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Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,365 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,365
Reviews: 2,477
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 2,069
Gots: 4,311 | FT: 452
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  14.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
60 IBU

(Beer added by: drewbage on 06-26-2003)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,365 | Reviews: 2,477 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ryan011235:
Photo of Ryan011235
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 8/23/10

2007 vintage

I wasn't far into the pour when I realized a more aggressive approach was needed if this beer was to have any tangible head. I kept the scorched dark brown beer at a slow drizzle from a high vantage point. Some patchy bubbles were manifest but quickly retreated to the inside of the rim. Swirling works up an ephemeral skim & lots of small lace spots; some of which actually hold. Half way in sediment is visible on the bottom.

I'll admit taking a whiff after popping the cap; the aroma is such that I couldn't but enjoy the bourbon. Once in the glass the magnitude of the aroma becomes undeniable. The charred oak is most notable, followed by bourbon heat & vanilla overtones. The base stout is equally impressive with a showing of semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder, molasses, hints of coffee dregs & subtle notions of caramel. It's hard telling where the charred ends & the roasted begins.

Upon taking a sip my lone gripe is that oxidation is apparent upfront. Thankfully the other flavors are so strong as to mask said oxidation. Solid undercurrents of chocolate, molasses & near burnt sugars. Indeed, these roasted malts offer a sweetened platform from which the barrel launches its attack. Charred, almost ashy notes of oak are paired with just-shy-of-scathing bourbon character. This is a hot beer, even after several years. The vanilla isn't as distinct compared to the aroma.

The feel is just as formidable. There's an inherent slickness that belies just how full bodied this is. Unleashed by low carbonation & underscored by a slow moving grittiness, this truly is a heavy beer. There's no attempt to quell the alcohol heat & it's warm if not outright numbing. Whiskey, charred oak & near-burnt malts linger long after the finish.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked this bottle. I'd heard the 2008 vintage is still boozy; I reckon an extra year hasn't done much in terms of mellowing. I certainly recommend giving this a shot, especially if bourbon barrel imperial stouts are your bag (if that's the case, though, you likely already know). This is a sipper if ever there was one.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RaulMondesi
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What's that thing called? Cloud 9? Well, this bad boi just put Raul on cloud 11. I mean, Raul is feeling this thing like the "massage" that he just got down at the local parlor. Blacker than sin and as dangerous as a 2x4 with a nail in it, Raul was more into this thang than that one time your mama got bubble gum stick in her hair.

Sleek, sexy, and luxurious. This lil sucker is nothing but luxurious.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Black, brown lacing

SMELL: Charred wood, barrel juice, vanilla, ripe figs, light molasses, alcohol, fudge, burnt raisins

TASTE: Creamy, thick body, smooth, molasses, mild charcoal, deep caramel, burnt dark fruit, vanilla, booze, roasted cocoa nibs, molasses finish

Some argue this is not craft beer anymore due to change of ownership—we say “bollocks” to that. BCS has cult status and deservedly so. A slow sipper due to the size, and closing in on perfection makes it very easy to sip!! Cheers to Goose Island for its continuation and expansion within their barrel program.

Photo of dmgeng
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Traded one of my coworkers who hordes these beer for a particular 2013 vintage bottle that he said was his favorite beer of all time.

A - Jet black color devoid of all light reflecting out of this elixir. It pours beautifully with a dark khaki head and nice lacing. A very beautiful beer in the glass.

S - Tons of of sweet stout smell with roasted, chocolate, caramel, bourbon, and vanilla. Smells very strong and bursting with flavor.

T - A rush of flavor hits your palate but it is clear this is exactly what you would expect with the bourbon and imperial stout character holding your tongue hostage. The roasted, chocolate, and malt flavors blend perfectly with the oak, bourbon, and vanilla that comes with the barrel aging process. This beer tastes like one of the best beers in the world but is more bourbon forward, less complex, and higher in alcohol than some other top-tier bourbon barrel aged stouts.

M - Huge mouth-feel with light carbonation. This is probably the thickest and most heavenly bodied beers I've ever had.

Overall, this is a tremendous and amazing beer that deserves respect and a discerning palate to appreciate such grandeur. Though the bourbon is front and center it is smooth and flavorful and really adds a great deal to the amazing base imperial stout. Only a few weeks ago did I have the "other" amazing bourbon barrel stout, "KBS" and I would choose the Founder's counter part over Bourbon County only due to the ability to better discern all of the flavors instead of this beer where the flavors are so strong and fulfilling that the palate can be overwhelmed. Both of these beers are astonishing and should be sought out but in the end only one with prevail and for my palate "KBS" is the champion.

Glass- Snifter

Photo of BEERchitect
4.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite stout,...period. Just finished my second 4-pack (not all today) but, for the year.

Aromas: Awsome. It has it all, malts, coffee, chocolate, cherries, raspberries, raisons, vanilla, caramel. It's basically a desert for the olfactory senses.

Appearance: Thicker, heavier, darker, and better colored than about any stout that I have ever had. It even sounds nicer when poured into a tulip glass.

Taste: Holds up to the aromas and more. One sip tells you that this is going to be a slow and steady drink. High barley and roasted grains without tasting harsh or "gainy". All of the fruits and sweetnesses in the aroma are compounded in the flavor. The sweet malt is quickly followed by fruity tartness and nice bittering from the dark malts and the well disguised hops.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick, and creamy. Coats the mouth incredibly well. Polishes off well without the stickyness associated with most high gravity brews.

Aftertaste: There's the bourbon. Until now, it hides in the background of all the other complexities. The bourbon flavors increase the caramel and vanilla flavors...and the alcohol. warming and lingering. Each sip makes you want to reflect before the next one.

Impression: overwhelming to the modest beer drinker. This one is definately for grown-ups (if not conissours). She's definately a sipper. Should only be enjoyed with good friend, a cozy fire, and hour to spare.

Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Man shit. Girl-man shit.

A: As black as it was before the big bang.

T: Booze and vanilla and acidic bitterness from all the blackness and space oddity booze.

M: Perfectly thick, semi-hard to swallow because my mouth likes it so much.

O: Holy Grail ALERT

Photo of Apellonious
4.48/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2014 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured a dark black with a brief razor thin dark tan head.

S - Boubon, dark fruit, malts.

T - Follows the nose, with added hints of chocolate and vanilla. Caramel, syrup.

M - Velvety, gets sticky as it warms. Enough carbonation to hold it together.

O - Impressive. As good as advertised, even at 8 a 12 oz.

Photo of Viscousbike
5/5  rDev +8.9%

New favorite beer; and that's coming from an IPA guy. Totally lives up to the hype.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Charred oak barrel black with a wee glimmer of burnt umber at the bottom edge of the glass. Light simply has no chance. The small, dark caramel colored cap isn't as creamy as expected, nor as sticky. I'm sure the 11.0% ABV has a lot to do with it, but I like a bit more eye candy. This is one serious looking stout, though.

The aroma is outstanding. This is exactly what a stout aged in bourbon barrels ought to smell like. An insane amount of heavily roasted barley greets my nose with every sniff. In addition, there's plenty of dark caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla and glorious bourbon whiskey. With a bit more power and a bit more aggressiveness, it'd be perfect.

The flavor *is* perfect. Absofreakinlutely perfect! It doesn't hurt that I love bourbon because those 100 days in the barrel were 100 days well and efficiently spent. If bourbon whiskey isn't your thing, then I'd suggest drinking another beer. This one positively oozes that glorious spirit. Unlike some beer of this sub-style, the proportion of stout to whiskey is juuust right.

The flavor profile consists of bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, dark butterscotch, crushed vanilla beans, charred oak, a splash of ouzo and a tendril or two of smoke. The whiskey adds a certain wee heavy character, although there's no peatiness since bourbon is the whiskey of choice rather than Scotch. It's amazing how each sip is better than the last. Where will it end?

I'm a bit surprised at the sweetness, but probably shouldn't be given the gargantuan amount of malt. The mouthfeel is full (without being ponderous), heavily silky, polished gemstone-like and nicely chewy on the back end. Carbonation must be present, though you'd never know it. Perfect score. Again.

I expected one whole helluva lot from Bourbon County Stout. All the more amazing, then, that it blew right past those expectations as if they were sitting still. This remarkable beer is easily the best that I've ever had from Goose Island. It's a true American original and is the perfect marriage of double stout and bourbon. The next time I see BCS, I plan to clear out the store.

Photo of BrbnBarlAgdBil
4.94/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had heard of this beer over and over again and I was happy with my BlackOps and Old Raspy Barrel Aged, but wow did they get this beer right. The subtle notes throughout the beer hit your tongue as it tingles from the bourbon barrels. Hints of smoke and wood touch the palate as the beer goes down so very smooth. Thank you Closisinthehouse for the new addiction.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on October 8, 2008.

G: Poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Motor-oil dark with a thin, quarter-finger head with minimal amounts of carbonation. The beer is completely opaque and near black.

S: Roasted malt and a lot of sweet chocolate scent. Minimal hints of dried fruits. Definite bourbon scent and hints of aged oak as well.

T: The taste is absolutely exquisite. Hints of the aforementioned oak, along with plenty of bourbon. Some chocolate and espresso hiding in the mix. The perfect balance and extremely complex--I would give this a 5.5 if I could.

M: Quite thick and extremely chewy. It really almost feels as if there's food in my mouth. A true "motor oil" beer. Moderate amounts of carbonation. Strong alcohol presence.

D: Very, very drinkable. This is high in ABV, but I could drink these until I couldn't drink any longer.

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

A: A 2008 bottle poured into a snifter. The pour is dark as night with some thin mocha colored foam.

S: The smell is full of bourbon, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, and a slight bit of alcohol.

T: This is one smooth beverage. Great bourbon, chocolate, oak, and molasses flavors. There are still some alcohol presence, but it's nowhere near as hot as when fresh.

M: The carbonation is very light, but it works well with a 13% Impy Stout. The body is full, smooth, and creamy.

D: Even though the alcohol has died down quite a bit in a year+, it's still a big, big beer. I need to go out and buy more of this, because I see this only getting better.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to mjtiernan for sending me this one!

2009 vintage. Bottled on 10/9/09.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random spots and streaks of lace slide back down into the remaining beer. Smell is of wood, vanilla, toasted coconut, and milk chocolate. Taste is of toasted coconut, vanilla, wood, and semi-sweet cocoa powder. There is a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a most excellent beer and I can see why this one is held in such high regard. A rare treat for me that I am glad I got to try.

Photo of baywater
5/5  rDev +8.9%

This beer is not on the same level as any of the other beers I have drank. After drinking this I have tried to drink some of my favorites and they don't even compare.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.65/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours an opaque black body with a large, lush dark tan head.

Smell: Intense aroma of chocolate-covered coffee beans and bourbon, with all the companion hints of vanilla, wood, and dark brown sugar. Light whiff of smoke.

Taste: Dark maltiness with chocolate, sweetened coffee, and dark caramel. Plenty of complimentary sweetness to go around. A bourbon flavor so exquisite, it's hard not to get excited about it. At this level, you get astoundingly distinct, robust flavors of vanilla beans, brown sugar, and charred oak. Anymore bourbon would turn this beer into an abomination of beerkind. The beer gets very chocolatey near the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium carbonation. Creamy, delectable mouthfeel. Warming alcohol presence.

Drinkability: Very good! The first sip was a joy, as was the last.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 11/13/09.Finally a chance to try this,it has escaped my grasp a few times.Poured deep as an oil slick,no light showing through this puppy,a thinner dark mocha colored head atop.Powerful oaky bourbon notes in the nose,notes of vanilla and some alcohol dipped dark fruit became stronger as the beer warmed.Bourbon is the big flavor component on the palate,vanilla tinged and oaky,there is a slight buttery-rum flavor in the fisnish as well.This will warm the insides thats for sure,its a young bottle and its powerful,a great beer to sip on,who its warm in here right now.

Photo of don1481
4.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours about as close to pitch black as you can get. Dark brown head quickly dissipates. This is about the color of my soul.

Smell: Chocoate, vanilla, and bourbon hit the nose right away, with some coffee hints. Smells complexly blissful.

Taste: WOW. It's like when Bruce Willis was dead at the end of Sixth Sense. Chocolate! Molasses! Caramel! Coffee! This is what I picture when I envision the embodiment of a stout. Obviously there is a hint of booziness, but it is VERY subdued and well-mixed with the other tastes. Simply spectacular.

Mouthfeel: This is some smooth stuff! Creamy, with a little viscosity to it, but it definitely doesn't leave any sort of a bad aftertaste. Very clean.

Overall: If I could buy out next year's supply of this, I would. Unreal.

Photo of RoyalT
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is a rich ultra-dark brown in color with a beautiful brown head that is just the color of brown sugar.

Smell - The heavy wood notes are surrounded by scents of crème de cocoa, raw sugar, rich malt, and a liquor that is more like whisky then bourbon.

Taste - The flavors here are huge and explosive! The wonderful roasted malt is almost lost in the swarm of other flavors. The cocoa is especially prevalent and the vanilla wood notes from the nose are slightly restrained at the taste. The whisky finds a way to mellow out from the nose yet somehow is more prominent. The sugar is like a crème caramel.

Mouthfeel - This is a big medium-bodied beer that is relatively flat and could have used a bit more liveliness. The natural bitterness of the malt is canceled by the huge variety of uber-flavors such as the alcohol, wood, and sugar.

Drinkability - This is a terrific drink with maybe a bit too much going on.

Photo of aszatk01
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of cam477
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.33/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Not my cup of tea (stupid bourbon ruining a great beer) but I must admit that this would be a wonderful beer if I liked bourbon even if I disagree with the style.

Appearance: Pours the darkest shade of brown possibly with no head and then suddenly loads of dark brown froth explodes. A healthy lace swirls like a hurricane and an 1/8 inch ring coats the glass.

Aroma: Bourbon, molasses, coconut, rum, caramel, and white sugar.

Taste: Mostly bourbon with touches of vanilla and cocoa. Maybe some coffee but mostly just bourbon and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, thick, chewy, and boozey.

Drinkability: Very low for me. Frankly, I find it drain pour worthy.

$5 a piece...ridiculous. There are better bourbon barrel stouts for 1/4 to 1/5 that cost coming out of shacks in the northern woods.

Photo of DanGeo
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.8/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of tectactoe
4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2012 edition. Pours a thick, deep, black color with a very dark tan head. Beer is fairly volatile at first, producing a huge creamy head. Once the head finally dissipates away, it's hard to bring back. The nose on this beer is incredible. Huge oak and vanilla aromas, heavy bourbon and whisky, sweet caramel and roasty malts. HUGE nose, full of a powerful set of flavors - I think I just sat and smelled this beer for about five minutes before I finally took a taste. It will open up right in front of your nostrils.

The beer has a great vanilla taste right off the bat. You get hit with a syrupy sweetness that transforms into a flavor with bittersweet chocolate, malts, and heavy bourbon. As the beer warms up, the bourbon and oak flavors become more and more plentiful, but the wonderful vanilla flavor and aroma never goes away. The aftertaste leaves a nice buttery malt flavor on the tongue. The mouth is huge - super creamy, thick, and chewy with a mild amount of carbonation.

This is a beer you certainly must baby and sip slowly - however, it is worth every minute of it. Amazing brew here, with an incredible nose and flavor. I'm glad I got my hands on a four pack, and I plan on aging a few of these to see how they react.

EDIT: 2008 Vintage

Thanks to Jeff for sharing one of his '08 bottles. Last year to have the white label. God, this stuff was amazing. Bourbon was still strong and robust, but so incredibly smooth. Huge vanilla, chocolate, molasses. Sweet and warming all at once, silky on the palate. Oak notes were lighter but still present. Good reminder of why I love this beer so much.

Photo of ricke
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

A: This one is as black as they come and is really viscous. I've had this before and I know it's hard to get head development going. So I tried a rather aggressive pour into my snifter, but all I got was a minimal layer of dark beige foam that dissipates immediately into a minimal ring of lacings.

S: The smell is amazing. Massive bourbon aromas sit side by side with a wonderful smooth stout base. Vanilla, almonds, oak, licorice and a hint of soy sauce. Some hints of brown sugar and molasses. The roasted malts really need to struggle to keep up with the bourbon, but I think they manage quite well. The bourbon gets a little boozy and I pick up plenty of alcohol fumes.

T: The taste follows suit and surly doesn't disappoint, even though expectations get cranked up by the appearance and smell. The bourbon flavors are really powerful, rich and full, but nonetheless the beer manages to stay balanced. Lots of vanilla and oak with notes of almonds. Hints of sweet licorice. Perhaps a suggestion of soy sauce. The roasted malty character is noticeable but it gets a little hard to detect with all the bourbon notes going on. Nevertheless, the malts manage to create a good balancing point for the powerful bourbon flavors. All in all, the beer has a pleasant balance between sweetness and a salty note. The usual flavors of dark fruits and chocolate are really hard to pick up in this one, but I do think here is a delightful note of truffles. The finish is loaded with boozy and hot alcohol that fits nicely with the sweetness from the bourbon and malts, but it gets a little too much here and there. Wood, notes of salt licorice, a light herbal bitterness and long-lasting bourbon notes round everything up.

M: Very very viscous and smooth - this one is thick like cream. Medium, well suited carbonation. Although both smell and taste is great in this one, the mouthfeel is really the highlight here, it's just that great. It just delivers a sophisticated expression to an otherwise bold and cocky beer.

D: This is a good imperial stout, to say the least. Very powerful with a massive bourbon character. It's quite impressive that it still manages to come of as balanced. However, it's not perfect. Although this is obviously a sipper, the alcohol gets to demanding and overpowering every now and then. And due to the onslaught of the bourbon flavors, the beer looses some complexity.

NOTE: This bottle was about 11 months old. I've sampled a bottle from the same batch when it was reasonably fresh, and although I think it holds up really well with plenty of bourbon still hanging around, I think the bourbon notes have faded just a little bit.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 9,365 ratings.