Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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2,855 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

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Reviews: 2,855 | Ratings: 11,769
Photo of Kanebanger
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Black with a thin dark tan head with a small amount of lacing.

S- Definately a huge amount of bourbon with a hint of chocolate.

T- Wow, now I know why it's called bourbon county stout. Bourbon explodes on the tongue and finishes with a litte taste of chocalate/coffee.

M- Not nearly as heavy as I would have thought, was pleasantly suprised that is wasn't like motor oil based upon the initial aroma.

D-If it wasn't for the high alcohol content (and price) I could drink this all night long! I'm sure some might not like it due to the heavy bourbon flavor, but for me its better than any other bourbon barrel aged stout (probably because I love bourbon).

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

12 oz Bottle into Nonic

A: black as midnight on a moonless night, tight carbonation in the 1.5 finger foam that slowly released

S: musty bread yeast, can smell the oak/vanilla, slight char in the end.

T: Candied plums, char, bread, vanilla in that order of release with the taste of burnt marshmallow as the finish (YUM!)

M: Smooth, kinda wish for a bit more carbonation to kill some of the sweetness, but it insures that this is a slow sipper

D: THis is as drinkable as a 13% beer can be, a one beer session that can last for awhile as it warms

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Photo of chaz410
3.99/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle from a buddy that lived in chicago!
Pours thin black with a lacing that sticks and is vanilla colored.
Smell is vanilla with some chocolate malt and a little roasted barley.
taste is a monstrousity of bourbon and chocolate malt. Vanilla swings back and forth through the roasted barley and coffee notes. Not much hop character but I imagine it's ther but just over powered by the malt. Heavy caramel as well.
Thick viscous mouthfeel.
Not easy to drink, let this kid rest a few years!

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Photo of Jeffo
3.64/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was picked up in Chicago.

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: Pours out black, but not quite pitch black. The pour produces a cascading ½ finger mocha colored head that magically appears out of nowhere. Jet black body with minimal carbonation for the style. Head quickly fades to nothing and a ring around the edges of the glass. A slight ring remains until the end and leaves no lacing. Looks good for the style, but the lack of lace keeps from going any further.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon in the nose with vanilla, sweet cream and oak notes. Bourbon and more bourbon, though there is a slight hint of roasted malts in there too, but this is all about the bourbon. Very bold and quite well done.

TASTE: Lots of bourbon again here. Follows the nose exactly. Vanilla, oak, and some sweet milk chocolate, with a mild yet present roasted malt base. A big, bold, and lingering aftertaste with plenty of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate notes, and a good dose of alcohol. A very boozy barrel aged stout for sure, with a good dose of alcohol after the swallow. The barrel is definitely king here, but it seems to work.

PALATE: Here's where the beer falters. Very thin and light for the style. Not creamy or smooth enough, lots of prickly carbonation, and somewhat airy on the palate. Goes down fine, but is abrasive at the swallow with a bit of a burn. Very hot, lots of heat on this one, and finishes slightly sticky. Definitely needs a bigger body and could tone down the heat a bit.

OVERALL: There's no making a mistake about this one. This is a bourbon barrel aged stout, and it won't let you forget it. While the appearance was nothing spectacular and the feel somewhat off-putting, the nose and taste were done really well. Bold flavors that don't seem out of place, with lots of nuances going on throughout the whole drinking experience. There are some other bourbon BA stouts that fit the bill for their subtle complexities, but this is an in-your-face bourbon stout that will grab hold of you and not let go. If the palate were a little thicker and fuller, this would be one for to write home about. For now, it's just one to check out if you get the chance. Recommended.

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Photo of hawks10
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage - Bottled October 12th, 2007 - 12oz bottle poured into a snifter on February 10th, 2011...

Pours ridiculously thick, jet black, motor oil. A tiny wisp of dark brown head struggles to emerge and quickly vanishes, even with a vigorous pour - 4.0

Oh my god, delicious bourbon aromas erupt from the glass. The most intense bourbon aroma I have smelled in a stout, from what I can remember at least...Intense, warm, wonderful. Sweet milk chocolate and vanilla mix in with the bourbon, touches of oak as well, but the bourbon overwhelms them all - 5.0

Quite sweet and rich, bourbon hits your palette quickly and intensely, this beer is still very hot! The burn starts after the first sip and intensifies as I drink. Rich, thick chocolate with hints of vanilla towards the finish. A slightly roasted characteristic emerges at the very end and cuts into the sweetness a bit. But bourbon wins out, sweet and hot, but delicious! - 5.0

Full bodied, thick and viscous, completely coating. Low carbonation only accentuates the thickness of this beer. Alcohol heat from beginning to end - 4.5

Age has only intensified this beer, still hard to decide if I like this or the 2008 better 4.0


2008 Vintage - Bottled October 21st, 2008 - 12oz bottle poured into a mini Goose Island imperial pint glass, served at cellar temp...

Pours thick and black, viscous. When held to the light the extreme edges show a bit of a crimson color. A thin, one finger light brown/tan head emerges and dissipates just as quickly, no real lacing or haze left behind - 4.5

Yummm, intense aromas of bourbon, vanilla, some woodiness, slightly smokey...somewhat sweet malt aroma, bit of dark chocolate and caramel, some molasses too, very complex and enticing - 4.5

Oh yea, this one is delicious! Sweet, chocolate and bourbony vanilla, so smooth and creamy. A nice burn of alcohol on the lips and gums...a bit of bitterness shows up after a few sips, subtle coffee and roasted grains, but overall is a beer with heavy sweet malt characteristics and a beautifully smooth bourbon flavor. Intense beer with a great warmth of alcohol to tell you to slow down and savor this one. The bourbon burn intensifies and accumulates as you drink and lingers well into the finish - 5.0

So smooth, thick and creamy. Completely coating and intensely warm and inviting - 4.5

What a great beer, very complex nose and taste. Something to be enjoyed over an hour or so...this beer is 1.5 years old as I drink it and could still benefit from further aging, but it's great now too, so what the hell! - 4.0

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

A: nice dark black. poured into large snifter. formed a decent 1 finger head that dissapated quickly. nice lacing for a barrel aged beer. 2009 release

S: Fantastic! lots of vanilla, followed by milder oak and bourbon. Not much alcohol in the nose

T: one of the best 100% barrel aged beers I know of. Tremendous balance. the whiskey does not overpower and adds a sweet complexity

M: complex. bourbon, oak, stout. long finish without being too hot

D: this has become a mainstaple in my cellar collection

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Photo of TJBurgess
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 BCS, bottled 10/08/08, tasted 4/09/10

Poured into a snifter
A: Resembles used motor oil. Hardly any carbonation and just the slightest caramel head finishes the pour.

S: Bourbon, chocolate, and caramel dominate and fill the nose. Powerful stuff!

T: Perfect blend of bourbon and stout characteristics. The bourbon tone has definately mellowed since the last time I tried it in a good way, but seemlessly meshes with dark chocolate now and provides a absolutely great beer taste. The alcohol has also mellowed making this extremely approachable.

M: I almost don't want to swallow it. No carbonation to speak of with a nice thickness.

D: The only non-5 for me was drinkability. One and done. This is a sipper with tremendous flavor. I had this at the end of the night after a big dinner as my dessert. I wanted nothing to drink after this.

The 2008 is really drinking it's best right now. IMHO, the 2009 is still a bit brash and needs some time to smooth out as the '08 has done. I will hunt down a few more of the '08s just in case the '09 doesn't reach the same point.


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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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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
100 out of 100 based on 2,855 ratings.
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