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.

8,096 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,096
Reviews: 2,352
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 1,842
Gots: 3,449 | FT: 379
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: 8,096 | Reviews: 2,352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stonebreaker
3.53/5  rDev -22.9%

Appearance: Possibly the blackest beer I've ever laid eyes upon.

Smell: Sweet bourbon, smoke, maybe a little vanilla.

Taste: It's a way too sweet for my taste, definitely tasting the charred oak and very dark malt, the vanilla and bourbon sit on the tongue with a cloying aftertaste. Is this why people smoke cigars with this stuff, to cut the sweetness? Jesus! I need to pair this with something asap.

Mouthfeel: Very rich and creamy.

Drinkability: The 'overpowering' sweetness and alcohol make this one an average at best and that's being generous.

Stonebreaker, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of gonzogambler
4.72/5  rDev +3.1%

2007 edition, drank a few 4 packs of these already this year and in the past and ready for another out of what I have saved. Fills the glass with blackness and very little tan head. Smell is roasted coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and happiness.

The taste still makes me smile like a tourist even though I'm just back visiting again. The alcohol is there but is nicely wrapped with dark chocolate, bourbon, and molasses. Beers like this remind me why my favorite style still is a stout or a porter even with all the love to the hop bombs (hot moms?).

Mouthfeel is rich and silky. Drinkability is excellent, but its definitely a sipper; its got more flavor than fits between my jaws.

gonzogambler, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of kkipple
4.53/5  rDev -1.1%

The encore to a VERY successful tasting night with friends in stupid-humid South Carolina.

Pours a motor oil (ugh, such an overused phrase!) deep brown, thick and viscous. Not much head here, but for 13%, what did you expect?

If you are a bourbon fan, this is your beer. Full stop. An intensely rich, woody and well, bourbony nose assaults the senses after even the slightest sniff. Heavy and dense, this wallop hides chocolate, booze, charred wood and grain and more booze in a smooth, complex package. Did I mention it's intensely rich? It's intensely rich.

Oh my. A sip confirms my expectations and then some. Layered chocolate-coffee malt frolicks over my tongue while bourbon wood-heat tingles. Sugary sweetness is held in check by an immense amount of roast grains and toasty wood, all of which blend together wonderfully in an absolutely decadent package. The alcohol is so big here and so, so welcome. Warm and slick, the finish is long and mature and lingers with a bittersweet boozy, woody reminder. This is hearty and knee-slappingly good.

Bourbon County Stout is an Imperial Stout of the highest order, for the bourbon lover an absolute must-try. It may cause you to grow hair in funny places, but it's well worth it.

kkipple, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.28/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a sort of weak head with some decent retention, BUT I didn't expect a great head with this particular beer. The color is very dark as well.

There is a nice bourbon smell. It is a bit faint, but it smells like a non-distilled bottle of bourbon perhaps. I'm not a liquor drinker, but that's what it smells like to me. There are faint traces of chocolate, vanilla, and mint. As the beer warms, a nice black licorice smell comes out.

Taste is liquor like. There are some fruity tones going on. There is a red grape flavor mixed with some sweet chocolate and a splash on mint with a finish of vanilla. It's wonderfully complex. As it works there is a nice black. licorice flavor.

This is such a wonderfully complex beer. It is very unique and gives a fine liquor taste without the intense alcohol level. I'm not a huge fan of liquor at all, but I do like this beer. I think this one will be a bourbon lover's dream. It is something else for a 13% abv. It's not overly boozy. It's really nicely balanced.

I believe pwoods provided me with this excellent sample.

jasonjlewis, Sep 17, 2008
Photo of PatronWizard
3.85/5  rDev -15.9%

Thanks to Bankhead for the hookup. So it's about lunch time. My wonderful wife is whipping up some taco salad and I tell her to pick out a lunch beer. She roots around a little, reads a label or two and says "this one." Lets do it!

Just as black as the bottle predicts. She pours half the bottle with no head. After drinking it down a little, I say "watch, here's how you pour a good head." Man am I a moron. This stuff is too thick, too black, and too much booze to make a head. I poured it like those crazy waiters who dump your ice-water from two feet up and still no luck. Small brown bubbles welled up and fizzled out.

Smells like Johnny Walker Black Label. Maybe just because that's my whiskey of choice. Very, very strong scent. I'm having trouble sniffing through the bourbon to anything else, but worry not, I'll keep sniffing as it warms.

Very, very flavorful. The bourbon is prominent. Maybe some cocoa, maybe some charcoal (in a good way), wood. Tons of bourbon flavor. And I mean tons. This is like bourbon beer. If you hate bourbon, don't even attempt this bad boy becuase it tastes like bourbon. Also, it tastes like bourbon and has a strong bourbon flavor with a thick bourbon backing. I shit you not, If I'm lying I'm dying, this beer tastes like bourbon!

Very thick stuff. Creamy, nice, slick in the old pie hole. Like sippin on cream-of-bourbon soup.

Drinkability? This is a tough one to rate. One bottle may have a good drikability, as it's strangely enticing. More than one bottle? Yeah, right, let me see you do it. The 13% is shamelessly in your face, like your buddy's kid sister at a kegger. This shit is strong.

Overall: hardcore beer at it's hardcorest. Seduces you, like your buddy's kid sister at a kegger. I want another bottle or four to age.

PatronWizard, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of waltonc
4.65/5  rDev +1.5%

2007 bottle. This is one of the best stouts I've ever had. Extreme quantities of bourbon and vanilla go down my gullet with ease. Definitely the most pronounced bourbon I have ever experienced in a beer. Thick body with carbonation on the lower side. It may be 13% alcohol and strong as hell, but what a great stout.

waltonc, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of abfraser
4.75/5  rDev +3.7%

A: Dark black; little, if no head

S: Coconut, vanilla, bourbon. This barely even smells like beer but a smooth, complex bourbon instead

T: Damn good. As in go get a bottle good. Creamy oak and vanilla, good balance. Everything is exceptional here.

M: Dangerously smooth. Lots of complexity that lingers for quite awhile.

D: An excellent brew but you probably wouldn't want that many in one sitting given the 13% abv

abfraser, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of maximum12
3.9/5  rDev -14.8%

The one & only bottle of 2007 vintage from a recent trade (I dealt the other three), poured into my lovely Stone pint glass.

Pours flat black. No head - not a white, tan, or dark bubble anywheres. Smells very nice, bourbon & vanilla, with a scary undertow of alcohol.

No wonder! The alcohol is front & center, & I can feel it work its way all the way down after the first sip. Yee-ha! A second sip, after which I would not be legal to operate heavy machinery, leaves me to study the strong vanilla taste underneath the bourbon.

This beer is heavy, slick, & menacing. I've had a lot of high ABV brews that were relatively light, &/or the alcohol was well hidden, that's not the case hear. The taste doesn't suffer for - good thing I like bouron straight up! - but drinkability sure does. One's enough for me.

I'm going back to the store that still had some '07 stock tomorrow. I'd like to pick up another fourer & see what several months or years might do to this beer.

maximum12, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
4.97/5  rDev +8.5%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle of 2008 vintage into a snifter.

Appears an opague black with a 3/4 inch dark tan head. Sinks down to a thin coating and leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

Aroma is amazing. Complex bourbon, charred wood, and vanilla overtones dominate. Some coffee and chocolate hide underneath. Strong alcohol aroma is also present.

The flavor is indescribably good. It starts out with sweet caramel flavors and vanilla that lingers around into the finish, then a big burst of oak and bourbon. On the finish some roasty coffee and chocolate flavors come out but are still mostly covered up by the taste of bourbon. Warming alcohol as it goes down.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, and velvety. Smooth like a fine bourbon.

Coming in I had no idea what this would be like. I was amazed at how good it was. This is certainly one of those must try beers. Can't wait to taste some more after they have aged a bit. This might be my favorite beer of all time, I might have to try and score a case.

roadhouse, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of trill
4.13/5  rDev -9.8%

This review is for the '06 vintage, courtesy of tayner. It's a shame that the '07 broke in shipping, because I really enjoyed this one.

Pours into a Gouden Carolus goblet totally opaque, with very little visible carbonation. Aroma is a lot of vanilla bean, bourbon, a hint of sherry (from oxidation, I assume, but not unpleasant), and some serious caramel as the beer warms. The taste is all of the above, plus chocolate, cherries, some tobacco and a noticeable but appropriate level of alcohol in the finish. The woodiness is more cedar than oak, and tends to build after the first couple sips, which hurts drinkability slightly. The mouthfeel is slick and just a bit sticky. As the label indicates, I could see this as being an excellent cigar beer. If it were local to me, I'd definitely stock up.

Update for the '08 bottling:
I don't think they fucked with the recipe much on this one; it's nearly identical to the '06, but younger. Hotter, slightly more vibrant but less nuanced coffee and chocolate flavors.

trill, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of TexIndy
2.5/5  rDev -45.4%

Got in a trade from johnnnniee - many thanks! This is the 2007 edition and was bottled in Oct so has some age on it. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was pitch black even against a light. Even with a hard pour at the end, there no head - just a thin layer of tans bubbles that didn't even cover the surface area. There ended up being a small carb fountain in the center but not enough to create any sizable foam. No lacing at all. All due to the high ABV.

The aroma was bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon with a little vanilla and caramel in the very back. I hate bourbon smell in beers. If I want a bourbon, I'll drink bourbon not beer. The taste followed the aroma. I just don't get this fad. Why fuck up a good beer with bourbon aging.

Overall, the definition of one and done. I'll mark off my list and never speak of this one again.

TexIndy, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of jdubjacket
4.78/5  rDev +4.4%

I picked up a 4-pack of these at Gomer's while I was in Kansas City at the end of June. Split one with my dad tonight. Pours a deep brown/black color. No head or lacing, but swirling the beer leaves a slight black lace along the side of the glass. Smell is primarily bourbon, some dried fruit and alcohol. Tastes.... simply put... magical. Dried fruit, bourbon, chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. ABV is very well-hidden. The ABV makes this brew tough to drink more than one.

Overall, I am very impressed with this brew and can't wait to see how it ages.

To quote Beerfest: "I wish it were Winter and we could make it into ice blocks and skate on it! Then melt it in the spring time and drink it!"

jdubjacket, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of beachbum1975
4.8/5  rDev +4.8%

I waited in line for the 3:30 PM release of this at the Dayton Ale Fest yesterday. Holy shit, am I glad I waited. The pourer had a case of this from the July, 2006 batch. This was definitely the highlight of the day for me.

A: Poured pitch black with a thick, dark tan head that receded fairly slowly to a ring. There was some feeble attempts of bubbles running up the side of my glass.

S: Rich pounding of vanilla, coconut, molasses and heavily roasted coffee. Delicious...

T: Heavy flavors of bourbon whiskey mixed with deep, rich wood, vanilla and dark chocolate. The whiskey mingled PERFECTLY with this core flavors of this beer - it was definitely present, but not overwhelming. This reminded me of Oak Aged Imperial Dark Lord from DLD 2008, well it's little brother, at least. Masterfully blended and aged to perfection. I could drink this all night.

M: Full-bodied and velvety on the tongue and roof of my mouth, with a looong finish - Sublime. I highly recommend this one. This beer has joined the ranks of being in my 5 all-time favorite Imperial stouts. Absolutely fantastic.

beachbum1975, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
4.03/5  rDev -12%

originally had this review in the regular BCS page. oops.

A- big and black. hardly anything as far as a head goes, but with 13% abv what do you expect?

S- big chocolate is the first thing i smell. some dark fruits in there also. figs comes to mind as the most noticeable. lastly, i can smell the booze a bit. its a 2007 bottle, the bourbon isnt as strong as i would have thought.

T- the bourbon flavor is there, as is the chocolate. very strong warming from the alcohol.

M- one of the smoothest beers i have ever tried. its flows so easily down my throat. well carbonated to boot.

D- alcohol isnt as well hidden as i would have liked, but its 13% thats the biggest drawback to drinkability. almost too strong for its own good. the bottle i had was from 2007, ill try this one again in a couple of months when the 2008s come out.

jwinship83, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
4.88/5  rDev +6.6%

Bottle was labeled with the year 2007 on the label. Bottle said either bottled in 12/2007 or 10/2007 a little tough to read.

This was a treat to have and I certainly took my time enjoying the bottle. Almost 1 hour and 45 minutes. Really nice experience.

Pours almost jet black and looks like a motor oil. There was very little head that formed even when I tried to coax one with an aggressive pour. Also no lacing to speak of. I assume this is due to the high alcohol content.

Aroma was very inviting and really did remind me of my favorite bourbons. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Some coffee or chocolate tones, but it really struck me as vanilla. You could also certainly sense the higher alcohol %. Smelled wonderful.

Flavor totally followed the lead of the aroma. Vanilla rich dark flavor and definitely bourbon like. It's no mystery why I love this beer. In the winter I love having a nice glass of bourbon and always relish the vanilla & Wood aged tones. This has all the same qualities.
Just awesome.
Rich deep oak flavor to match the vanilla. Again, you can get some coffee or chocolate tones or even dark fruit.

Huge Creamy mouth feel that says sip and savor me. I was with someone who is not used to drinking beers like this and I had to remind him several times not to drink it like an "ordinary" beer.

Drinkability? What is drinkability? Can you drink this quickly? NO Can you have 3 of these beers? NO. Do you mind spending over an hour and a half sipping this beer? NO, I didn't.

One and done to finish the evening.

This is an instant classic for me.

I already have my sources lined up for the 2008 release. I can't wait. I will have more on my next trip to Chicago.
(Enjoyed this one at Hopleaf)

Reagan1984, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of daythree16
4.63/5  rDev +1.1%

Huge thanks to phil7568 for his generosity!

12 oz. bottle that says "Bourbon County Brand Stout" on the front label. It also has the year 2007 printed on the neck label. Bottled on 10/12/07.

Pours very thick and jet black in color with very little head into a snifter.

Aroma is very rich. Smells like chocolate covered cherries, with some bourbon adding a warm alcohol presence to the nose. There are a ton of flavors to sort out. Dark chocolate bitterness up front with some vanilla and caramel sweetness in the middle. The finish has a slight alcohol warmth but nowhere near as much of a bourbon presence as the aroma. There is also a pleasant touch of buttery diacetyl. The aftertaste seems like I've just had a bite of chocolate molten cake. Wow.

Smooth as silk. Great as an after dinner treat. Drikability is the only downfall, as it's VERY rich (not to mention the 13% ABV). I definitely wouldn't have more than one. That said, this is one awesome beer.

daythree16, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of JasonA
4.65/5  rDev +1.5%

Received via recent trade. Bottle reads '10/12/07 101'. I think thats a 10, tough to make out.

Pours an oil slick black, no light present. Carbonation, but no head, no real lacing. Lets hope this beer recovers.

Jim Beam. LOL, but serious wood, bourbon smell instantly. Very sweet rum (bourbon) soaked raisins/dates. Smells a delciously warming 13%, Im excited. The bourbon skell simply over powers the dark (not very roasted) malt, though ot in a bad way.



Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, rum sacked raisins, malt, and more malt. Wow, such a deep, full and staying flavor. My mouth is sweating at drinking this, its awesome. Even some drying stout biscuit at the end.

Flavor sits and sits and sits. Reminds me of drinking a single malt scotch. Take a sip, enjoy the bite, and run with the flavor for a couple minutes. I wanted to give a 5, but carbonation level could be improved.

I wisht these came in 22oz. I have 3 more downstairs, but Im going to sit on those a while, I think time will do this brew good. That said, the price is pretty high for 12oz. Though I think I would take this over a dfh www stout.

god i want more

JasonA, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of khiasmus
4.6/5  rDev +0.4%

pours a pitch black, brown around the edges, with a minimal amount of head.

The aroma will blow your mind. Oak, bourbon, dark fruits, roasted grains, alcohol, cane sugar... one of the best aromas, period. you must get a whiff of this.

taste is much like the nose. the sweetness is intense, the alcohol is intense, as is the oak and all of the rich flavors.. smoked wood, chocolate, dark fruits... finish is much the same, some roasted grain and the oak is so rich.

Thick, velvety, smooth, rich. The finish is warming and slightly dry. mmm.

I could have this frequently, especially with cigars and as a hangout beer. I wish it was more available. Sooo delicious. if you haven't had this, try it.

khiasmus, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of semihobo
4.1/5  rDev -10.5%

Served fresh on tap in a snifter ($10) at the Clybourn brewpub.

Near black color with a ring of mocha head with fine texture. Good lacing with each sip.

Smells of bourbon, almost as if it was a blend of bourbon and something to cut it. A bit of oak. Milky sweet malts. Coconuts.

Tastes of creamy bourbon with almond paste. Sweet but not cloying. Minty hops. Tarry. Alcohol is pretty well masked for the ABV (note: bulletin board says 11% alcohol by volume, the website says 11%, the menu said 13.5% alcohol by volume, but I didn't ask which was the correct ABV).

Light carbonation, tickly. Sticky finish, medium body. Pretty easy going for the style.

Would drink this again, falters as it warms but definitely very approachable, so bourbon-y and delicious... and I don't even like bourbon that much. Recommended.

semihobo, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of JamesS
2.1/5  rDev -54.1%

Pours a very deep black color, although with very little head and almost no lacing. I was very disappointed with this beer, as I expected a stout with some bourbon lacing, not a pint of bourbon with some stout lacing. The scent and taste are nearly all bourbon flavors, so strong that no stout attributes come through. This also causes the whole thing to be very rough. It's not at all balanced. Not a good beer, which is a shame after the other wonderful 'big' beers I've had of Goose Island's.

JamesS, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.6/5  rDev +0.4%

*UPDATE 03/20/09*

Well, this beer is still pretty damn amazing. I'm gonna kick the appearance score up half a point - for a 13.0% abv brew, the lacing, retention, and stick really aren't THAT bad. Everything else is still flawless or near-flawless: smooth, woody bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup, toffee, molasses, chocolate, all in the nose and mouth in differing amounts, but all pungent and authentic, and wrapped up in a smooth, creamy, soft package. It's a huge beer, but it's an amazing one. Cellar this. Do it.

2006 bottle from Elric73 in a trade - thanks! Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Flops out of the bottle like dark, black motor oil. Very slowly a fizzy, chocolate-colored head rises to the surface of this beer and then fades within seconds, leaving a dense, deep, dark, black, immobile mass of fluid.

Aroma: Surprisingly mild, even as it warmed. The most prominent aromas are concentrated, dried, sticky dark fruits and a hearty, woody oak note. There's definitely some woody vanilla and a good helping of bourbon, but it's really not nearly as strong here as it is in the ...

Taste: So many adjectives for this one. Roasted chocolate - light and sweet - melds with the oaky vanilla. Sweet, milky, creamy malt notes meld with the oaky woody notes to lend a hint of maple syrup and molasses. Smooth bourbon is very prominent but not harsh, and it melds very well with the other flavors, in my opinion. Plenty of spicy, grassy, earthy notes, figs and raisins, plenty of warm, sweet, smooth alcohol. Almost a 5.0 in my book ... aw what the hell. It was really tasty.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, with little carbonation. Very full-bodied and even, with fine-to-medium sized bubbles. Creamy.

Drinkability: Crazy alcohol, but it's very well-balanced, blended, and mixed in my opinion. I really liked this one, especially as it warmed. If you like bourbon (and I do), this is a beer to try. Otherwise, you might find it a little over the top, especially in the taste department.

CrellMoset, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of lifebeer
3.65/5  rDev -20.3%

this is a 2007 bottle from New Beer Distributors:

a. pours pitch black with little to no head.
s. coffee, figs, a sweet melon-like aroma
t. sweet, sweet dark chocolate, milk chocolate finishes with a warm whiskey liqueur, all on a very subtle background of dark roasted malts
m. medium, could have more body if the carbonation wasn't so low
d. definitely a sipper, recommended as a dessert

this is extremely sweet and low in the carbonation. im a little worried about the freshness of this particular bottle (its been sitting in a non-conditioned warehouse, probably for a year. one will be enough, thank you! oh, wait. i bought two...

lifebeer, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of Pauly2X
4.2/5  rDev -8.3%

A- 1/4 finger brown head faded to a wisp, jet black body.

S- Tons of maltly sweetness with dried fruits. Bourbon is dectectable but not overpowering.

T- Light hints of vanilla and chocolate on the take. Big maltly middle with some hops in the backgroung barely bring order to what would otherwise be chaos. Nice warming alchol note in the finish.

M- Damn, it's thick son!

D- One's plenty, but for its strength, good.

Very reminiscent of an overgrown dopplebock. The bourboun plays very well with everything else and doesn't stand out too much. This is one hell of a malt bomb.

Pauly2X, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of Biggness
4.38/5  rDev -4.4%

This beer pours very dark with a ver slight brown head, I was hoping for a littl emore head for such a highly acclaimed beer. The initial smell was of whiskey... very strong alcohol and barrel aging smells.. a little too over powering but after a few sips this smell went away and you could smell the barrel aging and beautiful malts. The taste of this beer is wonderful, the barrel aging is perfect with the flavor you can get the taste of it but it does not overshadow the great stout that this all started with, suprisingly enough @ 13% you can not taste the alcohol at all, very well hidden with the beautiful malt flavors and the barrel aging. The mouthfeel is very thick for this beer one of the thickest beers I have ever tasted, feels wonderful in my mouth. I would love to say I could drink this all night but @ 13% this is something I can only have one or two of BUT it is very drinkable, I would be afraid of these catching up to me too fast @ 13% though. Overall an excellent beer and a must try, even @ 22$ a 4 pack

Biggness, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of danielocean03
4.55/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured from a 12oz. bottled marked "2007" into a pint glass, appearance is opaque, jet black, slightly brown at the edges. Thin head of foam, quickly dissipates to a thick ring of sticky caramel-colored lacing that clings to the glass. Aroma is absolutely incredible, huge sweet bourbon punch right off the bat, heavy and malty, grainy undertones. Taste is also incredible, sweet and warm alcohol sugars up front. Malt backbone is enormous, anise and licorice flavors round out this brew. Finish is slightly bitter and leaves a drying effect. Mouthfeel is thick, moderate carbonation, slight roughing on the tongue, washes down smooth and coats the mouth and throat. Drinkability is outstanding, this beer hides its huge abv % and goes down easy, very enjoyable complexity. Overall an exceptional brew, would highly recommend purchasing, will seek out again.

danielocean03, Aug 03, 2008
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 8,096 ratings.