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

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BA SCORE
100
world-class
360 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
360
Ratings:
1,355
Avg:
4.7
pDev:
6.81%
 
 
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1,869
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483
For Trade:
15
Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010)Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010)
BEER INFO

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:
Aged 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels.

Added by alcstradamus on 10-07-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 360 | Ratings: 1,355
Reviews by nsmartell:
Photo of nsmartell
5/5  rDev +6.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of TboneRN
4.85/5  rDev +3.2%

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 SeanBond
4.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll start with two disclaimers: I never had this fresh, and am not QUITE as huge a fan of regular BCBS as many people (it's one of my favorites, but I typically like at least one or two variants more per year). With that being said:

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best non-adjunct BA stout I've ever had. BCBS was already right up there (I could never decide whether I preferred BCBS or Parabola, but BCBS '14 clarified that I was a GI boy), but this takes what's great about regular, and amps it up. The mouthfeel is better and creamier, the beer itself is extremely black (blacker than BCBS), and the finish of the beer goes on for days and days (seriously, the first taste didn't blow me away, but the finish did. I literally said "wow" out loud, when it was still lingering for what seemed like forever). Hides the alcohol really well, but this is a 5 year old beer, so that might be part of the reason. The other thing I noted while drinking (shared with my girlfriend, but as usual, it turned into a night of me pouring into my snifter, and drinking the bomber alone!) is how easy/enjoyable it is to drink. It's not my favorite BCBS taste-wise, but it just slides through your mouth like nothing. Awesome.

I'm hoping to grab a bottle of Rare '15 to do a proper comparison (only had one pour at FoBAB, and I don't think that's enough), but I'm really eager to do so. My first impressions of the side-by-side would be that the '15 is possibly more complex, but the '10 is more well-rounded.

I still think Prop '13 is my favorite Bourbon County, all-time, but you can't go wrong with this beer. I'm glad GI decided to bring it back, even if it's in a slightly different form.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.96/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

With no doubt, this is the best Stout that I have ever had- 100% worth the hype and acclaim!

With even more anticipation than the Coffee and Vanilla infused Bourbon County Brand Stouts, no hype is lost on this beast. This Pappy Van Winkle infused BCBS is much more bourbony than any beer I have tried to date. Imagine my favorite bourbon and my favorite stout hooked up at a great beery distillery and conceived another angelic brew.

The beer opens with a dead-on motor oil viscosity and color. A delicate crème forms with a roast-stained hue. Where the retention eventually succumbes to the alcohol and weight, the legging became more apparent. The low carbonation and visual weight of the beer adds to the mystique of its appearance.

Extremely seductive aromas of decedent cocoa, espresso, and lucious bourbon all stand out in obvious stature. Lighter notes of cherry esters, licorice, and actual molasses help to round out the background attributes. The beer's aroma is complex nearly to the point of becomming overwhelmed with so much power, boldness, and harmony.

Flavors build even more, springboarding off of the powerful cocoa and espresso. But the thickness of the beer along with the creamy maltytness give even greater smoothness and melded taste making this beer way more drinkable than it should be; kinda malty-sweet-chocolatey like Whoppers malted milk candies. As the beer warms and deep in the finish, the molasses, licorice, and cherry flavors become much more apparant. Where hops are restrained, bitterness is achieved with the smooth bitterness of the carefully brewed espresso beans.

Distinct Bourbon notes from the famed Pappy 23 barrels give a sweet vanillan, caramel, oaky flavor and a texture that is smoothly boozy, powdery dry and with an almost marshmallowy feel. Signature Pappy contributes the dry-tannic feel to accompany the oak flavor in a very savory and handsome manner.

As expected, the beer is as thick, chewy, heavy, full, and as round as any beer that has crept into my mouth. And with the ultimate velvety textures, it drank much like a thick chocolate milkshake. The beer remains so very deep, lasting well into the finish and aftertaste.

It's crazy to talk that these unique barrels could make such a difference with the original Bourbon County Brand Stout. I'm not sure that the Pappy 23 release is that much more superior to the BCBS, but does improve upon them somewhat.

 2,424 characters

Photo of Jaxbrew
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect beer. I was so fortunate to get some of this when it was still around. Unreal.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Mike for letting me indulge in this one with him for only the cost of a Bramble Rye. Extremely generous of him, Mike is a true BA. Never thought I'd get the chance to try this one, so let's see if it lives up to the hype. Bottle #1485. It pours a deep, sludgy black color; much like used motor oil. Barely any head forms; it's more of a deep tan skin that barely grazes the top of the brew. Even with some swirling, the head never reaches more than a few millimeters in size. Lots of wet legging left behind, but nothing in terms of lace.

As expected, the aroma is powerful and robust. Huge bouts of dark-ass fudge lead the way, sweet and lightly bitter. Not far behind is the bourbon - strong, yet with unremarkable smoothness; miles from being "hot". Hell, it's hardly even warm. Lots of vanilla hopping around, as well as a large oak presence from the barrel. Roasted malts are hidden in the background and play a back-up role, yes they still add another element to the profile. Rare provides a very complex aromatic experience indeed, although I wouldn't go so far as to say it's any more complex than the original Bourbon County, albeit maybe slightly more refined and polished.

The first sip is awesome, to say the least. My senses are first jarred by the luscious amounts of chocolate - huge waves of cocoa nibs and rich fudge, accompanied with a deep, residual sweetness. Vanilla booms in and out of a large river of melted brown sugar and molasses, a nice combination from the heavy malt and large barrel effects. Somewhere about halfway through, the sweetness amps up and starts to resemble overripe, dark fruits; bruised prunes and dates, all smothered in a bath of brown sugar. Only a few sips into this and the complexity that it's offering is already borderline mind-blowing.

I can't believe I've made it this far through the flavor description without mentioning the bourbon, because believe me - the bourbon never loses its kick and never goes unnoticed. Strong oak accompanies some of the smoothest and most mellow interruptions of bourbon that I've ever tasted. It's amazing how the bourbon can be both so strong and so mellow at once, not getting hot or harsh. More vanilla and oak show up in the aftertaste with a mild touch of coconut. The large sweetness of this brew is offset very nicely by the heavy roast and bourbon warmth - a devastating combo. After each sip, your palate is left with reminders of oak, bourbon, fudge, and brown sugar. Smooth as smooth can be on the mouth, heavy and full bodied to the max, almost no carbonation.

Well, what to say about this one? Phenomenal beer, truly. Is it really worth the acclaim, though? It's tough to say. There's no doubt this is an excellent beer and a great representation of the complexity that the style can have. But I still don't believe it's worth three or four times the price of a regular BCS. Mike and I had a '12 BCS right after this, and the biggest noticeable difference was that it was a bit "hot" compared to the Rare. There's no denying the fact that two years in PVW 23 barrels gave the beer quite some time to mellow, not to mention the 2+ years it's been since the bottling date. Compared to an '08 BCS I had not too long ago, though, I would say it isn't far off. At least, not enough to warrant the large price increase.

Nevertheless, I'm extremely stoked and very grateful for the chance to try this one. Again, huge thanks to Mike for his generosity. Definitely one of the best beers out there, although the hype train had built it up a little too much for me. I'd take a few four packs of regular BCS over a single bottle of this, but that's just one man's opinion. I may even prefer the Coffee and Bramble variants over Rare as well, just for their variety and largely discernible flavor differences. Rare is fantastic, although it comes off as a super polished version of the original BCS - something you can closely emulate by sitting on your BCS bottle for 3+ years rather than drinking them fresh.

 4,018 characters

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of cjn40277
4.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Spaten454
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of weatherdog
4.64/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ GI Clybourn. $10/5oz. taster

It pours a near pitch black with no head on it with a silky texture look. Some of my friends tasters had a minimal deep mocha head. I guess it's just a pour variation.

Aroma is silky smooth velvet sweet bourbon. It's unlike any other bourbon barrel beer I've had. An alcohol warmth is present but not harsh or fusely at all, It's just all rich sweet smooth bourbon.

I really wish GI had a regular version on tap for some detailed comparisons. The taste was really nice and a notch above regular bcs in the integration of the bourbon. It mirrors the nose a lot with the sweet smooth well made bourbon with added chocolate and a little raisin at the end. A friend suggested, after it warmed a bit, some coconut flavors. I wouldn't have gotten it alone but the power of suggestion was just too much. It's a really great beer but I don't have the palette training to put this much higher than the regular without a side by side taste.

The mouthfeel is where this beer kills it. The alcohol finish is so smooth it leaves me wanting more. Rich, velvet and inviting. Really well done. This really increases the drinkability but it's still a 13.5% stout.

Overall I think this beer is great, a step above regular BCS. But for 3x the price? I'm really undecided.

 1,295 characters

Photo of SkiBum22
4.97/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Motor oil black, not much carbonation, about 1/4 finger worth of head.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some caramel sweetness. Chocolate and coffee with a light roast. Some dark fruits as well.

T - WOW! The bourbon definitely dominates. Cocoa, tobacco, oak, vanilla, light smoke, chewy malts, light oats, dark choc, baker's choc, light spicy booze, some warmth from the booze, Finishes a bit dry, some booze, lots of great bourbon and dark malts.

M - Very silky smooth and almost had a creamy feel to it.

O - Very good beer that lives up to the hype. The most bourbon I've ever tasted in a bourbon barrel stout.

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Photo of joemetric
4.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of farundrpar
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Ben7773
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of newk340
4.97/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to joshbjaeger for hooking me up!

Shared at a Christmas tasting with joshuaseresse, brian23456, hu5om, and e11a627.

A: a nearly pitch black pour, beautiful deep color with a thin khaki head that left spotty lacing.

S: wow. what isnt going on here. a little heavy on the booze, but the bourbon was not overpowering, faint chocolate scent also.

T: astonishing. any bourbon in the smell is nicely balanced in the taste, some chocolate maltiness with dark fruits and a lingering bourbon aftertaste.

MF/D: incredibly smooth. could hardly believe it was 13%abv (would've guessed 9-10%). left a nice numbing feeling in the mouth and silky smoothness on the lips. thank you sir, may i have another?

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Photo of DaftPatrick
4.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of warnerry
4.92/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle# 5564 generously shared by BA david131. Thanks!

A - Pours pitch black with only a thin collar of head. Slightly oily. No lacing.

S - Huge chocolate aroma with significant vanilla, a nice bourbon presence and subtle but noticeable oak. Aroma is a bit sweet, but not overly so. The chocolate has a nice bitterness. Despite the bourbon presence and substantial abv, the nose is not very boozy. we had this side by side with an '09 BCBS (sadly, no '08 was available) and the '09 seemed almost harsh in comparison, which was surprising as I have never thought of even fresh BCBS having a harsh aroma.

T - Incredibly smooth bourbon flavor, with a nice vanilla component. As with the nose, there is also a big chocolate taste, but not overly sweet. Taste also contains coffee, a bit of toffee and some faint dark fruits. Just smooth and rich. Really enjoyable.

M - Full mouthfeel. Initially sticky sweet but develops a decent amount of dryness by the end.

O - Such a smooth bourbon barrel aged stout. In addition to the '09, we also had this side by side with the 2011 PVW DL, and the Rare was easily a notch above that. Just excellent.

 1,141 characters

Photo of imagery
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Britton
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of 77apm
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of mmcurran
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 8,455.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate and roasted malt. The beer smells fairly boozy.

The flavor is heavy on the barrel-aged notes. I get a lot of maple and oak, as well as quite a bit of bourbon. There is also a good amount of chocolate and roasted malt in the flavor. The flavor is just as boozy as the aroma.

Full mouthfeel and low carbonation.

A very good imperial stout that I am very happy I got to try. That being said, I don't feel it is worth near what I paid for it. I think the Bourbon County Coffee Stout is a better beer at a fraction of the price, while the regular Bourbon County Stout has much more bang for your buck. If the beer was $15 it would be a great beer and a good deal, at the $53 price tag on this bottle, it is overpriced for what it delivers - although I am not sure any stout could be a good deal at that cost.

 923 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.