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Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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2,897 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
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Reviews: 2,897 | Ratings: 11,918
Photo of fireazzi
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the 2015 version. Was very boozy but a good taste. Very thick, not bad, but the hype to chase this one down didn't live up to my expectations. Had the older ones and tasted better if aged.

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Photo of danielocean03
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottled marked "2007" into a pint glass, appearance is opaque, jet black, slightly brown at the edges. Thin head of foam, quickly dissipates to a thick ring of sticky caramel-colored lacing that clings to the glass. Aroma is absolutely incredible, huge sweet bourbon punch right off the bat, heavy and malty, grainy undertones. Taste is also incredible, sweet and warm alcohol sugars up front. Malt backbone is enormous, anise and licorice flavors round out this brew. Finish is slightly bitter and leaves a drying effect. Mouthfeel is thick, moderate carbonation, slight roughing on the tongue, washes down smooth and coats the mouth and throat. Drinkability is outstanding, this beer hides its huge abv % and goes down easy, very enjoyable complexity. Overall an exceptional brew, would highly recommend purchasing, will seek out again.

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Photo of sgoodship
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The weather in Chicago today was horribly cold. I have the start of a cold and wanted a beer that could mend me and warm me. BCS seemed like the best candidate. My friend Brian kindly donated this 2008 bottle for me to review - thanks buddy!

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass. It's a stubborn old bird - doesn't want to deliver a head. Gave me a brief beautiful espresso dusting and then dissipated quickly to a thin ring. Very dark red brown - almost black with nice ruby highlights against the light. Some spotty lacing that doesn't last.

S: The bourbon is strong and with the combination of the dark fruit, it's almost like a smokey, spicy red wine-like nose. There is an underlying vanilla malty sweetness but you have to go looking for it.

T: What a surprise! My initial experience was the most lovely caramel espresso. After that, the following sips delivered the alcohol. I could feel the vapor before my lips touched the liquid. As the brew warmed, I started getting some really nice big smokey, sweet malt with a nice sharp alcohol calling card on the back of the throat. Toward the end of the drink, I felt like the vanilla was speaking to me. It seems like every time I took a break, let it warm up and came back to it, the profile changed slightly on me. You can definitely pick out all the key ingredients but they play out very differently as the drink progresses. It felt rich and complex - a special treat.

M: It is a surprisingly medium/light body with low carbonation which seems to suit it. It is pretty smooth apart from some of the deliberate alcohol sting on the lips and palette.

D: Even though I only drink this type of beer on occasion and don't go out of my way for big alcohol taste in beer, it was very drinkable. I finished it much quicker than I expected and that is always a good sign. I could easily have had a couple more although it is deceptively potent. A fine brew for Goose Island to celebrate their 1000th batch.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This bad boy poured pitch black and heavy into the glass. A finger's worth of deep walnut colored foam developed and then hung around in a fine ring.

S: The scents exploded out of the glass. The bourbon is very noticeable. Lots of sweetness including notes of vanilla and dark chocolate covered cherries.

T: The bourbon is forefront but I get double layered chocolate cake and dried cherries with a hint of woodiness. Very sweet. The whole thing is incredibly smooth and the heat from the alcohol stays well after a sip.

M: Thick and velvety but not syrupy. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

D: Found this to be quite drinkable. Smooth, interesting and every sip left me wanting more. Its too sweet and boozy to drink much more than a single serving.

Incredible beer. One of the best I have ever tasted. For the ABV it was super smooth and refined, even balanced. Loved the bourbon and layers of flavors.

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


Pours gorgeous head, great immediate bourbon and barrel smell. One of the best barrel executions out there. Deep thick chocolate notes with bitter, strong boozy taste, with dark fruits as well. Thick and delicious, always exciting to drink. Opened for the Packer-Vikings game. Yum

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Photo of tedpeer
4.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce pour into a chalice. Bottle from 2007.

A - Black and thick. Very little head, quickly settled to no head.

S - Coffee and bourbon aroma. Wife said it smelt like Kahlua.

T - Bourbon taste mostly overpowers everything else, but I still get a hint of coffee. After taste lingers a while.

M - creamy and smooth. Coats the mouth.

D - This one's a sipper and at 13%, one's my limit.

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Photo of 321jeff
4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter.

Pours black as night with a thin layer of mocha colored head.

Smells mostly of sweet bourbon and dark fruits with hints of roast malt in the background. The aroma doesn't do much to foreshadow the brew that awaits.

Tastes of roast coffee and the same dark fruits in the aroma. More figs than raisins, it has some sweetness but it certainly isn't overpowering. The bourbon is present but relatively mild and there's an alcohol burn in the finish that reminds you that you're dealing with a potent brew.

This one's so thick you can almost chew it and there is some surprising carbonation for such a heavy stout. This one's a sipper to be sure, but it goes down easy when I need a good bourbon fix.

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

2008 vintage poured into wide mouthed goblet.

A - Pitch black with just an island of brown foam, not enough to call it a head, swirling across the surface and clinging to the edges, in all very much like espresso crema.

S - Aroma of fine bourbon makes a big first impression, further examination reveals rich concentrated raisins, dark roasted malt, charred oak, and vanilla.

T- The bourbon flavor is much more subdued than the aroma would suggest, but plenty rich bourbon character comes through without taking control, allowing this to really drink like a stout. Dark dried fruit, vanilla, charcoal, rich dark chocolate, carob, toffee, leather, dark rum, sweet pipe tobacco. Finishes a bit boozy with a hint of smoke. Rich. Complex. Amazing.

M - Super smooth, rich, and full bodied with oily coating quality without smothering. Perfect light carbonation.

D - Very, very, scarily drinkable. Its a sipper that I find myself going for a bit more heavily than I should. Will pick this up whenever I see it.

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

Big thanks to sirspysco for this in a trade. Bottle on 10-11-07.
Poured thick and dense with a very small dark brown head that quickly fades.
I can't believe this bottle has a year of age on it I smell the bourbon as soon as I started pouring. After a few big whiffs I'm getting mostly bourbon, but there is more lurking in the background. I'm picking up hints of some nice roasty aromas as well as some dark ripe fruit aromas as well.
The bourbon taste isn't as prevalent as the nose would suggest, It's definitely there but not as overpowering as I thought it would be. I'm also getting some roasted barley and some dark chocolate as well. Very nice. It kind of reminds me of Heresy a more intense but similar none the less. Good mouthfeel nice and creamy just like I like my stouts. The high alcohol content and the hot booziness from the bourbon makes this one a sipper.

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Photo of dismal
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the 2008 and 2009 side by side for this one which I've been excited to do for quite some time. Poured into a snifter it pours jet black and thick like motor oil with a one finger dark tan head. The head quickly fades away and leaves little to no lacing down the glass. The smell is whiskey at first and upfront, it's followed by vanilla, oak, and chocolate. It seemed like the 2008 had more of a whiskey smell to it at first and as they warmed up the 2009 became more whiskey smelling and the 2008 had more chocolate when warming up. Taste was whiskey, vanilla, and chocolate. The 2009 had more of a whiskey taste while the 2008 had more of a chocolate taste making the 2008 way more drinkable and pleasant to drink. Both however had some whiskey in the taste it just wasn't as apparent with the age on the 2008. The mouthfeel differed greatly, the 2009 was kind of thin and the 2008 was very full, thick, and chewy. I thought it was pretty awesome how different these were with only one year between them. The main difference was taste and mouthfeel and with the one year it made it from a good beer to a great beer! I've also had this with about six months age on it and it was pretty good. The drinkability depends on this one. Fresh I'd give it a lower score (but still good) but with some age it become great even with the high ABV I'd love to drink a few of these. Overall fresh it's really good but I'd really recommend aging these for at least a year if not longer as it becomes more delicious. I'm going to age a few more of my 2008s for a while and I have plenty of 2009s to age and drink. Really great beer overall which coming from Goose Island I was expecting it anyways.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - This is a thick liquid of high viscosity that coats the glass well with thin lacing. The lace looks like a burnt brown sugar flake sitting on top. Quickly disappears.

S - Boozy and caramel with hints of chocolate, cocoa, dark fruits and oh yeah....bourbon.

T - Caramel & boozy fudge pop. can really taste the booze as it warms up. This would be a great topping on vanilla flan or even ice cream. Vanilla bean ice cream.

F - Low carbonation with some very little heat from the booze. Thick and sticky.

O - Very nice!! I'm going to age one however. I think it needs a bit more time so the booze can mellow out.

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Photo of Dopen993
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured fairly warm, cellar temp.

Dark, almost black but not quite.
Lots of coffee and a good deal of sweet malt notes.
Lots of vanilla and coffee and sweetness. Very mild heat, super smooth.
Creamy mouth feel. Full bodied and with no carbonation.

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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 Flashsp2
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout

Poured into a wide mouth stem glass from a 12 oz brown twist-off.

Generated a deep brown head with minimal retention, even with a pretty aggressive pour. Darker than a black hole, this brew draws the light out of the room. Around the edges a very minimal amount of light breaks through to reveal a deep red. Very scary stuff.

Roasty, BIG bourbon, some pruny notes, smoky-charred oak, lots of booze, faint vanilla on the nose. Incredible complexity.

Taste is immense, even compared to other impy stouts. First wave is prune, then smoke, sweet caramel malts, some roastyness, and a big lingering oak on the finish. Some vanilla sits on the palette after the swallow, along with some bourbon as well. Dark chocolate-chunk cookies. So much bourbon, but not overpowering. Alcohol is there, but not as much as would be expected for 13% ABV,hidden quite well. All the flavors come in waves, and even though they are intense, they create a great balance. A bit of dark bitter chocolate hiding in the background. It leaves a candied rum-raisin sweetness on the lips, which makes for a pleasant finish to the intense dark flavors of this brew.

Mouthfeel is dense, like eating a can of motor oil. Big chewy maltyness, oilyness, almost like syrup. It coats the mouth and throat on the way down. Full bodied.

Notes: This beer is borderline mind boggling. It's like a bourbon-chocolate milk shake; so thick, so many intense flavor profiles. This is definitely once an evening. Actually, more like once a month so your mind can readjust to normal beers again. This is a beer that you can only pull out on someone who really digs big beers, otherwise you are just going to scare the crap out of somebody. This is more akin to drinking a dark chocolate/vanilla liqueur than a beer, fo' sho'.

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Photo of mudbug
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured like a used motor oil into a standard pint glass.
No head to speak of, just a thin cap of sticky foam.
Smells like coffee and whiskey, beignets and jazz with a lot of powdered sugar.
Can i just sit here and inhale? The aroma is outstanding.
New Orleans, dank musty and mysterious, sweet cloying yet dangerously easy, the big easy....
Taste is a straight up bourbon on the rocks. with a chocolate candy on the side, the lady making eyes over the pool table is just a shill, ignore her, we have work to do.
Deeper down the sugar daddy makes his play.. pay up!
This one is smooth, should you fold? No, call till the last draw.
Sticks to the tongue like a bad karma debt. No use holdin out, I'm singing like a bird.
Probably one of the best Stouts on Earth.

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Photo of Get_Lowell
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 10 oz snifter from tap.

A: Black body, tan head.

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, slight hint of vanilla.

T: Big chocolate flavor on the front, roasted malt, subtle bourbon flavor, slight malt bitterness on finish.

P: Medium body with a creamy consistency. Very smooth.

O: Such a balanced imperial stout with regards to the big chocolate flavor and the very light bitterness on the back end. It truly is a dessert in a glass. Serves as such a strong starting point for all of the variants in the series.

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Photo of ChrisP802
4.63/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The name says it all, Bourbon. Not super overpowering, but a very strong taste of bourbon.
Pours out motor oil, jet black with small head
Harshness starts with sweetness to follow
Slightly thick on the tongue
Drinkability is one bottle or maybe two shared

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Photo of semibaked
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours into the glass and it is about 10 shades of black, small amount a brown sugar colored head.

S - I get vanilla and caramel right away which I wasn't expecting at all, usually with bourbon aged beers you get a huge whiff of bourbon but not with this, I do smell it but it is subdued along with the malts and coffee.

T - Wow is this good, strong bourbon and wood comes through then come great sweetness like vanilla, caramel and sugar. Also this has alot more carbonation that I thought it would. Very nice balance.

M - Nice viscous body kinda like motor oil, coats my mouth very well, full bodied and satisfying.

D - Extremely enjoyable beer, top notch in the style and I will certainly be buying this again, totally worth the price.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jeffo was nice enought to share a 2009 bottle with me. Thanks man.

Poured into a de Struise glasI tpoured pitch black with just a tiny bit of tan foam.

Smells of barrel. Bourbon I'd say. Picking up on some vanilla, chocolate and quite boozy.

Taste follow the nose with the bourbon some vanilla and an some anise.

A very light body. Was quite surpised by that. It's a bif stout after all. Medium carbonation, dry finish and a decent amount of heat.

Great beer. Glad I got to try this one.I'm curious to see what time will do to this beer. Will it mellow out the heat?Got a few more small botlles taht I'll leave to age. To be continued.

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

pours ink , no head. good legs (alcohol)

good bourbon aroma. hints of dark brown sugar, vanilla,cinnamin,rich chocolate.

elegant flavors all melded together, layeres of chocolate and bourbon and spices for a great balance.not at all edgy.

creamy felon sides of mouth.dense.good warming from alcohol, not over the top.

great now, and of course with age, so i'm doing both.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - 2009 vintage.

Poured into a large snifter. This one pours pitch black. Nothing that could constitute a head appears after the pour. A minute amount of bubbly lacing floats on top of the surface and twists about on the meniscus. A swirl of the glass leaves an oily residue all over the side of the glass much like a wine. This is a damn fine looking beer.

The nose is a huge wave of bourbon. Sweet, sweet bourbon... Bourbon gives way to vanilla and charred oak, as well as alcohol. Chocolate and espresso, and more bourbon on the nose. Roasted barley and brown sugar make an appearance as well.

The taste follows suit with the nose. Strong bourbon flavors right up front. The bourbon brings with it a lot of vanilla, smoke and oak with is really quite pleasant. After a few seconds flavor profile fades in a sweet caramel. This is how a bourbon bal aged stout should taste. If you are not a fan of bourbon this beer is not for you. This beer is damn good.

The 13% abv is excellently hidden and with the year and a half-ish on this one it is incredibly smooth. There is virtually no heat from the alcohol initially. As this one warms it does show slightly but not enough to take away from it. Smooth on the palate; just incredibly enjoyable.

I am floored by the quality of this beer. I am more than ever eager to try the other offerings from Goose Island. Next up is a 2010 to see how they compare...

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed Fresh:

From bottle into tulip glass. Pours ink black with a dark toffee head that rapidly dissipates to a few wisps. The smell is bourbon moderated only slightly with molasses and faint vanilla and oak. Mouthfeel is classic imperial stout: heavy, thick, minimal carbonation. Chocolate, toffee and vanilla sweetness take the lead with coffee and burnt oak providing a strong backbone. Then the bourbon takes over. At first the bourbon helps supervise the sweetness, which otherwise would run amok. But the bourbon and alcohol bitterness defintely take over by the finish. That aftertaste is the true barometer of this beer; if you don't like bourbon, this is not the beer for you. Not much will pair with this other than dark chocolate (and even that doesn't stand up too well). We're going to cellar a few four-packs and see if it mellows with age. But while I think it could use a bit of the discipline that age provides, its complexity and flavor profile deserves attention right out of the blocks.

Edit: With 2-3 years on it, GIBCS may be one of my favorite beers, period.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH tulip. bottled 10/2/09 super fresh.

A- pours the best of colors, motor oil black. definitely no light penetrating this one. produces a minimal dark brown head that dissipates a thin ring around the outside of the glass. there is some lacing but the beer coats the glass nearly as much as the head does

S- A very appropriate name for this one. Bourbon covers almost all other aromas. Some roasted barley and coffee coming through as well. as a lover of bourbon stouts this is right up my alley.

T- like some bourbon? my answer is yes. luckily too, because this amount could drive alot of people away. there is a very robust stout under all the bourbon. it's kind of hard to pick out some of the flavors through the bourbon. I can taste a good amount of bitterness from some coffee and hops. I'm guessing the IBUs are fairly high here. some chocolate in the backround gives it some espresso type qualities. absolutely awesome combination of flavors. I really wish I had access to this beer.

M- thick and tasty stuff. a good amount of carbonation really sets off the bitterness provided by the coffee and hops. spot on for the style.

D- I'm rarely halfway through the glass before I get to this point. Possibly due to having to take a couple extra sips to find flavors under the bourbon, but either way it's going down very quickly.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage courtesy of stopbarking. Thanks!

Pours a thick, oily deep brown, with no head, just a tiny halo of dark bubbles.
The nose of this beer is strong, sweet licorice with fig, dark cherry and earthy tones, with some oak in the background.
It is thick and sweet on the palate. More licorice and fig with some molasses along with vanilla and tobacco on the back that rolls into a mellow and warming bourbon finish.
The mouthfeel on this beer is really what sets it apart. You can almost chew it. It is slick and oily with a nice stickiness to it. It is everything an Imperial Stout should be and the barrel aging just adds to the complexity and the warming alcohol taste.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 11,918 ratings.
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