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
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Reviews: 2,943 | Ratings: 12,113
Photo of chalsk
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage. Pours a dark black color with an extremely thin caramel colored head. Has an aroma of liqourice and dark fruit, with a hint of chocolate. The booze comes through on the aroma. Wonderful taste. Is a bit booze, some further aging should help smooth this out. But I can already taste that time has worked well on this brew. Sweet chocolaty up front, then the bite of alcohol, dark fruit and more chocolate with some subtle bitters on the finish. Very complex. Has a creaminess to it. Will age this another year and try again. Can't wait. Better than its famed coffee stout brethren IMO.

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Photo of jealousmonk
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is an incredible beer--one of the best I've ever tasted. It's probably not for everyone--the flavors and alcohol are intense--but it's probably worth trying for everyone. Goose Island have pretty good beers in their regular lineup, but their high end is truly exceptional.

A-The beer pours thick and heavy, as has been stated over and over by everyone else on this page, with a thin light brown head. The looks are definitely what one would expect from a very, very big imperial stout.

S-Intense smell of bourbon. It smells very sweet--the vanilla and roasted malt scents come first, followed by the oak of the bourbon. This beer smells more strongly of bourbon than a glass of bourbon. I guess this requires that the drinker really like bourbon, but I found that it smelled wonderful.

T-Very oaky with lots of vanilla as in the smell and also very strong coffee. There is a secondary but still robust chocolate flavor. I love this beer! I have a bottle of the coffee stout sitting around and can't wait to see how that flavor develops with actual coffee in the mix.

M-Light carbonation, heavy but not at all cloying or greasy. The beer is definitely meant to be sipped rather than chugged, of course.

D-Like I said, meant to be sipped rather than chugged, but I can't help but drink too much of it. I first tasted it in a bottle, then it was on tap at Dive Bar in New York for a couple of glorious weeks, and I have had it out of a bottle a couple of times since from my stock. I usually try to share a bottle since it is 13% alcohol and all, but I have also had no trouble finishing off a 12-ounce or a pint by myself. Very surprisingly easy to drink!

I bought out the local Whole Foods after I tasted this beer the first time. It's a must-try and probably my favorite so far of an incredibly competitive style.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.67/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter a dark brown with tan lacing.

Smell of bourbon, oak, chocolate, coffee and booze.

Taste of intense booze, corn mash bourbon, caramelized sugars, vanilla, oak barrel aging, and booze. It really tastes like there was a decent amount of bourbon left in these barrels before adding the stout. Overly booze flavored IMO, almost all other flavors of what might be a stout are nearly covered up. Light mouthfeel for a 13% , light to medium carbonated.

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Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured absolutely jet black (like motor oil) with a mocha-colored head that quickly dissipated and left diminutive lacy patterns of bubbles.
S: The smell is intense and very complex with aromas of bourbon, oak and vanilla.
T: Like the aroma, the taste is also complex and well balanced between bourbon flavors and notes of alcohol, chocolate, oak and vanilla.
M: It feels full-bodied, very smooth and coats the palate. There is some warming from the alcohol.
D: Given the high alcohol content, this is definitely a beer that is imperative to sip very, very slowly.

Note: 2008 vintage

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

poured into a dfh chalice, light does not pass through this beer. tan head, looks good.

nose has alcohol, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit. the booze reall dominates.

big oak flavor upfront, hot bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit,caramel, bitter dark chocolate,tobacco, finishes with some lingering bourbon hotness. really complex.

viscous mouthfeel, low carbonation. at 13% it's still somewhat drinkable.

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

There comes a time in everyone's beer drinking life when one eventually has pushed the boundaries of beer to the brink, and the question becomes not whether a beer is good, but whether what you're drinking is still beer.

I suppose its sort of the idea of God, being the alpha and the omega. Most likely you started off by drinking a Coors Light or Budweiser and you asked yourself, "Is this beer?" Now come a few years later, you're experienced, you've perused the beer aisle of your local outlet frequently and thoroughly. You've tasted dozens if not hundreds of brews. You've not only honed your own palate to a razor's edge, but have a universal sense of what would appeal to others beyond simply your own meandering ideals of the perfect beer.

Enter Bourbon County Brand Stout.

It walks the fringe, black as the abyss, mad as a hatter and beautiful as a charcoal diamond. I cannot call it the ultimate beer, because once again, it begs the question, "What is beer?" Nor would I want it as my "last meal" beer. It seems like some Lovecraftian beast, beyond mortal ken, standing astranger to us, mocking us, yet forever apart from us.

Appearance: Black. Black as the goddamn void.

Smell: More brandy than whiskey I think, a distinctive wine characteristic. Aged prunes, grapes, raisins. Wood, touch of vanilla. Redwood. Sea salt, burnt ash.

Taste: Overwhelming brandy, striking similarities to Samichlaus. Massive alcoholic punch. Syrupy mouth feel, not dissimilar to honey. Brandy, sea salt, vinegar, aged fruits. Almost sherry or port characteristics. Near infinite aftertaste, lasting whole minutes for single sips. This is closer to dessert wine than beer.

I would enjoy this on Christmas or Thanksgiving. Considering that it takes me about two hours to get through a bottle, this is NOT an easy drinking beer, and certainly not a social beverage. Treat with respect. It won't be your favorite beer, but it'll always be in the back of your head, no matter what else you drink, it'll be there, like phantasm, laughing at you until the day you die.

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Photo of jefferz5000
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first formal review, and I do believe that this beer is beyond worthy of my efforts. Recieved a bottle in two trades, so a big thanks to Cuzco and chcfan.

Taken out of the fridge to warm up for a bit before pouring not too aggressively into my Duvel glass. Pours like motor oil as a deep tan head develops.

Smell hits hard with loads of bourbon. Pretty overwhelming and not in a bad way at all. Maybe a bit of semisweet chocolate coming through, as well as in the taste. Mostly just bourbon is what i'm getting in both areas.

Feels thick and chewy in the mouth. Most definitely a sipper. Overall, this beer has caught me off guard in it's extreme bourbony quality.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in a chimay chalice.

pours a luscious, velvety jet black; viscous... less than a finger of a mocha-toned head that dissipates into a collar around the glass; some lacing, though nothing really to write home about on that front. still, a really nice looking imperial stout.

one whiff and the bourbon jumps at you right away; roasted malt follows, accompanied by vanilla, a touch of oak, chocolate, and alcohol. an oustanding aroma, rich with complexity.

bold bourbon flavor comes barreling through in the taste (no pun intended, honest), followed by the roasted malt, vanilla, oak, and a nice bitter chocolate presence... the alcohol is definitely a player but not as overwhelmingly as you'd expect considering the 13% abv - though there is some heat in the finish. very, very tasty. delicious, too. did i mention i'm liking this a lot?

full bodied, viscous mouthfeel; relatively lightly carbonated. leaves lips sticky. this is the definition of a sipper - one you'll want to savor. i can easily see this earning a spot in my regular rotation, only drawback being its hefty pricetag.

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Photo of nova009
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 bomber into a snifter

A: Black as night, almost nonexistent tan head, very little lacing...looks very enticing

S: WOW this smells fantastic, the bourbon really hits the nose hard, mixture of oak and vanilla follow, my mouth is watering at the smell of this one

T: extremely rich taste, bourbon and coffee flavors dominate, subtle vanilla notes, the alcohol is balanced well

M: medium body, smooth and not overly heavy, light carbonation, this is one you want to swirl in your mouth for a bit

D: you can't have too many glasses of this in a night, however this is a great one to sit with and sip, grab a nice cigar and enjoy

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Photo of Bmoyer0301
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Tonight I gave this beer a straight on pour in my Dogfish Head Raison De Etre goblet hoping to really funnel the aromas from the glass. With the pour I got the tiniest amount of bubbles forming on the top which appeared a dark mocha color. As for color I'm getting nothing less than the blackest black you can imagine and this baby is thick pouring like a heavy soy sauce. I gave the devilish looking sauce a big swirl and got a fair amount of lacing which crawls down the walls of my glass slowly.


Right now my glass is at arms reach away on the coffee table and I can get a clear bouquet of bourbon from here without even trying. As I reach for it and bring it in closer the bourbon gets bigger and bigger with vanilla shooting through and mocha coffee swirling around the nose. For being 13% ABV it really hides the alcohol heat well, and in the back I'm getting a large amount of of dark fudge chocolate ( like the kind you get smothered all over your favorite ice cream ).


MMMM...Bourbon dipped chocolate bars! This beer just shoots out of the gate with toffee, chocolate, and oaky vanilla flavors. This baby is an amazing piece of barrel aged art, there is just so much complexity here and I have had literally dozens of barrel aged stouts but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this is definitely the best I have ever had. I think what makes this so different from any other one I had was the bourbon is not overpowering but rather just a piece of the whole puzzle. Not one flavor really just stands out in this beer and I really like that because I feel it makes for a better complex taste. On the finish, it just melts away with more chocolate and vanilla leaving you with a excellent smooth taste in the back of your throat.


This beer is for sure a top rank contender for drinkability versus complexity. Again, I say for being 13% and having a huge amount of aged whiskey in it you might think it would be a challenge to drink but that is the exact opposite. This beer is velvet smooth with so many flavors going on I highly recommend you sit back relax and be sure to enjoy them all. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who like a good bourbon or even likes barrel aged beers. I was lucky enough to land this in a trade because we don't see this kind of sweet nectar out here in Pennsylvania. So if you happen to come across this , go for it I promise you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Poorpatz for the trade!

A: Pours an extremely viscous, complete onyx color with hardly any brown head at all. This just looks mean...

S: Wow...the oak bourbon barrels are definitely up front and aggressive. Strong oak and wood notes right off the bat, lots of bourbon (can be a little overwhelming), vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruit. Malts give a roasted and charred note. Amazingly complex.

T: The flavor is different from the nose...the bourbon drinks VERY hot, and becomes boozy as it warms. Lots of vanilla and oak characters in the flavor, almost dominating everything else and creating a coconut flavor when its all said and done. Definitely the most unique stout out there. Chocolate, slight lactose, and dark fruits are in there somewhere.

MF/D: By far the thickest stout in my book. Same consistency as motor oil. Creamy and velvety feel to it.

The major faults: waaay too rich...if a fellow BA has finished a 12oz bottle without a seizure, I commend you my friend.

Also, the bourbon drinks too hot for my liking...almost tasted like a stout with a warm shot of bourbon in it. I think this aspect really takes away from the experience. I really tried to justify rating drinkability higher, but i couldn't...too intense, and I had to (reluctantly) dump part of the bottle.

Notes: this drinks hotter than one might think...lots of bourbon. Also, this is a meal in itself, having this with food may be a bad idea.

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Photo of Kelly88
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 vintage bottle poured into my Kentucky Ale pint glass

A- pours an intimidating pitch black syrup That leaves a thin dark brown head. Very minimal lacing. Thickest beer ever!

S- very complex smell that has noticeable Bourbon and chocolate aromas. Dark fruits and malts are less noticeable but there.

T- great big Bourbon blast with fruity body That gets finished up nicely by rich chocolatey decadence. Alcohol is blended very well with other flavors not overpowering at all.

M- thick and coating yet carbonation is present and helps lighten the brew

D- to me This beer is nowhere near drinkable. It is a well made beer but it is just so Bourbon forward. I've been working on my 12 ozs for about 20m and I'm not even halfway done

Overall a great beer the best I've had and I think this is what I will compare all stouts to

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

2009 vintage
daaark and thick; persistent (though thin) brown sugar-colored head

the aroma is prima facie all vanilla-ish wood. it's funky, to be frank, and i smell bourbon (just a little? nope, the prevailing aromatic characteristic). also, smooth but not too strong roast and plenty of sweetness. i said there's tons of bourbon, but there's actually less than i originally though--though still a bunch

the bourbon provides strong flavoring but more of the bogeyman in the closet than the monkey bouncing on my bed (if ya know what i mean). first comes a wrecking ball (no...tectonic shift/crawl) of roasty sweet. it's smooth but that could be due to sheer volume (smooth like a lahar). hops manages to hit early, too. booze enters stage right: its entrance is not harsh, which means the beer itself is brutally strong, or so thick my mouth hasn't had the opportunity to be totally disinfected beforehand. the heat brings out flavors, but is itself fairly subdued. brown sugar

mouthfeel feels like a big, rich beer with a little prickle. mos def a dessert beer or aperif

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Photo of spoons
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to a snifter. cellar temp

This beer is super black and thick. A tan/coffee colored head forms buts dissapates fairly quickly.

Smells dark...Chocolate and whisky come across right away. Followed by a burnt sugar/caramel smells. Some harsh alcohol as well.

Taste is creamy and thick. lots of sweetness and malted vanilla milk shake flavor. A little bready. Toasted marshmallow, coffee, tobacco also come through. Very complex as it warms.

Excellent beer, one of the best out there.

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Photo of ginemesis
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darker than the soul of satan
S - Coconut, bourbon, butter. Miss Hawaiian Tropic
T - Strong bourbon, coconut, slight coffee with a buttery aftertaste
M - Extremely rich and heavy. Leave a molasses / sticky feeling.
D - Definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.72/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2008 bottle at 68 degrees from the cellar into a snifter. Bottled on 10/16/08 1039. BA user squaremile spotted a couple remaining bottles at Bailey's Taproom recently. What a sweet find.

appearance - black and viscous, rich brown head recedes quickly, strong lacing

smell - huge chocolate, roasted malt, yeast, bread, oak barrel

taste - hot bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, enormous malt body, oak barrel, massive complexity

mouthfeel - thick, chewy, bold, some alcohol burn, warm, creamy, moderate carbonation

drinkability - heavy alcohol, rich and complex, intoxicating on many levels, amazing beer

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Photo of endincolorado
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a dark syrupy brown like molasses, viscous and thick. The body is nearly opaque-black in the glass except for just beneath the head where it shows brown in the light like root beer. The head is dark tan and fizzy, and dissipates quickly. Nice lacing clings to the glass.

The aroma is strong and malty with dark fruit and a heavy sweetness, cut by a nice wood smell and some vanilla in the background.

Delivered by a thick, syrupy texture that reaches all parts of the palate and lingers around on the tastebuds, the flavor is delicious with a fig-like sweetness, and a great woody bourbon flavor in back. Alcohol is noticeable in warmth and strength, but not overpowering.

At 13% alcohol, the drinkability on this isn't too high, and the rich flavor would be overpowering after a while. This beer is meant to be shared.

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

Yowza.. Bourbon, bourbon, bourbon and more bourbon. This one's especially "hot" as the ABV is readily apparent. Pours a supremely dark black with a one finger tan head. Mmm delicious. I mean the bourbon, oak, chocolate and vanilla flavors are all bombastic but what do you expect? Smooth and creamy.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
2.1/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I wanted to love this beer, I truly did. I guess I am finding out that even though I am a huge stout fan, it seems that I just don't like imperial stouts that much. They to me are way too alcoholic and can become too harsh because of the enormous liquor taste.

A-Pitch black with a tan head that faded quick. Standard imperial stout.
S-Burdon, some vanilla, OAK!
T- HARSH. Most imperial stouts are like this, so I may be bias.
Heavy alcoholic taste. Not what one would want for a beer flavor. Drink liqueur if you want to taste alcohol (that's why I like beer).
M-Typical for an imperial stout, but not my cup of tea. Very carbonated, with a heavy warming feeling. Not beer in feel.
D- I like to drink my beer, but this is no where near drinkable. I don't want a beer that can only be sipped. It's so thick and heavy in alcohol that the drinkability is nowhere to be found.

My expectation according to Goose Island was a velvety, smooth beer, with a rich vanilla and oak taste. Sorry Goose Island, but you are clueless about this beer.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.35/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. The color is a deep, rich, black with almost no head whatsoever, just the thinnest ring of dark tan suds around the edges of the surface. Some very, very light lacing left behind.

The aroma is filled with bourbon, oak, light vanilla notes and some straight up alcohol heat. Roasted malts linger in the background.

The flavor echos the nose with bourbon, smooth, creamy chocolate and vanilla. Very good, the bourbon is front and center, but the beer finishes so smooth with the chocolate and vanilla. The initial bourbon flavor transitions to a bourbon soaked wood flavor mixed with dark, roasty malts. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth, rich, creamy and almost velvety. Low carbonation and warming alcohol. Quite good for a bourbon stout. If the body were just a tad thicker this would be perfection.

Drinkability is surprisingly good, especially for a 13% ABV bourbon stout. A rich beer that is definitely a sipper, but you can't stop sipping.

Overall, this is an excellent bourbon stout. Probably one of the smoothest, well balanced offerings I have had for this style. Like the rest of the BA community, I highly recommend this beer and I'm very excited to try the Coffee version that's currently sitting in my cellar. Good work Goose Island!

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed from notes - 5/7/10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had this one on tap at Goose Island Clybourn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poured from 2009 bottle into oversized Pinot wine glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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