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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.

1,256 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,256
Reviews: 352
rAvg: 4.8
pDev: 6.46%
Wants: 1,799
Gots: 477 | FT: 14
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,256 | Reviews: 352
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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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4/5  rDev -16.7%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

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5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of adnielsen
4.92/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle @ home, courtesy of TheAlum. He is such a generous dude to trade me this brew for a six pack of Bud Ice and a case of Bud Dry. Hell of a deal! Thanks again, Adam!!! Deep black appearance with a dark brown head. Awesome, sweet, smooth, oaky goodness with dark roasty malts in the nose. Sweet, creamy, chocolatey, very nice bourbon beginning. Unbelievable, roasty, awesome flavor. So smooth, so very nice! I thought this beer was probably all hype but this is legendary!!

Photo of mulder1010
4.91/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Forgetfu for the bottle. Much appreciated
Bottle #7566 poured into a Great Divide tulip

A-- Opened bottle and a white fume of smoke came billowing out of the bottle. Very nice. Poured motor oil black, small dark brown/ dark mocha colored head that quickly dies off, leaving a dark mocha colored ring around the sides. A little bit of head retention but it is more of a rebuilding of the film.

S-- Where to begin? Oak, bourbon, stewed vanilla beans, and dark fruits. Layers and layers of flavors in the nose. The ABV is evident in the nose but much more restrained than what BCS Vanilla and regular BCS are like in the nose to me. Nowhere near as sweet smelling has Vanilla was. Very well balanced.

T-- Wow. All I can say is wow. Bourbon, vanilla, Carmel, chocolate and oak. So soft and creamy. Not very sweet at all. Utterly shocked by this as I hated BCS Vanilla due to the sweetness. Once again the word is balanced.

M-- Slick and slightly oily. Not that thick but man this is smooth stuff. A bit of an oaked vanilla finish to this. Slight bits of tannins and alcohol to the gums just adds a excellent punch to this. Slight bits of alcohol burn. Utterly Sublime.

O-- Had been very weary as was not a fan of Vanilla and BCS. This is just insane good. Alcohol is well hidden and this is easy to drink. Takes port to a new level. Honestly an insane good beer. All I really can say is this is mind blowing good. Worthy of the hype and the love this has been given.

Photo of Kaydogg
4.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thank you Tim for the share..

A: Black as night, with a light brown mocha head that dissipates quickly.

S: vanilla, little oak, mocha, bourbon..smell is incredible

T:WOW..Taste mirrors the smell quite well. Vanilla is quite prominent, then the bourbon barrel comes through and is incredible smooth and decadent. This bourbon being aged so long translates to a much mellower bourbon county.

M: Similar body to the normal bourbon county stout. Excellent mouthfeel. Slightly carbed

D: This beer lived up to the hype...top 5 beer I've had and probably the best BA Stout for me to date. It is a wonderful beer and the quality and duration of the bourbon definitely comes through in the beer. Glad I have more

Photo of bobhits
4.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

1:10 PM, I open an e-mail i've worked nearly 2 years for "congratulation you've passed the june 2011 level 1 CFA exam." My heart skips a beat, nearly in tears, simply the best day of my life to this point. How else to celebrate than drinking a beer saved 6 months for the occasion that's been constantly drawing my attention in the fridge since. Throw in bourbon county stout is among the best beers I've ever had, and lets just say the hype can be felt for miles and miles.

Pours a half inch of head, thick as night body, the head perhaps lacking in some strength as a result of the high abv. Oddly the body isn't nearly the black hole that bourbon county stout it. There are deep cherry wood like legs here and frankly I like the look a lot. It's just enough darker and deeper than some of the stouts that seems a touch thin or weak. Additionally, the legs here are also a tad thin next to bourbon county stouts, but still these brandy legs look outstanding.

A nose of complexity only rivaled by bourbon county stout. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, dark esters, fruits, dates, plums, and even a hint of cherry. Oh yeah and that amazing vanilla and oak that only bourbon can give off. Swirl this strongly and enjoy a nose of bourbon sweetness like nothing I've experienced.

I can't even find words for this one. There's a sweetness and flavor on the front of the tongue that makes this completely different from bourbon county stout. A sweet melody of bourbon so perfect, so amazing, and so out of place without the normal intense burn that should follow it. This beer perfectly captures the flavor of a good bourbon (I've only had the pappy bottles younger than the 23, but there's no doubt this is a pappy bourbon). The flavors perfectly linger just long enough but then seem to dry and go away. This is bourbon beer. Bourbon chocolate beer I suppose, but bourbon is showcased here in ways that bourbon itself cannot do. For those of you unaware of the Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, I'm not going to bother with how much I like them, but you should know Pappy is a sweet bourbon. Bourbon county stout is a sweet stout. The combination had me a touch worried, but the way the bourbon is accented by the stouts dark rich chocolate and molasses finish is outstanding. If you want a negative comment I could see someone getting a hint of cherry syrupy in this once it warms, but I'm going to say it's nice bourbony sweetness.

Sipped this beer almost completely avoids the alcohol beer. Drink too quickly and it'll kick you in the balls. Again much like a good bourbon. I can breath out the heat, but never let it really touch me. This beer finds a mix of thick syrup, cream, and drinkability so to speak that is simply unrivaled. There is carbonation just just just barely enough to give this some lightness, the syrup thickness is a touch below bourbon county stout and the alcohol is perhaps just smoother to the point it doesn't jump out.

Now the question to be asked, is it worth it? I traded for this and gave up a LOT of great beer (much aged) to get it. Is it really better than KBS? Is it even better than bourbon county stout? Truth is I'm not sure how to answer any of that. I've talked to some HUGE beer snobs/advocates and the opinion has mostly beer that this is the best stout they've had. The problem for me is this is like a glass of black bourbon. It is amazing bourbon, perhaps the best bourbon I've had. I'm in love with this stuff and would unquestionably buy more at a lower price. that said this is a touch too sweet. It needs a bit more bitterness to even things out. At the same time it is dreamy, wonderful, sinfully great. There is a part of me wondering if I should have had this back in January and perhaps when I compare tasting notes with others I'll have my answer. Or maybe I just needed to give it more time, but damn this thing doesn't need to get sweeter. I highly recommend splitting a bottle 3-4 ways. I think this beer needs to be opened and consumed quickly to enjoy the carbonation and it seems a touch less sweet at the start.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bourbon County Rare poses an interesting conundrum: should price factor in to the "overall" category of a review.

Let's get the preliminaries out of the way: the beer itself is near perfect. Pitch black with a dark espresso head. Smell of vanilla toffee and a hint of barrel char. Mouthfeel is thick and oily, but with enough carbonation to provide true depth of field. The flavors are dizzyingly complex: molasses, vanilla, strong bourbon, tobacco and baker's chocolate.

Here's the problem: with age, the regular Bourbon County tastes almost as good for a fraction of the price. Right now, the '08 is pretty much a perfect stout in its own right. I've decided to rate this beer on its merits rather than its price. That said, my recommendation is -- if you can't get your hands on a Rare -- grab a regular BC and hide it from yourself for a couple of years. That'll give you the next best thing without taking a blow to the pocketbook.

Photo of osusullins
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with dark head.

Smells like bourbon. Alcohol on the nose covers most everything else. There is faint vanilla, maybe some baker's chocolate, but mostly just the bourbon.

Tastes like bourbon. These stouts are great, but sometimes when I drink bourbon stouts I just think I should go ahead and take a shot of Maker's and get it over with. Alcohol is very overpowering on the palate. Some chocolate on the back end, but mostly bourbon. Low carbonation.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle number 1124, bottled 11/19/10; poured into a wine glass

Shared with Jebus3513

This guy sits a dark, ink black with a thin, bubbly head. The head was a dark brown in color and didn't last very long. Viscous and oily in the glass, leaving huge, slow moving sheets of oily black liquid on the sides of the glass when swirled.

A huge, bold nose of oak, vanilla, licorice, molasses, burnt caramel, rich chocolate fudge and loads of bourbon. The bourbon could easily be detected from over an arm's length away. Amazingly complex and rich.

The only word that entered my thought process for the first 2 sips was, "Wow." Amazingly smooth. I was worried that the heat and strong bourbon aroma would translate into a bit of an unwieldy drinker. This was the exact opposite. I am sure the 9 months we let it sit helped, but this was amazingly lush and smooth. Full bodied is an understatement.

The flavor profile was assertive and rich. Huge bourbon presence from the beginning to the end. Vanilla, burnt caramel, licorice and molasses lend a sweetness, while dark roast and chocolate fudge lend a contrasting bitterness. The oak does a great job of drying out the finish, but the bourbon really wins here. Only a mild amount of warming, which is amazing given how big this beer is.

This is far and away the best barrel aged stout I have had and is near perfect. What really separates the winners in the stout category is the mouthfeel and this beast elevates the game. The bourbon barrel aging adds amazing layers of complexity that I have not found elsewhere. Great job Goose Island.

Photo of jsh420
4.77/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

bottle 2403 bottled on 11-19-10

pours darkest shade of brown and looks jet pitch black in the glass with a just a film of fizzy tan head that left no lacing

smells of bourbon vanilla dark chocolate malt - powerful

taste is exceptional - big powerful rich floavors - bourbon chocolate fudge vanilla oak heavy roast

mouthfeel is thick low carbonation but with just enough bite to give it the life this stout needed to be perfect

overall - is it better then the regular bcbs YES! is it worth the extra money NO! - that said a one of i am a sucker for and if the released another rare i would pass on it if it was any more money then the regular

Photo of DCon
4.92/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a 10+ oz pour from the 650 ML-1 PINT 6 FL OZ Bottle in a tasting w/ other Darkness Day friends in front of the Vintage Lot (#2) @ Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, MN. Poured from the Forest Green bottle w/ "It will never be made again!" & Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels on the Front & Side the into my Schlafly Tulip Glass. Has Bottle Number 2474 on the Front and BOTTLED ON: 11/19/2010 on the side. Let me just start by saying I’m VERY excited to enjoy this one!

Aroma- TON of bourbon (strong booziness) and slight coffee, vanillaaroma. There is a background layer of both vanilla and boozy notes that add to the mix of complexity. Everything was appropriate for the style and above what most Imperial Stouts have in them! Enjoyed coming back to smell this before each drink (so did everyone else).

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that was a deep brown and stayed for a good amount of time. Has an extremely viscous body with a dark brown/coffee color. Leaves a bit of sudsy lacing on the glass.

Flavor- Has a punch of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate in the starting of the taste. Then comes an unusual but awesome molasses and sweet taste! Not as boozy as the nose and not like many other 12%+ Imperial Stouts! Very complexed and rich with coffee chop/chocolate store specialties.

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Lightly Carbonation, Silky (not quite Chewy), and then throws a bit of alcohol warming on the tongue.

Overall Impression- Talk about a Rare Stout! I wish I could have a bottle of this and age it myself... I’m very sure the complexity could be even more! I've only had the Vanilla Bourbon County Stout before this one, so am ready to enjoy more of this awesome series! Very nice use of the Bourbon Barrels. Thanks to the guys from BeerAdvocate & Darkness Day for sharing this one! Who cares what you have to share to get your lips on a brew like this one!

Photo of brentk56
4.76/5  rDev -0.8%
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

Photo of monitorpop
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Black with a slight ruby glow. Almost no head. 

S: Heavy bourbon and sweet vanilla.

T: Smooth bourbon forward, but not at all over powering. Some sweet molasses, faint creamy chocolate and vanilla notes. Some alcohol, that only enhaces the beer. No bitterness.

M: SMOOTH. Mild carbonation that fades into a body warming alcohol.

O: Amazing. Perfect example of of a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. One of the best beers I've had.

Photo of Duff27
4.64/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Initial small medium mocha head on a black body. No lacing and little collarage.

S- Intoxicating smell. Bourbon booze.

T- Roastiness is present but somewhat hidden behind the bourbon. Alcohol is present but lack the burn one would assume with !3%abv. Love love love it.

M- Silky smooth, its almost ridiculous. Retains just enough carbonation.

D/O- What a treat! Shared with mi amigos. Congrats on the wedding PTMcB!

Photo of brewerdrew
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An amazing beer.

This beer poured black as night with a nice thick brown head.

The complexity provided by the Bourbon Barrel aging is unparalleled in relation to other wood aged beers I have had.

Everytime I return to this beer it never fails to suprise me on how great it is.

Photo of hombrepalo
4.88/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle. Pours viscous and black with small darkish brown ring of head. Big chocolate smell, roasted malt, some vanilla bean and oak, and a hint of bourbon. Really well integrated. Taste is big, fudgey chocolate, floury vanilla cake, cocoa and wonderful roasted malt, and some bourbon. Very rich. Finishes with the slight taste of alcohol. Full bodied to the point of thick, with low carbonation. Overall, this is a decadent, smooth, delicious, huge stout.

Photo of whitehouse50
4.72/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 1,758

Born on 11-19-2010

Opened it to celebrate setting a date for my wedding. Shared this with my Dad and fiance (Mom doesn't like barrel aged stouts).

Poured this into my Thomas Hardy Ale snifter with no head whatsoever except for some minimal foam that gathered around the edge of the glass where the liquid met. It is black as night.

Distinct aromas of bourbon, vanilla, maple syrup and hints of coffee, caramel and alcohol.

On the first sip it coats your entire mouth with strong flavors of bourbon and vanilla with an alcohol burn that quickly fades away. That gives way to a some sweetness of maple syrup and coffee that lingers for a few minutes and eventually leaves you wanting more.

Of all the barrel aged stouts I have tried this is by far the smoothest of them all. It is so pleasant to drink without the harsh burn some barrel aged beers have. However it is difficult to forget about the $50 price tag, the hype and the hunt to find one. If I had to choose yes or no whether this beer was worth it, I would choose no. The 2009 bombers cost $13 so I don't think this was worth an extra $37 even though it is an outstanding beer.

Photo of birchstick
4.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle #1946. Cracked this open as a celebratory libation for my brother.

A - pours midnight black with a mocha-chocoalty head. Looks like all the other BCBS's I have tried to date.

S - really nice aroma. It is kind of what you expect from a BCBS, but then you remember what you expect is excellence. Chocolate and molasses jump out immediately with large notes of bourbon and vanilla to balance it out. The chocolate is even more pronounced than in the regular version.

T - Here we go...taste starts off with sweet vanilla and molasses upfront, forming a nice coating on the tongue. These flavors part and give way to extremely smooth bourbon. The bourbon is strong, yet very smooth and complementary - this is how bourbon should be integrated into all bourbon barrel aged beers. This finishes with some chocolaty fudge (typical of BCBS) and some spicy bourbon heat. This is more smooth and mellowed than the regular version...just a beautiful beer.

M - smooth carbonation and a full body. Goes down nicely.

D - when I sit and think of best beers I have ever had, this will give any beer a run for its money. Regular BCBS is my favorite beer as it is, this just put it over the top for me. I wish I could have done a side by side with other BCBS variations to see if the Pappy added that much of a difference. Maybe with my next bottle I will...

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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 1,256 ratings.