Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,948 Reviews
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
60 IBU

Added by drewbage on 06-26-2003

For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,948 | Ratings: 12,136
Photo of Riff
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep black color with an off-white to tan head about a finger thick. Strong smells of bourbon as soon as the bottle was opened, also notes of chocolate and vanilla. Tastes of bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, a hint of coffee, and finishes with vanilla. Primary flavor is bourbon with a slight alcohol burn to it, not unpleasant and certainly not as strong as some BA beers, but noticeable. Feel is creamy and flavor lingers a while on the palette. Overall a very nice BA stout though coming off a winter where I sampled many others, this is solid but there are many like it or better.

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Photo of e_oly
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition poured at cellar temp into a snifter 6 months after bottling.

L: Black with an airy, quickly fading tan head.
S: Good gawd this is wonderful. Mission figs and dried stone fruit with a bourbon backbone. After a few minutes, the fruit dies down and the bourbon takes over.
T: Mild roasty bitterness underneath a bourbon-forward flavor. There are hints of chocolate and coffee bean with a burnt sugar sweetness, but mainly is straightforward bourbon stout goodness.
F: About average viscosity for a bourbon IS. Thick enough, but certainly not thick for the style. This hides 13% incredibly well.
O: Fantastic beer. You just can't go wrong with this.

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Photo of tmalt
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark black syrupy looking stout with no foam or sign of carbonation. This is the 2016 version with 4 months of age at room temperature in the south (perfect). Smells like bourbon barrels and dark fruit. Very easy drinking stout with no bitterness, just dark fruit and slightly sweet bourbon and vanilla. Slight carbonation makes for easy sippin. I like it a lot for a very sophisticated stout that sips a lot like a fortified wine. The bourbon barrel leaves a very clean taste complimenting the dark fruit, vanilla flavors. I am amazed how nicely this is crafted.

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Photo of Etrillion
4.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally had and it may be the best bbs that I have ever had,have had most of the top dogs in the genre but this is king.Thick,sweet but not overly,slight vanilla bourbon and coffee aroma,but the dense depth of taste and mouthfeel puts this in another class

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Photo of arkitekt2
4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 2015 pint into a nonic (did not have a snifter). I figured that if since I was stuck inside during “The Blizzard of 2017”, I would drink one of my stock. Deep thick dark brown almost black. Night time in a glass. Dense brown head took some time to develop to a little over 1 finger. Dissipated too quickly, leaving no lacing.
Nose – very strong bourbon in front of coffee, dark fruits, and chocolate. Bourbon dominates, which is quite pleasant.
First taste is of vanilla surrounded by caramel. Chocolate and coffee follow through with a finish of licorice, cherry and (of course) bourbon. Flavors improve immensely upon warming.
Dry mouthfeel – minimal carbonation. Glides smoothly and heavily across the tongue. Slight alcohol burn in the back with a finish of sweet bourbon.
Overall a wonderful bourbon barrel stout. From what I recall, the aging of this beer has made it smoother. Glad I have more bottles of 2015 for next year and beyond. CHEERS!

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got one from tap from Acre121, Washington DC. Presumably 2016 edition.

Feel: really warming, with great sweet and malty aftertaste. Some alcoholic feel too.

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Photo of umichfan
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have on hand a vertical from '11 - '16 and sampled sequentially on the Friday following Thanksgiving, 2016. I've decided to review only the '11 for now, but if you'd like my notes from the other vintages, feel free to contact me. I plan on doing this annually, so it will be interesting to compare notes on a particular vintage from year to year. The 2011 BCBS was a 14.5% ABV.

Poured like oil from a 12oz bottle stored boxed in my cellar. Little to no head with mild carbonation. The nose hits you before you finish pouring. Heavy bourbon notes with a mild alcohol aggression that was much more mellow than I expected. Plenty of chocolate & roasted malt. It was the most complex nose of any that we tried & was the benchmark for all that followed.

This is an impeccably well produced beer. Flavor profiles had married beautifully, one not trying to outdo another, rather working harmoniously to deliver a smooth crafted beer. Carmel notes, plenty of bourbon, a bit of smoke (probably from the malt or the barrels). Truly just an extraordinarily well balanced beer.

Finished as smooth as it started on the front end, no lingering alcohol notes to disturb the complexities left behind. Lots of chocolate notes on the back end that linger and leave you smacking your tongue trying to savor what's left.

I'm sitting on 5 bottles, willing to part with up to 3 if interested in a trade. Additionally, willing to trade up to 5 of the '12.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On draft in a small tulip, 2016 edition. Jet black with tan head of very little retention (or lacing). Aroma is strong, vinous and boozy. Taste is seriously intense. Lots of boozy fruitiness which I did not expect. Bourbon is there and slaps you in the face. Some leather notes and a seriously late bitterness kick. Very smooth mouthfeel. 

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Photo of dro7
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is amazing, smells of wood, chocolate, and bourbon casks. Feel: nice think feel with a bold strong finish. Taste: dark chocolate, vanilla, sweet whiskey, with a strong bourbon finish. I didn't like this beer at first, but after drinking it a few times, I have come to appreciate it. It's a strong dark bourbon cask flavor with chocolate and vanilla.

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Photo of MaltsOfGlory
4.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2016 batch

500 ml bottle

Pours about two fingers of brown head into my willi becher glass. The head is somewhat pillowy, not creamy. I can hear it fizzing away, I don’t like that. The body is just completely black, even when held up to the light. We’ll see how the lacing goes, because the head disappeared all too quickly. So far it looks ok.

By the nose I’m pretty sure I wont like this beer. I just can’t handle all this damn soy sauce. Umami Umami and more Umami. I wouldn’t call this an off flavor, or a bad flavor, I just can’t stand it for the most part. Anyways, other than that there is a substantial woody aroma. Perhaps a little bitter chocolate. Some very nice caramel and vanilla coming through once I agitate it. Syrupy on the nose as well, as would be expected with 13%. I’m not really sure how to grade this. There are nice parts, and again, nothing that I would classify as “off”. I’ll say 4, I can’t knock it too far based on my personal preferences.

Damn, that is one hell of a flavor. Sweet caramel up front. Bitter and boozy as well, but not over the top, they are supporting flavors. I wanted to say cherries on the nose, but I didn’t get that aroma enough, I feel like that is definitely here on the flavor though. A little chocolate hanging out in the background. Very syrupy, but not in a fake way, just super thick and sweet. Surprisingly there is barely any Umami or woodiness. Really just a super complex and amazingly good flavor. It’s hard to pull everything out because so much is going on. Finishes with a little burnt malt, and then a long lingering butterscotch. Maybe some plum/dark fruit going on as well.

The mouthfeel is…interesting. As stated there is a substantial syrup characteristic that comes through just as heavily on the feel as it did on the flavor. Thing is, I don’t know if this is a good thing or not. It definitely adds character to the beer, and I don’t dislike it, which is more than I can say for extremely sweet beers. We’ll just call it a wash. The carbonation is very low. Somewhat dry and bitter for how sweet it also is, well balanced on the flavor and the mouthfeel. It’s not perfect, but it’s a well balanced mouthfeel, with character.

I would like to give this beer a 5 for drinkability, because for 13% it deserves it. Unfortunately that’s not really how drinkability works. So, I’ll say a solid 4, all things considered. It go’s down damn well, but damn well for 13 %.

Overall this is a great beer, the flavor really surprised me, it’s darn good. A little bit of that soy sauce started coming through as it warmed, but overall, great beer.

The appearance was probably the one bad part of this beer, the head was fizzing from the start, and disappeared very quickly. I also got zero lacing, not too great.

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Photo of deg
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This review is about the 2016 edition.

I poured the beer into a glass. Black, opaque. The head disappeared disappointingly fast. I could smell nothing. My sense of smell is weak, so it is possible there is something to smell, it's just too faint for me. The taste was amazing. Vanilla, bourbon, malt. There was some pleasant alcohol warmth.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.96/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2016 version poured into a Spoonwood Brewing snifter:

Look: Pours an amazing jet black color with roughly an inch of head that quickly dissipates. Little to no lacing present.

Smell: Heavy bourbon heat present on the nose along with dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate!

Taste: Taste follows the nose for me. Tons of bourbon heat present. Also dark fruits, chocolate, and coffee.

Feel: Medium to heavy bodied!

Overall: One of the best bourbon barrel stouts I have ever tasted to date! Never had this to date but I feel this is worth the hype! I will be seeking this one out next year when it comes out!

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Photo of ajcuster89
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this one too many times to count. When fresh, it smells of strong oak bourbon barrel and roastiness, and the taste is big chocolate, good burn, and a nice medium thick mouthfeel. I don't buy it anymore, but i'll never refuse a pour!

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Photo of goingbrokeonbeer
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a hotel rocks glass. I really don't know what I can say that hasn't been said. I think this beer must be considered to set the bar that other BA stouts strive to be. Just so smooth and flavorful. When I bought this beer it had been sitting on the shelf for months, and now it's gone the first day it's out. In some ways, time has changed for the worse in the beer world.

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Photo of BRiddoch
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 Batch given to me by a friend at work to enjoy after the Super Bowl. Poured into a Sam Adams glass very dark (almost black) with no head at all. Very strong smell of bourbon while pouring. First sip warmed the belly with a mix of bourbon and sweet caramel. The after taste was smoky and extraordinary. On of the best beers I have ever had. Certainly a sipping beer.

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Photo of gnartothecore
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage, paired with cookies & cream Kisses.

A - darker than a woodchuck's asshole. Try shining a light through it; it's like trying to look into a black hole. Head was barely present, a thin brown foam that quickly dissipated. Lacing? Pfft, who needs it?

S - hot booze, malts, and barrel.

T - not so hot booze, malts, and barrel.

M -

O - All jokes aside, I get why this is the gold standard for BA stouts. It's everything you'd want: delicious boozy char that hits heavy like a velvet covered brick.

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Photo of peterpunk15
3.91/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I may have needed to let this sit for a while. The taste is too boozy and completely overwhelms the beer. Having said that, it is not bad, I was just expecting something completely different than a glass of bourbon,

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Photo of JayORear
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Since I recently reviewed BA Ten Fidy somewhat negatively against BCBS, I thought it would be only fair to review BCBS on its own, just to make sure that my memory of the beer isn’t tainted by nostalgia. I was lucky enough to find a hidden stash at a local bottle shop two months after release, so here goes with the ’16 version.

Appearance: yup, I’m reminded why I always go back to this beer as a BA stout reference point. Deep, fudgy brown with a single-finger head that dissipates into a beautiful film across the top of the beer. It’s not showy or overly fluffy, just . . . elegant. The smell is exactly matched to the appearance, offering heady chocolate, vanilla, fig, and bourbon notes that make you realize that most adjunct stouts are basically trying to replicate what base BCBS does without having to add anything. Again, balance and refinement rule the day. Taste is complex and ever-changing as it warms: sweet vanilla evolves into a charred and bourbony chocolate that, in turn, drops into something approaching a deep, fudge liqueur. The journey through the bottle is like tasting three to four different world-class stouts, all of which are flawless. Mouthfeel is rich, oily, and viscous, what BA Ten Fidy wishes it could be. Every sip is like dessert, a decadent treat you want to never end.

Overall, what more can I say? The only thing that keeps me from ruling this BCBS a “perfect” beer is that, as good as the mouthfeel is, it’s been slightly better in previous years. I’ll always remember 2012, which honestly felt like warm brownie batter on the tongue. Obviously, this beer hardly needs my recommendation, but if you’re at all on the fence about trying to obtain and taste it, you’re crazy. It’s the beer to try before you die.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.86/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I generally eschew chasing after limited releases and such, but when a buddy gifted me a 2016 bottle recently, I was not going to turn him down. I was in Chicago around Thanksgiving 2014 & I stopped in at Binney's (Clybourn) to try & score some CANs, et al, but the place was such an absolute zoo that I walked out, empty handed & disgusted. It is just one example among many of why I started The CANQuest (tm) in the first place.

From the bottle: "The original bourbon barrel aged Stout"; "Since 1992"; "Stout aged in bourbon barrels"; "Chicago Made Imperial Stout"; "Intense aromas of charred oak, vanilla, caramel & smoke"; Brewed, barrel aged & bottled by Goose Island Beer Co. Chicago, Illinois"; "Develops in the bottle up to 5 years"; "[signed] Brewmaster, Jared Jankowski".

I Pop!ped the cap on the relatively big bottle and commenced a gentle pour simply because I have never had a bottle of BCBS. Usually, I go to PHL during Thanksgiving weekend & have some on tap. This was a new experience for me. I am becoming proficient at doing an in-glass swirl, this time raising a finger of foamy, deep-brown head that seemed rather anxious to fall back to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had the coconut smell that I always seem to get from bourbon, accompanied by dark chocolate, light smoke and caramel. It was a liquefied Girl Scout Samoa cookie! Oh, I am a sucker for them & Thin Mints. This was gonna send me, especially at 13.8% ABV. Mouthfeel was thick, viscous, oily, like BP had dumped a load off of a rig into my mouth. Mmmm. The taste was much like a Samoa with the chocolate leading the way, followed closely by coconut and caramel as well as light smoke. OMFG! This was quite tasty and dangerously easy to drink. I can only imagine how much easier it would become with age. No wonder I just satisfy myself with draft offerings. I have plenty of beer at home without adding to the backlog.

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Photo of mnj21655
4.16/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle packaged 04OCT16. Poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with maybe a quarter inch of dark brown head that quickly disappears.

Straigh from the fridge the aroma is all bourbon with lots of hot alcohol. Once the beer spends a few minutes in the glass the Bourbon calms down a bit; I then get vanilla, a low-moderate alcohol heat, and subtler bakers chocolate and dark fruits in the background.

The first flavor I get is dark fruits, that is joined by a mix of vanilla, dark and bakers chocolates, and some alcohol heat.

Body is full with low carbonation and slick, heavy sweetness.

Objectively this is a very good Bourbon barrel aged stout. That being said, it makes me realize that I'm not a BBA stout fan. It's still tasty and enjoyable but has just a bit too much heat for the aromas and flavors to be super enjoyable. I have another bottle that I'll hold onto for a year or two in the hopes that the bourbon barrel character mellows a bit.

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Photo of Kasabear
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark , like the Devils dreams. Very little lace, too dark for sissy lace.
Smell is a rollercoaster of good things.
Taste is nice and best enjoyed with desert or a cheese.
Of course, if you just wanna pound one , this stout is delicious. Bet you can't pound it. It's too good for that.
Feel is velvet..... I don't think I have ever used the word velvet before in a sentence.
So yes , it is velvet.
Keeps getting better so drink it slow.
Overall is good enough to share and really enjoy or act like you can't find a frind and have it all by yourself.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

1 PINT .9 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter
Bottled 05NOV15

This beer pours black and thick. It is topped with less than an inch of tan head that disappears quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

It smells like a bourbon dessert. I smell chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and roasted malt.

The taste is every bit as good. The bourbon melds into caramel and vanilla flavors, while the roasted malt yields chocolate notes. The bourbon is still recognizable in the finish with a mild booze flavor.

Full, smooth, and viscous mouthfeel

This is my first BCBS. I get the hype now. It is a phenomenal beer. It met and perhaps exceeded my high expectations. This is a rare beer that lives up to the hype. It is definitely the best ABI product that I have ever had narrowly beating out Busch heavy.

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Photo of spacemanspiff13
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of bourbon which is great, but that's pretty much it. Mouthfeel is solid and overall this is a solid BBA stout but there are better, more interesting varieties out there.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the epitome of a perfect Bourbon Barrel Stout. Flawless mouthfeel. The whole experience is thrilling all the way down. It is easy to see why everyone chases this one.

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Photo of BethanyB
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A still, ebony lake Is lined with a quiet rim of contrasting beige froth. Serene and full of promise.,The aroma is unsurprisingly oaky and smoky with plenty of complementary vanilla and hazelnut, but surprisingly peppery as well! The complex foundation is built of plums, figs, And milk chocolate. Both balanced and full. As Mary Poppins would say, practically perfect in every way. So, let's taste it! The bourbon's woodsy sweetness comes through straight away. It mixes with fresh maple syrup, whose stickiness is balanced by the drying characteristics of tobacco laced with cocoa powder. Soft pastes of plum, dark cherry, and strawberry create a real complex jam. Unlike other bourbon barrel stouts, this is a beast with a real heart. The mouthfeel is smooth jazz creamy with a light carbonic bite toward the finish to let the juice burst just enough for a celenaratory kick. A surprising jewel from an iconic brewery which is apparently still on top of the saturated craft game.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,136 ratings.
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