Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,943 Reviews
Bourbon County Brand StoutBourbon County Brand Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
60 IBU

Added by drewbage on 06-26-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,943 | Ratings: 12,113
Photo of sandsonik
4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm enjoying this much more than 2015 or 2014. Actually, I recently opened a cellared 2014 and this is drinking like that - wicked smooth and tasty! My past experiences with fresh BCBS is that it's too 'hot' and bourbon-y for me but that age tempers it nicely. This one is already there. Not sure what, if any, role pasteurization plays in that.

 348 characters

Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Drank from the tap out of a tulip glass. Beer pours pitch black with no head. Aggressive swirling produces a small dark brown head. Aroma smacks of bourbon. Super fudgy with big dried cherry and fig aromas jumping out of the glass. Aroma translates to the palate but with a boozy bourbon punch on the finish. Mouthfeel is very thick and fudgy like drinking slightly watered down chocolate syrup. This beer is the benchmark for barrel aged stouts and I can see why. But benchmark doesn't always mean best and I think that the boozyness holds it back a bit. 93.5 points.

 582 characters

Photo of admnp3
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle (06OCT16) into snifter left a khaki colored head
- Smells of Charred Oak, Smoky, Vanilla and bourbon
- Tastes very similar to the smell with heavy notes of bourbon and smoke
- Mouth feel is silky smooth and very boozy finish
- Overall, BCS was one of the best beers I have enjoyed in a long time! Being it was the first time I have tried BCS it was well worth the wait (and getting up early on Black Friday)

 420 characters

Photo of Doerrijustmether
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 dated 11 Nov. poured into a snifter at about 55 degrees.

Hard por left about a finger of dark khaki head that dissipated quickly.

I was worried that this was infected due to the issues from BCBS 2015 and the nose off the bottle was a little sour smelling. however when after pour with some air was getting Vanillia, charred oak, Bourbon was very pronounced.

Was definatly not infected, An almost perfect blend of vanilla. charred oak, toasted coconut, dark chocolate. Bourbon was there but more in the background complimenting the other flavors. Its crazy how a year or 2 turns this beer into almost perfection.

there are beers that do not live up to the hype machine. if you can score this without a hunt and at a decent price point, it will not dissipoint.

 770 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Had this beer on-tap at Closed for Business, poured into a snifter. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: A big, bold aroma of bourbon, a woody quality, vanilla, and some chocolate.

T: Like the smell, the, the taste is a powerful thing: Lots of chocolate, some malt, a big shot of bourbon, the aforementioned bourbon quality, caramel, vanilla, a light smokiness, and some dark fruit. This is a flavor that takes charge. It's complex, aggressive, and tasty.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a silky smooth, if somewhat boozy finish. Full-bodied.

O: Bourbon County is one of those storied beers that doesn't disappoint. It's well made, drinkable, and easy to like - assuming you enjoy stouts.

 817 characters

Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 1 pint bomber,into a Prairie Artisan Ales snifter.
*2013 version*
Poured from a 12 oz bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.

Thin,dark brown / khaki head,that dissipated rather quickly.Jet black,with zero light coming through the glass,and no visible carbonation.
*2013 version*
VERY thin brown head that dissolves immediately.DARK black in color,with no light showing through the glass.

The nose is mostly woody bourbon and alcohol.I also am getting some caramel,and some vanilla notes in there as well.As far as the aroma goes,the bourbon is pretty well hidden.
*2013 version*
On the nose I am getting dark fruits,bourbon,caramel,cocoa,coffee,and chocolate.

The palate gives an up front blast of bourbon and oak,followed up by some vanilla and caramel notes.I get very faint hints of dark fruits,and dark roasted malts...But this is a VERY bourbon heavy stout.Nice smokey aftertaste.Little bit of a nutty flavor in there as well.Once the bourbon fades away,there is a distinct sweetness to the aftertaste.
*2013 version*
WOW!!! 4 years of aging served this beer VERY WELL.
The flavors are so abundant,and so complex, I'm having a really hard time pinpointing them all...So I will just name the obvious ones... BOURBON,alcohol,caramel,coffee,toffee,chocolate,andcocoa....Like I said,4 years aging served this beer very well.

The body is medium / thin,with a warming alcohol finish.
*2013 version*
Same as the 2016

I hate bourbon,so I will try to rate this without bias...This brew has pretty much everything going for it except for the bourbon...Leave the bourbon barrel ageing out....You have yourself a fine imperial stout.And to be honest...I really don't mind the bourbon in this one...A fine Imperial Stout.
*2013 version*
Look: 4.5
Smell: 4.5
Taste: 4.75
Feel: 4.50
Overall: 4.75

 1,803 characters

Photo of BigGold
4.31/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had from 12-oz. bottle, gift from local restaurateur (at 13.80 ABV, this beer may never become available in Mississippi), label stamped bottled on: "29AUG14 13," poured into snifter. All the big flavors one expects, alcohol better-hidden than seems possible, and not surpassed after all these years.

 305 characters

Photo of beyondthepalace
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BCBS 2016 is right up there with my favorite all time beers. Poured pure black into a snifter with a quick fizzy head. Smell was a delightful burnt cask with a hint of sweetness. First taste was of bourbon with some vanilla added.Yes the booze does come through but with the name of bourbon what can you expect?!
Upset that I only purchased one but I have no way of aging currently.

 383 characters

Photo of delta490
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016 Bottling. Black as it gets. No light is getting through this sucker. There is a slight wisp of head in the center of the snifter and a single line of tiny bubbles around the perimeter. The aroma, is in a word, perfect. It's got vanilla, it's got a little coffee, a little cocoa, maybe some tobacco from the oak. It's rich and complex but not overwhelming. The taste is exquisite, as well. The vanilla is upfront, there's some straight bourbon following it, and then a little dark roasted coffee. The body is lighter, slick with a little tingle from the alcohol.

 566 characters

Photo of Bwell9
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

BCBS 2016: Thick, dark, and creamy look. First aroma hit with a sharp booze scent. Lots of flavors from Bourbon, to vanilla. Thick and smoky the brew almost comes off the tongue as sweet chocolate. This is a fresh bottle so I am probably not getting a full on developed flavor and feel. Sharp and boozy to the taste buds but mellows as it goes down. I have an extra couple of bottles I plan to age.

 409 characters

Photo of Isoruku
2.17/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 1.25

Just bought two bottles Bourbon County Stout at the extortionate price of $13 each. And after sampling one of the bottles, I am quite sure that I can swear off Bourbon County forever. Unlike the rest of humanity, I found it unbearably sweet and syrupy tasting (that's the bourbon barrel kicking in I suppose) - way over the top. Undrinkable, in fact. Did I get a bad batch? There is nothing on the Goose Island web site to indicate that I did. Let's assume that it wasn't a "bad" bottle, in which case the bottom line from my perspective is that it's simply awful.

 564 characters

Photo of Kdouble
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a chance to try the 2015 and 2016 on tap so I did. Wow!

Nice brownish head that didn't last long at all. Rather dark. The 2016 had slightly less head

The smell is seriously bourbon barrel with a clean stout underneath. It made me want to rush for the taste. Both had a similar smell.

The taste didn't disappoint. The bourbon was not as dominant as I thought. There is an awesome sweetness in there that makes this super drinkable. The 16 was slightly less sweet, maybe the aging.

Both were super smooth for the ABV with a little afterburn.

Overall both were fantastic. I'm not a stout guy but this one could easily change my mind.

 643 characters

Photo of gregy55902
4.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 Vintage version.

Going with the flow on this rating. It is a great beer when not infected, but it also suffers a bit from being too sweet and syrupy (FG of 1.030 is really a bit high - would like it more around 1.020). That said, it is a unique offering that is a heavy-hitter in the BBA department. Great barrel and dark fruit characteristics - chocolate, caramel, toffee, toasted coconut, plums cherries and prunes, roasty char with a hint of tobacco smoke. Utterly decadent; it is the most complex-tasting yet mass-produced stout out there. However if they keep increasing the price (major hikes 2 years straight, even with the QC issues of last year), I might not bother anymore. It's only beer. Nonetheless, it's a classic brew that everyone should try at least once.

 779 characters

Photo of wanderingwheelz
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Who could possible age this stuff? If I had 12 bottles, they'd be gone in 12 nights. Honestly, beer gets no better than this- it has company, but I cannot see how one could be better crafted. Only different. Buy all you can get your hands on! (Even the "sour" batch of 2015 bests 95% of craft beer, in my opinion).

 314 characters

Photo of aquabears
4.66/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2016, pours black with very thin - almost nonexistant - bubbles. Smells strongly of bourbon and molasses, taste is sweet and almost mellow, with a liquor burn and kick on the back. Very low carbonation, oily, chewy, thick.

 222 characters

Photo of Bartleby91
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage on draft! Nice to have it so close to my house. Always a treat to have especially when I don't have to wait in line.

The appearance is the typical pitch black with a tan head that dissipated quickly.

The aroma is a bit less nuanced than I remember with chocolate, bourbon, dark fruit, oak and some alcohol spiciness. Not really getting much vanilla though.

The taste is huge bourbon and alcohol spice along with chocolate, dark fruit and some vanilla. Not getting a lot of the barrel though.

The palate is full with a lingering alcohol spice that warms the throat going down. It doesn't linger as much as you would expect from a 14.5% beer.

Overall this is still a very good BBS but I feel like it's lacking some of the complexity that it had last year.

 772 characters

Photo of yungseuss
4.93/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

2016 from the bottle. Chilled to about 50º until the thirst became too great. Poured into 12oz JP snifter, remaining 4.9 oz returned to fridge for later.

A: An inkling of head. Literally an iota. One head. Lasted for about 5 seconds until lost to the deep space known to most as BCS. Now I see why it's released on Black Friday. No room for hues here. I could drain a pen in this thing and serve it as a brown ale.

S: I think this might've been aged in Bourbon Barrels with a capital B. Jesus. With some bonfire mixed in, we've got ourselves a good night.

T: Vanilla up front. Chocolate and razed village in the middle. Finishing with more semi-sweet and the unmistakeable Kentucky twang. Feel the burn.

F: The last sip is still slowly making its way down my throat as I type this. I'm hearing things now.

O: Black gold. A+, would wake up at 6 in the freaking morning and drive aimlessly around the city with $100 and a hankering for excellent barrel-aged beers again.

 975 characters

Photo of AndreRus
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2016 batch on tap. Absolutely delicious! I've been hearing about this stuff for a while and it is truly amazing. Amount of flavor and aroma from Bourbon is unbelievable. Hopefully I'll see it on tap our local bar again next year!

 229 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
4.59/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into stout glass

One finger brown foam finger quickly dissolves over jet black liquid

Aroma of bourbon , vanilla , toffee

Taste of bourbon , vanilla, toffee

Velvety smooth, slight sudsing

Great beer

 219 characters

Photo of ch_star
4.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had a one-year old 2015 on tap at a restaurant in Chicago in a tulip glass. By the time it got to the table there barely any foam to speak off--just a ring of white lace around the edge. Nose was vanilla with bourbon sweetness. Mouthfeel was full and rich, though dissipated quicker than anticipated. Flavor was full-bodied caramel with less noticeable cocoa and coffee notes, almost a little toffee-ness to it. Taste lingered delightfully long.

 445 characters

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

Had the 2015 version. Was very boozy but a good taste. Very thick, not bad, but the hype to chase this one down didn't live up to my expectations. Had the older ones and tasted better if aged.

 195 characters

Photo of Hagenmccombs
3.74/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: thick black with very little tan head
Smell: Chocolate, Coffee, bourbon, roasted grain.
Taste: a tad too sweet and roasty for me, but still very tasty and a benchmark BA stout
Feel: Somewhat thin while still being too sweet somehow. Perhaps it's the carbonation
Overall: an enjoyable and delicious BA stout nonetheless, but not my favorite.

 353 characters

Photo of JColin
4.96/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

16.9oz bottled on 10/26/15 14.3abv
Duvel Tulip

A - Darkness!

S - Vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, smoky

T - Tastes like it smells with a little added spice kick and roasted malt

F - Full coating with a bit of sweetness

O - Amazing. Not infected. Probably the best beer I've ever had.

 286 characters

Photo of Nhens0016
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like everyone says... this is the grandfather of BBA stouts. I really love this beer. It is fantastic for the price and it is a fantastic beer. The one area I have found though is I wish it had a little bit more character. The barrel is there. The alcohol is there, but beyond that I just wish there was a little more. I love it regardless, but it is still behind KBS to me. It is a fantastic beer, and can't wait to try this years batch! I know its a budweiser company... but this beer I will always come back too! Cheers!

 523 characters

Photo of Brewding_n_deep
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yeah, I gave it a perfect score, so if you don't like that, stop reading.

This is THE Bourbon Stout. It does define the genre, it is the ruler by which I rate any other Bourbon Stout.

I'm not going down the list of why I have it 5's, just read:

It's as black as cartoon sludge, tastes like heaven, smells like an Elijah Craig truck crashed into an organic vanilla distributors Prius and both cars obliterated the front window of a boutique coffee and chocolate shop, all while Brahms is playing in the background... and it's more of a waltz than a crash. Mouthfeel? Remember when you were a kid, and you'd wait if the ice cream to melt then drink it (still do that?)? That...

Drink this beer... then hug your significant other, tell them you still love them, but you may sell them if it means more Bourbon County.*

*-Don't do this, this is not ok... have one bottle around as much as possible, but only having it once or twice per year is what makes it so special, don't ruin that.

 986 characters

Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,113 ratings.
  • About Us

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

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

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.