Bourbon County Brand Stout
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #9
Ranked #23
4.66 | pDev: 9.23%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout
Notes: 60 IBU
Reviews: 3,117 | Ratings: 12,957 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of MitchVanSomf
4.59/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I tend to rebel against the hard to get beers, but this is worth it. I wouldn't wait in line for it or pay up for it (or anything else in life), but if fate puts a bottle in front of you- buy it! Carve out a special night/afternoon when all is right and enjoy.
I love the variance every year.

 294 characters

Photo of PorterJohn
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Motor Oil color, without the thick syrup-like consistency of some stouts. Yes, motor oil is a good thing.
Smell: Rocket Fuel.
Taste: A perfect balance of strong flavors.
Feel: Great from start to finish.
Overall: My favorite beer.

 239 characters

Photo of Msp004
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle date 15OCT14
Dark black pour with brown thin head which dissipates quickly.
Nose is intense with sweet dark fruit, bittersweet dark chocolate and bourbon.
Mouth is thick and rich again with sweet dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate and bourbon.
13% + AVB is well hidden.
This is an exceptional brew that can you can spend alot of time rolling your nose and tongue over.

 375 characters

Photo of Nuttin_but_the_best_Clark
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off let me say that I'm not a stout guy normally. It's too syrupy and one gives me a buzz and two gives me a headache usually. However, I am sucker for chocolate so I find myself drinking stouts on occasion. My favorite is Founders' KBS which adds a little liccorice/Basil taste into theirs. I also like Belching Beaver Chocolate Peanut Butter stout.

At $12 per bottle (and the bottle looks bigger than the content is) for a little over a pint, this stuff better be great. It is the OG chocolate stout having been one of the first premium 'wait in line' seasonally released beers. This is before Budweiser bought them out which drove a stake into the heart of craft beer lovers everywhere. Thankfully the process of making this seems not to have been too corporatized although they do crank out quite a few more bottles these days making it less hard to find.

Each year varies and each year has 2-4 editions. Mine is the 2018 standard edition. I understand 2018 was a good year for this. It has a bitter chocolate taste with a little creaminess. The bourbon barrel comes through with a molasses taste followed by a bit of medicinal alchohol notes. It's smoother than some bourbon barrel aged stouts but lacks a bit of that licorice punch of KBS. I think those who prefer a sweeter creamier stout will like this. The cheaper stouts almost have a salty soy sauce aftertaste to them but not this.

The mouthfeel is fantastic and makes it fun to drink. The light head is not bubbly and soapy looking, its more dense although not too heavy or thick. Scent wise you get chocolate, coffee and toasted coconut. It looks great in a glass ... blackish brown.

Overall, this is well balanced and fairly smooth and no one note steps out and overpowers the other notes. It's not offensive but at the same time there's nothing unique about this and sings to me that I should buy another bottle for $12. The reputation and name here is what makes the price so high and I don't feel as though I have to buy another bottle. At $20 for a 4 pack, it would be good. At $50 for a 4 pack, I'm glad I tried it but don't need to stock it for regular drinking.

The upside is such a high ABV means that one gets me a bit floaty and buzzed up ... in fact one of the nicer buzzes I've experienced from a single bottle of beer.

 2,307 characters

Photo of jcruelty
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I went out and got this one after trying the coffee version. That was damn good. This is too, but to be honest I can't articulate precisely the difference. Lack of coffee, I would say. Read the other reviews. The ABV is high and this is bottle two so definitely I'll defer to the opinions of the wise folks below

 317 characters

Photo of LarryV
3.85/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with nary a head, fine carbonation visible. Nose of malty bourbon. Flavor follows suit, very sweet followed by a wave of bourbon goodness. Hops are not really noticeable. Definitely a sipping beer and it gets better as it warms up. Drinking the 2018 version, booze is definitely noticeable but surprisingly not that hot. A good stout albeit rather expensive.

Personally, I prefer Founder's Backwoods Bastard over this,this is just too sweet for my taste.

 470 characters

Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the best of the planet's dark beverages! Thick (used to be thicker). Incredible. My favorite was 2014, followed by 2015, then 2017. Seems they have off years and some inconsistency. Also the occasional quality control problem that they have done better than most to make up for.

Molasses, bourbon, smoke, leather - all the good stuff concentrated.

 355 characters

Photo of khmel
4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Thick, opaque black, coffee color at edges, dark tan creamy head, quickly dissipates.

Smell: Alcohol kick, bourbon over roasted malt, coffee, oak hints, raisin.

Taste: Bourbon, sweet dark roasted malt rich flavor with a hint of raisin. Just a touch of hop in the finish.

Feel: Slippery smooth like whiskey, medium body, alcohol warmth and slightly dry in the end.

 379 characters

Photo of MoMaMe
4.99/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich, dark coffee brown with a light head
Smell - sweet, molasses, brandy, bourbon, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, slightly smokey,
Taste - same flavors as smell only much stronger and richer with the additions of raisin and dried fruit. Alcohol is noticeable and flavor lingers on the palate a long time.
Mouthfeel - full-bodied, “syrupy,”

This is a magnificent stout.. I drank it slightly cooler than room temp. This is one to sip slowly and enjoy the flavors like you would a fine brandy.

Definitely worth a try and one to age before drinking.

 563 characters

Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.64/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

16.9oz bottle. Bottling date is '24OCT16'. 13.8% ABV.
Black colored body, with no back lit highlights. Brief tan head, leaves behind a bubble fed ring and a swirling bubble fed surface. No lacing.
Aroma of dark roasted malts, with oak bourbon barrels and some dark fruit, along with slight vanilla, caramel, and smoke.
Taste of dark roasted malts and dark cherry and raisin, along with bourbon oak barrel and its vanilla, also caramel and dark char. Burbs of dark chocolate.
Medium plus mouth feel, heavy texture with the alcohol. Lesser carbonation feel.
This is a high ABV% stout with appropriate flavors.
16.9oz bottle. Bottling date is '15SEP17'. 14.1% ABV.
Black colored body, with no back lit highlights. Brief fizzy (noisy) tan head disappears, leaving no head and no ring. No lacing.
Aroma of bourbon oak barrel, dark roasted malts, caramel, and thin vanilla.
Taste of dark roasted malts soaked in bourbon oak barrels, with caramel, vanilla, and slight smoke.
Medium plus mouth feel, very smooth texture. Seems like absent carbonation.
Correctly tasting imperial stout that conducts itself as a smooth drinking experience.
16.9oz bottle. Bottling date is '07SEP18'. 15.2% ABV.
Black colored body. Brief tan colored head settles back to some swirling small islands and an active thin ring. Leaves behind a few tiny spots of lacing, but most slide back down into body.
Aroma of oak bourbon barrel, with rich caramel and vanilla. Dark roasted malts.
Taste of purple grapes soaked in the bourbon oak barrel. Big vanilla and caramel components, with a supporting smokiness. Rich dark roasted malts.
Mouth feel is heavy and thick, with a coating of the mouth texture. Better carbonation.
This is a real treat of high ABV%, toffee/caramel, oak barrel with vanilla, and a base of dark roasted malts.
In trying the vintages of 2016, 2017, and 2018, the 2018 is most rewarding in smell density, taste profile, and mouth feel. The 2016 vintage presented as thinner and with dark fruit expressions. The 2017 vintage lacked the warmness and smoothness of the 2018 vintage. Based on my limited review, I say that aging BCBS is not necessary and will likely lessen the drinking pleasure experience.
Rating is based on the 2018 vintage.

 2,600 characters

Photo of beersampler6
4.51/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Review #600

Delicious imperial stout that really lives up to its hype - although I gave it almost straight 4.5s all the way through, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't going to reach the 4.6-4.7 range beer that I was expecting, especially given that this was a 2016 vintage that I'd specifically aged a few more months just to wait as long as I could. Looks great, nice deep dark rich black color with a little tan lingering head and just a hint of some spotty lingering lacing. Would have given it more points if it had nicer-looking lacing, but I gave an extra 0.25 for the richness of the color and of the tan head. Smells great, lots of dark mocha fudge, vanilla, medium roast coffee, roasted nuttiness, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, fig, oak, bourbon and some toffee. Aromas blended well together and the smell was just heavenly. Taste follows the nose, and again that rich chewy fudge, vanilla, oak and bourbon is just so well-balanced. There was a little alcohol upfront as the beer warmed, but not aggressively so, and the very high ABV always felt deceivingly well-hidden. Smooth, rich, chewy, thick, slightly syrupy mouthfeel that coated the palate. Just enough carbonation to match the depth of this stout. I really enjoyed it, wish I had more bottles to sample and savor at a later date, and couldn't recommend this beer more highly. It paired well with both savory dinner and sweet dessert. Delicious!

 1,434 characters

Photo of DylanFawson
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the most delicious stout I have ever had. The most delicious alcoholic beverage I have ever had. I tried a Founders Breakfast Stout the other day and thought it couldn't get any better, but this one edges it out. It's almost hard to call this a stout as it tastes somewhere in between a stout and a wine. Sweet and heavy with vanilla and chocolate. Almost entirely black but with a slight amber glow. If you have the chance to try one of these you can't pass it up.
2018 bottle

 487 characters

Photo of VoodooBear
4.37/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 2018 release bottled on 08/22/2018. 16.9 oz. brown bottle with the bottling date printed on the label. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: The thin, quarter finger head goes away very quickly. It's a thick, pure black and leaves a small amount of patchy lacing.

Smell: It's a sweet and dark scent. There's dried fruit, ripe plums, grapes, vanilla, oak, brown sugar and smokey, roasted malts.

Taste: It's extremely sweet but with a hint of bitterness. There's vanilla, cinnamon, roasted malt, dark chocolate and a slight alcohol bite on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: It's thick, rich, oily and with a distinct silkiness from the sweetness. It's not cloying at all and the carbonation is low.

Overall: A strong and complex beer that needs time to be truly understood and appreciated. It's also very versatile and pairs well with a wide variety of food and desserts. It feels more like a spirit than a beer and it's better in smaller pours spread out over a longer drinking session.

 1,000 characters

Photo of joe16siny
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 bottle. Still one of the best Imperial Stouts. Lots of chocolate flavor with some coffee, a bit bozzy (as it should be at over 14%). Every BA should have it as least once.

 177 characters

Photo of crosenkrantz
4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a blind test, Bourbon County 2017 I was ranked third after Firestone Parabola (2018) and Founders' KBS (2016).
It is more similar to Parabola than KBS.

 157 characters

Photo of mikeg67
4.94/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, 2018. Pours black with tall, long lasting, creamy, brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of chocolate malt, toast, dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla and spices. Body is full, creamy and smooth. Taste is of bourbon, nutty, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit, vanilla and spices. Finish is long, massive and spicy. Delicious brew.

 363 characters

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

My first taste of this legend. 2018 version. poured at cellar temp

Pours a really beautiful rich ebony brown. Very active cocoa colored head that dissipates fairly quickly. Lots of visible carbonation.
Smell is boozy and figgy. chocolate. dark fruit. some light roastiness. coherent and pleasant.
Taste is rich and smooth up front with just a touch of boozy heat on the back end. Bitter chocolate is much more prominent than in the nose, dark fruit much less present. Chocolate is in fact quite dominant. There seems to be a bit of detectable barrel (although it's faint enough for me that I can imagine it is psychosomatic) and with a bit of wine-snob aeration in the mouth the bourbon is easily detectable.
Mouthfeel is amazing. Truly lovely body that is certainly dominant on the palate but doesn't seem to build up too much.
Overall I am genuinely impressed. This is one that you hear so much about that it is hard to go into it without preconceptions. To me though, this is an excellent stout, and at $12 for a pint+ bottle it's actually kind of a good deal. Rich and chocolatey (without chocolate added), complex and yet coherent. This is certainly a deserving superstar. Well done GI

 1,192 characters

Photo of lastmango
4.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally cracked open this treat that I bought for myself over Christmas. Poured a dark chocolate with a one finger mocha frothy head that dissipated quickly to nothing. Aroma is faint molasses, chocolate, malt and bourbon. The aroma becomes more pungent as the brew warms. Taste is sweet malt, bourbon and caramel forward with hints of rich dark chocolate and dark fruit in the middle with black licorice, bourbon and burnt toast on the finish, which lingers. This is a real sipper . . . a thick boozy stout that makes your rear molars float. ;) OMG . . . I'm in love with a sexy woman with rich tastes that I cannot afford! Yet . . . I just have to have her . . . :)

 673 characters

Photo of AMH1978
1.29/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I love a good stout such as Guinness Extra Stout or Young's Double Chocolate Stout, but this is overrated garbage. It has an overly sweet and syrupy taste that makes me gag at first sip. Imagine someone poured whiskey in your Guiness then added several sugar substitute(Sweet n Low) packets a splash of milk and then let it stew in a sweaty dorm room for a few days. Foul and one of the worst beers I've ever tried. Bought a 12 pack and gave away 9. Tried 3 times to be a convert, but am convinced people are afraid to say it's gross and not be considered a connoisseur.

 575 characters

Photo of mkh012
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2018 vintage, bottled 4.5 months ago.

Pours near-black with minimal tan head.

The nose and taste are deep chocolate, caramel, bourbon, wood, and faint cherry. Amazing.

The mouthfeel is near-full with some booze on the backend.

Overall, excellent. Top 5 imperial stouts I've had.

 282 characters

Photo of GldnSabre
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I tried this beer for the first time tonight and all I have to say is WOW! I am a fan of Dragons Milk. This one is smoother, cleaner and just plain nice. The ABV is a little on the high side to drink more than one a night and that it is a seasonal those are its only down sides.
It has(had :)) a nice bourbon smell, with the normal hints of vanilla. It has a nice buttery back taste(might be what they say is caramel(I make my own caramel and it does not taste like butter.) with a nice soft smoke taste.

IT is my new seasonal favorite.

 539 characters

Photo of Slycy690
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark as night. Tasty as hell. First one was boozy at the 15% mark, but after pacing myself on the next one a week or so later, I was impressed with the rich flavors and smooth finish. Great beer. I’d say take your time and enjoy one.

 236 characters

Photo of Wolvmar
4.67/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2016 Vintage reviewed Jan 20, 2019 (2017 and 2018 Vintages Below)

Pour: Black with a little brown tonge or maybe that’s the deep tan head. Minimal head that quickly dissipated into a thin ring. Slight bubble lacing while drinking. A bit underwhelming. (Same as 2018)

Nose: sweet malts, just a hint of bourbon up front. Lots of Dark brandied fruit. Really nice but more subtle than the 2018 from Nov.

Taste: rich dark chocolate, sweet bourbon up front. Deep roasted malt, some bitter coffee in the middle. Dark fruits and more chocolate, maybe some burnt toast on the backend. Really well balanced. A little less chocolate, a little more sweet malt than the fresh 2018 but still Outstanding.

Mouthfeel: rich, thick but not syrupy. Coats the tongue, lingers a bit but finishes well balanced and relatively clean. Moderate to low carbonation; just enough to tingle the tongue. Not as pilllowy as fresh 2018. Still really good.

Overall: high expectations and this lived up to them. BCBS remains a/the standard by which other BA stouts are measured. Liked the fresh 2018 a bit better. Maybe more similar to the year old 2017. Ages well but makes me really appreciate the 2018.


2018 Vintage reviewed Nov 23 2018 (2017 Vintage Below)
Purchased at Total Wine today, Black Friday, or BCBS day.

Pour: Black with a little brown time or maybe that’s the deep tan head. Minimal head that quickly dissipated into a thin ring. Slight bubble lacing while drinking. A bit underwhelming.

Nose: sweet malts, bourbon up front. Dark brandied fruit. Hints of dark chocolate and coffee. Really nice.

Taste: rich dark chocolate, sweet bourbon up front. Deep roasted malt, some bitter coffee in the middle. Dark fruits and more chocolate, maybe some burnt toast on the backend. Really well balanced. Even more chocolate than I recall and bourbon very mellow and balanced. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel: rich, pillowy, thick but not syrupy. Coats the tongue, lingers a bit but finishes well balanced and relatively clean. Moderate to low carbonation; just enough to tingle the tongue. Outstanding.

Overall: wow! I had high expectations and this lived up to them, again. As with the 2017, and previous vintages, BCBS remains a/the standard by which other BA stouts are measured.


2017 vintage. Reviewed Nov 20 2018. Purchased at Total WIne in Sarasota (Siesta Key) today. Couldn't get last year at home so very happy to find it here.

Pour: Jet black, maybe a hint of dark brown. 1-2 finger deep tan head. Ends in a few clouds and a thick ring. Pretty solid lacing, more like coating of the glass.

Nose: bourbon, dark, sweet fruit, vanilla and oak, chocolate, molasses.

Taste: heavy bourbon, some coffee (recognizing it's not a coffee stout), dark chocolate. Brandied fruit, figs, some vanilla and oak. Fair amount of hops bitterness on the backend. Relatively clean finish despite the intensity of the flavors. You have to like bourbon to like this.

Mouthfeel: thick, thick, milkshake like. Moderate carbonation. Coats the tongue but not cloying and finishes pretty clean.

Overall: this is still the standard for BBA stouts IMO. Have a bottle to age and will likely pick up another one or two assuming they are still on the shelf.

 3,272 characters

Photo of Ehall1995
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hands down, the best Bourbon beer you can find. I love this beer so much. Aging them is so much better. Each sip is just amazing. Well respected brew.

 150 characters

Photo of chitoryu12
3.79/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

2018 edition

Look: Pitch black. Barely a finger of dark tan head that quickly dissipates into a ring; even changing how I pour it doesn't get more head.

Smell: Very sweet. Chocolate, coffee, milk, and some roast malt.

Taste: A big blast of chocolate and roasted malt, fading into roast coffee notes. Very sweet, almost sickly so.

Mouthfeel: Thick and full-bodied, with virtually no carbonation.

Overall: I'm going to be in the minority and say no to this beer. The insanely sweet taste is an immediate turn-off, to the point where even finishing the glass is hard. It comes off highly unbalanced.

 601 characters

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 12957 ratings