Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale
5,348 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

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Ratings: 5,348 |  Reviews: 642
Photo of CHickman
4.69/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 9/17/2013: Pours black looking very dark brown color with a 1 finger creamy dark tan head was full of tiny bubbles and faded on the fast side, leaving minimal spotty lacing and a little ring around the edge on top.

Smells of bourbon, molasses, dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, red wine, bread, strong sweetness and booze; it’s very sweet with a mix of rum, bourbon and alcohol soaked fruit, similar to old almost rotting fruit or some really moist bread pudding soaked in rum and syrup. The booze is quite noticeable in a good way, and this is very complex and interesting to inhale.

Tastes follows the nose and is very sweet overall, and yet very rich and flavorful. Like the aroma, it’s a mix of bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla, red wine like an oaky Merlot, toasted bread or wet grains, dark rum, herbs, alcohol soaked fruit, syrup, and more bourbon or booze. The sweetness is almost cloying, but the booze kicks it into another gear with the oaky and vanilla notes making it really, really tasty and complicated, getting different flavors as it warms up. It is similar buy yet very different to the other Bourbon County Brand brews and the most dynamic flavored barleywine that I’ve ever had with so many taste variables that it’s too much to process. The ABV brings some heat, but it’s mild and works well overall considering it’s 12%.

Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy, literally a meal in a bottle, with a creamy slickness as it slides over the tongue with very light carbonation and a slight bitterness that almost seems hoppy or like a burnt coffee that trails off very sweet like toffee and brown sugar sprinkled in bourbon, ending on a sweet fade that warms you up as it settles in. Each sip provides a new twist on the sweet combo of fruit and booze, making it different every time.

Overall a damn fine beer, extremely tasty with an amazing array of sweet flavors that kept me guessing after every sip, which made this fun and very enjoyable to drink. It’s almost too sweet but manages to never cross the line and keep your palate preoccupied to notice the booze, and any fan of the Bourbon County Brand of beers would love this malty treat. Glad I was able to get my hands on a bottle as I really enjoyed it.

10/1/14-Had it on tap in NYC last night and it was very tasty, complex and quite enjoyable again. Looks were much nicer on tap with a head that actually stuck around for a while, leading to strong boozy complex nose and rich, sweet flavors that were so complicated that each sip was slightly different. The heat was ever present again, making for a real nice slow sipper.

05/18/17-Came across another bottle from 2013 (24SEP13 1717 listed) and the head and looks were even better...this beer gets better looking with age, which is moving the "Look" score up for me from 4 to 4.25 since the past few times I've had it have produced better heads that lasted and left decent spotty lacing. Smells and tastes basically the same as above but with zero alcohol burn, so it was actually smoother. "Overall" rating moved up from 4.75 to 5 as this aged beautifully. Rating of 4.62 moved up to 4.69, let's hope the Evil Giant ownership keeps making this a world class barleywine as I've got some 2016's aging now.

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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 5,348 ratings