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Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,629 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,629
Hads: 10,795
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 19.82%
Wants: 2,587
Gots: 5,966 | FT: 619
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  13.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drewbage on 06-26-2003

60 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,629 | Hads: 10,795
Reviews by bohemiandonut:
Photo of bohemiandonut
4.56/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's going to be hard to capture this beer in a few words, but I'll give it my best shot.

2008 edition served at cellar temp.

Pours jet black with little head. A non-issue really, as the overwhelming aromas begin to fill the glass. Translucent at the hithermost netherregions only.

Smell is utterly insane. An almost violent flume of oak literally drenched with chocolaty bourbon. Seriously volatile. This may be the first aroma I've encountered that has its own texture. Almost coarse on the nose. Inviting, in an uncompromising sort of way.

This is one thick beer. Worlds more dense than Parabola, Older Vis, etc. Can it support such density? Dude, of course. A mild and pleasant carbonation calls this beer its home. But I'm having to be careful. As a chronic gulper, I'm used to relative non-restraint with most big sippers. Right now however, I'm essentially reduced to a duality of awe and trepidation that I'm supposed to drink 12 oz of this stuff by myself. Oh shit- am I supposed to talk about taste?

Okay, you know what carob tastes like? Almost like a piece of chocolate if you had to dig it up from underneath a gnarled piece of oak. This hits with a spicy alcoholic edge tempered by the woody, vanillin notes. Finishes lo-o-ong with whatever else you like to pour upon your ice cream. Let us have a moment of silence for that last sip. .. Amen.

As others have said before me, this is a beer that fills the room with absolute olfactive bliss. I wake up thinking of this beer. I smell this beer in dreams. I wish to wed this G--damn beer and anoint our future children with its blood. Seriously, a work of art. Could only get better with age.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RaulMondesi
4.87/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of Pizza-Steve
2.72/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

My first impression - Love the 2015 bottles! 14.3%ABV!!!

No head on my pour, so no lacing, just a film of alcohol on the glass, but still nice aroma and BOOZY (not a bad thing)!

However, the sweetness intensity is more than I can handle! Way too heavy on the maple syrup/cherries/molasses, dominate the flavor profile for me, with maybe a hint of vanilla. Not getting any other notes?

Not nearly as balanced as I would have expected from BCBS.

Blood glucose approaching fatal level at 111.1 mmol/L ( 2,000 mg/dl ). Hope I pass out from the booze before I go into a sugar coma!

Take a glass of bourbon, dump in a box of maraschino cherries.
With one hand pour in some Aunt Jemima's and a bottle of molasses with the other.
Dump in a 5lb. bag of Dominos sugar and there you have it - 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout :(

Mad love for the guys at Goose Island for kinda getting the whole Bourbon Barrel thing started, but sorry BCBS freaks... major dissapointment for me!

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Photo of jwall76
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This what Gods tears taste like. Amazing.

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Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +11.4%

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

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Photo of Chris912
4.73/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Always try to find this because I keep on drinking what I have. Summer, winter...doesn't matter.

2014 Vintage - Drank 7/2015
A- Black as Dracula’s cape, with a light auburn color. Lacing sticks like a Stage Five Clinger and slowly drifts into the glass like an old man into a lukewarm bath. A wonderful sight, the beer lacing that is.
S- If you didn’t know any better, you’d say this was bourbon mixed with vanilla. It smells of roasted malt, booze, chocolate and pure anticipation.
T- Damn good – love it. Keep it comin’ keep it comin’. Vanilla, chocolate; the bourbon is present unlike many of the style.
F- Just thick enough, coats the mouth and remains there. No reason to take a sip for another minute or two, so savor! The heat slithers down ever so warmly, beautiful.
O- Yup! I’ll continue to seek this out, every year, all year, until either I run out of trade bait or my wife hides all our money.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.47/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

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Photo of Viscousbike
5/5  rDev +11.4%

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

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Photo of TAREUA
1.52/5  rDev -66.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I got this from a wine/beer shop where the owner said he'd heard good things about this one but hadn't tried it yet. Well, he won't hear anything good from me. I don't remember the last time I didn't finish a beer. Just dreadful bleck. A friend with me shared my opinion.

This beer either represents the Emporers New Clothes of craft beer or there was something wrong with this bottle. It looked a fine dark brown/black. The smell was of molasses, burned things,raw alcohol and more burned molasses. A hint of overheated radiator was one of the better scents. The taste was big and layered, but the waves of burned sugar, gloppy sorghum, alcohol, just kept coming like a string of plague rats jumping into my mouth. I'm not sure of the mouthfeel, as I was too busy thinking of ways to apologize to my tongue.

If you took a Guinness and let it bounce around in your car trunk for a summer spent in the desert, added various burned molasses concoctions and some bourbon you had washed your feet in, you might approximate the flavor. This is the Edsel of beers in my opinion, and I am a huge fan of big stouts.

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Photo of Hab11
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bourbon County Stout 2014 from a 12oz. Bottle. Reviewed with Three Lions.
Look: Molassaes Color, dark like the back of a closet during a power outage. Slight caramel head. Very little lacing but leaves resin up the glass.
Smell: chocolate liqueur nose and can definitely get some of the oak from the barrel. Would love to know the bourbon that was in the barrel as it has a smoothness to it that's appealing. Chocolate Nibs with some sort of plum or date.
Taste: A lot a like a Milkyway Midnight. Vanilla, Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, caramel malt. So much more going on I can even describe. This is packed with flavors. The alcohol definitely comes through. Again would love to know the brand of Bourbon.
Mouthfeel: sticky like a good single malt bourbon or scotch, syrupie but not overly so. It is very creamy mid tongue. Finishes hot like a whiskey.
Overall: Three Lions wasn't lying this is incredible.

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Photo of ThreeLions
4.94/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed with Hab11.
Picked up this gem to share with my brother in law. Have had multiple times, first time reviewing it. Here goes:
At first pour this beer comes out the color of spent motor oil. Faintest hint of head quickly dissipates leaving a molasses colored beer. Upon swirling the beer leaves a syrupy resinous coating along the sides of the glass.
Aroma: what a smell. The alcohol (at 13.8%) is far from hidden. Intense burn. Dark fruit and wood come through up front with chocolate notes in the background. It is like a rich chocolate liquer.
Taste: Taste is an obvious 5. So rich. Dark chocolate milky way? My god this is rich. I feel like I'm drinking a dessert. A very boozy dessert I might add. The look on my sister's face when she had a sip said it all. So comical. This is an intense beer. It's so heavy, so thick and creamy, so boozy...it's over the top.
Mouth: in general I hate putting numbers to or talking about mouthful but this was an easy 5. From the first sip I knew it was a 5 before any hint of flavor was processed. So thick and perfect.
Overall. What is there to say really? It's a near flawless beer. If you enjoy barrel aged stouts then you need to seek out this brew. If you aren't familiar then this would be a great place to start but beware because setting the standard with this...this benchmark will leave you let down by a large number of other beer claiming to deliver a similar product.

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Photo of Beer_Doge
4.75/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


So bourbon.

Such chocolate.

Much sipper.



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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of SquallLionhart
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vanilla. Molasses. Bourbon. Coffee. Chocolate. Retrieved from the cave (aka basement), 2014 release, 12oz bottle.

L: Black, thick black motor-oil, with a thin almost-orange brown head that bubbles lightly to the surface shortly after pouring.
S: Coffee and chocolate. And vanilla. And more (dark fruit even?). Almost reminds me of the smell of a good pipe tobacco from many years ago. Sweet, complex... It's intoxicating, really.
T: So much going on here. The vanilla/molasses is right up front. Coffee less prominent than it was in the smell. The bourbon-barrel flavor comes through later for me... less chocolate than some of the similar ones. The aftertaste is amazing. Leaves you wanting more. This one is good from start to finish.
F: Thick and sticky. Light on carbonation (I honestly could have had a little more carbonation on this one). High on alcohol. Warms you up as it goes down, but not so hot that it burns.
O: Admittedly, I didn't like this one as much as my cohorts when it first came out. First time I had it was release-day 2014.... in-your-face vanilla and bourbon, with a firey-hot alcohol finish. This one has definitely benefited from having a little 'alone time' downstairs. It's far better now than it was a year ago (IMO of course).

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Photo of BrbnBarlAgdBil
4.93/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Pig & Fiddle
L: Brilliant black under a 1” dark tan finely bubbled foam collar.
S: Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla
T: Big dreamy chocolaty, coffee, bourbon flavors.
F: A very smooth creamy palate that almost has a nitro beer texture without the reduction in flavor.
O: One of the better things done to a bourbon barrel in a long time – all of the flavors are big, but well balanced – nothing is harsh or out off place.

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Photo of cubsfan212223
5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect beer. One of my all time favorites.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.36/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (courtesy of Dalaamar): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown color foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of bourbon is quite powering as well as some chocolate and vanilla. Taste is a mix between some chocolate malt with hints of vanilla, coffee and oak. Bourbon presence is interesting but a bit too powerful for my liking since it brings too much alcohol, which is not something that I necessarily enjoy. Body is full and has a creamy texture, which I quite enjoy. Overall, this is a very interesting creation, which I’m glad, got a chance to try but I feel I would probably prefer the non-barrel aged version more. Also, this is more of a sipper then anything else and half a bottle would probably be enough for one session.

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Photo of eddiebo
4.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Had this both on tap and from a 12 oz. bottle this week. Better on tap but a tough find. Way more boozy and tighter from the bottle, hold a bottle for a year. An outstanding stout with rich, multifaceted flavor. Mouthfeel is viscous perfection. Chocolate, prune, worcestshire sauce, and bourbon flavors all prevalent. More complex from the bottle but eminently drinkable on tap. Makes for an epic after meal sipper. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Boccu
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite bourbon stouts. True bourbon taste hints of coffee yet blended perfectly

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Photo of ohbeer89
3.98/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Definitely solid, but no socksknocking.

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Photo of sleepyteacher
3.13/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Though I cannot say that I was bowled over, blown away, or even highly impressed by this beer, I can say that it taught me a good lesson.

In beer drinking, I have grown up in a house that serves all of its beer in frosted mugs. I served my first craft imperial stout that way and, though it was still pretty good, I definitely found that it tastes better with a little air and room temp heat added to it. So now, I have been trying to drink my stouts and porters at around 50 degrees.

This beer came to the table frosty cold, from the restaurants frig, and it got significantly better as it warmed up. Unfortunately, with only 12 oz, it may not have had enough time to warm properly.

Still, hard to believe this beer is 15%. Even my girlfriend said that it tastes like boozy caramel. I have had beers similar in taste to this one that are 1/2 the price and and about 1/3rd the ABV. So I'm not sure what draws drinkers to stand in line for hours to get this beer. Maybe it gets better with age. Maybe it gets better at room temp. At least I know it won't get better with a frosted mug.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 2,629 ratings.