Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 7,918 | Reviews: 2,338 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev -12.7%
The beer pours a midnight black, like motor oil. The beer appears thick and viscous, and forms a very small head of dark, oak-colored bubbles that quickly fizzle away to just a scrim. In body, the beer is opaque and impenetrable to the eye, though presumably free of particles. When swirled against the sides of the glass, the beer leaves a lovely set of legs. On the nose, this beer is boozy with dark chocolate, a touch of dark roast coffee, oak, vanilla, and chocolate covered raisins running across the nostrils. Soft toasted coconut and a touch of pralines and toffee also make it into the rich nose of this beer, but at its base, this beer is all about the boozy bourbon character which comes through beautifully. I’m getting the sense of a boozy, chocolate covered pretzel for some reason… On the tongue, the beer tastes boozy hot, and sweet with a drying boozy finish. The heat begins a little too hot but is smoothed out by the chocolate sweetness, while mild tannins dance at the finish alongside a roast bitterness, and just a hint of hop bitters as well before the booze makes one last hurrah. In flavor, the beer begins briefly as hot fusel alcohol, morphing into rich and boozy bourbon it develops flavors of vanilla and oak and then the stout comes through giving dark chocolate, raisins, molasses, and then chocolate milk flavors. The finish is hot with alcohol while mild tannic wood presses through alongside slight charred smoke, the finish eventually unfolds further stout characteristics, but only after the heat has moved down the gullet. A touch of char comes through in the aftertaste. In the mouth, the beer feels perfect for the style. It is richly full in body, like milk or even heavy cream, with a soft carbonation that is nearly nonexistent. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and silky with a thick chewiness that completes the beer. After the beer leaves, the mouth is left tingly with alcoholic burn, yet dry with only hints of salivation at the sides of the mouth. Overall, this is BCBS, a classic of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts, and it is a great beer. I personally would sit on my bottle for a little while longer as the heat is a little too hot for me right now. The beer is rich in everything you want from a barrel aged stout, though, and is a damn fine beer. This is a whale worth hunting down.
12-11-2013 19:38:21 | More by Maxwell
4.75/5 rDev +3.7%
Poured down the middle of a Bruery tulip glass filling it with blackness and a small brown head. A ring of head holds steady for quite some time.
The smell is overpowering. I opened it outside and could smell it from a couple feet away. Big barrel character flexes its muscle with toasted coconut and vanilla. Chocolate, a little bourbon heat, and some small amount of coffee/roast comes out. A fairly bright cherry note as the beer warmed up.
This is delectable. More bourbon flavor and heat is coming through on the palate. Lots of barrel delivering vanilla and coconut. Big sweet chocolate, dark fruit, cherry, and coffee.
The body is thick and silky smooth with light carbonation. Sticky sweet on the lips.
Mind = blown on this one.
12-11-2013 04:59:18 | More by MattSweatshirt
4.56/5 rDev -0.4%
Glad to have seen these around here after a good long wait - I have some '12 bottles (which I will review here later), but I was morbidly curious to see how this is beer drinks fresh. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip wine glass. Split with a friend. 2013 vintage.
Yeah, that's a pretty dark beer right up front. I could perhaps make up some light brown strokes at the rim of the glass, but even when pressed against a bright light, it seemed futile. Pours a very light fizzy off-mocha colored head that dissipates into pretty much nothing. From afar, alongside viscousness, it looks like a chocolate coffee liqueur of sorts. While I definitely have seen better looking imperial stouts, I doubt there's any that look this opaque, still, and yet appealing in the sense closer to wine than to beer.
Wow, that's really a fabulous aroma - good to see that GI is indeed cranking up their BCBS recipe at their flagship location in Chicago. Notes of bourbon abound, complete with vanilla, toasted coconut shavings (the resemblance is remarkable), roasted coffee, chocolate, burnt toffee, light nutmeg and baking soda, and maybe a little bit of tobacco. No booze or heat on the nose, with only the relatively (and shockingly) mild sweetness overall. Dark fruits make up a good deal of the aroma, with dark ripe cherries, raisins, and prunes adding extra complexity to the flavor profile. What's so striking about this isn't even the array of flavors, nor the near perfect melding of bourbon with a high quality stout, but rather how pleasant, opulent, and elegant the beer is overall. This is what every bourbon aged stout should strive for, in my view.
The flavor is equally present, and - amazingly - full of surprises at every additional sip. At first, there's an immediate bourbon/roasted malt combo that soaks the palate, delivering a combination of vanilla, coconut, caramel, burnt toffee, and vividly roasted notes of dark chocolate, espresso beans, and dark cherries and raisins. Contains an array of spices both from the oak and malt profile, ranging from tobacco, licorice, and black strap molasses. Finishes both roasted, caramel-y, and nutty, with flavors of almonds and peanut butter. No matter what, however, this is enormously restrained in terms of holding back any potential sweetness, and the alcohol is horrifically hidden well. Nevertheless, it's relatively syrupy in feel, and its liqueur-like still texture (inhibited by some mild carbonation throughout) makes it quite decadent. I didn't sip this because of its richness. I sipped this throughout because I didn't want this magical elixir to leave my glass, well, ever.
A legend among the great craft brews, in my distro at last. While some of us could argue that the ends do not justify the means in the politicized debate involving GI, this is an undeniably wonderful beer. In a way, it kind of transcends everything you know about beer - I handed this over to some exclusively wine-only drinkers and they commented how delicious this was. Because, in the end, it is. And, it's extremely well made - one does not simply throw in a stout into bourbon barrels and achieve successful results. This is a very well thought out beer in every sense of the word. With that said, I give myself a graceful and humble bow to the brewers at GI, and rejoice.
UPDATE (1/6/2014): You know what it is they say about hype... This totally lost during a bourbon barrel stout blind tasting, which bummed me out. Pretty syrupy and ranges on Dark Lord sweetness the more this warms up. At the same time, the flavor is pretty top notch, but perhaps this is best when aged. I'm going to see how the '13 vintage goes, and crack open some '12 vintages all in good time. Until then.
12-10-2013 21:44:32 | More by magictacosinus
4.76/5 rDev +3.9%
I finally had this beer after hearing about it for a year. Even if you are not a Stout fan I would try this just for the experience. As you can see, it is higher in alcohol so splitting it with someone would be allowed (maybe even encouraged). There is nothing like a tasty, hardy, stronger stout on a cold winter night and this is the perfect beer for that. I also put one aside (had to hide them from my brother-in-law) and will crack it open next holiday season.
12-10-2013 21:13:57 | More by NERM
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 7,918 ratings.