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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon County Brand Stout spiced with fresh vanilla beans.

Added by rudylaw on 11-08-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 414 | Ratings: 1,246
Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

For those haters that say the Vanilla has faded on this one they are crazy! Tons of Vanilla still there, this is still an amazing beer! Purchased this bottle along with many others of its caliber for a small group tasting and it was definitely one of the stars!

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Hits those black notes, brown head, 1/2". Aroma was bourbon first, then vanilla, then some roast and barrel notes.

Taste was a syrupy, thick, sweet, marshmallow like existence (much sweeter than any other variation, even bramble). The sweetness eats up some of the alcohol hotness this would have at 13%, does it very nicely. Its very good, but hardly a novel concept anymore in the near 6 years since its release. Carbonation soft but appropriate.

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Photo of Nachojon
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best stouts I have ever had. The balance of vanilla with the bourbon heat. Such a smooth beer with no aspect of the flavor or feel overwhelming the other.

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Photo of Jaycase
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Has held up very well in its 5+ years. No alcohol burn whatsoever. Just vanilla marshmallow fudge goodness. Carbonation held up quite well too. Having had VR recently I'd take a 5+ year old version of this over the VR if given the choice.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Goose Island Rare Day. A special treat. This beer has aged well and is well rounded. The vanilla really has faded into a background note as part of the barrel treatment. The body is fudgy and warming but minimal bourbon heat. Very balanced and rich.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Motor-oil thick black sludge with deep brown silk head. Aroma is softer than the regular- the chocolate/whiskey/wood notes are now pleasant, softened by a moderate vanilla note. Flavor is also toned down compared to BCBS, probably to make way for a warm real vanilla bean entourage. The amount of vanilla is perfect: strong enough to notice without searching, but not overpowering/monotone, even if it does take the overall flavor profile back a step from the original. The malt, or perhaps if the barrels were charred, adds a good dark chocolate bitterness, but there is also significant sweetness to it, made more noticeable by the vanilla, or at least it triggers memories of all the other sweet vanilla things we eat. No trace of alcohol. The mouthfeel is as close to perfect as it can get. SO rich and thick, barely a pulse of carbonation without becoming flat, or even undercarbonated. Only calling it full bodied would be an insult.
Awesome beer, not as crazily overpowering and harsh as the original, but still bold. The vanilla is great- authentic, fresh, well balanced, well incorporated. It's earned its spot among the greats.

Note: Not to brag, but this was a perfectly aged bottle from 2010- nearly the full 5 years of age recommended and well treated that whole time. I had a younger bottle a while ago, it had a bit of the harsh alcohol edge to it, the level of vanilla was *approaching* immature (too much), and it wasn't quite as thick, but the rest of the review stands true.

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Photo of deadsincebirth
4.98/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Black as night. Smells of big bourbon and slight vanilla backend. Taste is of bourbon, chocolate and a suprising vanilla backend that just grows. Feel is of wonderful vanilla that lasts for days. Overall I can't believe the vanilla has that kind of staying power and the beer has morphed into a balanced phenomenon. Seek this out!!

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Photo of mportnoy
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Phenomenal. Wonderful blend of vanilla, bourbon, and barrel. Can't believe this beer is 5 years old. Has aged beautifully and feels like it still has more years to go!

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Photo of Bogart2930
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it and it was great but... Spilt this with a friend and first pour was amazing, like best I've ever had good, second pour vanilla sweetness started taking over. If your into that thing it's perfect for you but it started being too much after 8 oz for me. This thing will steal the show at a bottle share but with a small split it's too much.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Tan ring over oily black. 4
Giant boozy sweet nose of brown sugar, vanilla, sandalwood perfume, and cinnamon stick candle - gorgeous. 4.75
Vanilla! Bourbon vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered raisins. Chocolate comes second, raspberry jam middle, with hints of ash, and slight touchs of oak and brown sugar. 4.75
Cream soda hard candy finish and surprisingly dry linger.
Almost heavy, velvety, round, smooth, a bit of salt. 4.25

Holy yum! Vanilla left, right, and centre. Like Maltesers or a vanilla milk shake. Endless linger. More a liqueur than a beer. Every drop was like a piece of candy - I sucked the last dribble out of the bottom of the bottle and I'm not ashamed to say so. Top 5 beers I've ever had - I wish I had a case. Just spectacular. 4.75

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Photo of TampaRainman
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black. Thick. Virtually no bubbles, certainly no head.

S: Warm roasty dark chocolate. Vanilla is definitely still there but not punching you in the face.

T: Burnt Chocolate, dark sugar, soft vanilla and bourbon warmth. Either (a) this beer was a super bourbon bomb back when it was released in 2010; or (b) the notion that booze mellows over time is flawed. Maybe both? Point is, the bourbon on this bad boy is still right there, tickling and providing a little burn on the back end. If this beer has "mellowed" over time, then I can only imagine how hot and boozy it would have been 5 years ago. Either way, it's damn good to this day. Vanilla is still there as well. Not nearly as sweet as the new Vanilla Rye, which for me, is a plus.

O: It's always a real treat having a beer that's been around for a while. Makes you pause and reflect on how much your life has changed since the beer went into the bottle and also makes you marvel at how well made a beverage beer can be.

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Photo of KaeF
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of vanilla in the smell and taste, even after almost 5 years! I do prefer the vanilla rye, since it is more smooth in my opinion, but this is still a great beer, combining chocolate, coffee and vanilla into a great, silky smooth beer.

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Photo of MissSmisje
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Side by side of 2010 and 2014 Vanilla rye

L: dark dark brown with some burgundy at the edge; mocha head on the 2014
S: 2014 smells like a vanilla bean split open, some rye/pepper, a little chocolate; 2010, surprising amount of vanilla left, oak, cocoa nibs.
T: 2014 taste straight up like a vanilla bean, vanilla bean ice cream, a little bit of chocolate, a bit of rye flavor but still a little hot. 2010, much more mellow and rounded with age, still a lot of vanilla, softer bourbon flavors, some oak and coconut.

Ratings the same for both, expect 5 for smell.on 2014

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Photo of Bubba569
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Unbelievable...this is an outstanding balanced beer! The smell is great, almost as enjoyable as the taste! Looks dark like melted Chocolate that stains the glass with a thin brown head. Tastes like Coffee, Vanilla, Chocolate, Bourbon perfectly balanced to show off each flavor without a single one overpowering the other! Mouthfeel coats your mouth with an unbelievable taste that lingers for a while making you want more! Overall this is a perfectly brewed beer I gave it a well deserved 5! Crying shame to retire this one!!

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Photo of dd43
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is an unbalanced beer when fresh. I think it wants to be aged. Vanilla is overpowering. Reminiscent of drinking a stout flavored glass of vanilla extract. This is the least appealing of the bourbon county varietals that I've tried. Mouthfeel is predictably silky but a less vanilla forward stout would be an improvement.

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Photo of stumac
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to my brewing buddy Steve for busting out the 2010 bottle for the 2015 Super Bowl!!

Pours black, no head. Nose is heat, toffee, vanilla, burnt malts. Taste is all that too. Huge body. Moderate carbo. A very nice brew. Held up well in time.

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Photo of Svyturys30
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My only complaint is that the vanilla at this point is pretty faded. On the other hand, this beer has the best mouth feel I have every experienced. I'm sure there is bottle variation here, but I would like to try another and see how I would rate the second bottle compared to the first one.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow--- talk about a creamy, chocolaty, bourbon-soaked marshmallow bomb.... Still powerful and youthful! Wish I could open one of my '14 vanilla's to compare but id be too ripped.... If you can find this, get it!!

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Photo of morebeergood
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Super boozy and intense vanilla flavor. Definitely needs a couple of years to age and mellow out these strong characteristics. Would love to try a 2 year old bottle in the future.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drinkability is probably an issue with this one, but, for better or worse, this thing is straight up vanilla-laced chocolate chip cookie. Super tasty, but, again, not sure how much one could really take down.

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Photo of floridadrift
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The vanilla is in the nose now, the bourbon has smoothed out, wrapping itself all over and the taste is marshmellow wood. Thank god I got to have this.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Most certainly worth the line in winter to have on draft. I thought this was amazing, however, the Mexican vanilla bean was a little too potent at this point in time. I'm aging a bottle with no doubt this will be a 5!

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Photo of seedyone
5/5  rDev +12.1%

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. I think this is the first 5 rating I've given. For the un-hoppy beer fan this takes the cake. Aroma is both intriguing & inviting. Texture is spot on with the slightest burn, but at 13.4% what can you expect. As for the flavor...it's deep, rich, complex & captivating. You want another sip befor the first has dissapated. One might think the vanilla aspect would lend to a overt sweet but it just lays back on the edge.

If I were condemed to only having one beer available for the rest of my days, hands down this is it. Magnificent.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%

A-dark brown black color with a light brown head and decent lacing

S-dark malt, chocolate, coffee, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, caramel

T-dark roasted malt, molasses, coffee, chocolate, strong sweet vanilla presence, bourbon, hint of oak

F-medium to full body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy, a little boozy

O-certainly enjoyable, but the big sweet and vanilla presence makes this less enjoyable for me than the other variants

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Photo of TboneRN
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%

I was lucky enough to attend a Bourbon County bottle share last night where we had every variant present.
Let me start by saying this beer has NOT fallen off, and if anything is just starting to peak...The Vanilla is still VERY strong although I agree your palate gets a little use to it as you get deeper into your glass. I suggest having another beer available to cleanse your palate and you will NOT be disappointed. My favorite of the night just edging out Bourbon County Rare! So smooth and so much vanilla...TRADE FOR THIS!

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
98 out of 100 based on 414 ratings.