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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.

2,773 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,773
Hads: 11,365
Avg: 4.5
pDev: 19.78%
Wants: 2,640
Gots: 6,761 | FT: 686
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

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: 2,773 | Hads: 11,365
Photo of pmcadamis
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep blackest black blackness in a bottle with a viscosity akin to motor oil. This stuff is like black liquid sludge comming out of the bottle, and once in the tulip glass it slowly forms a big dark brown dense wall of foam. Rentention is decent (good for a high ABV beer), and lots of dark chocolate lace is left on the glass.

S - Rich double chocolate chip cookies, coconut cream pie, pina colada, black licorice, dates, prunes, and chocoalte covered raisins. This is insanely complex, and very boozy! I can smell why this is called Bourbon County...it really does have some sweet bourbon and oak notes. I could smell this all night.

T - Super sweet milk chocolate combined with the bitterness of dark chocolate. Chocolate chip cookies washed down with hot chocolate and a shot of top shelf bourbon. There are very little coffee, espresso, or burnt notes in this one contrary to most big stouts but I like that! Far too many imperial/doouble stouts attack your palate with burnt roasted coffee, but this one is far sweeter and milky-rich.

M - Massively full bodied, boozy as hell, thick, viscous, rich, and chunky with silken carbonation and a sweet/dry finish that leaves tons of sugar on your teeth. This feels like my mouth after eating some killer double chocolate chipo cookies washed down with ice cold whole milk.

D - An outstanding beer! Seriously, seriously good shit. This is a little to sweet and heavy for regular drinking and thats the only reason (and maybe the price) that this isn't getting fives across the board. This is one of the world's finest brews IMO.

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Photo of orangemoustache
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy mother of dark beers,this is as black as they get. Dirty motor oil with the same visible viscosity,thick and mid-night black. The head is smaller than your average stout,but I can tell already this is no ordinary stout,no lacing,but I'm not one to complain with such a huge ABV. This smells of Bourbon and oak mostly with chard burnt notes that smell like a pair of jeans the morning after a fall wiener roast. This is a sweet malt monster coating the pallet with caramel,chocolate,bourbon is very pronounced,lots of aged barrel and earthy burnt oak flavors. Alcohol becomes more apparent as this warms. The mouthfeel is over the top,this is one heavy/full bodied mofo,and I love it,I do wish it had a touch more carbonation to round off a more creamy feel. This is a serious beer,enjoy!!

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Photo of SykDoc
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. It poured a thick, dark brew with minimal head but a small lacing. Held to the light, it is completely opaque with a ruby color at the edges.

The aroma of alcohol and bourbon is quite intense initially. After a couple minutes of sniffing this fine beverage, I was able to pull out some notes of spice and fruit.

The taste was the winner for me. It starts with a strong dark/bitter chocolate and caramel. This is followed by some oak and smoke notes with a bit of malt. It leaves the pleasant taste of bourbon at the end. It is very complex and very good. Given the alcohol content, it was not an overwhelming component to the taste.

The mouthfeel was thick and minimal carbonation. It is full body and has a nice velvety feel that sits on your tongue with the bourbon flavor.

The drinkability is quite good, however the hidden alcohol and the overall thick texture keeps you from being able to drink many of these in a row. I will say this, any chance I get to purchase and save some of this, I will. Imagine what it will taste like in a couple of years, when the flavor should be even more complex. Great beer.

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Photo of mothman
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition

Pours a night sky black, just like the box says: a dark hole. I tried to get some head to come up on this beer, but not a lot. It is extremely thick.

Wow the smell is amazing; it literally made my mouth water. It smells similar to a chocolate covered banana, but packs a big bourbon flavor. Also, a sweet caramel, with a hint of vanilla.

First sip was a big wow. This one is definitely thick. Taste is a deep bourbon with roasted malts. The fruit also comes out and near the end there is a vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. After it lingers around a while, the 13% comes out and is very overwhelming. Full bodied beer.

Overall, this was a monster. Amazing beer and well worth the $21 for the 4 pk. This beer took a while to finish. I highly recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of craytonic
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black with a little amber on the edges, a swirl reveals an incredibly thick beer.

Smell: Wow. You smell the bourbon, oak, caramel, brown sugar, leather, tobacco, and vanilla when you open the bottle! Even before it is poured. Incredible. Strong, but not overpowering. 5.0

Taste: Amazing. First the bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, leather, and molasses. Perhaps the tinniest bit of coconut. Only complaint is the alcohol is a tad hot (13%).

Mouthfeel: Very full moutheel, just enough carbonation, just a little creamy. An incredibly rich beer.

Drinkability: Delicious. I will be buying in quantity every release.

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Photo of chainsawhutch
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

A - Black as used motor oil, 1,000 miles over due.
The head retention was quick to dissipate after good mean stirrr.
The lacing on my glass was as yellow as a grandmother's fingers, after smoking Lucky Strike Non-Filters for 40 years.

S - Banana esters; spicy, rum-cocoa; and a definite, overpowering, Chuck Norris, kick to the nose , scent of alcohol.

T - a vanilla, milk-shaky, phenol (that brings all the boys to the yard) , upon approach, before it met my palate. A roasted first taste, followed by an overwhelming alcohol intensity.
The tribes men agree, that the finish begins as robbery, of all of See's Candy's Toffee. Then leaves you tasting a cornucopia of coffee. Brilliant!!!!

M - Imagine: cottage cheese in yo mouf.

D - I had to kill the Beer Specialist, Mike (Slayer3604), at Whole Foods, Glendale, for it. Ha ha! JK! He's still alive - barely. Mike's the man about beer - and your not.

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Photo of sgoodship
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The weather in Chicago today was horribly cold. I have the start of a cold and wanted a beer that could mend me and warm me. BCS seemed like the best candidate. My friend Brian kindly donated this 2008 bottle for me to review - thanks buddy!

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass. It's a stubborn old bird - doesn't want to deliver a head. Gave me a brief beautiful espresso dusting and then dissipated quickly to a thin ring. Very dark red brown - almost black with nice ruby highlights against the light. Some spotty lacing that doesn't last.

S: The bourbon is strong and with the combination of the dark fruit, it's almost like a smokey, spicy red wine-like nose. There is an underlying vanilla malty sweetness but you have to go looking for it.

T: What a surprise! My initial experience was the most lovely caramel espresso. After that, the following sips delivered the alcohol. I could feel the vapor before my lips touched the liquid. As the brew warmed, I started getting some really nice big smokey, sweet malt with a nice sharp alcohol calling card on the back of the throat. Toward the end of the drink, I felt like the vanilla was speaking to me. It seems like every time I took a break, let it warm up and came back to it, the profile changed slightly on me. You can definitely pick out all the key ingredients but they play out very differently as the drink progresses. It felt rich and complex - a special treat.

M: It is a surprisingly medium/light body with low carbonation which seems to suit it. It is pretty smooth apart from some of the deliberate alcohol sting on the lips and palette.

D: Even though I only drink this type of beer on occasion and don't go out of my way for big alcohol taste in beer, it was very drinkable. I finished it much quicker than I expected and that is always a good sign. I could easily have had a couple more although it is deceptively potent. A fine brew for Goose Island to celebrate their 1000th batch.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Over-sized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
2008 Vintage (10/21/08)

Thick, black, and oily liquid. Disappointingly though, there is no head to speak of, even with a hard pour. No real lacing, either. I swirled it to check it's 'legs' though. Hell, it's wearing a skirt! Most impressive.

Smell is over-the-top boozey. Bourbon notes are ever-so present. Smokey oak and hints of sweet vanilla. Hints of chocolate. Big overripe dark fruits.

This reminds me of fresh S.A. Triple Bock. Wow. Bourbon warmth comes through prominently. Syrupy dark fruit flavors. Chocolate notes mingle with big vanilla flavor. Big malty backbone. Smokey oak flavor. Caramelized brown sugar. F***ing complex flavor pallette!
For all of the bourbon-like warmth that is here, combined with the 13% ABV, I find the alcohol to be remarkably well hidden.

Mouthfeel is phenomenal! For as big as this beer is, this is one smooth easy drinking bastard. Big, thick, chewey and oily, yet smooth and light on the tongue, at the same time. Amazing.

I would like to drink these, one after the other, over an evening. When the alcohol eventually knocks me out, I'd like to wake up and continue on doing the same thing...for like a week. Damn, it's good.
This was so totally worth the wait and the effort. Worthy of seeking out.

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Photo of Cresant
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Duvel glass. 2006 vintage. Label says 11% ABV, not 13% listed here. A hard pour created only 1 finger of dark tan head. The body was opaque black/brown. This one had legs when swirled! Served around 50 F.

Smell was chocolate and vanilla. Some minor alcohol as it warmed.

Taste was espresso. Wood/oak. Rich and increasingly chocolatey as it warmed. Sweet but not cloying. Coffee-like bitterness gave it some counterbalance. Not much bourbon flavor, more woodiness and richness rather than booze flavors. Very nice.

Mouthfeel was smooth and velvety. Minimal carbonation. Dense, milky almost. Very drinkable.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a jet black with a dirty white head. Nose was heavy bourbon as was the taste. I did not notice much other than bourbon on this brew. It was good but expected a more robust flavor. The ABV was very well masked. Burbon dominance. A good brew but I actually wanted more vanilla, oak, cocoa and everything else. Maybe I missed somethng. It takes more than bourbon to make a grwat beer these days.

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Photo of Bubslang
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Version: Poured a deep dark brown with a small brown head with nice lacing. Aroma is incredible combinatio of rich dark malts, caramel, oak, and bourbon, which you can seemingly can smell from miles away. Flavor is equally impressive, caramel malts,vanilla, a little bit of dark fruit, smoke all with a hint of bourbon. but the bourbon is not overpowering though, just complimentary. Full mouthfeel that leads to a nice warming finish. A top notch beer

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Photo of SaucyA
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A - Pours black with no head. A brown ring of teeeny tiny bubbles encircles the snifter. Cabernet edges on the top, but completely opaque body. No lacing.

S - Beautiful bourbon. Wood, butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, alcohol. Brilliant.

T - Huge. Chocolate, bourbon goodness, boozy, warm, wonderful. Finishes sweet then slowly transforms into bitter dryness on the palate. The alcohol is rather balanced on the back end as well. Vanilla, oak tanins, slight caramel. Quite a dessert beer.

M - Rather thick. Rather viscous. Coating, with a fine, smooth carbonation.

D - Y'know, for being so big, it's incredibly drinkable. Definitely not a chore.

Notes: I had a bottle from last years batch when it came out and hated it. Decided to revisit it a year later and lo and behold: This shit is fantastic!

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Photo of wryepicures
3.45/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had this on-tap from Alchemy cafe, served in a large wineglass/goblet.

Poured very dark ruby/black. Little head to speak of.

Smell: heady wine, alcohol, sugar, vanilla. Strong, sweet, wonderful smell coming off this.

Taste: burnt sugar, malt, oak/wood, wine, slight bourbon hint when you breathe out after a taste. I didn't want open flame near my breath after this one.

Very heady and heavy mouthfeel, but the tastes were less upfront than the smell. I didn't feel this was very drinkable, too heavy alcohol, too much and this coming from someone who loves dark beers and barleywines. Expected more from the high price, and actually I'd suggest pouring smaller since its so potent tasting.

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Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle (10/08), Bourbon County Stout is a pitch black brown with a tan head that fades to a thick collar and leaves light, scattered lace.

Smell is dense, vanilla, caramel, walnuts, with dry alcohol vapors.

Taste is fantastic, super rich flavor. Vanilla out the wah-zoo, a big sweet stout, loads of caramel, coffee, not to much bourbon, or even booze...there's just so much flavor that any heat from it's young age and extreme ABV is vanquished. This is maybe the best example of barrel aging I've ever had, my first full bottle but I've had a few tastes before.

Mouthfeel is ridiculously smooth and actually not that thick for such a big beer.

Drinkability is dangerously high. This is actually a fantastic breakfast beer - and a night-cap! The problem is you'll want more then one, which is tough to pull off. Still, you will be tempted to try, trust me!

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Photo of CoalCellar
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a wide mouthed goblet....

A: This is jet black stuff, pour develops a thin dark/brown head that settles into a few tiny bubbles like small bubbles on the surface of a tar pit....
S: BOURBON AND OAK. There can be no doubts about whats coming, this one smells boozy...
T: Immediate oak and bourbon flavors up front, vanilla, caramel, distant chocolate, but finishes with a strong alcohol burn.
M: Thick and chewy
D: The massive flavors make this one a sipper, but unfortunately, due to the liqour like alcohol burn, this one isn't very drinkable....yet..

As the one I had is already aged 1 year, I'm guessing this thing needs a good 3-5 years to really smooth out. I'm betting it becomes exceptional once aged properly. I'll be cellaring some of these bad boys.

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Photo of JoeMayo
3.77/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

A- Pours pitch black with almost no head. Very viscous

S- Tons of vanilla and bourbon. Dark malt and a little alcohol on the nose as well.

T- After taking each sip, I was immediately impressed and then just as quickly, thoroughly disappointed. It was a weird sensation with every sip. Vanilla, bourbon, dark malt, caramel, and a slight smokiness hit my palate very quickly, but these flavors were immediately followed by very hot alcohol, resembling gin more than bourbon. It completely ruined the complexity of the beer. This beer was one year old, but I think needs at least another year or two.

M- Thick and syrupy, although hot with alcohol.

D- Smooth, but the hotness makes it a little harder to drink

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Photo of adamparker05
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours ultra thick, motor oil brown with an ultra concentrated burnt mahogany core.

Aroma is rich caramel and dark chocolate, burnt candied walnuts, and a slight hint of E. L. Weller's bourbon reserve... mmm....

Taste is chocolate covered raisins, liquid smoke, like 80% dark chocolate cocoa mass... delicious.

Mouthfeel is robust, rich and complex.

Well... let's be honest- this an ultra-concentrated beer. Not extremely drinkable, but what you can handle is A-mazing.


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Photo of daledeee
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Something new and it's winter. Stouts have been tasting good lately.

I have called beers completely opaque before but this one is truly black. Especially after the dark brown one finger head goes away to a thin ring of bubbles around the glass. I can see reflections of items nearby on top of the beer!

The nose is as the name states. Oak, charred at that, alcohol and some vanilla. No coffee or chocolate as with other stouts.

The taste is sweet, thick, warming, caramel and the bourbon barrels leave their own signature. Very little carbonation and pretty drinkable. This is definitely a distinctive stout that is quite acceptable.

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Photo of xhcadamx
2.24/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Very Black and oily poured with absolutely no head. I think I saw one carbonation bubble.

S - bourbon, char, bourbon, molasses, tobacco, and bourbon

T - Tastes exactly like it smells.

M - This beer was very slick and creamy. No carbonation whatsoever.

D - I had to choke this one down. There is no way I could have more than one of these

Overall I wasn't impressed with this beer at all. I love RIS and enjoy bourbon. This just missed the mark.

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Photo of shivtim
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out like motor oil. Deep black, with brown edges and a small mocha colored head which fades quickly but leaves lacing. Some small chunkies hang near the bottom. Nose is thick vanilla bourbon, with heavy malts and oak alcohol. First sip is burnt charred oak chips, with molasses and dense caramel. More alcohol on warming, and some brown sugar sweetness. Very nice. Mouthfeel is dense and thick, fitting the taste of the beer. Drinkability may be hurt by the ABV, but it's a damn fine beer.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 poured into a snifter.

Pours pitch black with a thin, dark brown head that fades quickly. Huge bourbon nose, with oak, vanilla, and cocoa. Serious bourbon on the palate. Nearly overwhelms the vanilla & chocolate in the back. A bit woody. More vanilla & oak as it warms. Slick & full bodied, with very low carbonation. A bit of alcohol burn. Incredibly long finish. Too much bourbon & booze for more than one, but the one is quite tasty.

Great if you like bourbon, but might be a bit much for those who don't. Fortunately, I do.

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Photo of slayer3604
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Held this mother up to a mag light and nothing came out the other side! Head retention was very brief, with a small hazel nut colored ring around the side of the glass, and amoeba bubble clusters in the middle of the glass *three, about the size of thumb finger nails*.

S- LIQUOR! This is the closest a beer has come to smelling like strait up bourbon *in my experience*. packed with loads of complex intricate layers that include rum-cherry, licorice, vanilla bean, and a DANK alcoholic rise.

T- A meaty and filling alcoholic depth on all sensories of the palate, followed by rich velvety rum/bourbon, oaxican cocoa, coffee rinds and tar. BITCHIN!!!

M- Huge, a cloak of ever changing nuances and mosh pits of alcohol.

D- I got 3 cases of this in at the store, probably going to pick another 4 pack up. jesus this is worth your money!

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Photo of LordofTime25
2.89/5  rDev -35.8%
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.

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Photo of yeroc40
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

OK I have the 06 an 07 in the cellar and was tempted to pull them out for direct back to back tasting until I realized I'm a little too tipsy for a vertical. Will plan for this in the near future.


Quite possibly the best beer I've had to date.

2008 vintage From bottle to Sam Adams glass

Aroma is bourbon, warm alcohol with the roast taking backseat to booze.

No head, no lace, black, black, black coat the glass. I'm almost expecting wine-like legs but pure thick coating when swirled.

Taste is so complex. Obviously I need to touch on the warming alcohol at 13% is expected but all of the subtleties that you don't get in other big beer are here. It's like all my favorate flavors from BW's, DB's, and IS's are all present with none of the "hot,turn me off" nastiness. I've had big strong beers that start good and finish just hot and unsatisfying, but this beer leaves you wanting another sip, every time.

Had this one w/my wifes homemade raspberry swirl cheesecake and IMHO a rich sweet treat to balance this beer is heaven.

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Photo of ElGordo
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage, poured from the 12oz bottle into a snifter. Body is a deep murky brown, with just the faintest wisp of a dark tan head that immediately fades into obscurity. Highly complex aroma yields notes of sweet raisin, bourbon, chocolate, and molasses - a wonderful combination. Palate is sweet up front, with hints of light lactose sugar and raisin. After the swallow the sweetness is overtaken by the strong bourbon character. Rich dark fruit comes through on the finish, with notes of prune along with the sweet molasses and vanilla bean.
Body is full and robust, but not overly heavy or oily like some imperial stouts. A light stickiness coats the tongue and helps to move the warming alcohol down the back of the throat. This is a true pleasure to drink, although the strength and heaviness make it a special occasion brew. Still, this is an excellent addition to the local beer selection, and I look forward to seeing more Goose Island beers here in the near future.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,773 ratings.