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Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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2,866 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: 2,866 | Ratings: 11,815
Photo of woemad
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz bottle of the 2015 vintage purchased at the Total Wine on the north side of Spokane, WA, for $9.99. I was there for other things, saw they had it for a fairly reasonable price and thought, “Oh, what the hell…” According to the stamp on the back, this was brewed on October 22, 2015. This is my first ever BCBS, by the way. Probably only my 2nd or 3rd Anheuser Busch/InBusch/whatever product of the last several years. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a problem with the way AB-I does business, specifically the crowding out of other products on shelf spaces, but this is a kind of benchmark beer, so I want to try it at least once and judge for myself the hype vs. substance argument that whirls around this beer.

Poured into a River City snifter, this was an extremely dark brown that appeared black as a moonless night. There was briefly a sudsy head that was colored somewhere between dark tan and mocha, but it fled quickly, leaving no lace behind.

Sweet and boozy nose to this, but it’s not smelling like a candy or booze bomb. I get chocolate and bourbon, in sufficient amounts to assuredly dominate but without being cloying, and not a whole lot else at first. As it warms, there’s a little bit of vanilla and something like really restrained toffee. Certainly, there’s no trace of the dark fruit aromas that frequently turn up in a RIS – barrel aged or not. Fairly subtly, restrainedly (no idea if that’s even a word, but spellcheck isn’t freaking out) complex for a big, barrel aged stout without seeming like there’s something crucial missing.

Bourbon and chocolate lead the parade past the tastebuds, wearing a cloak of vanilla and tobacco, with maybe a tiny pinch of smoke. As it warms, the boozy warmth one would expect of a 14.3% beer does begin to creep in, but, to use a word I’m beginning to identify with this beer, it’s very subtle.

Full bodied, with a velvety-smooth, coating mouthfeel. Feels like a dessert!

All the talk of this vintage being infected made me hesitate opening this numerous times, so I wound up sitting on it for something like 9 months. I wonder if that helped it to mellow out. I stumbled across it by chance when I walked into Total Wine to buy something else, so I only allowed myself a purchase of one. I wish now I’d bought two and hit the other one first thing, so I could do a comparison. As it stands now, this is a subtle beer that also manages to be HUGE at the same time. It would make a great dessert or a nightcap, and is in a small enough bottle size a person wouldn’t run the risk of. I’d say the positive notoriety is deserved for this beer. It’s subtle smoothness makes it a world class drinking experience. A lot of people say AB-I can’t brew a good beer. Personally, I stopped believing that a long time ago, their sins are more from being the McDonalds of beer than being incompetent, but this beer is proof that they can brew a beer as good as anyone.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 30 Oct 15. Concerns with the whole "infection" thing evaporated with the first whiff of bourbon-chocolate escaping the glass. Poured jet black with a nice coffee colored head. Smooth is the best word to describe this stout! I am on record as not being a fan of beers "enhanced" by aging in bourbon casks...to me the bourbon taste dominates, and if I wanted to drink bourbon, I've got a nice single-malt I enjoy from time-to-time! But this, this is different, the bourbon is nicely hidden with just the occasional hint appearing. Delicous notes of chocolate and coffee dominate. This is what all stouts aspire to be, but fall far short!

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Photo of FBarber
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I've had this from bottles and on draft and every vintage since 2010, but have never actually reviewed it.
This review is of a 2015 vintage, bottle - 14.3% ABV.

Pours an oily viscous black. Thin mocha colored tan head is momentarily visible before disappearing. A thin tan slick is noted on top of the beer after the head dissipates.

Smell is a pungent musty barrel aroma with strong note sod vanilla in the aroma. Undertones of chocolate, roasted malts, char, bourbon, and generic dark fruit. Strong booze aroma at the end.

Taste is a lovely array of flavors. Lots of bourbon and barrel notes are there up front. Strong vanilla notes from the barrel are also present. Lovely smooth chocolate and roasted malts give way to a char note with some smoky tobacco like notes. This is a bit hot, as there is a slight alcoholic burn on the finish, but its not harsh by any stretch. some molasses like flavors are present and provide a nice mild sweetness.

Mild carbonation - about what you'd expect for a barrel aged beer. Lovely velvety feel on this beer. Nice weight to it - the beer that went into the barrels must have been like syrup.

Overall this is still the gold standard for BA beers. Yea this past year, GI has run into some issues but this bottle was great and its been top notch for years now. I'll continue to look forward to this one each fall.

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Photo of lbloom
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Ultra black. Head was minimal, and dissipated entirely after about ten seconds. Lacing is almost non-existent.

S: Smells like a bag of freshly opened cacao nibs. Some booze and dark fruit. Rich and dark. Sweet and thick.

T:Dark dark chocolate at the start. Cacao nib taste. Bitter and sweet at the same time. Barrel notes kick in, providing vanilla and bourbon notes. Booze is well hidden under the massive layers of chocolate. Rich and wonderful.

M:Thick and viscous. Carbonation is minimal, but the beer fails to be creamy. Adequate, but nothing special.

O: A very good beer. Well balanced and flavorful. Avoids the overpowering barrel notes that many other bourbon-aged stouts have. Would buy again.

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Photo of DraughtJunkie82
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a thick dark black with a dark brown head that dissipates almost immediately.

S: Smells of bourbon, dark chocolate and vanilla.

T: The taste is decadent, rich dark chocolate and vanilla with bourbon rounding it all out.

F: Thick, exactly how a stout should feel.

O: This is one of my top 3 beers. It is everything you could hope for in a stout.

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Beer is black as night with a brown chocolate milk colored head that dissipates almost instantly. Aroma is boozy. Faint but distinct aroma of bourbon. 1st sip, brings a smooth taste of chocolate, coffee, bourbon and a touch of honey! OMFG this is one smooth stout! Leaves a lingering aftertaste of sweetened dark chocolate on the tongue. 14.3% abv, but youd never know it by how smoothly and gently it boes down...nothing harsh about this baby at all! Has a nice, full bodied mouthfeel that's not too heavy. Overall, as close to perfection as humans can come!

Thank You Cos for gifting this to me!

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Photo of Jaypeajus
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Oct 9 2015 1134. After all the concern I wanted to try one of mine near 6 months. It's as it should be, a bit of the bourbon has settled into the dark smoothness. NOT AFFECTED. Otherwise the same expected world class offering. 3 down 3 to go.

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Photo of ChilliHeights
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Love the blackness in the pour and creamy head. This is a great sipping brew our of a glass. Shared with family and we all enjoyed the bourbon flavors. Have had this twice now and look forward to another next winter.

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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]

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

Been drinking these since 2008. Nice used motor oil black, giving off that cherry cola head in a 1/2" depth. Really looks perfect. Aroma hit those big bourbon notes first and foremost without being hot or abrasive. Oak behind it.

Taste bourbon, rich, tad of sweet, lots of chocolate, even wood charred. Easy to drink, thicker consistency mouthfeel wise.

In many ways it is the archtype of bourbon barrel stouts. Price keeps going up per oz, but hey what can you do? Infections don't help scores either, but thus far, the 2 I've drank in '15 were just fine.

Good price per oz, liked the 4 pack format better than 500ml bottles.

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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.

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Photo of Nightmare1972
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black with brown head and lacing, charred smell different notes of bourbon throughout aging, I had fresh and six months later, this is a beer you want to just sit and relax and sip by the fire. Looking forward to trying another bottle after aging for a year.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage bottle into snifter. Pours an oily black with minimal tan head that dissipates quickly. Initial impression is OMG - dark chocolate, coffee, booze, caramel, vanilla...and bourbon. Good stuff. Nice cozy alcohol burn (maybe I shoulda cellared it but frankly I couldn't wait to try it.) Medium-thick mouthfeel. Definitely a sipping beer - at 14.3% ABV this will drop a rhinocerous in its tracks. But it would drop with a smile on its face.
Too bad this is so hard to find. I scored one of the two remaining bottles from the "back room" of my local bottle shop, and that was pure luck.
I've had the "Rare" and prefer it ever so slightly, but it's a close call.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Revised 5/29/16, aged for 6 months.

Look : Pitch black body, very small brown head.

Smell : Vanilla and bourbon mainly. but also some chocolate and coconut.

Taste : Caramel, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon.

Feel : Full bodied, very low carbonation, silky smooth, really warming in the stomach.

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Photo of Diglitt
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is the beer I think we drink the most of in my house. It's actually just a perfect relaxer that isn't Too hard to get, but is also just very good. I think it should be higher on this list.

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Photo of UncleRemo1985
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Looks thick, very dark, nearly pure black.

Smell: Smells delicious. Rich with that underlying tone of bourbon.

Taste: As good as it smells. Tastes like a rich stout with that subtle bourbon flavor without being overly strong.

Feel: Smooth with only slight carbonation. The feel you expect.

Overall: It's a great beer I can't wait to drink again. Not a beer you could sit and drink many of since it is almost 14% haha.

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

About as good a bourbon stout as I've ever had. Bottled 11/7/12, drank in May, 2016 (3.5 yrs).

Look: thick, opaque, looks like melted dark chocolate. Pours like... I don't know. It looks thicker than it is. It sticks to the glass when I swirled it around. Could have a little more head in addition to the thin lace around the edge.

Smell: incredible. As it warmed it opened a little more, and rich mocha, dark stone fruit, and bourbon came forward. But not over bourbonized.

Taste: spot on for this style.

Feel: smooth, slight carbonation. About what you'd expect.

Overall: The only reason it isn't a 100 for me is the head. I want another bottle.

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Photo of Roelleke1986123inkijk
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got this bad boy.
What an amazing beer this is, holy moly!
Very much bourbon on this one.
One of the best stouts i've had so far.
Def a world class beer!

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was definitely not infected. I've had it stored in my cellar since they day I got it from the store.
The smell and appearance we typical for barrel stouts, but the flavor and mouthfeel were exceptional. This was a really smooth beer with great vanilla, and smoke flavors.
I wish I aged it longer but didn't want to risk it.

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

Bottle Date: 10/12/15
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Appearance is brown-black that doesn't let any light past 1/4 inch. Not much carbonation, either.

Smell is coffee and dark chocolate. Some sweet barley. It's a bit metallic, too.

Taste is coffee, molasses, and floralness. Rum raisin cake, too. Sweetness doesn't hit right away, but it's more of a feeling after a few seconds. I don't get a bunch of different flavors, but what's there is pretty strong.

Feel is moderately carbonated with a swish around the mouth. It's moderately thick for a stout.

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Photo of MusicBeer_1961
4.92/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This beer is fantastic for many reasons..

At the forefront is how smooth and drinkable it is..and at 14.3 ABV, that is dangerous. It might be the smoothest bourbon barrel aged stout I've ever had- and that includes KBS, SMS etc etc (and I love those beers too)..

The beer I'm sipping on is wonderfully not infected- 11/04/14, 0927, 14.3 ABV..

This beer is silky smooth perfection..


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Photo of Flickerdart
3.59/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review is of Oct 2015 bottle (8 months old). Poured into a wine glass, shamefully lacking a snifter.

Pour is black and opaque, with a small amount of espresso-coloured head that quickly dissipates. It looks like black coffee. Smells very different, though - raisins and rum dominate, with a backdrop of sweet malt.

Taste is incredibly sweet! You can definitely feel the heat of the alcohol in the aftertaste. The recommendation to age this beer for 5 years should have been worded like a requirement - but unless you age it, the sugars are far too predominant.

Carbonation is low, and the body is almost chewy and syrup-like.

Overall, I really wish I had aged this more. It has the beginnings of wonderful complexity.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.96/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black pour absolutely no head on an aggressive pour. Smells beautiful. Milk chocolate, bourbon, cherries, strong alcohol. Taste is milk chocolate up front with a mix of dark chocolate and hop bitterness and coffee next. Softer presence of the bourbon until the finish. Finish is bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth, and not under carbonated, yet slick. Warming as you sip. This is a fav.

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Photo of d3brewing
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rating 2016. A very good beer, love the taste, burbon and base beer is evenly balanced even when drank frwsh. My biggest issue was the mouthfeel. After the bcbs we busted out a BASS and it wasn't even close.

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Photo of anteatr23
3.81/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 Bourbon Country Bran Stout. Opened six months after release. Pours jet black, with little-to-no head. Aroma is strong of bourbon and booze... apple. Taste is initially a blast of dark chocolate, semi-sweet with plenty of bourbon and caramel following up. Some burn from the bourbon and general booziness of the beer itself. It's not overpowering, but it's certainly there. Overall, nice to finally try one of these guys. Didn't quite live up to the hype, but I've got a few more to try after aging. I'd still snag some on Black Friday as long as I didn't have to try too hard.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 11,815 ratings.
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