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:
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Reviews: 2,943 | Ratings: 12,112
Photo of ufotofuturo
4.56/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

One of my friends was generous enough to let me split one of these with him, and I couldn't be more impressed. Pours thick and oil-black. Pleasant bourbon odor, with an assertive, boozy presence. Rich, complex, and incredibly delicious, with hints of chocolate, oak, and a dozen other elements I couldn't possibly place. I don't feel like my knowledge of beer is sufficient to review this one. Suffice it to say that it's entirely awesome. Buy it if you get a chance.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sat on this 12 ouncer for a few months. Not quite ready to open my BA Stout Trooper so I figured I'd have a different barrel-aged beer. Pours thick and black, a dark brown pinky-size head. Quickly reduced to a small swirling cap and thick ring around the edge, understandable for the ABV. Leaves minimal lacing. Bourbon is quite apparent in the smell, huge vanilla and dark malt scents, some caramel. Much of the same in the taste, lots of bourbon and vanilla with heavy dark roasted malts. Alcohol is definitely hot on the tongue and throat, it shows every bit of it's 13%, and it is kind of a deterrent. Some age must do wonders for this beer as many reviewers can attest. Mouthfeel is pretty incredible, very thick and silky smooth, reminds me of Kate the Great almost. It would probably get a 5 in that category if it wasn't so hot with booze. A bit more caramel helps lightens things up later on in the taste. Drinkability is low for me, the booze is still way too hot and present in every sip. It's definitely a quality brew and I will be buying a 4-pack to age, I've read it takes at least a year for it to really shine. But for now it's a bit too hot to place in the tier of excellence.

EDIT - Found a couple '08s, cracked one open tonight (5/9/10). Bottle date is 10-21-08 so this is over 18 months old. Head disappears in the blink of an eye. Booze is still just as present in the nose, but the taste has definitely mellowed out. Alcohol is still obviously there but doesn't burn the throat anymore. The mouthfeel and taste are better now, has a new level of thickness and complexity, more of a burnt chocolate taste than I remember being present in the fresh bottle. Pairs good with some neopolitan ice cream. Though the booze is still a bit hot for my liking, this is drinking very well as of 18 months. I have one more '08 and four '09s...looking forward to trying them over the next 4-5 years.

**1/26/15 - Woah even more notes! Tried a 2009 last night pre-blizzard, just over 5 years old, very impressive. Excellent bourbon and chocolate character, very smooth but still with that trademark warming alcohol. Low-but-there carbonation. Split it 3 ways, this is one tough 12oz solo if you ask me. Very happy that it's doing this well at this point. I have another '09 that I'll give another year or so.

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Photo of biglite351
2.34/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - pitch black which was nice but two glasses drew no head at all.

S - whisky, whisky and maybe a little whisky.

T - has more actual stout like flavor than most other bourbon barrel brews that I have tried in the past. There seems to be a little fruity flavor coming through, almost like raisins. Bourbon hit on the top of the mouth.

M - mild coating. Alcohol burn in throat. After a few drinks the front sides of the tongue get a numb tingle.

D - I do not care for hard alcohol so I would not be drinking this.

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Photo of Abelmacias20
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage - Pours a menacing black hue. Little to no head head with very little lacing.
The bourbon aroma is overpowering. Some dark chocolate, malt & smokey aromas as well.
The initial taste is hot...very bold bourbon taste followed by bitter chocolate, hints of vanilla & molasses. Leaves a burning alcohol sensation on your lips...the entire taste linger for a bit. AWSOME!
Medium carbonation. Goes down smooth and creamy. Definitely a sipping beer.
I'm a huge fan of bourbon barrel stouts. This is a prime example of this style. Well done!

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Second time I've had a beer like this, and I found this GI to be far better than KBS. At least I have another bottle of that stuff to give it a chance at redemption.

This really is a story of two drinks merged wonderfully into one.

Pours a rather menacing black/super-dark-brown color that immediately looks like trouble, just seeing it swill around in the glass. Barely even got a look at the head though, it was gone so fast.

Smell was quite potent, and my nose is stuffed up from allergies.
The smell of barrel-aged bourbon is immediately overwhelming -- like I'm looking into a glass of finely smelling tar.
That yields gracefully to a subtle chocolate scent, thick and malty.

Taste is quite good -- as I said earlier, it's like 2 drinks in 1.
The bourbon hits first, smooth, refined, silky, boozy.
The stout comes next, sliding in quietly, but asserting flavors of chocolate, vanilla sweetness, and a boatload of malt.

Drinking this was a pleasure. Thick yet silky mouthfeel make this such a winner. Just like whiskey straight, this is a sipping drink, but you'll savor each nip.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.23/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out from the bottle a deep, impenetrable black, with only the barest hint of foam. The first time I had this was a few years back at GABF and I remember it being one of the best I'd ever had. Time and distance has not changed my opinion much. Huge bourbon aromas on the nose, extremely boozy, with some cocoa powder, vanilla and tobacco. Huge bourbon again on the palate, along with roasted malt, coffee, vanilla and lots of warming alcohol. A bit hot to be certain, but still a wonderful example of the style.

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Photo of gafferjohn
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very Special Thank You to My friend at the Blue Dog for hooking me up with this beauty.

Bottle has a 10/2009 date.

This is incredible ! smell of bourbon hits strong up front but not harsh. Chocolate and Oak in there too ?

This thing is dark and dank. No light gettin' thru this puppy. Head is thin and dark brown and doesn't last long.

Taste is strong with Bourbon but balanced beautifully like no other brew I've had. I love this beer.

Awesome mouthfeel. I could sip this all day long.

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Photo of wnh
4.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip. 2008 vintage, poured 4/16/2010.

Pours chestnut-brown tinted black, not as dark or thick as I remember, but still plenty dark and thick. Topped by a large-ish fizzy dark tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving a completely still-looking beer.

Oh, what a nose. Loaded with charred oak, roasted grain, earthy dark chocolate, boozy vanilla, ash and smoke, tobacco, wood, a bit of candied fruit, and just a fleeting hint of resinous pine-like hops. Dense. Wow.

And even denser on the palate. Bourbon-soaked wood, roasted grain, char, and a definite fire-breathing alcohol burn. It's almost a chore to take a sip, but what a pleasant chore. There's an underlying current of sweet caramel that keeps the big boy flavors from being too oppressive. Still a palate bruiser.

Thick and sticky, and so heavy. Moderately soft, but firm enough. Perfectly balanced between sweet bourbon and roasty imperial stout, never leaning too far in either direction. World class.

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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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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,112 ratings.
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