Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
5,388 Ratings
Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by jplopez21 on 10-04-2013

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,388 |  Reviews: 651
Photo of TheBronze
4.6/5  rDev +2%

Photo of kbhess
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of miggs3030
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Ryno3031
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Drifter1
4.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Matagal
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Fox82791
4.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Phil_H
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Kurt_Dog
5/5  rDev +10.9%

Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -33.5%

Photo of Dominic_Decoco
4.92/5  rDev +9.1%

Photo of gibgink
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Others speak better than I do on this, but I will add that this is like sipping on Commandaria St. John.

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Photo of RavenForBeer
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of eball33
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Jeffo
4.28/5  rDev -5.1%
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!

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
4/5  rDev -11.3%

*This one I had was bottled 9/13/2013*

A- Dark purple. Sediment cannot be seen in the glass until held up in the light. It's just a very dark beer. You get some thick, tan, khaki head. The head in general the head completely dies. Pretty sticky lacing on this one.

S- Right away from opening the smell jumped out. Not even sticking my nose into my snifter glass, big sweetness, bourbon, and alcohol jump out. Upon closer inspection, charred oak notes and vanilla show up. Dark fruits and alcohol stand out as well. Bready. When swirled, more boozy notes show up. Maybe some cocoanut too. Very big nose.

T- I am now reviewing this beer closer to room temperature. When it was cooler, I did not get as much coconut as I am now. It's a very sweet beer. The booze still comes out warmed up, but not so strong. But the alcohol is unmistakable. Lots of dark fruit and charred oak barrel notes in here. Bourbon and vanilla as well. Fairly bready. It does have an agressive bitterness, but it's not a hoppy bitterness. I tend to find that high ABV beers have a different layer of bitterness than just from hops. Complex overall. I've probably missed things it's so complex. That's just the style.

M- Full bodied. Very chewy like a big old red wine. The body of the beer is very slick, sticky, and oily. The rim of my glass is very sticky. When you take the your first sip, you notice the beer immediately starts to coat the entire palate and works it way to the back of the throat. I don't think this has a very strong alcohol burn at all for as big of a beer as it is, but it is there in feel all the way down the throat. At this point, my throat feels like I have been drinking a few shots of whiskey. It could be that beer is giving me a pretty good buzz from the 12.10% ABV!

Overall, this is an intense, rich, complex, and extremely flavorful beer. It's very, very sweet with a nice boozy kick. This is a pretty good beer to sip and enjoy. Take your time with this one. I'm glad I bought a 4 pack of this when I saw it.

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Photo of msumike89
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Pdiff100
4.52/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of JasonLey
4/5  rDev -11.3%

It took me a while to chew through this, but I savored every bite.

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Photo of Chunkysedated
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of BeerDunson
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of freehafe
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of MStern23
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of green_plastic
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of brureview
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Poured a dark opaque chocolate in a snifter, the suggested glass, with no head.

Aroma- deep cask oak. This is the deepest oak I have experienced in a barrel aged beer: cherry, oak barrel, vanilla, plum, vanilla.

It's very carbonated, and light bodied- unlike other barrel aged English Barleywines.

The taste and finish are interlocked- heavy pium, barrel oak. The cherry, oak is phenomenal.
The oak and plum intensify with warming.

The light alcoholic finish doesn't overwhelm the taste. With warming, chocolate appears.
The beer's tastes are smoother with warming, and the alcoholic finish becomes more pronounced.

The beer is a masterpiece of blending diverse aromas and taste. In contrast to other beers in the style, it stands out as an exceptional brew. Perhaps I will find another bottle to cellar.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.51 out of 5 with 5,388 ratings