1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

7,969 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,969
Reviews: 2,341
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 1,786
Gots: 3,394 | FT: 371
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  14.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
60 IBU

(Beer added by: drewbage on 06-26-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bourbon County Brand Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,969 | Reviews: 2,341 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

4.58/5  rDev 0%

2008 vintage. I had this beer once before, and I had a cold. What a mistake to drink it then. I didn't think much of it, and I'm lucky I tried it again, because this beer is fantastic. A deep viscous black and a purposefully agitating pour yeilds a nice brown head, fades. Strong fumes of bourbon, vanilla, tons of roasted malt, chocolate, raisins. This beer is hot but manages to come across as soft and refined, not brash at all. Flavor is pretty spot on. Bourbon up front, plenty of vanilla and oak surrounds a full on roasted malt profile of coffee, chocolate, deep tobacco, dry smokiness, and a delicious cakey flavor. Sweet and fluffy but has a deep char and leather character as well to balance out the sweetness. Somehow the 13% ABV is kept in check and only adds more complexity to this brew. Velvet mouthfeel, full bodied but not too heavy surprisingly. Goes down the gullet all too easily for a beer this big. I'm not necessarily a fan of the "extreme beer" movement but this barrel aged beer is an example of a great achievement in brewing. Much props to sonicdescent for the trade.

05-04-2009 15:54:16 | More by twelvsies
Photo of bruningmd
bruningmd

Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +1.1%

A: black, viscous, no head whatsoever because of abv, light ring of sticky bubbles on ring

S: Bourbon, coffee, soy sauce, charred wood, burnt malts, smokey oats, chocolate, brown sugar

T: Bourbon, warm diacetyl, dark chocolate, caramel, more bourbon

MF: Thick, rich, warm, biting alcohol on back of throat simmers and warms to a warm belly, like after drinking hot cocoa-very smooth

D: Gets smoother and smokier as it warms. Worth the price, every once in a while. Would love to drink 2 in a row, but I might end up in Mexico with a hooker in the trunk of my car. Kudos to Goose Island for making this complex and robust beer. It takes huge nuts to pack in so much flavor

05-04-2009 00:41:54 | More by bruningmd
Photo of climax
climax

Missouri

4.33/5  rDev -5.5%

This classic poured the deep black I was expecting into an oversized wine glass. I didn't get much of a head out of it, but what did was brown retained excellent around the edges which seemed to take a redish hue in the light.

Nose was strong but smooth and inviting. Chocolate, whiskey, oak, sweet caramel, licorice, and subtle alcohol.

Wow what a flavor. Sweet chocolate, vanilla bean, caramel, woody along with aged whiskey. Finish was coffee and not overly dry.

Body was full as expected, a sipper for sure. The carbonation kept it crisp, while the alcohol kept it warm and warmer going down.

A whiskey lover's delight, this one does not disappoint. Great winter sipper or a beer to watch the game with....the whole game.

05-03-2009 03:28:10 | More by climax
Photo of pokesbeerdude
pokesbeerdude

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev -5%

12oz single from LiquorMax in Loveland, CO for $5.

A: Inky dark black, pitch black, a few dark dark brown bubbles popped up. Not a whole lot though. Very dark and ominous looking. Excellent. Even oily looking. This is great.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, raisins, brown sugar, and lots and lots of booze. Wow this is huge on the alcohol. Has a ton of bourbon qualities, much more so than an imperial stout. I'm impressed.

T: Huge flavors, chocolate, coffee, bourbon, brown sugar, really strong roasted flavors, dark fruits, plums even. This is really an impressive beer. Huge bourbon flavors, sweet throughout. I can't really detect any hops in this, but it doesn't really suffer. This is a huge beer all around. Alcohol isn't in the way and terrible, just a nice complement. This is a fantastic beer.

M: Perfect, absolutely spot on, thick, huge and sticky, with a hint of alcohol heat, very dry as well. Excellent in the mouthfeel.

D: Sneaky, this beer is huge, and could easily be consumed quickly, and multiple, the alcohol heat does catch up fairly quick. I really wish I would have bought more. This is an exceptional beer. Highly recommended.

05-03-2009 03:12:07 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

4.53/5  rDev -1.1%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. The liquid is an opaque bistre or seal brown, with a thin ring of tan carbonation for a head. A maleostrom of lacing swirls ominously after each lift of the glass.

The aroma is coffee, chocolate, brown bread, feed grain, and a little alcohol.

All of the aromas develop into dense flavors on the palate as well, accompanied by a fleeting hoppy bitterness. The bourbon barrel is present but not in the form of char, but rather vanilla, white-dog, maple, and further subtleties. Almost like beer coated by a thin layer of mid-shelf Beam whiskey (e.g. Knob Creek). My better half who normally doesn't like stout called it "liquid cake."

The mouthfeel is rich, unctuous, and oily, peerless really, among the stouts I've sampled thus far. Highly quaffable despite having an assertive flavor profile and (deceptively) high ABV. It certainly borders on the superb.

04-30-2009 02:34:19 | More by augustgarage
Photo of KUpolo
KUpolo

Colorado

4.78/5  rDev +4.4%

A big black beer. Looks like I'm pouring used motor oil out of an engine instead of a beer, but in a good way. :-) Not much head, but with a beer this strong I don't expect one. 4/5

The smell is heavenly. If you handed this to me blind, I'm not sure I would be able to tell you that it was a beer and not a glass of bourbon. Bourbon happens to be one of the only hard alcohol drinks I enjoy straight so again, this is a very good thing. 5/5

Upon the first sip I am surprised by the sweetness considering the beer is as high in alcohol as it is. It is simply a put a perfect beer. World class in every respect. Goose Island achieved everything that I think they set out to with this beer. 5/5

Mouthfeel is smooth and again just perfect. 5/5

Part of me wishes that this beer was a little bit weaker so I could put back more than one in a sitting but that may be part of what makes this such a special beer. It must be enjoyed in moderation and leaves you looking forward to the next one you will enjoy another day. 4/5

I wish that I could find this stuff in Denver.

04-29-2009 22:49:27 | More by KUpolo
Photo of Naugled
Naugled

New York

4.33/5  rDev -5.5%

served in tall sample glass

a: jet black opaque, blackest I've ever seen, no head but nice legs

s: beechnut tobacco and molassas

t: tobacco raisons, prunes, molassas, caramel, coffee, and sherry, nice balance with bitterness, not hot for a 13%

m: sweet and cloying, but in a good way, rich and creamy

d: good for a monster beer great dessert beer.

04-28-2009 00:48:17 | More by Naugled
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev -4.4%

A- Pours a black with a very small little caramel colored head. The head dissipates in a few seconds, leaving a small ring of bubbles and leaving very little lacing.

S- Smells of hints a roasted malt and vanilla, but is overwhelmed by the bourbon and that's really all I can pick up.

T- Tastes is pretty similar to the smell with hints chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt. Again tons of bourbon and the alcohol is every where here and not hidden at all.

M- Body is thick, full bodied and the carbonation is right on.

D- Very awesome brew for sure.

04-27-2009 03:08:23 | More by nrbw23
Photo of MisterClean
MisterClean

California

4.18/5  rDev -8.7%

Big thanks to Mark D for the pour of this stuff.

A - Pours black, with a 1/2 fingered mocha head. Dissipates immediately and laves no lacing.

S - Bourbon, chocolate, and flowers.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, light coffee, and caramel. Hops almost non-existent.

M - Full bodied, malt dominated, and light alcohol.

D - Great beer, would like to see more hops though.

04-26-2009 18:53:38 | More by MisterClean
Photo of cdViking
cdViking

Washington

4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Consumed on 4/25/09, bottle poured into pint glass. 2008, according to label.

Pours nice dark black with an attractive tan head, that slowly fizzes away. Smell is fantastic, with the bourbon scent coming through most clearly, though you can also scent molasses, malt and coffee. The taste is absolutely exceptional and complex; there is a lot going on in this beer. The bourbon in the name is clearly there, though dark fruit, malt, molasses, coffee, a hint of vanilla and some licorice as well; even the oak of the barrel is there. So much going on... The booze is still a little hot, but it is an amazing accomplishment of flavor. Its nice and thick and syrupy in the mouth, and I really enjoy the way it drinks. Its a wonderful, wonderful beer, but it is definitely a sipper, and there is no way I could have more than one of these.

04-26-2009 05:57:58 | More by cdViking
Photo of everetends
everetends

Alabama

4.38/5  rDev -4.4%

12 oz bottle thanks to a great trade with spointon. This is one of those that has sat on my wants list for a while. Served this one up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a pretty viscous and inky black color. That black is completely opaque, giving light zero chance at getting through this body. The head is a nice dark coffee brown that was a little over a quarter of an inch. the had has some pretty good retention as a thick and high ring. The lace is spotty, but present. Just a fine looking brew.

S: Well, it is appropriate they put bourbon in the name. Getting a really nice peat and spicy bourbon aroma that is just . . . lovely. Getting a decent amount of roasted dark malts. The sweetness melds nicely with bourbon. Thee i a bit of dark fruit going on in here along with . . . is that licorice? I taste a bit of licorice. Chocolate jumps out just a bit in the finish. Its a nice dark and slightly bitter chocolate going on here.

T: Really nice bourbon flavor that is absolutely there but it doesn't completely overtake this brew at all. Often times, bourbon brews can be a one trick pony, but this guy has some dynamics to it. Really nice chocolate coming through with the nice and roasted malty goodness in here. The malts have a slightly bitter and sweet thing going on here that really works. Actually getting some hops in here as well, bring a touch more bitterness in here and touch of dryness. Getting some nice wood (hehehe) and a slight touch of vanilla in here. The dark fruits are light but come out just a bit. The booziness is there but yet again it doesn't overpower. Very fuggin good.

M: Full bodied brew that has a nice, heavy and slick feel coming out here. This brew is chewy and has some nice weight to it. Alcohol heat is pretty darned good with a nice warming in the throat and belly. Has a nice warming quality to it. Carbonation is there but still allows this beer to be heavy and thick. Aftertaste is just some malts and bourbon lingering about.

D: Pretty good brew. Its got a lot going on here but it doesn't sit too heavy. It would be easy to put down a couple of these in a night and this one has gone quickly. The flavors and aromas are damned nice and this is a fine ass brew. If you can get it, I envy you. If you can't, seek it out.

04-24-2009 05:09:20 | More by everetends
Photo of Domingo
Domingo

Colorado

4.4/5  rDev -3.9%

Pretty interesting to see Goose Island sending this beer (and this beer only) to Colorado.
Pours as pretty much the thickest, blackest, murkiest beer I've seen to date. Carbonation's minimal due to the potency and the oak barrels always seem to take a little away, too.
On the nose, you get waves of bourbon and vanilla, but with some roasty and chocolate flavors trailing.
The flavors are going crazy in this beer! Vanilla, bourbon, molasses, coconut, chocolate, sweet malts, and rum. Wow. I wouldn't guess it's 13% either.
Goes down very easily at first, but once you're 1/2 way finished, the sweetness and potency catches up with you. A definite sipper for the last half of the bottle.
I like this a lot, and I can only guess that splitting a bottle is ideal.
Surprisingly reminds me a whole lot of the Bull & Bush's Legend of the Liquid Brain and Royal Oil beers.
I'll be buying more for sure.

04-22-2009 13:01:17 | More by Domingo
Photo of sevopie
sevopie

Colorado

3.3/5  rDev -27.9%

Appearance - Umm, black. Hardly even a hint of brown on the edges. Dark brown head that disappeared really quickly.

Smell - Interesting... I get a predominantly sweet flavor over the obvious bitter ones. The first smell that jumps out is maple syrup, followed by bourbon. I then get a bet of smoke as well as some wood and a bit of rum-like alcohol in there. Finally, you get a hint of chocolate and raisins in there.

Taste - Damn... its heavy on the smoke, heavy on the bourbon, and heavy on the wood. I taste a little chocolate and coffee and a hint of fruit, and then the alcohol kicks in. Previous reviewer is right... Subtlety is not a strong suit of this one.

Mouthfeel - Very, very thick and viscous. Somewhat light on the carbonation, but it kicks in after it is in your mouth for a bit.

Drinkability - This is going to be a total sipper, and a hard sell to finish the bottle. The flavors are crazy and in your face, and the viscous nature makes it even worse. I appreciate the extreme nature of the beer, but this will be the only time i have it.

04-20-2009 04:58:25 | More by sevopie
Photo of DrShizzle
DrShizzle

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev -3.3%

Served on tap at Blind Tiger.

Wow, is this an intense, in your face beer. I'm not sure I ever used that phrase to describe a beer before, but that's what comes to mind. There is nothing subtle about it, from the nose, to the taste, to the boozy heat it leaves behind. If you like wood aged stouts, you're going to like it. If you don't, you won't.

It pours (oozes?) jet black and thick as old motor oil, little in the way of foam. The nose is all bourbon, wood, vanilla, coffee and chocolate. And, alcohol. Taste is exactly what it smells like and punches you in the tastebuds the second it hits em. All the bourbon, vanilla and coffee hit fast, and then the boozy heat finishes it off. This is a sipper for sure. Probably shouldn't have had it first...Very smooth in the mouth, as you'd expect from something like this with such little carbonation.

Its definitely an "experience" beer. Would I drink it again? Its only a matter of time...it just wouldn't be tomorrow. Still, first rate and worth trying if you can find it. To me, the only thing it could use is some subtlety.

04-19-2009 13:17:59 | More by DrShizzle
Photo of ColForbinBC
ColForbinBC

New Jersey

4.68/5  rDev +2.2%

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Pours a deep, dark ink black with small ruby edges and a thin khaki colored head.

The nose is of rich bourbon. Wow. You would think you were dipping your nose into a glass of bourbon whiskey. Some caramel and smoke push their way through the intense bourbon, but its primarily vanilla, oak, milk chocolate and coffee.

Dear Lord. The flavors are overwhelming. Huge bourbon/whiskey flavor, vanilla, oak, tobacco, cherries, and a solid chocolate backbone. A good amount of alcohol heat is left behind.

Full-bodied, a tad oily.. Rich and lively.

This is a damn fine BA Stout and one that really sets the bar for the style.

04-19-2009 07:31:19 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of erikm25
erikm25

Washington

4.33/5  rDev -5.5%

A: Bottled only thrice days away from All Hallow's Eve 2008. Very appropriate as this beer pours blacker than a Halloween night. Sludged out of the bottle and into my snifter like a viscous serpent. At first there was practically no head. Towards the end a thin slithering dark brown foam stretched around the glass until it quickly shredded its bubbly skin.

S: Strong bourbon, chocolate oak, and almond nut aromas. Smoked caramel custard coated in brown sugars. Raisins steeped in ethanol.

T: One of the most malt complex and spicy-sweet tasting imperial stouts I have tried. Pronounced roasted vanilla, chocolate candy, rye whiskey, and ripened dark fruits. Licorice and molasses with a stinging hops like finish. Rum and raspberries. Massive boubon tasting beer with a high ABV.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Sticks to every waking taste bud.

D: This beer is overwhelming. Not a smooth representation of the style, like others I have tried, but this is what makes it both mind and mouth numbing. I am tempted to pick up another as it could end up being one of my favorite beers after some aging. Highly Recommended.

04-17-2009 06:45:55 | More by erikm25
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.78/5  rDev +4.4%

Bottled on October 8, 2008.

G: Poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Motor-oil dark with a thin, quarter-finger head with minimal amounts of carbonation. The beer is completely opaque and near black.

S: Roasted malt and a lot of sweet chocolate scent. Minimal hints of dried fruits. Definite bourbon scent and hints of aged oak as well.

T: The taste is absolutely exquisite. Hints of the aforementioned oak, along with plenty of bourbon. Some chocolate and espresso hiding in the mix. The perfect balance and extremely complex--I would give this a 5.5 if I could.

M: Quite thick and extremely chewy. It really almost feels as if there's food in my mouth. A true "motor oil" beer. Moderate amounts of carbonation. Strong alcohol presence.

D: Very, very drinkable. This is high in ABV, but I could drink these until I couldn't drink any longer.

04-16-2009 03:49:17 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of scifan
scifan

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev -6.6%

Big thanks to sirspysco for this in a trade. Bottle on 10-11-07.
Poured thick and dense with a very small dark brown head that quickly fades.
I can't believe this bottle has a year of age on it I smell the bourbon as soon as I started pouring. After a few big whiffs I'm getting mostly bourbon, but there is more lurking in the background. I'm picking up hints of some nice roasty aromas as well as some dark ripe fruit aromas as well.
The bourbon taste isn't as prevalent as the nose would suggest, It's definitely there but not as overpowering as I thought it would be. I'm also getting some roasted barley and some dark chocolate as well. Very nice. It kind of reminds me of Heresy a more intense but similar none the less. Good mouthfeel nice and creamy just like I like my stouts. The high alcohol content and the hot booziness from the bourbon makes this one a sipper.

04-16-2009 03:42:08 | More by scifan
Photo of chiguy2420
chiguy2420

Connecticut

3.93/5  rDev -14.2%

Review #7 from notes. On tap at Shorty's in NYC yesterday 4/14/09.

A: Pours a midnight black with a thin khaki colored head. Gorgeous appearance. Head dissipates rather quickly.

S: Smells of Bourbon, which I love the smell of and also oak. Smelled smokey and maybe alittle dark chocolate.

T: Took a few sips before I got used to it. Very strong alcohol taste but after a few sips its rather delightful. Bourbon and oak make way for the true flavor of the chocolate liqueur. Before you know it, it is going down rather easy.

M: Very syrupy. I had the first beer out of the new tap so it could explain that. Pretty smooth and rather enjoyable again. Really did like it.

D: While I did enjoy it, I couldn't have several of these in a row. In fact, I probably would drink one of these and move on to a something much lighter, a dubbel maybe.

Overall a pretty good beer.

04-15-2009 22:39:26 | More by chiguy2420
Photo of willjschmidt
willjschmidt

California

4.4/5  rDev -3.9%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle (2008 edition) into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours dark as night with a thin tan head. It quickly recedes to leave no head whatsoever.

S: Vanilla, burnt chocolate, along with some bourbon.

T: Incredibly complex flavors. Layers upon layers of rich flavors. I got: vanilla, dark chocolate, smoke, bourbon, and some cherries. It's a tad on the sweet side making it a great pairing with dessert.

M: Full bodied, rich, silky smooth, with low carbonation.

D: This is the very definition of a sipper. It's a bit boozy but not as much as you'd expect with 13% ABV.

04-13-2009 04:30:48 | More by willjschmidt
Photo of mattster
mattster

Texas

4.28/5  rDev -6.6%

Opened 12 Fl Oz bottle of 2008 (bottled 10/16/08) Brewage and poured into a snifter glass.

Color is dark, opaque black with virtually no head (slight lace atop brew).

Smell is of rich vanilla and chocolate with slight whiskey. Taste follows through and I also notice a slight coffee tone. Beer finishes somewhat smooth, but bubbles seem a tad bit high. As the brew warmed up, it became less carbonated and even smoother. I may have served stout to cold because the longer it spends in glass, the better and richer it becomes.

04-12-2009 10:57:57 | More by mattster
Photo of infestaxion
infestaxion

Florida

4.6/5  rDev +0.4%

A - Pours nice and black. No real head to speak of. Just a small film of brown bubbles floating around on top.

S - Alcohol! With some vanilla from the oak.

T - Rich with the dark fruit, vanilla and of course bourbon. Caramel and toffee are hanging around in there too along with the vanilla. This is just really good.

M - Nice and viscous. Tingly.

D - I don't think I could take down more than two of these but I would definitely want to.

04-12-2009 01:56:38 | More by infestaxion
Photo of drgonzo3705
drgonzo3705

Ohio

4.63/5  rDev +1.1%

A: Black as black pour with virtually no head. A little head and some lacing and it could have had a 5.

S: Vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Very big nose of bourbon, very enjoyable for me!

T: Bourbon and vanilla up front with the oakiness riding on the back end.

M: Full bodied, creamy and lightly carbonated.

D: Wish I could drink more, but the ABV will catch up to me soon I think. I would definitely love to get through two in a sitting though!

04-11-2009 01:42:40 | More by drgonzo3705
Photo of mjthor
mjthor

Iowa

4.47/5  rDev -2.4%

1st review -- might as well start with a good one.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Westmalle chalice. This bottle was from an October '08 batch, so it's only aged about 6 months.

A: Very, very dark and opaque brown. Dare I say mahogany? Even with an aggressive pour, the head is almost non-existent; just a few small milk chocolate-colored bubbles forming near the glass.

S: Incredible. Tons of bourbon, chocolate, and a bit of a fruity/sugary sweetness that I can't quite put my finger on. Small hint of alcohol, but it's there -- not that that's surprising, considering the 13% ABV. Very tantalizing and complex.

T: The alcohol isn't well-hidden here, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. The bourbon again comes out in the taste -- especially at the finish. Incredibly sweet malt with hints of chocolate, it really complements the powerful bourbon flavor characteristics.

M: Absolutely coats the tongue. Very viscous. "Syrupy" would be a good word to describe this beer, from smell to taste to mouthfeel.

D: I would definitely have another, but not tonight. No way. This is without a doubt a sipper, and absolutely a one-and-done. Each sip lingers until you take the next. I'm about halfway through, and I might pair this with some good Swiss cheese.

Overall, this is a great beer. I've always been very impressed with Goose Island as a mid-range brewery, but this and Matilda has solidified them as, in my mind, capable of brewing very high-end stuff.

04-11-2009 01:14:44 | More by mjthor
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -6.1%

2006 vintage bottled 7-3-06. Label states 11%ABV. 12 ounce bottle split with psycohops. Poured into my chalice and allowed to warm a bit. Appears an opaque black color with about a finger of loose dark ecru foam. No lacing to speak of, but in it's place is a rich brown, syrup that coats the inside of the glass with every swirl. Smells of burnt toast that's right on the edge of being still edible, molasses, oak, tons of bourbon, and treacle. Tastes of booze soaked rich roasted coffee beans, plum pudding, raisins, bitter baking chocolate, hint of smoke and a gigantic bourbon sting in the mouth. Yep, the bourbon is still VERY much a part of this experience even after almost three years in the bottle. This could sit for at least three more. A full bodied, satisfying sipper with maybe a notch below medium in carbonation. Great stuff.

04-10-2009 13:34:39 | More by ClockworkOrange
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 7,969 ratings.