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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.

354 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 354
Hads: 1,341
Avg: 4.7
pDev: 6.81%
Wants: 1,877
Gots: 487 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 354 | Hads: 1,341
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.19/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

drank side by side with regular, coffee, and vanilla BCS.
A: less head than regular bcs, no lacing even after a bit. thick motor oil legs coat the glass.
S: definitely more bourbon/whiskey in the nose than regular bcs.
T: hard to distinguish from regular BCS, maybe a bit smoother.
M: slicker and fuller than regular bcs with the decreased co2.
D: worth that much extra money? maybe once, just to try. nice packaging though and the individually numbered bottles was a turn-on.

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Photo of StormKing47
4.43/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pleasant surprise shared by petesuphi on Christmas eve. Who can argue with shrimp and cocktail sauce, prime rib sandwiches, sugar cookies and four wheelers? Here goes...

A- This one is a deep black color with a no other hues to mention, it's simply dark and deep in color. Black as the winter night and refuses to allow any head through. Has a good carb level that allows the brown and creamy head to dissipate quickly leaving almost no head. Unbelievably inviting to the point where it teases and says come on just sip me and enjoy. How all stouts should look simply gorgeous and sexy.

S- A blast or bourbony goodness greets me with a lingering tingle from the high abv. Has a great oaky aroma with some subtle vanilla notes. As it continues to warm I pick up the other pieces of the puzzle that the high abv hides; nice roasty malts, sweet choclates and some more vanilla goodness. Smells very nice, not scary, but the booze is definitely noticeable.

T- An immediate rush of sweet chocolates, roasted malts and some vanilla accompanied with earthy, wood/oak undertones. The sweet tingle of the bourbon and alcohol heat are a great finish that is also accompanied with a nice and cooling vanilla and butterscotch finish. This one will age magnificently, very complex and delicious.

M- Definitely smooth and syrupy. Has a great chewiness and viscous quality that allows every flavor to come out. To be honest it's a little burning in the finish, but not overwhelming. There's virtually no carb tingle because of the high abv which is expected and loved because stouts should not tingle.

D- Definitely a sipper due to the high abv, but this one is not taxing or palate destroying. It's very pleasant, smooth and has a welcomed warming quality. Loved it. This one will be a masterpiece with age.

I am definitely the minority, but I am not a huge bourbon county fan, but this one has changed my mine. It's incredibly complex, smooth, but warming. A great barrel aged stout from one of the originators. The price is a drag, but there is 11,000~ bottles produced. If people would get past that it is called "RARE" and just spread the love instead of hype everyone could experience this one. Why does every beer that is tagged rare or brewery only have to be held as ransom? If I have something you want and you have something I want and the trade is fair why must it be a numbers game all the time? Thanks again Al, owe you lots.

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Photo of swanny28
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a 22 oz bottle after christmas dinner poured into a snifter. I was lucky to get ahold of this rare beer.

A: This is black gold texas tea I think this is what the Beverly Hillbilly's were signing about when they wrote that song! Rich thick creamy head that disapates quickly.

S: This beer has a striking aroma with a hint of oak : also oozes pappy van winkles finest bourbon ( but not overwhelming) its a perfect combination of beer meets bourbon.

T: The taste is so complex and the bourbon is mixed perfectly with the bcs. A lot of buzz on the butterscotch taste and i agree it has a nice after taste to it.

M: This beer is a thick stout that clings to the tounge and explodes with flavor. Hints of vanilla , carmel, and the bourbon all excite the the taste buds into a frenzy.

D: The beer gods smile down on us. This could be the finest beer ever made. I was worried it would be to hot but it came in easily drinkable.

Overall this rare beer really stands out- it was worth the hype.

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Photo of MowryJC
4.69/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz. bomber.

A - Pitch black midnight with a weak head that was more of a film, and disappeared almost immediately. Left no lacing, but nice curtains down the glass as though it were a dark wine.

S - Wow, truly an amazing nose on this. A wonderful balance of oak, vanilla, caramel, a little butterscotch, bourbon (of course). The complexity was fantastic, and continued to improve as it warmed up.

T - Again, complex and perfectly balanced. All the aromas came through, and nothing played front and center above anything else. The bitterness from the malts were exactly what was needed, no harshness at all, and complemented the sweetness of the bourbon and alcohol flavors.

M - This is where I was truly impressed, as something this strong should surely have too much heat. But fear not, again there was a great balance, and the heat was enjoyable (that long in a barrel really smoothed this puppy out). A nice chewiness rounded off the mouthfeel perfectly.

D - Incredibly drinkable for the ABV and character of the beer. My uncle and I shared this and were able to easily take it down between the two of us, with no fatigue to follow.

Really, I can't believe this beer lived up to the hype that surrounded it. I was sure that some aspect was going to disappoint, but I could not have been happier.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.49/5  rDev -4.5%
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!

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter

This is review #300

This beer was broken out to celebrate Festivus. The beer pours a nice darkness, there is no head, but the beer poured like a motor oil. The smell is of some nice roasts, caramel, and many generic malts. There is also the distinct oak smell and the sweet nose of bourbon and butterscotch. The flavors are nice an mellow and smooth all together, the 2 years of aging in these flavorful barrels really made this very enjoyable. I'm really quite happy with spending the money on this, I can't wait to try this with a couple of years on it.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.74/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz, $46 (!!) bottle into wide snifter. Bottle 3101. I said I wasn't going to buy this one. Ended up doing just that. Oh boy. Beer is packaged in a box like the FW anniv. beers. The bourbon hit these barrels the same year I was born. Imagine that.

A- lots of tiny tiny active bubbles on the surface and at the outer edges. Beer is brown, not black, but very very dark. Incredible legs on this one.

S- Nutty, caramel bourbon notes. Fantastic nose on this one.

T- The pappy is noticeable, blends well with the base BCS. Great milk chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, and unadulterated bourbon. 5 of 5, no question.

M- Thick, viscous, as it should be. Carbonation is lively (well, lively enough) to keep this one feeling easier than the 13% would have you believe. Not hot, although very boozy (in taste), not so much in presence.

D- This is too expensive, but an absolute joy to drink. Very high price, and one I am not sure I'd pay again. Well, maybe I'd get one more bottle. It's damn good stuff. Really a spectacular bal-aged beer.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of muskabeatz
4.67/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken at the brewery release on Black Friday. After standing in the cold for an hour and a half to get my bottles, I was ready to get inside and try this on tap.

A- Comes to rest in my glass as the darkest shade of black with a beautiful mocha head stacked on top of it. Head dissipates as quickly as I would expect, and that is that from there.

S- Wonderful. Not quite bursting with bourbon-y sweetness as the normal BCS vintages are. Instead, this is more well-rounded and complex. This has the bourbon aroma upfront, coupled with a rich chocolate. From there this beer takes an entirely different turn from the regular BCS, presenting a wave of coconut, charred oak and vanilla.

T- Mimics the smell and is remarkably smooth about doing so. It feels as though this beer gives you the time to identify each flavor and simply move onto the next one until you have reached the finish. The reason why the flavor does not yield a rating of 5 is because I find it to be too similar to the regular Bourbon County, especially considering the price. It falls just one step short of perfectly separating itself from the regular version, while still retaining its BCS identity. Very good overall, but shy of perfect.

M- This has the trademark viscosity that I love so much from the Bourbon County variants, only it is smoother and mellower than the others. It presents just the right amount of carbonation for me, which may be on the low side for some people.

D- Having only received a 5 ounce pour, it took immeasurable restrain not to drink it in three sips. It is remarkably delicious and hides the alcohol extremely well in the taste, while still letting you "feel" it. Makes you want to keep drinking more, and I can't wait to try it out of the bottle.

I returned home from my Bourbon County journey with the taste of Rare still in my mouth and on my mind. This allowed me to ponder my purchase, as well my tasting notes after escaping the heat of the moment. Overall, I think this beer was worth the trip. I only bought one bottle, as that was all I could afford, and after trying it I have no regrets, only satisfaction. For $45 could this beer have turned out better? Yes. But reflecting on my experience tasting it has provided me with that "I want more!" feeling, and for me that feeling is enough to justify my purchase. I anxiously look forward to opening my bottle a few years down the road.

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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 joshuaseresse
4.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to get a decent pour of this tonight. Big thanks to newk340 for sharing this at out La Crosse tasting this evening. Split with some upright BAs. Poured into tulip:

A - Black with light creamy tan head that is just a tiny ring of foam with cloudy smears in the middle. Lacing is pretty good. The beer actually kind of stains the glass with a yellowish/butterscotch coloring.

S - Smooth,creamy, satin bourbony greatness. So good. Barrel, slight vanilla, buttery awesomeness. Way good.

T - Creamy brown sugar, caramel and toffee. Wood and slight roast is way mellowed by the Pap V' Wink barrel. It was just so amazing.

M - Fantastic. So smooth and velvety. Not overly thick but kind of chewy. Little heat from the booze but not offensive.

D - I couldn't believe this was 13%. It tasted more like a 9%-10% by how smooth and awesome it was. This barrel made an amazing beer even better. Everything worked really well with each other and made this an extremely tasty treat. Thanks so much for busting this out, Nick. Way impressed!

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inky pitch black. Light doesn't stand a chance penetrating this beastly brew. A few centimeters of medium sized bubbles the color of coffee with just a touch of cream is the only head produced by a heavy-handed pour. Thick oily legs that take their time receding into the glass after a little swirl. Eventually no head.

Smell is quite reminiscent of regular bcs. Rich chocolate, cocoa, buttered rum, vanilla, rich notes of bourbon, toffee, blackstrap molasses. An incredibly rich and sweet nose.

The taste is quite incredible. Chocolate fudge, moca, caramel fudge, toffee, blackstrap molasses, buttered rum, fine chocolate truffles. Then notes of fine bourbon on the finish, some spice oak, port wine, smoke, leather, tobacco, coconut and even black truffles. Maybe even a bit of hoppy resin.

Thick sweet syrupy, with a certain spiciness as well as prickly carbonation that lightness up the considerable body of this decadent brew. Warm in the belly, and only slightly hot in the mouth. Both smooth and sticky.

A bit of an improvement over BCS, the bourbon notes are more complex and contribute nicely to the brew.

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Photo of Overlord
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black. Almost no head, and what bubbling there is quickly dies.

Smells like bourbon, more bourbon, and a bit of dark fruit with chocolate.

I was surprised how different this tasted than the vanilla version. Definite more dark fruit, the bourbon was way more prevalent, and there's chocolate and caramel poking their way in.

Kind of reminded me of a drier version of Black Tuesday, actually. I was expecting a bit more diversity, and a bit less alcohol heat, from the Pappy Van WInkle.

Great thick, viscousy mouthfeel.

Very good. Thanks to a generous Dave!

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Photo of MNJR
4.02/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours thick and displays a very slight head (almost none really). The color is dark chocolate brown and opaque. A couple drops on the table reveal that you can barely see through it, and they look exactly like a couple drops of espresso. This beer is laden with "nosefeel." Deep, rich aromas or bourbon (of course), oak, earth, slight prune, and port wine. Mothfeel is thick and very similar to a heavy port, or prune juice. The taste is absolutely informed by the strong aromas. It's a heavy mix of bourbon notes, vanilla, oak, slight prune, and port. As strong as it is, there is a mellowness as the flavors hit and fade, melding into a very satisfying finish. I've had bourbon stouts, but this was singular in complexity and depth. Drinkability is hardly an option here. For one thing the cost is very high, and for another one 22 oz bottle is definitely enough. This is like enjoying a little too much chocolate cake - it's filling and satisfying, but realize you've had enough.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.14/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by Mike for our tasting tonight...Black pour with light carbonation, typical bcs...The aroma is pretty light, especially for a bcs, I'm shocked. Its not hot at all where is rare for a bcs beer, even one of the older aged ones. While I don't love the heat, I miss it a little. The aroma of vanilla and bourbon is nice, just not enough of it to get me really excited...The taste is really smooth, lightly creamy. Lots of vanilla is really nice, makes this really easy to drink. Light bourbon and alcohol, flavor palate just doesn't have a ton going on.

An aged BCS, smooth, but the aging makes its loses a lot of its character. Worth trying, but not worth the price tag.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.35/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a finger of mocha head and some sticky legs after swirling the glass

The aroma is a boozy blend of vanilla, chocolate, and charred oakiness. Sinus invading and intoxicating.

The flavor is spot on. Boozy up front but after a few drinks it becomes more than tolerable. A nice burn on the back of the throat. I have a feeling that many are going to want to penalize this for being so similar to standard BCS that has been aged, but I feel that this has a bit more of a biting toffee sweetness while standard BCS ends up being slightly more chocolaty. It is a subtle difference, but when you are talking about beers that are created nearly identically then it stands to reason that you are going to end up splitting hairs.

The body is on the low side of full and the carbonation is a tad stinging.

Overall this beer doesn't really differentiate itself from its little brother enough to justify the price tag, but the beer in the bottle is fantastic.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this in a taster glass on Black Friday.

A: very similar to the rest of the variants... deep black, viscous appearance, little to no head, perhaps less retention than the other variants but not a huge difference.

S: rich deep chocolate, huge delicate vanilla aromas meld seamlessly with oak and roasted character notes, some notes of coconut and cigar tobacco in there as well. Zero booziness on the nose which is a distinct difference from the rest of the Bourbon County family. The nose is perfectly in balance. Wow!!

T: the first thing I notice about the flavor is how incredibly smooth it is. At first, it seems mellow due to the impeccable balance, but as I sip it, I begin to pick up on the complexities. The chocolate/vanilla balance is working beautifully along with delicate oaky highlights. The bourbon is there and in the forefront, but doesn't dominate at all. The most remarkable feature of the beer is the finish. With almost all bourbon aged beers, I get a slight burn in the back of the throat from alcohol heat. The alcohol is virtually undetectable in this, and at 13%?!?! You have to be kidding me!

MF: thick, big chewy body, perfectly mellow carbonation makes for a velvety texture

D: hands down, this is the best bourbon barrel aged beer I have tried. I was very skeptical as to whether I would pick up differences due to the higher quality spirit, but I must say I can. The most notable difference is the balance and smoothness of the bourbon character. It is not harsh at all and is insanely drinkable for such a high gravity. I don't know that the flavor justifies the 42.99 price tag, but I will tell you that it is a must try!

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Photo of crossovert
4.32/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5 oz pour.

It pours a dense black with a fizzy head that dissipates before I even get it.

The smell here is richer and smoother than the average BCS. This is partially due to the extra aging, but also the bourbon barrels used. It has all of the traditional BCS traits: thick bourbon, barrel, chocolate, and roast. However, there is an added almost woodsy-spiciness that is unique to this version.

The flavor follows. It has that hint of spiciness that takes regular BCS to a different level. It is smoother, and richer. The aging has allowed it to mature to perfection. The drinkability here is much greater than the average BCS.

This one is overpriced, but it is a great experience. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of Spica66
4.77/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with gwuilliums and my mother-in-law on Black Friday after my return from Chicago ($50 parking ticket in-hand).

Poured into tulip.

A: Pitch black, viscous pour. Minimal head formation, but the carbonation level is spot on to continue to give a nice bubble ring around the glass. Scattered lacing left during the drink.

S: Wonderful nose. Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak and some dark roast. The nose on this is more complex and not nearly as hot as regular BCBS.

T: Really smooth and balanced between a big RIS and an American Bourbon Stout (I know there is no such thing, but there should be!)

This beer has a wonderful malt base of dark fruit and dark chocolate/coffee bitterness. Then it has the wonderful bourbon and oak with some slight vanilla notes.

The finish is super smooth and gives you a nice warming down the front of your chest.

M: I really expected that this would be a thicker or stickier beer. It, to me, was almost too thin for all of the amazing flavor going on. I would have liked it to be "chewier".

D: I can tell you that compared to regular BCBS, which is blazing hot to drink in the first year, this is like mother's milk!

I am putting my thoughts about the price of this beer into this category:

It is crazy to spend $45 on a bottle of beer. It also was a crazy-good bottle of beer to drink. A one-time offering (as far as we know) that lived up to the hype and speculation. I am very glad that I made the drive to Illinois, stood in the freezing cold wind (I was #327 in line), met Vav in person, and got some fabulous beers!

Getting to share this bottle with my mother-in-law is now one of my favorite memories of her now that she has passed on to the Great Beyond!

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Photo of cetherid
4.82/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


pitch black beer. A nice mocha looking head. Held it up to the light and really couldn't see any red/brown coming out.


amazing. Sweet caramelly bourbon is how I'd describe it. A huge smell. You get a nice oak smell from the Pappy barrels and the alcohol is not a prevalent as the regular bourbon county. Perhaps some subtle vanilla in there as well.


Just as nose. Sweet malts (like sugar dark fruits)...quality bourbon....you can even taste a bit of the barrel. a little boozy presence in there but not too bad considering the ABV.


not as full bodied as I thought. Good carbonation with a slight dry finish but boy does this go down smooth. Great mouthfeel. Such a smoother version than the original.


One word.. DANGEROUS!!

Dangerous because it's taste's so great, you're wanting more and more but that ABV will catch up eventually..

Dangerous because of the price and low availability. I want to have this again so bad, but need to reserve my bottles for special occasions. I feel very fortunate to have had this on tap

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.27/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a Black Friday commemorative tasting glass at the GI brewpub. 5 oz. pour. I think the pours were a bit cold, so I allowed it to warm before getting into the glass.

Appearance: The pour is a midnight black, with a small coffee colored thick creamy foam head on top. Some retention, but no real lacing to speak of.

Smell: The roasted malt, oakiness, and bourbon from the Pappy barrels come through really nicely. The aroma is more pleasant than the regular bourbon county. It is smoother and the difference in the quality of the bourbon barrels is apparent.

Taste: The dark roasted malt and Pappy-soaked oak flavors really blend well, especially with two years of age on it. The smoothness of the taste over time is what really impresses me about this family of beers. Molasses, some smoked tobacco, coffee, and figs come in after it warms up a little bit. These flavors all combine effortlessly in a tasty aged stout.

Mouthfeel: The feel of the bourbon county stouts is always nice, and this is no exception. It is very thick and creamy, with the body practically squeezing the carbonation out of it. The alcohol is pretty much hidden, quite a feat at 13%.

Drinkability: I liked this a little bit more than the regular bourbon county (accounting for age differential as well), but the price tag is a bit steep. I won't grab for this this, even if it was on the shelf.

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Photo of Donerik
4.72/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at the goose island black friday release party, 5oz pour in a small commemorative glass (miniature imperial pint glass).

A - Beautiful pitch black, by the time it got to us there were a few bubbles that seemed to represent what was a thin tan head.

S - Heavenly (but not heavenly hill), the sweet maltiness blends beautifully with the oak and bourbon from the pappy barrels. I found it was a little more mellow and integrated than the normal BCS brand.

T - This beer really balanced out well in its two years of aging. I didn't feel like any taste dominated another but was instead a beautiful blending of the sweet malts and the bourbon/oak flavors. This is truly an exceptional tasting beer with flavors complimenting each other very well.

M - Didn't feel hot like many beers this high in alcohol. Was thick in the mouth but smooth with limited carbonation.

D - This beer was so well balanced that it seemed like I could have kept drinking for quite some time (and I wished I could!). It went down so smooth and nothing overwhelmed me. It especially succeeded in not being cloyingly sweet which hurts the drinkability of some other big beers like this.

Fantastic beer, great addition to a great line of beers.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.62/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of klshanks
4.68/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at GI Clybourn

5 oz taster

Appearance- Pitch black with a small amount of mocha colored head. Looks delicious.

Smell- not as powerful as I would hope, but very subtle flavors of chocolate, bourbon, and coffee. Very little to no booziness, even on a deep breath.

Taste- Awesome. Just awesome. Silky smooth, full bodied. Chocolate, Coffee and bourbon are the predominant flavors with hints of molasses, fig, and tobacco.

Mouthfeel- Really good right now. Personally it could be just a little bit thicker, but that's me just nitpicking it do the death.

Drinkability- One of the easiest sipping 13% abv beers youve ever had. This is why you drink beer.

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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 354 ratings.