Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,928 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: 2,928 | Ratings: 12,028
Photo of JayORear
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Since I recently reviewed BA Ten Fidy somewhat negatively against BCBS, I thought it would be only fair to review BCBS on its own, just to make sure that my memory of the beer isn’t tainted by nostalgia. I was lucky enough to find a hidden stash at a local bottle shop two months after release, so here goes with the ’16 version.

Appearance: yup, I’m reminded why I always go back to this beer as a BA stout reference point. Deep, fudgy brown with a single-finger head that dissipates into a beautiful film across the top of the beer. It’s not showy or overly fluffy, just . . . elegant. The smell is exactly matched to the appearance, offering heady chocolate, vanilla, fig, and bourbon notes that make you realize that most adjunct stouts are basically trying to replicate what base BCBS does without having to add anything. Again, balance and refinement rule the day. Taste is complex and ever-changing as it warms: sweet vanilla evolves into a charred and bourbony chocolate that, in turn, drops into something approaching a deep, fudge liqueur. The journey through the bottle is like tasting three to four different world-class stouts, all of which are flawless. Mouthfeel is rich, oily, and viscous, what BA Ten Fidy wishes it could be. Every sip is like dessert, a decadent treat you want to never end.

Overall, what more can I say? The only thing that keeps me from ruling this BCBS a “perfect” beer is that, as good as the mouthfeel is, it’s been slightly better in previous years. I’ll always remember 2012, which honestly felt like warm brownie batter on the tongue. Obviously, this beer hardly needs my recommendation, but if you’re at all on the fence about trying to obtain and taste it, you’re crazy. It’s the beer to try before you die.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.86/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I generally eschew chasing after limited releases and such, but when a buddy gifted me a 2016 bottle recently, I was not going to turn him down. I was in Chicago around Thanksgiving 2014 & I stopped in at Binney's (Clybourn) to try & score some CANs, et al, but the place was such an absolute zoo that I walked out, empty handed & disgusted. It is just one example among many of why I started The CANQuest (tm) in the first place.

From the bottle: "The original bourbon barrel aged Stout"; "Since 1992"; "Stout aged in bourbon barrels"; "Chicago Made Imperial Stout"; "Intense aromas of charred oak, vanilla, caramel & smoke"; Brewed, barrel aged & bottled by Goose Island Beer Co. Chicago, Illinois"; "Develops in the bottle up to 5 years"; "[signed] Brewmaster, Jared Jankowski".

I Pop!ped the cap on the relatively big bottle and commenced a gentle pour simply because I have never had a bottle of BCBS. Usually, I go to PHL during Thanksgiving weekend & have some on tap. This was a new experience for me. I am becoming proficient at doing an in-glass swirl, this time raising a finger of foamy, deep-brown head that seemed rather anxious to fall back to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose had the coconut smell that I always seem to get from bourbon, accompanied by dark chocolate, light smoke and caramel. It was a liquefied Girl Scout Samoa cookie! Oh, I am a sucker for them & Thin Mints. This was gonna send me, especially at 13.8% ABV. Mouthfeel was thick, viscous, oily, like BP had dumped a load off of a rig into my mouth. Mmmm. The taste was much like a Samoa with the chocolate leading the way, followed closely by coconut and caramel as well as light smoke. OMFG! This was quite tasty and dangerously easy to drink. I can only imagine how much easier it would become with age. No wonder I just satisfy myself with draft offerings. I have plenty of beer at home without adding to the backlog.

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Photo of mnj21655
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16.9 oz bottle packaged 04OCT16. Poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with maybe a quarter inch of dark brown head that quickly disappears.

Straigh from the fridge the aroma is all bourbon with lots of hot alcohol. Once the beer spends a few minutes in the glass the Bourbon calms down a bit; I then get vanilla, a low-moderate alcohol heat, and subtler bakers chocolate and dark fruits in the background.

The first flavor I get is dark fruits, that is joined by a mix of vanilla, dark and bakers chocolates, and some alcohol heat.

Body is full with low carbonation and slick, heavy sweetness.

Objectively this is a very good Bourbon barrel aged stout. That being said, it makes me realize that I'm not a BBA stout fan. It's still tasty and enjoyable but has just a bit too much heat for the aromas and flavors to be super enjoyable. I have another bottle that I'll hold onto for a or two in the hopes that the bourbon barrel character mellows a bit.

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

Dark , like the Devils dreams. Very little lace, too dark for sissy lace.
Smell is a rollercoaster of good things.
Taste is nice and best enjoyed with desert or a cheese.
Of course, if you just wanna pound one , this stout is delicious. Bet you can't pound it. It's too good for that.
Feel is velvet..... I don't think I have ever used the word velvet before in a sentence.
So yes , it is velvet.
Keeps getting better so drink it slow.
Overall is good enough to share and really enjoy or act like you can't find a frind and have it all by yourself.

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

1 PINT .9 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter
Bottled 05NOV15

This beer pours black and thick. It is topped with less than an inch of tan head that disappears quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

It smells like a bourbon dessert. I smell chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and roasted malt.

The taste is every bit as good. The bourbon melds into caramel and vanilla flavors, while the roasted malt yields chocolate notes. The bourbon is still recognizable in the finish with a mild booze flavor.

Full, smooth, and viscous mouthfeel

This is my first BCBS. I get the hype now. It is a phenomenal beer. It met and perhaps exceeded my high expectations. This is a rare beer that lives up to the hype. It is definitely the best ABI product that I have ever had narrowly beating out Busch heavy.

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Photo of spacemanspiff13
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of bourbon which is great, but that's pretty much it. Mouthfeel is solid and overall this is a solid BBA stout but there are better, more interesting varieties out there.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the epitome of a perfect Bourbon Barrel Stout. Flawless mouthfeel. The whole experience is thrilling all the way down. It is easy to see why everyone chases this one.

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Photo of BethanyB
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A still, ebony lake Is lined with a quiet rim of contrasting beige froth. Serene and full of promise.,The aroma is unsurprisingly oaky and smoky with plenty of complementary vanilla and hazelnut, but surprisingly peppery as well! The complex foundation is built of plums, figs, And milk chocolate. Both balanced and full. As Mary Poppins would say, practically perfect in every way. So, let's taste it! The bourbon's woodsy sweetness comes through straight away. It mixes with fresh maple syrup, whose stickiness is balanced by the drying characteristics of tobacco laced with cocoa powder. Soft pastes of plum, dark cherry, and strawberry create a real complex jam. Unlike other bourbon barrel stouts, this is a beast with a real heart. The mouthfeel is smooth jazz creamy with a light carbonic bite toward the finish to let the juice burst just enough for a celenaratory kick. A surprising jewel from an iconic brewery which is apparently still on top of the saturated craft game.

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Photo of BeerGuy8315
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 on tap at a local restaurant/bar.

A: Pours jet black in color. No head. Thin khaki colored lacing throughout.

S: Aromas of coffee, vanilla, bourbon, cola, dark chocolate, caramel, sweet and toasted malts, licorice, raisins, cherries, and other dark fruits.

T: Taste follows the nose somewhat. Leads with sweet caramel and cola followed by bitter dark chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. Finishes with notes of cherry, raisins, licorice, and toasted malts with a slight lingering bitterness.

F: Full bodied, medium thickness, creamy, and smooth with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, this is a great BA Stout. This was my first time trying this one. The flavor profile is very complex and interesting. Lots going on in this one. At first, I felt it was overly sweet, but as it started to warm it began to balance out the sweetness and fruitiness with coffee and bourbon. Only wish I would have had time to sit and let it warm longer. Great BA stout and I'm looking forward to cracking one of my bottles to see if there is any difference.

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Photo of avas
4.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage dated 10/1/15.

A: Beer comes in a pitch black color with pretty much no head retention save for the thinnest little ring of tiny mocha bubbles. Major alcohol legs staining the glass.

S: Very bourbon-forward, definitely the most intensely bourbon-y nose I've experienced. Lots of vanilla, oak, smoke, and dark fruits, mostly cherry. Little bit of dark chocolate and caramel as well. Extremely pungent as expected.

T: Wow. Huge dark fruits and vanilla up front, followed by nearly as intense notes of caramel, dark chocolate, oak, and burnt brown sugar. Even some molasses on the aftertaste. It's so complex, with each flavor coming in a wave that unapologetically attacks the palate. There's a lot of sweetness, but not too much, as the drying alcoholic note really cuts through it on the finish. As it warms, I get a little soy sauce-y thing on the finish,

M: Really slick, almost oily mouthfeel that just glides across the tongue. Not particularly full due to lack of carbonation, but feels heavy on the tongue. Burning alcoholic sensation in the back of the throat, but this isn't nearly as boozy as the 13.7% would suggest.

O: I'm still making my way into the barrel-aged stout world, but this was definitely a step in the right direction. This beer packs a TON of flavor into a deservedly large package, and the flavor profile is one of the more complex I've experienced in a beer. While the nose is somewhat lacking IMO (too barrel- and dark fruit-forward), the taste is a wonderful melange of vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, molasses, and oak. I look forward to revisiting this as I build my appreciation for the style, but as it stands now, I think it's quite delicious!

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Photo of Raime
4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Usually I pass on these beers when they release but this year it was pretty much talked up into my bag even though I didn't ask about it but my usual beer place guy told me people always fought over it so I figured why the hell not.

This beer is the blackest of the black. People throw around the words motor oil all the time, but this is the closest to motor oil I have ever seen. No head.

The bourbon is ever apparent alongside the oak. There is a dark fruitiness on the nose that you cannot deny. This is probably my least favorite part of the beer.

At first, the taste hits you with that immediate sweetness, but it quickly envelopes into vanilla and bakers chocolate sweetness which surrounds and dominates the mouth and throat, with oak coming in to match.

The feel is boozy and oaky with a touch of creaminess and lower carbonation. Swallows sweet and just a touch boozy depending on how big of a sip you take.

Overall, if they could kill that initial odd sweetness but keep the rest of the flavors, this could potentially be my favorite beer of all time. This is world class, and I'm not one to rate on hype nor anything else aside from how much I enjoyed it. Aging will do it well, but fresh is out of this world too.

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Photo of intensify
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let this one warm up a bit after pouring it, the flavours really kick your pallets ass. Coffee, chocolate, raisins, cherrys, all missed together give it dark and sweet taste. I expected a lot more booze than this. Did someone forget to add it?

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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 Druid_51
4.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 vintage...not accustomed to a beer with this complex flavor profile....seems boozy at first but give it it warms, can taste more hidden layers

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Photo of uwmgdman
4.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Jet black. Dark tan head diminishes quickly. Nose is a burst of bourbon, smoky oak, rich roast, caramel and bread. Flavor is an eruption complexity and yet smooth as silk. Bourbon, roast, caramel, fig, smoky oak. Body is full, yet finish is balanced ushered in by a bourbony booze warmth, a lingering oaky roast. No surprise but an amazing brew. Wow!

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

2016 bottle

Pours a dark brown/coca cola
Pretty small head with one ring of bubble lacing

Smell is roasty, lots of bourbon, booze burn

Taste is complex. Deep roast, rich chocolatey thats more on the bittersweet side. I'm getting some slight berry tanginess in there too, before that huge boubon barrel taste. The end is a big hint of alcohol. I'm getting a little bit of a Coca Cola flavor too

This was my first time having this. I bought two and am going to save one for next year to experience some mellowing. The beer right now is pretty bold and robust. There's some smoothness for sure but the bitter chocolate and dark berries make it pretty vibrant.

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Photo of Mach1_zach
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: September 22nd 2015(not infected)
Opened: December 19th 2016


Look: Pours very dark with almost no head. Head is dark almost caramel color

Smell: Has a nice strong bourbon/woody scent right up front, especially when you slightly aggitate it.

Taste: The bourbon is definitely a dominant flavor. The chocolate notes compliment very nicely.

Feel: Medium to full body. Very smooth and very little carbonation.

Overall: Very impressed, I definitely a fan of this one. I habe heard the '16 os a little sweeter. I picked up a '16 Barleywine that I will let age and now I have to find a '16 Stout. I have a second that I will continue to age of the same batch.

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Photo of Cfred371
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: pours a dark brown, with some light showing on the edges. The head, quite minimal, is a tan/brown

Smell: so much bourbon up front, vanilla, and a woody scent.

Taste: The bourbon is prevalent, there's some vanilla, nice sweet, chocolatey flavors, and the barrel.

Feel: medium to full bodied, carbonation prevalent, and a somewhat dry finish.

Overall: Incredibly good beer, with a great amount of flavor and a nice body. Worth seeking out every year.

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Photo of Brewnut22
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Coca-cola black. No head.

Bourbon, fudge, vanilla, chocolate chip cookies.

Boozy and bourbon, roasted malts, tons of chocolate. Dark chocolate. Very sweet. Bitter coffee aftertaste.

Low carbonation. Thick slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

Absolutely love it. I wish I could have an endless supply of this. I'm a hop head but nothing beats a bourbon aged Stout.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 10/24/14; drank 11/29/14 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Midnight black color.

A rough pour yields a dark khaki head; minimal lace.

Marshmallow, vanilla, banana & dark chocolate nose; whoa!

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Roasted coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, coconut & mild booze flavors...holy fuck, this is complex, bold & delicious! Just a TOUCH too boozy currently, but a few months should calm this perfectly. I'm blown away.

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Photo of Giantspace
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes......2014 bottle 2 yrs old.....deep chocolate smell.......a bit too sweet for my taste.....barrel is there but not overwhelming. ...........very well made beer but not something I want to go back to.

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Photo of LMO1190
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I found this some of these bottle at a local craft beer bar. I decided to pick one up to see if it was worth all the hype. This is the 10/21/2015 14.3 ABV version. After having many barreled aged stouts, I can see why this is the Platinum standard.

Look - Pitch black. Looks like motor oil. Half finger of mocha head. Goes away quickly.

Smell- Dark rich Plums and Berries, Vanilla, Oak, Smoke and some pine!!!

Taste fallows the nose.- Big dark strong fruits and berries, Vanilla, light smoke.

Feel- Thick sticky mouth feel, Very warming.But very very drinkable. Would love as a night cap.

Overall- I have never had a other version prior to this. But this beer has probably ruined any other barrel aged stout for me. The flavors are so complex. I came in to this very unbiassed. I kinda figured with so many other bourbon barrel aged stouts, that would average. But damn, I was wrong.

I am aware of the 2015 batch infection. Don't know if since this bottle was kept cold in a fridge helped. But I am glad my first taste of this brew passed my expectations!!!!!

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Photo of Tjresmini
4.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I personally love stouts, the thick and smooth textures, rich flavors, and thick body. This brew has all that and more, this is currently the top stouts I've tried. Has the sweet bourbon flavor you would expect from a barrel aged brew which also gives the little tingling sensation on the tip of your tongue. Was contemplating sharing this beer, though honestly I'm glad that I kept it for myself during some alone time. When I poured this in to my glass a was so pleased to see such a deep dark color that not even holding it up to a light could pierce.

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Photo of Zoomslowik
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review was done while drinking the 2016 vintage. Recently had 2012 and 2013, which would rate similarly (2012 was a little more bourbon heavy). Haven't had them recently, but 2014 would be a little higher (more chocolate/fudge base) while 2015 would be a little lower (less balanced, basically caramel and bourbon, not obviously infected).

L- Basically black, slightly brownish tinge. Slight mocha colored head, but it fades to a thin ring that eventually disappears.

S- Bourbon is the most prominent. Some vanilla and chocolate.

T- Like the smell, quite a bit of bourbon in the flavor. It's supplemented by milk chocolate, caramel and a little vanilla. A little sweet, especially when it warms, but not enough to ding it.

F- Medium-low carb, which works for this beer. Smooth, rich but not super thick. Some alcohol burn on the finish.

O- An old standby, especially in Chicago. Very tasty, especially if you like bourbon. It's probably not worth the lines, but it's better than a lot of barrel-aged stouts that cost more (BCBS is fairly easy to get at $9.99 for 16.9 oz).

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with some purple hue, about 1" toffee colored foam with solid lacing. This is a November 2015 bottle so not part of recall. Smells fantastic, chocolate, molasses, coffee, spice. Love the taste, I get a very beautiful mix of wine flavors, chocolate, coffee, mild spice, little char, and good alcohol bite. The finish is earthy with mild alcohol. Overall this was a real gem to drink, the complex flavors were awesome, really liked the bourbon notes mixed with other flavors to give this just an awesome profile. Now I just wish I had 12 more to age. Top notch beer for sure.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,028 ratings.
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