residual sweetness form both fruit and malt, its palate-coating viscosity is equaled by fruit acidity and alcohol warmth- just enough balance to keep the ale complex and engaging. But its near-cloying texture bleeds effortlessly into the next sip for a highly rewarding and decadent session that's slow to recede.

Masterful in its recipe formulation and exquisite in both brewing and barrel-aging execution- the ale comes together as seamlessly as any fruit beer to grace my presence- belonging on a stage next to the finest of bourbons, scotch or cognac.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle, split

Holy balls - incredible variant. Aroma is primarily roast, bourbon, fudge and some light berry notes. Flavor is an absolute explosion of wild berries - 3 of my favorites in mulberries, marionberries, and boysenberries. Bourbon, fudge and rye perfectly in balance. The best variant I've had and one of the best stouts I've ever had.

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Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.