Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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10,404 Ratings

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Ratings: 10,404
Reviews: 2,709
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 2,428
Gots: 5,521 | FT: 590
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  13.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: drewbage on 06-26-2003

60 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10,404 | Reviews: 2,709
Photo of aaronh
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pretty much a pitch black beer with a thick dark tan head. Aroma is amazing - vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, molasses. Unbelievable aromas. The flavor profile pretty much matches the aroma. The bourbon is very prominent, but not dominant, especially as the beer warms. The coffee and chocolate notes are also very assertive, and the sweet malt notes get swept away but the hops at the finish. The vanilla-laden bourbon flavors linger. Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy, almost like it's more viscous than your typical beer. Drinkability is good, but the alcohol can hit you hard.

Photo of calise1122
4.77/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got the NFL Red Zone going and an album I got the other day I can't put away - Girls: Album. Really good, Beach Boys meet Elvis Costello, meets loneliness. It's cold outside and it is raining - I just got back from Orlando, making it feel even worse than it is... the bottle of 2008 Bourbon County Stout in my cellar is just screaming itself hoarse to grab my attention - I give in and pour the 12 oz bottle into a Portsmouth Brewery snifter.

Jet black with a granular brown sugar two finger deep beautiful head. It's a complete black out - light not standing a chance. Once the head fades down to a small brown lacing on the rim of the meniscus, I can actually see my reflection in the beer as I peer down at it. Tilted and held up to the window I start to see some of that Cola red on the edges. Really nice looking beer.

The smell is just intoxicating. Literally, the bourbon is done that well... it screams of dark chocolate, vanilla, marshmallow... even some graham cracker which delivers a very nostalgic freshly toasted smore aroma. And of course, the whisky... bourbon was the right choice here and it was aged to perfection. The maltiness of the big stout stand up just right... not giving into the bourbon, not even letting the bourbon lead the dance... the relationship is fair and equal. As it warms I get more dark fruits - specifically cherries

This was bottles almost exactly a year ago (10/21/08) and time has been a friend to this one. The bourbon is still there - very present and it doesn't fade. Long after each sip you taste wet wood, bourbon and maple syrup... and yes - it's sticky. Then there is the smoked malt and bitter dark chocolate that comes with it. There is a fair amount of smokiness here as well - somewhere in between what actual smoke tastes like and what "liquid smoke" brings to the table. Vanilla beans mixed with coffee beans is the other taste that comes to mind. Complex for sure and again - choosing bourbon minimizes any harsh peat flavor, but still brings the characteristic which is well received.

Mouthfeel is sticky and good. Nice full, thick body with a perfect amount of carbonation for a 13% barrel aged stout... maybe even a touch too carbonated at first. There is no getting around the booze here, it doesn't try to hide... it is right there for you. The first thing you smell when you open the bottle and the taste that remains coated in your mouth long after the last sip. But the incredible blend of malts (and I imagine incredible amounts) allow for the bourbon to do that. It works so perfectly.

What a fine offering from Goose Island. I took my time here and it was such a great experience... changing as the beer opened up, the vanilla changing from more caramel based at first to something rooted in dark fruits at the end. I imagine I will be drinking a good amount of this during the upcoming winter.

Photo of jera1350
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Edition:

Thick, syrupy, pure black color with a thin brown head on top.

A deep whiff presents a strong bourbon and vanilla bean scent. Booze is apparent in this one.

Taste is just like the nose with an addition of some roasted coffee. Rich as can be. Bourbon, vanilla bean, chocolate and deep roasted malt with coffee is the basis here. Nice complexity, a great tasting stout.

Milkshake like texture, as full a body as I've ever had. Extremely dry finish. Syrupy smooth. Warming sensation from the alcohol.

Despite the high ABV, this one is hard to set down. It is a sipper, but it makes you want to keep sipping. One of the top Stouts in my book. Highly recommended.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.83/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark and slow. Looks thick and heavy, syrupy. Very black, looks just dense and heavy in the glass. The head is kind of thin, but it still looks very appetizing. The smell is just all bourbon. A little more bourbon than I was expecting, and its a 2008. I'm not even sure that I can detect anything else with out trying very hard. I mean, if you want a bourbon stout - this should satisfy you. The taste is like sweetened bourbon, with quite a bit of chocolate and a hint of coffee. I get a little hint of sticky malt, but mostly woody, slightly burnt bourbon flavor. Really interesting, and the bit of roastiness cuts the intensity. The body is really great. Thick and heavy, and the alcohol and burntness kind of helps to make it feel thin enough to swallow. The carbonation is dialed back, which is definitely a good thing. The drink is very slow. Sipper status, but quite enjoyable. I couldn't imagine drinking more than one of these in a month, but I would like to drink this more than quite a few similar beers.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.23/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 12oz bottle poured into an allagash snifter.

Pours black as motor oil, very thick looking with almost no head, just a tinge of dark brown lacing. Nose is very boozy and sweet, a bit unapproachable.

Wow, taste is very boozy and strong, this could sit in the cellar for a decade. Sweet and sharp on the palate. Finish is very smoky, bourbon and a bit earthy. Alcohol lingers, this is a real sipper.

Photo of corby112
4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for sending me an 05 vintage of this as an extra!

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest of lighter colored edges when held to a light source. Completely still with no head at all. This looks like a goblet of oil.

Aroma is dominated by a ton of oaky bourbon with hints of vanilla. Also, I'm picking up a lot of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee bean, burnt toast and bourbon, bourbon, bourbon!

Heavy full chewy viscous mouthfeel with such a smooth creamy body that I can't believe this beer is 11%. The alcohol heat is excellently masked. Lots of wooden earthy oak notes and bourbon flavor with hints of subtle vanilla. Also a good bit of roasted chocolate malt, burnt toast, coffee, oatmeal and Bourbon! So creamy, smooth and well balanced. This beer is incredibly mellow afte the three years of aging. Nice alcohol warmth in the finish with some subtle hops. This beer is absolutely fantastic. I want to get a few more bottles so I can try it fresh and age a few for a decade or so. ISO more bottle!

Photo of Freethyhops
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH tulip. bottled 10/2/09 super fresh.

A- pours the best of colors, motor oil black. definitely no light penetrating this one. produces a minimal dark brown head that dissipates a thin ring around the outside of the glass. there is some lacing but the beer coats the glass nearly as much as the head does

S- A very appropriate name for this one. Bourbon covers almost all other aromas. Some roasted barley and coffee coming through as well. as a lover of bourbon stouts this is right up my alley.

T- like some bourbon? my answer is yes. luckily too, because this amount could drive alot of people away. there is a very robust stout under all the bourbon. it's kind of hard to pick out some of the flavors through the bourbon. I can taste a good amount of bitterness from some coffee and hops. I'm guessing the IBUs are fairly high here. some chocolate in the backround gives it some espresso type qualities. absolutely awesome combination of flavors. I really wish I had access to this beer.

M- thick and tasty stuff. a good amount of carbonation really sets off the bitterness provided by the coffee and hops. spot on for the style.

D- I'm rarely halfway through the glass before I get to this point. Possibly due to having to take a couple extra sips to find flavors under the bourbon, but either way it's going down very quickly.

Photo of theghost3
4/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Thanks route66pubs.

Pours a pitch black with some dark brown around the edges. Small, brown head that quickly just becomes a ring. Medium lacing.

The smell is strong of bourbon, oatmeal, vanilla, and molasses. The taste is very boozy--wood, bourbon, burnt malts & oats are all there. Mouthfeel is thick, yet crisp with a kind of burning acidity.

This is fairly drinkable but I would recommend aging it to get it smoother. Definitely a sipper.

Photo of orenand33
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first beer review simply because I haven't made it a priority to review even though beer is a huge part of my life. I had to write about this amazing beer.

This is one of the best beers that I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. This 2008 poured out a deep dark color with a very thin head due to the 13% alcohol that was surprisingly drinkable. The flavor was robust with that of dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee and dark berries like cherry and plum . . . very malty and sweet. This beer is overwhelming in every sense. Simply amazing.

I had this my last night of visiting my family outside of Wichita, Kansas and have not found it nearby in Austin, Texas. I am going to have to have them ship me some for special occasions.

Photo of blaheath
4.1/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with almost no head produced from an aggressive pour. Aromas of wood, cigars, and chocolate. Taste is full bodied, oak vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, heavy alcoholic, very rich, with a long, sweet/creamy finish. There is a lot going on here, and this needs some time to mellow.

Photo of Strix
3.87/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

Pours thick and black, little if any head.

Smells nice, roasty, vanilla, wood, alcohol, bourbon.

Alcohol definitely forward in the taste, supported by roasted notes, vanilla, wood, and of course bourbon.

Mouthfeel nice and smooth.

Drinkability hampered by booziness for me. A slow sipper for sure.

There is no missing the bourbon in this one. A little much for me, but I can see why some like it.

Photo of Brew33
3.53/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2008 BCS. A beer I've wanted to try for quite some time. Consumed out my Duvel oversized tulip glass.

It pours pitch black with a scant tan head. Very viscous and thick. The aroma is all bourbon. Vanilla, wood, as expected. The taste was huge. Big bourbon flavor, huge amounts of roasted malt, some bittersweet chocolate and a touch of hop bitterness. It was pretty "hot" though. Definite ethyl alcohol taste. Not overpowering but certainly evident. The mouthfeel was damn near perfect, thick and syrupy. The drinkability was low because of the ABV, big flavors, and mouthfeel. Not nearly as drinkable as KBS.

Overall a beer I'm glad I picked up and tryed. Not the best example of the style, but still a tasty brew.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.82/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, syrupy pour into my La Chouffe tulip

Scents of bourbon, smoke, soy and teriyaki

After multiple tastings, I must come to the realization that I don't dig this beer as much as its rating. Flavors are very one dimensional and bourbon forward. Soy sauce pushes at the edges with a hint of smoke. Alcohol not overwhelming in the taste, but warms the body and numbs the brain quickly.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily with little to no carbonation. This, coupled with the overstated bourbon, hurts drinkability. This beer is far more enjoyable when drank in smaller servings. A full bottle can become a battle.

There are better bourbon barrel aged beers.

Photo of kzoobrew
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, enjoyed on 12/16/2008

Pours opaque black, slight coffee stained head. Little retention and little lacing.

Big bourbon aroma, slight vanilla. Clean smell, able to identify aromas separately. Smells don't get all muddled together.

Heavy bourbon flavors, hot alcohol. Sweet chocolate and vanilla, caramel and a slight smokiness.

Very full bodied and creamy. Low carbonation.

Easy to drink considering the size. Alcohol is rather apparent but does not become overwhelming. Extremely enjoyable.

Photo of bsp77
4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this in celebration of my second daughter who was born in the wee hours of the morning.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Black, thick looking motor oil with a cappuccino head that attempts to form but mostly fails.

Smell: Oak, molasses, vanilla, chocolate and alcohol. The smell is simply overpowering...

Taste: is the taste. Definite Bourbon taste due to the strong oak, vanilla and alcohol. The stout characteristics of roasted malt and chocolate are present but in the background.

Feel: Thick, smooth, luxurious, warming and coating.

Drinkability: How do you rate drinkability for something like this? Great sipping brew but only an occasional drink and never more than one. Yet it is intoxicating (in more ways than one).

Photo of erosier
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a deep black with very little brown colored head that fades fast and leaves little to no lacing down the sides.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, chocolate hints, caramel, and a huge bourbon smell that is the main aroma.
T: Like the nose, this one has a huge bourbon taste to it. It is a bit overpowering but after the initial bourbon there are some really nice chocolate, coffee, caramel flavors that really balance it out well. The aftertaste is a nice bourbon hint to it.
M: Very smooth, heavy, potent, perfect amount of carbonation for this style of beer.
D: Pretty drinkable considering it's well above 10% abv. Very nice mixing of flavors, very well balanced. Probably couldn't drink more than one of these, but if you're only going to have one beer, this would be it.

Photo of nickd717
4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn. S$%# m@*$&%f@*#^%s this s@*# is f@&%ing good. If stupid annoyances like my job and reality didn't get in the way, I would probably sit by the fire every night in my robe drinking this beer, smoking a fine Cuban, and watching the great comedic masterpieces of legendary actor Adam Sandler.

A - Pours black with a small brown head.

S - Incredible aroma of coffee, chocolate, roast, smoke, vanilla, and sweet malt.

T - Roasted malt and caramel malt as well as molasses, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and of course a strong bourbon finish.

M - Thick and oily as hell, only ever so slightly boozy.

D - Fairly high considering the ABV and bourbon in this one.

Photo of IRONRakkasan
2.64/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Looks and pours like molasses with a minimal head that stayed throughout.

The smell was a salty sour yeast malt mixture.

I was expecting a strong brew, but the taste of sweet n' sour burnt coffee was not so pleasant. At least the alcohol content was well hidden in the thick liquid.

I can honestly say I did not like the aftertaste at all.

I as hoping to like this brew much more...oh well.

Photo of erz316
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 10/16/08, poured into la chouffe snifter.

A - a very strong pour evokes a small .75 finger head that disspiates to nothing in under .5 a minute. the body, on the other hand, is pitch black; no light gets through this guy whatsoever. amazing body, but she needs to work on the head. ha, ha, ha.

S - sure as hell can smell that whiskey. top notes are woody, like a sawdusty wood shop aroma, and very bourbon-y. the alcohol smell is very distinctly whiskey. the mid ground is a big molasses body and roasted malts. caramel and slight vanilla are also somewhere in the mix.

T - interesting combination of flavours. the initial is caramel, chocolate, bourbon, and charred oak in no particular order, though, the whiskey might come out on top. the finish is quite boozy; the roasted malts come out with the strong bourbon flavour to even it out a bit more, but the strong whiskey flavour come out on top; there is also a large molasses contingent, really large. the aftertaste is mostly molasses, brown sugar, and whiskey. If you dont want to taste oak and whiskey, then this beer is not for you!

MF&D - the feel is lacking a bit for an american imperial, but the amount of carbonation and all that other stuff is great. the drinkability is also a bit lower than perfect because of the very strong oaken taste which becomes a bit grating after a while.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the night ending beer for me - my fiancée is baking chocolate chip cookies for me as I type and what a better way to end the night than with a hometown Midwestern brew. A side note, I had this over a month ago, a few weeks ago, and obviously right now. I will culminate my reviews.

Appearance - Pours out an absolutely thick, 10,000 mile dirty oil consistency. I obtain about two fingers worth of dark, mocha colored head that dissipates relatively fast. Honestly, at first the lacing is a bit lackluster but my god, this brew looks just menacing.

Smell - Molasses on the forefront, obviously bourbon, chocolate, alcohol, smokey smells, etc. Smells utterly amazing. As stated, this is my third time trying this and I am fidgeting in anticipation.

Taste - Very similar to how it smells - I taste the molasses and chocolate immediately then a taste of...dark cherries comes through. Midway I taste the bourbon and then with finally I taste the chocolate yet again. My GOD...I rarely get so excited over beers but what a way to end a great night.

Mouthfeel - Utterly and totally thick. Chewy, warm, oily...everything you would expect from a 13% abv imperial stout. This reminds me of great times in MI this summer. Not high carbonation but fitting for thie brew.

Drinkability - As someone so eloquently put it, "One and I'm done." I don't think I could have more than one of these in a sitting. A good simmering down brew. Overall, I am not disappointed with the third installment of my GI BCS. Cheers!

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks go out to BEERchitect for the trade. 2007 vintage!

Poured into my pint glass, this beer was very dark brown and clear, although when I tried to shine a flashlight through it, it was totally opaque. No head to speak of.

Aroma... oh my god what is going on in there! Roasted malt, roasted barley, a definite kick of bourbon, bitter chocolate as it warmed, and vanilla if you looked for it. Mighty nice.

Taste started out with dark malts, charred oak, and bourbon. Roasted character then would come in after the swallow, with a faint hint of alcohol. Aftertaste surprisingly made me think of red delicious apples.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth and silky. Low carbonation, it's a little slick and oily but well bodied. Hides the 13% ABV incredibly well.

Drinkability is freaking awesome. It is going to be SO hard cellaring the SECOND bottle he sent. Man, I owe you big time!

Photo of SolsticeDreamer
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this lovely vintage 2008 bottle the other day! Could not wait to open it!

No surprise but it pours pitch dark, just like very very old motor oil, this stuff blocks light! Perfect carbonation, very light barely there, just enough to do the job and bring a bit of light to the beer.

One could get a head rush just from the aroma! Alcoholic aroma but with layers of chocolate notes with a ton of roasty maltiness; SWEETNESS oh ya there some bourbon in there!!! My mouth drools!

This is beer to sit with, I mean you could sit and sip all day while the flavors changes just as your head changes...

Awesome complexity, dark roasty chocolate with maltiness with smooth yet creamy abilities. The bourbon oh ya its there and is a lingering bit on the tongue.

Full bodied mouthfeel, this beer will stay with ya for a while; thick and filling! Almost like nothing I've ever had... 30 mins later and I'm still working on the glass.

Drinkable? If you dare: 13ABV, Heavy, Rich and better be the first and last beer of the session; its the only way to get the best of this bottle... Find it, collect and forget it for a rainy day.

Photo of tburkhart
4.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #100 for myself, a small milestone I've been working towards.

I pulled this one out from the depths of the cellar for an occasion just like this. Vintage 2007.

Pours pitch black. It's like staring into the depths of space. Very thin layer or carbonation clings for its life to the side of the glass.

Smells of dark roasted malts with some chocolate notes. Slight alcohol smell, but not enough to worry about. Smells delicious, even with my stuffed up nose from these damn allergies.

Taste = wow! I have never given a 5 in any category to any beer until now. Dark chocolate comes to the forefront quickly. Nice creamy texture on the back palate. Aftertaste lingers quite nicely of the dark chocolates.

Mouthfeel = this beer coats the tongue like nothing I've ever had. Very thick viscosity, honestly reminds me of motor oil.

Very drinkable beer, but the 13% abv could be troublesome. Glad I only have this bottle left, so I won't be tempted to sample another tonight. I will definitely be seeking this out again.

Photo of kegger22
4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Now I sampled and reviewed a bottle of J.W. Lees Harvest aged in Lagavulin whisky barrels yesterday, and I didn't like it because it was too sweet. Well, GI Bourbon County Stout is very sweet too, and it's awesome. Why the difference? I've no idea, in fact, I love single malt scotch. What was overbearing sweetness in the Lees, was just right in the GI, even though they were similar. There was an alcohol taste in both, should not have made much difference. Maybe it was the over ripe fruit taste in the Lees, whereas, the GI had a coffee background... I duh no. I just love the Bourbon County Stout. It poured as black as a January midnight in Barrow, Alaska. A modest head that quickly reduced to a collar. The aroma was largely alcohol with some coffee. This baby was heavy, thick, oily; you almost wanted a spoon to eat it. Drinkability... Nope, it's a sipper and I give it a 4.0 out of respect.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.08/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown screw top with gorgeous label, clearly marked bottled on date (and "best within 5 years" marked), and nice info about the beer...split into two chalices and split with the old man after a long day of working outside

Appearance: Black motor oil...seriously, this may be the most viscous, thick, dense-pouring beer I have ever seen...I love it! There's not much in the way of head, which is not exactly surprising with the massive abv, but what's there is dark brown and fades quickly to a thin but persistent ring

Smell: Dark burnt sugars, just a hint of soy sauce, some sweet milk chocolate, and a touch of woodsy smoke as well

Taste: Big burnt caramel and boozy esters up front, with just a ghost of marshmallow creme in the background, light, very natural oakiness present as well...the main difference here is that I don't get the big chocolate flavors I did on tap.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievably heavy, rich, and viscous

Drinkability: High for the abv, but don't be stupid with this one, it will make you sorry

Conclusion: This is the best GI stout for sure, though I like it a bit better on tap I think...I'm really looking forward to keeping a couple of these 2008's in the cellar and seeing what they do in a couple of years

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 10,404 ratings.