Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
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From:
Goose Island Beer Co.
 
Illinois, United States
Style:
English Barleywine
ABV:
14.4%
Score:
100
Avg:
4.51 | pDev: 8.65%
Reviews:
703
Ratings:
4,835
Status:
Retired
Rated:
Jan 23, 2023
Added:
Oct 04, 2013
Wants:
  759
Gots:
  2,626
SCORE
100
World-Class
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
Notes: Aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then our renowned Bourbon County Stout, this traditional English-style barleywine possesses the subtlety of flavor that only comes from a barrel that’s gone through many seasons of ritual care. The intricacies of the previous barrel denizens – oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and that signature bourbon heat – are all present in this beer. Hearty and complex, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is a titan and a timeline; a bold, flavorful journey through the craft of barrel aging.
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Rated: 4.5 by rare_bird from Michigan

Jan 10, 2023
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Reviewed by patre_tim from Thailand

4.61/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Dark brown with a slightly orange tinge when head to held to the light. A light foamy carbonation with no real head per se. The smell is of caramel, toffee, a hint of stinky foot, molasses, and that’s about it. You can smell the alcohol as well. The taste follows the nose in perfect tandem. Moderate carbonation which lightens the brew and makes it very palatable. Very typical to Bourbon County- like others by goose island of this same kind of bottle as far as mouth feel. Medium body with very light due to the carbonation. I got this several years ago and it was sitting in a cabinet in my parents basement since 2017 in Canada. I brought it back to Phuket Thailand where I am drinking it December 27, 2022.
Dec 27, 2022
Photo of puck1225
Reviewed by puck1225 from Texas

4.49/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Found this on tap at a brewery in Chattanooga, 2018 vintage. Dark brown color with little head or lacing but rich looking. The smell is sweet and malty. Caramel and toffee. Taste is rich and elegant. Oak, earthy, sweet caramel apple, pears,dark raisins, warm spices. Excellent beer to sip and savor. Glad to have found it.
Dec 20, 2022
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Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottled 10/11/17

Moving right along with the BCBS vintages I picked up from Goose Island’s brewpub while I was in Chicago, we have rheir legendary Barleywine! I’ve been wanting to try this one for years, so I have decently high hopes for it. Hopefully I’m not setting myself up for disappointment but let’s crack it open and find out

Pours a cloudy deep reddish brown with a finger of tan head that slowly fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

Maybe it’s showing its age a bit in the nose, it’s a bit sweet but still has presence. I’m picking up on aromas of booze soaked raisin, earthy bourbon, toasted oak, brown sugar, rye, black cherry, toffee, light vanilla, and dates

It’s got more of a fruity bite in taste which I really appreciate. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting black cherry, toffee, red wine, molasses, brown sugar, dark bread, toasted nuts, dates, light vanilla, and cocoa powder. The swallow brings notes of black cherry, earthy bourbon, dates, port wine, toasted oak, vanilla, sweet caramel, brown sugar, rye, and a touch of peat smoke

A medium full body pairs with gentle tingling carbonation, resulting in a smooth and slick beer. Finishes mostly dry with a nice tang

Damn, this is awesome. Goose Island absolutely needs to bring this one back soon, I’d love to try it fresh
Sep 22, 2022
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Reviewed by fujindemon74 from Pennsylvania

4.99/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
L- deep mahogany

S- dark fruits/sweetness

T- sweet molasses, deep dark fruits, vanilla barrel characteristic

F- full

O- a most astounding attempt at an English Barleywine, would purchase upon sight
May 13, 2022
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Reviewed by drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2017 in 2022
Look - super dark brown with slight head
Smell - ton of barrel plumb brown sugar
Taste - sweet candied slight plumb caramel toffee
Feel - medium full body light carb
Overall - tasty bw but I’m wondering if it would have been better a year or two earlier
Mar 26, 2022
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

4.95/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
12 oz bottle, born on 9/24/14, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - dark, coffee like with almost no head
S - bourbon, toffee, chocolate
T - great blend of bourbon, caramel, toffee, chocolate flavors
F - thick mouthfeel with almost no carbonation
O - great beer, now over 7 years old but tastes fantastic
Dec 24, 2021
 
Rated: 3.99 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Dec 09, 2021
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Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

5/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
2017 vintage. Dark brown, healthy head and lacing. Shit ton of particulates. Dark fruit, dark malt, barrel scents. Taste is dark fruit, roasted malt, barrel. Well balanced. Full bodied, full mouth finish, boozy. I hear Bourbon County, I love it. I hear Bourbon Aged Barleywine, I hopefully love it. This one... yeah, I love it .
Nov 25, 2021
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Reviewed by 1BrewBacca from Georgia

4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Look: Poured a slightly transparent brown with a tan head.
Smell and Taste: Very malty and sweet with notes of plums and dates. Quite boozy as one would expect with a 14.4% ABV.
Feel: Heavy with a nice amount of carbonation.
Overall: I will never pass this one up. Dated 2017 on the label. Sad to see it's retired.
Nov 25, 2021
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Reviewed by jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts

4.96/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
2013 bottle picked up at Fulton Street Taproom in October 2021.

A: dark mahogany brown. Minimal head when poured that quickly dissipated. Should have been a little more careful pouring - there are a few floaters from bottom of the bottle.

S: sweet bourbon, caramel and char on the nose. Faint vanilla sweetness.

T: raisins, over ripe plums, caramel, dark cherries, milk chocolate, smooth bourbon undertones. Oak and char lingers in aftertaste.

F: smooth with minimal carbonation, thick mouthfeel

O: Tastes tremendous for an 8 year old beer! Very happy to have the opportunity to finally try this beer, and looking forward to trying other vintages I picked up.
Oct 10, 2021
 
Rated: 4.5 by Mickt465 from New Hampshire

Sep 27, 2021
 
Rated: 4.28 by RickS95 from Indiana

Aug 29, 2021
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Reviewed by micada from New York

4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
2017 bottle consumed in 2021. Stellar. Fragrant. Crisp carbonation with dark cherry hints behind the sweet caramel malts. The wheat wine is a decent drink, but this is by far superior.
May 03, 2021
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Rated by ajmarohn from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Not sure what to say that hasnt already been said.

Based on the 2017 i opened this beer is awesome.
Jan 07, 2021
Photo of Jo_Renish
Reviewed by Jo_Renish from Vermont

4.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Poured into a snifter at around 45˚, 2017 vintage bottle.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber/mahogany with zero head development. A light swirl reveals the potent fusel presence and a stocky viscosity in its legs.

Aroma - Dates, fig, and sweet molasses are the striking features in the nose of this beer, followed by a peeping pear quality and a notable barrel presence.

Taste - In accordance with the nose, sweet fig, date, red grape, and caramel lead the procession. Sticky caramel and brown sugar move in haste controlling the palate. Bourbon and deep oak character boldly seal the flavor profile of this incredibly complex beer.

Mouthfeel - Very light carbonation profile and a coating, syrup like viscosity.

Overall - This takes the crown for a barrel aged barleywine, hands down. I can't recall a time in recent history that I've been as impressed with the representation of a specific style. Incredibly impressive!
Jan 06, 2021
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Reviewed by wally_world from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2013. Up-ranked for staying power. Good carbonation, full of dark fruit and raisin, somehow there’s faint barrel in the finish. It is quite impressive that 2013 has the aging power it does. Definitely one of the original classic BA barleywines.
Dec 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.21 by broadway848 from New York

Nov 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.46 by Appearanceswc from Virginia

Nov 16, 2020
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Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Sampling a 2017 bottle poured into my snifter. Ive had this bottle in my cellar since acquiring it via a trade 2 years ago.
The cap pops off with a light hiss. the beer pours a deep mahogany color with minimal khaki colored head foaming up. This foam is densely packed and fades to a thin edge layer soon after I pour. the edge layer remains throughout the sampling. There is some surface action as streams of carbonation rise up to replenish the surface, but to no avail.
The aroma on this beer is bold. I get lots of malt notes with brown sugar and toffee, dark fruits, some plum and red grapes here. I also get a little bit of black peppery booze and general alcoholic heat. NOt much of a hop character on the nose of this beer. Seems about right for a nice english barleywine!
First sip reveals a pretty thick body with sticky syrupy texture and almost no carbonation.
Flavor is complex and malt driven with molasses, brown sugar, toffee, dark chocolate and a bit of tobacco note. I also get a little sweet vanilla, but a roasted malt note lingers long after each swallow. I dont get any hops, but the booze is present, both as black pepper bite and also as some warming notes on each swallow. this is a bit of a sipping beer due to the high octane and the warmth. But the beer also drinks very smooth and this is very enjoyable. A great boozy example for the style.
Nov 02, 2020
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Reviewed by SHODriver from North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Bottle from 2016

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown beer with some slight red tint. The beer is topped by a dense and slightly rocky finger of light tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of toffee, caramel, vanilla, and oak along with some dark fruit notes
T: Taste is toasted coconut, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, a little dark roasted malt, and some hints of cocoa powder/chocolate. On the swallow there's some slightly boozy notes, dark fruits, coconut, caramel, vanilla and oak with some lingering caramel sweetness.
M: This beer has a fairly full body with a slightly chewy fell on the palate. Carbonation is on the low side of things but it's adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this beer is just outstanding. The flavors and complexity are everything that you want in a barrel aged barleywine. The flavors are very well balanced as well which makes this beer an absolute pleasure to drink.
Oct 22, 2020
 
Rated: 4.59 by TomFoolery_x from Illinois

Oct 14, 2020
 
Rated: 4.27 by rstump24 from Ohio

Oct 02, 2020
 
Rated: 4.54 by GoffmanvsDuffman from Arizona

Sep 30, 2020
 
Rated: 4.8 by Archfiend from Illinois

Sep 25, 2020
 
Rated: 4.08 by stmoorea from Illinois

Sep 13, 2020
 
Rated: 4.6 by TLA from Pennsylvania

Sep 09, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by spersichilli from California

Sep 07, 2020
 
Rated: 4.74 by Shantzak from Pennsylvania

Aug 28, 2020
 
Rated: 4.43 by cmukid87 from Michigan

Aug 24, 2020
 
Rated: 4.4 by DriftNoobTart from New Jersey

Aug 24, 2020
 
Rated: 4.75 by Dharms from Pennsylvania

Jul 30, 2020
 
Rated: 4.25 by petermethot from New Jersey

Jul 24, 2020
 
Rated: 4.41 by Jangoon24 from Illinois

Jul 22, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by EMH73 from New York

Jul 19, 2020
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Rated by DanO1066 from Maryland

4.28/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Draught 8oz snifter at The Brass Tap here in Baltimore
Jun 24, 2020
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Reviewed by bret27 from California

4.43/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2017 bottle courtesy of Scottsbeer.
L: dark brown, minimal head that fizzles out.
S: vanilla dominates, licorice, oak, fig.
T: same. Some of the “bourbon heat” but pretty minimal. Tobacco, earthiness.
F: Fairly dry and balanced. Coats the mouth. Numbs the tongue a bit.
Overall: a nice ba barleywine. Interesting that the barrels were 3rd use. Also previously housed a world-class stout. Some old & melded flavors. Refined. I’d be happy to be an olde English noble drinking this.
Jun 24, 2020
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Reviewed by SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.45/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
12oz bottle - 2014 vintage - poured into a cognac shifter at 48°F.

Huge thanks to dmd2210 for this one!

Pours a deep, murky iced tea brown, sitting in the glass somewhere between a brown ale and a stout in appearance. Zero head - just a quick ring of dark tan foam that builds and disappears in seconds. No visible effervescence.

Nose: Rich, sweet malts lend toffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, and just a ton of dark fruit. There are some darker malts in the mix as well pending some cocoa and coffee. Huve aromas of dried cherry, raisin, fig, plum, dried blueberry, and ruby port. Plenty of oak, vanilla, and leather, as well as some bourbon and barrel char. A subtle, but very interesting minty spearmint note as well. Just a little bit of sherry-like oxidation.

Palate: The barleywine greets the palate with a TON of malt. Rich, sweet, luscious flavours of toffee, caramel, coconut sugar, vanilla, and molasses. Next, a huge wave of dense, sweet dried fruits come in, lending notes of dried cherry, raisin, dried strawberry, dried blueberry, and more fruity port notes. There's definitely some darker malt character in here, which translates as a chocolate coating over those dried fruits. There's also some block milk chocolate as well. This moves into a huge malty nuttiness with pecan, vanilla, marzipan, and malted milk. There are some baking spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, before those dark fruit notes slowly fade, letting some dark chocolate, coffee and cream, and a huge malty nutty note emerge. I do believe the bourbon character is here, but it has just transformed beyond what I generally recognise as bourbon, and has taken on a more fortified wine profile. There is plenty of toasted barrel oak though, which emerges in the finish with dark chocolate, light coffee and cream, tawny port, vanilla, praline pecan, brown sugar, and caramel. Everything eventually slowly dries out, until all that's left is a lingering note of sweet malt.

Mouthfeel/Body: This barleywine really captures what do many barleywine fans love about barleywine. Straight out of the gate, this stuff ia just chewy, thick, viscous, you name it. It actually fights a little just getting past the lips, and it definitely clings - both on the lips and the palate. You can taste thing one for 5 minutes after a sip. Effervescence is extremely low. It isn't still - it still has some fuzz to it, but it's not a bubbly beer - just a little CO2 texture. Extremely full-bodied.

Overall: I've heard a lot about this barleywine, but I didn't really discover Bourbon County until after this was already phased out. It really can't be lumped into an English or American-style category. It definitely leans English-style, but the darker, roasty malts give it some American flair. I'm not sure what the hop presence was like when this was fresh, but here, 6 years later, they're way in the background. Still, it has held up with very minimal detrimental oxidation, and it's just such a full, bold, well-rounded barleywine that really has everything going for it. I think age has actually smoothed this out a bit -cooling off the heat and smoothing out the bite. It's a fantastic barleywine with some darker malts in it, and while it's a bit of a dark fruit bomb, it really does have some nuance and subtly, and it's well worth seeking out to try - even at 6 years old.
Jun 21, 2020
 
Rated: 4.35 by Birdlegs from Washington

Jun 11, 2020
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 5538 ratings