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Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,840 Reviews
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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: 2,840 | Ratings: 11,702
Photo of spartan2k
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I figured it was about time I reviewed some beers, and this was a good one to start with.

2007 version, poured into a unibroue tulip glass.

Pours pitch black. Thick and viscous. Smell of bourbon apparent immediately. The first sip is all bourbon. At first I am taken aback, but the complexities of the beer and the bourbon are delicious (note: I am a huge fan of bourbon).

Second sip also heavy on the bourbon, but the intensity of the bourbon subsides after warming a bit. Notes of vanilla predominate, as well as some overtones of oak from the barrel.

Mouthfeel is very creamy. Surprisingly smooth beer despite the high ABV and the intensity at first pour. Alcohol is well hidden, and the sweetness balances well with the oak.

Overall, an outstanding beer. May well be my new favorite. Each sip seems like a different experience. I can't wait to try the versions from other years.

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

Pours almost pitch black with a very small dark tan head that fades very quickly. Smell of sweet cocoa powder, slight coffee, and bourbon. Flavors of dark chocolate, sweet maltiness balanced by a roasted grain. The bourbon then comes on very powerfully, but its not just bourbon flavored, which I like. Finishes with cocoa powder and vanilla and a strong alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated, with a thick chewy body and a strong alcohol burn. very good beer and the 13% abv is hidden well. Perfect dessert dinner. Will age nicely.

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Photo of jophish17
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle that a friend brought back from Indiana for me, poured into my favorite Terrapin snifter. Bottled Oct 08, I'm reviewing fresh for now.

Let's just get this strait from the start: I love bourbon.

Aroma: strong, you can smell it from a few feet away, and that is just a hint of what you get when you bring it to your face. Once up close, the distinct smell of American bourbon comes out heavy, and it supported with more subtle notes of chocolate, caramel and roasted malts. Not many beers smell better, this one is shaping up to be legendary

Appearance: black. It poured out of the bottle with a tad more viscosity than motor oil. Even when holding it up to a lamp, light can't find its way through. No head except for a tiny ring around the edge of the glass, this is what I expect a beer like this to look like.

Taste: it starts out brilliant - chocolate, sweet molasses-like malts, the bourbon of course, and a little bit of oaky vanilla. The finish is where the beer goes from great to out of this world - the bourbon flavor hits hard and warms all the way down.

Feel: its just as thick and full-bodied as I expected. Wonderful presence on the palate.

Drinkability: more drinkable than it should be. Alcohol is there, but that doesn't keep me from craving more. I think I need to drive up and get a case of this.

One of my new favorite beers. A must have for anyone with even a faint appreciation for bourbon. Updated 12.09 after having Black Tuesday make this beer look almost pedestrian in comparison

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Photo of DoctorDog
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

A- Extreme dark brown and opaque. Extremely harsh pour produces almost no head whatsoever, save a smattering of tiny foam islands, which will soon fade away to nothing.

S- Strong smell of boozy bourbon. Sweet vanilla and oak notes emerge as the beer warms.

T- Sweet, malty bourbon flavors with a boozy kick, along with big vanilla notes. Alcohol presence is powerful without being overpowering...

M- Minimal carbonation. Fairly thick, coating, and slick. Warming from alcohol notable.

D- In my book, this is quite clearly a slow sip-and-savor only beer.

Future outlook: For a non-bourbon drinker, this beer did quite well by me...however...this beer isn't legal in Ohio due to an archaic law placing an ABV% cap for beer @12%...pfffft...

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Photo of turboedtwo
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

While drinking this I felt I should finally review a beer. I wish I could be as descriptive as others but perhaps with time.

Appearance - Poured into a snifter glass. The color is about as dark as they come. Had to hold it directly over a light to see a hint of brown.

Smell - The smell is amazing, definitely strong, however I can't put my finger on it. The girlfriend could smell it from about 4 feet away.

Taste - The first taste is of bourbon with a slight chocolate finish. Definitely flavorful.

Mouthfeel - It feels like a typical stout to me, thick and heavy. Although it has that feel in my throat like I drank some hard liquor.

Drinkability - This is definitely one you want to take your time on. Definitely not something that should be rushed through.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.97/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on June 20, 2008 12 oz.

Pours dark thick and black, no head. Dark molasses in color, black with a few bubbles. Aroma is molasses, vanilla, coffee. Smells "dark" - black as your soul... Thick, chocolate syrup, intense cocoa flavors. Whew! Vicks 44 burn in finish. Aftertaste is sweet like a spiced cake - gingery. Fogs up your head!

Good stuff!

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

Certainly my favorite gem from Goose Island. The pour gave almost no head at all which for such a heavy stout is alright by me. The smell was very heavy bourbon- YUMMY.
The tatse was beautiful-vanilla, chocolate, toffe, spice and faint notes of licorice.
The mouthfell and drinkability was outstanding, especially for a higher abv beer.
If you're a stout drinker this ought to be in your fridge or on your list.

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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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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,840 ratings.