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Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,852 Reviews
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

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: 2,852 | Ratings: 11,745
Photo of Spidey13
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage: pours black as well with a teeny-tiny brown head. Lots of roastiness and coffee on the nose, alogn with a bit of alcohol, bourbon, and smoke.

The taste is very nice, with lots of sweet roasty flavors. Some chocolate/caramel Rollo action also shows up. Some alcohol, vanilla, oak flavors also. The mouthfeel is very smooth with low carbonation.

Overall, this beer is way too drinkable to be 13% ABV. I'm feeling pretty good after this bottle.

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Photo of schroederm
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a goblet:

Dark as night. Pours with a satisfying glug-glug-glug: thick as hell. Head dissipates pretty much immediately into a chocolaty ring. Little lacing. Smell and taste... BOURBON. I'm quite a fan. The nose is overwhelming, and hides several elements you'll find in the taste: molasses, vanilla, mesquite honey, and milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is quite viscous. Slightly more drinkable than its peers, but at 13% a couple beers go very far.

Overall: My review may be a little skewed. This beer is dwarfed by the Older Viscosity I had recently. I'd say it's on par or slightly better than the Founder's Kentucky... so in short, this is a fantastic beer, especially if you're a bourbon fan.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A= Pours an oily black color with no head on it but you can't expect much from a beast like this. No lacing on the glass but a distinct darkness left.
S= Deep bourbon notes, heavy chocolate, smooth coffee, creamy vanilla, ect. This beer actually surprised me and left me a little confused. There is sooo much to smell. Each whiff gives off a very distinctive nd very unique odor. They notes are all very easy to pick out and choose from. Wow
T= Just like the nose. Amazing taste on this beer. Like it says on the label. There is more flavor in this beer that in the average case of beer. There definitely is a lot of flavor. The bourbon is there but doesn't run the show like I expected it would.
M= Coats your mouth in a slick oily ooze. Finishes sooo smooth. This baby will get very very nice with some time on it.
D= Wow, if I could afford this or if I could handle this all the time I would. I wish non-alcoholic beer tasted like this so I could just drink it all the time. This beer lives up to everything everyone has ever said about it. Amazing and delicious. I can't wait to have more. The new interesting things kept coming and hopefully will carry on to the next glass. This beer is an adventure.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a thick used motor oil black color. The head is a quarter inch of tan foam which recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is of chocolate, graham crackers (it reminds me of smores), roasted malt and booze. The taste is like the aroma times ten. There is so much chocolate, and roasted male that it is nearly overwhelming....nearly but not quite. There is some firm heat in the finish, but it really adds to the experience. The mouthfeel is extremely full bodied with a vibrant, silky texture, and appropriately low carbonation. Overall, I have a true love for huge imperial stouts. Sure I couldn't drink them every day, but I love having one every other month or so. I really like how this stout isn't overpowered with hops. A hoppy stout (along with a hoppy hefe) is kind of beer I just can't stand. I could taste some hops in this beer, but they were in the background, and I'm sure will fade with age. It seems that a lot of other huge imperial stouts have coffee, or chocolate, of wood, or bourbon in them. I like that Bourbon County doesn't. It truly is a classic imperial stout, but bigger.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.28/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with small mocha head. Virtually no retention or lacing. Looks a bit like a glass of paint. Smell was very boozy, too bozy for me. I found it to be a little distracting. Beneath the alcohol there was some toffee and vanilla cream. The taste wasnt terrible, the best part about this beer. A complex blend of caramel, vanilla, expresso, alcohol, and sweet chocolate syrup. Very thick mouthfeel. Perhaps the thickest, most dense beer I've ever had. Not the most drinkable beer. While I did enjoy it, I certainly did not fall in love with it. The look was off, the smell was overpowering, the taste was very intense, and it was heavy as a brick. Not to mention the ABV which will kick your butt.

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Ginger Man at NYC, a 13oz pour in a large snifter.

I've had it in the bottle before and really liked it, but it was even better on tap. Incredibly dark, pitch black nearly, with some brown highlights. Minimal head. Smell is huge chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, with a lot of darker fruit and, of course, oak. Some earthy hops in there but pretty overwhelmed by the malt. Alcohol present. The taste is lots and lots of caramel, vanilla, oak; thick, syrupy malt, with just the right amount of carbonation. As I continued through the snifter it really opened up to raspberries, cherries, lactose, bourbon, boozey spice. Finishes with a nice layer of just slightly bitter hops. The alcohol is there, but it's nicely hidden especially considering the abv.

Will be going back to Ginger Man for this one.

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Photo of Mdog
4.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, small head quickly fades out, I suppose that's pretty typical for a really high ABV beer.

Smell: Bourbon, booze, vanilla, char.

Taste: Rich vanilla sweetness, butterscotch, chocolate, alcohol burn in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and coating.

Drinkability: Have to take it slow, one is enough for a night. Plus it is really expensive so more of a special treat than a regular.

Next in the line of stouts I'm trying here in the frigid winter is the Bourbon County Stout. I used to live next to Bourbon County, Kansas and I don't recall a big distillery business there? :-)

Anyway, I liked this beer a lot. Usually even with very strong beers I drink them too fast and too cold. I let this one sit out for a while before opening and then took about 45 minutes longer than usual to drink the 12oz. Very tasty stuff.

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Photo of ThirdLap
3.87/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Stone IRS goblet @ ~55°. Picked this one up from the Vacaville Nugget for $5. Probably my eighth GIBCS in the last three months.

This stuff pours like Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. Thick, and with no head to speak of, GIBCS doesn't leave legs, it coats the glass like polyurethane. Jesus.

Bourbon, soy, alcohol, and dark fruits are the first things that hit me. This isn't beer with a hint of bourbon, it's bourbon with a hint of beer! Not necessarily a bad thing, but surprising unless you know what you're in for! A previous glass of this prompted me to break out my bottle of Maker's Mark, something I do maybe 3x year.

Dark chocolates, vanilla, dark fruits, and molasses reveal themselves at it warms. I don't quite get the coffee or anise that others found. The heavy mollases and sweetness has me searching my vocabulary, and I find myself coming very close to using the word 'cloying' for the first time in a review.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily. Carbonation is minimal, and the finish is characterized by strong alcohol burn and a distinct coating of the mouth.

I don't think I've ever made it through more than one of these in a sitting.

I begin to realize about halfway into the glass how much I've already missed. This is a hugely complex beer. GIBCS deserves its spot on the top 100 not because it's the best of its style, but because it's one that keeps you coming back to explore further. It pushes the boundaries as to what beer is supposed to (and can) be, the kind that expands palates and helps create new styles.

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Photo of bowersdm
4.87/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2008 vintage bottle poured into a nonic

A - a oily, thick dark liquid, as black and majestic as the nightsky. No head to speak of despite an aggressive pour with nearly 16 inches of space between bottle and glass.

S - distilled oak aged corn beverages, commonly known as bourbon, with a predominant nose of oak, smoke, tobacco, cocoa and the ever present barrel aged beer favorite, vanilla.

T - cocoa, chocolate and malt followed by a chorus of oaky bourbon goodness complete with smoke, tobacco and vanilla solos. The 13% ABV is only noticed as a burn on the back of the palate at the end and a burn down the throat as the beer oozes to the stomach.

M - amazing considering this brew's lack of head. It was creamy, thick, chewy, viscous, but at the same time smooth and velvety.

D - this beer is amazing. The alcohol really slows down the enjoyment of it (for me at least, but it's an amazing beer.)

If this beer had a head, even a 1cm head, this would be the greatest beer I've ever had and would be deserving of a perfect 5.0 rating. I am glad I bought a four pack.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at the Ginger Man in NY.
Pours out a headless pitch deathly black color. Looks like a thick glass of dark goodness.
First impressions are huge whiffs of burbon spiciness,cocoas,hazelnuts,chestnuts,phenlolic-nose hair burnin'tastiness, a huge malt backbone supports and smooths out all rough edges that a 13.5% stout aged in burbon barrels for a hundred days that may have incurred. This is a big, bad stout begging to be tasted...
And now that I have, Wow! Burbons,smoky oaks,bitter cocoa,vanilla,that huge malt backbone catches in the throat,providing the smoothness to the burbony hotness. This is really tasty stuff. Smokes come through as warming occurs,as Im sipping it everso-slowly lest the bottom of my glass appears. Immense,yet immensely smooth and balnced.
The flavor of this beer is perfect for the beast it was created as. Any "burbon" aged stout should be a perfect marriage of burbon spiciness with stout viscosity and smoothness. This beer is this and beyond, I haven't had all great Burbon stouts yet,such as Black OPS or Kentucky Breakfast,but I can't imagine a better flavor profile.
Goose Island makes good beer,yet their truly greats are their experimental beers (Matilda, Pere' Jacques, Demolition, Burbon County), They truly have a knack for exceptional "big" beers.

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

A - Very dark, I was impressed the moment it poured out of the bottle

S - Nice sweet smell, hint of carmel

T- very smooth, has a distinct hint of bourbon

M - medium bodied, very smooth and not too carbonated

D - Very high. I will definitely buy this beer again

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemless red wine glass.

A-Out of the bottle, this stuff looked like motor oil: thick, black, opaque, viscous. Very little head was able to rise off the pour, but what's there (and arises with agitation) is dark brown.

S-Immediately upon starting my pour, I sensed a bourbony essence in the room. I brought the beer to my nose to investigate further and found mounts of vanilla bean, smokiness, roasty and chocolatey malts, and nuances of bourbon barrel. As the beer warmed, I was finding more alcohol in the nose, mingling with the bourbony aromas.

T-Vanilla bean, smokey with a roasted malt and chocolate malt character. Bourbon nuances come and go with authority. Hop bitterness is there, and gosh, I think I can even decipher some hop characters here and there. Finish is vanilla and bourbon with a smooth (though, at times, borderline harsh) alcohol flavor.

M-Carbonation is very low, affording a more vinuous characteristic to this beer. To call this beer "full-bodied" would not do this monster justice! I had to chew this one a few times to get it down. The tingle of alcohol flirts on my tongue and palate, but remains quite smooth.

D-I liked the interplay of all of the rich, big flavors in this beer, making it immensly comlex and enjoyable. I sipped this one slowly after work on the coldest day in Minnesota in years, and boy did it warm me up fast! Having drank a bottle of the 2008, I can't wait to see how my additional couple bottles of this one will taste in a year or two.

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Photo of spartan2k
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I figured it was about time I reviewed some beers, and this was a good one to start with.

2007 version, poured into a unibroue tulip glass.

Pours pitch black. Thick and viscous. Smell of bourbon apparent immediately. The first sip is all bourbon. At first I am taken aback, but the complexities of the beer and the bourbon are delicious (note: I am a huge fan of bourbon).

Second sip also heavy on the bourbon, but the intensity of the bourbon subsides after warming a bit. Notes of vanilla predominate, as well as some overtones of oak from the barrel.

Mouthfeel is very creamy. Surprisingly smooth beer despite the high ABV and the intensity at first pour. Alcohol is well hidden, and the sweetness balances well with the oak.

Overall, an outstanding beer. May well be my new favorite. Each sip seems like a different experience. I can't wait to try the versions from other years.

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

Pours almost pitch black with a very small dark tan head that fades very quickly. Smell of sweet cocoa powder, slight coffee, and bourbon. Flavors of dark chocolate, sweet maltiness balanced by a roasted grain. The bourbon then comes on very powerfully, but its not just bourbon flavored, which I like. Finishes with cocoa powder and vanilla and a strong alcohol burn. Perfectly carbonated, with a thick chewy body and a strong alcohol burn. very good beer and the 13% abv is hidden well. Perfect dessert dinner. Will age nicely.

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Photo of jophish17
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle that a friend brought back from Indiana for me, poured into my favorite Terrapin snifter. Bottled Oct 08, I'm reviewing fresh for now.

Let's just get this strait from the start: I love bourbon.

Aroma: strong, you can smell it from a few feet away, and that is just a hint of what you get when you bring it to your face. Once up close, the distinct smell of American bourbon comes out heavy, and it supported with more subtle notes of chocolate, caramel and roasted malts. Not many beers smell better, this one is shaping up to be legendary

Appearance: black. It poured out of the bottle with a tad more viscosity than motor oil. Even when holding it up to a lamp, light can't find its way through. No head except for a tiny ring around the edge of the glass, this is what I expect a beer like this to look like.

Taste: it starts out brilliant - chocolate, sweet molasses-like malts, the bourbon of course, and a little bit of oaky vanilla. The finish is where the beer goes from great to out of this world - the bourbon flavor hits hard and warms all the way down.

Feel: its just as thick and full-bodied as I expected. Wonderful presence on the palate.

Drinkability: more drinkable than it should be. Alcohol is there, but that doesn't keep me from craving more. I think I need to drive up and get a case of this.

One of my new favorite beers. A must have for anyone with even a faint appreciation for bourbon. Updated 12.09 after having Black Tuesday make this beer look almost pedestrian in comparison

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Photo of DoctorDog
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

A- Extreme dark brown and opaque. Extremely harsh pour produces almost no head whatsoever, save a smattering of tiny foam islands, which will soon fade away to nothing.

S- Strong smell of boozy bourbon. Sweet vanilla and oak notes emerge as the beer warms.

T- Sweet, malty bourbon flavors with a boozy kick, along with big vanilla notes. Alcohol presence is powerful without being overpowering...

M- Minimal carbonation. Fairly thick, coating, and slick. Warming from alcohol notable.

D- In my book, this is quite clearly a slow sip-and-savor only beer.

Future outlook: For a non-bourbon drinker, this beer did quite well by me...however...this beer isn't legal in Ohio due to an archaic law placing an ABV% cap for beer @12%...pfffft...

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

While drinking this I felt I should finally review a beer. I wish I could be as descriptive as others but perhaps with time.

Appearance - Poured into a snifter glass. The color is about as dark as they come. Had to hold it directly over a light to see a hint of brown.

Smell - The smell is amazing, definitely strong, however I can't put my finger on it. The girlfriend could smell it from about 4 feet away.

Taste - The first taste is of bourbon with a slight chocolate finish. Definitely flavorful.

Mouthfeel - It feels like a typical stout to me, thick and heavy. Although it has that feel in my throat like I drank some hard liquor.

Drinkability - This is definitely one you want to take your time on. Definitely not something that should be rushed through.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.97/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried on June 20, 2008 12 oz.

Pours dark thick and black, no head. Dark molasses in color, black with a few bubbles. Aroma is molasses, vanilla, coffee. Smells "dark" - black as your soul... Thick, chocolate syrup, intense cocoa flavors. Whew! Vicks 44 burn in finish. Aftertaste is sweet like a spiced cake - gingery. Fogs up your head!

Good stuff!

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

Certainly my favorite gem from Goose Island. The pour gave almost no head at all which for such a heavy stout is alright by me. The smell was very heavy bourbon- YUMMY.
The tatse was beautiful-vanilla, chocolate, toffe, spice and faint notes of licorice.
The mouthfell and drinkability was outstanding, especially for a higher abv beer.
If you're a stout drinker this ought to be in your fridge or on your list.

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

This is my first review on BA... I picked one hell of a beer to begin!

A: A text-heavy, 12 oz. brown bottle (circa 2008). Now THIS is Imperial Stout! It pours darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonless prairie night (man, I love Lebowski quotes!). I don't even see a hint of reddish hues on the edges of my Terrapin snifter: black, black, black! The head is the only negative, but I've learned to curb my expectations with 13% ABV brews. A very hard pour only yielded about 1/4" of foam with no lace to speak of.

S: I've been on a huge oak-aged kick, lately (thanks New Holland/Terrapin/Harviestoun), and this beer only reinforces the addiction. The end of a deep inhale actually gives the nostrils a slight burn reminiscent of a shot of good bourbon. Vanilla is pretty apparent along with caramel and roasted malt.

T: Bourbon immediately reaches the back corners of the tongue and initiates the right kind of pucker. The malt profile comes through right away to balance the whiskey. Pretty sweet led by vanilla with roasted malt, chocolate, slight caramel, and very slight smoke notes as well. A bit of alcohol warms the chest almost immediately, but I can't justify docking the score for it.

M: The mouthfeel is wonderfully full with very slight carbonation. I could probably let one swig rest on my tongue for a whole minute without even thinking about it.

D: A reliable friend who recommended this beer said he had trouble drinking a bottle by himself. No problems here! In fact, I don't know that I've ever had that kind of struggle with any beer (except Tecate). I could get drunk off of Bourbon County Brand Stout if had more than one bottle. However, I'm sure it would bring one hell of a hangover!

Notes: If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that you can find this beer distributed (or make regular holiday trips back to the midwest to see family) hunt down this hard to find treat. It's worth every penny!

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Photo of Reidrover
3.8/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2008 12 oz single bought at "Habits" in Salem Oregon $4.50 a bottle. Great brown sugar,espresso coffee, vanilla and wood aromas vVery dark brown almost black beer, creamy light brown head. Flavour is similar to the aroma, but more alcoholic.Bourbon really shows. The mouthfeel is the greatest thing about this beer,thick,silky ,creamy like a good quality milk shake! Good beer indeed. But i prefered Full Sails Bourbon Barrel beers better.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the Ginger Man 01-09-08

Served in a oversized snifter glass $9

A- dark black, with a thin brown head that fades with minimal lacing

S- WOW, is this a burbon or beer i'm drinking, strong burbon aroma with some burnt notes of caramel in the back

T- Very smooth and mellow, wood comes through a lot along with some malts, the bite in this one is the alcohol.

M- coats the whole mouth in a silky way, with minimal carbonation and full bodied

D- def a sipper, better as it warms. Any burbon drinker will love this beer. If you are looking for an imperial stout this is not your normal one. But if you have the chance try it, i wouldn't pick up a 6pack of this stuff

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Photo of olmatty
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Coffee brown low head with no retention or no lacing. Maybe a failed pour by me contributing to these findings. Thick black syrupy liquid.

Smell- Powerful tang of port wine fairly stings the nose. Roasty espresso malt riding beneath. Just the pour and smell tell you its an enormous beer.

Taste- Port wine espresso infused with dried orange peel. Alcohol warmth clears the sinuses with each sip. More wine-like than Bourbon, though this flavor is clearly from the oak bourbon barrels. Notes of tobacco and dried fruits and a whole lot more. Flavor just goes on for miles.

Mouthfeel- Thick and strong with low carbonation. Only a sip is needed or possible.

Drinkability- A cinder block of ale squeezed into a twelve ounce glass. You might want to split even twelve ounces.

Overall- On top of Bourbon aging, massive malt presence. If ever a beer was crafted to be had with a cigar this is it. Store clerk told me it tasted like cough syrup, maybe he drinks Coors or Bud. Some folks just want less from life. I wish I had bought everything bottle they had.

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

appearance- pours black with a thin mocha colored head. a good bit of lace

smell- bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, and some dark fruit

taste- the same taste as the smell but all the flavors stand out much more in the taste.

mouthfeel- full body with good carbonation and a Warming alcohol presence.

drinkability- a great sipper beer. took me about an hour to finish 1 12oz bottle.

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Photo of Itoclown
2.53/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Purchased at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Drank on the night of the BCS National Championship.

Look: Pours with no head or carbonation whatsoever... When finished pouring, a little reddish/brown head forms and quickly disappears.
Smell: Very strong... Could feel it singeing my nose with the alcohol. Very complex.
Taste: Has to be the thickest beer I've ever had. The first sip is the best. After that, it's all downhill. It's complex. But because of the alcohol and harshness... Nothing sticks out. Felt myself gagging the more I drank.
Mouthfeel: Comfortable on the tongue and then leaves a singeing feeling on your tongue with a lot of coffee taste. Also, cakes your mouth like drinking cough syrup.
Overall: OK. I am a little harsh on this review for such a highly rated beer. I had some high expectations for this beer... I was expecting something a lot smoother and easier on the palate.(This may have done me in) BUT I was wrong... It tasted like a lesser %ABV Sam Adams Utopia. BCS was waaay too overwhelming. Too heavy for my tastes. I've never had a beer that made the hair on my arms stand up until I had this beer. Finally in the end... It became a drain pour and I must say I will not try this again. That being said, Goose Island is one of my favorite breweries in the world. I can't recommend this but I highly recommend their other beers.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,852 ratings.
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