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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,066 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,066
Reviews: 392
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 8.71%
Wants: 1,439
Gots: 376 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bourbon County Brand Stout spiced with fresh vanilla beans.

(Beer added by: rudylaw on 11-08-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,066 | Reviews: 392 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by perrymarcus:
Photo of perrymarcus
4.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

the pour is what you'd expect from any imperial stout worth its salt: impenetrable jet black. yields an expectedly short lived 1/2" mocha toned head.

the nose on this is mouth-wateringly fantastic. really just no other way to put it. big, bold notes of vanilla, bourbon, roasted malt, and chocolate.

the sumptuous bouquet of the aroma is every bit matched by the wealth of flavor in the taste. the vanilla is a major player but integrates well with the other elements (bourbon, chocolate, roastiness) without overwhelming them. as usual i love the trademark strong bourbon presence from this series. secondary notes of molasses and maybe a hint of caramel. sweet but not cloyingly so; similarly, the alcohol is present but well-hidden at 13% ABV. full bodied mouthfeel with about average carbonation.

overall, so damned good. even better than i remember it from the american craft beer fest last year... super flavorful and nicely balanced. we're talking candidate for best beer i've had territory here. my biggest criticism is that it's not slated to be brewed again.

perrymarcus, Feb 25, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of nihiloexnihil
5/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle at the DC Goose Island Migration Event, at both Churchkey and Meridian Pint.

A: Black as night, like every stout ever made. Imposing. Very thin mocha head. Great lacing.

S: Ridiculous. Mellow vanilla notes, BCBS bourbon notes, incredibly complex. Maple? Smells like Utopias from the bottle.

T: OMFG. Have you even had BCBS? I want you to take that incredible flavor you know and love, but you know that kind of sweet imbalance that happens at the end of regular, fresh BCBS? I want you to imagine pillow-y vanilla/marshmallow flavors picking you up, balancing everything out, and carrying you off into vanilla Wonderland.

M: Thick, chewy, ridiculous. Everything you love about Bourbon County, and everything that makes you wonder "how do they make a beer taste and feel like this?"

O: I never thought I would have this beer, and between the two DC events, I had almost a full 22oz bottle to myself. I couldn't stop ordering it. This is the best beer I've ever had. Bar none. I've had every single BCBS variant, including Rare. This blows them all away. I hope I get to have it again someday.

I don't want to be that guy, but seriously: give up on trying to find a bottle of Rare for yourself and track this down. I had King Henry alongside this beer, and it made KH taste thin and diminished its bourbon flavors. In fact, there were four of us, and everyone agreed: better than Rare, better than KH, better than Bramble/Cherry Rye/Coffee. Unbelievable, 5/5, my only perfect review.

nihiloexnihil, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of aszatk01
3.25/5  rDev -29.2%

aszatk01, Sep 04, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -7.4%

tectactoe, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of Schlais
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Schlais, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev -12.9%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
5/5  rDev +8.9%

SkiBum22, Feb 19, 2014
Photo of farundrpar
4.5/5  rDev -2%

farundrpar, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of newk340
4.08/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: a nice dark pour, with a classic tan head that quickly dissipates leaving little-if-any lacing.

S: heavy on the bourbon aromas, faint hints of desserty sweetness in the background.

T: extremely bourbonsih in the front, a dark chocolate middle, and a sweet vanilla ice cream finish.

MF/D: silky smooth, but the overpowering bourbon made this a sipper. very hot, would do well with a couple years of cellaring under its belt...

newk340, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of jamato3000
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

jamato3000, Nov 15, 2014
Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -2%

warnerry, Nov 29, 2013
Photo of marvin213
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black as the pitch with a nicely tinged malty top, it beckons. Head retention--albeit thin--is most impressive. Nose is warm bourbon. I sense alcohol over vanilla. I must admit that's disappointing.

It tastes strong, but smooth. It's warm like a soup. Sip after sip, that thin heady veil stays constant. The taste is really secondary to how this thing feels. I can't really taste vanilla in a bean or extract sort of way, but I feel a creamy, alluring slickness that transports an ever so sweet alcohol burn all over my cheek linings. Gum-smacking post-sip gets a little of that vanillaness!

I wasn't too big a fan of the normal Bourbon County Brand, in large part because of how big, bad, and bourbony it is. I thought the Coffee was oh-so-appropriate to make it a two-pronged sharpness, and this Vanilla really turns everything into a sweet, silky sting. Good strong stout + bid bad bourbon; thrown in a slew of quality vanilla beans and I feel all warm and fuzzy.

marvin213, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of Callmecoon
5/5  rDev +8.9%

Callmecoon, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was suprised/lucky to find this bomber for $13.99 @ Peeskill Beer and soda, Peekskill, NY, a few days ago. 2101 version. Bottled 11-5-10 on the label

Pours black, no light shining through, next to no head, does leave a mocha collar and some tiny bubble film.

Super dense nose of dark chocolate, vanilla, smoke, bourbon and dark grains.

Full flavor stout. Tons of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and sludgy goodness.

Thick, chewy and viscous.

World class cellar material, sipper, night capper.

Billolick, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4.68/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the vanilla with a lot of roasted malt and chocolate notes also coming through. Overall, the beer smells very nice.

The flavor is just as good and maybe even a little bit better. I get a lot of vanilla as the primary flavor, but the chocolate compliments the vanilla very well. There is also the roasted malt and a little bit of oak in the flavor.

Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Overall, not as good as the coffee, which is one of my favorite beers of all time, but I enjoyed it more than the Rare and the regular BCS.

Mora2000, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of BrandonDZ
5/5  rDev +8.9%

BrandonDZ, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of 1Adam12
4.5/5  rDev -2%

1Adam12, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of fo1ksguitar
4.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

3oz sample from bottle at The Stable in St. Louis.

Had this alongside a similar sampling of BCCBS. Pours very dark with almost no head. Aroma is good, subtle hints of vanilla and bourbon. Taste is fabulous, the vanilla sweetness balances out the bourbon hints very well. The back end is a little sweet, but I like my IS to finish that way. It feels very smooth on the mouth, the hotness is very mellow in this BCS version.

On a side note, my brother-in-law mixed his coffee and vanilla BCS samples together and it was surprisingly amazing! Listen up GI, your next great idea!

fo1ksguitar, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of bsp77
3.95/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Let's start the New Year right, shall we?

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Black, thick looking motor oil with a cappuccino head that attempts to form but mostly fails (copied this from my standard Bourbon County review since no difference).

Smell: Oak, vanilla and booze - the addition of Vanilla Beans made this even more Bourbon like, but a little less complex. Light molasses and chocolate as well.

Taste: Strong Bourbon taste from the vanilla, oak and alcohol. Some molasses and and chocolate as well, but pushed behind the wall of Bourbon.

Feel: Very thick and smooth, but seems more boozy than the original Bourbon County.

Drinkability: Great tasting Bourbon-aged beer that is a little too harsh to enjoy too much. I personally prefer the Coffee version the most, as the coffee tempered the Bourbon and actually made the beer more complex and approachable than the base beer. The Vanilla did the opposite, it accentuated the Bourbon and simplified the base beer. Glad I tried, and really did enjoy it a lot, but expected a little more after the Coffee.

Side note: Should have spent the $45 on the Rare as well. Oh well.

bsp77, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of standardcherry
3.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle served into a snifter. Originally had it in November 2012, but writing this review from notes.

A: Pours pitch black and thick. Flat. Only a few bubbles of head.
S: No vanilla at all. Smells great otherwise, lots of chocolate and bourbon.
T: Wow this is VERY boozy and sweet. Lots of chocolate and bourbon again, but not very balanced.
M: Nice for a BA stout, thick/syrupy. Very boozy though which detracts a bit from it in my opinion.
O: This beer has fallen off (at least my bottle has). I did not get any vanilla at all, just a hot and chocolatey bourbon brew. Good, but not worth what people ask for it.

standardcherry, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of deebo
2.33/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Black as night without any sign of head
S-Vanilla and playdoh aroma, some alcohol bite
T-Vanilla and bourbon is the strongest flavors tasted. No hop character. A vapor like ethanol bite is also very present. Taste is more 1-dimensional as compared to the BCS I had. More vanilla is tasted towards the bottom of drink.
M-Not as thick as BCS, but mouthfeel is very heavy.
D-Obviously a sipper. This is hard to drink, alcohol bite is distracting.
O-Too much like a whiskey and not enough like an Imperial stout. 13% ABV but drinks like it is 20. Could be improved if this bite was reduced.

deebo, May 15, 2011
Photo of MNMike
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

MNMike, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of JitsuBrew
4.75/5  rDev +3.5%

JitsuBrew, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of mjtiernan
4.5/5  rDev -2%

mjtiernan, Mar 05, 2012
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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,066 ratings.