Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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2,860 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:
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Reviews: 2,860 | Ratings: 11,789
Photo of billyshears
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
a: Minimal tan head. Black with a slight bit of redness to it. In the snifter, certainly no light passing through this.
s: bourbon barrel aroma dominate here. whirlwind of chocolate, vanilla, coconut and caramel type smells.
t: its quite impressive how the bourbon doesn't overpower but instead extends the spectrum of the flavor. Those mentioned in smell all come together perfectly. Really well done. Delicious sweetness to it.
m: creamy, silky smooth. carbonation is there and probably where it should be.
d: this goes down too easily.

Before I drank this I had imagined what perfect bourbon stout would taste like, and this is pretty close. Certainly one of the best stouts I've had. Try this if you haven't (though I think most of you have).

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

I got this from Dunt in a BIF. I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. It pours a thick, jet black with a thin tan head. There are huge notes of bourbon on the nose. Upfront the flavor of booze is prevalent. It mellows out on the finish, with some sweetness and hints of vanilla. The beer is full bodied and an all night sipper. Truly a great beer.

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

Came in a 7 oz short glass, with a rich brown head atop a thick black beer. Smelled sweet of bourbon and a bit of malt. The beer was well balanced with bourbon and malt falling wonderfully across the palate. The alcoholic character was very evident, although was balanced with the sipping nature that this beer became.

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

2008 vintage poured into wide mouthed goblet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of a bomber bottle generously provided to me by a BA friend this brew was as thick and dark as molasses. The retention of the head was good and the lacing impressive. Swirling it in my tulip, it moved like chocolate milk, so rich and viscous it was, only black and oily. The aroma was rich and enticing; I smelled chocolate, tobacco, whiskey, oiled leather, coffee, dark caramel and hints of vanilla. The flavor profile was equally complex and robust. Again, I tasted that zip of bourbon whiskey, this time right from the start, followed by the dark chocolate and chocolate syrup flavors. I also tasted leather, dark malt, molasses, coffee, leather, prunes and the alcohol punch. As it warmed up some elements of wood and vanilla appeared reflecting the oak barrel aging. The sharp, punchy elements were off set by the soft, chocolaty elements creating a nice balance. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body full and the carbonation appropriate enough to help it feel full without being heavy. A truly enjoyable brew and well worth going out of one's way for.

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Photo of phreak1983
4.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Giving a bottle of 2008 a second review a year after my initial review.

A- Pitch black with a ring of brown foam.

S- Oak, roasted malt and a little vanilla.

T- Just like it smells, and the alcohol burn it had a year ago is barely noticable! The vanilla has emerged after a year of aging too!

M- Perfect viscosity and still smooth and easy to drink.

D- I think I could actually drink another one if I had one!

This beer has improved a great deal with one year of aging! I was not crazy about it a first due to the harsh taste of alcohol but I am going to buy some 2009 for my cellar and get some more 2008 if it is still available!

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Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.48/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

12oz 2008 bottle bought from the local binny's for 21.99

A- Black, with a tan head that goes away qickley. Not alot of lacing

S- Potent smell. Caramel, mocha, strong booze, brown sugar, raisins, figs, chocalate

T-Malt, mocha, booze, brown sugar, caramel, raisins figs, chocalate

M-spicy, creamy, thick, barely carbonated

D- Pretty thick & filling. I enjoyed this beer thoroughly but I almost want to drink a glass of water afterward so that I dont drink another one of these and fall over

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Photo of crossovert
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage, ive had it once before, gonna review it now. 12 oz twist off (dumb).

Pours a thick black with only the slightest bit of ruby and a dark tan head that is really loud and fizzy and dissipates pretty quickly.

Smell is thick with bourbon, tons of woody oak scent along with some bourbon/vanilla notes makes up a bulk of the scent. There is also sweet smelling chocolate, caramel, roasted malt and thick alcohol.

The flavor is intense at the moment, it could use some calming down, it has a huge malt sweetness, tons of bourbon flavor, some dark fruits, just a large bundle of barrel aged maltiness.

The mouthfeel is very thick and the alcohol burns nicely.

It is a sipper, it will only get better with age, I also have an 08 cellaring, it will make a nice vertical once they keep coming, it is a great but hot beer when it is fresher though.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.51/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage!

Popped the cap and poured into my large snifter that is reserved for beers like this. Thin but present espresso-crema head, and a thick, viscous-looking liquid to say the least.

Oh my God, that's good. I can smell that 6 feet away. Intense carob and chocolate-raisin. Rum, rum raisin cubed. If I somehow took Essence of Raisinets and concentrated it to all hell and threw it in beer, this is what it would smell like. One of the best-smelling stouts I've encountered.

It doesn't taste of Raisinets quite as much as it smells. But that's not to say it's lacking. It is indeed heavy on the bourbon, with a strong vanilla taste and a hint of smoke. Bitterness from barrel char moreso than from hops. There is some chocolate and raisin, though, and yes...even though this is a 2008 vintage, the alcohol is not entirely tamed. It's not a hindrance, mind you, but it's there.

Feel is impressive. This avoids the somewhat thin feel barreled stouts seem to have, I think. It retains a fair level of thick, viscous goodness. I would have to say it is exceptional per style.

BCS is, to put it mildly, some serious shit. Yet while you do feel the 13%, it's so good, who cares?

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Photo of JoePat
4.1/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Vintage 2009
This beer was agressively poured into a stemed tulip glass which resluted in about a 1.5 finger dark tan-brown head that disipated within seconds leaving no lacing behind. The beer is as black as can be you can only see some of the darkest brown possible near the edges of the glass when tilted.
Bourbon...I smell a lot of bourbon and what I think is chocolate but mostely bourbon
I am tasting a lot of roased malts, chocolate, some raisons for about a second before I get a rush of bourbon and then nothing else touches my tounge...not that I am complaining.
This beer has one of the thickest mouth feels. Its like having a heavy cream in your mouth but luckley it is a bourbon flavored stout.
This is a sipper. You do not want to rush this beer and it only gets better as it warms. I would also recomend a good strong funky cheese to go with it to "clense your palete" every once in a while.

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Photo of Joeynocturnum
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beersis81 thanks for the trade.

A- Thick, black and viscous motor-oil like. Slight medium brown head that quickly disappates and no lacing to speak of.

S- I was intimadated by the smell of bourbon, not being a bourbon drinker, strong bourbon smell slight chocolate notes.

T- Didn't taste the bourbon as much as I smelled it which was great.

M- Was exceptional, slight carbonation smooth sipper.

D- Very drinkable, but probably better that I opened the 12oz. vs. the 22oz. I had. It packed a punch like expected, but don't think I could have handle a 22 in one sitting.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle. Pure black pour with a small fizzy brown head. This stuff coats the glass as you swirl it. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, pine and a hint of smoke. Lots of chocolate and vanilla flavor hitting the taste buds first, tons of alcohol, ending with bitter coffee and molasses. Thick creamy body and a huge alcohol burn. Damn! I thought someone dumped a shot of jack in my beer.

2009 Re-rate. The bourbon is much more balanced in previous years. The smoothed out vanilla and oak character combined with a nice creamy body, as opposed to a more oily mouth feel in past years, adds up to a truly nice beer. I couldn't believe I sat down and drank a whole bomber of this stuff!

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Photo of stoutfiend27
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle..2008..poured into brooklyn snifter..received by the very generous ottovon other beer is as black..small tan fizzy head that fell rather lacing..small collar

s-booze up front..the earthy wood from the barrel sticks up next...the bourbon even after this amount of age is really over the top on this one but not in a bad way...the roasted malt hides in the back behind the vanilla, bourbon and wood...finishes boozy on the nose

t-starts off with booze but quickly follows with vanilla and bits of leather and tobacco and wood...the middle is where the chocolate resides and the roasty toffee flavors meld together well..the bourbon really roars its head towards the end of this and finishes on a smokey boozy note

m-thick and oily...almost chewy but not quite...the residuals on this coat the mouth forever and the booze really warms the tongue up...carbonation which is lightly present is acceptable..nothing offensive here

d-really?? can this be drinkable?? for the taste and flavors yes..but the overall package no not at all...but its so damn good i rated higher than it should..

overall my second brew from goose and i really like this...i love my stouts but this is one that would have to be taken in stride and not taken advantage of ...

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours black as night with a little bit of dark brown bubbly head that leaves a good bit of lacing
S - smells of bourbon, caramel, coconut, alcohol, and vanilla
T - tastes of bourbon, oak, coconut, caramel, chocolate, alcohol,and vanilla
M - full-bodied, smooth, and creamy
D - drinkable in the Imperial Stout sense of the drinkable that I actually had to slow myself down halfway through

This is an amazing expectations were high, and they were certainly met.

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

Pours it's own version of black with a small amount of a tannish-head. I am not in no means a bourbon drinker but the smell overwhelms the senses in a good way. With a hint of vanilla and something like a maplewood sausage that blended well with the bourbon. I took my time drinking it sip by sip dreaming I could disect it and re-create it(right). Drink it on a semi-full stomach with some time to spend.

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Photo of cavedave
3.85/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours a deepest brown/black, thickly filling my snifter with a petroleum look-a-like, topped by a brown head of fine foam, which quickly fades to floating skim.

The nose is a very full aroma of molasses, licorice, alcohol, bourbon, gentle yeast, a bready toastiness, with an edge of ripe plum and hints of bitter. More sweet and less burnt smell than many of this style, very pungent and tempting, very complex.

Not as strong flavored as the aroma predicted, but brightly full of all the complex flavors, moreso the molasses, less so the dark fruit. The bourbon sort of ties the taste together, and notes of oak and vanilla I didn't smell now mix in to make a fine taste. The alcohol is not hot, more of a warm spicy flavor. It tastes very well blended, I can only guess how much better this could improve with age. It is sweeter than I like (though well within the style's range) but the end of the sip features an earthy bitterness that is a good counterpoint.

Mouthfeel is thick bodied, very viscous, clinging, low carb., in short just right for the style. However, it rates lower in all of these categories than many others in this style, and it is neither as thick, viscous, nor clinging as I like an impy stout.

Drinkability is above average, it is tasty, but no where near as sippable as others in this style.

Impression: A good stout, full of flavor, but too sweet, and not as interesting as others. I will not get it again, though if you like a sweet big stout you ought to try this.

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Photo of pdoran10
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Reviewing this one based on the second time trying it, as the first time I had it, I had barely started trying craft beers and had no point of reference.

Beer pours jet black with and surprisingly has a decent amout of head. Can already tell this is a serious beer. The smell is rich malt, with a hint of burboun. The taste is very complex. Starts with sweet complex malt maybe a hint of dark chocolate, and finishes with a sweet then warming bourbon flavor. The mouthfeel is thick but smooth, no issues here. The drinkability is a bit of an issue, as the bourbon taste and booziness can start to get to you after a few sips. Overall an exellent beer though.

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Photo of Hopfist
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was lucky enough to try this one straight from a cask at Goose Island's Wrigleyville location. There's stouts, big stouts, and then there's ridiculous stouts. This is one of the last. Big in every way. Really big. Like a black hole, it absorbs so much light that it cannot be seen, only the dark area around the beer can be observed with the naked eye. Huge notes of bourbon, malt, malt, and more roasted malt. It's lightly hopped, but heavy on the ethanol. The malt does much to hide its monstrous 13% AVB, but nothing short of a preemptive carbohydrate feast will mitigate it's effects. If it's your first time, I don't recommend taking this one on without a friend and a safety word. Until you've learned how this beer will affect you, you should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or call ex-girlfriends on BCS.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to barzigkin for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown to black with no head. The aroma is bourbon, molasses, roasted malt and a little bit of soy sauce. The flavor is roasted malt, chocolate, oak, bourbon and some light soy sauce. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation and a hot alcohol presence. Very good beer.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle > snifter

Baaaalack, oil spill style. A crazy, fizzy dark brown head hisses to about 1" and then sizzles out fast, it's been aged, and it looks that way.

smells much like the 30 year old Courage IRS (1977 vintage) i had last year. Barrel-aged musty wood aroma, wet carboard (oxodize) with caramel and molasses. The high heat tingles your nose hairs...oh, and some chocolate syrup too. Heat is deep with vanilla extract.

The tongue is dazzled by the huge malty complexity with all of the usual suspects: Thick hershey's syrup with some sweet and bitter aspects, graham crackers, wet-earth, musty fruits, caramel and the kind of heat that will remove paint. A dry, leafy peppery hop balance can found nearly hidden under the rest, but it does provide a decent balance to all of this malt power. The viscosity is high with high heat and huge complexity, sip this puppy.

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Photo of riored4v
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/22/10

Poured into a pint glass. 1 finger, tan head that faded to a thin layer that stayed. Dense and pitch black body.

Smell was strong of bourbon, vanilla, raisins and dark roasted malts. Nice oakey aroma as well.

The flavor of the brew was rich w/ bourbon, chocolate, oak and vanilla. Some nice caramely flavors along with a dark licorice and raisen flavor. No real signs of abv until the brew warmed up a bit.

Mouthfeel was medium carbonation with a heavy mouthfeel that was very slick.

Drinkability was very good for being 13%. Thickness and richness still limited it.

Overall this is a fantastic beer. Rich, thick and an intense amount of complex flavors. Definitely of the top stouts I've had.

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Photo of weatherdog
3.78/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Brixies in Brookfield IL; 7 oz. pour into what looks like a juice glass. I'm assuming this is the 2009 vintage.

This beer pours as black as night, probably one of the darkest beers I've seen. As it was being poured a small head formed but by the time it got in my awaiting hands there were just a small layer of bubbles around the edge.

There is heavy bourbon and vanilla on the nose. A nice tinge of alcohol says this beer is heavy.

There really isn't any surprises in the taste department. A big bourbon sweetness upfront dominates the mouth which towards the end evolves into a more caramel/ roasted malt. I haven't had many bourbon aged stouts but this one dominated all the others by a long shot. The alcohol is very present and I think could use a year or two in order to improve.

The mouth feel is thick with a huge residual sugar content. The low carbonation compliments the richness of the bourbon character. Drinkability is only average at this point since for me the huge alcohol presence is a barrier. I've drank a two year aged version before and it had mellowed significantly. Next time I crack open a bottle of the 07 I will do a review.

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Photo of ChadQuest
4.4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black as sin with a large thick brown head that dissapates into a thin ring around the edges quickly due to the alcohol content.

WOW. BOURBON. WOW. vanilla is there from the Oak too, but Bourbon and Alcohol just DOMINATES this monster.

Taste gives the aforementioned vanilla,oak and Bourbon palate submission, but there is a nice big chocolate flavor going on too, alot more chocolate then i remember from the 08 batch, but this fades into more bourbon as the beers temp increases. Drink it cold for think chocolatey flavors and warmer for more bourbon flavors...relatively.

perfect bit of carbonation melding with the thick body, lingering and lingering, never leaveing.

I'd like to sip this all night even after this bottle, but i can't help but save the other bottles for enjoyment the rest of the week.

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

This is a re-do from a review on Sept. 15, 2009

Previously, this 2008 Vintage did not impress...scoring a D+.

Appearance -- Not much to look at. Very dark beer, Reminds me of a syrupy cola as it poured into Samuel Smith Pint Glass.

Smell -- This is the best part of bourbon beers. It had an intense smell. Definitely smelled the bourbon. Almost overpowering.

Taste -- Wow. It was very bitter, very much like an adult dosage of cough syrup. I did not expect it to taste to bitter.

Mouthful -- All I could think about was, this reminds of mouthwash. I bet it killed every germ in my mouth. I've had bourbon beers before, but this went way over the top.

Drinkability -- This was my first drain pour as a member of BA. I could not finish it and poured half of it down the drain. Will age the other three bottles and try at a later date, and if my findings are different, I will re-do this review.


Appearance -- Jet black, motor oil consistency poured into Snifter. No light getting through. Lacking in head, minimal lacing around the 22 ounce snifter.

Smell -- It has "mellowed" out if that is possible. Very earthy, with the can't-miss intoxicating smell of bourbon barrels.

Taste -- It has "mellowed," and it tastes so smoooth. I cannot wait to see what a few more months will do to the other two bottles currently "aging" in my mom's basement up near Chicago.

Mouthful -- Given the choice of a workout on the Wii, or a glassful of this wonderful brew, it was an easy choice. This coats the tongue, teeth, etc. Totally scrumptious.

Drinkability -- Definitely not a drain pour. Though my re-do review might still not rank with the overall sentiment of this GI offering bottled on 10-08-08, it is definitely better with age. I saw a display of GI BCS '07 vintage at Roof Brothers in Paducah, KY recently and I might have to pick up a four pack to see what another year does for "mellowing" out this intense brew.

Thanks Goose Island for giving me a second chance to enjoy your Bourbon County Stout. Definitely a world class beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.15/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

EDIT: In light of the comments below (reviewing a fresh bottle), I should add the following notes:

I drank a 2007 in 2010 and it was SUBLIME. The heat had largely cooled off, leaving a bourbon-forward bitter chocolate flavor with light vanilla and roast. This experience taught me: don't drink the beer fresh.

I repeated the experiment with a 2008 drank at the tail end of 2011, thanks to Nanoslug. That one was excellent, as well.

I am leaving up my score, as I feel a beer should always be ready to drink upon release. But it is worth noting that I would give aged versions of BCBS an A.


Original review:

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage, an extra courtesy of chcfan. Thanks Chris! I just blue myself.

A re-review over the 2008 version. My palate has changed considerably since then.

A: Pours an oily black that is completely opaque to the light. It develops a dark mocha head that disappears quickly, leaving a very thin collar and absolutely no lacing down the glass. Just looks solid and imposing.

S: Bourbon -- very strong -- with lesser vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and an alcohol singe. It's very pungent and captivating, but it's not subtle or balanced in the slightest. I don't like the booze burn and feel that other barrel-aged stouts avoid that problem, hence my score.

T: Bourbon. Wait for it... More bourbon. And some more bourbon. Then caramel, oak, and vanilla enter the palate next. The finish has hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt that produces a slight coffee character, but it's still very bourbon-dominated. And it's surprisingly hot; not quite burning, but I definitely notice the booze in the mouth, the throat, and the stomach.

M: Thick-bodied and oily, with low carbonation as is appropriate for the style. A strong warming effect is felt, as noted above. It's borderline solventy at times. I really don't get the love for this one; it's so brash and unrefined.

D: I have mixed feelings on this beer. Out of the gate, it's simply not ready to drink (IMO). I love the strong bourbon flavors, but it is too solventy for my tastes.

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 11,789 ratings.
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