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Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,833 Reviews
For Trade:
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
60 IBU

Added by drewbage on 06-26-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,833 | Ratings: 11,650
Photo of GruvisHops
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first review on BA... I picked one hell of a beer to begin!

A: A text-heavy, 12 oz. brown bottle (circa 2008). Now THIS is Imperial Stout! It pours darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night (man, I love Lebowski quotes!). I don't even see a hint of reddish hues on the edges of my Terrapin snifter: black, black, black! The head is the only negative, but I've learned to curb my expectations with 13% ABV brews. A very hard pour only yielded about 1/4" of foam with no lace to speak of.

S: I've been on a huge oak-aged kick, lately (thanks New Holland/Terrapin/Harviestoun), and this beer only reinforces the addiction. The end of a deep inhale actually gives the nostrils a slight burn reminiscent of a shot of good bourbon. Vanilla is pretty apparent along with caramel and roasted malt.

T: Bourbon immediately reaches the back corners of the tongue and initiates the right kind of pucker. The malt profile comes through right away to balance the whiskey. Pretty sweet led by vanilla with roasted malt, chocolate, slight caramel, and very slight smoke notes as well. A bit of alcohol warms the chest almost immediately, but I can't justify docking the score for it.

M: The mouthfeel is wonderfully full with very slight carbonation. I could probably let one swig rest on my tongue for a whole minute without even thinking about it.

D: A reliable friend who recommended this beer said he had trouble drinking a bottle by himself. No problems here! In fact, I don't know that I've ever had that kind of struggle with any beer (except Tecate). I could get drunk off of Bourbon County Brand Stout if had more than one bottle. However, I'm sure it would bring one hell of a hangover!

Notes: If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that you can find this beer distributed (or make regular holiday trips back to the midwest to see family) hunt down this hard to find treat. It's worth every penny!

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Photo of Reidrover
3.8/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2008 12 oz single bought at "Habits" in Salem Oregon $4.50 a bottle. Great brown sugar,espresso coffee, vanilla and wood aromas vVery dark brown almost black beer, creamy light brown head. Flavour is similar to the aroma, but more alcoholic.Bourbon really shows. The mouthfeel is the greatest thing about this beer,thick,silky ,creamy like a good quality milk shake! Good beer indeed. But i prefered Full Sails Bourbon Barrel beers better.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the Ginger Man 01-09-08

Served in a oversized snifter glass $9

A- dark black, with a thin brown head that fades with minimal lacing

S- WOW, is this a burbon or beer i'm drinking, strong burbon aroma with some burnt notes of caramel in the back

T- Very smooth and mellow, wood comes through a lot along with some malts, the bite in this one is the alcohol.

M- coats the whole mouth in a silky way, with minimal carbonation and full bodied

D- def a sipper, better as it warms. Any burbon drinker will love this beer. If you are looking for an imperial stout this is not your normal one. But if you have the chance try it, i wouldn't pick up a 6pack of this stuff

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Photo of olmatty
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Coffee brown low head with no retention or no lacing. Maybe a failed pour by me contributing to these findings. Thick black syrupy liquid.

Smell- Powerful tang of port wine fairly stings the nose. Roasty espresso malt riding beneath. Just the pour and smell tell you its an enormous beer.

Taste- Port wine espresso infused with dried orange peel. Alcohol warmth clears the sinuses with each sip. More wine-like than Bourbon, though this flavor is clearly from the oak bourbon barrels. Notes of tobacco and dried fruits and a whole lot more. Flavor just goes on for miles.

Mouthfeel- Thick and strong with low carbonation. Only a sip is needed or possible.

Drinkability- A cinder block of ale squeezed into a twelve ounce glass. You might want to split even twelve ounces.

Overall- On top of Bourbon aging, massive malt presence. If ever a beer was crafted to be had with a cigar this is it. Store clerk told me it tasted like cough syrup, maybe he drinks Coors or Bud. Some folks just want less from life. I wish I had bought everything bottle they had.

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

appearance- pours black with a thin mocha colored head. a good bit of lace

smell- bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, and some dark fruit

taste- the same taste as the smell but all the flavors stand out much more in the taste.

mouthfeel- full body with good carbonation and a Warming alcohol presence.

drinkability- a great sipper beer. took me about an hour to finish 1 12oz bottle.

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Photo of Itoclown
2.53/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Purchased at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Drank on the night of the BCS National Championship.

Look: Pours with no head or carbonation whatsoever... When finished pouring, a little reddish/brown head forms and quickly disappears.
Smell: Very strong... Could feel it singeing my nose with the alcohol. Very complex.
Taste: Has to be the thickest beer I've ever had. The first sip is the best. After that, it's all downhill. It's complex. But because of the alcohol and harshness... Nothing sticks out. Felt myself gagging the more I drank.
Mouthfeel: Comfortable on the tongue and then leaves a singeing feeling on your tongue with a lot of coffee taste. Also, cakes your mouth like drinking cough syrup.
Overall: OK. I am a little harsh on this review for such a highly rated beer. I had some high expectations for this beer... I was expecting something a lot smoother and easier on the palate.(This may have done me in) BUT I was wrong... It tasted like a lesser %ABV Sam Adams Utopia. BCS was waaay too overwhelming. Too heavy for my tastes. I've never had a beer that made the hair on my arms stand up until I had this beer. Finally in the end... It became a drain pour and I must say I will not try this again. That being said, Goose Island is one of my favorite breweries in the world. I can't recommend this but I highly recommend their other beers.

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Photo of sleazo
3.45/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 Vintage

A_Pours out a viscous inky black. Small head at first settles into a halo around the rim with a small island of bubbles in the middle.

S_Sweet malt dominates with a lingering note of Bourbon soaked wood.

T_Sweet roasted malt starts things off followed by a big bourbon kick. There are traces of vanilla, oak, anise and chocolate in the middle which meld with a bit of astringency. The finish and aftertaste come back to the sweet side of things. The alcohol is there but it seems to have mellowed with a bit of age. It seems like it would be way too harsh if it were younger.

M_The feel is fairly viscous but there is a surprising level of carbonation which cuts through it quite nicely.

D_This is a bit too boozy and sweet for me but I can see why people like it. I prefer dryer and more bitter flavours in my Imp Stouts.

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Photo of snpub540
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another one of my finds at the AJ's Fine Foods in Peoria, AZ. 12 oz. bottle 2008 vintage.

Poured a deep murky black , with a thin ring of coffee brown bubbles. Totally opaque when held up to light.

Smell was very smoky and chocolatey. Also a definate Oak smell going on in the nose. Slight whiff of that 13% alcohol came through.

The flavors in this beer were amazing. It was smokey, with a nice coffee flavor. Also some vinous qualities. I also picked up the flavor of prunes or raisin with a hint of vanilla. Very well balanced. The alcohol is hidden well, but you know it is there by the warming sensation as you swallow it.

This beer was just creamy and velvety on the palate. It seemed to just coat my whole mouth on its way down. It was a very nice choice for a cold winter night. I will have to pick up another bottle to age and see how those flavors blend over a year or two.

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Photo of Stygr
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2007 vintage

A: black and still, like aggravated engine oil

S: Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon. Not boozy, bourbon. Vanilla, toffee, caramel, oaky, coffee, roasty toasty toffee.

TASTE:Bourbon, roasted malts, coffee finish. Big a$$ bear of a beer. Unbelievable in both size and depth.

MOUTHFEEL: Not much carbonation at all, slick, oily, and dense. Over the top, maybe too much.

DRINKABILITY: Strong, I can't drink a full one, not in one sitting. I have tried and tried, but I have to back away, do a shot of bourbon, and then try again.

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Photo of gory4d
3.65/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(2007 edition.) Pours an opaque off-black; the thin brown head dissipates quickly, leaving a pale ring that lingers down the glass. The smell is salty booze, very strong, with perhaps some notes of date or prune. The taste comes on again very salty, like smoked bluefish, with lots of molasses and some wood and leather in the middle range, giving way to a taste like dates soaked in soy sauce: all in all very complex and fascinating, but not necessarily pleasant. The carbonation is slight, and the viscosity is dense. I'm not sure I'll get to the bottom of this bottle, but this is a unique and well-made beer.

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Photo of brewintheLou
3.09/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours black with a head that didn't show up until an aggresive pour was finished. The head then was quickly gone.

Smell is very strong with bourbon and chocolate.

Tastes like a chocolate covered cherry soaked in liquor. Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy, like drinking syrup. Drinkability is ok for one beer, but there is no way in hell I could have more than one of these, not only because of the ABV, but the thickness is too much.

Big Boozie Syrup!

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Photo of caminiti
3.68/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As advertised, there is more taste in one sip of this than in a case of regular beer. Of course, that is not always the best thing, as there can be too much taste.
Poured a very dark brown, almost no head, into a tulip glass,
The bourbon odor jumps out at you, and there was the hint of vanilla in there as well
Tasted about the same, a lot. There was a lot of flavor in every sip, smooth, definitely a slow sipping beer, one for the night will do you.
Im sure this would be an excellent beer with age.

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Photo of Trappissed
2.42/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

If you like your beer like your soy sauce, then this is the stout for you. It definitely smells better than it tastes. A very unique smell. The aroma does give off a slight bourbon, almost liqueur-like quality. I wanted to taste the bourbon, but all I was getting was soy sauce. A couple of friends who tried it agreed as well. It would certainly be great to cook with. Even sipping it, I just could not appreciate the "complex" flavors.

The mouthfeel was decent, not overwhelmingly thick or oily. Drinkability was low on the scale, even taking into account the high abv %. Couldn't taste much alcohol actually, just sweet- pungent-acidic-vinegary-soy sauce. There were mild bourbon notes to be fair. This review probably won't go over very well, but it is my honest opinion. This is my first bourbon barrel-aged stout, but I have tried a few imperial stouts. I also should say that I do enjoy bourbon, so this is not a biased review.

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Photo of jmalex
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I guess 2 years makes a tradition. For the second straight year, I'm kicking the new year off with a bourbon-aged stout. Not a bad tradition to start, really. In honor of the outdoor hockey in Chicago today, I'm drinking a beer from the same city.

2007 vintage

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Delirium tulip a deep inky black with almost no head at all. A faint deep cocoa brown collar forms but the remainder of the beer's surface is wholly black and still.

SMELL: Bourbon certainly dominates, but it's backed up by tons of flavor and complexity. On the beer side, there's quite a bit of toffee, fig, and dark fruits along with a slightly smaller amount of dark chocolate. On the bourbon barrel side, it's fairly woody with a really nice vanilla element trying to squeak through.

TASTE: If it could even be possible, the bourbon taste is even bigger than the aroma. It fits perfectly into a nutty, extremely coffee-heavy stout. A light bass note of alcohol heat lasts all the way through with the bourbon, some chocolate, coffee, and nuttiness coming and going before finally settling on heavy coffee in the finish.

MOUTHFEEL: A thick, oily body has a decent slickness to it. Carbonation is understandably low, but might be a little too much so.

DRINKABILITY: It's astounding that this is 13% ABV because you can tell at all. Goes way to easy for a beer of this size. Phenomenal.

Wow. What a treat. There's not too many beers I can't buy here in PA, but it's absolutely a shame that this is one of them. I'll be doing whatever I can to find some more of this.

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Photo of darleys
2.35/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The aroma of alcohol/whiskey was dominant. Taste was overwhelmed by flavor of bourbon/alcohol. I am a big fan of bourbon, but this did not work for me in this beer. While the flavors of a stout were present, I felt that they were overwhelmed by the bourbon/alcohol taste. I just kept thinking "diesel fuel" the whole time I drank the beer.

**Readers Note - I drank this simultaneously with an Expedition Stout, which may have tainted my review.

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Photo of mikedashg
3.95/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of soskully
2.83/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It has a dark brown color to it (Almost black). When poured into a large mouth glass it had a small creamy head. It had a strong aroma of bourbon with a hint of fruity sweetness. It had a sweet alcohol taste with lots of bourbon flavor. It didn't have the stout taste I was looking for. I prefer the taste of beer over the taste of bourbon. This 13% abv stout is definetly for the serious beer drinker.

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

I like bourbon, I like stout, so this one should be great.

2008 bottle.

Smell: lots of vanilla, toffee, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts.

Taste: round, creamy and malty, dark chocolate and toffee, notes of coffee, wonderful notes of bourbon (almonds, vanilla, nuts, some viola (?)), burnt sugar. This brew is very sweet, but it works out sursprisingly well; you can feel the ABV as well, but this goes along great with the whiskey notes of this beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy and oily, nice.

Overall: well, this is one exceptional and complex beer. Certainly one of the best and most interesting stouts Ive ever tried. Worth every penny, or "öre" as we say in Sweden. Skål!

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Photo of imagineiii
4.29/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Acquired this 07 gem in a trade.

Poured into my trusty dfh snifter. Oil slick black, no head to speak of.

Smells of sweet alcohol and bourbon. vanilla and cherry.

Beautiful burnt malt flavor up front quickly gives way to bourbon sweetness and alcohol, but just the right amount. This is the definition "warming" alcohol. Exceptional balance and complexity.

Mouthfeel is complex and and rich but boozy and sweet. tons of bourbon notes remain long after swallowed.

Ive never met an imperial stout thats drinkable and at 13%, this one is no exception. I know that as a style its not supposed to be drinkable, but the booze and the bourbon make this one even less so.

This beer will enter a pantheon in my mind of "beers that have exceptional bourbon flavor". its just enough bourbon flavors for this bourbon fan, but not over the top (ie. founders backwoods bastard)

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

Pours very dark brown with about an 1/8" head that stuck around. Aroma heavy on the bourbon (but I love that kind of thing), with a bit of wood char, some dried dark fruit, and a spoonful of caramel. Flavor more of the same: lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, coffee, toffee, and all the rest of that goodness. This is an incredible beer, and if you can get your hands on it, do so without hesitation.

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Photo of JWD
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A-This is 5000 mile motor oil!!!!

S- I love bourbon so this is a treat this beer smells like kentucky bourbon with a touch of cream and vanilla

T- Bourbon with tons of vanilla and oak, this is one creamy brew.

M- Thick and absolutley coats your mouth.

D- This is a strong brew and one is probably enough.

Overallthis is an excellent imperial stout that is excess in every way.

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

Forewarned is forearmed. I heard there was a lot going on in this Chicago brew, but ... Damn.

This is one beer that I could be happy with just smelling all evening. Upon first inky black pour, this Goose Island creation throws hints of licorice, caramel, coffee, and plenty of bourbon high notes. The more you smell this concoction, the more complex it becomes.

"Whenever you have that caramel/licorice thing going on, you of course have molasses," Talkin' Bob said, sticking his nose back into the pint glass.

As the Bourbon County Stout warms, its nose completely changes. There's a mellowing of fragrances as vanilla notes move to the front, along with rumors of a particularly smoky house fire.

True to its name, this stout has a beautiful bourbon finish, again with a subtle coffee, or perhaps dark roasted malt, taste on the back of the tongue. This is definitely a sipper, as you'll want to stop and consider every drop; in short, a beer that can truly be called a work of art.

I don't know where Bourbon County is, but I want to live there.

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Photo of KeefD
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I'm seriously hoping this is named after Bourbon County, Kentucky. I have many great friends from BC, and have a few memories of it as well.

Pours a black color with virtually no head and left no lacing behind. Nice dark aroma of charred malts, burnt caramel, smoke, woodiness, light vanilla, but not much in the way of bourbon. A sip... WOW. This thing is thick and creamy. Chocolate flavors come up first, followed by light vanilla, nice but light bourbon flavor, some caramel and butterscotch. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy but a little powdery on the finish, warming alcohol, and almost no carbonation. Booze is certainly noticeable, but very well integrated for such a high amount. Honestly, I thought the bourbon was a little subdued, especially when compared to something like KBS. This is a very good impy stout, but it's not great. I have three more of these that have a nice rest in the cold basement for years to come. This one definitely needs to sit. Some age will do wonders for it.

A: 4 S: 4 T: 4.5 M: 4 D: 3


Over a year later and have revisted the aged bottles of the 08 and have had a few 09's fresh and then again tonight, (5/16/10)

I have to up my scores on this one. The 09 I'm drinking is truly a fabulous beer. Dark chocolate covered caramel soaked in bourbon deliciousness. Roast is outstanding. Can't get enough of the thick, creamy caramel and chocolate goodness. Really love this beer and the bourbon seems a bit stronger than the 08, even with several months of age on it. Much thicker and chewier than I remember.

A note to myself: This is great beer. Do not drink the ones you have left for some time to come. Wait until at least 2012 on your next bottle!

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Photo of KI9A
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh hell, I need more of these to survive daily life. Sampled this in a neat, Michelob Ultra Amber tulip glass. Might need to acid erase the name from it next time.

A: Dark as Coke, very little head. Very cool watching the foam, on the glass, at beer level, turn from tan, to black as you set th glass down.

S: Bourbon dominates. Backed up by dark fruits. Just plain soothing to smell.

T: Obvious bourbon. Like white/vanilla chocolate, filled with bourbon. Very sweet.

M: Sticky, coats everything. Lick you lips after a drink, and you can feel the stickyness. Smooth, creamy. Great.

D: Well, been awhile since I got the mid-chest, alcohol burn from a beer. Sitting here, taking notes to review, while sipping this much like a bottle of decent craft-bourbon. At 13%, this will put your lights out, quick.

Beers like this, always restore my faith in the "craft" part, of craft beer. A true "craftsman" created this beer. Men Like Greg from GI, and Dan, from New Glarus, are true craftsman.

Fine job, Greg.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Did an 06/07/08 Vertical on Christmas. First time having any of these vintages for me. Thanks to GbvDave for the trade! All three- Awesome!

All of them poured dead black with no head, but produced a very dark tan ring upon swirling.

The aroma on all of them was initially bourbon, with caramel and vanilla notes. Behind that was a booziness that couldn't be missed. Some of them seemed to produce more roasted notes than others, specifically the 08. The strongest bourbon aroma was on the 07.

The 07 seemed to have the most syrupy-bourbon taste which was almost overpowering. The 08 was initially full of roasted malt flavor but then came in the bourbon strong with a slight alcohol burn but somewhat covered up by the big vanilla and caramel notes. The 06 was my favorite and really benefitted from the age- it was very balanced with all the roasted flavors in equilibrium with the bourbon notes. The mouthfeel was just thick enough, and for some the sweetness of the bourbon and abundance of malt may be too much, but it was just about at my threshold.

Obviously all of these were sippers but the drinkability was as good as could be expected with a 13% ABV beer. I am glad I got a few more of these to have over the holidays, and I can't wait to see how the 08 develops over the course of a year or two.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,833 ratings.