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Rare Bourbon County Stout - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Rare Bourbon County StoutRare Bourbon County Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

1,151 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,151
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.8
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 1,701
Gots: 473 | FT: 15
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.

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

(Beer added by: alcstradamus on 10-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,151 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%

t0rin0, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.55/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Bottle # 7,245.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki that slowly settles to oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is incredible with dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and wood. Taste is much the same with a mild alcohol kick and a pleasant woody finish after each sip. There is a fairly mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a great beer with an amazing aroma and a fantastic taste. I am glad I finally was able to try this beer after hearing about it for so long.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Huhzubendah for providing this at his recent tasting. Served in a snifter.

Pour brings the typical Bourbon County look--motor-oil black with a thin mocha head, a bit of a collar, and some legs on the side of the glass. The nose brought some really great Pappy character. At this point, I am beyond convinced that using Pappy barrels will certainly make a better-tasting beer than using most other barrels. Good chocolate notes and a hint of vanilla and oak in the background. The taste brings lots of Pappy character plus some roasted malt, vanilla, chocolate, and a bit of booze. Really smooth and lovely. Quite drinkable. Love it.

Thorpe429, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of zestar
5/5  rDev +4.2%

zestar, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +4.2%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of acurtis
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%

acurtis, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.78/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with nary a head that leaves a few leggy dots behind

Smell: Fudgy and oaky, with waves of caramel, bourbon and vanilla; a subtle waft of heat from the alcohol

Taste: Opens with dried plum and chocolate fudge, with developing caramel and vanilla elements; by mid-palate, the Pappy barrel bourbon, with its rich warm flavors, envelops the tongue and leaves a rich legacy that lasts well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and velvety, with low carbonation; gentle warmth in the gullet

Overall: Deserving of the accolades; the best Bourbon-barrel stout I have come across by a country mile

brentk56, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Texasfan549, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.96/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

BEERchitect, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with small foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma consists of bourbon and vanilla with light dry roasted malt with nice lingering sweet notes and is almost perfect. Taste is a perfectly balanced mix between some bourbon with balanced vanilla notes and some light dry roasted malt that is offset by light lactose notes. Body is quite full with a very nice creamy texture and medium carbonation with no apparent alcohol notes. I must admit that even though my expectations were quite high for this beer, this has exceeded my expectations. The notes of vanilla, bourbon and roasted malt are well integrated and creamy texture is perfect. Now I wish I could find another bottle.

Phyl21ca, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What can I say about this beer other then I could taste the rare through the bottle. After a long afternoon I used this as my night cap, and it certainly did its job as I passed out shortly thereafter. Served in a snifter and consumed on 02/17/11.

Black as night it sludged into the glass and popped up a sticky brown head of nearly two inches before settling down but retaining a wonderful balance of about a half an inch. Lacing coats the whole glass wonderfully. Lots of bourbon in the aroma, hot with vanilla and wood streaming through the air and dominating an otherwise chocolate and roasted masterpiece. Each sip tastes like you are coming straight off the barrel. Wonderful notes of vanilla and butterscotch, warm chocolate and light smoke all come together. Lots of heat, this definitely will benefit from a year or two but such a smooth, creamy finish it was literally as smooth as one could imagine given the strength.

Overall it matched my expectations really a fine example of what a really good beer and a really good barrel could do. Not disappointed in the slightest.

mikesgroove, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +4.2%

GRG1313, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ryan for sharing this one.

A: The pour is thick and black with a finger of tan head.

S: Wonderful bourbon and vanilla aromas with lots of rich, dark chocolate. Solid amounts of roasted malts with more chocolate and bourbon. A bit of molasses, caramel, and maple syrup, and oak.

T: Decadent is a good way to describe this beer. Fantastic bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate flavors throughout. Wood and roasted malts with a bit of caramel and molasses. Nowhere near as boozy as regular Bourbon County, which is a big plus.

M: Full in body with a smooth, silky feel on the tongue.

O: I had put off looking to try this beer due to the cost (still don't think it's worth $45), but it is a really great one.

womencantsail, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
5/5  rDev +4.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4.75/5  rDev -1%

jaydoc, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev -1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.47/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

What a way to start off an evening (especially with the knowledge of what is to come)! Shared this bad boy with VDubb86, TheStretch, taiyed, and our boy Matt. Good times. It pours a sleek obsidian topped by a minor bit of tan foam. The nose comprises smooth bourbon (yes, I can smell texture...can't you?), chocolate syrup, vanilla, oak, roasted malts, and molasses. Tasty. The taste goes heavy on the roast, though everything else makes a shiny, triumphant return. Imagine a good bourbon-barrel stout. Then make it at least fifteen times better. Seriously. It seems the couple years of aging did wonders for this bad boy (I'm not the biggest fan of the usual BCBS). The body is fairly hefty, with a light carbonation and a delightfully chewy feel. Overall, the ABV may be a tad high to allow the drinkability to really soar, but the tastiness makes me want to sip this over and over again. Call me a homer or tell me I bought into the hype, but this thing is pretty damn tasty, I do declare!

TMoney2591, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4.83/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to cpferris for sharing this invaluable tick.

Appearance: Black and viscous. The brown head recedes to a lasting crust.

Smell: Molasses, oatmeal cookie, bittersweet chocolate bar. Plenty of oak, too. Subtleties of vanilla, toffee, a little tootsie roll sweetness. This has more depth than regular BCS, though it's very similar.

Taste & texture: Molasses up front, boozy bourbon, still a surprising heat present despite 2 years in barrels. A lot of oak mid-palate, drying and tannic until some sweetness reappears toward the finish. Full, rich body. Chocolate-covered espresso bean finish, lingering licorice, light tannins.

Quality stuff for sure, and a clear step up from regular Bourbon County Stout.

largadeer, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.47/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black Friday insanity... wait in a line, pay for bottles, get in another line, drink! Five ounce pours were $10, but some were luckier than others with a couple extra ounces. Thanks to GbvDave and Acme for hooking me up with a little extra.

Dark chocolate mocha foam that had a dark tobacco stained tan hue. Once it parted, the surface was glassy obsidian black. There was little to no lace, and eventually the head faded to nothing, leaving just the oily black liquid.

Sweet bourbon aroma, vanilla, toasted coconut, fudgy dark chocolate, rich toffee. Seems a bit sweeter than standard-issue BCS. Dark syrupy chocolate and sweet vanilla flavors, though not as sweet as the nose lets on. Toasted coconut and tobacco smudges from the barrel, with noticeable oak traces lingering long into the aftertaste. Roasted black malt at it's core lends some bitterness. Very clean, not overly boozy compared to fresh BCS right out of the gate.

Mellow feel, the extra barrel time smoothed out any rough edges. Aged to perfection. Super drinkable, though the price and rarity limit it to a strictly "special occasion" sipper.

emerge077, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

A - Poured an opaque, jet black color with a small, tan head of wispy foam. It left sudsy trails of foam on the glass.

S - Licorice, whiskey, vanilla, roasty malt with some oaky notes.

T - Fantastic taste! The perfect blend of whiskey and beer flavors. Vanilla up front with some woody/oaky flavors. Licorice, burnt molasses and chocolate come with some booziness, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence. Drinks like a brandy or aperitif.

O - This is really, really outstanding. It delivered on the hype in a big way. Thanks Jarret for sharing!

zeff80, May 21, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
5/5  rDev +4.2%

JAHMUR, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%

SocalKicks, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
4.65/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed a couple 5oz pours of this at Goose Island Clybourn after braving the frigid cold to score some bottles. Served in a stange-like taster glass.

A - Served with a quarter-finger of dark tan foam that quickly settles to a thin ring, leaving behind attractive splotchy lacing. The body is pitch black. Looks a lot like regular BCS.

S - This is very oak heavy, with notes of vanilla, smoke, dark chocolate, prunes and other dark fruits, and the signature Pappy Van Winkle caramel character. As it warms it gets more tannic and boozy.

T - The taste is super mellow, with big vanilla, dark fruits, dark chocolate, and caramel notes. When it gets to room temperature more overt bourbon and spicy wood character emerges. Finish is superb, with a surprisingly light kiss of barrel tannins for two-plus years in wood.

M - The time in the barrel has thinned this out more than the regular version, and it seems a touch undersized for the listed ABV. On the positive side, there's little alcohol warmth. Otherwise very smooth, with only mild dry oak and tannic character.

D - The use of Pappy Van Winkle barrels, and the extended aging has left this ready to drink right out of the gate. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be significantly more complex than regular BCS, or at least not enough to warrant the 3x price increase. Still, it's an extremely enjoyable barrel-aged stout that all BCS lovers should try at least once.

MasterSki, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.31/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island Brewing Company Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout, stout aged in bourbon barrels (aged for 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels)

, bottle number 3116. I forgot when I bought this, but very few arrived locally, and I never saw one for sale. Luckily, I saw Tyler from Zipp's when he had one left. I hadn't planned on spending $40 or more on a single bottle, but he offered, and I couldn't decline. I'm a sucker that way…sigh…

So, I've been sitting on it, for a landmark beer. Maybe review #1000 on this blog would work? So, I calculated how many of my post weren't beer reviews and came up with the number 31, which may or may not be accurate. And I waited for post #1031, until I got on a tear with those birthday beers, and quickly surpassed that number. At my birthday celebration, Matthew J. suggested that it's prime is coming, since the base beer was brewed in 2008. So, we're at or past 5 years for this.
But it says on the label: "Develops for up to 5 years in the bottle." Well, when was it bottled? I bought it 3 years ago, when it was new. It doesn't say: "develops for 5 years from the brewing date." Bottled on 11/19/2010. We're at just over 2 1/2 years. Let's drink it.

Thick black coloring, slim toasted brown head, starts big, settles quickly. Vast expanse of empty void, a null set.

Aroma: sweet, rich bourbon, with vanilla overtones. cherry and whiskey notes over-ride, dominate, stand tall above. It's all bourbon, baby. Don't need any ice.

Taste: Mmmm. Thick, rich, delicious, plenty of bourbon flavors still on top of the tongue. Ridiculously delicious. So many layers of caramel and dark rum, a little anise, whoa…boom, pow! yeah….huge, slick, sick, and yummy.

Let's see watt the label tells us: "This stout was aged for over two years in the finest barrels Goose Island has used in it's 18 years of bourbon-barrel aging beers. A true rarity, savor and share with only those you hold dear, as it will never be made again. Cheers!"

So, I held on to this to drink on my own, so I can write these notes, but I've got Rollie the Cat, and his pal (and mine) Sonny Boy the Cat. They don't drink beer, though, which is best for me.

I'm barely halfway done with the bottle, and it's richness and deliciousness hasn't even faded or gotten close to dying down. Dense, this, and delectable. Deep and amazing.

Got this one in under the radar, apparently. So good, so incredible.

feloniousmonk, Dec 03, 2013
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Rare Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,151 ratings.