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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

8,199 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,199
Reviews: 2,354
rAvg: 4.58
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 1,866
Gots: 3,483 | FT: 384
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  14.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
60 IBU

(Beer added by: drewbage on 06-26-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,199 | Reviews: 2,354 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

Whoa, now, this is on tap here? Right on, CK, right on. Greg, you sure know how to make us DC-area BAs happy. This bad boy pours a dead black topped by a short-lived finger of foam that straddles the delicate line between dark tan and straight brown. The nose comprises some strong bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, anise, rich chocolate, and roasted malts. The taste is dominated by the bourbon and oak, not unlike the totalitarian government in "We" (look it up, Philistines!). The rest of the tongue finds itself inundated with chocolate syrup, molasses, maple syrup, and roasted malts. If it weren't for the o'erwhelming bourbon nonsense, this would be fantastic; instead, it's merely better than many. The body is rather hefty, with a light carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, a nice offering, but way too heavy on the bourbon. Without this lack of balance, it would be great. Almost...

TMoney2591, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Pitch black, even when thinned it's still opaque. A quater-inch of head appears for a moment and then disappears.

Smell - Over-the-top bourbon with traces of dark fruit, molasses and chocolate. Alcohol is plainly noticeable but entirely appropriate and even enjoyable.

Taste - Bourbon makes itself known immediately, though it's nicely blended with flavors of vanilla, raisins, dark chocolate and molasses. Intensely rich and flavorful. Bourbon lingers on in the finish, with a hot, warming quality in the swallow.

Mouthfeel - Thick, syrupy and coating. Moderate carbonation; more than I was expecting from a barrel-aged beer.

Notes - Exceptional stuff; one of the better bourbon barrel beers I've had.

largadeer, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of emerge077
4.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Year old bottle.

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

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

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

emerge077, Nov 03, 2006
Photo of zeff80
4.86/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a small, creamy brown head. No lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate, caramel and vanilla.

T - It tasted of butter, chocolate and roasted malt. It also had a smoky/alcohol flavor.

M - Mouthfeel was very creamy and soft. Also, quite warm because of the alcohol content.

D - Outstanding beer. The range of flavors was awesome.

zeff80, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -12.7%

JAHMUR, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

SocalKicks, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There's no doubt that Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout was aged in bourbon barrels. It's intense! The nose reeks of bourbon, wood, sweetened coconut, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel. WOW!

The appearance is beautiful as well, although the head retention could be better, But alcohol (11%!) will do that, and it does leave a very nice, initial ring of lace!

In the mouth it's full and creamy, particularly once it's initially bristling carbonation warms to become airy... and the burn of alcohol at the swallow is nice as well.

The flavor is too full to absorb in one or two sips, and only reveals itself fully about 1/4 way into the glass. There's almost too much to mention, and its flavors don't seem to appear in any order. So here's the list: whiskey (not necessarily bourbon, but there's definitely some! And I think also notes of something more salty, like an Islay Scotch), delicate fruit (apple, light red berries), cocoanut, hot alcohol, chocolate (as in German chocolate cake or raw, melted milk chocolate), molasses, coffee, spice (from the alcohol), dark fruit/the skins of dark fruit, dark red wine, pineapple/mango, dark caramel, smoke, wood, char. Stunning! But it is a sipper... there's way too much alcohol to take this in, apart from savoring it very slowly. It's so good, in fact, that the smell alone sholud keep you busy for quite some time. Overall, this is one full-throttle beer that's exceptionally satisfying, rich and drenched in alcohol! And although you CAN'T really drink more than one, it scores big because you will want to go and grab another bottle for another night!

NeroFiddled, May 18, 2005
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%

Jason, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears opaque black burnt malt color forms an oozing tan chocolate head leaves fine specks of lacing after the oil like pour. Aroma is primarily charred oak vanilla with dark chocolate whiskey barrel aging is here on multiple levels vinous fruit alcohol almost takes out some un needed nose hairs. Flavor is big almost too big half the bottle is an ample serving size for me the vanilla charred oak tone is great in moderation dark chocolate and espresso coffee with leafy tobacco like edge to it all with fusel alcohol finish it doesn't hide the fact that it's 11% alcohol by volume very well. Mouthfeel has a Chewy texture low carbontion as it warms it's a bit cloying on the palate. Drinkabiliy is limited for me, it challenges the senses but sessionability is key sometimes if looking for an extreme barrel aged creation you have found a full flavored one.

WVbeergeek, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

nickfl, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pop the cap and a whiff of mystery just hits my nose, and the bottle is a foot from my face. Pours pitch black with just a very small amount of tan head on the top. Nose hints of vanilla. A nice little tease for the senses really. Flavor is thick and complex. Vanilla, thick malts, and a load of body just come together. Thick liquid feel and a low carbonation still feel nice. Drinkable? This is more an interesting sipper. Something to ponder, and probably something that could use a few more years to mellow and chill.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
4.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2007 release.

Pours black as an oil slick with a 1/2 finger of burnt mocha colored head. This eventually fizzles out into a still, dead looking black surface that reminds of the lifeless eyes of a Great White shark. Lacing is relegated to a spotty smattering at first and then eventually a fantastic looking oily brown residue that coats the side of the glass. The aroma is OMG! huge bourbon notes straight up my nose and other places.. Aaaaargh! I've never had a beer burn my eyeballs before! In all seriousness, the bourbon notes do absolutely dominate the nose but somehow I can still pick up some of the Stout notes, including chocolate, smoke, roast, and char.

The taste is just as boozy with bourbon notes as the aroma and it's no wonder that I put it in a snifter. Overpowering notes of oak and vanilla mingle with the molassass, roasted malts, chocolate, espresso, smoke, and soy sauce character of the Stout. There's a ton in there but it's all just a bit unbalanced towards the bourbon side right now. The mouthfeel is right up there with the deepest for me (Dark Lord & Expedition)and is just absolutely thick and chewy as can be. That 13% is present but gives off more warmth than it does heat and combines with the bourbon notes to finish things with a bit of a hot punch.

Wow! This is just a beast of a beer in every capacity. Huge bourbon? Huge Stout flavors? Huge alcohol? Check! Check! and Check! My only gripe with this beer is that right now, the bourbon overrides some of those wonderful Stout characteristics a little too much. I'm most definitley looking forward to aging a bottle of this for a year and revistiing it again.

Kegatron, May 21, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.43/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 release poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a touch of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with a very thick roasted malt character and a strong flavor of chocolate. Then the taste of bourbon barrel aging asserts itself along with a mild alcohol sting. There are background flavors of coffee and dark fruit. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Very smooth and a little crisp but extremely viscous, as heavy body as I've ever experienced in a beer, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, slightly filling, very strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a very good big stout worth drinking for as long as you can handle it.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of russpowell
4.93/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This 2006 bottle is courtesy of BARLEYWINEO

Pours (into a snifter) pitch black with one finger of mocha colored head that rapidly drops away. Some lacing & zero head retention

S: Bourbon, raisins vanilla & dark chocolate

T: Rich chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, raisins & a little booze up front. Dryness, molasses & charred oak show themselves as this warms up. Finishes oaky, with loads of chocolate, a whisper of booze, vanilla, raisins & molasses

MF: Rich, sticky, oily, chewy & slick with almost no carbonation

Drinks great for the abv, but more than 2 & I think I'd need a nap. One of the better double stouts out there IMO

russpowell, Aug 09, 2007
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a spectacular imperial stout. one of the biggest ive ever encountered. on tap at j. ryans in syracuse, and served in a pint glass for 8 bucks! was sure id never get to try this after the recent sale, but got one from the beer gods. the pour is really black and sticky looking, with only a film of dark dark brown head. the nose is insane, tons of charcoal and wood, this spent some time in a serious barrel. theres also some dried fruit, raisins or something, and fresh tobacco, dark chocolate, vanilla, and loads of booze. the flavor is just as complex and intimidating as the nose, with alcohol and cocoa being key notes. old well used oak is in play as well, as is some pungent vanilla beans, lots of redisual sugars and black licorice. this is really one of the most potent and memorable beers ive had, worth all the hype. the feel is pretty darn heavy, massive body, decent but light carbonation, and a really sticky sludgy feel, like pine pitch or taffy. the whole outside of my glass was like super glue from the little bit that spilled over during the pout. overall an impressive beer, this couldnt be anyones daily drink, but it sure makes a special occasion, i am grateful to have gotten to try this, and i certainly got my fill from that pint. a luxurious and daring brew, a must try if you can get ahold of it.

StonedTrippin, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was an '07 acquired in a trade w/ bgramer -thanks man! -shared at the stout tasting '10. poured chilled into a 1/2 pint.

The stout looks like black coffee with translucent clarity and has a mild brown ring of beads after the pour. The lace is spotty. The smell of this aged stout is a thing of beauty with the wood and malt producing some beautiful blended aroma of coffee and slight sherry/custard notes with a mild element of alcohol and subtle oak w/ mild bourbon. the feel is strong, lots of wood and alcohol with a subtle sweet element and strong wood presence, mild resinous texture with semi-dry finish.

The flavor has lively blend of vanilla, bourbon from the barrel aging and it pops! The taste lives up to the name as the cocoa and bourbon taste is sweet woody and gently toasted with vanilla from the oak playing off the intense dark malt flavors with a slight coffee in a mild degree, but the bourbon is pretty high in the flavor as expected even after three years in the cellar. I consider this a world class beer, wonderful use of barrels and still with all the alcohol in the flavor it has a high drinkability quotient for me - a crazy good bourbon barrel stout -I would love to have it in one of its other incarnations.

Slatetank, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.72/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just drank a bottle from 2003 - it seems that first batch didn't even have real labels! They instead used a Honker's Ale label put on inside out, and then printed Bourbon County Stout in cash register style font. Drank out of a Goose Island snifter at Sheffield's Pub in Chicago.

A: Pitch black, solid dark brown head with decent retention but little lacing. Swishing the glass results in a molasses-like oozing down the sides of the glass.

S: Bourbon and oakiness were predominant. Some vanilla and caramel hints. Delicious!

T: Was exceptionally smooth while chilled, but the bourbon really came out as the glass warmed up. Sweeter than newly bottled BCS, with more malt presence.

M: Thick, creamy, and a little bit sticky.

D: At 13%+, you can only have maybe two of these in an evening. It looks like the 2008 is only 11% which might make it a little more consumable - but this aged bottle was one and done; although I can't imagine many beers that would be a worthy follow-up.

Bottom line: Grab some bottles, drink a few, cellar the rest!

MasterSki, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks: solid black, thick, unyielding, with a solid slab of cocoa-tan foam resting well above.

Smell: whiskey, charcoal, leather and molasses, rich and twisted with further flickers of carob and anise,...heady and delirious. Entices one to taste...

On the tongue: thick and full, all the way, slick, tasty, but...damn, this is a doozy! Wow, one taste, and it sticks and lingers...oooh, la, la, la...and, every taste lasts a long time, it stands so thick on the palate and in the memory, that one needn't return so soon. but, who can resist? I taste again, and it's thicker and richer than before...amazing! A bona-fide runner up to Dark Lord, for thickest and chewiest IS....and so slick with the whiskey effect, which I'm especially susceptible to.

I need a case of this, not one 12 ounce bottle. There's too much flavor here to sit in so small a vessell.

feloniousmonk, Apr 09, 2005
Photo of jlindros
4.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had the 08 and 07 and loved both. Now I get to try the 09 and finally review it. Got this one in a very quick and great trade by Lunch.

A: Screw top, really guys?! Pours with almost no head, a few bubbles here and there, but so goes the style. But the head that does come rings around the sides of the glass and leaves a lacing. The pitch black color gives midnight a bad name. I think I feel the souls of mortals all around being sucked into this pit of darkness and light void. Even at the very bottom where it thins, no light escapes and I think it was born from Nazgul!

N: Well it starts off with a very light NOTHING. It actually starts with heavy bourbon and oak. A sweet oaky bourbon aroma just dances out of the glass and gently bashes the heck out of your nose! This is followed by some rich dark stout malts, some roasted, some chocolate, then some sweet caramel. A touch of vanilla rounds it off to an overall awesomeness that smells better than, ummm, something that smells great. A touch of alcohol comes out as the glass warms.

T: Super rich thickness that makes crude oil blush. It's thicker than my boss (just kidding), and richer than Bill Gates. A luscious sweet malt flavor starts to grow, but is battled back by more heavy oak and bourbon flavors. A touch of dark fruit comes through, but barely. Then comes some more sweet caramel and perhaps molasses. Another wave of chocolate hits with a slight creamy flavor accompanied by vanilla and more caramel. Think everything sweet that tastes awesome and throw it together in one glass. A touch of alcohol flavor, but barely. This this is dangerous being 13% and drinks like 8-9%.

M: Very little carbonation, but so thick I think it's absorbing my mouth into it to become one entity. Very velvety smooth and heavy. Still rich and smooth. A little bit of alcohol burn and warmth but barely.

F: Still pretty sweet and super thick. It never really leaves as it leaves a huge thick coat on the mouth. It leaves a new layer like my body created a new layer of skin, but only super thick beer. A slight lingering bourbon flavor, but it's mostly the chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. The crazy dark heavy richness of this makes Ozzy look like a church. OK, enough with the bad reference, but this beer is ridiculously thick and luscious, as well as delicious! Thanks again Paul.

jlindros, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage poured from a bottle into a tulip. Beer is black and has no head. There are a few tiny brown bubbles that form on the edge of the glass. There is minimal lacing on the glass. Looks like a flat stout. When you swirl the beer you get legs where the alcohol separates from the beer. Wow...

Aroma is like liquor, I suppose. Really strong. There is some sweetness. Can really smell the alcohol.

Beer is thick and has a great strong liquor presence to it. There is a strong roast character that comes up after the initial sweetness and alcohol of the bourbon. There is decent connectivity between the two flavors. The roast is not an aftertaste but a really late back flavor, there is no aftertaste. Second taste, the carbonation plays on the tongue a little, if there were more it may be better. Overall drinkability is good and so is mouthfeel. I want to try the 2009 for comparison.

drabmuh, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of oline73
4.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into goblet. This bottle is the 2009 version.

Appearance: Almost black with a little light coming through at the edges. A finger of dark tan head goes away completely.

Smell: Sweet smooth bourbon with hints of roast, dark fruit, vanilla, and dark chocolate.

Taste: This is a very smooth beer. Lots of bourbon up front with a nice warm alcohol burn. Hints of oak, dark fruit, and vanilla. The finish is warm and a bit bitter.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth with mild carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: The age has smoothed this beer out even more. The balance is fantastic and I will definitely have more in the future.

oline73, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
4.55/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First had: bottle from John's Marketplace, Portland, OR
'08 vintage, consumed at Beermongers in Dec. '11

Strolling into John's with my wife on our Portland beercation, I gravitated in an almost zen-like fashion directly to a shelf that had 4 bottles of this beer front and center for all the world to see, and I quickly snatched up two of them...then promptly returned to get the other two.

Being sure to share a bit with our bartender at Beermongers, we poured this one into a snifter. Color looked black, but was in fact the darkest of browns, with ruby tints, and a bubbly ringlet for a head. Big time bourbon in the aroma, along with scents of roasted malts and semi-sweet chocolate. Huge complexity in the taste, with obvious notes of bourbon-drenched oak up front, accompanied by some alcohol warmth. Mid-palate brought in notes of chocolate-covered cherries, dark malts, vegetal vanilla bean. A huge coffee profile in the finish. Incredibly smooth mouthfeel, full-bodied and robustly chewy. Highly drinkable, and highly recommended...if you can find it.

Rifugium, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of WesWes
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thin brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has an incredibly warm black malt and bourban whiskey scent that is quite potent. It boasts of burnt caramel and toffee. The taste is great. It has a very smooth imperial stout flavor with a nice bourban flavor in the finish. It's rich and powerful with loads of flavor. It reminds me of an oaked porter I once made. The wood taste really comes through. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very impressive beer with lots of character. It's loaded with malts and topped off with a solid bourban taste that really compliments the malt bill. This is a good drinker.

WesWes, May 08, 2007
Photo of mendvicdog
5/5  rDev +9.2%

mendvicdog, Oct 01, 2012
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 8,199 ratings.