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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.

1,147 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,147
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 4.8
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 1,697
Gots: 472 | 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: 1,147 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of krazyboi
4.68/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a globe glass.

A: Dark black with brown around the edges. A head barely forms. Liquid sticks to the side of the glass when swirling.
S: Dark chocolate, slight bourbon, roasted malts.
T: Sweet and bitter dark chocolate with a nice bourbon kick. Not much hops to be tasted.
M: Very thick, sticky and syrupy. Low carbonation.
D: This is not an easy drinker by any means. It is quite tasty but gives you a nice buzz fairly quickly. Trying to finish a whole bomber of this beer will probably end up with you stumbling all over the place. I would recommend that you try this beer, but share with someone if you can. Great beer! One of my favorite imperial stouts!

krazyboi, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of fiver29
4.78/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours thick jet black with tan head. Aroma is nice. Strong chocolate and bourbon. I could smell this all day and night. Just wonderful. Flavor is what you expect from bourbon county. The chocolate, coffee notes, and that wonderful bourbon note. A touch of soy in there as well. The bourbon is smoother than the regular version. Just outstanding.

fiver29, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of ManVersusBeer
4.35/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

About time I got around to reviewing this. From an Epic beer tasting, courtesy of trxxpaxxs.
Pours a deep, dark cola and chestnut with virtually no head and tiny little bubbles.
The sweet maple syrup is nicely paired with the molasses, caramel candy, and, of course, tons of oaky bourbon. A dark brown sugar is present in the nose as well.
This is smooth with syrupy molasses and sweet oak and wood. Some toffee coated nuts along with a bit of candied orange zest round this brew out nicely.
This is fairly sweet and creamy, but not cloying. It lingers like a high class whiskey complementing the honey and caramel.
At 13%, it can be drinkable, but it is one that requires savoring. Definitely a beer meant to be shared. Cheers.

ManVersusBeer, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of Retsinis
4.83/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 100th review!!! I actually got this beer as a semi gift (Thanks for bringing this Skuter) on my Birthday, shared with friends and family of course, but been saving these notes for this 100th review.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Bruery tulip glass. I had some initial sips, but then let it warm up for about 20 minutes.

A: The beer pours like black sunshine. Solid black, with no light penetrating, radiating in the glass, reflecting light off it's shimmering surface. A milk chocolate mocha colored head rose about half or quarter inch, quickly disapating to just thin ring of bubbles, leaving beautiful coating legs of lace on the glass.

S: Buttery bourbon oak notes. Rich chocolate, tobacco, pure vanilla extract, and what I would describe as a dash, or seasoning of dark cherry liquor. Reminded me of fresh made beer brownies.

T: Like christmas morning man! lol. Strong creamy bourbon, the finest tobacco, oak, vanilla, the finest belgian chocolate, espresso in paris, roasted caramel malt, semi sweet british toffee. Very balanced, layered, and might just be one of the best beers I've ever had. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

M: Buttery bourbon, silky smooth, coats your mouth, just enough carbonation to add to a full texture mouthfeel. The alcohol is so much fainter than in the regular version, and is incredibly well hidden.

O: If your a fan of this style, enjoy regular Bourbon county stout, and your reading this review, then I hope you get to try this beer, and hopefully with close friends and family. It was a great treat and experience to try such a well crafted beer, that took a lot of time, money, and patience to make. The only ding for this stuff is how long it takes to make, (over two years) that it won't be made again, (supposedly) and the $50 a bottle (retail) cost (or rare beer to trade for it) but none of that is the beers fault. This stuff is amazing, delicious, and is truly deserving of the "world class" title.

Retsinis, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of nrbw23
4.83/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a black color with just a few brown bubbles for a head. Pretty much no head or lacing with this brew. Looks just like all the other Bourbon County Stouts.

S- I get massive amounts of bourbon coming from my glass. After I finally get through all the bourbon I'm picking up dark roasted malts, touch of expresso and dark chocolate. A bit of vanilla, nice rich oak, and alcohol. Very complex and you'd have to experience it for yourself to truely understand.

T- Taste is sweet caramel, very fine bourbon and then dark roasted malts. Vanilla, oak and alcohol have a great strong taste here. Dark chocolate, expresso and coffee also join in. Again this is a great brew. Has a great alcohol warming too.

M- Full in body and carbonation is pretty low. This beer feels perfect.

D- This beer is awesome. I really enjoyed this one. The biggest problem with this beer is its price tag.

nrbw23, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of Lunch
4.65/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a Great Lakes snifter and the pour is a beautiful dark inky black with a one finger of a darker tan head that stick around for a bit.

Smell is classic Bourbon County Stout with a nice buttery bourbon that seems a bit more refined with a great coconut aroma with some vanilla and some chocolate.

Taste is very similar with a wonderful smoothness which allows for some many nuances to shine through, but I must say that I'm not getting a lot of difference in flavor for the regular version (I had this with a complete vertical of the regular BCBS along with BCBVS and BCBCS)

Thick as fuck with spot on carbonation and this is a beverage that I could drink all day long.

Not sure if this is worth the price of admission, but it is a damn good beer.

As of today this beer is still available at Columbia, MD's finest beer store for a mere $90.

Lunch, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Luckily, lurchingbeast's package arrived today with this in it. I needed this because today I fell victim to one of the stupidest driving manuevers in history (not from me) and my collision insurance-less car is now totaled. All the people involved are okay, but my '87 baby blue Civic will be resting in pieces.

Poured into a snifter. Bottle number 1,817 which was bottled on 11/19/2010.

3.0 A: The BCS beers aren't know for the good looks and this is the same. Poured a thick, viscous black color. The amount of fizzy medium brown head peaked about about one finger before quickly falling back into the bourbony abyss below.

4.5 S: This is noticeably mellower than any of the other versions, including one and two year old vintages of the regular BCS. The two years this spent in the Pappy barrels must have been a time of peace. Bourbon is much less forceful than the other versions and better integrated. Bourbon and barrel add oak, a touch of leather, a little more vanilla, cocoa, melon, and a light nuttiness. The underlying stout gives a bit hit of black licorice, milk chocolate, caramel and some toffee. Mild booziness, less than the other. Roasted barley of course is there, but is dominated by the sweet components, just like the full BCS lineup.

5.0 T: The taste for regular BCS warranted a perfect taste score and this one certainly does as well. It's neither better nor worse, different, but not radically so. Again, the bourbon is much better integrated and a hell of a lot smoother than the regular. This is a give and take because it doesn't have the edgy bourbony strike that the regular has. Tons of melon and a peach/apricot like fruitiness. Some leather, oak, and vanilla. The booziness is quite present, but it seems to be a "smoother booziness" if that makes sense. Cocao, milk chocolate, sweet toffee and molasses, and of course some roastiness. Damn good.

5.0 M: Thick, rich, and robust body. Good moderate carbonation. Super creamy and smooth.

4.5 D: One hell of a beer, but the quality of this is negligibly different than the quality of regular or coffee BCS (vanilla wasn't as good) and thus justifying multiple purchases of this is unwarranted. That isn't to say this isn't different. It's definitely smoother, mellower, and perhaps even more insanely complex and I'm more than happy that I was able to give it a try (and drink the whole damn bottle).

DavoleBomb, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of SFLpunk
4.43/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A HUGE thanks to pzymali for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Front label numbered 9,688.

Appearance: Pours a super-thick oily black with some dark tan head that just sticks to the edge of the surface.

Nose: Surprisingly floral, black vanilla bean, bourbon, black sesame seeds, molasses, tamari, nori and much much more.

Palate: Sharp with booze right up front. Palate is wide and fat across the mid-palate and then snaps rather dry on the finish. Flavors of sweet bourbon, pumpernickel, black-strap molasses, orange, bittersweet chocolate, black malt and sugar. As it warms the bitterness and dryness drop away. Some wood tannins show their heads.

Notes: Really damn fine. Not sure it's $50 fine, but it's certainly damn fine! (Overall score suffers because of "value.")

SFLpunk, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.58/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle # 4720

A: Poured into my snifter, this brew pours a deep black with a dark chocolate head that is quick to dissipate leaving an omniscient black stout ready to grace your pallet.

S: The bourbon dominate nose allows hints of vanilla from the oak to shine through. Notes of chocolate and a slight maduro tobacco note from the Pappy is evident.

T: The flavor really is almost a 5. It is a solid 4.8. Compared to the coffee and regular BCS, the bourbon in this brew is refined and tamed. Notes of vanilla and chocolate are allowed to shine through. There is a sweetness to this brew that is pleasant. There is an opportunity for this brew to be a little more dynamic in it's stout flavors, but the use of the Pappy and it's depth of flavor notes was genius.

MF: Mouthfeel is almost perfect. Most bourbon beers are thinned out from the barrel aging, this is not. The only offense is a slight alcohol burn, but I'm loving it.

Overall (thanks for this new category bros!), this is a definitive bourbon barrel aged beer. The bourbon is perfect, and the stout is right behind it.

TKEbeerman, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of BeerBATvocate
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally decided to open my first one. Poured into 8oz Snifter.

A-Pours a jet back, with almost zero translucency. Produced a semi-pillowy finger and a half of head that quickly dissipated, with tiny bits of lacing.

S-The aroma is beautiful. It starts with the bourbon, which has its own maturity, then follows immediately with lovely oak. Next are the malt and vanilla, which are both equally present, and are accompanied by bits of toffee. The nose ends in a boozy bourbon infused alcohol finish that warms the senses.

T-Flavor very much mirrors the aroma, but with the obvious greater complexity. First thing I taste right off the bat is the bourbon. This bourbon has a significant maturity to it. It's obviously a well made bourbon, meant for connoisseurs and enthusiasts, who would have no problem shelling out $260 for the bottle of Pappy. The character of the Pappy is just so well rounded and beautiful. Next the oak hits me, with a nice earthy tone, followed by huge vanilla. The vanilla itself is surprisingly present, pretty much sticking around the entire time, coming in waves throughout. Next is the roasted malt character, which is dark roast coffee-like, and a bit like toasted bread skin in character. Immediately after the malt comes some bitter chocolate notes, which are reminiscent of bakers chocolate. As the chocolate hits the back end, notes of toffee creep in, then disappear in the finish. The finish itself is warming alcohol and bourbon, which is less than the nose, but still pretty present. The overall flavor is very well balanced. Dare I say perfect?

M-The mouthfeel on this is velvety smooth and silky, with lovely carbonation that tingles just right. Just perfectly carbed all together. The silky texture is smooth but yet sticks to the mouth just the right amount. Feels quite excellent to drink.

D-The drinkability is superb. I know many have said that this beer is awesome, but they can't justify the price tag. After giving careful review, I feel wholeheartedly that it is. The flavor profile is damn near perfect. I really can't think of any taste I would want more or less of. There's definitely some heat to it, but it's not hot by any means. The heat itself is mostly due to the bourbon character, which is actually very pleasant. Overall, this beer is quite impressive, and I very much look forward to the next bottle.

BeerBATvocate, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Dan - much obliged!

Pours black with a half-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of huge bourbon - oak, vanilla, and hints of coconut. Also present are smooth roasted malt notes and moderately sweet dark chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Equal amounts of roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors kick things off before being overtaken by vanilla, oak, and butterscotch. The vanilla, roasted malt, and chocolate flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this beer didn't disappoint. The roastiness is a bit diminished from the normal BCBS and the vanilla is more robust. Both are very good but the Rare is a nice change of pace Well worth a shot.

glid02, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of nhindian
4.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle split with russwbeck and poured into a Goose Island wine glass. Huge, huge thanks to AleWatcher for this during his LIF.

Bottle #11644

A - Compared to the normal Bourbon County Stout, this has a much better look. It's still hard to rouse much head out of this, but there's still about a finger's worth of dark tan head. The lacing is leagues above the normal version, with a thick curtain of foam obscuring most of the glass. This beer is complete and utter darkness, with barely any discernible highlights. Very imposing looking.

S - The first thing I noticed about the nose was that it was extremely well-balanced, especially compared to the vintages I tried last night. The bourbon is certainly though, but not the main focus surprisingly. Or maybe that its just so integrated with the other complex elements in the smell. It just smells thick and bursting with flavor. There's a chocolate quality here bordering on fudge based on its sweetness and viscosity. There's also perhaps some darker fruits in here, but that could also be the bourbon. As in the normal version, the back-end is boozy but tantalizing.

T - If the smell were any indication of how good this beer would be, the taste shatters any notion of that and replaces it with something even better. It's just a complete melange of flavor, bordering on every corner of flavor. At first its a lot of chocolate, thick and sweet rather than bitter baker's chocolate. Again, its almost like fudge. Then the bourbon comes through and lasts throughout the beer in a nice, almost subtle quality. Then there's vanilla, and a good amount of it. And you can certainly tell that this beer has been in the barrels for two years, as there's an oakiness that's slightly smokey but quite dry. As for the alcohol, thks beer doesn't seem anywhere close to 13%, its that well-blended.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with low carbonation. This beer makes its home on your palate and is there to stay. The finish is very long and most of the flavors can still be tasted minutes after the previous sip. Incredibly creamy and smooth as well.

D - Drinkability is very high. For such an alcoholic beer, this beer goes down way too easy. Everything in this beer comes together to make the experience a real treat. Easily one of the easiest drinking bourbon-aged stouts. I'm not sure if its worth $20 more than 50/50 Eclipse Four Roses, but its still very delicious.

Thanks again, Jeff!

nhindian, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
4.68/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared with nhindian, bottle number 11644

A: Pour is black as the night. Nice sized brown head, but only with a very vigorous pour. Doesn't stick around for long, but some lacing is noted.

S: Far more balanced than the '07 or '09 BCBS I had last night. Loads of chocolate coming through to balance the bourbon nicely. Neither smells are subdued, they're both in your face and wonderful.

T: Big chocolate flavor up front, blends nicely with bourbon that isn't overpowering. The best of both flavors come out here. The backend brings a nice coffee roastiness that I wasn't expecting at all. Vanilla and some oak are mixed in, but take a backseat to the 3 big flavors previously mentioned. Extremely enjoyable.

MF: Bit of carbonation, very creamy to drink. The alcohol is masked very well.

D: Crazy high for 13% ABV and Bourbon aged. The flavors balance so nicely, the smell is phenomenal, I wish I had more of this to put down!

This was a lot better than the BCBS we had last night. Not even comparable. Right on the same level as Eclipse Four Roses and Black Magick though. All of them are simply amazing.

russwbeck, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of Gtreid
4.28/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Heyohhh for breaking this one out at the Hunahpu release.

A: Pitch black. What head did come of the pour faded to nothingness rather quickly. But it did leave some nice legs.

A: Burbon. Chocolate and slightly toasted malts. But this is all about the barrel.

T: Pappy does wonders for big stouts like this. It just creates a smoothness that is unlike any other burbon. But, it really isn't overpowering, the base beer still comes through, and that is a good thing. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and dark malts are forward. Finishes with an alcohol burn.

M: Heavy body, very little carbonation. Just a touch slick on the palate.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is rather nice for such a complex brew. Overall, I thought this was a very nice brew. Not sure it warrants the extremly high ratings, but to each his own. Still a great beer that I'm glad I got to try. Skal.

Gtreid, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In his ever growing benevolence, normyk brought out this one to share at a tasting. Wow.

A- I cant really give any Bourbon County beers very high appearance scores. They all look the same, and none of them have any head at all. At least they are a bottomless black with a really thick looking body. It flows with a silken appearance much like Hulk Hogan's hair.

S- Goodness gracious, great -bals of bourbon! This has to be the smoothest, richest noses my nose has ever nosed. Its very, very mellow and eloquently pieced together. Vanilla, worn oak, raisin cookie, some licorice and fruits and lots of brown sugar. In many ways it smells like a bakery or candy shop.

T- The taste is equally mellow and silken. Raisins covered in brown sugar, drizzled in molasses. A nice vanilla creaminess and milk chocolate. Its amazing how much the Pappy barrels have done for this stuff. Its not anything like regular BCBS.

M- Full bodied. Full on, hardcore, x-rated full body. Sultry, sweaty heat, but only enough to get the blood flowing and limber the joints. Alcohol heat is very much hidden, especially compared to regular BCBS and any other 13% beers for that matter. I recall someone at the tasting saying that they would not have pegged this at 13% at all. A n00b comment, yes. But an accurate one. :P

D- With unmatched smoothness and integration this beer deserves its accolades and attention. Now where can I get a bottle of 23-year Pappy Van Winkle?

MbpBugeye, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of axeman9182
4.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle, bottle number 1114, allowed to warm for half an hour before being cracked for review # 200 and poured into my Southampton 2011 IRS Release Party snifter.

Bourbon County Rare pours a complete, impenetrable black. There's only maybe a finger of dark tan foam capping the beer, and there's little retention and no lacing. I guess this one just isn't much of a looker. The nose more than makes up for it though, an absolutely intoxicating blend of rich chocolate, vanilla, super smooth whiskey, and a hint of oak. The taste follows pretty much exactly. Chocolate is the predominant flavor, with everything else in a supporting role, creating layers of complexity. I described it to a friend as tasting like "the perfect adult milk shake". The body is incredibly rich, it doesn't get any more luxurious than this. Carbonation is there enough to keep the beer from turning into a syrup, but there's nothing in the way of hops to this beer, and it just gets out of the way of all the malty, barrel aged goodness. Pricewise, I'm not sure if Rare was worth the hike over regular BCS, but that may only be because I'm a big fan of regular Bourbon County Brand Stout. Expensive or not, BCBRS is one of the tastiest beers that's ever graced my glass.

axeman9182, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yum, rare my favorite flavor. Black, real black. A generous swirl summons forth a orangish, reddish tan head and then it dives back towards the depths. The same swirl unleashes a torrent of aroma, heavy on the vanilla, licorice, cedar, oak, woody notes and wafts of alcohol. Upon a sip a singularly fantastic experiance commences. Vanilla, bourbon and oak are the immediate impression. Caramel and toffee too follow. And then something unique occures. A charred, burnt marshmellow note that sets this beer off. The finish is more vanilla, with heat and booze. Rare has legs in the glass and feels the same over the tongue. A sipper.

pmlondrigan, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of nickd717
4.78/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thought I had uploaded this earlier but I guess not. Huge thanks to Nick3 for opening this "rarity." I've found people named Nick to be extremely generous and knowledgeable about beer, with few exceptions.

Pours pretty much jet black with a one finger brown head that lasts and fades to thick foam.

Awesome rich aroma. The Pappy is evident and well-integrated. Oak, molasses, dark chocolate, vanilla, and roast back it up.

Very complex flavor with seamless Pappy -bal aging. Roast, anise, bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, and a little alcohol.

Extremely smooth mouthfeel, like silk, with soft carbonation and a great long finish.

Damn, I wanted to hate this because of the shameless "rare" naming (with 11,000 bottles LOL) and ripoff price point of $45, it just hurts so good. I'm going to trade for more of this now, even though I'll hate myself for it.

nickd717, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of hooliganlife
4.4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

big thanks to brewgulper for bringing this

as typical with the BCS family, pours a dark thick jet black with little to no head. just an obviously massive body.

soft smooth bourbon strikes me first. light vanilla and a smooth chocolate. very well rounded.

the bourbon in this was quite smooth with a deep rich vanilla and dark fruit. a bit of roasted flavors. this was a bit on the boozy side, but not overpowering. this reminded me of the 2008 which it should, as it was that years blend.

very thick, smooth, chewy, with a bit of bite. the alcohol left a bit of tingle.

this was good, not quite $40/bottle good though. id imagine in a few years, this will be epic.

hooliganlife, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of mcallister
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black and oily with a deep dark mocha head that fades quickly to some spotting here and there.

Dark chocolate, cocoa, fudge, vanilla, hints of coffee, sweet toasty oak and vanilla, and sweet lovely bourbon with black fruits galore and some dark pitted fruits as well. Bits of leather and licorice, wonderful.

Christ this is delicious. Enormous complexity, nice alcohol burn in the throat, chest, and back of the palate. But hell it is bourbon county. Sweet milk chocolate and vanilla with caramel in the front and middle in to dark bitter bakers chocolate on the finish. Bourbon and wood integrate seamlessly throughout with black licorice, prune, plum and black figs lingering on the forever finish. Like a candy in the mouth not sure a beer can really get much better than this. Thick, chewy, rounded, creamy mouth that just adds the this exceptional brew. Thank God I have a couple more bottles that will be hard to open or not open...what to do.

mcallister, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of kzoobrew
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 5927

Pitch black absolutely opaque body. Very limited dark brown sugar head, retention is some what minimal though that is expected. The beer looks thick and viscous even in the glass.

I was eagerly anticipating opening this beer, but in a line up of so many other quality Barrel Aged Stout I did not expect to be blown away. As this was poured and I took my first smell I was absolutely floored. The first scent to catch my attention was the bourbon. I have never smelled a bourbon this smooth. Soft and mellowed aromas blend perfectly with the rich dark chocolate. Hints of brown sugar, vanilla and oak meld seamlessly with the more dominant characteristics.

My expectations continue to be blown away as I take my first sip. I may sound like a broken record but this bourbon characteristics are so unexplainably smooth. Dark chocolate laden caramel flavors flow carrying bits of coffee and a soft vanilla flavor on its back. Slight roasted malt is noted beneath giving a little bit more depth to the flavor.

Full bodied viscous stout. Carbonation is low and the texture creamy. Dry cocoa flavor lays on the tongue leaving a long finish.

I have yet to have a perfect beer but this one is close. Even with the appearance being knocked down ever so slightly I cannot imagine changing a thing about this beer. The price may deter some from making this purchase but just a taste would convince many. Very drinkable, flavors are well integrated and balanced. The booziness many are accustomed to with the BCS line up is non existent. A masterpiece of a beer.

kzoobrew, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of Spartan517
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to find this at a shop about a month ago and decided to crack it open. I was a little reluctant to buy it, given the price tag, but was so happy I did. In the glass, the beer is dark as night, with only faint glimmers of brown at the edges. There was a small tan head that slowly faded into a ring of bubbles. The smell was intense and pleasant, dominated by chocolate, bourbon, and some vanilla. The flavor was rich and delicious with the bourbon perfectly integrated into the overall flavor profile. I thought that this was a definite upgrade over the regular version. There were still some chocolate flavors with a little subtle syrup mixed in with the bourbon. Overall a phenomenal taste! The viscosity was pretty high and this beer sat on the tongue well. I thought it had an appropriately low level of carbonation. This isn't something I could afford to have on a regular basis, obviously, but I'll definitely be searching for more to save for special occasions.

Spartan517, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Bottle # 1761, split with a friend. Poured into a pair of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulips. 650 mL bottle served at room temperature. The original Bourbon County is one of my favorites, so I'm hoping that this is even better.

Appearance: Midnight black and thick as can be. I actually get a rather substantial mocha brown head that recedes pretty quickly into a nice lacing. Definitely one of the thicker stouts I've seen.

Aroma: Baker's fudge, vanilla bean, and really smooth bourbon. The bourbon is perfectly integrated into the beer. Everything in the aroma is perfectly balanced actually. None of the components overpower. Definitely impressive.

Taste: The bourbon character here is outrageously smooth, but still manages to keep the qualities that are so great about Bourbon County fresh. The higher quality barrels are definitely noticable as is the extra time in the barrel. These factors manage to combine the smoothness of aged Bourbon County with the bourbon bite of it fresh. Also, the vanilla and fudge aspects are here in full force as well. All the flavors have great balance and complement each other as well as can be.The bourbon is definitely the highlight though.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and heavy, but there is just enough carbonation from keeping this becoming overly heavy. Really works perfect for a beer of this ABV.

Drinkability: Exceptionally smooth for 13% ABV. The extra time in the barrels really imparted an unbelievable smoothness to this. Obviously the price tag is a major impediment to drinking a lot of this, but I don't think I would have trouble finishing a bottle by myself if given the opportunity.

Overall, the best beer I've had to date, hands down. This is the first perfect score I've given to a beer. The fact that Goose Island managed to capture the best aspects of aged and fresh Bourbon County, and then managed to increase the quality of the bourbon flavors themselves is amazing. I had ridiculously high expectations going in and I was not disappointed in the slightest. Somehow, this manages to justify the price tag and that's not an easy feat.

Gosox8787, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of decadance
4.88/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this kzoobrew.

A - The darkest beer of the night. Has a viscosity that is even above Black Tuesday. Minimal head on my pour.

S - There is a significant amount of bourbon on the nose, but is not a burning that I associate with it normally. There are hints of coffee from the malts used and a tinge of chocolate in the nose as well.

T - Best stout I have had. The bourbon imparts flavor, but is not boozy. It melds so good with the base. Other flavors that are rising in the palate are caramel and chocolate, but the beer is not too sweet.

M - Smoothest Bal-aged beer I have had. The pappy barrels did their job. Still the full coating you expect from the stout, but zero burn. Outstanding.

D - Dangerously drinkable. I know the ABV, but if this was a regular offering, I would not be able to shy away. I dock it a half point because, well, I would know better.

decadance, Feb 20, 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
Rare Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,147 ratings.