Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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10,411 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,411
Reviews: 2,711
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.35%
Wants: 2,432
Gots: 5,528 | FT: 593
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: 10,411 | Reviews: 2,711
Photo of TLove
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is straight up outstanding. After several bourbon stouts and bourbon RIS imitators (with the exception, perhaps, of Schafly), I haven't had a single, well-balanced bourbon stout. This is a luscious beer.

Pours a deep, viscous black motor oil with a thin, dark brown head that retains poorly and leaves little lacing. There are smells of raisin and bourbon with some almond. There is a strong bourbon, very heavy alcohol and bourbon taste with heavy, dark chocolate and a really full body. Alcohol goes right up the nose and produces some quince and vanilla on the mouth with a slick, but not syrupy, feel. A bit difficult to finish due to the sheer complexity and slightly sour bourbon components to the malt. Nevertheless, I would drink several of these in a sitting if they weren't so damn strong.

Photo of marvin213
2.97/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer looks like motor oil. Were it not for the slightest swirls of head, I'd funnel this into my car engine. The specks of head presence actually last, spinning slowly around as the liquid sits. Still, a foamier top would provide a more impressive production.

The smell is purty raw-dog bourbon. I mean it is sweet, sweet alcohol. Not sweet like sugared candy, but sweet like yeast-infested, alcoholic, sugar-laden slop. It's like a fraternity house on a football Saturday. It's strong, sweet, and unrefined.

The liquid's more quaffable than its sight or smell might attest. As the snifter reaches my lips, I brace as if I'm shooting a shotgun. Initially, the sip is sugary soothing--like a Pixie-stick. Even in this 2008, the alcohol is still hot: as I focus on taste and close my mouth to feel it, ethanol singes my cheeks and escapes thru my nose. It's an obnoxious beer but, by God, if it's a bourbon stout you want, it's a bourbon stout you get. Instead of having bourbon influence, this beer is like an android: 1/2 beer, 1/2 bourbon. It tastes like an average stout with a bourbon shot poured in it. It's a Kentucky car bomb.

The initial feel of every sip is a comforting layer of sweetness. As the sugar breaks down, however, you're left with a brow-furrowing, bourbony blaze. Even if served cold, this beer is HOT. Though extreme on these continuums, it's actually well-balanced. The sequence, though, from milk stout to liquor shot, might be better reversed.

Drinkability is less than average. How many beers actually taste like liquor? It's a novelty brew, and a good one. I'd like to keep one on hand to occasionally show the buddies. I know its aim is not everyday sessions, but it's not a real pleasant-drinkin' brew. It hits harder than 13%; in fact, it ain't far off from the 40% of its liquor counterpart. If you're just lookin' for a punch, perhaps you should consider the liquor approach.

Photo of BigAl723
3.98/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Real black. Thick as motor oil and just as dark. It had a dark mean looking head about an inch thick.

S: One smell tells you a lot with BCS. Dark cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, espresso, campfire, and a pretty decent amount of booze.

T: Very aggressive taste. Boozy from the start but mellows out towards the end. Comparative to the smell to say the least. Wood and campfire, vanilla and cocoa, booze and oak. Very complex taste and definitely not for the faint of heart beer drinkers.

M: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Medium heavy to heavy feel with fairly low carbonation.

D: The drink takes a little hit with this big bourbon stout. Fair.

Overall, it's a fantastic brew but the high ABV and boozy character makes it tough to drink more than a bottle.

Photo of Onenote81
3.54/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle received from calise1122 in a recent trade. Thanks!

Vintage 2008.

Poured into my goblet. Pours a very viscous deep black with no head at all. No lace present. Smells like booze, chocolate, fresh coffee, vanilla, and cream.

The mouth is creamy smooth. No carbonation bite at all. This is a big-time bourbon beer! Huge sweet vanilla notes, some oak, and malted chocolate. The liquor quality hasn't worn off very much after a year in the cellar. Alcohol is very present in the flavor. This is a very good beer, but I could not drink any more than this 12oz. Too boozy for me.

Photo of brewgirl
4.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: I had been aging this beer for a year and it poured a thick, black with a very thin tan head.

Aroma: This beer smells amazing! At first I got a ton of bourbon then I started to get vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, currants, and espresso.

Flavor: incredibly complex. The bourbon is very apparent but not too boozy. The malt profile is very rich with hints of coffee and dark chocolate and then there were layers of vanilla, molasses, and darker dried fruits. It was smooth and all of the flavors blended well.

Mouthfeel/Finish: Full bodied with a lingering bourbon, vanilla, finish.

Drinkability: This beer is delicious and very drinkable (despite the high alcohol). Unlike some bourbon stouts, this one is well balanced and the bourbon character is there without overpowering the beer.

Photo of drtth
3.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This is a bottle from the 2008 brewing which means it has just over a year's bottle age.

Appearance: The beer pours out a dark black color with a 1/3" medium brown head that soon recedes to a small ring around the glass and a thin layer of foam over the liquid that soon turns into a few patches of thin foam. Sipping leaves some small rings, bits of speckled lacing and some small sheets that slide back into the glass leaving behind small patches of foam. By the end of the beer there is neither foam nor lacing.

Smell: The complex aroma is detectable as the beer pours. It is rich and dark toffee like with hints of dark roast malt floating around. The parts of the aroma provided by the bourbon barrel lets you know that the beer was there for a while, with some definite presence of bourbon, vanilla and even some of the oak.

Taste: The flavors make it abundantly clear that this beer and a bourbon barrel have spent some time keeping company together. There is vanilla and oak here along with some dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, and dark toffee or butterscotch. Interestingly, the flavors change over time with some smoky bitterness coming into to play mid-way through to let you know there are roasted malts on the scene as well. The sweetness from the malts and the bourbon is nicely controlled so that neither dominates the other.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is full-bodied and very smooth with minimal carbonation. The finish is long. It begins with sweetness and bourbon and then fades a bit until the dark roast of the malts shows up. It then gradually turns dry and fades gently away.

Drinkability: The rich complexity of this beer is almost too much. Plan on taking your time with this one as you won't finish it quickly. Also if you don't like bourbon don't buy this beer. But if you do like bourbon and you like stout, this is an excellent example of a bourbon barrel aged stout, with emphasis on the bourbon barrel. While I'll not be drinking this one every night I'll be more than happy to have this one again as a special occasion beer. That being said, the problem I have with this beer boils down to a simple question: Where's the beer? In deciding what to pair this beer with I'd select food, etc. based on how well it goes with the bourbon, not how well it goes with the stout.

3 June, 2011

I'm now drinking my last bottle from this batch, and still have the same question. I like Bourbon, so I like this beer, but if I wanted to drink a stout this would not be my choice. The Bourbon still over powers this beer and the flavors and aromas are still all about the Bourbon.

Photo of AgentZero
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 version.

A - Night black with a high viscosity on the pour. Not quite motor oil thick, but definately sticking to itself. Can barely see any light through the edges. Small tan head, maybe 1/2 finger at the most, bubbled up from the bottom and quickly receded.

S - Nice mild bourbon. I always worry that the bourbon smell on these is going to be overpowering. Definately present, but it's got a nice balance. Touch of sweet vanilla and toffee.

T - Outstanding, the mild smell of the bourbon is just about what you get in the taste. It's definately there, and it's good, but it doesn't kill the flavor of the stout. Slight fruity sweet taste makes this a fantastic drink.

M - Solid, not quite heavy like you would expect, but definatly full bodied. Carbonation seems almost non-existant.

D - So ridiculously drinkable for a 13%. You could easily just chug a bottle of this, although that would be a waste. Awesome beer.

Photo of turnblom79
4.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 from a bomber bottle.

A- Motor oil black with a dark brown head that lasts longer then I would expect for a beer this stout.

S- Woodsy bourbon smell with butterscotch and a hint of coffee. Smells very sweet.

T- Like the smell indicated, there a strong bourbon taste mixed in with the milder chocolate, molasses and coffee flavors.

M- Thick and full, very pleasant.

D- Definitely a sipper. sit back and enjoy this one for a while.

Photo of KansasBeerLover
4.97/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This 12 oz. bottle, the 2009 edition, has a date of 10/02/09, just over a month old.

Poured into a 14 oz. glass ( no snifters in my house) at the recommended 40*. A thin head with tiny bubbles that disappear with the first sip. Color is an extremely dark brown, dense enough that my penlight does not begin to penetrate. Dark enough that if it were coffee that a spoon would stand at attention in it.

Aroma and flavor are very similar. Smoky oak, chocolate, vanilla and alcohol. The flavor has a strong taste of good bourbon.

Mouthfeel - This brew is going for a long cruise on my palette.

Drinkability - I am 30 minutes into this glass, about 2/3 down. Long and slow, I could sip on this all night. But at 13% ABV I would have difficulty standing.

I will certainly put some of this on the shelf for future use, it will certainly improve with age.

Photo of Beast35
4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one big beer (2009 edition). Sampled it the other night at crown liquors and talked to the guy in charge of brewing it so i figured i'd sit down and work through one tonight. Poured into a DFH snifter. Poured a tar like black with a finger of tan head. Nose of BOURBON! with alcohol and coffee in the background. Taste is full of bourbon flavor backed with a coffee and chocolate. The alcohol comes through more as it warms and adds a spice to the brew. Mouthfeel is heavy, it sticks around for awhile. this is a sipper but i feel like i could sip this every night if given the chance.

Photo of kbnooshay
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured super black with super dark frothy brown head that is almost as impressive as the head of a ten fidy! Aroma is of strong bourbon whiskey and sweet butterscotch. The taste is very whiskey heavy with a nice hint of vanilla and oats. This is one smooth brew. Super drinkable.

Photo of Shumista
4.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Long day, luckily I found this little guy hiding in the back of my fridge. Woo hoo. 2008 vintage.

A- Bourbon County (Brand) Stout pours like oil, thick black and syrupy. Very little dark brown head present after an aggressive pour and tons of lacing left on the sides of the glass after each sip.
S- Bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel, smoke, coffee, chocolate...
T- Bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, oak, dark fruit, caramel, smoke, coffee, chocolate. Really the oak and vanilla pop out to me whereas the rest of the flavors mingle to form a strong dark roasty malt backbone.
M- Thick, chewy, syrupy, pillowy, warming.
D- Haha one is going to put me right to sleep I think.

Photo of FBBrewingCo
4.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a review of the 2009 BCS.

Pours to a small coffee colored head with fairly low carbonation. The aroma has hints of brown sugar and caramel along with bourbon and alcohol notes.

The taste is actually more mellow than I was expecting. A very smooth and creamy stout with a good balance of oak and bourbon flavor finishing with a nice sweetness and a big alcohol finish.

Overall this is a very big, very enjoyable beer with great flavor and balance for an Imperial Stout. I'd drink one anytime.

Photo of morimech
4.42/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage

Pours very dark black with 1/2" of mocha colored head that quickly settled to a thin cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. I am impressed it showed as well as it did considering the ABV. Intense aroma of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol. I can tell right now this is going to be a hot one. After one sip, it sure was hot. But there is plenty of flavor to make it worth drinking. A lot of vanilla and bourbon upfront with more subtle notes of chocolate, plums, and toffee. Finishes boozy with a lot of warmth. Full bodied with nice carbonation. If this had anymore carbonation it would be harsh with all the alcohol. This is the type of beer because of ABV and price, that is reserved for special occasions. I will need to save one for just such an occasion.

Photo of jacobseyb
4.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A=deep dark used motor oil black, poured an abysmal 1/2 inch head, that dissipated quickly with little to no crown

S=bourbon is more muted than expected, malts are vary prevalent, with coffee and caramel being the primary flavors

T=malty more than bourbon-y, definitely chocolaty with coffee and caramel, some bitters on the tail end.

M=very tight carbonation, with some crsipness and dryness to it.

D=very sweet, and the ABV don't lend to true sessionablity though I could drink it several nights in a row

Photo of turamarth
4.69/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served into my Tremens glass :)

Appearance: Motor Oil black, topped with a lovely rust colored centimeter thick head. This looks like a stout. It even looks a little evil.

Smell: First thing that hits my nose is a burst of toffee. Which I think is something I get often from things aged in bourbon barrels. Then deeper there are soft notes of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and a nice under lying spicyness. Delicious.

Taste: Holy balls....this beer is more complex than an escher painting. Where some beers taste mimics the smell, this beer has all those subtle notes that the nose has...but in the taste...amp those notes up ten fold, then add about twenty layers of complexity (all that after one sip)! Notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, rich toffee, and spicyness. This beer is super sweet. There might even be some sweet fruit notes. I could go on and on, but there is more that i need to analyze.

Mouth: Thick, chewy, juicy. This is thick and chewy, but it still maintains a smooth silkiness. It has a nice tingle from the light carbonation. Coats the mouth with its yumminess.

Drink: If this beer wasn't 13% abv, I would session it like a mad man until it rotted my tummy with all its glorious sweetness.

This beer is a sultry ebony princess that will tug on your heart strings.

Photo of Martin2D
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to fbm115 for sharing this one.

A - Pitch black with a decent tan head with lacing.

S - Woody, roasty, boozy, vanilla

T - Super woody and roasty. A good presence of vanilla and classic bourbon flavors play with the roasted malts. A decent hop presence, but the bourbon is on display here.

M - Medium-low carbonation and medium-heavy in body.

D - Very good beer. Unique, nice flavors and I could drink a lot of this if I had the chance. Extremely tasty.

Photo of Pehlman
4.37/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

A: Black with a low golden brown head. No lacing.

S: A nice whiskey aroma with a bit of sweetness.

T: Tastes of bourbon, wood, and a punch in the mouth of vanilla! Maybe a little hint of roast.

M: Carbonation is much better than earlier vintages. Perfect amount for this beer!

D: I wish I always had a bottle around after those long days when I just need a beer. I could drink this pretty much any time. Thank you Goose Island! Next stop... Xmas Ale.

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 10/2/09.

A: Black as night. What little head there is recedes to a thin film on the sides. Hardly any lacing.

S: Chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Even more chocolate and vanilla. Also a hint of smoke. Pretty strong alcohol burn.

M: Fairly thin, but still big, if that makes any sense.

D: Definitely a sipper. Big and complex, but not necessarily enjoyable at this stage. I'd say it needs a bit more time in the cellar to come together.

Photo of cilldalua
4.9/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 32 Oz growler from Whole Food bowery beer room into a brandy snifter

S : Molasses, a dark candy, plays up the caramel and vanilla of the bourbon
A : Dark as night, perfect for this halloween evening, no head
T : complex, with a lot going on, treacle, dark chocolate, caramel and vanilla from the Bourbon Barrels, coffee at the back end
M : Thick and Syrupy in a good way, coats the tongue, lingers
D : Its strong and heavy, two are enough
O : This is one of the gold standards for a speciality stout, a treat for after dinner or after anything else that you enjoyed doing.

Photo of dpnelson1978
4.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.

$21.99 / 4 pk.

S: Chocolate, caramel, malt, and coffee.

A: Opaque black with small loose dark tan head that quickly dissipates into a small ring.

T: Sweet chocolate and caramel. Very nice! Some -OH on back end along with coffee / mocha.

M: Very low carbonation and medium to heavy body. Smooth.

D: Strong beer so not extremely drinkable, but it goes down fast. Watch out!

O: Wonderful beer, but super expensive. A treat if you can get your hands on some.

Photo of nomomentwasted
4.27/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Whew. Had this beer out of a bottle, poured into a snifter-style glass and served just below room temperature.

Appearance: Dark and vicious on the pour with a slight, tan head. Laces well, much like a stout should, but nothing about the pour or appearance screams anything more than your average imperial stout.

Smell: Whew. Big bourbon notes (although next to Black Tuesday, I would suppose they're a little more tame, but then again, what isn't?) and then a roasty, toasted malt filled second layer and finishing with a slight chocolate and vanilla, but mostly the bourbon and slight booziness.

Taste: Very complex, and a little sweeter than I was expecting. Bourbon is big and thick, with the booziness being quite strong. Chocolate and barley are here too, but on a secondary tier from the bourbon start. Although this wasn't the newest batch of BCS, it'd probably be just a tad better with another 6 months to a year on it. There are 6 more in the cellar though, and maybe I'll come back and update upon further review. I mean, I love a good bourbon beer, and when in the mood, this certainly delivers, but I think its strong suit is also what keeps it from being a 5: it's a little too much bourbon. Hopefully the mellowed sweetness will push that up a bit too, I really don't doubt it.

Mouthfeel: Ooh, so velvety and smooth. Powerful-good thickness and finishes warm. That 13% is definitely here, no doubt about it. Carbonation is spot-on too.

Drinkability: I feel bad knocking it, but it's not the most drinkable of beers. The boozy character catches up over the course of the bottle, but the rest of the experience is excellent. Drinks like a 13%, which hey, it is, making it feel pretty average in that department. But for a special occasion, and maybe some chocolate cake, this beer is happiness in a bottle.

Photo of brownbeer
4.17/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

A- Hard pour. Engine oil with no head.

S- Powerful, boozy bourbon right off the bat. Vanilla, maple, peanut butter.

T- Noticeable bourbon with chocolat, faint smoke, vanilla, a lasting toasty oak/ sweet buttery choclate fade. Pleasant heat in the finish.

M- Robust and viscous with little carbonation.

D- Not all that drinkable but a good cool evening sipper.

Photo of robbyc1
4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the bomb, a perfect marriage of RIS and bourbon barrel aging. Inky, blank, oily, with a sweet maltiness, but does not finish overly sweet due to the massive hop offset. The bourbon is a flavor component that complements perfectly, giving a complexity to a solid backbone. The only ding here is for drinkability, so good yet a 7 oz serving would suffice. Well made and cellerable.

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

Taken from notes on 10/23

Serving type- 2008 vintage bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a jet black with little head that disipates quickly and little to no cling.

S- BOURBON HELLO!! Man I could smell the bourbon coming off this beer as the waitress poured it. She sat the snifter down on the table and I could whiff the strong bourbon presence before even lifting it up. The bourbon smell totally overwhelmed any chance for ditecting any other smell notes coming off this beer.

T- One again the bourbon rules here. If it weren't for the malty smoooth finish to this beer I would have guessed that I was actually drinking bourbon straight up. Within the bourbon I got coffee and a little hops. But those flavors soon died because of the bourbon onslaught. This was definately a sipper and a one beer per visit deal.

The overall strength of this beer made having more than one out of the question. I had already had a few other different beers from the bar so I was certain that this would finish off my afternoon. Even at home I could not see myself having more than one, or if only drinking these 2 in a night. Any more for moe and it would quickly turn into a bad night. Overall this was everything that I expected and had hoped for and was very glad to give it a try. More importantly is that I have a bottle sitting in my cellar at home and I know know that this is a keeper, one that will be opened on a special occasion.

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 10,411 ratings.