Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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2,562 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,562
Hads: 10,484
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 5.16%
Wants: 2,452
Gots: 5,594 | FT: 597
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: 2,562 | Hads: 10,484
Photo of RDHerm
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark black, that almost no light escapes. No visible highlights. Has a very thin, coffee brown head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a thin ring that lasts for the duration and has a decent amount of lacing.

Has a strong aroma of sweet roasted malts, bourbon, and dark chocolate. Some notes of coffee and oak, with a bit of alcohol warmth.

Starts rather mild, with solid flavors of malt, chocolate, and oak, with just the tiniest bit of vanilla. Follows with strong notes of bourbon and decent alcohol bite. There's a coffee undertone throughout, which predominates the aftertaste.

Medium/full body, with a very slight carbonation. Thick, smooth, and creamy. Coats the palate, lingering just long enough to be memorable, but not so long that it dries out the mouth.

Excellent taste, perfect feel, but a touch on the strong side. A wonderful beer to sit and sip, but gets to be a bit much after around two. (930 characters)

Photo of Karl_M
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

25 year Ruby Port
Ripe stewed Plum
Bitter roasted orange
85% dark Chocolate
Bad ass Bourbon
Melted Cherry Garcia Ice Cream
Jamaican Bourbon Vanilla grown next to acres of premium island ganja
Great grandma's Egg nog
Whisps of caramelized cotton candy
Grandma's Booze-drenched Fruitcake

Twice as dark as the bottle
6,000 mile motor oil
Fine ring of bubbles with tiny center clusters

At first the nose is all bourbon and then vanilla and plum and raisin overwhelm you in a dark chocolate cherry malt that has balance and body and character and flavor and complexity and and and intriguing pleasure that made me refrain from tasting it for several minutes while I took in the nose over and over and over and over and over and over and oh my fucking god it was THAT FUCKING good. The nose. The aroma. Just the smell of it. Fuck you. It was that good.

Then I tasted it. Ok. Now it justifies the lines and the waiting and the limits and the hype and "it's TOO GOOD TO MISS" bullshit that somehow brought me around to bring to my lips a Goose Island since their allegiance with And Hows Yer Bush.

Huge. Not overbearing. Take it slow and it will be the better than the finest port.





Worth the price/wait/drive/postage. It's great. I'd love to have 10 and open two every year to see how they evolve.

The finish is still going 20 minutes after finishing my 1/5 of a 12 oz bottle on December 1, 2013.

Now it's a buttery crusty cherry pie with tapioca filling I'm still chewing.

Delicious. Satisfying. Luxurious. Epic.

I'm also still enjoying the final bouquet left from the syrup stubbornly clinging to the sides of glass. (1,676 characters)

Photo of schris
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is for a 2013 BCBS, tasted in March 2014. I had this beer over the course of two days (8 oz pour, recap, and fridge until the second day). The first night, it started out at cellar temperature and gradually warmed up; the second, I drink it at refrigerator temperature. I don't have a great palate for bourbon, itself, and this may have been why I actually enjoyed the tasting better when the beer was colder and the bourbon flavor was a little bit masked by the cold - in the same way that I find whiskey to be more refreshing at colder temperatures, but more complex and worthy of discussion when warmed up.

This beer looks great sliding into a glass. I was test-driving a set of new 8.5 oz snifters, and the whole scene felt very photogenic. The dark brown head bubbles up from the bottom after the beer has been poured out, rises for a second, and disappears again to leave a fine web of lacing around the edges. Bourbon-soaked aroma has a deep oaky quality to it. I also smelled cherries and caramel, which guided me in choosing pairings for this tasting - salted chocolate, dried cherries, aged swiss cheese, and a couple of marshmallows for a bit of whimsy.

The body is thick - sticky, creamy, and sweet. A big swallow of bourbon hits at the beginning, giving way to coffee, dark fruit, and some chocolate, though I didn't get as much chocolate as expected from other reviews. Finish is unexpectedly smooth, cleanly cutting off on the mild chocolate notes and not leaving much in the way of booziness.

All in all, this is a top-notch, iconic barrel-aged stout. I have a couple aging now, I look forward to revisiting it next year. (1,646 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nothing I can say about this beer that hasn't already been said. Beautiful, complex, smooth, refined. As close to pperfectas it gets. Like beer? Like bourbon? Then get this. (174 characters)

Photo of carlborch
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured ink/black with a 1.5 inch thick, dark tan head, that dissipates with an obvious crackling. My glass is beer clean! The initial nose suggests smoke, bourbon and wet wood. Medium high, silky body with extensive lingering and delicious hints of chocolate, coffee, dark caramel and bourbon-macerated dried figs. The lace is mostly absent, excepting a few clusters of small spots that slide into into the stout. Density is high! The alcohol is evident and warming. I imagine it would be excellent in a snifter. Drink with care and devotion. The subsequent nose reminds me of Gethsemane Chocolate Bourbon Fudge. Although it is a warm sprig day outside, the Bourbon County Brand Stout makes me think of winter and roaring fires. (728 characters)

Photo of Lordquackingstic
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage split two ways.

A: I don't want to sound cliche, but this stuff really does look like motor oil. Onyx black with basically no head. Leaves little chunks of brown every now and then when swirling it around in your glass. Almost no lacing.

S: It smells like not-so-fishy soy sauce covered in chocolate and coffee. That might not sound appealing, but it smells pretty nice to be honest. Slight boozy aroma with a hint of bourbon.

T: Non-offensive soy sauce flavors with humungous chocolate and nutty tones and a little bit of burnt coffee. The bourbon notes aren't as prominent as I'd like them to be, but they're still there. Very nice balance.

M: Dense as the Earth below my feet. Long, boozy finish that lingers on the palette for quite some time after swallowing.

O: I was super lucky and happy to pick up a bottle of the 2008 version from my beer guy. Never had BCBS before, and I'm really happy I had the chance to finally get my hands on some. I'm looking forward to trying other vintages. (1,012 characters)

Photo of hopstermonster1
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I just had a bottle, thanks to a good friend. The beer is very black and thick once poured out of the bottle. You immediately smell bourbon, vanilla oak and slow roasted coffee. The more I drank, the more complex this beer became. It kept changing notes. I was picking up all the typical flavors of an imperial stout, plus that very noticeable bourbon taste!! I would highly recommend you locate this beer. Do not be turned off by its 15.00% ABV. Simply Amazing!! (463 characters)

Photo of rustymoore
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours midnight black with minimal carbonation or head to speak of...what little head is a deep tan. No lacing to speak of.

S: The bourbon is the standout first scent along with a super sweet molasses odor and dried dark fruits. Taste is bold with the bourbon shining through, heavy alcohol presence with an oaky smoked flavor on top of the heavy sweetness that this brew provides overall.

M: Thick and chewy if that is possible in a liquid but this beer really lets you know it is there.

D: Definitely an excellent sipping beer with a good pipe. Strong offering. (569 characters)

Photo of rpardon7
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap an oil black with a small thick tan head that faded quickly. Smell is dominated by bourbon, roasted malts, and some hints of dark fruit and black liquorice. Taste is of chocolate, bourbon, warming alchohol, a bit of coffee, a hint of dark fruit and liqourice. Mouthfeel is thin and smooth not much carbonation. Drikability well this one is tough it is a wonderful beer however very high in ABV and that makes it tought to have more than one. That being said you could enjoy more than one when the time is right. But definately a sipper. (556 characters)

Photo of spartanfan
3.96/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz long neck bottled on 10/2/09

A: An aggressive pour yields a decent tan head that bubbles away quickly leaving only a minimal ring around the exterior, reminds me of the head on a glass of pop. Color is black as night and unyielding to any light that might enter.

S: Smell is of strong bourbon, chocolate, and butterscotch.

T: Taste is strongly of bourbon and chocolate. Vanilla and anise are also there. This is an extremely complex beer with too many flavors to list, but they all seem to balance well with the bourbon.

M: Mouthfeel is quite thick, almost syrupy, it leaves behind a coating with each mouthful.

D: This one is definitely a sipper. It has a powerful warming sensation after the swallow from all of the bourbon in it. It's not a chore to drink, but it's not one that I would want to drink all the time either. (849 characters)

Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Black. Black. Pitch black. Opaque pitch black. A quarter inch caramel head from an extremely vigorous pour. Dissipates nearly completely, but leaves sticky lacing. Did I mention black - pitch black - completely opaque pitch black?

I got a noseful of rich malty bourbon flavors. Plenty of sweet malt smells - with banana esters, plums, a dash of pear, a hint of blueberry and raspberry. The bourbon flavors contain the typical caramel flavors present in the classic spirit, along with the florals and rich charred oak present. Plenty of toast, but well masked behind the caramels. No hops. I don't feel like there should be either.

Delicious. Layers upon layers of flavor. It starts with hot alcohol quickly dissolving into the caramel and florals of bourbon. Fruits are next with a strong lean towards the more jammy fruits with that beautiful hint of blueberry leading into the dark toast flavors. The progression is very smooth and quick. But, it seems to last forever. Beautiful.

Dense, nearly viscous mouthfeel. Very full bodied, and aside from the heat at the beginning of the drink, the alcohol is well incorporated into this brew.

Strong, yet delicate, rich flavors and well balanced, there's not much not to like about this beer. Not much I can say other than I like it. A great deal. And, it's worth the pretty penny. (1,368 characters)

Photo of cdmillard
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Never had a Bourbon County Brand Stout, so I asked my local guy if he had any sitting around. Said he had one bottle, a 2011 sitting behind the counter. Told him to wrap it up!

12 oz bottle dated 11/11/11

A - Pours almost black, with little to no head.

S - As soon as I uncapped the bottle, the bourbon smell was evident, if not prevalent. My wife asked, from across the room, what I had just opened. Dark fruits up front, with a hint of chocolate. Wonderful smell.

T - Mellows as you drink it, with the chocolate and vanilla up front, accented by the bourbon which, to me, seems to become more prevalent as I work my way through it..

M - Smooth and creamy. The alcohol is there, but doesn't make it harsh. Wonderful feel.

Overall - Incredible beer. Only my second bourbon barrel aged, but it reinforced the fact that I really enjoy these! I could drink tho all night. Of course, I probably wouldn't make it to work tomorrow! Fantastic beer. If you can find one, give it a shot! (985 characters)

Photo of Brewfan
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Merlin48 for this bottle via trade.

Poured into my Dogfish Head Raison D'Etra longstemmed oversize chalace.

Poured the darkest head I've ever seen. I was actually a dark brown. I've seen tan heads before, but this was incredible. Not much retention on it though. Thick lace attached to the edge of this monster glass.
Dark as night. No light enters or leaves this beer. My 4-cell maglight isn't penetrating this coal-black beer with dark red highlights.
Immense aroma of oak, vanilla, burnt mocha and bourbon-soaked raisons. Alcohol comes through towards the end, but much less than I would have though for an 11%'er.
Now to try this bad boy from Illinois. Oh my god. This is huge. Oaked bourbon and vanilla, followed by burnt mocha, caramel, figs and alchohol. So much flavor going on in this beer, you don't get the full effect of the flavors until deep into the glass. And even then, I have trouble expressing all the flavors I'm tasting.
This is a quite thick beer, heavy mouthfeel that coats the tongue, roof of mouth and throat. Also coats the glass easily. Lace is all but gone now and there's still 1/3 beer left. Finishes very oaky and thick. Excuse my while I go scrape my mouth clean.
I don't think I could drink more than 1 of these at a sitting. HUGE beer. And the 11% makes itself known. Even now at 3:30 in the afternoon.
This is my 2nd beer from Goose Island, my first being their IPA at Camden Yards last year. This one's a beauty. Will try to get my hands on more of these for special occasions and for aging. I can only imagine how this one's gonna turn out...

(edit). So I finished this beer 1/2 hour after I finished my review. It ended SOOO oakey I couldn't believe it. The warmer it got, the oakier it got. Beautiful. (1,771 characters)

Photo of LordofTime25
2.89/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 Brew

Pour to a pitch black with no head, but a little foam around edge of glass.

First off very heavy odor of Bourbon which masks all other smells.

Tastes like Bourbon with a after taste of Bourbon, Coffee and Chocolate.

A thick, slickness in mouth with low carbonation.

My opinion is if I wanted to have a bourbon I would have a bourbon not a beer that tastes like bourbon. To each his own though. (408 characters)

Photo of mikedashg
3.95/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow! Just wow! 2008 Bottle

The 100 days in Oak Bourban barrels really brought out the bourban in this beer. If you're looking for bourban that masks as a low carbonation beer, this is it. Can't wait to try this aged.

A- Poors a rich dark black with brown tones, little to no head, and very low carbonation. Not a bad thing for a bourban BA beer. Typical of style.

S- Bourbon, vanilla

T- Bourbon, oak

M- Thick and creamy

D- The drinkability on this is low, but for this style, I wouldn't say drinkability is really something you can strive for. 1 is enough.

O- I LOVE this style of beer, high ABV, tastes like the barrel it was aged in. It's something you have to try. It's one of those sipping beers. You would not like this if you're not into hard liquor. If I had to say anything negative. The bourban is almost too much. It's hard to get any stout characterstics if the bourban is too over powering. This one is almost too overpowering. I still like it though. Maybe that's just me. (992 characters)

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

I have had this beer numerous times, figured I may as well review it.

A: The oil blackness I love in stouts, clings and swirls around the glass before it hits the bottom, and forms a nice head and slowly fades to leave the darkness that came from the bottle.

S: Big vanilla and bourbon on the nose, with mild hints of fruit and chocolate.

T: Vanilla and caramel sweetness with a good bourbon, coffee, and bitter chocolate. It has a hint of hopiness as well.

M/D: Great body, rich and creamy goodness. I really love the stout, I think it plays well with everything, very harmoniuous. I can't wait until 2010 comes out and I can do my 5 year vertical tasting. Yum... (669 characters)

Photo of CaptainTripps
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into my Duvel Tulip.

Bottled on: 10/9/09

A: Pours a "darker then your battery died in your flash light and your half a mile into a cave" black. Small dark colored mocha head that lingered all the way to the finish of the glass.

S: Bourbon, rich roasted chocolaty goodness. There is some alcohol on the nose, but I think the bourbon plays a solid role in that. Charred oak, vanilla and caramel is present as well.

T: Bourbon is very the main component in the taste, very rich and complex. Small hints of vanilla. Chocolate roast. Has kind of a sweet after taste to it.

M: Very thick and heavy, just how a stout should be. Little bit of heat towards the finish.

D: This a sipper for sure. A bomber is way to much to consume in one session. I got fairly buzzed/ intoxicated after finishing the bomber.

One of my favorite bourbon barrel stouts i have ever tasted. Very tasty, my only complaint is that you cannot consume to much of it do to its high alcohol content. (993 characters)

Photo of travMI13
4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From tasting notes 1/21/11, with fellow BA'a AngryNucleus and BeRanger. Beer #3 of the night.

2011 vintage, bottled on 11/11/2011. 3oz. pour into a Founders snifter.

A: Pitch black with brown edges and no head whatsoever.

S: Straight up booze with some caramel and maybe a little bit of maple on the nose. This just smells hot. I'm nervous

T: Turns out the nerves were misplaced. Chocolate and bourbon with some caramel sweetness on the back. Pretty smooth. There is definitely some heat present here, but the flavors are blended well, and it isn't bothersome.

M: Thick, creamy, and coats the mouth nicely. The flavor really lingers, and I like that.

O: Just from memory, I liked this beer better with a little bit of age on it. I will review it again with a year or two on it and see if my memory serves me right. A very worthwhile bourbon barrel imperial stout. I hope I can pick up a bottle or two of the batch coming out in spring 2012. Goose Island's barrel aging program seemingly never disappoints. (1,011 characters)

Photo of Pabs311
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gibb on this one

A- Pours deep black in color with a thin chocolaty head that dissapears quickly leaving minimal lacing.

S- The bourbon can deffinatly be picked up here. some vanilla and toffee mixed with the bourbon bozziness are mighty strong. theres also some milk chocolate and a slight hint of coffee from the malts here. very nice aroma.

T- The taste is a mirror of the aroma. vanilla, toffee and bourbon make up the forefront of this beers taste and then theres a nice hint of maltiness that shows itself as chocolate and coffee.

M/D- full bodied, low carbonation, great mouthfeel and very smooth. i wish they'd bring goose island to CT cause this beer is something i wish i could get my hand on. great beer. (730 characters)

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.93/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was busy on Black Friday and didn’t think I’d be able to get this stuff. But a local shop had a few 4 packs left on Monday, and I got the last one. Happy day!

L (4.75) – This pours DARK. Really dark. Almost like Pepsi. Not a lot of lacing or such, but so far so good.

S (4.75) – Smells enticing. Not a lot of bourbon smell, but a little bourbon and roast smells..

T (5) – Well the bar had been set high for this and it cleared it. At the front you immediately get the bourbon. Followed soon by coffee tastes, and finishes with this deep rich chocolatey taste. But not overly bitter, and not an overly alcoholic taste. Balanced perfectly.

F (5) – This beer is a little thicker than average but it works. But it’s smooth at the same time. Low carb, but it should be and feels right.

O (5) – Normally for me these beers that are so hyped fall short. I tried to temper my excitement, but I was really anxious to try it. And it delivered. I’m a little sad that I only have 3 left. It’s weird, it is almost in a class on its own, more than just “beer.” (1,095 characters)

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

Sat afternoon wildcard weekend and I bump into this little jewel of a brew. I hadn't even heard of this one before, but sitting here at the Holy Grail in Epping, NH and this is on the menu, a special and its been a while since I had anything that comes close to the all around special combo of flavors of this bourbon stout. Coats your mouth and you get this bourbon chocolate boozey rush down your throat with a touch of vanillla, this is extreme delicious well crafted heaven! I can't recall ever having something this special, I love the bourbon edge just something to talk about, they only let me have two!!! but I will be back!! (633 characters)

Photo of cpmichael
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 10/16/2008.

A: Pours a dark black, but not as thick as you might imagine.

S: Most of the bourbon smell has dissipated, a hint of malts and chocolate.

T: Very complex, a lot of the heat has withered away, but there still is a bourbon presences, but it's not overwhelming. A malty, chocolate taste is noticeable. Maybe a hint of coffee, not over powering.

M: The alcohol is most present when just after finishing a sip. A slight burn, but nothing major. The rest of the flavors tingle the mouth.

D: A 12 oz. bottle is actually perfect when shared with another person. I wouldn't want any more than this, but having said that, it's super tasty and worth the $4.50 I paid for it. (692 characters)

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

Deep dark and luxurious pour. It was the aroma that got me hooked, though. Vanilla from the Bourbon barrels - and I'm not sure I'm supposed to say where the barrels are from but I'll divulge it anyway - Pappy Van Winkle!! This is a dessert beer. Have it with a brownie. I had it after dinner at a bar and it was one of those times where I got up out of my stool, carried the beer to a far corner and had a quiet moment alone with it. It was necessary.

The mouthfeel was unctuous. The flavors - rich, slightly sweet, but with such alcohol driven power - it was quite the experience for all the senses. This will have to rate among my top ten beers of all time.

Matlida is a great beer, but this one was my special favorite... (726 characters)

Photo of dowen17
4.89/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2012 Vintage poured into snifter.

Pours a very very dark brown. Thick as hell. Looks like dirty motor oil. Very minimal head but not much expected at 15%

Smell is bourbon and sweet malts. Some dark fruits and hints of bitter coffee. Some vanilla and oak come through as well. A definite char.

Taste is magnificent. Syrupy sweetness with a bit of milk chocolate. Vanilla. Oak. Huge malts and bourbon flavors. Ugh. Just phenomenal. Char and deep burnt caramel. It just goes on and on. Molasses and more.

Mouthfeel is massive. Just the right amount of carbonation. Huge and chewy. Almost like syrup.

This beer is near perfect for me. You've heard of it. Get it. (667 characters)

Photo of srroos
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (Bottled 10/21/08, 13% ABV) into a small scotch tulip glass. Pours with a small brown head over a dark, opaque black body. Aroma is light but chocolaty. Taste is big on dark chocolate and coffee with a bitter, smoky finish. I imagine a cup of coffee with a bar of chocolate melted into it plus a shot of bourbon. There are certainly flavors of brown sugar, caramel, and dark fruits. Mouthfeel is super smooth and creamy. Drinkability is impressive for 13% ABV.

An amazing beer all around. I think I'd need hours to taste every flavor in this super complex beer. I can't wait to compare the 2007, 2008, and 2009 vintages! (648 characters)

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 2,562 ratings.