Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 1,021 | Reviews: 389 | Display Reviews Only:
4.33/5 rDev -5.7%
22oz shared with my brother, poured into oversized wine glass
A - Black as night, brown head that was slight and didn't stay around long. Minimal lacing
S - Vanilla is very strong, but with a nice underlayering of roasty chocolate. You can smell the sweetness.
T - The vanilla taste is well balanced with the typical BCBS base. It is distinct but not overpowering, it is the star, but doesn't hog the spotlight. The roasty malts and nuttiness of the base comes through nicely.
M - Heavy, super sticky and sweet. Good aftertaste though, vanilla!
D - A true sipper, you get the vanilla you are expecting. I think this might be even better after some time in the cellar, more muted vanilla might help the complexity show through. Great beer.
01-04-2011 18:04:24 | More by OakedCanuck
4.68/5 rDev +2%
A: This pours as black as black can be. Light can not be seen thru the poured glass. A reddish tan thin head tops the stout and then dissipates quickly.
S: The first thing I noticed was the incredible bourbon smell with hints of vanilla and chocolate that followed. As it warmed, the vanilla really starts to come thru.
T: A perfect combination of spicy bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. As the glass warmed the vanilla begins to really find it's way to the forefront.
M: Smooth and thick with a slight bite when cold.
D: This BCBVS is very drinkable! On a cold January night it is perfect. All of the flavors are incredibly enjoyable.
01-03-2011 22:46:22 | More by stbo101
4.45/5 rDev -3.1%
A= This beer pours a really really thick looking black color. Totally black out with no light shining through when held to the light and the head is almost nothing before falling to the thinnest ring around the glass. I have a hard time seeing bubbles be able to burst through the thickness with the way the pour looked.
S= Potent for sure. I can smell it from several feet away. I get a nice mix of booze and sweet vanilla. The barrel ageing is evident as a little wood comes through. There is a nice chocolate note coming through as well. The dominate nose is for sure booze and vanilla as I mentioned before.
T= The taste is a awesome. The vanilla comes through perfectly. The wood and vanilla makes this a really great combo. There is the great Bourbon County flavor you already love but then a vanilla blanket on it. It's almost difficult to realize this is the same base beer where the coffee version was such a light change this is much more dramatic. There is a the barrel and vanilla flavors are great compliments.
M= Smooth as velvet. I was a bit worried about carbonation with the pour but it is no problem here. There is definite carbonation and I think this was just a thick beer that makes it hard for the bubbles to form. The finish is super sticky and sweet.
D= Great beer. Vanilla and Bourbon were made for eachother so this beer is just natural. A bit sweet and I'm sure many will argue that the Vanilla is too dominate of a flavor but this is great. Drink after a meal for sure because it's a sweet one.
01-03-2011 04:45:24 | More by jjanega08
4.7/5 rDev +2.4%
Not a bad beer for my 100th review! Cracked this open just before mid night New Years Eve. Shared some of the bottle with the wife, great start to 2011!
A- Pours dark black just like you'd expect. Thin tan head left a ring of lace and then disappeared.
A- Bourbon and Vanilla dominate the nose. The bourbon was mellowed a bit with the vanilla while some chocolate aroma's crept in towards the end.
T- Like the nose and the what you'd expect, bourbon and vanilla are most upfront flavors. You do get some milk chocolate flavor at the end that ties everything together. The bourbon and vanilla have great balance and keep each other from stealing the show.
M- Full body with a creamy mouthfeel.
D- Very smooth and easy drink. The higher ABV would be the only thing preventing me from another bottle in the same night. However I'd love to have another one anytime soon! I think this easily lived up to all the hype and one of the best beers I've had!
01-03-2011 03:41:13 | More by HosP
4.28/5 rDev -6.8%
First beer of the new year. Tasted on 1-1-11.
Bottled on 11/15/10. #0833
Poured in to Duvel tulip
A - Dark black with a small amount of espresso coloured head.
S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla. Smells strong. Vanilla notes are not as prominent as I expected.
T - Bourbon, vanilla, oak and quite a lot of coffee (which was unexpected). The vanilla is very subtle and I may not have realized it was there if the label didn't tell me. Some good sweetness - brown sugar, molasses and caramel - round out the palate. A touch hot but not overwhelming. Very complex.
M - Thick, yet smooth. At times the mouthfeel is extremely thick and viscous. Lightly carbonated.
D - An interesting and complex beer.
01-03-2011 02:49:01 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.95/5 rDev +7.8%
Pours a great deep dark near black color with a small head.
Smell is incredible, huge vanilla, bourbon, oak, and roasted aromas smack you in the nose, awesome.
Taste if of big bourbon with a slight alcohol burn. The sweetness from the vanilla comes through in the finish and complements everything else very nicely. So good, possibly my favorite Bourbon County beer so far.
Mouthfeel is smooth, rich, medium to low carbonation and just plain awesome.
Very drinkable, the most drinkable 13% ABV ever made
01-02-2011 04:22:55 | More by pmccallum86
3.98/5 rDev -13.3%
Thanks Jim for setting me up with this!
A- Body is a nearly opaque dark brown nearly black hue. Pours with a very small dark brown head that quickly fades completely. No lacing is left behind in the glass.
S- Nose is hot and packed with bourbon sweetness and astringency. Behind this is vanilla, dark chocolate-the oak is there but it is very hard to detect.
T- Flavor is much more balanced than the nose. Vanilla and bourbon sweetness upfront with a nice, rich, chocolately backbone as well as soaked oak components. The sweetness and a slight bit of alcohol astringecy kick in for the finish. Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon sweetness, and a bit of alcohol heat linger.
M- Low to medium carbonation and a thick velvety body.
D- This is a very good stout overall. Its sweet and hot in alcohol. I would think of this as more of a dessert beer than anything else. Right now-the bourbon is the highlight. I'd like to get ahold of another bottle and let this age for a bit-as regular bourbon county blossoms after about 2 yrs or so. As with most stouts-this one gets better as it warms-the complexity really shows.
01-02-2011 01:29:47 | More by PittBeerGirl
3.95/5 rDev -13.9%
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.
01-01-2011 22:56:59 | More by bsp77
4.35/5 rDev -5.2%
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.
01-01-2011 22:36:35 | More by Billolick
4.6/5 rDev +0.2%
650ml bottle courtesy of wedgie9. Thanks Andy!
Bottled on Nov 5, 2010, #855.
From my notes last night:
A big vanilla blast as soon as I removed the cap, it pours a pitch black with a small head of tan foam and a wee bit of lacing. The foam and lacing don't last long but that's pretty typical of the style so no worries.
The smell is an awesome mix of vanilla and bourbon with some chocolate notes thrown in for good measure.
Mmmm....the taste is exactly what I expected after oohing and ahing over the smell. Big bourbon, big vanilla, plenty of milk chocolate, light dark chocolate bitterness, and a ton of warming alcohol. The 13% abv can not be ignored. ;^) I reckon this would benefit from some cellaring, just to calm the alcohol down a bit and make it more drinkable per sip but I can't fault the tastes one bit.
Full bodied, light carbonation, so smooth of a mouth feel, this is a real treat to nurse on. Awesome brew from the gang at Goose Island!
01-01-2011 18:54:19 | More by Bitterbill
District of Columbia
4.3/5 rDev -6.3%
A: Deep black with a thin, beige head that fades quickly, leaving no lacing.
S: Alcohol, roasted malt, bourbon, and vanilla (a welcome addition).
T: Unsurprisingly, the vanilla version of Bourbon County Brand Stout is much like the original. The same bold bourbon, chocolate and roast flavors are alive and well. The vanilla is a welcome addition, but I wish it had a larger presence in the beer. The vanilla adds a touch of sweetness, and doesn't really reveal itself fully until the finish. I do prefer this to the original, but don't think this is as remarkable as the coffee version. Overall, very well done and enjoyable.
M: I would really like to try this beer on draft, as it would very likely have an increased carbonation level, enhancing the overall feel. The feel is sticky, sweet, viscous, and chewy with vanilla and alcohol prevalent in the finish.
D: The sweetness and heat are prominent throughout, though the beer is very well done, no doubt. I hope the vanilla doesn't fade too much with age, because if it doesn't, this brew would be fabulous after some quality time spent in the cellar.
01-01-2011 18:44:53 | More by Huhzubendah
3.7/5 rDev -19.4%
22 oz. Thick black pour, some layered brown head initially, but it is shortly sucked into oblivion. Does stick to the glass fairly well.
Aroma is quite boozy. Heavy bourbon and barrel. Some malt, caramel and vanilla. The base is overpowered here for me.
Taste is equally overpowered compared to the standard, which is one of my favorites. There is the malt, caramel and chocolate, but it is overwhelmed by the vanilla and bourbon oak.
It is pretty much cloying at this point. Very thick and coating, carbonation tries to sneak through, but loses the battle as it warms. Alcohol is pretty prevelent, like a liquouer.
Wish I liked this one as much as the standard, the coffee I guess does this wonders. The vanilla simply adds too much sweetness.
This one makes me feel much better about the Olde Hickory Event Horizon I recently had. Put this away and forget about it, it needs some time or something hopefully to even and mellow it out a bunch.
01-01-2011 03:42:56 | More by Bung
4.03/5 rDev -12.2%
Pours out a very dark black with no light peeking through. Also a slight tan suds that hugs the edge of the tulip glass. Lacing as I swirl.
Smell is cherry vanilla alcohol. Malty to the nose with some sugar detected.
Medicinal quality with lots of vanilla and alcohol overwhelming the palate. Very sweet taste at first followed by vanilla and alcohol.
Mouthfeel is a little sticky but within reason.
Of course the alcohol has it's afterburners on here. But it's not as distracting as it sounds. Really a mellow alcohol presence is here and lasts in the mouth for a long time. This one is def. a sipper.
Drinkability is OK but the high abv and the availability of this product keep this from a 5.
01-01-2011 00:27:07 | More by peabody
4/5 rDev -12.9%
Split a bomber last night.
Pours black, small brown head turns to a thick cap and ring eventually. Leaves a bit of lacing.
Pretty awesome-dessert like smell. Bourbon, cocoa, vanilla bean, spice, brown sugar, caramel. Vanilla is not huge but definitely there. Just a touch of alcohol. Deliciouso!
Even though it seems to add an extra layer of sweetness, truthfully the vanilla doesn't come out much in the taste. Bourbon is huge, caramel, roasted malt, chocolate malts. Leaves behind a taste of coffee beans and cocoa powder. Oak, tobacco, smoke. Still pretty hot.
Smooth oily mouthfeel, carbonation on the low side. Good flavor but damn hot, especially on the finish.
I've always thought regular BCBS already had some vanilla elements from the bourbon and oak, so vanilla beans don't make much of a difference in the taste, just makes it sweeter. Sweetness and booze starts to get harsh as it warms.
12-31-2010 13:26:32 | More by Chico1985
4.6/5 rDev +0.2%
Presentation: Split a 22 oz bomber bottle with a friend. Poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary tulip glass. Served at room temperature. Thanks to glazeman for hooking me up with a huge want.
Appearance: Motor oil black in color with a slight dark brown head that recedes as soon as you pour. Leaves a nice lacing around the rim of the glass.
Aroma: Bourbon, vanilla, and milk chocolate notes all around with the first two being the most prevalant. The vanilla smooths out the aroma a bit and makes the bourbon a little less harsh. Not a ton of booze in the nose at all. Very nicely balanced.
Taste: The vanilla and bourbon dominate here again. Hints of espresso and milk chocolate in the background, but the vanilla really does become much more of a focal point here. As I drink more of this, the vanilla only increases in intensity. Near the end of my glass, it is getting a bit cloying. Still very good balance and I am surprised how well the heat of teh bourbon is disguised.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy. I do get a touch of a syrupy feel in there as well.
Drinkability: The vanilla makes this incredibly smooth and easy to sip. My only concern about having a lot of this (other than the ABV) is the vanilla can get overly sweet.
Overall, a really exceptional stout that I greatly enjoyed. The original could be my favorite beer to date, and this falls only a little short. Really smooth and balanced. My only criticism is that I feel by the end of the bottle, this was overly sweet. Still recommended if you can get a bottle.
12-30-2010 04:27:17 | More by Gosox8787
4.38/5 rDev -4.6%
Pours like motor oil. Small head fades to a ring quickly. No lace. Super dark brown and you're not lookin' through this one. Smell is bourbon baby. Bourbon and stout. Burn your nostrils enough and you will find the vanilla. Taste is much the same. Syrupy sweet bourbon is held in check by a big vanilla smoothness. Still quite a bit of burn on the tongue and as it goes down. Chest warms up as you swallow. Mild hops are sublimated in the fusel booze vapors. Almost feels like a shot of Old Granddad. Thick and syrupy with an artful tingly carbonation to break it up. A winter sipper that you keep coming back to faster than you should. An awesome beer that manages to be delicious and dangerous. Hot and sweet. Yum
12-30-2010 04:13:33 | More by scootny
4.6/5 rDev +0.2%
Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter.
A: Jet black with ruby edges and a tan ring.
S: Perfect balance of vanilla and bourbon aromas.
T: Sweet vanilla and bourbon; there is no noticeable alcohol burn.
M: Full body, medium carbonation, and a smooth finish.
D: I feel that this is better than the original; the smoothness from the vanilla disguises the ABV, perhaps too well.
12-29-2010 04:41:45 | More by stimulus
4.38/5 rDev -4.6%
After long-running rumors that this might not appear in Minnesota, or that only 9 1/2 bottles might be sent to the entire state, it did finally show up long enough for me to grab one. Sampled at the Autumn Brew Review & gotta be honest, I've been looking forward to a full pour ever since. Is it going to live up to the living legend I've already built it up to be in hindsight? Split with my wife; tried to talk her out of trying this awful swill, but I don't think she's buying it.
Pours black, laying there like a pool of dead liquid brownie. In my Darkness snifter, of course. Smells ridiculously good, a mixture of chocolate cake batter, heavy bourbon, & vanilla.
My wife starts grinning at the first sip of Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout & I'm quick after. Bourbon blitzes & hits the palate like Urlacher on Favre, which has always been my least favorite bit from regular BCS, coming on like a 59 year old hooker short on rent (to mix metaphors, sorry). But the vanilla, both from the add & the barrel, tempers the shock, a bit. But still obscene levels of heat from the bourbon, warming all the way down to my slippered feet. It's weakness, if you want to call it that, is lack of complexity. Vanilla. Bourbon. Malt. Maybe a touch of chocolate.
Thicker than Deepwater Horizon salt-water, this is pure decadence. Languid to the point of feeling like pockets of it get caught in my tongue & I have to extract them to complete a swallow. Drinkable if you like your drunks fast & hangovers serious.
Funny, we split a 12 oz. of '09 regular Bourbon County Stout, & taking a swig after the Vanilla makes it taste...tame...thin. Bizarre. I wouldn't have believed it, but the Vanilla is blood-thick next to the regular version.
Excellent beer; like the base, this is straight-up, head-on, simplicity. The name says it all, & looking for more is just going to hurt your head. As will too much of this monster.
12-29-2010 03:36:07 | More by maximum12
4.43/5 rDev -3.5%
Pours black and lets no light through. Has a decent brown head on it that diminishes rather quickly.
Smells like vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate and bourbon. The vanilla is very big in the nose and the alcohol is quite prevalent.
The vanilla greats you and then its a gang rush of the rest of the flavor afterward. Chocolate follows the vanilla and has a bit of caramel with it. Roasted malt is the middle player and its followed up by a bit of coffee in the back. The bourbon hits you from the get go and sticks throughout the entire taste. Some raisin starts to surface as the beer warms.
It's a full beer, fills the mouth and has a lot of substance to it. It's very smooth and almost syrupy/creamy.
This is an awesome brew. It's very potent being 13% and it won't take much to knock you down. I actually preferred this one when it was colder and at a decent temp of 55. I started struggling with it as it got too warm in the glass.
12-28-2010 14:29:07 | More by cjacobsen
4.22/5 rDev -8.1%
Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.
Appearance: A very dark and viscous black imperial stout oozes out of the bottle. Completely pitch black with a brown head that fades to a ring pretty quickly.
Smell: Bourbon, oak, and vanilla dominate. A little bit of general booziness, some coffee, dark chocolate, black licorice, and roasted malt.
Taste: It starts out with vanilla and bourbon. Some molasses, more bourbon, and dark malts. Just an absolute avalanche of flavor coming down. Minor spice notes, a little bit of coffee, and some earthy hops to finish it out. The finish is sticky sweet malt.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and a very full body. Seriously, the body of these beers is just huge. A little bit sticky with medium carbonation that actually gets crushed by the rest of the body.
Drinkability: As with the rest of the series, this is a sipper. I don't happen to like this as much as the Coffee, but it is pretty nice.
12-28-2010 02:51:33 | More by KickInTheChalice
4.22/5 rDev -8.1%
22oz bottle shared at jlindros imperial stout tasting...poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anny snifter.
A - Very dark brown in color with mild highlights when held to the light...although, overall this is pretty opaque. No head, only a low collar forms here.
S - Very, very vanilla on the nose. Also caramel, toffee, molasses and bourbon...very good.
T - Lots of vanilla, caramel, bourbon, sticky sweet and a bit boozy...tastes just like creme brulee (the dessert - not the ST beer)...burnt sugar over vanilla custard. Excellent.
M - Medium bodied, medium carbonation...a bit syrupy in feel, sweet, and vanilla from beginning to end - and then some.
D - A bit boozy and syrupy, although definitely gives a pretty smooth overall impression - but still just a bit too much booze to be truly drinkable.
12-27-2010 20:41:31 | More by portia99
4.28/5 rDev -6.8%
22oz bottle, bottled 11/05/2010, poured into my Duvel tulip.
BCBVS pours the kind of all encompassing black that I'd expect from a hefty imperial stout. The burnt caramel crown comes up to about two and a half fingers in height. It sticks around alright, but doesn't leave any trace of its existence as it slowly fades away. For what's supposed to be a stout aged on vanilla beans, there's not much vanilla at all in the nose. The aroma is a blend of milk chocolate and bourbon, and could stand to be tilted a bit more in favor of the chocolate. The flavor profile is fairly straightforward, but executed fantastically. An absolute tsunami of rich, fudgy milk chocolate crashes over my tastebuds at the open. Next is a vanilla interlude, that is disappointing only in its briefness. That transitions int a very pleasant warming sensation from some bourbon. It's not boozy at all, and is a fine way to close things out each time I raise my glass. Mouthfeel is phenomenal. It's possibly the richest, most viscous beer that's ever been poured in my glass. At the same time the carbonation is just enough to balance that out and keep it from getting too syrupy, while the bubbles don't interfere with the malty goodness in any way. I'm not sure if the vanilla beans shine through enough to make BCBVS a marked improvement on regular Bourbon County Brand Stout, but given the quality of the base beer, that's not necessarily a terrible thing.
12-27-2010 05:14:32 | More by axeman9182
4.97/5 rDev +8.3%
Poured from a 22oz bottle into three glasses. Special thanks to pop and HollyAnn for the assist!
Bottled on: 11/05/10
A: Typical of all of the other BCS variants. Viscous, pitch black pour that slinks into the glass and sits there...poised to unleash all kinds of evil on the drinker. A tiny 1/4 finger of dark mocha foam disappears in an instant and didn't leave one bit of lace in the glass. Shows off some healthy legs when swirled.
S: Goodness! Absolutely heavenly vanilla aroma. Where the espresso in the Coffee version acted as a counterpoint to help cut the bourbon, the vanilla in this version actually worked hand in hand to accentuate it. Loads of fresh vanilla bean, overripe dark fruit, bourbon, dark fudgy chocolate, and coconut.
T: Tastes exactly as it smells...seriously.
M: While seeming to lose the dark roast/espresso bitterness of Coffee, this actually gained a healthy amount of rich savory sweetness, and also tiny bit of spicy bitterness (possibly due to the alcohol not have the espresso to hide behind?). Lovely, sticky, and decadent.
D: The BCS series has been an absolute joy to have been a part of this year (and it's been a treat to see regular BCS evolve since almost the very beginning). Vanilla wowed me with its' restrained sweetness and "just right" vanilla content. Going by past history, I'm going to assume that GI is continuing to use FoBAB as their testbed and I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that they release the Ancho pepper version in bottles next year.
12-26-2010 22:37:28 | More by GbVDave
4/5 rDev -12.9%
drank side by side with rare, coffee, and regular BCS.
A: same as regular bcs.
S: noone, including myself on repeated attempts, was really getting the vanilla. hard to distinguish from regular bcs.
T: SAA. the coffee bcs stood out a bit, and actually i would've guessed that was the vanilla.
M: same as regular bcs.
D: worth trying, but i was expecting to like this version the most, and it was underwhelming. the added vanilla didn't really come through.
12-26-2010 16:28:52 | More by MrMcGibblets
3.6/5 rDev -21.6%
22oz bomber poured into Delirium tulip.
A- Pours the typical pitch black with a nice caramel colored head. The head dies down quickly and leaves no lacing behind.
S- Like all the Bourbon Counties that have come before this, this one is heavy on the bourbon, malt and vanilla. The alcohol is pretty pronounced as to be expected. There is also a bit of caramel and brown sugar sprinkled in as well.
T- That is a lot of vanilla. Almost sickly sweet. There is also some bourbon hidden under all that vanilla. There is a big amount of heat form the alcohol.
M- Full bodied as usual and just coats the inside of your mouth. Lots of alcohol burn on the back of the throat. The vanilla seems to add a nice creaminess to the beer.
D- For someone who likes vanilla this is a beer for you. If not you may want to pass. I would take the original over this any day. I wonder if some age on this one will help mellow out the vanilla.
12-25-2010 20:40:36 | More by Wisconsinality
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,021 ratings.