Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
2,867 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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,867 | Ratings: 11,818
Reviews by Tomdee74:
Photo of Tomdee74
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Definitely one of my very favorites so happy to get it in Ct.

Awesome brew so glad nothings changed with InBev kudos to them for sticking with something that works great!

Not much more to say. I love it. Strongly recommend it. It's a bit pricey but worth it and good money to spend!

 286 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Black, brown lacing

SMELL: Charred wood, barrel juice, vanilla, ripe figs, light molasses, alcohol, fudge, burnt raisins

TASTE: Creamy, thick body, smooth, molasses, mild charcoal, deep caramel, burnt dark fruit, vanilla, booze, roasted cocoa nibs, molasses finish

Some argue this is not craft beer anymore due to change of ownership—we say “bollocks” to that. BCS has cult status and deservedly so. A slow sipper due to the size, and closing in on perfection makes it very easy to sip!! Cheers to Goose Island for its continuation and expansion within their barrel program.

 639 characters

Photo of dmgeng
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Traded one of my coworkers who hordes these beer for a particular 2013 vintage bottle that he said was his favorite beer of all time.

A - Jet black color devoid of all light reflecting out of this elixir. It pours beautifully with a dark khaki head and nice lacing. A very beautiful beer in the glass.

S - Tons of of sweet stout smell with roasted, chocolate, caramel, bourbon, and vanilla. Smells very strong and bursting with flavor.

T - A rush of flavor hits your palate but it is clear this is exactly what you would expect with the bourbon and imperial stout character holding your tongue hostage. The roasted, chocolate, and malt flavors blend perfectly with the oak, bourbon, and vanilla that comes with the barrel aging process. This beer tastes like one of the best beers in the world but is more bourbon forward, less complex, and higher in alcohol than some other top-tier bourbon barrel aged stouts.

M - Huge mouth-feel with light carbonation. This is probably the thickest and most heavenly bodied beers I've ever had.

Overall, this is a tremendous and amazing beer that deserves respect and a discerning palate to appreciate such grandeur. Though the bourbon is front and center it is smooth and flavorful and really adds a great deal to the amazing base imperial stout. Only a few weeks ago did I have the "other" amazing bourbon barrel stout, "KBS" and I would choose the Founder's counter part over Bourbon County only due to the ability to better discern all of the flavors instead of this beer where the flavors are so strong and fulfilling that the palate can be overwhelmed. Both of these beers are astonishing and should be sought out but in the end only one with prevail and for my palate "KBS" is the champion.

Glass- Snifter

 1,756 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite stout,...period. Just finished my second 4-pack (not all today) but, for the year.

Aromas: Awsome. It has it all, malts, coffee, chocolate, cherries, raspberries, raisons, vanilla, caramel. It's basically a desert for the olfactory senses.

Appearance: Thicker, heavier, darker, and better colored than about any stout that I have ever had. It even sounds nicer when poured into a tulip glass.

Taste: Holds up to the aromas and more. One sip tells you that this is going to be a slow and steady drink. High barley and roasted grains without tasting harsh or "gainy". All of the fruits and sweetnesses in the aroma are compounded in the flavor. The sweet malt is quickly followed by fruity tartness and nice bittering from the dark malts and the well disguised hops.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick, and creamy. Coats the mouth incredibly well. Polishes off well without the stickyness associated with most high gravity brews.

Aftertaste: There's the bourbon. Until now, it hides in the background of all the other complexities. The bourbon flavors increase the caramel and vanilla flavors...and the alcohol. warming and lingering. Each sip makes you want to reflect before the next one.

Impression: overwhelming to the modest beer drinker. This one is definately for grown-ups (if not conissours). She's definately a sipper. Should only be enjoyed with good friend, a cozy fire, and hour to spare.

 1,407 characters

Photo of Pizza-Steve
2.72/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

My first impression - Love the 2015 bottles! 14.3%ABV!!!

No head on my pour, so no lacing, just a film of alcohol on the glass, but still nice aroma and BOOZY (not a bad thing)!

However, the sweetness intensity is more than I can handle! Way too heavy on the maple syrup/cherries/molasses, dominate the flavor profile for me, with maybe a hint of vanilla. Not getting any other notes?

Not nearly as balanced as I would have expected from BCBS.

Blood glucose approaching fatal level at 111.1 mmol/L ( 2,000 mg/dl ). Hope I pass out from the booze before I go into a sugar coma!

Take a glass of bourbon, dump in a box of maraschino cherries.
With one hand pour in some Aunt Jemima's and a bottle of molasses with the other.
Dump in a 5lb. bag of Dominos sugar and there you have it - 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout :(

Mad love for the guys at Goose Island for kinda getting the whole Bourbon Barrel thing started, but sorry BCBS freaks... major dissapointment for me!

 978 characters

Photo of TAREUA
1.52/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I got this from a wine/beer shop where the owner said he'd heard good things about this one but hadn't tried it yet. Well, he won't hear anything good from me. I don't remember the last time I didn't finish a beer. Just dreadful bleck. A friend with me shared my opinion.

This beer either represents the Emporers New Clothes of craft beer or there was something wrong with this bottle. It looked a fine dark brown/black. The smell was of molasses, burned things,raw alcohol and more burned molasses. A hint of overheated radiator was one of the better scents. The taste was big and layered, but the waves of burned sugar, gloppy sorghum, alcohol, just kept coming like a string of plague rats jumping into my mouth. I'm not sure of the mouthfeel, as I was too busy thinking of ways to apologize to my tongue.

If you took a Guinness and let it bounce around in your car trunk for a summer spent in the desert, added various burned molasses concoctions and some bourbon you had washed your feet in, you might approximate the flavor. This is the Edsel of beers in my opinion, and I am a huge fan of big stouts.

 1,110 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Charred oak barrel black with a wee glimmer of burnt umber at the bottom edge of the glass. Light simply has no chance. The small, dark caramel colored cap isn't as creamy as expected, nor as sticky. I'm sure the 11.0% ABV has a lot to do with it, but I like a bit more eye candy. This is one serious looking stout, though.

The aroma is outstanding. This is exactly what a stout aged in bourbon barrels ought to smell like. An insane amount of heavily roasted barley greets my nose with every sniff. In addition, there's plenty of dark caramel, dark brown sugar, vanilla and glorious bourbon whiskey. With a bit more power and a bit more aggressiveness, it'd be perfect.

The flavor *is* perfect. Absofreakinlutely perfect! It doesn't hurt that I love bourbon because those 100 days in the barrel were 100 days well and efficiently spent. If bourbon whiskey isn't your thing, then I'd suggest drinking another beer. This one positively oozes that glorious spirit. Unlike some beer of this sub-style, the proportion of stout to whiskey is juuust right.

The flavor profile consists of bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, dark butterscotch, crushed vanilla beans, charred oak, a splash of ouzo and a tendril or two of smoke. The whiskey adds a certain wee heavy character, although there's no peatiness since bourbon is the whiskey of choice rather than Scotch. It's amazing how each sip is better than the last. Where will it end?

I'm a bit surprised at the sweetness, but probably shouldn't be given the gargantuan amount of malt. The mouthfeel is full (without being ponderous), heavily silky, polished gemstone-like and nicely chewy on the back end. Carbonation must be present, though you'd never know it. Perfect score. Again.

I expected one whole helluva lot from Bourbon County Stout. All the more amazing, then, that it blew right past those expectations as if they were sitting still. This remarkable beer is easily the best that I've ever had from Goose Island. It's a true American original and is the perfect marriage of double stout and bourbon. The next time I see BCS, I plan to clear out the store.

 2,116 characters

Photo of Jwburns75
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am a newbie at the bourbon barrel aged stouts having only had KBS prior to tonight. BCBS was an amazing experience though. Not much head to speak of but blacker than the blackest cliche. Smell was strong bourbon with faint vanilla. Very smooth taste though, and this from a non-bourbon guy. I mean, it's there in force don't get me wrong but it's so smooth and delicious. Nice sweetness. 16.9 oz was a perfect serving size. This opened a door for me that I don't see closing.

 484 characters

Photo of jwall76
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This what Gods tears taste like. Amazing.

41 characters

Photo of rabbott2
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage, 14.3% in a bourbon snifter drank out of a bottle 12/4/2015

L - thick, viscous, creamy. Minimal lacing with a minimal tan head

S - bourbon and chocolate with a little burnt toast and oak. It's a powerful boozy smell

T - bourbon is strong along with a nice sweet dark chocolate layer. This is pretty consistent throughout. As it warms, these layers continue among some new players to the game....oak, char, and very nice vanilla notes. The vanilla is surprisingly strong. A little dark fruit and some caramel on the very back end. Bourbon and dark chocolate are among every layer.

F - viscosity galore! This is a nice thick beer that is dangerously drinkable. No booze or heat after a little boozy smell.

Overall - This is an amazing beer. The GI Bourbon County Brand Stout beers are elite. If this beer had no variants and was released with 90% less bottles, I am certain this would be among the top 3 BA beers in the world. This will age well, but due to no heat or booze, this is a fantastic fresh barrel aged beer. Thanks again Goose!

 1,070 characters

Photo of ABhatia
1.78/5  rDev -60.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Probably the most overrated beer I've ever had. Pour is heavy with no head. Taste like stale bourbon and stale beer mixed together and aged in a rotting wooden barrel. It leaves you with a disgusting aftertaste that stays in the throat forever.

 246 characters

Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Man shit. Girl-man shit.

A: As black as it was before the big bang.

T: Booze and vanilla and acidic bitterness from all the blackness and space oddity booze.

M: Perfectly thick, semi-hard to swallow because my mouth likes it so much.

O: Holy Grail ALERT

 257 characters

Photo of Chris912
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Always try to find this because I keep on drinking what I have. Summer, winter...doesn't matter.

2014 Vintage - Drank 7/2015
A- Black as Dracula’s cape, with a light auburn color. Lacing sticks like a Stage Five Clinger and slowly drifts into the glass like an old man into a lukewarm bath. A wonderful sight, the beer lacing that is.
S- If you didn’t know any better, you’d say this was bourbon mixed with vanilla. It smells of roasted malt, booze, chocolate and pure anticipation.
T- Damn good – love it. Keep it comin’ keep it comin’. Vanilla, chocolate; the bourbon is present unlike many of the style.
F- Just thick enough, coats the mouth and remains there. No reason to take a sip for another minute or two, so savor! The heat slithers down ever so warmly, beautiful.
O- Yup! I’ll continue to seek this out, every year, all year, until either I run out of trade bait or my wife hides all our money.

 920 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

From the 500 ml bottle which cost fifteen bucks. Simply no foam at all. I poured into a couple different glasses. Mouthfeel is syrup. Aroma of, I swear, Manischewitz blackberry wine topped off with vodka.

Molasses is the predominate taste with a serious overdose of licorice. I don't taste the alleged Bourbon much. I keep thinking of Sugar Daddy suckers. The caramel taste just lingers. Seems like kind of a sugary alcoholic mess to me, and it doesn't get any better as it warms. I always look for Bourbon barrel flavored brews since my wife always likes to try them, and I think most of them are both tastier and more drinkable than this.

 641 characters

Photo of Apellonious
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2014 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured a dark black with a brief razor thin dark tan head.

S - Boubon, dark fruit, malts.

T - Follows the nose, with added hints of chocolate and vanilla. Caramel, syrup.

M - Velvety, gets sticky as it warms. Enough carbonation to hold it together.

O - Impressive. As good as advertised, even at 8 a 12 oz.

 364 characters

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

This is by far the smoothest best tasting Stout I have ever had. Tastes like a rich chocolaty/coffee desert but not too sweet. This is one that everyone has to try before they die!

 182 characters

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

Bourbon County 2014 turned everything I knew about beer on it's head. A year later, my palate has come a long way and I've been dying to get into another bottle. 2015 is perfection, and luckily I'll have quite a number of them to space out out over the months. Really looking forward to setting aside a 2015 and pairing it with a 2016 next winter. This stout is the standard-bearer for me. I've had a lot of good brews since my first Bourbon County, but nothing has compared. It's beer-heroin.

 499 characters

Photo of Viscousbike
5/5  rDev +11.1%

New favorite beer; and that's coming from an IPA guy. Totally lives up to the hype.

83 characters

Photo of Hab11
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bourbon County Stout 2014 from a 12oz. Bottle. Reviewed with Three Lions.
Look: Molassaes Color, dark like the back of a closet during a power outage. Slight caramel head. Very little lacing but leaves resin up the glass.
Smell: chocolate liqueur nose and can definitely get some of the oak from the barrel. Would love to know the bourbon that was in the barrel as it has a smoothness to it that's appealing. Chocolate Nibs with some sort of plum or date.
Taste: A lot a like a Milkyway Midnight. Vanilla, Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, caramel malt. So much more going on I can even describe. This is packed with flavors. The alcohol definitely comes through. Again would love to know the brand of Bourbon.
Mouthfeel: sticky like a good single malt bourbon or scotch, syrupie but not overly so. It is very creamy mid tongue. Finishes hot like a whiskey.
Overall: Three Lions wasn't lying this is incredible.

 911 characters

Photo of ThreeLions
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed with Hab11.
Picked up this gem to share with my brother in law. Have had multiple times, first time reviewing it. Here goes:
At first pour this beer comes out the color of spent motor oil. Faintest hint of head quickly dissipates leaving a molasses colored beer. Upon swirling the beer leaves a syrupy resinous coating along the sides of the glass.
Aroma: what a smell. The alcohol (at 13.8%) is far from hidden. Intense burn. Dark fruit and wood come through up front with chocolate notes in the background. It is like a rich chocolate liquer.
Taste: Taste is an obvious 5. So rich. Dark chocolate milky way? My god this is rich. I feel like I'm drinking a dessert. A very boozy dessert I might add. The look on my sister's face when she had a sip said it all. So comical. This is an intense beer. It's so heavy, so thick and creamy, so boozy...it's over the top.
Mouth: in general I hate putting numbers to or talking about mouthful but this was an easy 5. From the first sip I knew it was a 5 before any hint of flavor was processed. So thick and perfect.
Overall. What is there to say really? It's a near flawless beer. If you enjoy barrel aged stouts then you need to seek out this brew. If you aren't familiar then this would be a great place to start but beware because setting the standard with this...this benchmark will leave you let down by a large number of other beer claiming to deliver a similar product.

 1,453 characters

Photo of Beer_Doge
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


So bourbon.

Such chocolate.

Much sipper.



64 characters

Photo of SquallLionhart
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vanilla. Molasses. Bourbon. Coffee. Chocolate. Retrieved from the cave (aka basement), 2014 release, 12oz bottle.

L: Black, thick black motor-oil, with a thin almost-orange brown head that bubbles lightly to the surface shortly after pouring.
S: Coffee and chocolate. And vanilla. And more (dark fruit even?). Almost reminds me of the smell of a good pipe tobacco from many years ago. Sweet, complex... It's intoxicating, really.
T: So much going on here. The vanilla/molasses is right up front. Coffee less prominent than it was in the smell. The bourbon-barrel flavor comes through later for me... less chocolate than some of the similar ones. The aftertaste is amazing. Leaves you wanting more. This one is good from start to finish.
F: Thick and sticky. Light on carbonation (I honestly could have had a little more carbonation on this one). High on alcohol. Warms you up as it goes down, but not so hot that it burns.
O: Admittedly, I didn't like this one as much as my cohorts when it first came out. First time I had it was release-day 2014.... in-your-face vanilla and bourbon, with a firey-hot alcohol finish. This one has definitely benefited from having a little 'alone time' downstairs. It's far better now than it was a year ago (IMO of course).

 1,262 characters

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

I had heard of this beer over and over again and I was happy with my BlackOps and Old Raspy Barrel Aged, but wow did they get this beer right. The subtle notes throughout the beer hit your tongue as it tingles from the bourbon barrels. Hints of smoke and wood touch the palate as the beer goes down so very smooth. Thank you Closisinthehouse for the new addiction.

 364 characters

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Pig & Fiddle
L: Brilliant black under a 1” dark tan finely bubbled foam collar.
S: Bourbon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla
T: Big dreamy chocolaty, coffee, bourbon flavors.
F: A very smooth creamy palate that almost has a nitro beer texture without the reduction in flavor.
O: One of the better things done to a bourbon barrel in a long time – all of the flavors are big, but well balanced – nothing is harsh or out off place.

 450 characters

Photo of cokes
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 release. A little over a year in the cellar.

I loved this thing from the get-go. It pours like a malfunctioning printer spewing ink. Jet black. The type of shit you don't want to get on your clothes....at least your nice stuff. The head is more a slumped shoulder of dark tan, as there is no chance for it to gather the vigor to rise very far above the molten body.
Now is where it truly gets special. A literal stampede up the nose. Coffee, fudge, Bourbon (the good stuff too, and high proof, like Wild Turkey Rare Breed, or George T. Stagg), after those three mainstays, its a kaleidoscopic array of fallout from berries (rasp- and blue-, and black-), black cherries, soy sauce, salt, barbecued beef fat, plum, and Pinot Noir.
It marinades the mouth with a briny coffee fudge Bourbon bombshell. It's like espresso mixed with soy sauce, tootsie rolls, barrel-proof Bourbon, prune juice, whole cherries, oak-barreled red wine, leather, and dried pine puree. And those are not suggestions, each one shows up exponentially on any given sip. Give it concentration, and it will morph into any of them and back again.
And that doesn't even touch on it's subtleties, which are too numerous to note, but burnt coconut, over-proof rum (a la boozy dark sugar), bbq beef, hot peppers, hazelnuts, cigar ash, and tar are all featured in bit roles. And yet the surface has merely been superficially scratched.
It's a thick, mouth-brutalizing, basically uncarbonated sludge. It's the closest American example to something like the polarizing Le Coq. Love it or hate it, it's thick, intense, and uncompromising. I happen to love it. It's drinkable only in that a glass will joyfully last the better part of an evening. And another glass will make the next evening every bit as enjoyable.
Haters will say that this is more marinade than beer. I'll say that they are right on, and I'd love to baste my head in this stuff as frequently as possible.
This scores as an experience. Buy a case, even at $5 a bottle, and it will last you indefinitely, as long as you want, or at least as long as you can ration out your hedonism.
As a stout, as a barrel-aged beer, or as something to remember and savor those special occasions with, this is tops, and without a close peer.
It is in every way phenominal.

 2,291 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 11,818 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!