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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,928 | Ratings: 12,028
Photo of discovolante65
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Wadsey for hooking me up with my first trade!

Poured into my brand spankin' new DFH 22oz snifter.

Pours like crude. A thick black that absorbs the light around it.
I tried my hardest to get a decent head out of it, but what I got was a 1/4 inch that disappeared as fast as I poured it out.
Sticky looking, stained the whole glass and continued to coat it with sheets of espresso colored haze all the way down.

Smells like raw brownie mix in a pan. You can smell some vanilla, and of course bourbon, and I believe I got some figgeys in there too. Chocolatey, gooey boozy delicious smells. I proceeded to huff this thing until my buddy yelled at me to "fucking try it already!".

Taste is just about the greatest thing I have ever encountered. I love bourbon, let me put that out there.
It is a combination of the best german chocolate cake I have ever had, with vanilla frosting, and someone added delicious bourbon to the batter. Unbelievable. Fucking incredible. I cannot believe that this is 13%. Aside from the obvious booziness of the bourbon aging, there is no alcohol detected whatsoever, even at room temp, no hotness, no sting, no burn. HOW?!?!?!

Mouthfeel is thick and chunky and I am almost able to chew on it. I swished each sip around continually before swallowing.

Drinkability - I am floored by this one. Best Stout I have ever tasted. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to try this. I was glad at first that I had two more, but by the time I was done with it, I was pissed that I only had two left. I immediately setup a trade for another 4-pak the next day.
I am really perplexed at how well balanced, and well hidden the alcohol is in this.
Great job!!

 1,691 characters

Photo of BeerStine
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 10/08/08.

Pours black like motor oil with one of the darkest brown heads I've seen. Carbonation seems surprisingly high. Smell is great. Never smelled a beer quite like this. Smells of oak barrels, figs, vanilla, booze, chocolate, coffee, dark richness! Taste is just as amazing as the smell. Tastes of dark richness with a boozy kick to it that clears out your nostrils. There also is a chocolate flavor in there that tastes like the darkest chocolate I've had times two. Definitely more of an earthy/woody flavor with a sweet dark fruit finish. Slightly bitter but with a sweet finish. Mouthfeel is a little lighter than I expected with a little more carbonation that I expected too. The drinkablity is pretty good, although I dont know that I'd drink more than one. I think this beer would do very well with aging.

 865 characters

Photo of stonequarrywest
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Almost black pour with no head. Smell vanilla and burnt cherries? with a tinge of bourbon. With a deep breath I can feel the bourbon in my nose. Love It. Thick chewy mouthfeel that coats the entire tongue and a little burn as it warms. A strong 13%..A definite sipper!!

 269 characters

Photo of Wackyfoot
4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extremely expensive 4 pack of bottles. Pours very black but with red highlights to it, smells strongly of bourbon and dark chocolate. The flavor has some very nice chocolate and coffee notes to it and the mouthfeel is pretty creamy, but honestly this beer is far too "hot" for me at this stage. I set the other three bottles to cellar and very much look forward to drinking and re-rating probably around christmas of 09

 419 characters

Photo of bosco7
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

Pours black and no head.

Smells of caramel, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and bread pudding.

Taste is amazing. Chocolate and coffee upfront followed by caramel and toffee. Whoa man this is awesome. Finish is boozy and full of vanilla.

Thick chunky mouthfeel that doesnt get too cloying. For 13 % abv this is extremely drinkable. Probably one of the best Imperial stouts I've ever had. Highly recommended.

 420 characters

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

i scored a half-growler at the whole foods on houston st in nyc -
couldn't wait to pop this open - i agree with most everything i've read here - loved everything about this beer - i'll have to try the bottle version and see how it compares - this may be the best stout i ever drank - good good stuff.

 300 characters

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

A: Very dark black. Not a lot of carbonation, and little to no head.. looks like liquid obsidian.

S: Rich and deep, slightly tart with the smell of alcohol.

T: Thick and rich.. A nutty/ oak taste to it.. Dark mellow chocolate.. A real nice finish.. Bourbon is not as prevalent, but still very smooth..

M:Thick and chewy.. Slick and it coats as it goes down. Note to self, see if spoon will stand up straight in it.

D: Very good. A bit of a bite from the high ABV. Don't think I could do more than 1 in a night. But something good to be appreciated.

 552 characters

Photo of brow1901
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the BCS on tap at the Ginger Man in NYC, somehow buying a $9 glass seemed more wise than the $20 four pack. But what the hell how often do you come across this beer on tap.

A- This beer is dark as a black hole. Zero light penetration, I can feel the time and gravity getting sucked into the glass. :) It arrived in a snifter with no head at all that is to be expected tho, the tiny bubles I found were also very dark like coffee.

S- This thing stinks of burbon, that is all I really could smell. This is my first burbon barrel aged brew so I didn't know what to expect. To be honest I was a bit shocked, everytime I went for a sip I thought I was about to drink burbon.

T- Amazing complex taste, but again I was shocked by the burbon flavors. I thought it might be like an IPA where the brew reeks of hops but the taste isn't as strong or an oak aged brew, but this thing really tastes like booze. Sipping only with beer!

M- The mouth feel is thick, but it ends nicely. The thickness slides down easily and drys the mouth in the finish.

D- I lowered the score on the drinkability because it was a challenge to finish, simply because it was so strong. This beer won't sneak up on you thats for sure.

 1,208 characters

Photo of DukeofAle
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a truly huge beer - they don't get much bigger. Do I need to say that it's nearly black, extremely bold and powerfull? That it is quite heavy-bodied? Or that the head is thick? One of these might leave you wondering which way is up. The taste is very strong - as you'd expect - and the bourbon comes through. Like many of the best you have to work a bit for this one - it is not easily accessible. Just very, very good.

 427 characters

Photo of selecter70
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another great Fette Sau experience. Supposedly brewed directly for the restaurant (different from bottle version?...), this stout was a perfect pairing, although I'd be more inclined to call it a porter. No complaints otherwise. A dark brown-to-black pour with the tiniest head & lace of beige with ruby, a rich aroma of banana-bourbon-& chocolate excites the nostrils! Although 13%, the alcohol does not kill off flavor; smooth sweet-dark chocolate & plum brandy come to mind with vanilla & a hint of lemon-peel. Smoothly sweet, rich & chewy, this is a great dessert cordial, meant not for downing several, but enjoying one slowly, especially while your stomach smiles at dinner.

 680 characters

Photo of MPLS
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dear Goose Island you are Goliath and I am David please let us fight to the drunken death!!!

A: Keeping with my black as night theme this lives up to it. Not a black hole, but about as black as they come. Small 1 cm chocolate head. Noticing again the high ABV leaves little lacing.

S:Charred Bourbon! Tobacco, dirt, smoke, unobtrusive sweetness.

T: Emotional side: Holy big beer! Rational: Unequivocal dry and delicious bourbon aging up front that give way to a good range of flavors: Caramel, vanilla, creamy chocolate. The finish is just as awe-inspiring, full of oak chunks and tenderhearted alcohol.

M: The alcohol makes it warm, the sweet taste makes this seem like a liquid milkshake, downright creamy.

D: Very damn drinkable, every taste @ different temperatures brings joy. 13% ABV and high price make this unsessionable. A big beer that beckons you to have another...another...another...and another sip.

 917 characters

Photo of johnnieoz
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled on 10/08/2008.

A: Dark, dark brown. Not quite black. Minimal head, but the beer legs (lacing) is nice.

S: Extreme vanilla, boozy bourbon notes. The whole living room lit up when I opened this...

T: Coffee, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla....delicious.

M: A slight alcohol be expected I suppose. Otherwise this is SOLID.

D: Weighing in at 13% abv, one GIBCS could do you in...yet, I think I could handle two...and that's saying a lot, especially after starting this session w/ one Tripel Karmeliet and one Piraat
(both 33cl).

An excellent Extreme Imperial Stout. I will buy more for my cellar.

 615 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 4 pack at BevMo back in late November for $19.99. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to try!

Beer poured into an oversized wine glass, dark brown/black with no head to speak of. Nose is quite good with a big bourbon smell initially. As it warms more am detecting chocolate, vanilla, and toasted wood. Initial sip was bourbon. As it warms detecting chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. Mouthfeel is perfect, full and chewy, and extremely smooth. Overall drinkability is good. The abv is over the top and very present which makes this a perfect after dinner brew to sip on.

7-9-11: Sipping on a bomber bottled on 10-9-09. Bourbon notes have mellowed a smidge, alcohol still present and warming. Beer is as smooth and full as ever. The oaked bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla play together very well. This beer is still very strong and could easily go another 3-4 years. Damn, i should have grabbed a 4 pack last winter to age!

 957 characters

Photo of beveritt
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Front label has the story behind and description of the beer. Thanks to DoctorDog for hooking me up with this.

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of very dark brown, big-bubbled head. This settles very quickly, leaving just a small spot of foam above the nucleation point and a ring around the glass The beer itself is black as night, with no hints of light seeping through. Thick layer of well-compacted sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Strong aroma of cherry and vanilla, with hints of bourbon alcohol in the finish.

Taste: Wow, the alcohol aspects of the bourbon is not nearly as evident in the taste as it was in the smell. Not being a huge fan of hard liquor, I was actually worried that this one might be too much, but not at all. This taste like chocolate milk, creamy and slightly sweet. Flavors of oak and vanilla in the finish. High ABV is extremely well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level, which is fitting for this beer. Mouthfeel is unbelievably thick.

Drinkability: I can't believe it took me this long to try this one; it has been in my refrigerator for several months. I guess I was a little intimidated by the 13% ABV. Now, I wish I had more. I can't imagine how great this stuff would be with a few years to mellow and blend.

 1,341 characters

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

After bringing a bottle home from Minnesota over Christmas, and patiently waiting to crack it open, I see it today at my local beer store. So, now is as good a time as any...

Pours into a goblet a very dark brown color that really only has a color as it's going from bottle to glass. Once in the sipping vessel, it is completely black with no head to speak of. Even a sustained swirl of the glass brings just a little brown head to the top.

Aroma is sweet and full of bourbon. There's no doubt that this beer spent a good long time in oak bourbon barrels. The oak even comes through under the heavy whiskey.

Flavor is huge and multidimensional. At first it seems like a big oak aged stout with lots of roasty malts and some oaked vanilla character. As it sits in my mouth, it slowly starts to release the bourbon. It has a bit of a smokey-sweet taste towards the middle but the finish is very much like a fine single malt. It's drying as the alcohol evaporates off the tongue. I'm left with a peat and smoke taste that is really excellent.

Mouthfeel is creamy smooth and as full in body as a beer can really be. The carbonation is nice and low, as it should be, with nothing getting in the way of enjoying it over several hours. It started slightly cooled but is warming nicely.

What a special beer. When I think back on what beer was to me five years ago, this seems like something from a different planet. You have to appreciate what they've done here, being a bigger brewery. Goose Island makes many good beers but it's good to see that their brewmaster still has the freedom of expression to put something like this out on the shelves.

 1,645 characters

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

Beer given to me by Newtonty, thanks buddy!

A: Pours espresso brown to light black, with a redish hue and tiny, small cherry head. Lacing is minimal and watery.

S: HUGE NOSE. I drank this beer at room temp and the aroma almost knocks you over. I don't know where to start on the aromas that come out of this beer! Bourbon, vanilla, cherry, sweet malts and chocolate to say the least. Everything is comes off this glass and explodes into the olfactory hues.

M/T: Full bodied feel, goes down like maple syrup on the back of the tongue and down the throat. Sting of the bourbon on the tonsils almost feels like you are taking a shot, not a drink of a beer. This beer explodes in your mouth with flavor. No dull edges. Thick, chunky, full of vanilla and bourbon. The flavors change even after swallow. Amazingly thick.

D: I had a hard time getting through ½ a 12 oz bottle I shared with a friend, because this beer was so huge. It is a complete antitheses of a session beer and that is a good thing. Its like a alcohol desert. One of the biggest beers I have ever had. So even though I enjoyed every drop of my small glass, one only please.

 1,144 characters

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

Thanks to Yetiman420 for trading me this.

12oz, bottled 10/28/08, poured in a big wine glass at 52 F/ 11 C.

Mainly black, but a beautiful golden brown coffee color at the rim. No head but a thin ring of froth that leaves some spotty lace. Even that goes away - no head or lace whatsoever, and then it actually looks quite good.

Smells delicious. Hot bourbon, menthol, and spice, with cedar, dark fruit, black licorice, caramel, and cocoa.

Tastes like raisins up front, then bourbon builds and builds, along with menthol, licorice, cedar, vanilla, cookie spices, caramel, dark roasted coffee beans, and chocolate syrup. The raisin flavor stays in there, getting stickier and sweeter as it entangles with the bourbon and everything. Long finish, sweet roasty bourbon, with a hot/cold minty alcohol burn that's completely welcome.

Viscous and sticky stuff. Quite easy to drink, for what it is.

Great beer, I enjoyed this.

 924 characters

Photo of zminor
4.42/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a spiegelau pint glass.

A - Pours a solid black with ZERO head. Looks smooth, elegant, classy - like a nice Jaguar.

S - Very interesting nose. A complex mix of chocolate, caramel, smoke, and bourbon. Although it subtly hints at some characteristics of other stouts, the smell is very unique.

T - Wow - Mother Cacao has truly blessed this beer. Although the dark chocolate doesnt overwhelm the palate, the theme runs throughout the taste. The result is a spectacular mix that is complex with light shades of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and malts. Well balanced.

M - Well done. Mouthfeel matches the taste perfectly, and the carbonation is just right. I can imagine sipping this in some well upholstered leather chairs smoking a fine Cuban cigar.

D - For 13%, I'd say this beer hides it very well. An excellent night cap.

I picked up a single of these after being a little sticker shocked at the 4 pack price. But after a few sip, I can say with confidence that I'll be picking up a few 4 packs. I imagine this aging wonderfully.

 1,056 characters

Photo of alyankus
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Small head with little to no lacing. Great deep dark brown/black color

Nose: Vanilla, coconut, chocolate, figs, dates raisins fill the nose

Palate: More of the same. The initial impression is of German chocolate cake. Very sweet and smooth. There is more of a pronounced date quality than fig on the palate. Some heat on the finish but if paired correctly (Cigars, a mousse of some sort, pudding, other desserts with high fat contents) it might not be noticed. All in all an excellent beer.

 504 characters

Photo of charlesw
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice and dark and opaque. To get any kind of head out of it you REALLY have to be vigorous on the pour! Smells pretty good - alcohol and chocolate malts. Tastes of a million different things. A bit over the top on the sweetness and little to no bitterness to balance that out, but it has the great advantage of not tasting like Quick (know what I mean?). There's chocolate and dark licorice and plum brandy. And raisins. And treacle and other molasses-like things. But it's too sweet/thick in the mouth. Ah well. Knock that down and bump up the bitterness and this would be outstanding. As it is, it is really good and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to try it.

 667 characters

Photo of alovesupreme
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Portsmouth Snifter this beer is pitch black with a small dark brown head that dissipates quickly.
Bourbon. Coffee, raison vanilla and alcohol.
So. Much. Flavor. This beer is actually pretty sweet, with coffee and chocolate notes that then give way to the more subtle flavors such as vanilla and molasses. This beer has more bourbon character than any other beer I have yet to try including, Older Viscosity, Abyss, KBS etc. The after taste on this beer is of real maple syrup and is similar to that of the Sam Adams utopias, which is phenomenal.
Syrupy and sweet. This beer coats the tongue and lingers long after.
What a fantastic beer. A slow sipper in the truest sense. I have been sipping mine for 30 mins already and am only half way through the beast.

 772 characters

Photo of sonicdescent
3.63/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep black with no head and minimal highlights. Looks like a glass of used oil.

Smells of whiskey cover anything else. This may unseat Black Magick as the hottest smelling beer I have tried.

Taste thankfully is not quite as hot as the magick and actually quote complex, comparable in character to founders kbs. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee are present. Alcohol is a doozy.

Mouth is thick and near flat, as it should be. Warming sensation is present.

Overall a bit too boozy for my tastes..I'd love to try the stout before the barrel aging.

 553 characters

Photo of br3wmeister
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours super dark brown almost black with a tiny brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves not lacing.

S- Lots of deep rich aromas, molasses, tobacco, dark chocolate and coffee up front. Also some nice sweetness comes through in the middle, hints of vanilla. Bourbon notes from beginning to end with a light touch of hops.

T- This is a very rich full flavored beer starting off with chocolate, brown sugar and tobacco flavors that lead into some smooth sweetness again I would say vanilla. Then there is a good bourbon kick and it drys out rapidly with a hint of hops and dry roasted bitter aftertaste. Some alcohol bite in the end.

M- Full bodied with some good smoothness initially then an alcohol and hop bite in the end. Quite enjoyable.

Overall I would have to say this is a great stout. Great aroma and flavors, the head is lacking a bit but it more then makes up for it in other areas. Yumm.

 910 characters

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

Thanks to JohnTravolta21 for this bottle, 06 vintage!

Pours thick, syrupy jet black, standard RIS appearance. Cocoaey one-finger head, a bit of lacing. Smells big of bourbon barrel and booze, but in a good way, has a sweetness to it instead of a bitterness.

First thought: Holy crap, it's an expresso RIS! Huge sweetness explodes on the start with a bit of vanilla, then tempered by the booziness of the bourbon taste, with some woodiness as well. Slight bitterness through the end with some hops (about in the middle, as far as RISes go), and an absolute coffee blast at the end. The booziness and the coffee are what linger, but the booziness (aged taste) makes you shudder in a great way, not from acrid bitterness, but from how well those flavors merge with everything else going on. First and foremost though, this is a hugely sweet RIS. The sweetness never completely relents, just is tempered into the rest of the flavor. Mouthful is coating, filling, lingering in all the right ways, amazing spunk behind this beer. Pretty creamy, just rolls off the tongue. The ABV doesn't come off nearly as much as in the smell, it hides it better probably than any Impy Stout I've tried so far save Abyss. As it warms, the bourbon aspect comes out more and more, but while it gives a nice kick, i don't feel it really detracts a great deal from drinkability. I think the fact that mine is 2 years old makes this aspect stand out more than it normally would. After drinking, the lingering flavors are like from one of those flavored coffee drinks from Starbucks, except those feel overly sweet and artificial, while this feels hearty, naturally/perfectly sweet and delicious. I don't know how the fresher stuff comes off, but this aged bottle is amazing!

 1,751 characters

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

I did a side by side of the 06, 07, and 08. This beer ages like a champ and the numerical ratings are for the 06 vintage.

A: All of them are dark black but the 06 allows a little light to get through the edges. No real head on any of them.

S: They all smell so good but the 06 is the heaviest, maltiest, and chewiest of them all. They all reek of bourbon.

T: Age does this beer wonders. The 08 is a super hot beer and even the 07 is considerably smoother. The 08 has a bunch of vanilla behind the head, the 07 features more wood, and the 06 is simply wonderful and almost creamy and slick like an oatmeal stout.

M: While the 07 and 08 are good,, the 06 steals the show. It is as smooth as a baby's ass.

D: The only hit against this beer is the slight over-sweetness. Otherwise it's great.

 793 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.