Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,948 Reviews
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
60 IBU

Added by drewbage on 06-26-2003

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Reviews: 2,948 | Ratings: 12,138
Photo of LtCracker20
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split the bomber with my wife. Poured into Portsmouth and Smuttynose tulips.

A- Poured a deep black body with a thin coffee colored head. Very little head, but that's ok with the ABV%. Left a slight cap, but that left a little too quick.

S- Holy Bourbon, Batman! It dominates the smell, but as it warms, hints of vanilla, oak, and slight burnt aromas are there as well. Would've been a 5, but the bourbon is way too much, even for a Bourbon aged stout.

T- Almost exactly like the smell, but the bourbon is a little subdued. Much better as it warms.

M/F- Extremely silky and creamy. Amazing full bodied beer here.

D- A 13% ABV hurts the drinkability, but would have no problem sipping this one all night.

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

Reviewed from notes - 5/7/10.

Bottle dated 12/18/09 poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a thick oily darkness. This beer is about as dark as it can get. Half an inch of dark brown head forms around the glass only to recede quickly into a residual ring. Very little, if any lacing.

S: Rich oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Sweet chocolate malts lie in the back of the nose. The creamy bourbon along with a woodiness dominates the forefront.

T: Warm bourbon attacks the palette immediately. A nice oakiness and vanilla smooth out the burn. Fairly hot beer. I would love to see what a year or two would do on this beer.

M: Chewy, creamy, and rich body. Moderate to light carbonation. Wonderful texture.

D: Way too boozy to be considered very drinkable. Great sipping beer, but I've got a feeling I won't be drinking much after this bomber.

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Photo of Rchap1
4.26/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Goose Island Clybourn.

A: Black as night...the folks from the brewery weren't lying when they said that there's literally no light coming through this one. Really thin khaki head that disappears quickly, leaving just a tiny bit of lacing.

S: This one smells like you have your head inside a bourbon barrel. Really strong with the whiskey and tannins, you can catch a little bit of a malty scent in there, but I couldn't pick up on any hops.

T: Tasted exactly like I expected it to. Really really strong, exceptionally bitter, and with a nice little bit of warmth to it. For being as dark of an IS as this is, I'm surprised at how sweet it was. All in all though, this is definitely up there in terms of taste for a BA imperial stout.

M: Each sip went in really smooth, and you don't get any of the warmth until the swallow and aftertaste, which in my mind is how I want BA beers to come across. Overall really full for pretty small sips.

D: Ha! I had a 12 oz. snifter, and was feeling the effects pretty quickly. Honestly, I bet I could've had another, but I'd say not much past that. Great beer, went down smooth, but limit yourself!

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

Poured from 2009 bottle into oversized Pinot wine glass.

A- Nice slightly syrupy dark black with a nice light brown head that was less than 1 finger that worked its way down to a slight ring with little to no lacing that left the glass slightly brown in color.

S- Wow loads of bourbon with some molasses, roasted malts and almost a slight soy sauce scent and tons of vanilla oak. Very nice but would like to see more than just Bourbon.

T- Wow again nice syrupy flavor with molasses slight roasted malt loads of bourbon flavors and a nice vanilla oak flavor, pick up the slightest taste of soy sauce but it is just overwhelming bourbon.

M- Full mouthfeel with moderate carbonation that could use more time in the bottle but nice none the less. Alcohol is present but not harsh which is nice.

D- Sipper, I finished the bomber with no problem but I love barrel aged beers and this was just great.

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

Bomber bottled 12/18/09.
In a snifter the beer was an ebony color with a thin orange/brown head.
Lots of aroma. Chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon, and just a whiff of smoke.
Fantastic taste. First up, and predominating, sweet chocolate. A little coffee. Vanilla and oak. A slug of bourbon. Lastly, a bit of charcoal.
While the alcohol was noticeable, it was only a pleasant part of the whole experience. I wouldn't have guessed it to be 13% ABV. Very rich.
One of the best RIS I have ever had.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 12 oz bottle of the Bourbon County Stout. Bottled on 10/21/08. Batch number (?) 0807.

Pours a very slick and syrupy thick. Completely black, with a tan foamy head. Good retention on the head.

Smells are biting, with sweetness and alcohol at the forefront: molasses, maple syrup, again the alcohol. A little overwhelming.

Flavors are the same: big chewy mouth of molasses and syrup, balanced by a very slight bitterness. Definite bite from the alcohol. Still, this is pleasantly enjoyable.

Fairly thick mouthfeel, appropriate to the style.

You have to drink this slowly, because you can really feel that 13% ABV. Glad I split the bottle. But overall it's delicious - works best as a dessert, I think.

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

Aroma of dark chocolate, cream, raisins and sweet bourbon, tastes like liqueur chocolates, one of my favorites snacks of all time. I am impressed a great deal by this beer. The alcohol is masked well but I can feel it inside me. I was expecting this to be one of the darkest beers but this is a beautiful dark chocolately brown color. After I rinsed my bottle out I realized the residue left was still darker than most beers even though this was dilluted probably one to five hundred. I feel like I am sipping bourbon and chasing it with chocolate. Fantastic stout.

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

I opened the bottle and lifted the opening to my nose. The smells coming from inside are delicious
first is a semi-sweet choclate smell mixed with a soft coffee aroma. My wife's first reaction was to say "MMMM". I then poured the bottle into an oversized wine glass and held it to the light the color is true blackout black, there is no sign of the light on the other side of the glass. A small brownish tinged head formed but dissapeted quickly, a little lacing but not much. My first sip immediatley I thought of that dark choclate candy that my grandmother used to carry around with her, it was choclate laced with a slight peppery flavor very rich. The acohol is noticable as I thought of some fine moonshine. I sipped my beer for about an hour and didn't finish as the beer is very filling and rich. I think ideally this is a good beer to share with someone else. Overall I enjoyed it. I will be looking forward to haveing another. Also would like to see how this ages. The brewery suggests Five years on the bottle.

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Photo of simpliciter
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - a typical stout; a thin tan head over clear dark pour.

S - deeply chocolatey nose, with obvious foreshadowing of the bourbon flavor to come.

T - opens with a huge chocolate truffle fudge flavor, then fades into the bourbon. hints of coffee. chocolate covered espresso beans soaked in bourbon. finishes clean but with a hot alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

M - coats lightly. seems too light, but something heavier might be overwhelming? difficult to balance this much flavor with an appropriate texture.

D - pair with peppery beef or try for dessert.

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Photo of jones3aj
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From notes)

Chilled bottle poured into a glass.

Bought this bottle of 2007 Bourbon County Brand Stout on 5/14/10. I'd be really interested to compare this to the 2008 and 2009 varieties to see how it ages.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with absolutely no head. (Bottle described it as having a thick head, so I assume this is the result of oxidation.) A very fine ring of reddish tan circumvented the interior of the glass.

Smell: The maltiness of this beer jumps right out at you from the second you pop the cap. Noted in order: Malty, Alcohol, Coffee, Chocolate, Smokey, Vanilla (after reaching room temperature).

Taste: Once again, fantastic maltiness. A mouthful of the darkest cacao beans you can find. Smokiness fills the palate from front to back. As should be expected from 13%, there is an alcoholic bite that lasts well into your second or third exhalation. I had hoped for more powerful bourbon notes , but wasn't disappointed with their absence. Smoke and chocolate flavors intensify as the beer warms, and you'll even find hints of vanilla strolling amongst the complexity of this beast.

Mouthfeel: Excellent experience as the smooth and creamy nature of this beer clashes with the strong burn of alcohol on your tongue and in the back of your throat!

Drinkability: Excellent choice. Lived up to what my mind had decided it 'should' be. You probably wouldn't want to do more than one of these by yourself. After one, you'll find your ability to detect taste, smell, and most other senses will be thoroughly... altered!

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- Poured with no head, it reminded me of pouring a glass of coke! Pitch black and thick.

s- Slight smell of bourbon, first smell gave a chill up my spine.

t- Slightly sweet, bourbon was not really too strong, which surprised me, based on the smell

m- not much carbonation, leaves the mouth a little dry

d- very good beer, but I would probably only drink one at a time

Overall, very good beer. I would like to be patient enough to wait to see what it would be like after a year or so of developing.

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

Poured thick and viscous from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Very, very dark brown with the only suggestions of color coming through the stream between bottle and glass. A finger and a half of head the color of cocoa powder, which disappeared within seconds. Immediately I smell bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. I have never smelled a beer like this before. Taste is bourbon sweet, vanilla and chocolate, the chocolate almost identical to some candy I remember my grandmother giving me when I was a kid. Mouthfeel is smooth, heavy and tingling from both the alcohol and a bit of carbonation. I actually give this higher marks than I would have thought on drinkability, but I should point out that it took me two hours to finish 12 ounces.

This beer definitely lived up to my expectations and was far and away more unique than I could have imagined. Truly exceptional.

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Photo of divineaudio
4.52/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter. bottled on 1/14/10.

pours a thick, greasy dark brown to black. only gave me a thin ring of dark brown head and no lace, but i'll forgive them a little due to the high abv.

the smell alone is intoxicating! i'm getting roasted malt, brown sugar, smoke, oak, herbal hops and glorious booze. taste follows, and adds notes of coffee, vanilla and a slight alcohol astringency. has a dessert like sweetness to it, and i would love to have a gelato made with this. there is some bitterness on the sides of the tongue, but it seems to come more from the alcohol than the hops. finish is long and sweet, and the flavor becomes much fuller as it warms up.

body is chewy and thick with a nice creaminess and a bit of alcohol warming.

this is definitely a slow sipper, and one bottle should last you all night. gonna have to get more of this for cellaring, i bet it mellows out splendidly.

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

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage, pours a viscous jet black with minimal head which quickly settles down to even less.

This is a super rich, sweet dessert beer. Loads of bourbon in the nose and taste but I feel is has mellowed a bit and integrated a little better than fresh, super sweet, chocolate cake and vanilla, just a hint of cinnamon and wood off the barrel as well. A decent roast that is enveloped by the other qualities, could us a little more to give a bit of dryness to the finish and some balance. Super slick and thick mouthfeel, sulks through the mouth. Just delightful to drink with with dessert or as a nightcap, hides the ABV relatively well for such a big beer. Should just keep on getting better, yum!

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Photo of Stacy53
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Goose Island- Bourbon County Band Stout- Bottled on: 11/12/09

Aged under a year, only 6 months

A- Black and thick, very thin brown caramel head that down not stay around for long.

S- Strong warm boozy bourbon, with a rich dark chocolate smell. This beer's smell was hard for me to identify.

T- Sweet chocolate, smoky, and creamy. The taste is so great it is almost indescribable.

M- Thick HUGE Beer, and still it is very lightly carbonated and smooth.

D- Again, very smooth yet still a slow sipper to saver this outstanding beer.

Today is my 25th birthday and this was the perfect beer to savor and enjoy for this day. I have two more bottles of this and I am going to age them for a few more years to see what comes of these flavors!

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

Lucky to find this at Vendome in Toluca Lake, CA. They had two vintage 2008s just chillin in the back. The appearance is BLACK and VERY minimal head. I poured this very aggressively, and the head was still very minimal. The smell is SUPER sweet, and not a chocolatey or coffee sweet. This is WAY different than any other Imperial Stout I've ever had. The taste is very sweet with a smokey taste that hits the back of the palate. Strong Bourbon taste which makes this the thing that stands out with this HUGE beer! Even though the carbonation is very minimal, it still drinks very well. This would be great as a dessert after a light dinner. This is very rich, so I don't think I could have more than 1 in a single sitting, but it is 1 that is WELL WORTH IT!

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Photo of drumhaggart
1.92/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Black. Minimal coffee-colored head that dissipated rapidly

S - Bourbon. Overwhelmingly bourbon. Nothing but bourbon

T - Bourbon. Strong bourbon

M - Smooth. Carbonation seemed just about right

D - I'm sorry, but I couldn't finish this bottle.

This tastes to me like stout-flavored bourbon. I like bourbon. When I was younger, bourbon was my mixed drink of choice. I do not, however, find this mixture appealing (in any way, shape or form). If you want the same taste (at less cost), just mix Ten High half and half with Guinness.

Apparently a large number of folks find this appealing. I am not one of them.

Edit: In all fairness, this beer had only been in the bottle for 5 months. Another year of aging could have an effect on my opinion, but it is unlikely to make me love this beer. If I wanted bourbon, I would have bought bourbon.

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

Pours pitch black with dark brown around the edges. Very brief fizzle of dark cocoa head that's gone in an instant and leaves a ring around of the glass.

Has a sweet boozy aroma with notes of oak and vanilla with some malty chocolate, caramel, a whiff of dark fruits and some smoky undertones. Really amazing.

Very rich flavor of smoky malt with vanilla, caramel and sweet chocolate. It's fairly boozy (but not hot or solvent-like), which comes across as fruitiness and a wonderful oak character that plays very well off the sweet and smoky malt.

It's full bodied and amazingly smooth with a nice warming sensation. Very mouth coating and leaves a sweet stickiness.

This is truly an amazing beer with huge rich flavors and spectacular aroma. Despite the high ABV, it still manages to be very smooth and easy to drink. The booze is obvious but very well tamed.

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Photo of thepeter
3.95/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Another big thanks to TenderMorsel for bringing this one over for me try.

A - Pours a pitch black with a caramel colored head that fades quickly to a decent lacing

S - Bourbon, vanilla, dark brown sugar, reminder me of an overly sweet breakfast cereal for adults

T - (In no particular order) Chocolate, vanilla, burnt brown sugar, Oak, slight smoke, the warmth of alcohol throughout

M/D - Very smooth and creamy, definitely a sipper

Very well crafted but a little too sweet for me, which is crazy as this would have been my favorite beer back a few years ago. I do see what all the fuss is about though.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours pitch black with a gold head that disappeared fairly soon

S-bourbon, wood smokiness, dark chocolate with espresso

T-much of the same as the smell, the bourbon flavor is more subtle after a few months of resting; definite dark chocolate notes at the end

M-very smooth and creamy with medium carbonation; helps cut the high alcohol

D-its intense but for 13% it is very well hidden; fresh bcs was a bit much for me with the bourbon flavor but after a couple of months it was much nicer; a year or two on this beer would probably be amazing

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

2007 vintage. Thanks to Brian23456!!!

Poured into SN 30th chalice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of tigg924
2.71/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: minimal head, black in color, opaque

Smell: big oak, whiskey, molasses, some toasted malt

Taste: big oak, whiskey, molasses, chocolate, cookie dough

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: This one is not my cup of tea, although it is certainly worth trying. I think that the oak taste overpowers the stout. The actual chocolate cookie part of the stout I like. If this was a bit less oaky, I would get this again, but for my taste the flavors did not blend as well as I would have hoped.

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

Poured in to a tulip.

A: This beer is black. Doesn't matter how many lumens, candles or however you measure light intensity, it'll take a weapons grade laser to pierce this murk. The mocha head is quite ephemeral and quickly dwindles to a select grouping of tiny bubbles that ring the glass.

S: This smells delicious. Dark fruit, moist dark chocolate cake, some soy sauce, tendrils of alcohol and tobacco mostly.

T: My, this is a creamy one. The dark fruits mix up with semi-sweet fudginess (apparently not a word) and some heat enters in to the equation towards the end. Some of that sauce is mixed in there but hey, it's a party and quite a few invites were sent out.

M: This is a luxurious beer. Thick like half and half and silky like little someones are stroking my tongue. The carbonation is quite muted and I respect that.

D: Well, the last 12 oz bottle took 2 hours to polish off and considering I have an exam tomorrow, this'll be the only brew tonight. I am prematurely treating myself and deem this a rewarding brew.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage. Marked as 11% on the 12 oz bottle, differing from the BA listing.

Appearance is dead, dark, deep black with one finger of dark reddish-tan head. Truly beautiful and rather unique looking.

Nose is smoky, bitter, leathery, roasted, carmelized sugar, boozy, woody and burnt cherry. Intense, but a bit harsh.

Flavor is boozy and intense, but smooth. Dark magic in a glass. The bourbon barrel goodness is there, and really comes out as it warms, but the solid foundation of double stout is what makes it great. All the things mentioned for smell are there in the flavor, but mellowed and somehow gentler. It has layers of flavor, a definite sipper to savor. I love this beer.

Mouthfeel is chewy and thick. Satisfies with every bite. How do they get this much viscosity?

Drinkability is very high for 11%. Boozy, but not bitter or hard to swallow.


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Photo of dasenebler
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009-labeled 12oz. bottle packaged on 1/14/10 (?).

Pours a deep dark hue, though there is definitely some ruby translucence as the thick freakness comes out of the bottle. No head, no lacing. The color is nice; the other attributes, not so much.

Aroma is huge and reeks of bourbon: big oakiness, alcohol and vanilla. To be honest, the usual "stout" aromas are outdone by those produced by the barrel aging and whiskey character.

Flavor is awesome and huge. This is definitely one of the best bourbon-barrel stouts available. The woody and buttery bourbon flavors are by no means shy, and the beer tastes like there is actually a shot or two of top-notch bourbon hiding in there. More sweet than dry. The finish is decidedly stout-like, with huge roasty, chocolately tones mixing with a super-warming alcohol presence. This is an exquisite beer, though I could see it being too hot for some. Mouthfeel matches the flavor in boldness-- slick and syrupy.

You, sir, are a delight!

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