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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.

8,110 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,110
Reviews: 2,352
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 1,843
Gots: 3,452 | 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
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Ratings: 8,110 | Reviews: 2,352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mmcave
4.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Originally had straight from the cask, at the brewery this summer. Purchased this four pack of 12 oz bottles at Sam's. Poured into a nonic, a tan brown head developed and lingers a centimeter thick on surface of the body. I assume that my pour was at fault for that. The body is a dark coffee black brown color. Smells of intense sweet licorice, and raisons. The taste is very rich and sweet, not milky thick, but definitely substantial. Lots of sweet malts licorice not so much bourbon, like I'd hoped, but some seriousness all the same (its very strong). This is a very interesting beer, its more of a special occasion beer. I would not drink more than one in a session. It is well worth a try and well worth having around for special occasions.

mmcave, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.1/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out an almost opaque, but with a slight tilt and a strong light a ruby hue can be ascertained. Aroma of chocolate, roast, coffee, and a slight bourbon. Flavors of wood, dark chocolate, coffee, roast, with a slight top shelf bourbon. Mouth feel is creamy, almost like a milkshake, medium/high body, medium carbonation. It had a large head with a almost milk chocolate color, tan really does not do it justice. With being well balance, not too overwhelming in the bourbon character, but leaving a subtle hint of it. Very nice a must have.

amatuerbeerguy, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of hckyfn9999
4.18/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick syrupy black color with a small tan head.

Aroma is of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, and roasted malt.

Complex taste consisting of bourbon, vanilla, dark coffee, and a huge roasted malt pressence and some alcohol as well.

Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy with a good carbonation level. Almost a little syrupy though.

Heavy alcohol pressence brings the drinkability down some. This is a very good beer and worth the high price tag if you are into intense stouts. Similar to Bell's Expedition Stout with the bourbon pressence in my opinion.

hckyfn9999, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of carln26
4.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep, light absorbing black color topped by a mocha colored head. The nose has a sweetness that comes at you immediately followed by light coffee, and noticeable bourbon whiskey character. The finish has some dark fruit (dates primarily). The taste has some espresso up front, milk chocolate covered cherry, then the bourbon character, the flavor of the whiskey and the heat come across. lingering bitterness on the finish. Smooth and thick mouth feel. I just wish the heat wasn't there. Still, nice beer.

carln26, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
4.65/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bought a 4 pack of this for 19.99 at Sam's in chicago. yeah, thats a lot, but i figured its a beer i need to try. pours like a stout soda...fizzes and foams but then no head forms. completely black. Small bubbles rising. Looks like bad news for other stout brewers. Smells like, well, bourbon. After opening the bottle i can smell it from across the room. Up close I can smell some bitterness and sweet malts. ok, time to taste it...Hoo! wow. five. five. FIVE. Jeses thats tasty. a lot of Bouron up front is superceded by malts and coffee flavors. there's a bunch of alcohol in there too that makes my tongue numb but its tempered by a milky vanilla, chocolate taste and a hoppy finish. this tastes phenomenal. heavy and thick mouthfeel, maybe a bit oily. i would drink this every day if it were available and i were rich. Ill be laying the other 3 bottles down for a while to see how it it changes as the alcohol settles down a bit.

aforbes10, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of ngandhi
5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In an era of great American stout, Goose Island's 2006 Bourbon County Stout is the world's greatest. It might be the greatest beer ever made.

Sure, the flavors are all familiar--dark chocolate, espresso, and maduro tobacco--but each is coated here with buttery oak that gives it texture available in no other bottled product on the planet.

I'm very skeptical of this new swath of bourbon-aged everything--including Scotch--hitting the market today. With beer especially, the bourbon tastes usually comes to dominate, which always leaves me wanting a glass of Noah's Mill or Blanton's over the rest of my pint.

That's why this is the greatest stout on the planet. Goose Island has done what no other brewery has figured out how to do, which is to use the oak to bring out more flavors in the beer, instead of overwhelm them. So the silky chocolate taste is really a flourless cake, the tobacco is really a 1926 Padron, and the espresso was just roasted this morning at Vivace to wake me from a long, wanton dream.

ngandhi, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of Sephiroth
4.8/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 7-3-06. Pours black as night, faintly carbonated. Aroma of booze, bourbon, faint smoke, and vanilla.

This is the most complex barrel-aged stout I have had to date. And it's not about the number of flavors, but the way they are distinct and separate from each other. Chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon, smoke, and roasted/burnt grains. Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy, definitely chewy. Insanely drinkable, though if you drink this quickly, you will miss some subtleties.

Sephiroth, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Winter
3.6/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 8/14/05.

Pours black with a brown head. Aroma consists of vanilla, bourbon, oak, maple and not surprising at 11%... alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick and full-bodied. This is no doubt a bourbon laced stout. Oak and vanilla are noticed right from the start. The bourbon flavor seems to completely take over and dominate any other typical stout flavors this beer may have had. GIBCS is heavy and boozey. Even after 15 month this beer still seems unbalanced and needs more time to mellow out. The label does say this can age and change for up to five years and it would nice to set aside a bottle and forget about it, just to see what happens. Overall I was a little disappointed. I expected a smoother and more complex offering. I do enjoy the taste of bourbon quite a bit, but the flavor on this one is still a mess.

Winter, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of peabody
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twist cap!
pours out a really dark purple black with slight tan suds that quickly dissepate.
Smell is chocloate coffee and fruits. Plum and cherry with a yeasty aroma abound.
Taste is a dark black sweetness that warms you up . The dark coffee fruityness with caramel sweets ends up in a warm alcohol blanket of hoppy bitterness.
Complex beer here and the mouthfeel is warm and malty.
Malty fruity black juice.
Can't drink a bunch of these at one sitting but this is a great brew when you can find it.

peabody, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of emerge077
4.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Year old bottle.

Drizzles into a wide chalice, poured very slowly, intentionally trying to create some foam. It works, some irregular bubbles stretch over the surface, that slowly succumb to the strength of the stout. A ring of milk chocolate froth clings to the rim of the glass. Served at a cool cellar temp.

Whiff of mild vanilla, and a hint of bourbon. Mysteriously, the aroma hides the onslaught of flavor that will roll out soon after. First sip is a slow burst of chocolate, vanilla, oak, and of course, bourbon. The barrel aging and cellaring has melded this stout symbiotically with bourbon in an unbelievable way. Alcohol has mellowed with time, which furthers the drinkability aspect. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee hang on the palate in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is silky, infinitely smooth and rich.
This is a rare treat.

emerge077, Nov 03, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.85/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Charred oak barrel black with a wee glimmer of burnt umber at the bottom edge of the glass. Light simply has no chance. The small, dark caramel colored cap isn't as creamy as expected, nor as sticky. I'm sure the 11.0% ABV has a lot to do with it, but I like a bit more eye candy. This is one serious looking stout, though.

The aroma is outstanding. This is exactly what a stout aged in bourbon barrels ought to smell like. An insane amount of heavily roasted barley greets my nose with every sniff. In addition, there's plenty of dark caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla and glorious bourbon whiskey. With a bit more power and a bit more aggressiveness, it'd be perfect.

The flavor *is* perfect. Absofreakinlutely perfect! It doesn't hurt that I love bourbon because those 100 days in the barrel were 100 days well and efficiently spent. If bourbon whiskey isn't your thing, then I'd suggest drinking another beer. This one positively oozes that glorious spirit. Unlike some beer of this sub-style, the proportion of stout to whiskey is juuust right.

The flavor profile consists of bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, dark butterscotch, crushed vanilla beans, charred oak, a splash of ouzo and a tendril or two of smoke. The whiskey adds a certain wee heavy character, although there's no peatiness since bourbon is the whiskey of choice rather than Scotch. It's amazing how each sip is better than the last. Where will it end?

I'm a bit surprised at the sweetness, but probably shouldn't be given the gargantuan amount of malt. The mouthfeel is full (without being ponderous), heavily silky, polished gemstone-like and nicely chewy on the back end. Carbonation must be present, though you'd never know it. Perfect score. Again.

I expected one whole helluva lot from Bourbon County Stout. All the more amazing, then, that it blew right past those expectations as if they were sitting still. This remarkable beer is easily the best that I've ever had from Goose Island. It's a true American original and is the perfect marriage of double stout and bourbon. The next time I see BCS, I plan to clear out the store.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 26, 2006
Photo of Bierguy5
4.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 081605. 11 % ABV. Pours pitch black with no highlights at all. Thick foamy mocha head disappears very quickly, leaving no lace, and not much of a collar either. Oaky, vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee in the aroma along with some hot alcohol. Very thick and chewy, with almost no carbonation, which seems to fit in very well. Warming from the alcohol. Flavor starts out with chocolate, burbon and oak, it then fades into a bit of dark fruit, and finishes with a long dose of coffee that lingers for quite some time. The bourbon character has added a great touch, and has probably settled down a bit with some age. A very solid and complex brew here. The bouron works here, and is a great example of American craft beer at work. Big thanks to mcallister for giving me this one to enjoy.

Bierguy5, Sep 21, 2006
Photo of demcorhip
4.38/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade with Mynie, thanks bro! Enjoyed this one at the end of a mini-gathering session with fellow BAs chonyr and raider, and what a way to end a session.

Black as coal with a light tan coloured head. Adequately carbonated, and no lacings.

And what aroma! Buttery and nutty bourbon, oak, vanilla, burnt malts with scents of chocolate and coffee, and treacle.

Very rich, bourbon, vanilla, caramel and treacle and finishes with the chocolate/coffee flavours of the malts.

Insanely rich and balanced brew. The bourbon flavours wonderfully compliment the chocolate/coffee flavours from the burnt malts, and the sweetness, buttery, caramel and treacle nicely balance the bitterness of the burnt malts.

Pour this one in a snifter and i could sniff and sip blissfully all night long. Can see how this one actually lives up to the hyperbole on the label and that no cigar is a match for this one. We enjoyed 99% cocao chocolate with this one and they complimented each other very nicely. Hope i can find this one again. l

demcorhip, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of alexgash
4.72/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, pitchy black body with a glass-licking cushion of sticky brown head. Nose is complex and intoxicating. Sweetish dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, licorice, bourbon (duh), and a dark chocolate bitterness. Sweet, sugary raisins and singed plums up front, with chocolate licorice and big time bourbon flavors. Wow. They must have aged this in bourbon barrels or something! Seriously, the bourbon flavor goes well with the dark fruits and the roasted chocolateyness. Very good. Warming, long, bittersweet, whiskey finish. Full-bodied and thick with a motor oil viscosity. Very well done.

alexgash, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of bainard
5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From bottle to pub glass.

A - Hybrid of cough syrup and black hole with a khaki head. The first time I tried it, I knew I was in for it. Now, I just give in and let the smooth syrup soothe me.

S - Bourbon, as to be expected, caramel, dark cocoa, vanilla, perhaps a little coffee or cinnamon? No, it's just bourbon.

T - Oh my goodness. The wallop of the whiskey serves to make the drinker submissive enough to let the flavors (whiskey, malt, chocolate, butterscotch-caramel, molasses) take over. It's just shocking enough to grab your attention, and flavorful enough to keep you wanting more. Starts off with bourbon, the middle is a candy store, and the finish is a harmony of the two with a hard-to-pinpoint aftertaste that you get from any good stout.

M - I cannot wait to try this aged. The immaturity of the strong alcohol is a clever mask for a smooth, velvet-y concoction that provides an epiphanal experience. The carbonation is minimal, but enough to let this beauty ballet across your mouth. Thick, but manageable, consistency akin to 2% milk.

D - This isn't an everyday beer, nor would I ever want it to be. I was overwhelmed, and then I fell in love with it. BCS is my special occasion beer. It's been described by friends of mine as "life-changing". Ultimately, I hold other brews to this standard of sensory assault and surprising nuance. It's drinkable in the sense that when I want a rare, yet wonderful sort of beer, I go for this, no questions. It's not an easy beer, nor would I ever want it to be.

bainard, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of BigDaddyWil
3.68/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter glass.
Bottled on 8/15/05.

Pours inky black, with some dark brown highlights. Maybe a half inch thick, caramel colored head, fades quickly. No lacing left behind. Huge aromas, dark fruits and roasted malts. Dark chocolate, vanilla and heavy molasses, not to mention some boozy smells. Very sweet tasting, lots of dark fruit flavors, bitter chocolate. Hints of vanilla and finishes with a heavy boozy bourbon taste. This is a huge beer. Very thick and chewy, and one of theses bad boys will fill you up. Lots of alcohol heat on the way down, maybe a little too much. Not a bad beer at all, if you like heat and strong boozy flavors this beer is for you.

BigDaddyWil, Jul 10, 2006
Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet, the beer pours black with a small dark brown head which doesn't stick around for too long. Obviously, it smells primarily like bourbon, and very sweet smelling overall. Some other smells that come through are vanilla, chocolate, malt and molasses. It tastes the same way to me, but with some coffee taste in there too, and a bittersweet aftertaste. I could definitely notice the alcohol in this beer. A lot of different flavors hit me all at once with this beer, it's a real "big" beer. It also has a big full body, with a creamy, slick, chewy mouthfeel to it. At first all the taste and alcohol hit me pretty good, but after a while I got used to drinking it. This is definitely a sipping beer, there's no way I could drink this quickly. I'd definitely recommend this to others, it's another really good beer from Goose Island.

bluejacket74, Jun 29, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
3.2/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pitch black syrupy liquid. Very small dark brown head. No lacing.

Smells of sugary candy, bourbon and wood. Really like a bourbon candy. Slight vanilla smell perhaps?

Huge thick malty feel with loads of sugary bourbon taste. This is not to far from being a julep gone horribly sugary. There's alcohol and oak flavors which completely hijack the finish and dry it out. I'm not really sure why this one tastes so over-the-top sugary. Other than that it's great. Maybe with a year or so on this bottle I would have enjoyed it more. It's close to being a big favorite of mine but it's too sweet and missing that extra nod of flavor. No denying this is a crazy big brew though.

timtheenchanta, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.22/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chewy, vinous and succulent.

If I could melt dark chocolate bars into a big vat and pour it into a glass. That's the color of this beer. With just a slight layer of carbontaion scum resting on top. Nose is chocolate and bitterness. Very pungent. Like walking through a forest with mushrooms growing everywhere.

Flavor was at first a bit over the top. But as sson as I adjusted I noticed how balanced and almost purposeful the flavors all are. They complement each other rather than vie for dominance. Lots of dark chocolate and bitterness. Bits of licorice come through storngly. Oddly, no coffee. Or at least none that I can pick out. The alcohol is hidden nicely and I don't really taste it but rather feel it tingling on my tongue. Lots of tannins very grapey. Extremely full bodied. Really stretches out the tongue. Very nice beer.More of a slow sipping beer to savor.

My head is running with ideas to add this to a chocolate cake recipe somehow...

MuddyFeet, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of AlexJ
4.72/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Goose Island brew and a very impressive one at that. Abyssal black pour that is thick and viscous produces a very fine, thin head of mocha that leaves some thick lacing at the top of my chalice.

Aroma is dark and seductive, with tons of charred black and chocolate malts, powdery cocoa, molasses, vanilla, toasty oak, creamy bourbon, anise, and some light evergreen hops.

Flavor is HUGE, a massive onslaught of bittersweet malt, very dark chocolate, coffee, marshmellow fluff, and a strong barrel-aged character of toasty vanilla oak chips and smooth Bourbon. No alcohol heat as some other reviews indicated(although I suspect that Bruskiator's been holding this for some time!)

Body is as big as they get, with low carbonation and a chewy, creamy mouthfeel and slippery, oily texture. Like melted silk on the palate. A superb barrel-aged beer.

AlexJ, May 28, 2006
Photo of kmcnair
3.55/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, bottling date of 01/05/05.

Pours an extremely viscous motor oil black and makes a very tiny bit of tanned head, a swirl of the glass leaves legs of syrupy sweet stout.

Aroma is deep chocolate, caramel, toffee, soy sauce, alcohol and a very subtle woodsy vanilla from the oak.

Taste is very hot, alcohol isn't masked too well, medium bourbon notes, vanilla, rich roasted and burnt caramel flavors mingle with chocolate and coffee.

Very full bodied, velvety texture on the palate, hot warming alcohol that burns as it goes down and ultimately leads to a dry finish. Carbonation level is very low. Leaves a thick coating on the palate.

At nearly 1.5 years old, I'm guessing this bottle could be laid down for at least another 3 years before it will reach it's potential. It has a number of good things going on, but it is still way too hot. Would try again with much longer cellaring.

kmcnair, May 25, 2006
Photo of ej285701
3.7/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out of a 12 oz bottle thick and black with a half inch dark tan head. Some brown highlights are noticed around the edges.

The smell is very nice, and complex. I detect a lot of oakiness and vanilla. It does smell alot like bourbon. Also some dark fruits, marshmallow and coffee notes.

The taste is so intense and full flavored. Perhaps the most intense beer I've ever had. Charred oak is the most dominant flavor, as well as some sweet dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and plenty of strong alcoholic notes.

Mouthfeel is good. Thick and creamy, with low carbonation.

There is no way I would be able to have more than one of these. Nor would I want to. This is quite an intense beer-drinking experience. I think anyone who likes to drink staight bourbon would love this beer. I like it too, but I will limit my consumption of it to once every couple of months.

ej285701, May 23, 2006
Photo of Prufrock
3.73/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a pilsner.

pitch black, even against the light. an aggressive pour gets about a quarter inch of brown head, but it falls quickly.

chocolate and alcohol dominate the aroma. smaller notes of dark fruits, vanilla and liquor-soaked cherries.

rich and velvety smooth with a small, tight carbonation. powerful flavor of dark fruits, vanilla, coffee, sweet liqueur and alcohol. great complexity, but the alcohol presence hinders the flavor and hurts the drinkability. a very good beer and a great experience nevertheless.

Prufrock, May 17, 2006
Photo of nflmvp
3.83/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to robertdoesbeer for this sample. Received it today and threw it right in the fridge.

Poured aggressively and only got about a one finger head which disappated to a ring of foam around the edge.

Smelled somewhat sweet and malty with fruity overtones. My thought is prunes or raisins. Smell reminds me of the Sam Adams Triple Bock.

Taste is similar with something of a soy sauce quality thrown in. The alcohol is not very well masked.

Mouthfeel is thick and coating with a light, tingly finish, due to the alcohol.

Drinkability is OK but I wonder if this one wouldn't benefit from some extra time in the cellar.

nflmvp, May 16, 2006
Photo of hoppymeal
4.33/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is big. Very big, I am halfway through and it is already knocking my socks off. It pours black with a caramel/tan-red head. Some definite smoky aromas, along with coffee like roasted malts and some vanilla. More roast and smokiness up front in the taste, a quite large sweet bourbon follows with some warming alcohol in the finish. The alcohol is not overpowering but definitely assertive, and the bourbon sweetness is nicely balanced with the roasted malts.

hoppymeal, May 14, 2006
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 8,110 ratings.