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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010)Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

350 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 350
Hads: 1,303
rAvg: 4.67
pDev: 3.21%
Wants: 1,853
Gots: 480 | FT: 16
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:
Beer added by: alcstradamus on 10-07-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Aged 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 350 | Hads: 1,303
Photo of tmoneyba
4.37/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured dark reddish brown hue with a minmal fizzy light brown head that mostly diminished with little lacing. Aroma was a heavy toasted chocolate malt, vanilla and woody bourbon. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Heavy complex toasted malt, vanilla and bourbon flavor and a heavy complex sweet finish of long duration. This is a standout beer. (371 characters)

Photo of coltfoet5
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Opened this a few weeks ago. Thought this held up great over the last 4-5 years. Like any bourbon county it was thick, great aroma, and the bourbon was excellent. Its definitely worthy of its hype. (200 characters)

Photo of dolomite128
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a HF stemmed taster glass.

Very appealing pour with dark brown head the disappears to a thin ring of foam which stays on the glass throughout the first half of the beer.

Smells divine with cherries / currants and dark bakers chocolate. whiffs of barrel / bourbon but can be almost noted as vanilla. Could smell this instead of drinking it!

Taste is quite complex with vanilla, bourbon and notes of nutmeg. Cherries / currants are there but subdued and mostly on the aroma. Finish is thick / slick and cloying (in a good way). Finish is sweet but the bourbon really comes out as chocolate / cocoa fades.

Overall this beer (bottle 3414) has survived its 4.5 year slumber incredibly well. Balanced yet full of flavors and aromas worthy of its praise. Have to assume it is aged in the Family Reserve barrels as the bourbon flavors are superior and syrupy compared to Pappy's younger bourbons. Without a doubt the most elegant BA Stout I've ever consumed. Hard to imagine any improvements could be made to this elixir.

Found no flaws - 5s across the board. (1,077 characters)

Photo of Pliny_the_Gelder
4.51/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Today was a pretty good Friday. Figured I'd share a partial Hammerhead vertical with friends, go back home and finish up some Better Call Saul. Then I look on the "ticker app" and see this a few miles down the street at Whole Foods. No time to confirm, just got myself down there (not driving, natch).

I get there, and... It's gone. Still some Vanilla Rye on tap (woe is me, right?), but I missed it "by an hour." It happens.

Then this awesome angel says "you know, it's a little warmer than when it was poured, but based on all of the shit you've been talking, you seem like the type to appreciate this."

...

:D (617 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a deep walnut color. a small tannish head forms and has a low retention. brown viscous legs all around the side of the glass. dark and completely opaque.

Smell: strong booze and bourbon. chocolate, dark fruits and a low roastiness.

Taste: opens up with a strong whisky and some serious alcohol. strong chocolate and dark fruits come in through the middle. more alcohol near the end but finishes with toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, strong alcohol burn and lingering warmth.

Overall: wow. can't believe this one is so old. the alcohol and whisky flavors are still so strong I can't imagine them 4+ years ago. (650 characters)

Photo of 4lo
4.66/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a teku glass. Thin tan head on the pour which quickly dissipates, straight heavy black pour. Nose is of liquorice with some chocolate. Very smooth beer after 5 years. You get some chocolate with honey up front. Bourbon picks up and trails off into a liqourice and sweetness at the end. Good mouthfeel that leaves you drymouthed and wanting some more at the end. Great to try once (392 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Arguably the best beer I've had. With 5 years of age on it, the bourbon notes have melded into the beer impeccably well. Really a treat to experience. Would likely continue to develop with more age. They should bottle and sell the aroma, alone. (244 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.71/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

a very special beer right here, with plenty of age on it now, and only good fortune allowed me to drink this. apparently aged in pappy 23 barrels, the bourbon character of this beer is like no other, but lets start with the look. packaging is gorgeous, velvety green box, regal looking, anticipation is high. the beer is extremely thick, viscosity to the max, shiny black liquid dances in the glass, producing a short espresso crema head on top. the nose is insane, and i stop and just smell this for several minutes before i taste. the bourbon is everywhere, char and oak and sweet vanilla marry beautifully with dense fire roasted malts, almost has a grilled property with what i perceive to be a touch of smoke, and then a raw brown sugar type sweetness, very little booze in the smell at all, i assume this has calmed down over time. the flavor is gorgeous too, with bourbon leading the way. im also finding all sorts of interesting accent flavors in the dense grain waves, from raisin to fresh cut tobacco and even coffee with a nice earthy body. speaking of body, this is a teeth coater, extremely thick and sticky lingering beer. it has some residual sugar, no doubt, but its never unflattering, and in fact beings out the bourbon even better i think. i havent consumed much pappy, been out of the budget for sure, but i can see why it has a place at the top just from its impact on this beer. ive loved all of the bourbon county stuff, but nothing has come close to this one in my mind. a perfect combination of flavors, stout at its finest. this is in some ways the final word on bourbon barrel imperial stout, i mean, where could it go from here? (1,656 characters)

Photo of JonathanC
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rare- (8oz pour)
Tried next to bcbs 07 , bcbs 08, and bcbs 12(doesn't compare just yet)

Pours a dark coffee, motor oil
Smells of sweet bourbon and molasses.
This was very smooth and good. Rare and bcbs 07/08 were each very similar and I would like to add again VERY SMOOTH.

The difference between 07/08 bcbs was that Rare was had a smudge of complexity of interesting notes, (I am assuming from the barrel) towards the end of a sweet chocolate, bourbon ride.

Overall- Superb (480 characters)

Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - pours a viscous, dark coffee color with a brown sugar colored thin head. The head quickly disipitates leaving a nice ring of tiny brown bubbles.

S - bourbon, molasses, fig, hints of dark chocolate, slight caramel and toffee and raisins.

T - smooth bourbon with dark chocolate and toffee. Some caramel on the finish and some dark fruits in there.

M - low carbonation with a thick feel that isn't heavy. It sticks to your palate for a bit after consumption which is nice.


O - fantastic! (498 characters)

Photo of mavbrew
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle #1,591, bottled on Nov. 19, 2010.

Being that this beer is so rare I was hesitant to try it, it's been aging in my cellar for 4 years now and I figured it's about time I open it up. Really impressive, a bit smoother than the original, definitely not as boozy. Has nice subtle bourbon notes, some vanilla and a little bit alcohol, a slight bit of chocolate in the finish. I wish I had bought two bottles so I could compare the early life to the aged but it definitely does not disappoint. It's up there with the BCBS Coffee, which is one of my personal favorites. (573 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%

A-dense black color with a nice brown head and some lacing

S-dark malt, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, hint of oak

T-dark roasted malt, chocolate, molasses, coffee, bourbon, little toffee, light vanilla

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

O-solid variant of BCBS, like the Pappy a little better than the original (375 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.4/5  rDev -5.8%

Tried side by side with reg BCBS. Lots of similarities, but everyone at the tasting agreed that there was just an added level of complexity and smoothness on the back end with Rare. Tons of vanilla and cocoa. Well timed coconut notes. Extremely rich and full body all the way. Sweet, but not quite as sweet as regular. Honestly, probably not worth the effort to acquire when some of the other variants are more readily available. I would actually prefer BCBCS to this one (479 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The smoothest beer I have ever had. If I could drink nothing but this forever, I would be happy man. Take the best flavors from any BA Stout you had, add extra smoothness and you have RARE. (191 characters)

Photo of TboneRN
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%

I was lucky enough to attend a Bourbon County bottle share last night where we had every variant present.
This variant was my second favorite of the night just behind Vanilla! I had this beer alongside a regular 2013 bcbs just to compare. Rare is so smooth and more than any other bourbon county variant I have tried you could REALLY taste that pappy barrel. Right at the end, so bright and strong...I was not expecting that. I have read reviews where people say they either a) can not differentiate from regular bcbs or b) it isn't that much better....let me just say it is! These are obviously 1st world beer problems I am referring to but man what a beer! It is still at the top of its game! (695 characters)

Photo of WTKeene
4.67/5  rDev 0%

****400th Review / 100th Rating****

Happy to tick off this milestone tonight. This is a big, big beer, and I'm thrilled to finally tick it off. Poured from a bomber into a Trillium tasting tulip.

Appearance: Thick black motor oil. No head, but a tiny tiny crown around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Hints of honey and the chocolate on the nose too. Actually scratch that. Lots of honey on the nose. Can’t say I was expecting that on the nose of a bourbon aged stout.

Taste: Chocolate, bourbon, sweetness in a light honey type of way. Pretty different from the regular BCBS, mostly in the nature of the sweetness more than anything. The honey flavors don’t stick around forever though, after the first few sips they fade away. Definitely pretty boozy. Bourbon flavors get stronger as it warms up. Little bit of dark fruit flavors, possibly from the age of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Typical for the style. Thick, sticky, lowish carbonation.

Overall: Very nice stuff. Different, but I’m not sure it’s significantly nicer than the base beer. (1,050 characters)

Photo of Hesscabob
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted @ 15th Anniversary Goose Island Wrigleyville - Benefit for Bodhi. Best beer event ever.

Tasted after Bourbon County Brand Stout, Proprietors, Templeton Rye, Buffalo Trace, and lastly RARE!

Overall Perfection for all traits...

Appearance: Dark as night, thin mocha head and produced from being on tap.
Smell: Roasted malts, bourbon, not at all boozy and a well mannered 13%.
Taste: Same as the smell. I would compare this to aging the last five years of BCS and blending all of the best bottles together. Not as complex or distinct as I imagined but overall perfect.
Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, creamy, smooth and covers mouth with immense flavor.

Overall: Really happy I got to try the best BCS bottle ever made. Not sure if anyone should justify the hundreds of dollars its going for on ebay or whatever or even the $75 it sold for originally. Aging a BCS Brand Stout for a while in perfect cellar conditions can stand up to this beer no problem in my opinion. (971 characters)

Photo of bobv
4.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle #4087

Appearance: Semi-vigorous pour into a snifter yields tan head over black. The 3/4 inch head dissipates rather quickly leaving a ring that hangs around.

Smell: Bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, bourbon (with the requisite oak, vanilla and caramel), dark roast coffee. Later, as it warms a bit, cherry and hay.

Taste: Chocolate, dark dried fruit, coffee, vanilla, and, oh yes, there is definitely heat from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Nice, considering the age.

Overall: So glad I finally opened one and even more glad I have another! This is a special, special beer. I will try to share the other one. ;)

Review/rating #1000 (638 characters)

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Held on to this one for a few years and cracked it at a special date. I'm a big fan of regular Bourbon Country, so I've got a pretty good handle on how the regular stuff tastes.

This is a different animal.

Pours as thick and lifeless as you can expect, but after that, it is damn near perfection. Chocolate, smoke, heat, perfume, spice, vanilla, coffee, wood, caramel, time, delicacy, velvet. There is just so much complexity in this, it's hard to properly describe.

I'll have to use a phrase a brewer once told me describes exceptional beers.

"It tastes like memories."

Beautiful beer. (591 characters)

Photo of Get_Lowell
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle #6554, 4 oz pour into tulip tasting glass.

A: Black with a light dark brown foam. Foam dissipated rather quickly after pour.

S: Tons of chocolate on the nose followed by powerful scent of bourbon.

T: What I picked up on the nose gets amplified on the palate. Starts with big chocolate and then the rich bourbon flavor starts to build and come into its own. This is such an excellent fusion of flavor.

M: Medium body. Beer leaves its mark on your palate and the flavors persist long after a sip.

O: This was one of the finest imp. stouts I have ever had. I wish I had a more sophisticated bourbon palate to better detect the intricacies of the barrel aging. Regardless, this was like eating a box of chocolates, all of which were filled with pappy! (759 characters)

Photo of drmcleod10
4.86/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared by a couple new beer buddies for Dan's birthday. Thanks to Mike for bringing this one out. Glad to finally be able to review this beer. Poured into a Hunahpu's snifter and shared with 2 other people

A - Viscous thick beer that pours dark as night leaving little to no head. Didn't expect there to be much but this one coats the glass a good bit

S - Smell is strong notes of bourbon followed by chocolate vanilla oaky hints that meld together. The dominate nose here is the bourbon.

T - Taste follows the nose except the bourbon is not as dominate. The smells have blended together into flavors where there is no one dominate taste. 3 and a half years and a properly cellared rare has made this into a fantastic taste. Chocolate bourbon coffee with hints of Vanilla and an oaky after taste. Not too much heat, at least compared to the Remy's Pappy we opened before

M - Mouthfeel was spot on for a beer this old, not too thin and not too thick. Still pretty full bodied with very minimal carbonation.

O -No oxidation here. It makes me want to seek one out now. Thanks again Mike. Happy that I am able to tick this. (1,124 characters)

Photo of hillvt4me
4.63/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 11/19/10; bottle number 391.

A: Jet black color. Almost no head; minimal dark brown that quickly fades.

S: Bourbon, coffee and chocolate aromas.

T: malty-chocolate, bourbon, cherry and coffee blend together seamlessly. Oak noe on the tail.

M: Dense with no carbonation, yet smooth and w/ barely a touch of ETOH.

O: Spectacular beer and experience w/ some good friends. Worth every bit of its acclaim. (419 characters)

Photo of mlhyatt
4.68/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A- gives a whole new meaning to viscous beer. Pours a motor oil black with no head. I wish it had some head but whatever.

S- i can smell this beer from across the rooms. Tons of bourbon sweetness. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel.

T- mmmm, has a lot of bourbon taste up frint. Real strong sweet bourbon. Unlike any bourbon flavor i've ever had. Then it switches to a lot of chocolate and it swirls aroubd my mouth. A good amount of heat from the alcohol. The aftertaste has a little bit of vanilla but the chocolate and bourbon definitely take over this beer. In a good way.

M- thick. Extremely thick and velvety. Hot as well my mouth feels hot on the aftertaste.

O- an outstanding beer even three years after bottled! The flavors are so intense on this. It's gunna take me a while to get through this beer because i want to savor every bit of it. (886 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a classic oil black Bourbon County with a brown ring.

There’s tons of oak, coconut, chocolate.

The beer follows with those Bourbon County notes, but it is surprisingly different. All the flavors are beautifully melded together. The beer is absurdly smooth.

The only knocks at it are a lighter mouthfeel than the regular Bourbon County. Then there’s almost a molasses, tar bitterness from the middle palate and on.

A beautiful beer, although I possibly liked King Henry, Vanilla and Proprietor’s at a Bourbon County Share. (549 characters)

Photo of Jonada
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle #3205 poured into a 22oz snifter

Appearance: Pours black with less than a finger of a mocha colored head that dissipates quickly to a somewhat thick collar a small wispy patch of foam coating. Body is completely opaque.

Smell: Chocolate, bourbon, oak, vanilla, mild oxidation, toasted coconut, caramel and slight booziness.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, slight smoke, fudge, hints of dark fruit and coconut. Big malt sweetness throughout, but is balanced just enough by some of the roasted and smokey notes.

Mouthfeel: Fully bodied with a thick creamy mouthfeel and low to medium levels of fine carbonation. Booze is hidden incredibly well as this just goes down stupidly smooth. Only trace of the 13% ABV is a gentle warming sensation in the throat after the finish.

Overall: Simply put, this is an amazing beer. I never had the opportunity to try it fresh, so can't compare it, but other than some slight oxidation, this is still holding up extremely well at 3.5 years. Is it the best beer ever? Probably not, but it's still absolutely worth seeking out. (1,098 characters)

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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 350 ratings.