Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,943 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: 2,943 | Ratings: 12,110
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of xhcadamx
2.24/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Very Black and oily poured with absolutely no head. I think I saw one carbonation bubble.

S - bourbon, char, bourbon, molasses, tobacco, and bourbon

T - Tastes exactly like it smells.

M - This beer was very slick and creamy. No carbonation whatsoever.

D - I had to choke this one down. There is no way I could have more than one of these

Overall I wasn't impressed with this beer at all. I love RIS and enjoy bourbon. This just missed the mark.

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Photo of jodybrutal
2.24/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

L: Pitch black pour with very little head.

S: Smells of straight Bourbon whiskey and not much else.

T: Sickeningly sweet dark chocolate, anise, soy sauce and Bourbon.

M: Slick and sticky and just way too hot for me.

O: I know people swear by this stuff, but it's just not for me. I somehow managed to finish 3/4 of the 12 ounces before it met the drain. Honestly it was just awful, and the most regrettable 9 dollars I've ever spent on beer. A can of Ten Fidy with a shot of Jägermeister would have been much more enjoyable and probably less expensive.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
2.29/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2007 13% ABV
[Bottled on 10/12/2007 - Poured on 11/29/2007]

Pours a deep black, looks thick coming out of the bottle. No head at all, just a few brown bubbles clinging to the side of the snifter. Looks similar to a glass of used motor oil.

Initial aroma is a blast of dark molasses. Later I pick up more molasses with hints of oak. I took a sniff from a bottle of Wellers just to make sure I wasn't missing any bourbon aromas...I'm not.

Initial taste is also dominated by molasses and a pronounced alcohol burn. As it warms the beer actually mellows out a little with touches of oak tannin and smoke. Mouth feel is thick, but thanks to the alcohol, not that smooth.

Overall, I'm struggling with this beer. I expected so much more. Perhaps some time in the cellar will help mellow this beast out a bit...

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Photo of mikul93
2.3/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2


A Poured like motor oil. Black as night with no head whatsoever.

S Bourbon, bourbon and bourbon. Slight chocolate but I'm not getting much else.

T Bourbon, bourbon and bourbon. This was not very well balanced. I know it's called "Bourbon County", but there is not much else going on here. Some bitter chocolate flavor.

M Very thick beer but nice carbonation.

O I really really wanted to like this on account that I have a rare that I still need to pop open, but it was really hard for me to enjoy this. The Bourbon flavor was just to much for me. Probably needed to cellar it for another year or two.

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Photo of biglite351
2.34/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - pitch black which was nice but two glasses drew no head at all.

S - whisky, whisky and maybe a little whisky.

T - has more actual stout like flavor than most other bourbon barrel brews that I have tried in the past. There seems to be a little fruity flavor coming through, almost like raisins. Bourbon hit on the top of the mouth.

M - mild coating. Alcohol burn in throat. After a few drinks the front sides of the tongue get a numb tingle.

D - I do not care for hard alcohol so I would not be drinking this.

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Photo of unclederby
2.34/5  rDev -48%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

this things a few months old now...
pours out black as a starless night and capped by a 1/2 inch tan head which doesn't hang around long.

smell is sweet and alcoholic and noticeably "burnt". also, i'm getting traces of molasses, soy sauce, wood, and plums. it's not a totally pleasant bouquet but i can work with it.

this brew is still very hot, as i'm getting a lot of alcohol right up front. i suppose it's bourbon but it comes off as rum-like, specifically captain morgan's (it's kinda spicy). it's all alcohol and licorice (anise). there is some sweetness up front but man it really finishes up with a healthy dose of burnt, smoky bitterness.

did they age this in barrels that had survived a fire? on that note, i don't know what charred wood tastes like but i think it might taste like this beer. it certainly doesn't lack for subtlety...

there's just something here that's not well integrated.

the mouthfeel - if you can let this odd almalgam of flavors linger for awhile - is thick, oily and viscous and leaves nothing to desire for the style.

ugh, i just got another whiff of this and it reminded me of a urinal, i kid you effing not.

drinkability? i'm forcing myself to finish this thing.

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Photo of darleys
2.35/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The aroma of alcohol/whiskey was dominant. Taste was overwhelmed by flavor of bourbon/alcohol. I am a big fan of bourbon, but this did not work for me in this beer. While the flavors of a stout were present, I felt that they were overwhelmed by the bourbon/alcohol taste. I just kept thinking "diesel fuel" the whole time I drank the beer.

**Readers Note - I drank this simultaneously with an Expedition Stout, which may have tainted my review.

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Photo of Ummagum
2.36/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2007 vintage in a 12 oz bottle. Poured black with a small brownish head. Left a small collar around the glass. Overwhelmed by the bourbon smell and taste. I did not enjoy this beer. I have enjoyed other beers by this brewer, but this one did not impress me.

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Photo of PEBKAC
2.41/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Bottled: 10/11/07

Last bottle in this Top 100 BIF box received from kmpitz2. I've been dreading this one for a bit(just not my style). My reviews were due in about a month ago, but Kevin has assured me I would still receive partial credit & be able to go on the senior trip come the end of the semester. Yay! :D

Into a Unibroue tulip this one goes. Nice & slow. The beer oozes out & collects quietly with just a whimper of activity right around the edge of the glass. A second pour to top it off yields a mushy bowl of Coco Crisps, but it doesn't last long. Black & boring, with hints of amber right at the rim.

Big eye-watering scents of charcoal, liquorice, cocoa powder, caramelized onions, teriyaki & bbq sauces. Your can almost smell some crispy pork fat sizzling somewhere in there too. The alcohol hides behind everything, but doesn't come at you raw. The fumes though, however salivating, give me quite a headache.

Moving on...

Heavy espresso flavor, charred marshmallows, bitter chocolate, wood, tobacco smoke, & hard on with the whiskey & leather shoes. Oh man, I can't do, I just can't. I'm such a puss. ... The body is completely flat & feels like light cream going down(& I can dig that). The whiskey, the wood, & the intense tannins just kill me though. Close to four ounces in & I need some air in the worst way. I have such a headache.

However good, however bad, it's just too much for a twelve ounce serving. The flavors are there, but the barrel flavors are just so concentrated & overdone, that it's way too much for me to sincerely enjoy. Maybe if it came in a two ounce nip aged half as long? Maybe some soft serve on the side?

This review took almost an hour in the making, & boy did I try. Quarter ounce sip after half lung whiff, I tried. It made me realize just how insane some of you out there really are. :P

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Photo of Trappissed
2.42/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

If you like your beer like your soy sauce, then this is the stout for you. It definitely smells better than it tastes. A very unique smell. The aroma does give off a slight bourbon, almost liqueur-like quality. I wanted to taste the bourbon, but all I was getting was soy sauce. A couple of friends who tried it agreed as well. It would certainly be great to cook with. Even sipping it, I just could not appreciate the "complex" flavors.

The mouthfeel was decent, not overwhelmingly thick or oily. Drinkability was low on the scale, even taking into account the high abv %. Couldn't taste much alcohol actually, just sweet- pungent-acidic-vinegary-soy sauce. There were mild bourbon notes to be fair. This review probably won't go over very well, but it is my honest opinion. This is my first bourbon barrel-aged stout, but I have tried a few imperial stouts. I also should say that I do enjoy bourbon, so this is not a biased review.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.43/5  rDev -46%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Not my cup of tea (stupid bourbon ruining a great beer) but I must admit that this would be a wonderful beer if I liked bourbon even if I disagree with the style.

Appearance: Pours the darkest shade of brown possibly with no head and then suddenly loads of dark brown froth explodes. A healthy lace swirls like a hurricane and an 1/8 inch ring coats the glass.

Aroma: Bourbon, molasses, coconut, rum, caramel, and white sugar.

Taste: Mostly bourbon with touches of vanilla and cocoa. Maybe some coffee but mostly just bourbon and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, thick, chewy, and boozey.

Drinkability: Very low for me. Frankly, I find it drain pour worthy.

$5 a piece...ridiculous. There are better bourbon barrel stouts for 1/4 to 1/5 that cost coming out of shacks in the northern woods.

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Photo of zumicroom
2.45/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 1

2010 batch, poured in a duvel tulip

being a lover of imperial stouts and having read about this beer for going on 2 years now, i was excited enough to see it in my local shop to ignore the $22/4pk price and pick some up.

i also knew going in that i was probably going to hate the first bottle and would have to age the other 3 for at least a year before trying again.

that is exactly what happened. fresh, this beer is a big, hot, bourbon-y mess. it is like someone spilled quite a lot of bourbon into my delicious imperial stout. now i don't hate bourbon. i will drink it on occasion. i just don't love it either.

a splash of bourbon would be wonderful; subtle, hinting on the nose and the finish. the amount here overwhelms. i literally had to cover my glass with a coaster while not drinking because it smelled like a bourbon spill in the living room. i drank maybe 1/3 of the bottle over 2 hours and eventually gave up and poured $4 worth of beer down the drain.

anyway: the beer is quite nice to look at, black with dark tan head, but it isn't really any nicer than any of the
other impy stouts i've tasted.

the smell is like a glass of bourbon in front of you and they guy next to you has a glass of really roasty stout. powerfully boozy and frankly unpleasant.

the taste was 7/10 awful and 3/10 delicious. i had some 2010 night stalker the night before and was amazed that an 11.7% beer hid it's alcohol so well. this was the same in some ways but also quite different. the actual alcohol was not very present, it warmed a bit but did not burn like one would expect from a 13% beer. on the other hand, the main flavor of this beer is bourbon and tastes very alcoholic. it sort of has the taste of alcohol without the feel of alcohol. i clearly don't really know how to explain it. once the booze hit passes, a delicious roasty, almost chocolatey undertone shines through before being swallowed up by the still bourbon-y aftertaste.

i can see what this beer wants to be, what it can and will be with some years on it. there is an amazing stout underneath all of that over-the-top bourbon character. is it so wrong to want my beer to taste of beer and my liquor to taste of liquor?

the mouthfeel is exactly what i want from an imperial stout, viscous and coating, oily and velvety. spot on.

as for drinkability, well, this drinks like viscous, velvety bourbon. it doesn't go down easy and you wouldn't expect it to or probably want it to.

so there it is. my slanderous review of a top 25 beer. gotta go big for that first one, right?

this was a weird beer for me. i wanted to love it, i still want to love it, i still may well love it. but we are not right for each other yet, we both need to mature a bit. she needs to calm down and i need to loosen up. we have agreed to try again in a year and see where that takes us.

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Photo of Brewsephus
2.48/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A- aggressively poured into glass yields half-inch mocha colored head which dissipates within 30 seconds leaving no lacing on glass. Beer is black and totally opaque.

S- Vanilla, wow, vanilla, hot chocolate, scotch with lots of toasted peat, dark plum, prune.

T-Fantastic amounts of bourbon on the front of the tongue, lots of chocolate, milk chocolate flavor, oak comes through on the finish. The flavor is very intense. Lots of vanilla, like someone poured vanilla extract into it. The alcohol isn't present at first but borders on burning on the finish. Hot alcohol lingers in the back of your throat.

M- syrup. very viscous, little carbonation. no effervescence. full bodied to say the least.

O- If you could make this into a candle it would be magnificent. As a beer it is very poor. It does one thing, and it takes it overboard. I had really high hopes for this beer but it is so out of balance it's nauseating. There is so much wood and bourbon in this beer, it's impossible to enjoy the base malt or roast. I will not buy this again, or recommend it to anyone. In fact, i'm amazed at it's BA rating. It does one thing really well, too well in fact, does it make it deserving of such a high rating? I'm not qualified to answer that question.

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Photo of TexIndy
2.51/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Got in a trade from johnnnniee - many thanks! This is the 2007 edition and was bottled in Oct so has some age on it. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. It was pitch black even against a light. Even with a hard pour at the end, there no head - just a thin layer of tans bubbles that didn't even cover the surface area. There ended up being a small carb fountain in the center but not enough to create any sizable foam. No lacing at all. All due to the high ABV.

The aroma was bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon with a little vanilla and caramel in the very back. I hate bourbon smell in beers. If I want a bourbon, I'll drink bourbon not beer. The taste followed the aroma. I just don't get this fad. Why fuck up a good beer with bourbon aging.

Overall, the definition of one and done. I'll mark off my list and never speak of this one again.

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Photo of Itoclown
2.53/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Purchased at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Drank on the night of the BCS National Championship.

Look: Pours with no head or carbonation whatsoever... When finished pouring, a little reddish/brown head forms and quickly disappears.
Smell: Very strong... Could feel it singeing my nose with the alcohol. Very complex.
Taste: Has to be the thickest beer I've ever had. The first sip is the best. After that, it's all downhill. It's complex. But because of the alcohol and harshness... Nothing sticks out. Felt myself gagging the more I drank.
Mouthfeel: Comfortable on the tongue and then leaves a singeing feeling on your tongue with a lot of coffee taste. Also, cakes your mouth like drinking cough syrup.
Overall: OK. I am a little harsh on this review for such a highly rated beer. I had some high expectations for this beer... I was expecting something a lot smoother and easier on the palate.(This may have done me in) BUT I was wrong... It tasted like a lesser %ABV Sam Adams Utopia. BCS was waaay too overwhelming. Too heavy for my tastes. I've never had a beer that made the hair on my arms stand up until I had this beer. Finally in the end... It became a drain pour and I must say I will not try this again. That being said, Goose Island is one of my favorite breweries in the world. I can't recommend this but I highly recommend their other beers.

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Photo of IRONRakkasan
2.64/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Looks and pours like molasses with a minimal head that stayed throughout.

The smell was a salty sour yeast malt mixture.

I was expecting a strong brew, but the taste of sweet n' sour burnt coffee was not so pleasant. At least the alcohol content was well hidden in the thick liquid.

I can honestly say I did not like the aftertaste at all.

I as hoping to like this brew much more...oh well.

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Photo of deebo
2.7/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A-Black as night with a tan foam that hangs on
S-Lots of complex aromas-strongest is bourbon, with some vanilla, and some alcohol sting
T-Too heavy on the bourbon/alcohol notes, makes this extremely difficult than give it much more than a sip. Chocolate is noted. A vapor like ethanol bite is also very present.
M-Extremely viscous, mouthfeel is very heavy, a touch slimy/oily
D-Obviously a sipper
O-Too much like a whiskey and not enough like an Imperial stout. I prefer Founders version. It seems like you have to be a whiskey drinker to really appreciate this one.

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Photo of tigg924
2.71/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: minimal head, black in color, opaque

Smell: big oak, whiskey, molasses, some toasted malt

Taste: big oak, whiskey, molasses, chocolate, cookie dough

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: This one is not my cup of tea, although it is certainly worth trying. I think that the oak taste overpowers the stout. The actual chocolate cookie part of the stout I like. If this was a bit less oaky, I would get this again, but for my taste the flavors did not blend as well as I would have hoped.

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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!

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Photo of anneseg
2.75/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reading all of these other reviews I suspect that I got a bad bottle or something. It was essentially impossible to get a head on the beer during the pour. The overwhelming smell was of bourbon. The taste was also dominated by bourbon and a hot alcohol taste. There was some peat flavor but it was difficult to taste.

Overall not impressed but would be open to trying again since I usually have good experiences with Goose Island.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,110 ratings.
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