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

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Reviews: 2,948 | Ratings: 12,138
Photo of kdb150
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured half from a 12 oz. bottle of 2012 BCBS into my stout glass at ~65 degrees, and recapped the bottle to finish tomorrow. UPDATE - editing my review from the other half, because my stout glass may have been a bit dirty. Better appearance and smell this time pouring into a tulip; the glass selection definitely made a difference.

A - Pours a blackish-brown with a small brown head, which dissipates to a ring that sticks around. Held up to light and viewed at an angle, brownish hues are seen around the edges of what is otherwise a midnight black beer. No lacing to speak of

S - Bourbon and booze are big in the nose. This is not at all surprising given the name and the enormity of this beer, and there is some toasty malts and pretty big sweetness detectable underneath.

T - Bourbon is up front but not dominant. Big sweet vanilla and moderate roastiness follow, with no alcohol detectable. Wood is also there in the background the whole time. The whole thing melds together very well, and the way it hides the alcohol is remarkable. The roasty dark malts come through towards the finish, and they do so very pleasantly. Towards the end of my pour, I think my palate became acclimated to the sweetness, and the booze became noticeable, but this is nevertheless a very, very delicious beer.

M - Thick, but not syrupy, which keeps the sweetness from being cloying. Perfect for both the style and size, and the carb stuck around throughout. At no point does this become overwhelming or too thick. Great feel.

O - This is a very impressive beer. To be able to make a bourbon barrel aged beer this young and this big which is this drinkable is a real achievement. I maintain that sticking to 6 ounces at a time is recommended, simply to avoid the affects of too much 15% ABV beer, but this does not fatigue or overwhelm the palate the way many giant beers do when young.

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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.

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Photo of Kgoldsbe
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Before it opens up the overwhelming taste is chocolate after some time in the glass the taste is much more complex with many aspects of the bourbon barrels. There is a maple roasted nut aspect to this stout as well. The feel is thick, rich and chewy. This beer is very hedonistic!

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Photo of mikeys01
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inky black as night, with a modest but slightly imposing looking shoe polish brown head that slowly dwindles down to a rich rim around the glass. Aroma is a heady and befuddling mix of fermenting dark fruit, roasted nuts, bourbon and a woody weirdness. Certainly not what I expected, but very intriguing. Taste is a mature blend of bourbon and roasted malt, chocolatey and rich, loaded with complexity. Rotting dates and plums struggle against the bourbon infused tide to make their presence known, amongst the heat of the bourbon and the many layers of malty goodness. Chocolate mingles with hazelnut and molasses, with more heat and sweetness building in the finish. Woody flavor and traces of vanilla are prominent in the finish as well. This is one heavy hitter of an imperial stout, and a bold effort. Thanks to MJR for this black beauty.

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Photo of theformula
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer #44 in my 366 Days of Beer Quest, tasted on 2/13. HUGE thanks to ScoobyDank for the extra. That's right, extra!

A: Pours a body that's pitch black into a tulip glass. w/ a 2 finger espresso crema colored head. Opaque body; head lacks retention as expected, not much lacing.

S: Outstanding. This oak-aged RIS has the most pronounced bourbon character of any I've had by FAR. Awesome vanilla & charred oak along w/ the toffee-bourbon note. Alcohol is present but well integrated into the bourbon laced body. Dark chocolate & molasses malts give it a solid background. Great balance but the bourbon really stand out in this one.

M: Med. -full body, low carbonation. Extremely silky smooth, a bit oily. Nice.

T: The malts are very rich w/ an ample sweetness of molasses & toffee w/ dark chocolate becoming stronger as it warms. Vague fruits as well (plum, prune?) & black licorice. Then comes the charred oak & bourbon w/ vanilla, and the boozy bourbon hits the back of the throat w/ a nice, sharp punch. Warming. Finishes a bit smokey w/ wood.

D: An incredibly tasty barrel-aged RIS, this really is world class. It makes a great nightcap & the 13% ABV sneaks up on you but it's well hidden. Big, sweet & full of awesome oak & bourbon. I'd take this over a single malt scotch any day. Be careful though, and if you don't like smoke & bourbon, don't drink this one. Leave it for me.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from 2008

I poured this baby fairly aggressively into a pint glass in hopes of some substantial head. No dice! I got a thin layer of dark molasses colored head atop a pitch blach fluid. Almost no light gets through this bad boy. A teensy bit can be seen at the very edges. A thin ring of lacing persists most of the way down the glass as I drink. With a slight tilt of the glass, you can see, the beer definitely "has legs".

I poured the glass about a foot from my nose, however, I easily had a whiff of the powerful bourbon aroma. Upon closer sniffing, I can ascertain the smell as a somewhat dry bourbon smell with hints of toasted malts, sweet molasses, and cinammon.

A sip reveals a massive palette of bourbon chocolate candy! Holy cow!! It has been a while since I last had this. By nights end I may end up raiding my stash of yesteryear GIBCS... but I digress. Man, that is a big flavor. The alcohol is very present but not overbearing. It has a nice warming quality for these cold nights. Bourbon is definitely at the forefront, but I wouldn't say the beer is unbalanced, just boozy.

Drinkability....hmmmm....Ask yourself, do you like fizzy yellow beer even in winter? If yes, this may not be for you. This beer isn't messing around. For the "full-flavor" types out there, it is certainly drinkable!

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Photo of don1481
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours about as close to pitch black as you can get. Dark brown head quickly dissipates. This is about the color of my soul.

Smell: Chocoate, vanilla, and bourbon hit the nose right away, with some coffee hints. Smells complexly blissful.

Taste: WOW. It's like when Bruce Willis was dead at the end of Sixth Sense. Chocolate! Molasses! Caramel! Coffee! This is what I picture when I envision the embodiment of a stout. Obviously there is a hint of booziness, but it is VERY subdued and well-mixed with the other tastes. Simply spectacular.

Mouthfeel: This is some smooth stuff! Creamy, with a little viscosity to it, but it definitely doesn't leave any sort of a bad aftertaste. Very clean.

Overall: If I could buy out next year's supply of this, I would. Unreal.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is so delicious but so unique I have trouble comparing it to the 30+ other stouts I've reviewed. It pours very dark and the aromatics smelled wonderful -- raisin, fig, seem to dominate. Between the unique taste and the high ABV, it seems like this beer blurs the line with barleywine. I can finally take it off my "want" list!

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black beer with very little head.

Bourbon aroma does not dominate but it's clearly there. There are also chocolate and some black licorice scents.

Tastes rich but not overly so. Deep, dark malt flavors glazed over with the bourbon. The bourbon accents the stout and does not overwhelm the rich, dark chocolate flavors.

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Photo of MDHopster
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as coal, smooth as silk, sweet aroma of bourbon, vanilla, coffee, malt, tastes mingle aroma with chocolate and caramel. Slight alcohol burn with lingering bourbon aftertastes. Local store restricting to single bottle sales, limited supply arrived. That's the real downside. Alcohol content lower in 2014 at 13.8%.

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Photo of mmcave
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Originally had straight from the cask, at the brewery this summer. Purchased this four pack of 12 oz bottles at Sam's. Poured into a nonic, a tan brown head developed and lingers a centimeter thick on surface of the body. I assume that my pour was at fault for that. The body is a dark coffee black brown color. Smells of intense sweet licorice, and raisons. The taste is very rich and sweet, not milky thick, but definitely substantial. Lots of sweet malts licorice not so much bourbon, like I'd hoped, but some seriousness all the same (its very strong). This is a very interesting beer, its more of a special occasion beer. I would not drink more than one in a session. It is well worth a try and well worth having around for special occasions.

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Photo of fropones
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice black with no light around the edges and minimal mocha head.

S - Woo, just as expected, a beer who's first word in the name is bourbon, reaks of bourbon (in a great way). Some caramel, vanilla, oak, molasses, and just a hint of soy sauce.

T - More of that delicious bourbon flavor with some unsweetened chocolate, chocolate covered espresso beans, smoke, oak, and a good amount of sweetness. Almost no hops detectable, but that's quite alright.

M - Big bodied, slick and mouth coating, chewy, smooth carbonation. Creamy.

D - Drink very well for 13 %. Alcohol has a nice warming effect to it. Delicious.

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

Bottle date: 11/12/09. A single 12oz bottle poured into an oversized tulip glass.

A- Pours a very dark caramel brown hue, sits black in glass. A faint mocha filmy head forms then quickly disappears.

S- Bam, one whiff is intense. Like a chocolate and bourbon liquor. Smooth like bailey's. Sweet, strong, some oak. Very appealing.

T- Wow, lots of woodsy bourbon & chocolate upfront that slowly fades to melted toffee and smooth creamy caramel that ends with a faint nuttiness. Very complex. Rich and decadent. The flavors really pull through every sip.

M- Big bodied and round. Velvety smooth feel that is pretty coating. Lingers well and isn't overpowering. Light alcohol feel for 13% and how bourbony it tastes/ smells. Not overbearing on palate at all. Well constrained.

O- A fantastic beer. Really been looking forward to this and it lived up to expectations. Very easy to drink. Will be buying this regularly when I can.

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Photo of ThirstyHerf
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from Blind BIF # 6
Shared again with Chaseabeer. 12 oz bottle poured into two snifters. By the shape of the bottle & previous two I assume (once again) I know what this beer is. BCBS

A Rich, dark, black with beautiful chocolate brown head. Big legs on this beer. Head retention is perfect and fades to a nice coating on top of the beer, like a little blanket. 5

S This is definitely Bourbon County. You cannot confuse BCBS with any other beer. The smells of bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, chocolate, maple syrup, alcohol and the smell of a 1000 virgins lying in wait. 5

T - Ok, we have an older vintage. This has mellowed out quite a bit and is not as hot as fresh BCBS, all smells are transferred onto the palate (trying to remember how else it was described). Chase is guessing this is an '07, but i believe it to be the '08. 5

M - This is extremely think and rich. I am missing the heat that i enjoy from this beer but it is still holding together extremely well. 4.5

O This beer, as always (still guessing BCBS) is so damn delicious! Every time the glass touches my lips it is love being sloshed into mouth. 5

The reveal: Nailed it! '08 BCBS. Thanks Alewatcher! I have a couple of these hanging around and was starting to wonder how they were aging. This was delicious!

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Photo of smalenberg
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle to standard pint

A - Oh the tempting vision of foamy used motor oil. Very, very, thick. Clings to the glass like a liquor. Deep toffee colored foam ring persists throughout.

S - Holy bourbon batman. Woody, smoky char of the barrel with the sweet bourbon character. Alcohol largely masks the subtleties of the malty grain character, but it is there if you are patient. And since this is a sipper, you'll have time.

T - Big malty sweetness with significant bourbon character. Very complex, but great fun to decompose as you enjoy. Some smoke, some woodiness, some tannins and lots of dark fruit (black cherry), sometimes reminiscent of black licorice, but only very late.

M - Thick and stouty, tingling alcohol. A beer you can really chew. You want to let each sip linger on your tongue. A beer that feels good to drink. Drying quality late.

O - This is a great beer that lives up to the hype. I had to wait in line to get ONE at my local specialty shop on the day it was released and I cellar-ed it for several months before enjoying it.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 vintage
~6 months since bottling date

Appearance- Pours a black color, opaque, viscous. Fine layer of mocha colored head. Tons of alcohol legs, coats glass like a sticky film.

Aroma- Charred spicy oak, bourbon. Milk chocolates, caramel, vanilla, smoky roasted malt. Some almond / macadamia nuttiness, coconut, and some alcohol heat.

Taste- Chocolates, caramel sweetness, toffees, vanilla cream, coconut. Dark fruits, chocolate covered cherries, almond nuttiness. Charred oak and bourbon, rich roasted malt, leather, tobacco, smoky earthiness.

Feel- Full bodied feel, creamy and thick, smooth and silky. Lower carbonation.

Overall- Barrel characteristics and bourbon flavor really highlight this beer, and accentuate the beer by adding such complex and nuanced flavors underneath a wonderful rich creaminess and roastiness. Truly one of the best.

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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 STEG
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color into a Portsmouth brewery snifter 1 finger coffee head rises quickly then dissaptes into a thin collar of fine bubbles. Nose is full of bourbon, no more no less its a bit overbearing, there could be undertones of some spice and fig but bourbon is very very dominant. Taste is bourbon, coffee and some chocolate interwoven. Mouthfeel is oily sticky and viscous. Makes having a few of these difficult when you add in the ABV, although it is well hidden

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Photo of JoeMayo
3.77/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

A- Pours pitch black with almost no head. Very viscous

S- Tons of vanilla and bourbon. Dark malt and a little alcohol on the nose as well.

T- After taking each sip, I was immediately impressed and then just as quickly, thoroughly disappointed. It was a weird sensation with every sip. Vanilla, bourbon, dark malt, caramel, and a slight smokiness hit my palate very quickly, but these flavors were immediately followed by very hot alcohol, resembling gin more than bourbon. It completely ruined the complexity of the beer. This beer was one year old, but I think needs at least another year or two.

M- Thick and syrupy, although hot with alcohol.

D- Smooth, but the hotness makes it a little harder to drink

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 23 November 2010. Bottled in 2009, but bottling date was left off of this specific bottle. Weird.

Poured into a Sierra Nevada XXX Snifter. The first time I've tasted this beer was NYE '09/'10 in Chicago and on top. The taste and aroma of this beer stuck with me all this time, and I'm super-pumped to try it again. I think bourbon-aged beers are one of my top 3 favorite styles.

Temperature of the beer is 50ºF out of my wine fridge....used for beer =). Poured aggressively for a 1-finger head, dissipating to nothing....has runny lacing, but I won't bash this one too bad, as low carbonation is desired for high ABV age-worthy beers. Beer pours black, head is beige-brown, and aroma blasts the nose with bourbon, hot alcohol, and chocolate. After swirling, the alcohol gets even hotter on the nose, and a touch of molasses comes out to say hiii.

Taste. If you like chocolate, you'll LOVE this beer. Loaded with chocolate. The bourbon is wonderful, and the alcohol is very hot. Also tasting maple. These are the only ingredients I can find, but I emphasize that the chocolate is what ties the whole room of flavors together. I haven't read other reviews of this beer yet, but I would hope that others have noticed the chocolate is most prominent in this beer. I have a 4-pack of 2009 BCS gathering dust. Be back in 10 years.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - rich, dark, oil as it pours. Very thin caramel colored head.

Smell - BOURBON!!! Some chocolate and licorice as well. Quite complex

Taste - WOW is this one rich and delicious. Chocolate and a strong Bourbon finish

Mouthfeel - even @ 15% this one is quite smooth

Overall - This beer is one of a kind, but I cannot wait to try the other BCBS variants now! @ 15% this one sure is boozy, so be prepared to share.

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Photo of AdamGarcia
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Thanks to Brian23456!!!

Poured into SN 30th chalice.

A: Pours black as night with no light getting through. Very little carbonation. Virtually no head forms from a semi-aggressive pour and only a thin ring of bubbles remain. The high level of viscosity is visually noticeable. Despite the high abv and age of this beer, I'm just a little nervous about the apparent lack of carbonation.

S: Subdued. Alcohol first and foremost. Oak...and guess what, bourbon. A little vanilla, just a hint of honey. Some dark fruit. Caramel. Had to search a bit, but the scent is interesting and complex.

T: Big and boozy. I've never had a young BCS, but a couple of years hasn't done much to soften the heat..but at 13% it doesn't feel out of place. After the booze I'm getting a lot of chocolate and caramel...Milky Way anyone? Oak comes through mid palate and the bourbon is ever present. Huge flavor just jumps out of the glass. Flavor is a little less intriguing that I expected.

M: This was surprising to me. There was ample carbonation that wasn't apparent initially, which was a plus. On the other hand, the mouthfeel was not as viscous as the initial appearance would have suggested. I expected this beer to be bigger in the mouthfeel, more viscous.

D: This beer is delicious. At 13% this drinks how it should. I dont' necessarily desire another, but over the course of an evening I could see myself having maybe two 12oz btls over 3 or 4 hours.

My first BCS and it was very good. Expectations hindered my enjoyment of this beer slightly. Luckily I've got an '08 and '09 to compare this to sometime in the future. Great beer.

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Photo of JoePat
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2009
This beer was agressively poured into a stemed tulip glass which resluted in about a 1.5 finger dark tan-brown head that disipated within seconds leaving no lacing behind. The beer is as black as can be you can only see some of the darkest brown possible near the edges of the glass when tilted.
Bourbon...I smell a lot of bourbon and what I think is chocolate but mostely bourbon
I am tasting a lot of roased malts, chocolate, some raisons for about a second before I get a rush of bourbon and then nothing else touches my tounge...not that I am complaining.
This beer has one of the thickest mouth feels. Its like having a heavy cream in your mouth but luckley it is a bourbon flavored stout.
This is a sipper. You do not want to rush this beer and it only gets better as it warms. I would also recomend a good strong funky cheese to go with it to "clense your palete" every once in a while.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: I actually got a pretty decent head out of this. Only a quarter of an inch thick but good for the style. Blackest stout I ever laid my eyes on. You can drive a car 100,000 miles then change the oil and it wouldn't be this black.

S: Sweet chocolate malts blend well with the bourbon notes and the coffee lingering in the background. The chocolate and bourbon work well together. Neither is overpowering the other.

T: Mmmmm. Smooth, rich, nutty dark chocolate with the bourbon playing nicely and not taking over. Strangely enough I get a lot of coconut in this thing. All the flavors are very subtle. I have had 2 bourbon barrel aged stouts and many regular imperial ones. You know what? This tastes nothing like any beer I ever had before. The flavor is pure brilliance!

M: So smooth, silky and creamy. It is like drinking chocolate mousse.

D: Dangerously drinkable. I swear I cannot detect a hint of alcohol other than the bourbon notes. It does not even have that warming quality.

This stuff is black liquid gold. Usually I drink a Imperial Stout and get pretty much the same taste with slight variations in each. This beer is completely left field of any other Imperial Stout. Almost a style of it's own.

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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.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,138 ratings.
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