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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.

9,363 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,363
Reviews: 2,477
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 2,067
Gots: 4,307 | FT: 450
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)
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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.08/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jeffo was nice enought to share a 2009 bottle with me. Thanks man.

Poured into a de Struise glasI tpoured pitch black with just a tiny bit of tan foam.

Smells of barrel. Bourbon I'd say. Picking up on some vanilla, chocolate and quite boozy.

Taste follow the nose with the bourbon some vanilla and an some anise.

A very light body. Was quite surpised by that. It's a bif stout after all. Medium carbonation, dry finish and a decent amount of heat.

Great beer. Glad I got to try this one.I'm curious to see what time will do to this beer. Will it mellow out the heat?Got a few more small botlles taht I'll leave to age. To be continued.

Photo of nhindian
4.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a few versions of the Bourbon County Brand Stouts, and starting them off with a mini comparison of the 2007 and 2009 vintages, split with russwbeck.

12oz versions of both, '07 poured into a Troegs Mad Elf tulip, '09 poured into a Goose Island wine glass.

A - While both beers had almost little to no head, the '09 version had the slight edge. About a half inch of dark brown head lays on top of the black body, which is completely opaque. The big advantage for the looks lays in the fact that after the heads dissipate, which doesn't take long at all, the '09 version leaves behind a nice ring of foam around the edge, as well as leaving a thin, wispy cap. Both beers are lackluster in terms of lacing, with barely any at all.

'07 - 2.5, '09 - 3.0

S - There is a nice contrast in the smells as well, with both beers showing different aspects of the beer. The '09 version is much more balanced, incorporating notes of chocolate, sweeter mats, vanilla, and a heaping helping of bourbon. Meanwhile, much of the chocolate is absent from the '07 version. Rather, the oak from the barrel, in contrast to the vanilla, is much more noticeable here, with more of the bourbon coming through. Both are very boozey, but the '09 version has much more in the nose to compensate.

'07 - 3.0, '09 - 4.5

T - As in the nose, the '09 is just much more complex and balanced. There's fudge and chocolate that are barely discernible in the '07 version, as well as more sweetness that mixes nicely with the vanilla from the barrel. The '07 is much more harsh without these additional flavors, but the oak is more apparent here. The bourbon in the '07 is actually bordering on a sweet fruitiness. A great attribute common to both versions is that the alcohol is there, but quite well-masked, or at least to the point where I wouldn't assume it to be pushing 13%.

'07 - 3.5, '09 - 4.5

M - Mouthfeel for both are moderately heavy with low carbonation. Both thoroughly coat the palate. If I have to compare, I'd probably say the '07 is a bit thinner than the '09.

'07 - 3.5, '09 - 4.0

D - Drinkability is moderately high. The '09 is far and away better than the '07 in nearly every way, so if you have some '07s laying around that you are contemplating drinking, I'd suggest them sooner rather than later.

'07 - 4.0, '09 - 4.5

Photo of russwbeck
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Comparing the '07 and '09 with nhindian

A: The '07 has basically no head, while the '09 has a small brown head that dissipates quickly. Hardly any lacing.

S: The '09 smells much more balanced. Chocolate tones make it sweeter than the '07, which is pretty heavy on the Bourbon. Regardless, both are pretty boozy. Woodiness comes through on both, but more for the '07.

T: Like the smell, the '09 seems to be the better one here. The balance between the Bourbon and Chocolate is wonderful, a bit of woodiness and vanilla coming through also. '07 is more heavy on the Bourbon. Chocolate is there, but subdued and the wood comes through far more. Warming alcohol feeling noted on both.

MF: The '07 is lighter than the '09, but both are pretty creamy. Carbonation is nice in both.

D: Not bad for the ABV. The '09 is the clear winner, and is more drinkable. Not to say the '07 is bad, they're both solid, but if given the choice, I would definitely choose the '09.


2011 Version purchased at RFD Washington. Reverting my official review numbers to this, as it was fresh.

A: Motor oil black pour without much head. What is there is brown without retention or lacing 3.5

S: Man the smelling this is out of this world. Chocolate, tons of bourbon, booze. The smell is so rich you can't really compare it to anything. One of the best smelling beers I've come across.. 5

T: Taste follows the smell. My God this is tasty. It tastes like a chocolate bar up front, Bourbon second, booze and roasted malts at the end. The balance is other worldly, delicious and balanced. 5

MF: Heavy body, medium to good carbonation. As drinkable as a 14% ABV beer can be. 4.5

O: In case you couldn't tell, I love this beer. Just perfection. Forgot how much I loved this.. 5

Looking over these reviews, I seem to prefer this beer fresh. I guess I'll just have to put a few more down!

Photo of Scherring
4.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured pitch black with no noticeable head. Had a beautiful oily lacing on the edge of the glass from the high alcohol (13%) that stayed put throughout this enjoyable experience.

S- A great aroma of bourbon and an undertone of chocolate. You can definitely smell the alcohol behind it, Yet the desert like features of this beer cover it well.

T- Very strong on the first sip. Throughout this beer the chocolate and bourbon features come out and overwhelm your pallet and immerse you into a stout heaven.

PS. try this stout with some chocolate....it really brings out the characteristics!

M- Very smooth, creamy and very pleasant on the pallet.

Photo of EricCioe
4.23/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had three vintages, 08-10, of this on tap at a vertical at Binny's South Loop.

All three of these poured blacker than the blackest black (times infinity), but only the 08 had a hint of thin khaki head. These looked quite viscous swirling around in the glass. On the nose there are huge hits of coffee, vanilla, lots of chocolate, and a huge boozy aroma. The nose didn't seem to change much vintage to vintage. In the mouth these were huge. The chocolate was the big note up front, but the bourbon and vanilla made for a huge finish that lingered forever. The body is huge, very viscous, not exactly cloying, but it didn't seem to want to go away, either. As the beer got older, the finish got a bit rounder, with the 08 being the best and much less astringent than the 10 with the 09 somewhere between. This was a good beer, but it was so huge that I was ready to be done with it when I was.

I didn't like this as much as I thought I might, but it was a real treat to try all three side by side. I'll be buying this in the future, but this is definitely a bottle to split.

EDIT - Had an 07 bottle at a March 2012 tasting and it was incredible.

Photo of GallowsThief
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Bobby's Liquors in Santa Clara. $5.99. Labeled 2010. Dated 9/4/2010. 355 ml bottle.

A - Pours deep dark brown with some reddish tint. Just a small amount of head produced that evaporated quickly.

S - Strong bourbon smell. Chocolatey sweetness.

T - Bourbon flavor comes right through first. Next is a nice chocolate and mocha flavor. You feel this all the way down thanks to the ABV. Warm! Alcohol dissipates and leaves a nice sweetness lingering. Big and roasty flavor as well.

M - Creamy. Perfect carbonated. "thick" baby!

D - ABV will sit you on your ass. I wouldn't recommend more then two but it's a nice sweet drinking adventure.

Photo of Brianjames16
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Wow! Pours pitch black! Absolutely no light gets through this one. Very thin chocolate brown head dissipates quick. Lacing is somewhat oily from the high ABV.

S- Massive aroma of roasted chocolaty toffy malts in the front. I get the alcohol and bourbon up front also. Big stout aroma. I have a feeling everything is going to be big on this brew.

T- Amazingly rich chocolaty flavors with some molasses and spicy bourbon characteristics. Alcohol gives good warmth but does not take away from the bold and rich complexity of this beer.

M- A full bodied brew with a smooth velvety feel in the mouth. Warms up the throat and the chest immediately after the swallow.

D- A slow drinking beer meant to be closely examined. So many interesting qualities pop out of this one. Exceptional stout!

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to HopsSchnapps for this one!

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Pours black with a dark khaki head that sits comfortably atop the brew.

S - Smells of rich dark chocolate, sweet cocoa nibs, chocolate syrup, roasted coffee, hints of toffee, vanilla, and oak from the bourbon influence.

T - Very sweet, with a strong, warm alcohol content that makes a little of this go a long way. Very intense, complex taste. Like a jigger of bourbon poured into sweetened black coffee. Sort of a carbony, charred tinge to the flavor as well.

M - Velvety smooth, medium carbonation.

Photo of larryi86
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to betsona for this!
2010, 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Black as night with a small dark tan head that disappears quickly.

S- Sweet. I am getting very rich chocolate smell, with hints of toffee, caramel malts, and a touch of oak and alcohol.

T- Nice complexity. The chocolate really stands out making this very sweet in a good way. I am getting some toffee and caramel. Nice smooth hint of oak and bourbon in the finish.

M- Thick, a little syrupy.

D- This is a great sipper. I am very impressed with this beer and just want more of it! This is a top notch stout right now I have one 2008 and another 2010 aging can't wait to see what age does to it.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.78/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The 2008 model I've had sitting in my fridge since, well, 2008!
First thing one is likely to notice after the motor oil pour is the rather potent aroma that will radiate from your drinking vessel.
Bourbon is right, bourbon it is. A tall glass of bourbon spiked coffee is what I have here, heavy on the sugar. Perhaps a touch of cream.
A bit too sweet for me to really want to buy again. The bourbon and the sweet are not hitting me quite right. Still, I can see why people think so highly of this beer. It is pretty heavy duty and intense.

Photo of zeledonia
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first "beer review" I ever wrote, though it's not the first one I posted here. I enjoyed this beer so much, I felt compelled to write down my opinions on it. Took a while before I started putting my reviews on BA. Had on-tap at the Blue Nile during their stout and porter fest, October 2009.

2009 vintage. This is one hell of a beer. Syrupy mouthfeel, one of the thickest beers I've ever had. A real kick from the whiskey flavor and the alcohol (13%), that makes it very much a sipping beer. But the smell is fantastic and the flavors are incredible, with the bourbon blending pleasantly into the strong stout roasted barley flavor, and lots of molasses & vanilla. I've brewed and consumed quite a few whiskeyed beers, and none of them have been nearly as smooth and balanced as this one. Just really good (but best in small quantities - a 12 oz. pour was too much for me).

Photo of Janderson91
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured into a DFH snifter. Bottled on 11/12/09. Enjoyed on 03/06/11. Been waiting to try this one for a while.

A - Pours a pitch black opaque with a half finger light brown head that doesn't last very long. Pretty good head for a beer of such high alcohol. Leaves no lacing. Coats the glass like a red wine.

S - A nutty wood aroma, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee and a lot of dark chocolate. Some alcohol present as well.

T - This is a great beer. Creamy mouthfeel works so well here. Lots of dark chocolate, again the nutty woodiness, vanilla and some coffee and roasted malt flavor. Finish leaves some dark chocolate and vanilla on the tongue for a while.

M/D - Mouthfeel is exceptional. Super creamy with just the right carbonation. Quite drinkable for the strength, only a slight alcohol burn.

An excellent beer from Goose Island. Can't wait to have some other variations of this one. Anybody want to trade??

Photo of bnes09
4.2/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Perfectly black and devours all light. No head. Forms a brown film on the glass when swirled.

Intense and intimidating aroma. Bold coffee and baker's chocolate. Big scotch whiskey aroma as well. It seems as if you will almost get drunk from smelling this stuff.

The roasted flavor is unrelenting. Once again, coffee and unsweetened chocolate are the predmoninate flavors but there is also some burnt toast in the mix. Very bitter. Big molasses, prune and raisin sweetness attempts to mellow it out, but is overpowered by the roasted malt. Can't tell if there are any hops in this, but it doesn't matter, it's plenty bitter as is. Alcohol has nowhere to hide with a big bourbon flavor that warms as you drink. As it warms, the flavors mellow out a bit but are still highly robust and bitter.

Thick, chewy, and drying. Low carbonation but enough to make it interesting.

I actually enjoyed the palate assault that this beer delivered. Very complex. Definitely a sipping beer (I took about an hour and a half drinking it.) Not for an inexperienced stout palate but an excellent choice for someone who loves big stouts.

Photo of bertram
4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Found on tap, this stout pours thick, almost black with a thin tan head. The aroma of bourbon is evident from the moment the glass nears the nose. The bourbon-barrel aging is again evident in the taste - a powerful, bordering on overpowering (in a good way) bourbon flavor is laced through each sip. Overall a stellar stout made for sipping and enjoying that pairs excellently with a big, juicy steak.

Photo of legalpete19340
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This bad boy poured pitch black and heavy into the glass. A finger's worth of deep walnut colored foam developed and then hung around in a fine ring.

S: The scents exploded out of the glass. The bourbon is very noticeable. Lots of sweetness including notes of vanilla and dark chocolate covered cherries.

T: The bourbon is forefront but I get double layered chocolate cake and dried cherries with a hint of woodiness. Very sweet. The whole thing is incredibly smooth and the heat from the alcohol stays well after a sip.

M: Thick and velvety but not syrupy. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

D: Found this to be quite drinkable. Smooth, interesting and every sip left me wanting more. Its too sweet and boozy to drink much more than a single serving.

Incredible beer. One of the best I have ever tasted. For the ABV it was super smooth and refined, even balanced. Loved the bourbon and layers of flavors.

Photo of chilly460
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dead black as expected, with a tightly bubbled one finger head, mocha in color. One nice looking beer. Thick and goopy, it coats the glass with a film as you swish it around.

S - Here goes, this was my first "big" barrel aged RIS. There's no waiting around to find out you can smell the bourbon on this as soon as the bottle is cracked, bigtime smooth molasses. Once through the bourbon, the complexity comes and it's awesome...I stood there with goofy grin saying "Wow...wow...!" as I took this one in. Most prominent is a butterscotch or heavy vanilla that is killer, then there's definite chocolate covered cherries. Small amount of roastiness as well, and definitely some alcohol warmth.

T - Again, this was a "Wow" moment. First is the smooth bourbon taste, no doubt. You get the sweet vanilla almost immediately, intermingled with those dark cherries. Also got a big taste of yellow cake batter, buttery sugar. It's such a big step up from other RIS I've had to this point. A tiny bit of saltiness at times, and definitely some smooth oak. It's a huge flavored beer, and you can get a different take on it with every sip. Only thing I wanted was more coffee/chocolate or medium roasted barley to help balance it out, if you married this beer with a Breakfast Stout it would be mind blowing. That said, this beer makes me understand what all the big barrel aged stout hooplah is all about.

M - This is a big chewy beer, but a tad more carbonated, and a bit thinner then the other monster RIS I've had.

D: Definitely a sipper, but I would say it attenuates the booze as well as other big gnarly RIS I've had. Makes you want to keep sipping to pick up all the different flavors, but could use a touch more balance to make increase the drinkability.

Photo of jar2574
3.18/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 10/9/09. Very little head. Pitch black beer, no light gets through. Not sure why, but I'm just not getting much head retention or lacing on the sides.

Smells sweet, boozy, a little malt but a lot of sugars. Smells like a great dessert drink.

This tastes like really good smooth Puerto Rican rum or a sweet Bourbon. It has about the same texture as a port. In other words, it reminds me more of rum/bourbon/port than beer. That's not necessarily a problem, this is a very unique beer.

Relatively low level of carbonation. Not terribly drinkable because it is overpoweringly sweet.

I give them props for taking the time to create something unique. Other than a lambic, this is probably the best example of a purely dessert beer, at least for me.

On the other hand, I'd rather not have it again unless it was for dessert. If I bought another bottle, I'd let it age for a while and see what happened. With this much alcohol and sugar I think it'd age well.

Photo of websherpa
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage. I'll be having a 2008 shortly to compare.

Appearance: Black as night with a great 1 finger mocha head some lacing.

Smell: Heavy. Toffee, chocolate, caramel malts, some coffee.

Taste: All of the above with the volume up to 11. There is a boozy quality too, but this thing is a malt bomb. The finish is long and probably the most enjoyable part of the beer. I get the slightest hints of tobacco smokiness way way back on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy and thick. I get it. This beer is as thick heavy and flavorful as possible. However, something has to give, and I think I would have enjoyed this much more if the beer wasn't quite so thick.

Drinkability: It's a sipper. It took me a long time, to drink this down with a friend. I don't mind sipping on a beer for an hour, but this was just too much of a punch in the face and it bordered on being a struggle to finish. There is a lot going on here but it doesn't really blend well. It's like a garage band constantly turning up the volume on each part so they can be heard. In the end, you can't help but hear everything, but it's not really working together. Then again if it's too loud you're too old. I never really believed that though.

Finished the 08, same story as before. I think I almost sensed more heat on it, but I didn't have the back to back. Hard to say. The beer calmed down a little bit, but it's still huge.

Photo of BZero007
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle of the current release. Poured a black tar color without the density. No head formed even with work. Lace did not show threw the entire drink as well. The aroma was welcoming and a preview of what was to come. Bourbon was up front and in charge of the smell. With sweet roasty malts in the far back ground. The taste was interesting and was not bad by any means. The bourbon was of course up front supported by the sweet malt in the back ground. To me even though the Bourbon was stronger by far I feel they melded together pretty well. The brew was a bit hot fresh. Would love to see how this beer ages, as I feel this is a classic example of a brew to cellar. I would probably stay away from the new release unless I plan to age them. Would recomend to anyone who has yet to try it.

Photo of krazyboi
4.53/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2008 vintage 12 oz. bottle into a globe glass..

A: Very black beer with little to no head. When swirled, the beer sticks to the side of the glass.
S: Oaky and bourbon hits the nose throughout. Smells slightly sweet also.
T: Sweet maltiness at first, with a kick of bourbon/alcohol in the middle. It ends off with a bitterness similar to dark chocolate.
M: Feels very thick in the mouth. The carbonation seems perfect. The combination of the carbonation and the alcohol makes the toungue tingle in a good way.
D: Hard to drink more than a bottle of this in one sitting, but something I can, and would want to, drink every day.

Photo of July2Nov
4.15/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks again to Wisconsinality for another "local" beer to share.

Appearance: Dark, dark and dark! Good dirty brown one-finger head that flatens out to a very, very thin lace.

Smell: Whoa!!! I could smell this one from three-feet away! Thank you 13.00% abv. The bourbon just oozes out and stimulates the nostrils. Getting a licorice scent in there too. Reminds me of rum raisin cake. Oh man, I'm getting nervous for this one...

Taste & Mouthfeel: Oh so smooth and fluffy. Very surprised at how smooth and marshmallow in mouthfeel this is. Can I taste the alcohol content? Heck yes, I can! But, it's not so in your face to make the experience unpleasant....but it certainly is nudging me in the ribs. Just like the nose lead me down the path of bourbon, licorice and rum raisin cake, the taste is comparable. Has a oak like aftertaste that is unique with some spice and slight heat with it.

Drinkability: This is the opposite of a "Session" beer. This is a sipper and one to baby through the night....like I'm doing right about...now.

Photo of JC5886
3.93/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out pitch black, almost not lacing on the glass. Smells like chocolate mixed with a little coffee, can tell it is a strong beer just from the smell. Strong bite chocolate flavors with heavy alcohol presense. Tastes almost like some jack daniels was mixed in with this beer. One of these beers is good for a night. Great stout.

Photo of Gfunk720
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle, out of my Long Trail Brewmaster glass...

A- Pitch black. Looks syrupy and serious out of the bottle. Little to no head, but just a tan ring around the edge of the glass.

S- Smells of vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Sweet dark malt, coffee, and chocolate. There is some heat behind it, but I just want to dive into this. Amazingly intoxicating smell.

T- A delicious blend of flavors. Coats the mouth with a vicious bourbony liquid, thick and creamy. Strong flavors of oak, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. I just want it to last forever.

M- Awesome. I love big bodied beers like this. Not much carbonation, but perfect for the style.

D- The flavor is so amazing. The high ABV is the only thing that drops it slightly.

This is my favorite beer, hands down. I size up other Barrel Aged Stouts against it. The 08' is drinking amazingly right now.

Photo of Spartan517
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

After reviewing the "rare" version, I thought I better review the regular version too. This is for the 2009 edition, that I've been cellaring for about 1 year. The beer pours dark as can be with a tan head that quickly fades. The smell has loads of bourbon in it and a little bit of chocolate and boozy heat. The flavor is dominated by the bourbon with some choclate in there as well. This wasn't as smooth as the rare and definately had more alcohol heat. Still it was interesting and enjoyable. The mouthfeel was great for a big stout with a fairly low, albeit good level of carbonation. I had this for the first time about 6 months ago and hope to keep this one around to enjoy from time to time.

Photo of Kenny411
4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a glass and it was so dark and rich looking. When you put the glass upto the light there was barely any light coming through. This was the best and greatest complex beer I've tried. You can pick up so many things while you drink this. I picked up chocolate, maple, bourbon, and a little hint of coffee. The noise of this beer you can smell the bourbon and it smells really good. I wish they were producing more of this beer this year. I was told no more until November 2011 in MA

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 9,363 ratings.