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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.

2,577 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,577
Hads: 10,541
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 5.16%
Wants: 2,483
Gots: 5,673 | FT: 609
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bourbon County Brand Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,577 | Hads: 10,541
Photo of kbeals
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2008 bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A- Pours out very thick and is jet black. A little crown of dark brown head adorns the top of the beer.

S- Definite notes of coffee and vanilla, along with tons of bourbon smells, slightly smokey and woody, overall very pleasing.

T- This beer has an incredibly strong alcohol taste too it, a bit too much perhaps. Along with this comes coffee and a bit of a burnt taste.

M- Thick and chewy, just like any AIS should be.

D- This beer was very good, but the alcohol taste to it limits my wanting to drink it. I would probably never drink more than one of these in a night but the complexity left me wanting more after each sip. I would definitely buy this again. (709 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! What a delicious and delightful elixir! I finally got the chance to visit Bourbon County; it was in New York at the veritable Gingerman; it was served at room temperature in a 13-ounce chalice - a beer drinkers' depiction of the Holy Grail.

It is pitch black with a razor thin head; there is no lacing. This is serious beer. The nose is bombarded with heavy blasts of molasses and raisin while the palate is doused with thick blanket of semi-sweet chocolate. Additionally, there is the need to contemplate the Stout's malty mouthfeel of biscuity numbness that inundates the sensory nerves. Not a beer, but an experience. One is confused as to whether this potion should be revered or feared.

Take time to enjoy the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Find a comfortable chair, call over the dog to sit at your feet (if you get bashed, it will break the fall) and relax. Of course, in my case, just sit at the bar and slowly savor. It was expensive - $9.00. But it was worth every grubby penny. Wow! (1,005 characters)

Photo of jampics2
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle, poured into a snifter.

Pours soooo dark. Little ring of brown head - looking down at my snifter from ontop, it appears as if this liquid has caused an eclipse. This is an impressive looking beer!

Smells outstanding. Big bourbon notes, hell, even smells like a snifter of bourbon itself. Roasty malt as well - smells so delicious and appealing.

Tastes good - nice bourbon sting, roasty sweetness, and the finish is divine. But it is still very hot and bourbon-ey, but it's gotten better since the fresher one I had from this vintage. Gonna let a few bottles go another 2 years to see where this ends up. As it warms, the vanilla from the Bourbon and Oak starts to come out and the finish becomes even sweeter.

Mouthfeel is quite remarkable - not a chewey, milk-shakey RIS, but a good viscosity.

Drinkability suffers a touch b/c it's so strong - drinking more than one would be a task unless you're a big bourbon lover. Which I am ;)

Overall a unique and worthwhile beer that blurrs the line between a dark beer and a liquor. Top notch stuff Goose Island! (1,073 characters)

Photo of littlekidlover
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Awesome!!!! I poured half of the bottle into my beer tasting wine glass. There was a tiny caramel head that disappears quickly. This stuff pours like 10w30, Texas Tea! The smell is coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, black cherry and alcohol, little bit of smoke. The taste is all that and just straight up bourbon. The mouthfeel is silky smooth like whole milk. If I didn't pass out first, I would drink this all day. Great Stout, one of the best I have had! (473 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a dark black color, which allows a tiny bit of ruby to shine through. Has a small tan foamy head with nice retention. Does not leave a lace.

Smell - Bourbon, chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. The aroma is amazing, has a strong alcohol presence.

Taste - Exactly like the smell. Truly a great flavor. Sweet, and the alcohol really comes through.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, chewy, nice carbonation.

Drinkability - You want to sip this one. I like Bourbon, so this is great for me. (497 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Chugs out of the bottle. A very thin dark tan head disappears almost immeadiately. Color is pure black. No lacing.

S. Bourbon, chocolate, molasses, vanilla, caramel, oak, coffee.

T. Coffee, bourbon, chocolate, some caramel malt sweetness, oak, alcohol.

M. Full bodied. Thick and creamy. Leaves a sugary stickiness on the lips.

D. This beer is definitely boozey. Although I probably wouldnt want more than one at a time, its a beer that leaves you wanting another one in the future. This is an intense, good beer. (557 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.06/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 bottle. I generally don't like bourbon aged beers, but had a friend in from Europe who likes bourbon and wanted him to see what he thought. Also, always keep trying the same style until something clicks.

Oozes out of the bottle with no carbonation a black motor oil with a tan creamy head.

Big old Bourbon smell, some dark chocolate, hints of vanilla.

Tastes of burning bourbon, vanilla, and cocoa, like the smell.

If you dont like bourbon, you'll hate this beer.... I dont like bourbon. Was hoping for more subtlety, maybe not possible with bourbon? (560 characters)

Photo of rowew
3.15/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, abv and bottled date are clearly marked. There is also the suggestion that this is a great cigar beer, which is appropriate considering I am pairing it with a cigar. I have no idea why Goose Island distributes this to Colorado and nothing else .. anybody know?

Appearance: As I would expect, it is super black, and very thick. Smallish head is also dark in color, fades to a bit of lacing.

Smell: Dominate aroma is definitely vanilla. Just a hint of some burnt sugar as well.

Taste: Fairly sweet, with tons of the same vanilla and burn sugar flavors. There is also a bit of coffee and chocolate, but I feel like they are over powered by the sweetness. Carbonation is very low.

Overall impression: I can't say I'm overly impressed - this has some definite burn, lots of oak and vanilla .. but the sweetness just overpowers everything else for me. I've had this both with and without the cigar .. its a bit more drinkable with the cigar, but the four pack I have will certainly be plenty for me. (1,028 characters)

Photo of Florida9
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: I've never described a beer as looking like motor oil, thinking the reference was somewhat tacky. However, I've never had a beer glug, glug, glug its way out of a bottle like, well, motor oil. This beer is black. The rim of the glass offers a slight hint of cola colored liquid, but otherwise, this is nothing but black. A thin dark tan head finds its way to the top after pouring, but doesn't stick around for very long. There is no lacing.

S: Reminds me of fresh brownies. Chocolate, vanilla, ganache and, yes, the decidedly un-brownie-like scent of a mellow bourbon. However, with all of the comments of smelling like bourbon, I decided to smell this against a glass of Rock Hill Farms bourbon and will say, while there are similarities, the chocolate presence is much more pronounced than is the bourbon.

T&M: Coats the tongue with chocolate, vanilla, and faint hint of coffee. There are notes of raisin and prune. Finishes with oak and a slight alcohol burn, though the viscosity of this beer does much to subdue the volatile alcohols. Carbonation is low, too low in my opinion, but the thick liquid does allow for a long, complex finish.

D: This beer reminds me of a PX sherry. Sweet, complex, and raisiny. The flatness of the beer and the high alcohol only goes to reinforce the connection. Drinkability is good, as long as your not too aggressive with this beer. It's a sipper for sure. A nice slow glass of beer, meant to be appreciated. (1,452 characters)

Photo of route66pubs
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle drank in June, 2009.

A - pours very dark with a creamy head that does not last long. Very thick and dark --- no air here.

S - Vanilla and caramel, with a slight chocolate feel.

T - What can you say? This beer is darn near perfect. Chocolate and slight raisin for an icredibly perfect balance.

M - Crisp yet bubbly, a perfect balance leads to a perfect head.

D - stilll hot after seven months, but easy to go down. Let it sit longer and you have a gem. (468 characters)

Photo of bhalter8
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Straight from the bottle to goblet, pours a dark syrupy looking beer with thin tan head resting atop. The beer alone screams stout, and a burley one at that. Aroma is strong bourbon, very strong, it almost overwhelms the beer, but as it warms some chocolate and roasted malt comes through. There is a lot going on in this beer, more than just booze, which I was somewhat afraid of at first. Much like the smell, there is bourbon up front in the nose, but the sweet chocolate flavor is there, and hints of vanilla and some other sweetness I can't quite put my finger on, but there is more! A thick beer, that goes down slow, with an intense warming as you sip it. Definitely lives up to the billing, I love this beer and am looking forward to trying an aged bottle I got in trade, as well as aging few others just to see what happens. (833 characters)

Photo of Vonerichs
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beast pours like motor oil, black with barely any carbonation whatsover. There are some light chocolately brown bubbles around the edge, but that's all.

Wow, the bourbon smacked me in the face and I knew right away I was going to enjoy this one. I love me some bourbon and I love me some stout. Within the bourbon scent is oak and vanilla.

The taste? Vivid. The nose is clearly bourbon and it's counterparts, but there's also a backing of chocolate and over-ripe dark fruits. It's all very intense and compliment each other well.

It's one of the thickest imperial stouts that's ever passed my lips. Chewy and creamy. There's definitely an alcoholic burn to it, but to me that was expected with the high abv and the incorporation of bourbon barrels. As a result, the finish is extremely dry and after I was done with the beer I endulged in a nice tall glass of water.

This isn't a highly drinkable beer, but who the hell cares? It's amazingly delicious and one is all you'll need because it will last a while. Take it as a sipper and enjoy it for what it is.

My timing is a little off. I imagine this as a great winter-sittin'-by-the-fire beer, which is probably when I'll have it next. (1,200 characters)

Photo of DesMoinesMike
1.43/5  rDev -67.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5


When I poured this beer I thought it could pass for chocolate, DARK chocolate milk. The aroma was thick, like molasses and caramel and Jim Bean mixed together. The flavor mimmicked the aroma but had a bigger punch to my pallet. IT burned on the way down like liquor.

I have to say this isn't the shittiest tasting beer I've had, but it's up there. Perhaps I should just give up on finding an imperial that I like.

If you want S T R O N G, go for this bad boy. (485 characters)

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed Fresh:

From bottle into tulip glass. Pours ink black with a dark toffee head that rapidly dissipates to a few wisps. The smell is bourbon moderated only slightly with molasses and faint vanilla and oak. Mouthfeel is classic imperial stout: heavy, thick, minimal carbonation. Chocolate, toffee and vanilla sweetness take the lead with coffee and burnt oak providing a strong backbone. Then the bourbon takes over. At first the bourbon helps supervise the sweetness, which otherwise would run amok. But the bourbon and alcohol bitterness defintely take over by the finish. That aftertaste is the true barometer of this beer; if you don't like bourbon, this is not the beer for you. Not much will pair with this other than dark chocolate (and even that doesn't stand up too well). We're going to cellar a few four-packs and see if it mellows with age. But while I think it could use a bit of the discipline that age provides, its complexity and flavor profile deserves attention right out of the blocks.

Edit: With 2-3 years on it, GIBCS may be one of my favorite beers, period. (1,086 characters)

Photo of WPRebelFan
3.26/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2008 bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Poured very black and very thick with practically no head.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and a little more bourbon to finish it off.

Taste: Roasted malts with some coffee in there. It all seems to be overpowered by the bourbon though.

Mouthfeel: A big beer to say the least with no carbonation. It seems to overtake your mouth.

Drinkability: One at a sitting is plenty. If I want to drink bourbon, I'll drink bourbon. (483 characters)

Photo of jsh420
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 edition

pours pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that leaves very little lacing

smell is sweet bourbon oak vanilla and chocolate

taste is much like the smell but intense big bourbon oaky vanilla and chocolate - still a good amount of alcohol heat on this one

mouthfeel is is heavy but slick and mighty smooth with little amount of carbonation

drinkability - this beer is a sipper but you will love every last sip

overall this is the best bourbon aged beer that i have had - a lot more complex then founders kbs (which i have only had fresh) (554 characters)

Photo of merryjoulton
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, viscous deep black that only hints of brown on the very edges. Not one quanta of light passes through the middle. Smell is complex and impressive--vanilla, oak, cassis, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, teriyaki sauce, and alcohol. That is the most aroma components I think I've ever encountered in one beer. Taste is a bit less complex, but substantial nonetheless--the salty teriyaki component is there, roasty coffee beans, creamy syrupy malt. Mouthfeel is very thick and juicy. Drinkability will keep me from giving a perfect score simply because the 13% abv. is overwhelming me a little and the booze aroma becomes more and more evident as the glass empties. (678 characters)

Photo of CJthirty7
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa whiskey! And fuck finding a cigar that could be matched with this stout. Romeo and Julieta Cubano care of Dubai. Dipped the butt in this creamy stout and we are off. If you love whiskey and you love a sweet, sweet stout, this beer is for you. I don't love whiskey, but damn, I love this beer.

$20 a 4-pack?! You know what, screw the mortgage, I'm just going to stock up on this. I can live on Ramen... for beers sake. (424 characters)

Photo of Yesac
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottle poured into snifter

A- One the blackest beer's I've ever seen. No head, only a small brown ring around the sides.

S- Bourbon. Big chocolate malt and lots of strong alcohol. Hints of vanilla.

T- This beer is huuuge. Huge dark chocolate notes. Some java. Rich bourbon and vanilla blend. Dare I say this has balance? The alcohol is strong, but you just picked up a bourbon stout so what do you expect? This is an awesome sipper. I suggest pairing with chocolate.

M- Very thick bodied and hella smooth. Dry.

D- Wow.. I can only handle a small sip at a time. Big and potent brew, not the easiest to drink but the best to sip. (640 characters)

Photo of mjl21
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 edition. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 10/16/08. Comes in at 13%.

A-Pours black with virtually no head. Leaves a miniscule sandy ring. Not much lace is left, but the booze gives it some nice legs.

S-When first poured, the oak is noticeable along with some bourbon. Vanilla comes in as it begins to warm. Once it has been in the glass for 20 minutes, more bourbon is evident. It is not very roasty and not nearly as oaky as KBS.

T-Bourbon hits fast on the first sip. Vanilla and chocolate come in the middle to give this a decent level of sweetness. As I swish it around my mouth, the alcohol definitely comes out. There is some dry roasted notes on the finish, but not a ton. The oak is not very evident.

M-This one is thick and tastes like a big beer. It is very smooth and silky. Leaves a nice sticky coating on the lips.

D-This is truly a great beer that I slowly sip to enjoy all of the robust flavors. The 13% limits the drinkability, but I can easily sip on this for well over an hour.

A truly great beer that finally made its way out west. This one has seven months of age on it and the hot alcohol factor has definitely gone down. The bottle says the flavor will continue to develop over 5 years. I plan on revisiting over the next few to see how it matures. (1,298 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to PhxHorn for this one!

Pours black with a thin swirl that lasts. Not much "lacing", but "legs" stick.

The smell is of chocolate, some licorice and vanilla/bourbon.

The taste is of chocolate, licorice, with a vanilla sweetness from the bourbon. A pleasant bourbon character is there - strong enough to enjoy while not overpowering the delicious imp. stout character. It finishes with a woody dryness.

The feel is silky smooth. Full-bodied without being thick or too syrupy.

I would love to give "drinkability" a higher score, but the alcohol does show (though reasonably incorporated for the abv) on this potent sipper. This is a 2008 vintage - enjoyed very much. Would love to see how this baby turns out after aging (too bad it's not distributed around here). If you have the good fortune of having this in your area, grab some!

Great imp. stout with a nice bourbon character! (892 characters)

Photo of WakeandBake
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ultra dark thick black color body with a very thin chocolate colored head,little to no carbonation,lots of sticky sheeting and lace. Aroma of Vanilla, chocolate covered cherries, oak, tobacco,and brown sugar.Flavor is HUGE dark toasted malt ,chocolate, coffee, licorice, raisin, smoke, vanilla, and molasis, a full body with a thick creamy mouthfeel,slightly boozy ,burbony but in a very good way,long milk chocolate,and alcohol finish. This is the bomb ! (457 characters)

Photo of AVDeuph
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To tell the truth, I was expecting to be overwhelmed by the bourbon taste in this brew. Although I love KBS, I had heard that this beer was hotter and more bourbon-intensive, and I haven't liked a good portion of the bourbon aged ales that I have tried. That said...

Bottle served in a Dogfish Head snifter (my first beer in this glass).

A: Black silk, thick and very creamy looking. The head was but a thin layer of brown carbonation that barely covered the entire surface area.

S: Whoa. Okay you know how every once in a while you make an olfactory connection that really has nothing to do with the actual aromas....macaroni and cheese. I can't get it out of my head. I liken it to the bourbon in the beer, but it is disconcerting. My fault though, not the beer's.

T: Actually I think this beer is really balanced. The bourbon is evident but not overwhelming like I was afraid of, and there is enough dark coffee and otherwise standard imp stout characteristics to balance out that flavor. Still tastes a little like macaroni and cheese, but I'm getting over it. For 13% I think this beer is very smooth, and the alcohol really isn't burning or overly hot at all.

M: Thick of course, with a lasting bitter finish. Tightly carbonated, nice compact bubbles that keep the beer from being to slick and oily.

D: Okay, so it's more drinkable than I expected, and I'm definitely going to finish this happily, but I think rationally (and economically) the Bourbon County Stout isn't something you're going to have two of. That said, considering the outright robustness of flavors and very high ABV, it does relatively well in the drink department.

I'm happy with this beer. I'd buy it again, though maybe not until next year. I think next to their Imperial IPA, this is the best beer Goose Island makes. If you really like the taste of bourbon in beer, you will really love it; if you're open to new experiences, you'll be pleasantly surprised; if you aren't ready for this craziness, save your money and wait for your taste buds to make some progress. (2,056 characters)

Photo of 3Vandoo
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pitch black beer with some amber red hues striking through it. Shy head retention at max.

smell of coffee, chocolate flavors, licorice, vanilla, cherry and some hints of bourbons.

Taste is licorice at first followed by Bourbon mellow flavors, roasted hints, shy hints of vanilla, a taste of glazed donut, sugary coated donuts. A shy bitterness, with a shy hoppy stint with a mellow warm alcohol finish. (406 characters)

Photo of tedsox31
4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 2008 4 pack of this to try for the second time. The first time that I tried it I was just getting into beer and did not like it. I am glad that I gave it another try a few years later. It pours completely and utterly black. There is absolutely no light let through, and it is almost syrupy. There is a small tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

The main aroma that jumps out is that of bourbon, followed by chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of dark fruit. I don't notice much in the way of a woody aroma like I expected, perhaps that is dominated by the presence of the bourbon.

The taste is that of bourbon. At first it is not as dominant as the aroma might suggest, but as it warms the bourbon flavor becomes more and more present. Alongside the bourbon is the taste of vanilla and chocolate. This is then followed by a nice roasted flavor that I didn't really detect in the aroma. The end is smooth and sweet.

The mouthfeel is quite nice for an after-dinner beer. It is very full and coats the mouth all the way through. The presence of bourbon lingers well after I swallow. A nice warming feel from the alcohol comes through after a few sips.

This beer is not a beer to take lightly. At 13%, the alcohol is in your face and the complexity of flavors makes it something that I really think should be paired with no food other than perhaps a boozy-chocolaty dessert. It has enough flavors going on that it can stand on its own very well. It is a great beer to have and savor slowly, once in a while. (1,519 characters)

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 2,577 ratings.