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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,948 | Ratings: 12,138
Photo of jamphanatic
1/5  rDev -77.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Tart, alcoholic, not good at all. A bad batch - there *was* a limited mail in refund program. Sampled with some friends and ended up pouring most of it out. Goose Island is no longer worth the premium or the hype.

 213 characters

Photo of Prince_Casual
1/5  rDev -77.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

After seeing the news of the infection refunds, I decided to check my dates. Two bottles at my apartment were both in the reported bad batches. Chilled them both, and opened one. Terrible, rotted plum notes, sour, tight prickly carbonation. Visually you can tell this is not right even before smelling or considering a sip. Blah. No one would think this is good.

Second bottle, same.

I have 2 more sealed cases in the basement at a nearby parents house which I am planning to retrieve, check dates, and start opening.

Already have my refund form started! A shame because BCBS is one of my favorite beers, and I stock up just to last me until the next release. Backfired big time, this year.

I may be wrong but I think anyone who has bad bottles should be rating this beer 1-1-1-1-1 and driving down the rAvg, no beer with thousands of infected cases distributed nationwide deserves >4.5/"world class."

 910 characters

Photo of GriswoldR3
1.25/5  rDev -72.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

This beer, if you can call it beer, is the absolute worst that I have ever had. Not sure how it receives such a high rating. I am a big fan of strong beers including imperial stouts and ipas but somehow this beer is just too much. Tastes like a blend of stout, red wine and bourbon. Un-drinkable in my opinion.

 310 characters

Photo of plumcrazyfx
1.4/5  rDev -68.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

2008 was great - 2015 is crap and that's what I'm rating - they did a short return window for infected beer so that is the review that sticks.

2008 12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. This is the second time I've had this beer and the last one was a 2009 that I thought was kind of a boozy mess. Either the extra year made a hell of a difference or my tastes have changed (more likely). Wow, this 2008 might be the best beer I've ever had.

Poured as dark as motor oil with nearly no head. Smelled of sweet bourbon and vanilla. The taste was outstanding - heavy on the sweet (but not too sweet) molasses and vanilla with a warming blanket of bourbon, and right at the end I got a hint of chocolate syrup. Heavy mouthfeel but not quite syrupy - perfect for this style. I could have had another but I was content after finishing this beer.

The thing that blew me away about this beer is that I wasn't blown away by the 2009 when I had it. I also had a BORIS (not BA) right before trying this beer. I though that was a great beer and to have this 2008 GI BCBS totally walk all over it really, really surprised me. After having this one I went on a search for both BCBS Rare and more of the 2008.

 1,195 characters

Photo of DesMoinesMike
1.43/5  rDev -68.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5


When I poured this beer I thought it could pass for chocolate, DARK chocolate milk. The aroma was thick, like molasses and caramel and Jim Bean mixed together. The flavor mimmicked the aroma but had a bigger punch to my pallet. IT burned on the way down like liquor.

I have to say this isn't the shittiest tasting beer I've had, but it's up there. Perhaps I should just give up on finding an imperial that I like.

If you want S T R O N G, go for this bad boy.

 485 characters

Photo of MermaidOnTap
1.47/5  rDev -67.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottled: Nov 4th, 2015

Mermaid Notes:
Look: Black as night. Melted dark chocolate in my tulip glass. Coats the side with a motor oil type film. Barely any head.

Smell: O no! Not a good start. Bourbon smell is completely absent. Smells like rotten sour fruit mixed with an athlete's foot soaked sock.

Taste: I cannot lie and say I took more than just one sip of this beer because I physically could not drink it. That one sip made me want to haul. Tastes like a wine gone extremely bad.

Feel: Body is still nice and thick but the flavor ruins any chance of me enjoying the consistency.

Overall: Considering the fact that we've had such bad luck with the 2015 Bourbon County line-up, I was very optimistic that our BCBS's would not be bad as well. We cracked this opened because of all the news floating around that some batches were infected. Unfortunately the rumors are true. The fact that we got all our variants at the same store makes me wonder if all our bottles are drain pours (Please not the rare! Please!!!!!). Just put the remaining regulars in the fridge. Hopefully one out of the bunch is good! Open your bottles now! You have been warned :(
Cheers and stay crafty my friends.
[email protected]

 1,209 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 Calh42
1.62/5  rDev -64%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is over rated, over hyped, and way over priced. I cannot understand the huuuuuge following. I read/skimmed a thousand ratings of this and only found a few that made sense to me. Looks great. Ink black. Poured into a tulip with no head at all. Smelled musty. Taste was overly sweet and I wondered if it was attempting to be a sour gone bad. Compared it to Brer Rabbitt molasses and that wasn't it. Compared it to Sorghum and it was spot on except BCBS is much darker. Felt oily and syrupy. Looked for the strong bourbon flavor and alcohol that are mentioned in so many reviews, but don't find it. I like a good bourbon and this shows none of it. Lingering medicinal taste on the tongue. I'll never recommend this to anyone and I'll never purchase it again. Unfortunately I got caught up in the hype and have two more large bottles. Guess I'll need to "share" them with our beer club or give them away.

 906 characters

Photo of goochpunch
1.63/5  rDev -63.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.25


Ink black body and hardly any head at all. Smell is more bourbon barrel than anything. Lot of vanilla, chocolate, and a weird buttery aroma. The butter is so strong. Kind of soured/rancid. Pros for flavor: roasty malts, chocolate, caramel. Cons: overwhelming barrel, vanilla, butter, soy sauce, sweetness, booze. Mouthfeel is slick and kind of flat. Booze numbs the tongue. I really don't like this at all. It's grossing me out. A fine example of a messy, bourbon barrel-forwarded stout.

 494 characters

Photo of MaineBeerDinner
1.64/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Infected. Can't express the disappointment at all the wait and build up to taste a beer that just tastes disgustingly off with sour taking over the stout. The beer wants so hard to delicious instead it's a drain pour of good money and time in line. AND THE COMPANY DOESN'T CARE. Ruins my love of beer, despicable, won't be drinking any more goose island not even the IPA, with this literal bad taste in my mouth

 411 characters

Photo of metsfansour
1.75/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Pors Jet Black with no lacing in a tulip glass

a bad tasting stout masked with heavy bourbon that kills the palate it is cloyingly sweet I honestly don't see what the hype is about.

 183 characters

Photo of greenengineer
1.76/5  rDev -60.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I like beer, I like Bourbon, I thought I would like this, but was very disappointed.

Very little head, but a nice dark appearance. "Bourbony" tast was overwhelming from the first sip. Cloying, sticky, nasty, like drinking a large glass of bad Bourbon. The Bourbon taste is overwhelming. 12 oz felt like about 10 oz too much. I have three more bottles - anybody want them?

 373 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 RayzTheRoof
1.85/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Beer snobs will say this is the greatest beer ever, but honestly, all I taste is licorice. That is it. That is all there is. It is just really alcoholic licorice. There are no hints of chocolate or vanilla, and the bourbon is virtually non-existent. It really just tastes like licorice. I don't understand how people taste otherwise.

 333 characters

Photo of drumhaggart
1.92/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Black. Minimal coffee-colored head that dissipated rapidly

S - Bourbon. Overwhelmingly bourbon. Nothing but bourbon

T - Bourbon. Strong bourbon

M - Smooth. Carbonation seemed just about right

D - I'm sorry, but I couldn't finish this bottle.

This tastes to me like stout-flavored bourbon. I like bourbon. When I was younger, bourbon was my mixed drink of choice. I do not, however, find this mixture appealing (in any way, shape or form). If you want the same taste (at less cost), just mix Ten High half and half with Guinness.

Apparently a large number of folks find this appealing. I am not one of them.

Edit: In all fairness, this beer had only been in the bottle for 5 months. Another year of aging could have an effect on my opinion, but it is unlikely to make me love this beer. If I wanted bourbon, I would have bought bourbon.

 846 characters

Photo of Rainier
1.95/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.75

Umm, where do I start.

First of all, I know the BCBS train is probably gonna be outside my apartment with pitch forks. After tasting this beer, it's either I got a bad batch, I have abnormal taste buds, or it's just an overhyped beer.

Appearance - looked like normal imperial stouts. No head pretty much.
Smell - bourbon, coffee, vanilla. Ok, it's typical barrel aged stuff.
Taste - Tasted like alcohol straight up. Let it warm up, more alcohol! I get same notes from the smell here.
Mouthfeel - meh, it was very syrupy. it left a foul taste in my mouth
Overall - worst night of my life. I could not sleep. I kept moving around my bed all night long. Very gassy, trying to burp everytime just to get rid out the fowlness.

Sorry guys, this is my first experience on this beer, but sorry BCBS doesn't do it for me. I'm glad.

Edit: December 16, 2013... This is gross. Sorry guys.

 880 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
1.96/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 8/15/08. Bottle, 2007. Pours black with a small dark tan/red head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of bourbon. Flavor of bourbon, alcohol sweetness. I can tell that this is a better bourbon barrel aged beer than a lot of other BBA beers, but I can't actually taste any of the underlying stout. I suppose it's less bourbony than other beers, but it is definitely dominated by the bourbon. And I don't want my beer to taste like bourbon, I want it to taste like beer. Also the 13% makes it extremely difficult to drink. Suffice it to say, I didn't care for this bourbon bomb.
4/3/4/2/10 (2.3/5)

 602 characters

Photo of thgreatrandini
2/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I know everyone else in beerdom loves this brew was a conscious task to finish one bottle and not pour it out. Not one for me, at least not yet.

 161 characters

Photo of ThomasMetal75
2.1/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I wanted to love this beer, I truly did. I guess I am finding out that even though I am a huge stout fan, it seems that I just don't like imperial stouts that much. They to me are way too alcoholic and can become too harsh because of the enormous liquor taste.

A-Pitch black with a tan head that faded quick. Standard imperial stout.
S-Burdon, some vanilla, OAK!
T- HARSH. Most imperial stouts are like this, so I may be bias.
Heavy alcoholic taste. Not what one would want for a beer flavor. Drink liqueur if you want to taste alcohol (that's why I like beer).
M-Typical for an imperial stout, but not my cup of tea. Very carbonated, with a heavy warming feeling. Not beer in feel.
D- I like to drink my beer, but this is no where near drinkable. I don't want a beer that can only be sipped. It's so thick and heavy in alcohol that the drinkability is nowhere to be found.

My expectation according to Goose Island was a velvety, smooth beer, with a rich vanilla and oak taste. Sorry Goose Island, but you are clueless about this beer.

 1,039 characters

Photo of JamesS
2.12/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a very deep black color, although with very little head and almost no lacing. I was very disappointed with this beer, as I expected a stout with some bourbon lacing, not a pint of bourbon with some stout lacing. The scent and taste are nearly all bourbon flavors, so strong that no stout attributes come through. This also causes the whole thing to be very rough. It's not at all balanced. Not a good beer, which is a shame after the other wonderful 'big' beers I've had of Goose Island's.

 495 characters

Photo of amanofbeer
2.14/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served in a snifter glass. It looks like most aged imperial stouts I have had: dark as night, and virtually head-less. Pockets of foam rise to the surface and dissipate, replaced by new ones, as if it is still living. Interesting to watch.

As soon as I popped the cap (not realizing it was a twist off) I got a punch in the face of dark malt, and some bourbon. It honestly does not smell all too different from their Night Stalker stout, which was somewhat disappointing, as I was hoping for more bourbon. The smell consists of your standard caramel, chocolate, and coffee, (not to strong on the coffee however). The malts smell overpowering, and unbalanced.

Not only do I taste next to no bourbon, but it seems unbalanced for an imperial stout. There is a very present sweetness, accompanied by on overly bitter roasted malt flavor that really sticks in the back of the palate. The one redeeming factor in the flavor is the aftertaste. The bitterness dies off, and I finally can experience a slight bourbon lingering.

It has got to be one of, if not THE most, syrupy beer I have ever tasted. I highly regret opening this within 5 months of buying it. While I suppose 13% alcohol creates quite an awe effect, I now feel that this sort of abv does not belong in the category of stouts...(certainly without cellaring)...there are simply too many residual sugars, and the extremely high gravity makes for a poor amount of head, and a thick coating on the mouth and throat. Even clearing the palate before hand with about 12 ounces of water wasn't enough to prevent me from needing water during the drink. It also seemed to inherit what I consider a negative quality of bourbon, which is a burn in the back of the mouth that dissipates as the aftertaste begins.

I started drinking this 15 minutes before I started writing, and I am now only 3/4s of the way done. It's a sipper for sure, and not one I want to spend $6.39 on again any time soon (5 months, at least!!!)

I could imagine this being better on tap, but only if the syrupy-ness is reduced. I am somewhat disappointed that the final gravity couldn't have gotten a bit lower. Aging would Clearly do this beer justice. Cheers, all the same.

 2,198 characters

Photo of erictillson
2.16/5  rDev -52%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I don't think I've ever had a beer taste this bad. It was very thick and tasted kind of rotten. Me and several friends tried this and even amongst the 6 of use we couldn't even finish the bottle. I would stay far far away from this one. The color was very dark and it smelled like a stout and sour mixed together.

 313 characters

Photo of Isoruku
2.17/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.25

Just bought two bottles Bourbon County Stout at the extortionate price of $13 each. And after sampling one of the bottles, I am quite sure that I can swear off Bourbon County forever. Unlike the rest of humanity, I found it unbearably sweet and syrupy tasting (that's the bourbon barrel kicking in I suppose) - way over the top. Undrinkable, in fact. Did I get a bad batch? There is nothing on the Goose Island web site to indicate that I did. Let's assume that it wasn't a "bad" bottle, in which case the bottom line from my perspective is that it's simply awful.

 564 characters

Photo of Foggy_Memories_Beer
2.2/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.25

I must have gotten a bad batch. I doubt they care or will do anything. Mine was infected, tasted sour and had a funk. I sadly paid 20 for this because it was hard to get in my area. Never again.

 194 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
2.2/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a jet black color with no head and lacing.

Bourbon hits your nostrils right away, reminds me of brandy, a little hint of dark chocolate.

Tasted like I was drinkig straight from a brandy bottle. Unfortunately this turned me off and I couldn't get passed that strong brandy like taste. I did get some decent dark chocolate malts after the bourbon like taste went away after awhile.

This was my first RIS and once again I tried to drink this but couldnt so I had to drain pour this.

Drinkability was None for me, bourbon like taste was way to overpowering for me to enjoy this. Hopefully the next RIS I try goes better.

 627 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 12,138 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.