Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,577
Hads: 10,551
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 10.31%
Wants: 2,490
Gots: 5,689 | 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: 10,551
Photo of paco1029384756
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is thick, pitch black with almost no head and very thin lacing. Scent is huge with oak, bourbon, smoke, molasses, maple and sweet chocolate. Taste initially of bourbon, oak, smoke and chocolate mellowing into a coffee bean flavor with more chocolate. Mouthfeel is silky smooth. Drinkability is very high, not that is needs to be, and should be enjoyed to its fullest extent.

2007 bottle reviewed. I first had this beer when it was released, and the flavor has changed quite a bit. I have no notes of my first tasting, but the biggest change is the bourbon flavor balance. I was hooked from the very first sip I took, and even after the flavor has changed this much I still can't get enough.

With some warmth alcohol becomes prevalent, and bourbon flavor becomes more pronounced. A divine brew at any temperature, and an absolute must buy.

2006 Bottle review:

Bottled July 14, 2006, enjoyed July 14, 2008.

Pours black with little carbonation and an extremely fine ring of lacing.

Scent is huge, lots of bourbon and dark fruits with plenty of oak and some alcohol making this one of the finest scents I have come across.

Taste is equally big, oak and bourbon up front developing further with the alcohol warming nicely. Some dark fruits and dry oak finish this one off exquisitely.

Mouthfeel is heavy and perfectly smooth with an excellent drinkability.

After 2 years this beer is ridiculous, alcohol is more apparent but makes it feel more like a bourbon that has been cut with a few drops of water. As a bourbon lover I have to say, this is one of the finest barrel aged beers I have ever had. I look forward to trying more vintages and future releases of this magnificent beer. (1,692 characters)

Photo of amiles
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Finally got around to reviewing this beer even though I've had it a number of times now.

A: Poured into a Gouden Carolus mini tasting glass, medium pour. Pitch black with ruby brown highlights around the edges. Attractive whitish head spins in the center while a dark tan foam clings to the side of the glass.

S: Big bourbon aroma with malty chocolate. So powerful it seemed to overpower everything I could. It doesn't get much better than this.

T: A VERY well balanced combonation of bourbon, chocolate, espresso, and malts. So decedent and almost overwelming at times... not enough to make me stop drinking though.

M: This one is compared to KBS a lot and I think this is where this beer stands ahead of it. The mouthfeel and creamy and smooth, where KBS is a bit thin. The mouthfeel I get from this one keeps me interested all the way through. Spin it in your mouth and you'll know what I mean.

D: Wonderful night cap, but keep it at one. The 13% does hit you and the bourbon is a bit much. A 12oz serving is quite fine, but for what it is... Drinkability is excellent.

In my top three... definitely. (1,111 characters)

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

Pours blacker than a moonless night. A thin creamy colored head that fades lightly into a ring along the edge. Light carbonation cloud in the middle of the glass. Cloud fades over the course of the beer leaving only the ring that lasts throughout the entire beverage.

Smells of bourbon first then of sweet chocolate and molasses with a large follow up punch of bourbon. Brown sugar, vanilla and roasted oak. Faint hints of vanilla and cocoa. the smell seems to get sweeter as the beer warms and is drunken.

This beer oozes sweet chocolate, molasses, bourbon. There are still hints of a light vanilla. It has an overwhelming bourbon and bitter sweet chocolate taste. Lightly carbonated and leaves a tingly molasses/bourbon aftertaste. The chocolate flavors become increasingly bitter as the beer warms. A little too much of a bitter after taste as the beer reaches room temperature.

This beer feels the way it tastes. A little boozy, lightly carbonated and way way way to easy to drink. Very smooth for such a power house. Bubbles a little in the back of your throat as I drink the first glass.

At 13% I should be able to down these as easy is it goes down. This beer is the best of Bourbon meets a stout champion. I can't believe that I not only want another but, I'm sure after #2, I'll want a third. This beer is awesome! I raise my glass to the brewer's at Goose Island.

Na Sdaroviya! (1,392 characters)

Photo of PEBKAC
2.41/5  rDev -46%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Bottled: 10/11/07

Last bottle in this Top 100 BIF box received from kmpitz2. I've been dreading this one for a bit(just not my style). My reviews were due in about a month ago, but Kevin has assured me I would still receive partial credit & be able to go on the senior trip come the end of the semester. Yay! :D

Into a Unibroue tulip this one goes. Nice & slow. The beer oozes out & collects quietly with just a whimper of activity right around the edge of the glass. A second pour to top it off yields a mushy bowl of Coco Crisps, but it doesn't last long. Black & boring, with hints of amber right at the rim.

Big eye-watering scents of charcoal, liquorice, cocoa powder, caramelized onions, teriyaki & bbq sauces. Your can almost smell some crispy pork fat sizzling somewhere in there too. The alcohol hides behind everything, but doesn't come at you raw. The fumes though, however salivating, give me quite a headache.

Moving on...

Heavy espresso flavor, charred marshmallows, bitter chocolate, wood, tobacco smoke, & hard on with the whiskey & leather shoes. Oh man, I can't do, I just can't. I'm such a puss. ... The body is completely flat & feels like light cream going down(& I can dig that). The whiskey, the wood, & the intense tannins just kill me though. Close to four ounces in & I need some air in the worst way. I have such a headache.

However good, however bad, it's just too much for a twelve ounce serving. The flavors are there, but the barrel flavors are just so concentrated & overdone, that it's way too much for me to sincerely enjoy. Maybe if it came in a two ounce nip aged half as long? Maybe some soft serve on the side?

This review took almost an hour in the making, & boy did I try. Quarter ounce sip after half lung whiff, I tried. It made me realize just how insane some of you out there really are. :P (1,843 characters)

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

Originally bought some for a trade at DLD, but had some leftovers to enjoy for myself. I've taken a tip from Adam Avery (not directly), and that is to drink a beer at all temperatures...colder than suggested through warmer than suggested. I think it really gives you a good idea of what the beer really is, especially porters and stouts.

A-Beautiful brown, almost black color. No transparency what-so-ever. No head on a hard pour. Lace is non-existent as well.

S-Slight hint of vanilla and bourbon.

T-Also a slight hint of vanilla and bourbon, sweet stout flavor. Notes of chocolate.

M-Smooth start to finish. Maltiness left after each sip.

D-Could drink 1 or 100. (669 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 4-27-08
Bottled on 10-12-07

Pours a very thick black, with just the slightest red peeking around the edges. No head, but clingy tan lacing.

Smell is lots of vanilla and oak, a little bourbon, complex and yet crisp at the same time.

Taste is big bourbon, vanilla and oak, with a huge alcohol kick. Definitely more bourbon than stout.

Mouthfeel is good, super slick with pleasant carbonation.

Drinkability is poor, the alcohol is just gigantic.

Overall, a good beer with serious attitude. If you want a bourbon-booze fest, this is your beer. (556 characters)

Photo of adriatic502
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 Bottle.

Appearance: Opaque mahogany with no head when poured into a Chimay chalice

Smell: From the moment the seal on the cap was broken, a bourbon aroma was dominant; gradually the complex flavor profile of vanilla, chocolate, and a hint of cherry became apparent.

Taste: Smokey with vanilla, chocolate, and a bit of cherry... the bourbon flavor is strong - more so than any other bourbon stout I've tried... and I like it. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, excellent.

Drinkability: An extremely good way to kick off an evening, but a little too thick and strong to repeat in one sitting. Like a steak, you can only enjoy one at a time.

Overall: An excellent beer. This is the standard to which I hold other bourbon barrel-aged stouts. (755 characters)

Photo of SQNfan
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black in color. The nose shows off the bourbon followed by some dark chocolate, coffee and wood. In the mouth it is rich and dense continuing the flavors from the nose, thus the bourbon again shows itself as prominent. Right now the bourbon is a bit strong for my liking but everything else is balanced. (310 characters)

Photo of ebit
3.95/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

1 finger deep chocolate tan head on about as agressive of a pour as I could manage (swirling included). Head left earlier than I wanted but with 13% abv it's about what I'd expect. Black body, no light shining through this sucker.

Bourbon alcohol is highly prominent, especially when agitated. When the beer settled a bit more I got dark chocolate malts, dark cherries, raisins, and a bit of deep roasted grains swirl underneath the bourbon charge. In short, if you like bourbon aged beers this smells like heaven to you.

Complexity is there before the bourbon blasts everything out of the water. The bottle says "one has more flavor than your average case of beer". I find this assessment accurate. Upfront I get smooth vanilla with a bit of coffee mixed in, both playing over a bed of this oaky roast flavor Enter bourbon that DOMINATES until it fades to pureed cherries and with slight notes of raisin. Bourbon checks back in for the finish with maybe a bit of hoppiness. A fun ride for the palate.

Pours thick and the body doesn't disappoint. About as heavy as they come with a bunch of carbonation to cut through it all.

Drinkability/Overall Impression
This beer is way too big for more than one on any occasion. Your tastebuds would retreat into your tongue and your stomach will churn in protest. The one you have will be thoroughly enjoyable if you really take the time to break down the beer, but God help those that try to session this. (1,483 characters)

Photo of Graham21
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is definitely one of my favorites. Makes motor oil look white. Pour hard for good head, but dont expect it to hang around. The nose is wonderful, lots of bourbon, cinnamony alchol notes. Also, raisiny, coffee, and vanilla notes released. At first flavors seem strong and over powering but after a few sips you can really enjoy this. Burnt malts, espresso,black licorice, vanilla beans, nuts, bitter chocolate, lots of bourbon, brown sugar and alcohol.
This beer is thick and full bodied and is a great sipper. (515 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained as a great surprise extra from a trade with kirok1999. Thanks again!

Poured from the bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

A-Pours a deep rich jet black with a nice quarter inch brown head which quickly dissipates leaving a thin ring around the edges of the glass.

S-Lots of the bourbon scent comes through, along with vanilla and a hint of chocolate. A little strong on the alochol but still very inviting.

T-Wonderful bourbon sweetness up front with chocolate and caramel following on. Moderately strong alcohol warmth in the finish.

M-Nice and smooth and a little oily on the tongue. The alcohol lingers.

D-I could drink these all night until I passed out. Despite the noticeable alcohol presence this is a very drinkable beer.

In a blind stout taste test with KBS, both my wife and I preferred the Founders brew. But both are outstanding. The KBS has a little less alcohol and a little more malt that puts it over the top. But if that's #1, this is a very close #1A.

HV (993 characters)

Photo of david131
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bottling.

A- Black as they come. When held to a light, and with some effort, some light can be seen through the edges. The head is small and brown and settles to some swirls on the top. This is a mean looking beer.

S- Lots of vanilla and bourbon with hints of chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. This smells like a beast.

T- There is a lot of bourbon flavors in here, but it is not overpowering. Pretty complex and things blend well. I can appreciate the effort, but there is just not something special that blows my mind.

M- A lot smoother than I was anticipating, considering the alcohol content.

D- For the alcohol content this is remarkably drinkable. Not outrageously rich, but makes for a good night cap after a long day. (735 characters)

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

BuckeyeNation, many thanks.

2007 Release

Appearance: It's nearly charcoal black in color. No light getting through, even at the edges. Head was only about a finger deep and is a chocolate, mocha-like color. It didn't stick around too long and only left a light, sticky coat of lace lining the glass.

Smell: Whoa. Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. This is certainly a distinct aroma. I can't say that I've ever smelled a beer quite like it. Obviously the bourbon scent is strong and overwhelming. It's certainly inviting. There are plenty of roasted and chocolate malts present in addition to very light dark fruit (plum and raisin) aromas. Molasses and vanilla emerge if you stick with it. This is a complex and fine smelling beer. Personally, the bourbon smell is a touch too strong. If it were balanced a little better, a "5" would be warranted.

Taste: Not surprisingly, the bourbon flavor comes on strong and fast. It's certainly the primary feature of the beer whereas the stout element is a little more subdued. It's an excellent flavor. But, I'd prefer the stout component to be the focal point. It's a small gripe. Chocolate and roasted malt flavors blend extremely well. Slight smoky taste is a bonus. Secondary dark fruit, vanilla, and molasses flavors really thrust the flavor into the complex stratosphere. Alcohol has a warming effect and is ever so slightly noticeable.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick, but extremely smooth. It doesn't feel heavy at all. Carbonation is light, but it works wonderfully. Despite its 13% abv, its drinkability is phenomenal. I only wish I had more. Perhaps its a good thing I don't. Overall, this is a fantastic beer. I wish I saw it frequently. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in Ohio at all. Perhaps someday we'll overcome that statutory cap issue. (1,805 characters)

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

Got this as a throw in with a trade with Vancer, and I am seriously excited.

Poured into chalice as the bottle suggests. Pitch black or very dark brown, completely opaque. Small brown head.

Strong aromas or malts, chocolate, coffee. I notice alcohol in the background too.

Sweet maltiness is right up front, very sweet. Chocolate, coffee, and carmel notes follow. Finishes with a good dose of alcohol warming. Tons of bourbon flavor in there, excellent for bourbon barrel-aged fans. Notes of vanilla and spicy oak are also in there too. One of the first and one of the best barrel-aged RISs I have run into.

A good full bodied brew with low-moderate carbonation, good fullness for a stout.

Considering the thickness and high ABV, this is a very drinkable beer.

Solid brew overall, very glad I got the chance to try this. (826 characters)

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

Thanks to Tytoanderso for this amazing beer!! Poured into a chimay goblet. Pitch Dark black color with virtually no head. First smell- bourbon! Nothing else. Then second smell- Vanilla. Next, some chocolate. It keeps changing after every sip!! Taste is so amazing!- Tastes of burnt malts, with some chocolate and coffee hints, but always finished up with a oaky bourbon kick. Still have it in my mouth after 20 minutes! Slick mouthfeel, but really pretty drinkable considering 13%!! Really want more!! Hook me up! (513 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extremely generous extra from northernbrews (thanks again Jeff). Bottled on 10/11/2007. Served in my DFH snifter. Poured obsidian black with zero light penetration. No head to mention, but a thin tan ring around the perimeter of the bowl and some isolated spots of foam in the center. Lacing consisted of a khaki-colored band around the circumference of the glass that was revealed at each sip. Boozy nose, predominantly bourbon and oak with a very sweet backbone. Taste similar to nose; however flavors of vanilla and molasses reveal themselves in the mouth. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and silky without being overly viscous. Some carbonation tingle present across the tongue, but just enough to add a little liveliness to the texture. This is a brew to be savored and sipped and would definitely compliment a fine cigar. (835 characters)

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Tiley4 for this fine beer: 2007 bottle. Pours with no head. Black as my heart after watching the Phillies lose to the Mets in 12. Smells very sweet thanks to the bourbon. The taste is a mix of chocolate & the bourbon's sweetness. Mouthfeel is smooth but you can't avoid the ABV. A truly great beer worthy of seeking. I may try to find some to ship home from DLD.

Cheers. (381 characters)

Photo of HopHobo
3.38/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this beer as an extra from JoeyBeerBelly with many thanks.

Served in a beer tulipat ~40 degrees.

A-pours a jet black color with red undertones, no much of a head created during the pour and none was left after a few minutes

S-strong bourban smell, with a little bit of oak in the background

T-a powerful brew at 13% with the bourban dominating the flavor from start to finish.

M-almost no carbonation with kind of a weak mouthfeel for a stout.

D-I could see myself drinking this beer on the coldest night of the year. I have had better 13% stouts in my day, overall I didn't feel like this beer lived up to the hype surrounding it. I tried to let it warm up because I believe a good stout tasted better warm...but alas I did not feel this way about this beer. (774 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to EliteDigger for this one. Pours a deep, dark black with a very small, dark brown head. Little to no carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was alcohol, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and malt.

Taste was bittersweet chocolate, bourbon, molasses and vanilla. Very complex and flavors are more apparent as it warms.

Very thick and syrupy. A really fantastic beer. This would make for a really nice sipper on a cold, winter night. (432 characters)

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

Thanks to Lightindarkness for the excellent choice of beers from the heartland of the USA!!

Pours thick tar black with minimal head and no lacing at all.

Smells fairly strongly of bourbon, good malt and alcohol (not surprising at 13%).

Tastes of bourbon, lots of rich malt followed by licorice, burnt espresso and finishes with alcohol.

Excellent mouthfeel. Very smooth and thick.

This is definitely a sipper. I might have to drink it slowly but I could enjoy this extreme version of stout deep into an evening.

Extremely good balance between the bourbon, viscosity and alcohol.

This is a great after dinner stout to have with a $20 Havana Cohiba! I loved the way it felt in my mouth. The alcohol is very subdued in the background until it starts to warm you from the inside.

Thanks again to Lightindarkness! Excellent trade, BA Bro! (841 characters)

Photo of bgramer
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the 2007 bottle.

Poured this into a chalice glass and it's a thick black pour with minimal tan head thats gone pretty quickly.

Intense aroma and flavor. I detected the bourbon and dark chocolate right away. Malty and toasty and boozy and bready, i can also taste caramels, creams, nuts but this is a big boozy beer that is strong on the finish, maybe a bit hot - wonder what another 6 months would do to this.

Definitely drink this slowly and enjoy it because as good as it is, it's a sipping beer and not for sessions either. (539 characters)

Photo of surlyseth
4.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ok. Bit the bullet price tag. Should be good!

A: Hmm. Looks uncarbonated. black. Flat stouty.

S: Chocolate and vanilla. A little smoke. Couldn't be better.

T: Sweet, syrupy chocolate and vanilla up front. Warming, smooth alcohol taste...Then, some black licorice. Or is it bourbon?

M: Velvety-smooth and then, surprisingly, enough carbonation to carry the sweetness along to the finish.

D: I Practiced delayed gratification and found it to be a necessary virtue with this one. It took two hours and the last sip was the best.

An all-out assault of your senses. An adventure for those with insatiable beer desires. (619 characters)

Photo of PhxHorn
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a dark dark dark brown, almost black, with a light brown head. Smells of carmel, bourbon, licorice, coffee, and dark chocolate and the flavor is just what the aroma promises. Not a lot of roasted flavor, but that's OK. Similar to Yeti, Bell's, and Abyss, except it has a bit more of a sweeter flavor than any of those, and lacks the roasted flavor of Abyss. Overall, a great blend of flavors. The taste got better as it warmed up, and while I didn't taste a lot of alcohol, I certainly felt it. It's so thick and intense that I don't know that I'd want more than one at a time, but as stouts go, this is a very fine one. (629 characters)

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage

thanks to stopbarking for this brew

A - dark as a moonless, starless night, with at thin mahaogany head that fades quickly, far too dark to notice any other characteristics

S - Holy Bourbon! the bourbon hits you right away, even before the pour; the oakiness is obvious, it lends and accentuates some other notes like vanilla and a dark cherry aroma

T - of course the bourbon rears its potent head first in the flavor as well, the dark cherry and vanilla flavors are extant, a smoky, woody finish and a chocolate hint end the taste

M/D - a syrupy brew, but not to a unsavory point, it warms the gullet all the way down, the ABV hides well, a beer that is worth the hype, take that for what its worth, i'm a little partial to big stouts (753 characters)

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

Oh man... its sex in a glass...

Pours pitch black, brown head, no lacing... its 13% and it needed a good pour.

Aroma is bourbon, oak, roasted malt and vanilla. Delicious and could be sniffed at all night. Flavor is out of this world : Rich dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, wood, alcohol, spice, and coffee. Absolutely one of the most flavorful ales I've ever had.

A good sipper, unfortunately I had only one bottle, I now need more. (433 characters)

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