Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,938 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:
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Reviews: 2,938 | Ratings: 12,075
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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Photo of ndekke39
4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 12 oz bottle of the Bourbon County Stout. Bottled on 10/21/08. Batch number (?) 0807.

Pours a very slick and syrupy thick. Completely black, with a tan foamy head. Good retention on the head.

Smells are biting, with sweetness and alcohol at the forefront: molasses, maple syrup, again the alcohol. A little overwhelming.

Flavors are the same: big chewy mouth of molasses and syrup, balanced by a very slight bitterness. Definite bite from the alcohol. Still, this is pleasantly enjoyable.

Fairly thick mouthfeel, appropriate to the style.

You have to drink this slowly, because you can really feel that 13% ABV. Glad I split the bottle. But overall it's delicious - works best as a dessert, I think.

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

Aroma of dark chocolate, cream, raisins and sweet bourbon, tastes like liqueur chocolates, one of my favorites snacks of all time. I am impressed a great deal by this beer. The alcohol is masked well but I can feel it inside me. I was expecting this to be one of the darkest beers but this is a beautiful dark chocolately brown color. After I rinsed my bottle out I realized the residue left was still darker than most beers even though this was dilluted probably one to five hundred. I feel like I am sipping bourbon and chasing it with chocolate. Fantastic stout.

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Photo of Poorpatz
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I opened the bottle and lifted the opening to my nose. The smells coming from inside are delicious
first is a semi-sweet choclate smell mixed with a soft coffee aroma. My wife's first reaction was to say "MMMM". I then poured the bottle into an oversized wine glass and held it to the light the color is true blackout black, there is no sign of the light on the other side of the glass. A small brownish tinged head formed but dissapeted quickly, a little lacing but not much. My first sip immediatley I thought of that dark choclate candy that my grandmother used to carry around with her, it was choclate laced with a slight peppery flavor very rich. The acohol is noticable as I thought of some fine moonshine. I sipped my beer for about an hour and didn't finish as the beer is very filling and rich. I think ideally this is a good beer to share with someone else. Overall I enjoyed it. I will be looking forward to haveing another. Also would like to see how this ages. The brewery suggests Five years on the bottle.

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Photo of simpliciter
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - a typical stout; a thin tan head over clear dark pour.

S - deeply chocolatey nose, with obvious foreshadowing of the bourbon flavor to come.

T - opens with a huge chocolate truffle fudge flavor, then fades into the bourbon. hints of coffee. chocolate covered espresso beans soaked in bourbon. finishes clean but with a hot alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

M - coats lightly. seems too light, but something heavier might be overwhelming? difficult to balance this much flavor with an appropriate texture.

D - pair with peppery beef or try for dessert.

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Photo of jones3aj
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From notes)

Chilled bottle poured into a glass.

Bought this bottle of 2007 Bourbon County Brand Stout on 5/14/10. I'd be really interested to compare this to the 2008 and 2009 varieties to see how it ages.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with absolutely no head. (Bottle described it as having a thick head, so I assume this is the result of oxidation.) A very fine ring of reddish tan circumvented the interior of the glass.

Smell: The maltiness of this beer jumps right out at you from the second you pop the cap. Noted in order: Malty, Alcohol, Coffee, Chocolate, Smokey, Vanilla (after reaching room temperature).

Taste: Once again, fantastic maltiness. A mouthful of the darkest cacao beans you can find. Smokiness fills the palate from front to back. As should be expected from 13%, there is an alcoholic bite that lasts well into your second or third exhalation. I had hoped for more powerful bourbon notes , but wasn't disappointed with their absence. Smoke and chocolate flavors intensify as the beer warms, and you'll even find hints of vanilla strolling amongst the complexity of this beast.

Mouthfeel: Excellent experience as the smooth and creamy nature of this beer clashes with the strong burn of alcohol on your tongue and in the back of your throat!

Drinkability: Excellent choice. Lived up to what my mind had decided it 'should' be. You probably wouldn't want to do more than one of these by yourself. After one, you'll find your ability to detect taste, smell, and most other senses will be thoroughly... altered!

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.17/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- Poured with no head, it reminded me of pouring a glass of coke! Pitch black and thick.

s- Slight smell of bourbon, first smell gave a chill up my spine.

t- Slightly sweet, bourbon was not really too strong, which surprised me, based on the smell

m- not much carbonation, leaves the mouth a little dry

d- very good beer, but I would probably only drink one at a time

Overall, very good beer. I would like to be patient enough to wait to see what it would be like after a year or so of developing.

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

Poured thick and viscous from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Very, very dark brown with the only suggestions of color coming through the stream between bottle and glass. A finger and a half of head the color of cocoa powder, which disappeared within seconds. Immediately I smell bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. I have never smelled a beer like this before. Taste is bourbon sweet, vanilla and chocolate, the chocolate almost identical to some candy I remember my grandmother giving me when I was a kid. Mouthfeel is smooth, heavy and tingling from both the alcohol and a bit of carbonation. I actually give this higher marks than I would have thought on drinkability, but I should point out that it took me two hours to finish 12 ounces.

This beer definitely lived up to my expectations and was far and away more unique than I could have imagined. Truly exceptional.

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

12 oz bottle into a snifter. bottled on 1/14/10.

pours a thick, greasy dark brown to black. only gave me a thin ring of dark brown head and no lace, but i'll forgive them a little due to the high abv.

the smell alone is intoxicating! i'm getting roasted malt, brown sugar, smoke, oak, herbal hops and glorious booze. taste follows, and adds notes of coffee, vanilla and a slight alcohol astringency. has a dessert like sweetness to it, and i would love to have a gelato made with this. there is some bitterness on the sides of the tongue, but it seems to come more from the alcohol than the hops. finish is long and sweet, and the flavor becomes much fuller as it warms up.

body is chewy and thick with a nice creaminess and a bit of alcohol warming.

this is definitely a slow sipper, and one bottle should last you all night. gonna have to get more of this for cellaring, i bet it mellows out splendidly.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2008 vintage, pours a viscous jet black with minimal head which quickly settles down to even less.

This is a super rich, sweet dessert beer. Loads of bourbon in the nose and taste but I feel is has mellowed a bit and integrated a little better than fresh, super sweet, chocolate cake and vanilla, just a hint of cinnamon and wood off the barrel as well. A decent roast that is enveloped by the other qualities, could us a little more to give a bit of dryness to the finish and some balance. Super slick and thick mouthfeel, sulks through the mouth. Just delightful to drink with with dessert or as a nightcap, hides the ABV relatively well for such a big beer. Should just keep on getting better, yum!

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Photo of Stacy53
4.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Goose Island- Bourbon County Band Stout- Bottled on: 11/12/09

Aged under a year, only 6 months

A- Black and thick, very thin brown caramel head that down not stay around for long.

S- Strong warm boozy bourbon, with a rich dark chocolate smell. This beer's smell was hard for me to identify.

T- Sweet chocolate, smoky, and creamy. The taste is so great it is almost indescribable.

M- Thick HUGE Beer, and still it is very lightly carbonated and smooth.

D- Again, very smooth yet still a slow sipper to saver this outstanding beer.

Today is my 25th birthday and this was the perfect beer to savor and enjoy for this day. I have two more bottles of this and I am going to age them for a few more years to see what comes of these flavors!

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,075 ratings.
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