Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
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Barleywine - English
4.55 | pDev: 8.57%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
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.
Reviews: 692 | Ratings: 5,523 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mhksuccess:
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mhksuccess from California

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Jan 28, 2014
More User Reviews:
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teromous from Virginia

4.58/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On the flag wrapped around the neck of the bottle: "2016"
On the rear label: "BOTTLED ON: 18OCT16 1107 13.6% ALC/VOL"

Appearance: The body of the beer is a dark tawny brown that mixes with black. The head is a short-lived fizzy and foamy light tan and tobacco stained yellow. No head retention although it does maintain a very thin ring around the glass.

Aroma: It has a very sweet caramel aroma that is strong. There is also a woody oak aroma. It smells very nice but not a lot of complexity.

Taste: The flavor is amazing. I am getting a wonderful chocolate flavor with a bit of coffee and a sweet rich caramel flavor. The caramel flavor actually tastes better than most caramels I can buy in candy stores. There is this sweet slightly vanilla tasting finish that is great. I'm sitting here trying to think if there is anything that I don't like in the flavor and I am left without a single thing. It's perfect. I could drink this forever and be happy.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel on this beer is perfect. It literally could not be improved upon. It is nice and thick without being heavy. It coats the mouth like liquid chocolate and the texture alone just makes you want to take another sip.

Overall: When I smelled the beer I wasn't very impressed. I have had other Barleywines that had a lot more complexity with a breadth of aromas to keep you lingering at the rim of the glass for days. This beer smelled nice but it just wasn't very diverse. All of this was shot out of the sky when I tasted the beer. It is fantastic. I was hit by this wonderful well rounded texture that just lathered my palate with wonderful flavors. Everything is just so well put together in this beer that it makes you want to stay in the moment and enjoy the bottle forever. I want to touch on the fact that this is a 13.6% ABV beer aged in bourbon barrels and at no point did it taste or smell like an alcohol swab. I would not only highly recommend this beer but I would go as far as to recommend going out of your way to get it if you can. This beer was bottled less than six weeks ago and it already has enough age on it to drink right now. I will be buying it again.

Dec 01, 2016
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Doopie brought out a couple of these a few weeks back. Thanks for sharing dude!

From a bottle into a snifter
Bottled 24 September 2013
Drunk with King Henry for comparative purposes

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1 ½ finger, slightly looser, crackly and fizzy, foamy, light tan head with half decent retention. Head quickly fades to a half wisp and ring. Clear deep maroon red or seal brown with a stream of carbonation up the middle. Wisp and ring eventually vanish making it look rather flat by the end of the show. Much like KH but perhaps a touch lighter in color.

SMELL: Bourbon, oak, lots of vanilla and caramel, with some milk chocolate as well. Notes of coconut as well. Bold and impressive for sure. Really lovely. Only the touch of pure chocolate in KH sets it apart. Excellent here.

TASTE: Oak, bourbon, notes of toffee up front, then lots of wood flavors and some alcohol at the swallow. Bold and lingering finish of bourbon, wood, caramel and toffee sweetness, dark fruits and spicy alcohol. Notes of milk chocolate and vanilla from the barrel make an appearance long after the swallow as well. Really good stuff. Enjoyable for sure.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A touch lighter on the palate perhaps, but very creamy smooth, surprisingly so, goes down fine with a little scratch and finishes rather sticky. Some heat lingers, but nothing off-putting. A touch lighter than desired perhaps, but plenty creamy and smooth. Same as KH here.

OVERALL: This was really good. Surprisingly enough, I enjoyed this one just as much as King Henry, and I wasn’t sure that would be the case. To be sure, people have said that KH has fallen off a cliff, but the bottle we opened was still in excellent shape and we enjoyed it immensely. Compared to the King, this one has more oak and toffee in the flavor, while it is also smoother and creamier in the feel. KH in a bit sharper in the barrel and alcohol flavors at this point and there is a hint of bitter pure chocolate that lends some nice balance. In any case, this is a quality barleywine and I wish Goose Island could somehow produce their stout with the same creamy feel that they’ve pulled off here. Good stuff, and would gladly drink more. Cheers Doops!

Nov 09, 2014
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ADU from New York

4.75/5  rDev +4.4%

Incredibly flavorful baelwywine -- tastes strongly of carmel and/or molasses.

Sep 09, 2014
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel, just a shade lighter than a stout; the modest head fades rather quickly, though the lacing is leggy and viscous

Smell: Caramel and Bourbon, with tones of sugar cake, dates, oak, coconut and vanilla

Taste: The closest thing to a Bourbon sundae I have come across, with Bourbon-infused caramel sauce topping vanilla ice cream; hints of oak, coconut, milk chocolate and dates; the finish is treacly, with some boozy ethanol

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: This is a very nice beer though a bit too sweet when first bottled; let it settle for a year or so and it will mature nicely

Feb 01, 2014
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mynie from Maryland

3.4/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Points I have sought to prove in the past:

-English Barleywines aren't very good.
-Accordingly, it's good to barrel age them, so you taste the barrel whiskey instead of the cloyingly sweet syrupness that limeys apparently enjoy so much.

The best BAEBW's, then, would be the ones that take the barrel-agedness to the extreme. Which means that Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Bidness should logically make an excellent BAEBW, since their barrel nodes are, to put it bluntly, intense.

Instead, nope. We get this. Big super sweet English Barleywine against aggressive vanilla nodes and a depressing lack of booziness or burn. NOTHING cuts into the sweetness. Nothing.

It's still not a *bad* example of its style. It's just that the style is bad. The beer's midwest hype and semi-rareness has inflated its score, no doubt, but seriously it's not worth whatever you're being asked to pay for it.

Apr 04, 2014
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.56/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its with incredible resplendence that Goose Island even dares to follow up their King Henry that shared elements of both their famed Bourbon County Stout and their second-use Pappy 23 barrels. Yet, there's more life to the ale as Bourbon Barrel Brand Barleywine is borne.

Its pour would be easily mistaken for stout because of its black and ominous body, except for its tawny low-lights around the edges. As its initial pour yeilds a rich mocha-laden blanket of foam, the eventual collapse leaves the ale with an appetizing brandy-like appearance, equipped with streaming legging and all.

Its aromas are a culmination of all things both sweet and savory- black-strap molasses, toffee, maple, honey and sorghum all play a part in the beer's malty scent. Light coffee, nutty aromas, and a rich "umami" tone of something soy sauce and fudge wrapping around the sweetness. A trailing fruit liqueur note, similar of brandy, rum and bourbon all contribute to the beer's character and rich scent.

Its lavish taste is sultry, decadent and seductive with its very first scent as its booze-infused flavors of maple syrup, molasses, chocolate and coffee play equal parts in the beer's early complexity. After that, the taste really opens up to share savory port wine and aged sherry tones as the rich and "meaty" taste takes hold. Adding a sprinkle of salt to amplifiy its taste, a flavor of soy sauces joins with the judge-like richness for a taste that's spot on with the aroma. A trailing bitterness in lightly coffee-like and timidly signals its closure.

Silky smooth and lightly peppery, the ale's texture opens with a creamy film that coats the palate with a cling of sweetness. Its middle retains much of its richness while the mild acidity of seemingly wine lightens the body as the carbonation recedes. Finishing like port, its long linger of boozy sweetness is satisfying and rewarding to the palate like fine dessert or cognac.

The ale is alive with a tremendous amount of savory sweet notes- appealing to all that is sweet, earthy, boozy and salty all at once. Beers like this might as well be like catnip to a savory fiend like me.

Jan 03, 2014
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SaisonRichBiere from Michigan

4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage poured into a snofter.

Pours dark brown with a reddish garnet hue, and despite trying to pour smoothly, some chunks of sediment made it into the glass. A few bubbles accompany the pour, but almost no carbonation visibly hanging around. Smell is strong caramel, vanilla, and tobacco, with hints of bourbon essence and oak. No tingly heat on the nose, but plenty of rich aromas. Taste is WOW. A lot in this. Rich, creamy, dark caramel dominates, chewy malt sugars, milk chocolate, dried dark fruit richness, date sugars, vanilla, Demerara, oak, and even a cedary twang creeps in. Feel is appropriately thick and still, but a sloshing around in the mouth yields some fizzy bubbles. Leggy and lingering on the palate. Overall, an absolute classic. Extremely smooth with some age, a great sipper, as the flavors come out as it warms.

Sep 03, 2015
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MN290Brew from Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale Bottled on September 24th, 2014. I recently found this at a suburban store that is kind of out of the way. Trip was worth it! Not sure when or how they got it, but very surprised to see it in the "singles" section of the craft beer isle. I paid $8 or $9 for it. The color is great. Deep ruby, copper, mahogany tones. Smell is super balanced with malty sweetness, fruit, grape, toffee, slight vanilla, a little boozy, maybe just a bit of earthy chocolate? The taste is malty, boozy, sweet, toffee, vanilla, slight cherry, grape flavors. Mouthfeel is almost perfect. A little bready, with light carbonation that gives way to a very smooth, balanced, easy drinking experience. There is just the tiniest bit of a yeasty, grainy feel, but it's forgivable considering how smooth and balanced this whole beer is. I'm shocked I found it, and super grateful for the experience to drink it. Amazing beer!! Thank You Beer Gods!!

Feb 11, 2018
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minterro from Colorado

4.66/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served as the start to the goose island themed tasting (we did start with Fred from Hair of the Dog). Short notes from 7/27/14. Bottled 9/17/13. Served in a snifter.

A&S: The beer is a murky brown color. Pieces of unfiltered specks float around the bottom of this beer. No head present when poured. The aroma was amazing, it was the kind of smell you wish could be stuck in your nose all day. Caramel tones blended with raisins, sugary belgian candy sweetness, and boozy bourbon tones. Really about as good as I have seen it.

T&M: This beer was extremely complex, transforming and opening up continuously as it sat in the glass. It started with a characteristic that most decent barleywines share dark fruit tones. The dark fruits were primarily raisins but later on I think I got some plums. Towards the end I was odd enough picking up on some dark chocolate flavors. No real hop presence. The carbonation quantity was excellent, just right to make it not completely dead, but not too much to make it any bit sharp. Body wasn't as thick as it could have been, but I was for sure more than just a medium thickness.

Overall: The was the opener for the afternoon and I have to say I like it the best! All three (this one, the cherry rye, and the coffee) of the goose island specialties were spectacular, but for me, this one took the cake. I would be interested to see how this beer develops, however it would be a tough task considering it was so epic at this stage. One of my favorite beers I have had the pleasure to try this year.

Jul 31, 2014
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 release, poured from a bottle into a tulip

L: Cloudy mahogany brown pour. Sediment at the bottom... over 4 years in the bottle and it shows. Wispy head... no significant lacing.

S: Whoa... knocks you back. Rich... dark fruits, darker sugars, and the black heart of the bourbon barrel. Booze, vanilla, cherry.... smells amazing.

T/F: Rich... toasty grains, caramel, complex dark sugars. Definite oak and barrel presence... slight char in the background. Notes of very faint coffee... great dark fruits like plum and fig.... and even some cherry. In no way cloying... the sweetness is well balanced with bitterness, and even some tobacco notes. Thick and oily. Finish is warming with dark fruit and vanilla.

O: There's a reason that the Bourbon County brand is the standard for barrel aged beers. This is just fantastic.... and one of the best hour-long sippers I've ever had. Truly a treat.

Nov 01, 2017
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j25stew from Virginia

1.03/5  rDev -77.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Infected. Brewery had a one month window to collect a refund. Company as big as inbev should have recalled the beer nation wide. Sour, wine notes, slick on tounge. I wont be buying anything from them again.

Apr 15, 2016
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akrz47 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +9.9%

The best Barleywine I've ever had. Unbelievable. Aged 1 year. Sorry but I'm not gonna say more than that. Stop analyzing, just savor it.

Nov 22, 2014
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Damian from Massachusetts

4.7/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from a 355 ml - 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

Review #950

A frothy, one-finger tall, cappuccino colored crown topped the shimmery, garnet-tinged mahogany liquid. The head quickly dissipated to a thin ring. A few small dots of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was fantastic. Overtly boozy and sweet with intense bourbon and brown sugar notes. Very malt-centric and almost candy-like. Super fruity. Cherry and raspberry notes were apparent. Luxardo Maraschino cherry juice came to mind. Somewhat spicy. Fragrant vanilla bean notes were detectible as well.

The flavor profile was also incredibly rich and intense. Sweet and boozy with strong brown sugar notes. Touch of chocolate and roast. This beer is all about the malts. Loads of caramel and toffee. Quite spicy and very berry-like. As in the nose, notes of Maraschino cherry juice came through strong. Vanilla was also quite noticeable. The finish contained strong notes of bourbon and oak. Boozy, but in a really good sort of way.

Outstanding mouthfeel. The liquid was thick, rich and almost chewy. The beer turned super creamy and smooth on the palate. An ultra fine, fluffy, tongue blanketing effervescence gave the beer a perfect frothy quality. After every sip, the liquid left a sticky film on my lips.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale is an intense, bourbon-forward beer that would make for a perfect after dinner sipper on a cold winter night. Even though the barrels used to age this beer had previously aged two beers before it, they still lent an immense amount of bourbon flavor and complexity. I looking forward to seeing how this beer evolves with time.

Oct 23, 2014
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KnowYourCraft from California

4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: I was a little surprised here, but not that surprised considering a stout was previously used in these barrels, it pours that magnificent dark ruby/burgundy color, but resting in the glass it is pitch black like a stout, left an espresso colored head as well, the beer looked great but I think it would have been just that much better if it was that dark ruby/burgundy color you got from the pour

S: Up front I got booze, bourbon, and dark fruits, then it mellowed out with some caramel, toffee, and coconut. I absolutely love how this beer smells, a perfect blend of barley wine and stout!

T: Initial flavors are bourbon chocolate and dark fruits, very reminiscent of BCBS, but then transitions to the barley wine side and you get booze, caramel toffee, and light hints of coconut, again I love how this beer tastes, stout/barleywine mix, it is crazy good!

M: Very much like the bourbon county line ups, syrupy, smooth, dries quickly, and the taste lingers but compliments the beer!

O: It is not a very traditional barley wine, but damn it is good!

Jul 18, 2014
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seedyone from New York

4.27/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another outstanding brew from Goose Island. What it lacks in appearance it makes up for in taste, twofold. Barleywines, nowadays, seem to lack that barley presence in favor of the coffee/chocolate tastes. This is not one of those. The head lacing are virtually nonexistent. So what? If you have no fear of the dark you will feel right at home here.

2016 Still my fav of all the GIBC releases.

Jul 23, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

worthy of all the high praise, this is a social barleywine with a great bourbon complexion and so much body it drinks like syrup. the looks are the only part that didn't really turn me on, dark mahogany in color with almost no head, and even a vigorous twirl of the glass can't arouse one. thick and dense and viscous. the nose is very sweet, tons of layers of grain and sugar, but also a great deep char and vanilla aspect from the barrel, not unnecessarily complex, but dynamic to say the least. i feared a sugar bomb that would be close to undrinkable, and almost immediately wished i had shared the bottle, but after the first sip it eased up a bit, temperature helped it unfold, and by the bottom of the glass i was wishing for more. a toffee style sweetness starts off a long flavor journey that bounces from toasted marshmallow to vanilla extract to charcoal and rum raisin cake. some spice to this, classic english ale yeast, a bunch of residual sugar, and not much hops at all. the finish is long and smooth, and while the alcohol is there, it adds a layer rather than distracts. more body than i thought possible, almost gelatinous, slippery and slick, but chewy too. mild carbonation is all it needs. i like this at least as much as the stout, if not more. its a world class beer that showcases the barrel very neatly. id like to have one with some age on it just to compare.

Feb 08, 2014
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SomethingClever from Ohio

4.78/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into Spiegelau glass 2013 bottle

A: brackish brown color with bits of light escaping the edges of the glass head was decent but off white settles to a film

S: lots of caramel toffee vanilla and bourbon just layered then you get raisins figs and dates and light burnt sugars

T: lots of vanilla, and toffee not a lot of the dark fruits light hints of the burnt sugar lots of sweetness the barrel flavors are huge slight bit of alcohol heat.

M: cloying mouthfeel and bourbonesk watery feel

O: I am surprised I haven't reviewed this beer sooner. Fresh this beer is jaw dropping the plum fig and raisin flavors pound your senses while the soft vanilla and toffee of the bourbon caress your palate. 2 years later this beer is still a dynamo it has lost a little of the dark fruit flavor, but the toffee vanilla and light burnt sugars it has lost none of its nose. Easily the best of the bourbon county beers I have this is a leap over your neighbors dead body to grab kind of beer.

Dec 06, 2015
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this particular bottle in a four pack $6 per 12oz at wegmans, enjoyed cellar temp in stemmed glass.

The color is the deepest shade of tobacco brown with mostly opaque clarity, cascade when poured with thick crema type head which recedes to a ring of ultra fine beads with carbonation visibly rising toward the surface. The smell is rich with malt aromas - toffee and sherry-like scents meld with bourbon, vanilla and light cocoa and the woody ester blends with the dark caramel but the alcohol is very mild, actually it is almost not apparent at all. This barleywine is dense with malt and sweet but not cloying with light fruity yeast elements like fig -chewy bot still moderately dry with mild carbonation and woody tannin in the finish.

This is seriously complex! whew, I knew it wood be good -har har, but the rich toffee flavor with some vanilla notes of the barrel combine to bring a really delicious full flavor which leads to a tangy yeast fruitiness again bringing a fig-like richness to mind with a toasted oak goodness rounding out the taste with slight cocoa with gentle nutty creaminess toward the end. There is a slight alcohol taste but nowhere near 12%, it is hidden very well and halfway in it is not showing any heat or bourbon taste, yet the barrel influence is apparent. Overall I was not sure what to expect except the stout that previously resided in the barrels may have added to the flavor. I recommend this to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the style...I only wish I had purchased more - Kudos on a phenomenal beer that exceeded my expectations Goose Island!

Dec 13, 2013
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Flight317 from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev -1.1%

This one is beyond good. An easy drinking brew with a sweet dark fruit taste. Very limited carbonation. I could drink this and still wonder if it contained alcohol even though it was laid to rest in a bourbon barrel. If you like barleywines this is it!

Aug 28, 2014
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

3.8/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 12 oz bottle served in a BC snifter.

Pours a dark, opaque near black with a thick but quickly fading dark yellow/khaki head; not much lace or retention. Balanced, restrained nose of oak, burnt sugar, caramel, toffee and molasses. Flavor is overly sweet; barrel heavy with vanilla, brown sugar and syrupy caramel combining with a sticky, malty English BW base. On its own this was interesting but next to a well aged King Henry seemed comically simple and boring. Body is pleasantly viscous and slick with minimal heat in the finish. Not sure this needs much age, but hopefully some time will rejigger these flavors into a more interesting combination. For price and difficulty in obtaining bottles, just go blow your money of BB4D or Central Waters or something.

Dec 08, 2013
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nizzle8287 from Texas

5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 09/18/2014. Poured from the bottle into a snifter at 55F. It's dark, but when held up to the light, a nice ruby red shines through. I inverted the bottle before I poured, so there is some sediment. I love a big, unfiltered beer. About a finger of khaki head that goes away completely within a minute leaving about a mm wide ring around the edge of the glass with no lacing - *even the ring is gone after I finish my review*. On the nose there is raisin, caramel, plum, fig, and an almost cashew like smell lingering in the background. The most robust, complex smelling beer I've tried in a long time. And since it's over a year old (on top of 5 years of age at the brewery), there are no hops to speak of. To taste, chocolate shines through the most, then some ripe dark fruits (raisins, figs mostly) as if they've been soaking in some of the smoothest bourbon on the planet for a long, long time, followed up by a distinct oak aftertaste with a tiny bit of char at the end. Minutes after each sip, there's caramel left on the palette, which is very pleasing to me. It's relatively dry, and I would guess around 10% abv, but 12.3% abv has mellowed very nicely due to the years of age - mellowed to the point that it really only warms me from the inside. It's actually very smooth on the palate, not a whole lot of carbonation to speak of, but it's there, sort of brightening up and bringing out the flavor profile. Very, very good beer. For 22 bucks a 4 pack, it had better be good... Anyone hesitant to shell out the dough should take my advice: buy this beer. It's definitely the best barleywine I've ever tried, and probably in my top 3 favorites of all time.

Dec 01, 2015
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cbutova from Massachusetts

3.89/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have had this in the fridge pretty much since November 2013. For some reason I am in the mood for it tonight. I have had this on one other occasion side by side with Artic Devil and many other Barleywines.

A- Poured to a tulip glass from the 12oz bottle with a dark brown body that appears pretty much black in the glass. Small light mocha tan head to about half a finger with a silky texture. Small ring leaves legs and only a few spots of lace stick behind.

S- Nose brings a mix of Bourbon whiskey barrels and a sweet, caramel Barleywine base. Hints of roast, toasted malts and oak wood. Vanilla sweetness from the barrel is high but there is also a slight soy sauce hint in the backdrop. Noticeable lack of alcohol (none at all) but also not the strongest aroma overall.

T- As the nose suggested, very smoothed out and it must have spend a considerable amount of time resting in the barrels. Major notes are caramel, raisin dark fruits, diluted whiskey (not in a bad way), vanilla sweetness and oak. Hints of coca-cola, soy sauce, oxidation, pepper, apple and something like banana (vanilla is a similar ester).

MF- Thick and oily/syrupy body. Texture is slick but somewhat creamy. Carbonation is perhaps a tiny bit high for me but not enough to disturb the flavor. Finishes with a moderate warmth.

Tons of credit to this beer for its super smooth flavor and lack of alcohol for 12%. One thing that I find a bit off-putting is the coca-cola/soy sauce hints that come and go. Great fresh whiskey and oak vanilla sweetness atop thick caramel and raisin.

May 06, 2014
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zeledonia from Washington

3.8/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasted 1 May 2014.

Pours deep brown, slightly reddish-brown at the edges. Just a thin layer of yellowish-tan head, gone pretty quick, not much lacing. Not terrible, but exactly stunning.

Smell is bright, full of fruit and whiskey and sweetness. It's a bit two-toned, not as integrated as I'd like, with the barrel and the barleywine striking slightly different notes. Plums, figs, tobacco. Pretty darn nice, but lacking the pop of the best -bal barleywines.

Taste is, again, good but could be better. It's harsh, which is expected for such a high-ABV beer, but it's harsh in ways that it doesn't need to be. More barrel, more bourbon bite, than I'd like. Deeply fruity. The pieces don't quite fit together, and the sharpness knocks it down a few notches for me.

Feel is decent. The occasional sip feels flat, but the majority are carbonated enough. Medium-bodied, kinda heavy and chewy.

I feel like I'm trashing this beer by not giving it lights-out ratings. But it's not a lights-out beer. Not like Sucaba, or Arctic Devil, or King Henry, or MoAS. Biggest flaw is the imperfect integration of the base and the barrel. It's good, not great.

May 02, 2014
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caskstrength from Minnesota

2.74/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown. Or black. Probably black. looks like a stout

smells are pruney molasses with brown sugar. some oak/vanilla from the barrel, but too much malty brown sugar.

Damn, this is malty, sweet, and pruney. the other things I like are in the back. things like tobacco, leather, oak, coconut. But they're not driving the car. They're in the trunk.

Too gooey on the mouthfeel. But that's how bourbon county rolls. When tobacco and leather and barrel juice cut the gooey-ness, it works. It doesn't work here. It's like the yeast gave up 1/2 way through fermentation, and the 3rd use barrels didn't have enough bite left to cut the residual sugars.

I have one more bottle. I'll open it in 2017 and use it on my pancakes.

Mar 10, 2014
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 5523 ratings