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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,074 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,074
Reviews: 392
rAvg: 4.59
pDev: 8.71%
Wants: 1,443
Gots: 381 | 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: 1,074 | Reviews: 392 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of axeman9182
4.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

axeman9182, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of GbVDave
4.97/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

GbVDave, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

MrMcGibblets, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Wisconsinality
3.6/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Wisconsinality, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
4.6/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to my brother-in-law and sister who got this beer for me while I was at law school in California and had no chance whatsoever to get this myself. Cheers! (btw, this is being drank side by side a BCBCS with my brother-in-law).

Appearance - Pours an utter dark viscosity with about a finger of dark mocha head that dissipates at a moderate pace, leaving slight lacing. Looks perfect for a 13% beer.

Smell - Holy cow. Big, vanilla up front (ya think?) with molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits (fig, raisins, etc.), slight barnyard leather, and tobacco. So damn heavy.

Taste - Extremely similar to the nose. Just a in your face molasses with slight vanilla flavor. Smokiness, figs, raisins, chocolate, caramel, more molasses, brown sugar. This is just a massive after dinner beer with a thick, bold taste. I can't wait to see how this beer ages.

Mouthfeel - Thick bodied, syrupy, lower carbonation, finishes a big cloying.

Drinkability - Having this with a half of BCBCS...let's just say this is going to do me in! As with all BCBS, having more than 12oz is a lot - splitting a BCBCS and BCBVS is going to put me to sleep, no doubt. Still, a great beer. Glad I have more to age. Cheers!

SpdKilz, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of samie85
4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours the same deep, dark, jet black that you expect from regular BCS if you've had it before.

S-Smells of oak, bourbon, some vanilla, a bit of dark stone fruit, chocolate and a tiny bit of roasted malt. The bourbon here seems more tame than in the regular variant.

T-It's very reminiscent of regular BCS but the Bourbon seems to meld with the vanilla, and as a result isn't as prevalent in this version. The oak and dark fruits are very much present in the taste here too with mild notes of chocolate and roasted malt. Some notes of alcohol are present as well.

M-This is a thick and chewy beer with a noticeable alcohol warmth with low carbonation.

D-This one is a fair bit easier drinking than the regular version but I miss the Bourbon punch that you get. It's still a very delcious beer and I feel like the vanilla balances out the bourbon a little, making it a more well-rounded beer.

samie85, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #900!

From 12/21/10 notes. Noticed this on the bottle list at Rattle n Hum in NYC and asked the waitress, who said it was sold out. We ended up getting a second waitress who said they may have some and after digging around for 10 minutes, she was able to find a bottle for us. Was very excited for this one.

Bottles on 11/06/10. Bottle #0855.

a - Pours a dark, jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. Looks like the normal and Coffee BCS.

s - Smells of vanilla, oak, and bourbon mostly. While it smelled good, it didn't blow me away and it didn't seem to have much more to it than those 3 elements. Some very light fruit and chocolate as it warmed up.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel malts, toasted malts, and coffee. I thought the taste was very smooth thanks to the large vanilla taste, and was a lot better than the nose. The vanilla really helps this beer from being too hot.

m - Full body and low carbonation, very smooth and easy to drink for 13%. Great mouthfeel.

d - Overall this was a very enjoyable and world class stout, but I was slightly disappointed. I love vanilla and loved the normal and Coffee BCS, so had big hopes for this one, but I would rank it third on that list. That being said the taste is great and complex, and it's hard to believe this one is 13% ABV. Would definitely love to have again.

mdfb79, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
2.98/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Generously shared by black13. Thanks, Michael!

A: Pours a pitch black body with large-bubbled dark mocha head. It retains poorly and leaves no lace, as I'd expect from a 13% beer. No legs.

S: Vanilla extract, thanks to the combination of vanilla beans and small alcohol burn. I'm not a huge fan of vanilla in such pure quantities, but it manages to stay below the point where I would find it totally off-putting. Chocolate, bourbon, caramel, barrel.

T: Vanilla extract again; I find it much more pleasant on the taste, particularly with the chocolate (cocoa, really) integration. Bourbon, caramel, charred oak, a slightly nutty finish. The normal BCBS shines through pretty clearly. I'm not sure the vanilla adds anything positive here; it's incredibly sweet and I find myself a little put off by it. At the very least, the vanilla seems to tame the heat somewhat. This is much less hot than BCBS.

M: Chewy, full-bodied, viscous. This seems more underattenuated than the Black Tuesday also opened at the tasting. It is also smoother in terms of heat. A sweet finish (too sweet), offset slightly by barrel astringency.

D: It's far too rich for a bomber. I also vastly preferred the Coffee fresh; that one had more contrast than this one, which goes full bore into dessert territory.

Arbitrator, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04-05-2012: This beer has aged fantastically. It's great stuff at this point. Increasing my score from 4.2 to 4.5.

Bottle opened by dabecassis at a recent tasting. Thanks, Dobby.

Syrupy dark brown with a black center, typical of the Bourbon County series. Low carbonation, very viscous, with oily legs clinging to the glass after each sip.

Smells like french toast covered in booze. There's a huge vanilla character that reminds me of custard or creme brulee. Plenty of bourbon too, along with caramel and cocoa. This is ridiculously decadent and sweet.

Tastes like dessert. Bourbon and caramel candies, vanilla beans, pot de creme. Syrupy on the tongue, incredibly sweet; where the coffee in BCBCS added balance, the vanilla in BCBVS only serves to highlight the sweetness. It's very enjoyable in small quantities, but the richness and alcohol wear on the palate after a single pour. The finish makes me think of vanilla bean french toast drowned in maple syrup.

This is very good in small quantities. 12 oz bottles would have been a better idea for this beer.

largadeer, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of ColdPoncho
4.63/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was looking forward to drinking this since I heard about it. Don't let me down!

A - looks just like the normal BCBS - pitch black, viscous, medium brown head. Very good.

S - again, quite similar to the normal version - Bourbon, raisins, alcohol, but there's definitely some vanilla in there too! The only complaint I've got about it is a bit too much booze for my liking.

T - as I wrote in my notes: "so good." It's a great tasting beer, and I found the vanilla to be very well balanced. Not overpowering at all (the vanilla). One of the best things about it is that it also lines up perfectly with the smell, which you don't find often. The bourbon, the raisin, the stouty flavors and the alcohol all mix wonderfully with the vanilla to create a supremely delicious beer.

M - nearly perfect mouthfeel, big and smooth and full and creamy. It's great.

D - I am upset to have had only one bottle. I think it's pretty drinkable for the heft and ABV. It's just so tasty and doesn't leave any lingering offensiveness in your mouth and it's so smooth. It's really quite drinkable.

Of course, you probably didn't need to read this to know you wanted it. Cheers!

ColdPoncho, Dec 21, 2010
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 ToAzwethinkweizm
4.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Warren (Lazerlobe) for opening his home for the Syracuse Area Tasting Appreciation Night (S.A.T.A.N.)!

Date: 18 December 2010
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX Snifter
Type: 22oz bomber, brought this one with me

Pours with a swirly-thin head, runny lacing, black in color, slightly translucent. Aroma has way more anise flavor than vanilla -- what a pleasant surprise. More aroma of heavy dark chocolate, caramel, very roasted malts, touch of maple, alcohol is hot but enjoyable. Taste of extremely rich chocolate, huge maple, dark and perfectly roasted malts....not burnt at all on the tongue! The vanilla is so subtle, even lighter anise on the tongue. Between these two flavors, the AROMA of anise is strongest, while the TASTE of vanilla is strongest. Sweet chocolate is left on the palate, bourbon is nice but escapes quickly. Little carbonation. Phenomenal brew. The anise flavor really caught me by surprise.

ToAzwethinkweizm, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of joshuaseresse
4.28/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another suprised shared by newk340 at our tasting this evening. So cheers Nick! Poured into tulip:

A - A black base with brownish hue around the edges. Really no head but light foam around the edges.

S - Kind of like a French Vanilla Cappuccino. Barrel, vanilla booze smell with earthy tones. The booze is sharp and not really hidden, but smells good. I would have given it a 4.25 but I rounded up.

T - Barrel and booze and sweet vanilla. A bit of cream and pepper. The barrel is really hot here, causing a stinging sensation when you take a sip. It really needs to mellow for a while.

M - Sharp barrel and viberating sensation up front and then smooths out at the end. Booze is not well hidden and needs to hangout for a while. Slightly offensive.

D - Sipper. Hot and needs to cool down for a couple years. It is very good, but I really liked the regular, rare and coffee versions much better. But again, thanks Nick for giving me the opportunity to try it!

joshuaseresse, Dec 20, 2010
Photo of Greywulfken
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I obsessed in anticipation of this beer. The local distributor had my phone number, you know?

I'd say that, in restrospect, the BC vanilla (and coffee stout, for that matter) is really just as good as their standard BCS. Obviously, for those who like a little more vanilla (or coffee, as the case may be) flavor/aroma in their stout, these beers may be better. All three BCS are always worth buying when they're around.

A: as is the norm here, pitch oil black, a small neat caramel head will form and fade. You know it's rich just by the look and the...

S: smell: thick, heavy vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. Evidently high alcohol.

T: delicious. Sweet, of course, tastes the way it smells - no surprises, and you will notice the alcohol, which is decadent and appropriate.

M: vanilla, alcohol, and bourbon syrup, warming and tenacious. When you want it, it is perfect, but may be too clingy for some.

D: not a casual beer. Those who enjoy these stouts will never be disappointed. The sweetness, the richness, may be a bit much for others.

In retrospect, I realize that it is probably not a beer I want to drink more than the once a year it becomes available, but I also realize that my tastes may have changed, too.

Greywulfken, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of aerozeppl
4.43/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black. That is all this beer is. Black with more black. The head is minimal and a rusty earth color. Only a thin covering of head on my Brooklyn tulip.

S: I have made beers with vanilla beans and this smells like when you soak vanilla beans in bourbon to sanitize them. When it is a little colder the vanilla comes through more but the more it warms the more the nose is dominated by the vanilla.

T: This is BCS. The vanilla adds a little something extra. The vanilla brings out some interesting components of the barrel that the regular version does not have. More big surprise vanilla and some oak. Little bit of coconut. This is boozy as hell as well.

M: Thick viscous mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Just like a beer like this should be.

D: I have had every version but rare at this point. I think this brought something else to the table while the coffee version cut down on what makes this beer so good. That being said this beer is hot as hell and releasing it in 22 oz bottles is kind of silly. We split the bottle and agreed this one needs some aging to mellow things out. Our vanilla bourbon porter has a year on it now and still has vanilla. At 13% I am sure it will be fine for quite some time. Excellent beer.

aerozeppl, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of mcallister
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oily black with a small mocha head.

Just an amazing smelling beer. Thick with wood and bourbon notes, vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, black fruits, leather, and a hint of tobacco. Sweet toffee and fig.

Delicious, big, huge, in your face with complexity. Thick charcoal wood flavors, with hints of smoke, plum, black fig, raisin, dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, sweet caramel and toffee. Thick and syrupy but in a good way. A sipper to say the least.

mcallister, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of Overlord
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Probably the best of these Goose Island beers.

Pours rich black ... sludgy evil looking, just a tad bit of dark tan foam.

Smells like chocolate, caramel ... fudge? ... more vanilla than I expected, molasses, and more vanilla. Smells pretty good. Bourbon is surprisingly hidden.

Taste is sublime. Just fantastic. The vanilla adds nuance to a rich sweet and dark chocolate base, there's a ton of caramel-y sweet malt with molasses and brown sugar mixed in. This is really an epic tasting beer. Is that coconut? The bourbon really takes a backseat here, but contributes some alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is decently thick, but not a showstopper. This is a really great beer. Thanks Dave!

Overlord, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of xnicknj
4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into snifter glass. thanks to afksports/graniteskunk

Pours a thick inky black color with some lighter brown hues. A thin tanned head fades out leaving light film and a few spots of lacing on the glass.

A wonderful bouquet of scents including chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and oaky bourbon. The vanilla beans are present through everything but still allow the other scents to shine.

Begins with a nice body of rich, roasted malt and an almost spicy splash of vanilla. Bites of hoppiness come through with some richer molasses flavor. Chocolate and syrup create a sweetness in the beer, which somehow manages to stay in check. An amazingly smooth bourbon and earthy oak flavor swirls through the profile. Finishes with warm booziness and another hit of vanilla.

Creamy, smooth, velvety texture, with near perfect carbonation. Drinks incredibly nice with rich, tasty vanilla tones and additively good flavor. The 13% is present but not quite hot, as the superb flavor keeps it under control.

I tried this with three other people and we were all in love. An awesome barrel aged beer.

xnicknj, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of kfsv034
4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - black as night. no light edges at all. zero head.

S - Smells like the basic bourbon county with a hint of vanilla. I also get some raisin or fig. quite strange.

T - Taste is very good. Classic bourbon county stout with vanilla. Very good.

M - Medium bodied

D - at 13% this beer is easy drinkin

kfsv034, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of kzoobrew
4.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured down the center of my Stone IRS snifter.

Black. No more, no less, this is black. Calling it opaque is redundant. No light enters, not light leaves. This is Black. A one finger brown sugar colored head is set atop briefly. The head recedes quickly though a respectable amount of lacing is left behind.

The aroma is nearly classic Bourbon County Stout. The vanilla bean is a very welcome addition. The beauty of vanilla is that is has the capability to enhance the flavors and aromas around it. The bourbon and chocolate I love so much from the standard BCS set forward with an added dimension.

If heaven is a beer it most definitely is Bourbon Count Vanilla. I do not care what you say, vanilla makes everything better. The vanilla is strong and assertive, dominating the palate. There is no way around it, it is there every sip. The chocolate and bourbon flavors blend in perfectly behind the vanilla. The flavor is very cohesive. With warmth things only get better. As much I love the vanilla, an entire bomber dominated by the flavor would become overwhelming. The warmth adds more balance, the bourbon and chocolate flavors flourish.

Full bodied. The texture is rich and creamy. The carbonation appear to be on the lower side though very appropriate. The finish is long though exactly what should be expected.

Drinkability? Ridiculous! There is not reason a beer this big should drink so easy. The alcohol is rather unapparent, and any overpowering flavor diminishes with warmth. This is a highly rated beer, I question myself every time I rate a beer so highly. I love this beer, it rates well to style and is flat out delicious.

kzoobrew, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of NStLincoln
4.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Dark, thick and a heavy pour. Dark brown head that's gone quickly.

Caramel with wood and bourbon. Smells sweet. An intimidating beer.

So thick! Not a whole bunch of extra vanilla. Ends with a sweet coffee note that is really awesome. The bourbon flavor spikes in the mid-palate. Tastes like I just ate a bowl of coffee ice cream.

This is one thick beer. More drinkable that regular bourbon county.

NStLincoln, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Splinter Black in the early morning. One hell of a wake-me-up.

A: The stout is pitch black, a magnificent lookng beer nestled underneath a dark tan head. The beer has great legs and, as I sip into it, pours very viscous, a potable motor oil.

S: The nose is sweet bourbon, burnt malt and lots of vanilla. The vanilla in the bourbon compliments the vanilla bean addition, a sweet force. The kind of beer that I could sniff on for days.

T: The stout is quite thick, a full consistency that concentrates and strengthens the flavors. Vanilla, as you'd expect is strong, a sweet flavor that overtakes the burnt stout notes. Alongside the vanilla beans, the bourbon barrel adds wooden strength, vanilla and coconut flavors. The result is a vanilla-centric stout that is nowhere near cloying. In fact, the thickness of the malts does just the opposite, fortifying the spicy blast. The vanilla and wood are lingering flavors, pleasant reminders of each sip. Words can't really do the ale justice, just beautiful.

M: Bourbon, stout, vanilla. Seems like all that I need to say. Just allow the stout to roll around on your palate and you'll see.

D: At 13%, caution is the better part of valor. Still, I'd gladly suffer the consequences of several bombers.

akorsak, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of Gmann
4.22/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a near black color with reddish brown highlights. The head is short, brown, and dense; settled into a solid ring.

The aroma is quite strong. Big sweet bourbon nose is supported by a solid roasted malt scent. This is followed by a pungent sour berry oak notes with vanilla and caramel rounding everything out.

The flavor starts off with a big roasted malt presence, which adds some smoke characteristics. Sour berry flavors from the oak are quite strong but they play nicely with the sweet caramel and bourbon. The vanilla gives the brew a nice smoothness towards the back-end. Overall, perhaps a bit too oaky

The stout is well bodied and chewy. It has some tingly carbonation to help breakup the body. The feel does get a bit sticky and it is very sweet on the palate. The ABV is rather noticable and raw.

A very complex and flavorful stout that borders on becoming cloying but not quite. I definitely think age will help smooth out the brew. That said well worth the purchase and nice to sip on.

Gmann, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.6/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Following on the heels of Bourbon County Brand Stout and the Coffee'ed version, the wholesome goodness keeps on comming with the Vanilla. Amplified sweetness, richness, and smoothness all come to the forefront for the most succulent of stout.

The monsterous stout pours an oily-inky and truly viscous pour of blackness with brownish legging. Formitable early head formation falters underneath the enormous gravity and alcohol of the beer. Completely opaque, the beer draws you in with most seductive of intent.

Mouthwatering aromas of bitter cocoa, espresso, burnt toffee, maple syrup/brown sugar, and unmistakable bourbon (boozy woods with vanillans and caramels). The warming beer emits scents reminescent of cherries, red licorice, raisons, dates, and figs.

Sultury flavors of chocolate waifers, creamy vanilla, molasass, and sweet bourbon blend together for a flavor that reminds me of the Kentucky popular Bourbon Ball candies. Walnuts, robust coffees, and port-like fruitiness continue to contribute new layers of flavors with each and every sip- all wrapped in the vanilla envelope. Increadibly strong in flavor, the sweetness of malt is seemingly amplified by the vanilla and reduces the roast flavor to that of strong coffee and less like true espresso; helping with the harsh roast but causing heavy sweetness.

Ultimate fullness, richness, and oily- stouts just don't get bigger. The beer coats the mouth similarly to heavy sweetened fortified liquors like cognac, port, or honey liquors. Sweetness masks the alcohols, allowing for a high level of drinkability despite its alcohol content. Very warm, but never harsh, the beer is a true desert with each sip and gives a long bourbon/chocolate linger time after time.

Without a doubt, these Bourbon County Brands are my preferred stouts as they give all the complexities needed for world class Stouts and in varying intensities for a seamless procession from the decant 'til finish.

BEERchitect, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
4.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery Tulip, decent tan head on top of a black non transparent body. Note to self, get another tulip

Smell of Bourbon, Vanilla, roasted malts, heavy sweetness and a hint of booze.

This brew is well done. There is a very healthy amount of bourbon, vanilla , oak, roasted malt, and residual sweetness combed together so that none is done too extremely in a manner that over powers the other flavors. With a bourbon stout, I worried that I wouldn't be able to taste too much of the vanilla flavors competing with bourbon, oak barrels, black and brown malts, but that is clearly not the case.

Thick body, with a light carbonation, as I had expected for the style. Slight booziness lowers drink-ability for me a little bit but definitely enjoyable.

Another job well done by GI

alpinebryant, Dec 16, 2010
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,074 ratings.