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: 12,136
Photo of silentjay
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a very dark brown, almost black with very minimal head. what is there is the color of coffee with skim milk. leaves small rings on the glass.

aroma is very strong of bourbon. vanilla, molasses, caramel, toffee, coffee, butterscotch. some raisins and licorice there. mostly the bourbon and molasses, though.

taste follows the aroma. alcoholic. bourbon and molasses are the two strongest flavors. some bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, more molasses, some dried and sweetened dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums, etc), brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, butterscotch. licorice can be found in the aftertaste, too. alcohol lingers and burns the throat. many things going on here. more flavors come out with each sip. though you have to be able to get past the overpowering bourbon and molasses to find them.

pretty heavy body. not much carbonation, which is good for the style, leaves a residue on the back of the throat and sides of the mouth. not the thickest i've had, but "chewy" does come to mind.

complexity makes this beer extremely drinkable. with every sip exposing a new flavor, it doesn't bore you. high levels of alcohol, bourbon, and molasses definitely have to be fought through and a novice palate may not be able to appreciate this beer, and I can see it even being to much for me at times.
would probably age really well. I'll pick up a four pack and age a few of them next time im at the store. worth the high price tag.

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

A: Pours midnight black with minimal carbonation or head to speak of...what little head is a deep tan. No lacing to speak of.

S: The bourbon is the standout first scent along with a super sweet molasses odor and dried dark fruits. Taste is bold with the bourbon shining through, heavy alcohol presence with an oaky smoked flavor on top of the heavy sweetness that this brew provides overall.

M: Thick and chewy if that is possible in a liquid but this beer really lets you know it is there.

D: Definitely an excellent sipping beer with a good pipe. Strong offering.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.32/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours an impenetrable black with a thin tan head that doesn't retain well, but this sucker is 13% so who cares. The aroma will really knock your socks off, with a huge bourbon presence upfront, followed by vanilla and caramel, coconut, burnt bread, some dark fruits, and a big alcohol presence. The flavor is similar to the aroma with big bourbon notes initially, followed by some coconut and vanilla, charcoal, caramel, dates and plums, a little coffee, chocolate and some fusel alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety and drinkability is not very good (though you wouldn't expect it to be). A really fucking good imperial stout, a notch better than KBS in my book.

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

Pours nearly motor-oil black, with a good milk-chocolate brown head that retains briefly. Good looking beer.

Strong bourbon aroma with chocolatey undertones. As expected, bourbon notes are dominant, backed up with dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, molasses and licorice. The bourbon and high ABV add a warming burn, but it's not unwelcome.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Full, creamy and smooth. Light carbonation.

Quite simply a phenomenal beer. It's amusing that the beer that spawned the bourbon barrel craze is still arguably the best there is. Done to perfection.

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

Chilled at first, poured in a snifter.

Appearance - An opaque, thick, perfect dark color. A little bit of cedar glow around the edges.

Smell - A bit of spicy hops present, and a stong maltiness that tells of toffee and caramel. Definitely a bit of a sweet smell.

Taste - A sweeter, malty flavor somewhere between medium and full-bodied, that delivers caramel and toffee with a little bit of roasted malt. A mote of smokiness and the distinct tang of bourbon make for a very memorable flavor.

Mouthfeel - Viscous and smooth, there is a light creaminess balanced by moderate carbonation. Quite pleasant and warming, with a little bit of fire on the finish.

Drinkability - Relatively speaking, this beer is a very well-executed stout. The extraordinarily high 13% is not nearly as noticeable as might be expected. All things considered, this is a drinkable brew.

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Photo of jt31914
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle:

A: Dark black no head super grainy and thick. Great brown lacing.

S: Strong coffee/Bourbon smell; oats and graininess.

T: Oats and coffee; sweet bourbon taste; not harsh. Smooth burn on throat.

D/M: One of my top three beers of all-time; very smooth and sweet and drinkable for 13 percent.

'09 BCS is just great (it makes '08 taste bad in comparison) and I have several of these bad boys aging.

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

Bottled on 11/13/09.Finally a chance to try this,it has escaped my grasp a few times.Poured deep as an oil slick,no light showing through this puppy,a thinner dark mocha colored head atop.Powerful oaky bourbon notes in the nose,notes of vanilla and some alcohol dipped dark fruit became stronger as the beer warmed.Bourbon is the big flavor component on the palate,vanilla tinged and oaky,there is a slight buttery-rum flavor in the fisnish as well.This will warm the insides thats for sure,its a young bottle and its powerful,a great beer to sip on,who its warm in here right now.

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Photo of smcolw
3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm unimpressed with this beer's look: Even with a violent pour, there is nearly no head. And what's there, dies to a single layer of minute bubbles on the edge. Nearly black in color, no light shines through (even on the edges).

Strong alcohol smells of sherry and port. Sweet and rich to the nose, almost as if there's an apertif added to this beer.

It tastes like a port-induced dark beer. It doesn't have the typical stout flavors of coffee and chocolate. Lots of sweet plum (like Japanese plum wine) and no bitterness. The swallow and aftertaste shows off the high alcohol content--very warming to the tongue and stomach. Rich like cream in the body, almost oily. Very low carbonation.

This is an after-dinner sipping beer. I believe it is closer to taste and feel to an overpowered barley wine. It's like no other stout I've ever had. All this said, it's very tasty but not for the faint of heart. Worth seeking out for the unusual flavors present.

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Photo of wd40
4.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle
Fantastic beer. Pitch black opaque appearance. Very little foam (perhaps because of age?). Smell would be stronger if there was more carbonation, but what is there is great. Bourbon aroma fairly strong (which I like), and lots of raison (perhaps even a little plum). Slightly raw alcohol taste which I marked off for a little. Strong sweet backbone to counter the bitterness of the alcohol. The rawness of the alcohol is reminiscent of bourbon, so perhaps it is appropriate.
The carbonation was quite low, but nice. It is a sipping beer for me because of the raw alcohol and very very sweet maltiness.
Interesting beer.

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

Poured ink/black with a 1.5 inch thick, dark tan head, that dissipates with an obvious crackling. My glass is beer clean! The initial nose suggests smoke, bourbon and wet wood. Medium high, silky body with extensive lingering and delicious hints of chocolate, coffee, dark caramel and bourbon-macerated dried figs. The lace is mostly absent, excepting a few clusters of small spots that slide into into the stout. Density is high! The alcohol is evident and warming. I imagine it would be excellent in a snifter. Drink with care and devotion. The subsequent nose reminds me of Gethsemane Chocolate Bourbon Fudge. Although it is a warm sprig day outside, the Bourbon County Brand Stout makes me think of winter and roaring fires.

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Photo of anneseg
2.75/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reading all of these other reviews I suspect that I got a bad bottle or something. It was essentially impossible to get a head on the beer during the pour. The overwhelming smell was of bourbon. The taste was also dominated by bourbon and a hot alcohol taste. There was some peat flavor but it was difficult to taste.

Overall not impressed but would be open to trying again since I usually have good experiences with Goose Island.

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

I've never been blown-away by the other Goose Island brews I've tried, but the Bourbon County Stout is definitely an exception. It's rather pricey--I paid > $5 for one 12 oz bottle. However, it was definitely worth it. At %13 ABV, one bottle goes a long way. Even before pouring it, I could smell the warm bourbon aroma from the bottle. When I tasted it, the bourbon flavor was solid, but not overwhelming. I could still taste the chocolate and caramel notes as well. Overall, this is one of best stouts I've ever had.

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

Finally pulled this out after my book went back to the publisher. It's a 2008 bottle from Gomer's in Lee's Summit, MO, which has the best beer selection I have ever enjoyed.

Poured silky jet black and no light is allowed into this black hole of beer. Only the thinnest caramel colored head laced the top of the oil-colored liquid.

The aroma is complex. It is musty. It is sweet. There is a slight bourbon aroma, but certainly not overwhelming. It really does not have a coffee-expresso aroma like most stouts, but more of a candied sugar aroma.

The taste is where all the hype is. At first the taste is imperial stout with burned caramel, tobacco, espresso and a flat bitterness. It's oily and slathers over the tongue. The charred oak comes in the aftertaste and holds in place for some time. The alcohol is not over-present, but it is certainly warming. There is a lingering, almost burning sensation that sticks around like a hot pepper (or maybe that was Jalapeno doritos I just downed). But it wouldn't be out of place in such an ale.

The mouthfeel is very soft with little to no carbonation.

This stout gets on top of you quickly at 13%. I'm pleased with the experience.

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

2009 12oz bottle poured into Sprecher snifter.

A- Pours the deepest of black with very minimal head that gathers around the edge of the glass. A good stream of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass on the side. The head is mocha and leaves ok lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Strong bourbon right away. A little vanilla and some malt happen to peek in there just a little bit. A hint of oak and some black licorice. The bourbon is strong but not overpowering and the alcohol becomes a tad more prevalent with some warming.

T- Smooth bourbon, vanilla and some charred oak. A little bit of tasted malt and some sweetness in there as well. The bourbon is really rich and smooth. Again, like the nose, it is dominant but not overpowering. The alcohol makes itself known but it can be expected at 13%.

M- Full bodied and very smooth. A good amount of carbonation for the style. I would sum it up as rich, just coats the tongue. A nice warming sensation as it goes down.

D- One and done for sure but this is almost as good as it comes. Great flavor profile and a rich smoothness make this the perfect sipper. I have two in the cellar and can't wait to see how this one turns out in a year.

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

Bottle from Malt & Vine. Tasted blind as 1 of 15 in May, 2009. Pours black with only a little mocha head. Great aroma with smoke, borubon, chocolate and caramel. Nice sweet flavor of bourbon, chocolate and molasses with nice bitter balance. Slick, medium body with great finish. This was the highlight of the night.

(note: have had '07,'08 and '09 vintages and this definitely gets better with age as it loses some of the bourbon hotness)

Edit on 2/9/11: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Cliff's Notes. opened a 3-year vertical in December with a friend.

2010: Amazing bourbon, vanillla, molasses and oak aroma; though a bit too boozy to really put down 22 oz.

2009: seems like 1 year is an off year. The arom is a bit dull with hints of coconut and chocolate, but not much going on.

2008: While this doesn't have the amazing aroma of the fresh 2010, the beer pakcs a punch of flavor of molasses, chocolate, vanilla, with hints of licorice and soy.

Overall, seems like this beeer could go 2+ but 1 year is a strange develpmental stage or just the '09 was off.

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Photo of levifunk
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer. I recently picked up 2 bombers. Opened the first one last night for a friends birthday, and am cellaring the other. appearance was BLACK as oil. Smell was chocolate/caramel and Bourbon! True to its smell and name, the bourbon was definitely there in the taste. It wasn't overpowering (I can only imagine how smooth this will be after some aging), but a friendly reminder of the power in this beer. After a few drinks I could feel the warmth too. I think i'll open the other when winter comes.

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

How many times have I had this beer and yet no review--sacrilegious! Thanks to FooFaa for providing this 9 month old bottle for sampling.

A-Black with a thin dark mocha head that held on strong and left spotty lace.

S-HUGE, rich, massive bourbon and chocolate notes along with a hit of alcohol heat that singes the nares.

T-BOURBON, rich chocolate, heat and then mellowing raisin and plum---Mmmm

M-Medium-heavy bodied and maple syrup slick smooth. This is like liquid velvet, simple awesome.

D-This 9 month old bottle proves that the original bourbon barrel aged stout is still one of the best! With a bit more aging and mellowing this WILL become a masterpiece. Even at this "young" age it is damn solid!

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Photo of fropones
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice black with no light around the edges and minimal mocha head.

S - Woo, just as expected, a beer who's first word in the name is bourbon, reaks of bourbon (in a great way). Some caramel, vanilla, oak, molasses, and just a hint of soy sauce.

T - More of that delicious bourbon flavor with some unsweetened chocolate, chocolate covered espresso beans, smoke, oak, and a good amount of sweetness. Almost no hops detectable, but that's quite alright.

M - Big bodied, slick and mouth coating, chewy, smooth carbonation. Creamy.

D - Drink very well for 13 %. Alcohol has a nice warming effect to it. Delicious.

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

Appearance: Bourbon County Stout pours a sexy jet black. This beer, along with Founders Breakfast Stout, are the most opaque beers I've ever encountered. Describing beers as having the consistency of motor oil is probably overused, but here it is absolutely warranted. The head is a dark brown, always a good sign. However, this dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

Smell: The aroma is quite boozy, with the bourbon-aging coming through well. Caramel and vanilla are also present.

Taste: Wow, this has to be one of the most complex beers I've ever tasted! There's just so much going on. A glorious array of flavors cascade across the palate. Each sip seems to bring forth new and different delights. There's soft vanilla, woodiness, and booze from the bourbon. Then there's caramel and toffee notes from the malt. Dark fruit even seems to be in the mix.

Through all of this, the beer manages to be surprisingly sweet. There is also some cereal flavor, which is rare for a stout. The alcohol is certainly present, but is not obtrusive. Going by the taste, I would have guessed this to be in the 8-9% range, not as high as 13%.

Mouthfeel: BCS's body is as thick as molasses, quite viscous. It's also much smoother than one might have guessed for 13%.

Drinkability: This is a slow sipper by necessity, to be sure. But it is so delicious that I wish this weren't the case.

Notes: I believe this is the highest alcohol content beer that I've yet tried. It is a feat that the alcohol here is not as harsh as many beers with much lower ABVs. The alcohol provides a nice warming effect in the belly more than it is exhibited in the taste or mouthfeel.

I haven't had too many Goose Island beers that I've been truly impressed with, but Bourbon County Stout by itself solidifies the brewery as one of the great American breweries. I look forward to future opportunities to consume this rare treat. Bourbon County Stout is a true delicacy.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle pours black, one of the darkest black ive prolly ever seen. a small layer of brown mocha colored head that is completely gone within a couple minutes. a little lacing, more of a brown film on the glass. id like to go a little low on the appearence rating because of the lack of head, but the super dark color brings me to a 3.5.

the first thing your hit with in the aroma is the big alcohol, somewhat solvent like. some bourbon like whiskey aromas seem to blend in with the alcohol. the booze really makes it hard to pick out much in the aroma. theres some deeply roasted malts, a little dark chocolate, whiskey, anise, and a touch of vanilla and burnt marshmallows.

such a wonderful taste, truly top notch. boozy and strong - yes, but in a totally good way, the alcohol seems to meld so nicely with the rest of the flavors. soo much going on, so much i dont even have words for. i just blurt them out in no paticular order- heavily roasted malts, dark dark chocolate, woody smokiness, cocoa, bourbon whiskey, hints of vanilla, anise, raisons, figs, dried dark fruits, burnt marshmallow. finishs o so chocolaty and bitter. i feel as though most of my RIS taste reviews are very similar, but this one really just does it for me. again, theres a lot i dont have words for, complexity to say the least.

lovin the mouthfeel, big, strong, chewy, smooth, velvity. very light light carbonation with a big huge body. just seems to linger, all sorts of different flavors appear and dissappear in the time after you sip.

i really hate to even judge a thing like drinkability for this beer. its all so great, but just like any big RIS, you cant take too much of it, sits in the stomach real heavy. but put that and the ABV aside, i would drink as much of this as my stomach would let me. putting the huge cost of this beer aside of course. the price of this beer was definatly holding me back for awhile, but im glad i finally came around, because this is definatly at the top of my list. go get it! dont be scared!!

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Photo of RiverCityBrews
4.27/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark oily black w/ no transparency. Pours slightly syrupy with a sticky resin like cling. This bottle, even with a 3in top straight down pour produces a 1/10th finger head that was a dark brown/amber.

Smell - Full and warm. Sweet but rich with a dense natural vanilla and dark caramel notes.

Taste - The smoke from the insides of the charred white oak barrels really comes through in this beer. The taste is permeating and long lasting. Round but direct, it gives slight hints of raisin of fig with undertones of rich dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Almost sticky. It lets you know it's there with an overpowering presence. Coats and warms the mouth.

Drinkablility- If you've got the money for it and it's cold enough enough outside. You could go for 3 or 4.

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

poured 6oz into a 13oz snifter

1/4" head fades quickly to a nice thin lacing, appearance is dark as night just like a stout should be. Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla and a hint of chocolate and some more bourbon. Taste follows the smell, but I have to say this the most balanced beer I've had at this ABV. Starts out with a good balance of chocolate, oak, vanilla and bourbon and fades nicely into a bourbon finish with a touch of coffee and an alcohol warmth. For the "ABV" this beer is very drinkable and I have to say it measures up with the best of the bourbon aged stouts.

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.15/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty big brew. At 13 abv it hides a good deal of it. Pours a beautiful black oil with a dark brown head. There is just a punch in the face of coffee and chocolate. Upfront dark chocolate the smoothes to the back of the palate then turns into a dark bitter chocolate with a long bitter finish. The texture is velvet. Good brew.

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

2009 Vintage, Duvel Snifter

A: Black. Not a huge head even with an aggressive pour, what did develop was mocha in color, less than a finger. I know this description is becoming hackneyed, but it looks like an oil slick in the glass. Blah!

S: This smells like a shot of whiskey, really. Upon further inspection, theres some chocolate in there, anise, some coffee. Many of the usual suspects regarding stout aromas are represented well, but bourbon, booze, and charred something, dominates the nose, without a doubt.

T: Much more complex, and pleasing than the smell. Bourbon nails you first, hits pretty hard. The bourbon mellows quickly and reveals chocolate, coffee, oak, vanilla, dark fruits - all the good stuff. I have to mention how sweet this is, definitely a sugar bomb. Finish is dry and bitter, almost completely abrasive to the tongue and throat - further reinforcing the notion that this is a SIPPER. Alot of nuttiness in the after taste.

M: Thick!! Oily, syrupy....

D: For what it is, I guess BCS is pretty drinkable. Although, given the ABV and flavor profile Im having a tough time finishing a 12oz myself (your mileage may vary). Id rather split this between 2 or 3 people.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The pour is pitch black with a very nice brown head that quickly hides into the black abyss. A bit of agitation makes this foam come back, very nice.

Lots and lots of booze in the smell. It seems to cover up some of the other flavors that are trying to come through. There is some roasted peanuts, bourbon, and chocolate in there somewhere. I'm also picking up some smoky undertones.

Wow, this is very rich and delicious. The sweet bourbon taste seems to be up front in the taste with a lot of chocolate bitterness and smoky, toasted marshmallow balancing the back end.

This is a big boy that is extremely thick and sticky. I almost need a chaser of water to cleanse my mouth after each sip, it really sticks around.

Is this drinkable, oh yes. I want to keep drinking it to explore its complexity. 1 will be enough for the evening as any more would weigh me down.

This definitely did not dissapoint, it is a very tasty brew!

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,136 ratings.
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