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Bourbon County Brand Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

9,962 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,962
Reviews: 2,613
rAvg: 4.6
pDev: 9.57%
Wants: 2,220
Gots: 5,066 | FT: 528
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
View: Beers (208) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 9,962 | Reviews: 2,613 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rifugium
4.55/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.63/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of mdfb79
4.64/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Thanks to Lunch for throwing this in as an extra in our trade!

a - Pours a very dark black, not letting in any light. Little carbonation and a little bit of a brown colored head that lasts for about a minute.

s - Wow, smells amazing. Lots of bourbon here, also a wood smell. A hint of chocolate as well.

t - Tastes just like it smells; delicious. A great bourbon taste, with caramel and a little bit of chocolate as well. Also taste the oak a bit.

m - Smooth and creamy, thick body, small amount of carbonation.

d - I really enjoyed this beer. It's one of the better bourbon stouts I've had and if you are a fan of whiskey like me, this is a definite must-try. Because of the 13% ABV I wouldn't drink too many at once but it sure tastes great.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.9/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Was surprised to see this on tap at a local dive-bar in downtown Baltimore... only $6 and they gave you at least a 12 oz. pour at least (this is compared to a pint of Yuengling going for $5)... quite a steal. Maybe not the best beer to start the night... this one is a doozy and one of the stronger beers I've tried. Yes I know it's 14.5% ABV, but DFH's offerings of this alcohol seem to go down a lot smoother. Anyways... a thick beer reeking of bourbon taste, with a strong alcohol bite. Packs a punch and had some good taste, but just too boozy for my own opinion.

Photo of jwc215
4.37/5  rDev -5%
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!

Photo of kojevergas
4.15/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 fl oz 2012 vintage brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in me gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Expectations are through the roof.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a tan floater of nice cream and thickness. Retention is bad, but hey, it's 15%. Body colour is a solid jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Roast, bourbon, oak, dark malts, caramel, and cream. An above average strength aroma.

T: Heavy bourbon and oak, caramel, vanilla, dark malts, coffee/java, and hints of vanilla. Impeccably balanced. Really well executed. Subtle and very complex. The alcohol doesn't come through at all. Really an incredible brew. Built near perfectly. Rich and delightful.

Mf: Perfect thickness and coarseness. Smooth and wet, aiding the flavours. Great palate presence.

Dr: Obscenely drinkable for the ABV. I'd definitely have this again. Would be good with some age on it. I'd buy this by the case. Lives up to the hype.

A

-
2013 vintage on 03.14.14:

The coffee notes I remember are absent, and this vintage comes across much less complex than I remember. I love the bourbon.

B+

-

2013 vintage on 04.18.14:

A: Pours a predictable head of average retention. Body colour is a perfect opaque jet black.

Sm: Lovely bourbon notes with just enough char. Burnt dark malts. Chocolate. Sweetness. Nice oak and vanilla presence. A pleasant aroma of mild to moderate strength. Quite appealing.

T/Mf: The barrel is very well integrated into the base beer. The bourbon notes are powerful and evocative, and it has just enough of a faint fusel burn. Dark malts and chocolate malts lend it a dark sticky sweet base. Molasses.

Complex and intricate. Very well balanced. An incredibly deep and tasty beer. High flavour duration and intensity.

Perfect carbonation. Smooth, silky, creamy, and wet. Unrefreshing.

Dr: She's a sipper, alright. Definitely worth buying. A treat of a bourbon barrel aged beer. This one has earned its reputation. I'll continue to revisit this beer in future years; it's worth it.

High B+

-

2013 vintage.

HEAD: Gorgeous rich tan colour with a shiny complexion. Half a finger in width initially, but it recedes completely within 30 seconds. I’ve seen better retention.

BODY: Opaque solid dark black in colour.

Appears aptly carbonated. Overall, it isn’t unique or special by today's standards.

AROMA: Bourbon through and through. Subtle hints of vanilla and oak abound. Not the toasty oak I love. Not very wood-y, which I personally like.

The bourbon notes are definitely dominant, but they don’t overwhelm the base beer. There’s ample malty sweetness – probably from dark malts and chocolate malts – but what I’m really missing is a roasted barley presence, which would really bring this together nicely. Don’t look for hops or yeast here – it’s all about the malts. As it warms, it comes into focus more: molasses, caramel, and kisses of faint burnt sugars and barrel char. Additionally, I’m finding coconut – which is a difficult note to pull off (even Avery Brewing can’t seem to manage it).

This aroma suggests a sticky sweet brew with a definitive bourbon barrel presence. The highlight for me is definitely the coconut presence, which is what I think sets this beer apart.

It’s a pleasant, inviting, rich aroma of moderate strength, and never seems boozy or overbearing. If I had it blind I’d probably guess it was 11% ABV.

Mf: Sticky and slightly syrupy. Full-bodied. Thick. Not too filling. Smooth. Wet. Even with the subtle char and burnt notes, the texture never feels harsh. Near perfect carbonation. Plenty of heft and weight on the palate. Soft. Palate presence is good.

Unrefreshing.

More of a roasted barley presence would lend it needed dryness/coarseness.

T: Simpler and more shallow than the 2009 and 2012 vintages

Roasted barley is sorely absent.

The coconut is a highlight, blending well with the dark/chocolate malt core. Molasses and faint char set off the barrel.

Not a very wood-y brew, which I like. It does have a bourbon-soaked oak presence, but I prefer a more toasted oak character. The bourbon is lovely, evoking genuine vanilla but no whisky spice. ABV isn't noticeable.

It’s a well-balanced beer but isn’t as masterfully and carefully constructed as I remember. Build is cohesive, but not gestalt; I could change/add individual notes and it wouldn’t disrupt the flavour profile. Not as deep as it could be.

Remarkable subtlety and complexity. Coconut lends it nuance. I’ve had far more intricate imperial stouts, but this is hard not to like.

O: The best Goose Island beer I’ve had. This is the definitive bourbon barrel aged stout, but I can’t help but think that other breweries have taken what Goose Island pioneered and used it in more effective ways.

B+

Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm unimpressed with this beer's look: Even with a violent pour, there is nearly no head. And what's there, dies to a single layer of minute bubbles on the edge. Nearly black in color, no light shines through (even on the edges).

Strong alcohol smells of sherry and port. Sweet and rich to the nose, almost as if there's an apertif added to this beer.

It tastes like a port-induced dark beer. It doesn't have the typical stout flavors of coffee and chocolate. Lots of sweet plum (like Japanese plum wine) and no bitterness. The swallow and aftertaste shows off the high alcohol content--very warming to the tongue and stomach. Rich like cream in the body, almost oily. Very low carbonation.

This is an after-dinner sipping beer. I believe it is closer to taste and feel to an overpowered barley wine. It's like no other stout I've ever had. All this said, it's very tasty but not for the faint of heart. Worth seeking out for the unusual flavors present.

Photo of WesWes
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barzigkin for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown to black with no head. The aroma is bourbon, molasses, roasted malt and a little bit of soy sauce. The flavor is roasted malt, chocolate, oak, bourbon and some light soy sauce. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation and a hot alcohol presence. Very good beer.

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -13%

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

This beer is a pitch black color, with hardly any head created by the gentle pouring of this beer into a tulip glass. The aroma is rich with notes of Bourbon, vanilla, a strong oak character, and woody tannins. The aroma is very appealing with a liquor-like alcohol note to it as well. The taste is quite thick, definitely a dessert, rich malt character that is dominated by the oak contributions; Bourbon, vanillin, and a slight tannic oakiness, and a definite buttery oak note. There are notes of coffee and roast malt here, but the rich buttery oak character dominates the palate. This beer is so rich and full, really a meal in a glass, it took me a while to chew my way through this beer, which was perfect for my last beer of the night.

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -13%

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

11/19/08- Purcahsed at Total Wine in Lincoln, CA.
$18.99 4-pack price tag.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, 2008 annual release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- About the thickest pour I have seen from a beer. Pitch black in color. About a 1/2 inch head on first pour...quickly evaporates soon after. Leaves behind some spotty watery lace markings.

Smell- Huge nose of bittersweet chocolate, mild fresh coffee, lots of bourbon, a bit of woody barrel notes and even some dark fruits...all paired nicely with super roasted malt which almost has a light salty nose to it.

Taste- Again, lots of stuff going on. It's mostly nice sweet highly roasted chocolate malt with a shot of bourbon on the side. Almost...key word is "almost" too much bourbon. Really pushes the limit, but just barely doesn't cross the line. Light coffee notes and some dates and figs mingling about. Hops are here, and mildly bitter. Intense.

Mouthfeel- Very thick, very viscous. Not quite the motor oil everone talks about...but still probably the thickest beer I have tried. Considerably creamy and smmoth with a lower end carbonation. Aftertaste of candied bourbon-chocolate and a very light bitter hops bite. Definite full mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Still haven't found my perfect 5 beer. I've seen about a handful of really strong stouts that have looked a bit better. But this is about as close as it gets. I'm glad I have a few 4-packs...I may even try to grab another couple....definitely worth $5 a bottle. A must try if seen...or be regretful the rest of your life.

Photo of wrightst
3.25/5  rDev -29.3%

Photo of orangesol
4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap on three separate occasions this year, the last of which being this one at the brewhouse restaurant.

A - Pours pitch black with a small half finger tall tan head leaving very tiny trails of lace down the top part of the glass.

S - Smells of melted milk chocolate, dark roast, fresh vanilla beans, sweet molasses and plenty of warm bourbon booze. This is simply intoxicating.

T - Starts off with a big dose of milk chocolate sweetness slowly giving way to hints of warm vanilla, dark fruit, molasses and dark roast. The bourbon heat is ever present, never really fading away. Finish is sweet with a bit of warm booze, lingering on the palate long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel with lots of residual sweetness and mild booze burn. The alcohol only grows as it sits in the glass.

O - Definitely one of the better stouts out there and well deserving of the attention it garners. Worth seeking out if you have the chance. I will get my fill while I can and I hope to see this more often in the future.

Photo of Gavage
4.92/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: black in color with a thin dark brown 1/2" head that broke apart quickly.

Smell: loads of roasted tones, dark chocolate, some coffee, vanilla, and bourbon come through to the nose.

Taste: deep roasted malt flavor with dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, soft coffee tones, and a very mild bourbon flavor. Alcohol is noticeable and warming. Bitterness is nicely balancing but not too impacting on other flavors.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish with some dryness late. Aftertaste is long lasting. There is a bit of a velvety feel on the tongue too.

Overall: this one was very smooth and dangerously easy to drink. Great balanced flavor and as it warms the flavors really come through. Great beer.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 2007 Edition, consumed Feb. 4, 2008, 13% alc.

A: Pours a motor oil black, with a small thin tan head, which surprisingly stays around for a long time, though it looks kind of flat on the first pour.

S: Smells like a shot of whiskey, without all the heavy alcohol, you get the richness of the wood odour and the vanilla.

T: Heavy bourbon on the first sip, probably the most bourbon dominated strong stout I have ever had, much more than Firestone 11 or Angel's Share. Vanilla bean, caramel, molasses there as well. Some coffee and roasted malt flavours too, but they are light compared with the whiskey which dominates the flavour.

M: Endlessly smooth and rich, not cloying at all in its sweetness, one of the most full-bodied beers ever.

D: A fantastic brewing and aging accomplishment, very tasty stuff, but it's definitely a sipper, a beer you should take your time with to fully enjoy.

Edit - Having an '08 on 2/13/10, the flavour is just nuts. Huge whiskey/vanilla, dark roasted malts with an elegant alcoholic, but not boozy mouthfeel. Editing taste from a 4.5 to a 5. What is it with me and early February and BCS?

Photo of dbrauneis
4.45/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Edition - Bottled on 07/03/2006

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color, probably one of the darkest beers I have ever poured. The beer has an extremely thin dark mocha head which quickly reduces to an extremely thin ring at the edges of the glass. Very little lacing is observed.

S: Some dark roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, and just a hint of bourbon. This smells great and has great complexity to the aroma.

T: Surprisingly, it tastes even better than it smells. The flavor starts out a little sweet with some dark fruit (possibly just fig) and some lovely dark roasted malts. Then you get the caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate flavors. After that, you get just a light hint of what seems to be coconut. Finally, the bourbon flavors come out in the finish - lots of vanilla and oak coupled with some bourbon smoothness.

M: Medium to full bodied with very light amounts of carbonation. Extremely smooth, almost velvety.

O: This is a really special beer, one that you want to enjoy but wouldn't want to drink every day - it might just ruin your ability to enjoy lesser beers. It is a great sipping beer and one that I am thoroughly enjoying. Glad that I was able to get an aged version. There is a lot of complexity in the aroma and the taste and it appears that by aging, the harshness of the alcohol has been completely diminished (it is hardly even noticeable).

Photo of superspak
4.62/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2011 vintage bottled 11/11/2011. Pours viscous pitch black color with a small tan head that fades away to a ring of lace quickly. A fair amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big bourbon, caramel, dark chocolate, toffee, roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, and a touch of herbal, and booze. Damn nice and complex aromas, and hardly boozy at all. Taste of huge dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, molasses, roasted malt, butterscotch, and a touch of herbal earthiness. Hardly any bitterness noticed on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, bourbon, and molasses on the finish for a bit. Fantastic balance of flavors; with absolutely no cloying sweetness. Light-medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a huge creamy and lush mouthfeel as expected. Definitely a sipping beer, but is surprisingly smooth for 14.5%; with only a warming alcohol presence on the finish. Overall this is a phenomenal barrel aged imperial stout. As it warmed up it got much more smooth and complex.

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 9,962 ratings.