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Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,590 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,590
Hads: 10,617
Avg: 4.49
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 2,524
Gots: 5,749 | FT: 609
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bourbon County Brand Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,590 | Hads: 10,617
Photo of DesMoinesMike
1.43/5  rDev -68.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5


When I poured this beer I thought it could pass for chocolate, DARK chocolate milk. The aroma was thick, like molasses and caramel and Jim Bean mixed together. The flavor mimmicked the aroma but had a bigger punch to my pallet. IT burned on the way down like liquor.

I have to say this isn't the shittiest tasting beer I've had, but it's up there. Perhaps I should just give up on finding an imperial that I like.

If you want S T R O N G, go for this bad boy.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed Fresh:

From bottle into tulip glass. Pours ink black with a dark toffee head that rapidly dissipates to a few wisps. The smell is bourbon moderated only slightly with molasses and faint vanilla and oak. Mouthfeel is classic imperial stout: heavy, thick, minimal carbonation. Chocolate, toffee and vanilla sweetness take the lead with coffee and burnt oak providing a strong backbone. Then the bourbon takes over. At first the bourbon helps supervise the sweetness, which otherwise would run amok. But the bourbon and alcohol bitterness defintely take over by the finish. That aftertaste is the true barometer of this beer; if you don't like bourbon, this is not the beer for you. Not much will pair with this other than dark chocolate (and even that doesn't stand up too well). We're going to cellar a few four-packs and see if it mellows with age. But while I think it could use a bit of the discipline that age provides, its complexity and flavor profile deserves attention right out of the blocks.

Edit: With 2-3 years on it, GIBCS may be one of my favorite beers, period.

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Photo of WPRebelFan
3.26/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2008 bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Poured very black and very thick with practically no head.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, and a little more bourbon to finish it off.

Taste: Roasted malts with some coffee in there. It all seems to be overpowered by the bourbon though.

Mouthfeel: A big beer to say the least with no carbonation. It seems to overtake your mouth.

Drinkability: One at a sitting is plenty. If I want to drink bourbon, I'll drink bourbon.

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Photo of jsh420
4.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 edition

pours pitch black with a 1 finger tan head that leaves very little lacing

smell is sweet bourbon oak vanilla and chocolate

taste is much like the smell but intense big bourbon oaky vanilla and chocolate - still a good amount of alcohol heat on this one

mouthfeel is is heavy but slick and mighty smooth with little amount of carbonation

drinkability - this beer is a sipper but you will love every last sip

overall this is the best bourbon aged beer that i have had - a lot more complex then founders kbs (which i have only had fresh)

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, viscous deep black that only hints of brown on the very edges. Not one quanta of light passes through the middle. Smell is complex and impressive--vanilla, oak, cassis, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, teriyaki sauce, and alcohol. That is the most aroma components I think I've ever encountered in one beer. Taste is a bit less complex, but substantial nonetheless--the salty teriyaki component is there, roasty coffee beans, creamy syrupy malt. Mouthfeel is very thick and juicy. Drinkability will keep me from giving a perfect score simply because the 13% abv. is overwhelming me a little and the booze aroma becomes more and more evident as the glass empties.

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Photo of CJthirty7
4.38/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa whiskey! And fuck finding a cigar that could be matched with this stout. Romeo and Julieta Cubano care of Dubai. Dipped the butt in this creamy stout and we are off. If you love whiskey and you love a sweet, sweet stout, this beer is for you. I don't love whiskey, but damn, I love this beer.

$20 a 4-pack?! You know what, screw the mortgage, I'm just going to stock up on this. I can live on Ramen... for beers sake.

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Photo of Yesac
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottle poured into snifter

A- One the blackest beer's I've ever seen. No head, only a small brown ring around the sides.

S- Bourbon. Big chocolate malt and lots of strong alcohol. Hints of vanilla.

T- This beer is huuuge. Huge dark chocolate notes. Some java. Rich bourbon and vanilla blend. Dare I say this has balance? The alcohol is strong, but you just picked up a bourbon stout so what do you expect? This is an awesome sipper. I suggest pairing with chocolate.

M- Very thick bodied and hella smooth. Dry.

D- Wow.. I can only handle a small sip at a time. Big and potent brew, not the easiest to drink but the best to sip.

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Photo of mjl21
4.69/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 edition. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 10/16/08. Comes in at 13%.

A-Pours black with virtually no head. Leaves a miniscule sandy ring. Not much lace is left, but the booze gives it some nice legs.

S-When first poured, the oak is noticeable along with some bourbon. Vanilla comes in as it begins to warm. Once it has been in the glass for 20 minutes, more bourbon is evident. It is not very roasty and not nearly as oaky as KBS.

T-Bourbon hits fast on the first sip. Vanilla and chocolate come in the middle to give this a decent level of sweetness. As I swish it around my mouth, the alcohol definitely comes out. There is some dry roasted notes on the finish, but not a ton. The oak is not very evident.

M-This one is thick and tastes like a big beer. It is very smooth and silky. Leaves a nice sticky coating on the lips.

D-This is truly a great beer that I slowly sip to enjoy all of the robust flavors. The 13% limits the drinkability, but I can easily sip on this for well over an hour.

A truly great beer that finally made its way out west. This one has seven months of age on it and the hot alcohol factor has definitely gone down. The bottle says the flavor will continue to develop over 5 years. I plan on revisiting over the next few to see how it matures.

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Photo of jwc215
4.37/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to PhxHorn for this one!

Pours black with a thin swirl that lasts. Not much "lacing", but "legs" stick.

The smell is of chocolate, some licorice and vanilla/bourbon.

The taste is of chocolate, licorice, with a vanilla sweetness from the bourbon. A pleasant bourbon character is there - strong enough to enjoy while not overpowering the delicious imp. stout character. It finishes with a woody dryness.

The feel is silky smooth. Full-bodied without being thick or too syrupy.

I would love to give "drinkability" a higher score, but the alcohol does show (though reasonably incorporated for the abv) on this potent sipper. This is a 2008 vintage - enjoyed very much. Would love to see how this baby turns out after aging (too bad it's not distributed around here). If you have the good fortune of having this in your area, grab some!

Great imp. stout with a nice bourbon character!

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.55/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ultra dark thick black color body with a very thin chocolate colored head,little to no carbonation,lots of sticky sheeting and lace. Aroma of Vanilla, chocolate covered cherries, oak, tobacco,and brown sugar.Flavor is HUGE dark toasted malt ,chocolate, coffee, licorice, raisin, smoke, vanilla, and molasis, a full body with a thick creamy mouthfeel,slightly boozy ,burbony but in a very good way,long milk chocolate,and alcohol finish. This is the bomb !

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Photo of AVDeuph
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

To tell the truth, I was expecting to be overwhelmed by the bourbon taste in this brew. Although I love KBS, I had heard that this beer was hotter and more bourbon-intensive, and I haven't liked a good portion of the bourbon aged ales that I have tried. That said...

Bottle served in a Dogfish Head snifter (my first beer in this glass).

A: Black silk, thick and very creamy looking. The head was but a thin layer of brown carbonation that barely covered the entire surface area.

S: Whoa. Okay you know how every once in a while you make an olfactory connection that really has nothing to do with the actual aromas....macaroni and cheese. I can't get it out of my head. I liken it to the bourbon in the beer, but it is disconcerting. My fault though, not the beer's.

T: Actually I think this beer is really balanced. The bourbon is evident but not overwhelming like I was afraid of, and there is enough dark coffee and otherwise standard imp stout characteristics to balance out that flavor. Still tastes a little like macaroni and cheese, but I'm getting over it. For 13% I think this beer is very smooth, and the alcohol really isn't burning or overly hot at all.

M: Thick of course, with a lasting bitter finish. Tightly carbonated, nice compact bubbles that keep the beer from being to slick and oily.

D: Okay, so it's more drinkable than I expected, and I'm definitely going to finish this happily, but I think rationally (and economically) the Bourbon County Stout isn't something you're going to have two of. That said, considering the outright robustness of flavors and very high ABV, it does relatively well in the drink department.

I'm happy with this beer. I'd buy it again, though maybe not until next year. I think next to their Imperial IPA, this is the best beer Goose Island makes. If you really like the taste of bourbon in beer, you will really love it; if you're open to new experiences, you'll be pleasantly surprised; if you aren't ready for this craziness, save your money and wait for your taste buds to make some progress.

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Photo of 3Vandoo
4.5/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pitch black beer with some amber red hues striking through it. Shy head retention at max.

smell of coffee, chocolate flavors, licorice, vanilla, cherry and some hints of bourbons.

Taste is licorice at first followed by Bourbon mellow flavors, roasted hints, shy hints of vanilla, a taste of glazed donut, sugary coated donuts. A shy bitterness, with a shy hoppy stint with a mellow warm alcohol finish.

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Photo of tedsox31
4.51/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a 2008 4 pack of this to try for the second time. The first time that I tried it I was just getting into beer and did not like it. I am glad that I gave it another try a few years later. It pours completely and utterly black. There is absolutely no light let through, and it is almost syrupy. There is a small tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

The main aroma that jumps out is that of bourbon, followed by chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of dark fruit. I don't notice much in the way of a woody aroma like I expected, perhaps that is dominated by the presence of the bourbon.

The taste is that of bourbon. At first it is not as dominant as the aroma might suggest, but as it warms the bourbon flavor becomes more and more present. Alongside the bourbon is the taste of vanilla and chocolate. This is then followed by a nice roasted flavor that I didn't really detect in the aroma. The end is smooth and sweet.

The mouthfeel is quite nice for an after-dinner beer. It is very full and coats the mouth all the way through. The presence of bourbon lingers well after I swallow. A nice warming feel from the alcohol comes through after a few sips.

This beer is not a beer to take lightly. At 13%, the alcohol is in your face and the complexity of flavors makes it something that I really think should be paired with no food other than perhaps a boozy-chocolaty dessert. It has enough flavors going on that it can stand on its own very well. It is a great beer to have and savor slowly, once in a while.

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Photo of natasharai
4.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with a pretty tan colored, fizzy head that dissipated fairly quickly leaving no lacing. The beer is pitch black and doesn't let any light through at all.

Smell: Sweet roasted malt, dark fruit like ripe bing cherries, chocolate and a little toffee, sweet bourbon, and a nice nutty/woody aroma.

Taste: Roasted malt, sweet fruit like cherries and plum, chocolate, light coffee flavor, delicious sweet bourbon flavor, vanilla, macadamia nuts, oak flavor and ends with a toffee roasted malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Thick smooth silky body, nicely carbonated, some alcohol burn, leaves mouth with a sweet syrupy coating (in a good way).

Overall: Good drinkability for a bourbon stout. Great flavors with nice complexity. Totally love this beer! The alcohol is present in flavor and feel, but not like a 13% ABV beer and not overwhelming at all!!

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.32/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle. Black with a bit of foam at first but no lasting head. The aroma is pretty much straight bourbon, with a light dark chocolate accompaniment. Thick and slick with low, fine carbonation. Lots of bourbon, wood, alcohol, and dark chocolate flavors. The alcohol is relatively smooth, but very present. I can dig this a little bit, but it seems to be intense just for intensity's sake. The bourbon runs the show for sure.

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Photo of Lothore
4.62/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep black hue with a brownish head.

S- Huge smell. Fig, raisin, deep dark fruit, bourbon, brown sugar.

T- The taste is sublime. Dark fruits and brown sugar as in the smell, a huge wave of bourbon and alcohol roll across the tongue.

M- Thick with medium carbonation.

D- This was quite possibly the best imperial stout ive ever tasted. Huge bourbon, but it didn't distract from the full body of the beer. Excellent.

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Photo of Kadonny
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

A: A jet oily thick black with a slight outer ring of light brown head. No glass lacing to speak of.

S: Like smelling a bourbon bottle. Heavy bourbon smell with vanilla and oak with a pretty hefty sweetness.

T: Bourbon is forfront here, with flavors of vanilla, oak, chocolate, some coconut and a caramel and toffee sweetness. Alcohol is very noticable and very forward. Finish is oaky vanilla with sweetness lasting. A small hop bitterness is underneath. Very complex beer.

M: Full, thick, oily and alcoholy.

D: Low, the alcohol really jumps out at you. Couple that with the sweetness and one bottle is more than enough.

Overall a very complex, excellent beer that blows away KBS on the bourbon flavor, however it gets blown away by KBS on the drinkability scale and enjoyablility scale. This is a great beer, but it can only be handled in small doses.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.67/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 batch. BCS pours thick but not pure black. I bet if I melted the bottle down and poured it into my glass it would look like this beer. Some light peaks through and yields some garnet highlights. The head is very unimpressive as it's only a thin wisp of yellow bubbles that fade to a pencil thin collar and a spits worth floating around in the center. However I'm sure the ABV and the style make the lack of head intentional so I don't deduct that much.

Smell is just short of phenomenal. Thickly sweet with scents like bourbon, musty oak, vanilla, dried coconut, dark chocolate and coffee. Deep roasted grains punch you square in the sniffer as does a slightly boozy nose.

The taste on the other hand is phenomenal. The profile has so many distinct layers that change potency and order each sip. Deep flavors that rock your soul range from coconut and condensed milk to dark chocolate and Kentucky burbon. Vanilla bean, caramel and charred oak smoke me out in the next sip. To quote the label "one sip has more flavor then your average case" amen to that one.

Mouthfeel is sweetly slick and incredibly smooth. There is a slight roughness that makes the back of my throat raw but I still dig this beer. It does have slightly more booze flavors then I prefer but what do you expect from an 11 percenter. God damn this is a kick ass beer. Beer like this begs to be sipped and enjoyed as long as possible. Fantastic.

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Photo of KBomb
4.14/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon County Stout poured into a snifter-- it comes out thick and nearly syrupy. Close to the blackest stout I've ever seen, with just a tiny ring of dark brown on the edge. Nearly zero head, not unexpected for the style.

Aroma is a brilliant bursting bouquet of vanilla, cherry, bourbon, and roasty-toasty malt. I can't pull my nose out of the snifter, we're getting some chocolate notes now as it warms up, sweet molasses too!

Taste is very sweet, a little bit of that chocolate and fruit persists. Bourbon flavor compliments well, does not overpower the rest of the beer. Sadly, these nice flavors are getting crowded by a little charred taste and alcohol astringency. We've just barely crossed the line of roasted sweet flavors to burnt flavors.

Feel the heat, my friends, all the way down your esophagus. On this damp, spring night it doesn't feel bad at all. Super slick mouthfeel thanks to minimal carbonation.

Not overly heavy with the style in mind, we're talking about Double Stouts here.

This certainly is a good beer, but I know other brewers have managed to make big sweet bourbony beers without the defect of burnt wood flavor. Of course, that is an elite bunch. I'm not unhappy with GI-BCS, but I can think of a few who have pulled this off a little better.

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Photo of mualphapiper
4.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A- Poured black an thick, like used motor oil. I enjoy strong beer, and this kind of appearance gets me excited, as it promises a strong body. The head was disappointing (there wasn't one) but the pint glass was recently hand-washed, so I'll blame soap residue.

S- Dark chocolate combined with sour-mash bourbon, including heavy amounts of strong alcohol! Back behind was milder burnt toast, dark molasses and perhaps raisins

T- Heavy, with less chocolate than on the nose, but the bourbon persists, and the raisiny sweetness comes through much stronger

M- For the thick mouth feel, this could be used motor oil!

D- Well, it was incredibly enjoyable, but as one of the strongest beers I've ever experienced, I can't say that I'd have more than two in an evening.

In summary, this was one of the best and most unique beers I've ever had. Not for the faint of heart!

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Photo of ndm502
3.95/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.

A: The beer is pitch black with no highlights at all. It pours thick and viscous, and a vigorous pour brings a thin, tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving little head on top of the beer and not much lacing.

S: Huge flavors of chocolate and bourbon that leap out of the glass, accompanied by more subtle flavors of black cherries, mince pie, blackstrap molasses, and a dusting of cocoa.

T: The bourbon flavor grows in strength throughout, from mild at first to very strong by the end. The bourbon flavor really dominates the palate, accompanied by hints of rum, port, sweet caramel, and vanilla. But these flavors are much more subtle relative to the bourbon flavor. The finish brings a welcome note of roasted coffee, that quickly gives way to smooth bourbon flavor, and a very sweet finish.

M: Rich, creamy and unctuous. Super smooth and mouth-coating.

D: This is no easy sipper, the 13% alcohol is not hidden whatsoever, and a couple of sips into it you can really begin to notice the warming alcohol, and this is slightly more noticeable as the beer warms up.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.59/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. I had this beer once before, and I had a cold. What a mistake to drink it then. I didn't think much of it, and I'm lucky I tried it again, because this beer is fantastic. A deep viscous black and a purposefully agitating pour yeilds a nice brown head, fades. Strong fumes of bourbon, vanilla, tons of roasted malt, chocolate, raisins. This beer is hot but manages to come across as soft and refined, not brash at all. Flavor is pretty spot on. Bourbon up front, plenty of vanilla and oak surrounds a full on roasted malt profile of coffee, chocolate, deep tobacco, dry smokiness, and a delicious cakey flavor. Sweet and fluffy but has a deep char and leather character as well to balance out the sweetness. Somehow the 13% ABV is kept in check and only adds more complexity to this brew. Velvet mouthfeel, full bodied but not too heavy surprisingly. Goes down the gullet all too easily for a beer this big. I'm not necessarily a fan of the "extreme beer" movement but this barrel aged beer is an example of a great achievement in brewing. Much props to sonicdescent for the trade.

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Photo of bruningmd
4.64/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: black, viscous, no head whatsoever because of abv, light ring of sticky bubbles on ring

S: Bourbon, coffee, soy sauce, charred wood, burnt malts, smokey oats, chocolate, brown sugar

T: Bourbon, warm diacetyl, dark chocolate, caramel, more bourbon

MF: Thick, rich, warm, biting alcohol on back of throat simmers and warms to a warm belly, like after drinking hot cocoa-very smooth

D: Gets smoother and smokier as it warms. Worth the price, every once in a while. Would love to drink 2 in a row, but I might end up in Mexico with a hooker in the trunk of my car. Kudos to Goose Island for making this complex and robust beer. It takes huge nuts to pack in so much flavor

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Photo of climax
4.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This classic poured the deep black I was expecting into an oversized wine glass. I didn't get much of a head out of it, but what did was brown retained excellent around the edges which seemed to take a redish hue in the light.

Nose was strong but smooth and inviting. Chocolate, whiskey, oak, sweet caramel, licorice, and subtle alcohol.

Wow what a flavor. Sweet chocolate, vanilla bean, caramel, woody along with aged whiskey. Finish was coffee and not overly dry.

Body was full as expected, a sipper for sure. The carbonation kept it crisp, while the alcohol kept it warm and warmer going down.

A whiskey lover's delight, this one does not disappoint. Great winter sipper or a beer to watch the game with....the whole game.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz single from LiquorMax in Loveland, CO for $5.

A: Inky dark black, pitch black, a few dark dark brown bubbles popped up. Not a whole lot though. Very dark and ominous looking. Excellent. Even oily looking. This is great.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, raisins, brown sugar, and lots and lots of booze. Wow this is huge on the alcohol. Has a ton of bourbon qualities, much more so than an imperial stout. I'm impressed.

T: Huge flavors, chocolate, coffee, bourbon, brown sugar, really strong roasted flavors, dark fruits, plums even. This is really an impressive beer. Huge bourbon flavors, sweet throughout. I can't really detect any hops in this, but it doesn't really suffer. This is a huge beer all around. Alcohol isn't in the way and terrible, just a nice complement. This is a fantastic beer.

M: Perfect, absolutely spot on, thick, huge and sticky, with a hint of alcohol heat, very dry as well. Excellent in the mouthfeel.

D: Sneaky, this beer is huge, and could easily be consumed quickly, and multiple, the alcohol heat does catch up fairly quick. I really wish I would have bought more. This is an exceptional beer. Highly recommended.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
99 out of 100 based on 2,590 ratings.