Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

2,936 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

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Reviews: 2,936 | Ratings: 12,070
Photo of semibaked
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours into the glass and it is about 10 shades of black, small amount a brown sugar colored head.

S - I get vanilla and caramel right away which I wasn't expecting at all, usually with bourbon aged beers you get a huge whiff of bourbon but not with this, I do smell it but it is subdued along with the malts and coffee.

T - Wow is this good, strong bourbon and wood comes through then come great sweetness like vanilla, caramel and sugar. Also this has alot more carbonation that I thought it would. Very nice balance.

M - Nice viscous body kinda like motor oil, coats my mouth very well, full bodied and satisfying.

D - Extremely enjoyable beer, top notch in the style and I will certainly be buying this again, totally worth the price.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jeffo was nice enought to share a 2009 bottle with me. Thanks man.

Poured into a de Struise glasI tpoured pitch black with just a tiny bit of tan foam.

Smells of barrel. Bourbon I'd say. Picking up on some vanilla, chocolate and quite boozy.

Taste follow the nose with the bourbon some vanilla and an some anise.

A very light body. Was quite surpised by that. It's a bif stout after all. Medium carbonation, dry finish and a decent amount of heat.

Great beer. Glad I got to try this one.I'm curious to see what time will do to this beer. Will it mellow out the heat?Got a few more small botlles taht I'll leave to age. To be continued.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.76/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at RSVP in Portland Maine $22.29 for a 4 pack, bottled on 11/07/12 enjoyed on 11/16/12, will let the other three sit for a few years. Per the staff this was the first shipment, first time I've seen this in Maine...Thanks AB-InBev distribution channels!

A- I poured vigorously but only resulted in one finger head that was gone within seconds and resulted in a beer that was flat looking. Not sure of how much I can blame the high ABV on or how much is just poor quality causing head retention issues...either way it detracts from the appearance and is the only negative with this beer. Beyond the head I see small bubbles trying to find their way out of the murky deep, the color is pitch black, velvet in texture.

S- the nose was dominated by whiskey, vanilla, alcohol, chocolate and candied fruits-- very complex and intense. No hop character.

T- deep roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, slight fruit essence, alcohol.. Finish is bitter, lingering, and warming. Very intense taste that begs to be slowly sipped. No flavoring hops present that I can detect.

M- thick and warm with light carbonation.

D- this needs to be sipped and slowly enjoyed with conversation or deep thought. The 15% is there but is so much in balance with the amazing taste that you only really notice it in the a warming aftertaste. Overall this is a huge beer with an amazing unique flavor.

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

brown, almost black brew with little head. aroma is maple, molasses, chocolate, and coconut. thick and viscous across the tongue, wuth deeply roastes malt and dark chocolate rising on the back end. vanilla persists, plus a tiny hint of the bourbon laced oak this ale rested against. solid example of a big barrelled american stout.

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Photo of ELS
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up some BCBS in 2012 and at the time was not really into BB Stouts so I didn't review it then. I also aged a couple of bottles a year later but again held up on a review because I felt I didn't appreciate the style enough to do the beer justice. Well, now it's the end of 2014 and I recently had BCBS on tap, and I'm here to say with the rest of the BA's that this beer is outstanding! The depth and subtleties of the bourbon flavor make it a complete stand out. I only wish I had saved the 2012 coffee bomber I had because now I could have enjoyed it properly!

Update- Looking back I realize that I overrated this beer. I think the hype got to me. I'm bringing it down a few pegs.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.7/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - 2009 vintage.

Poured into a large snifter. This one pours pitch black. Nothing that could constitute a head appears after the pour. A minute amount of bubbly lacing floats on top of the surface and twists about on the meniscus. A swirl of the glass leaves an oily residue all over the side of the glass much like a wine. This is a damn fine looking beer.

The nose is a huge wave of bourbon. Sweet, sweet bourbon... Bourbon gives way to vanilla and charred oak, as well as alcohol. Chocolate and espresso, and more bourbon on the nose. Roasted barley and brown sugar make an appearance as well.

The taste follows suit with the nose. Strong bourbon flavors right up front. The bourbon brings with it a lot of vanilla, smoke and oak with is really quite pleasant. After a few seconds flavor profile fades in a sweet caramel. This is how a bourbon bal aged stout should taste. If you are not a fan of bourbon this beer is not for you. This beer is damn good.

The 13% abv is excellently hidden and with the year and a half-ish on this one it is incredibly smooth. There is virtually no heat from the alcohol initially. As this one warms it does show slightly but not enough to take away from it. Smooth on the palate; just incredibly enjoyable.

I am floored by the quality of this beer. I am more than ever eager to try the other offerings from Goose Island. Next up is a 2010 to see how they compare...

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

Reviewed Fresh:

From bottle into tulip glass. Pours ink black with a dark toffee head that rapidly dissipates to a few wisps. The smell is bourbon moderated only slightly with molasses and faint vanilla and oak. Mouthfeel is classic imperial stout: heavy, thick, minimal carbonation. Chocolate, toffee and vanilla sweetness take the lead with coffee and burnt oak providing a strong backbone. Then the bourbon takes over. At first the bourbon helps supervise the sweetness, which otherwise would run amok. But the bourbon and alcohol bitterness defintely take over by the finish. That aftertaste is the true barometer of this beer; if you don't like bourbon, this is not the beer for you. Not much will pair with this other than dark chocolate (and even that doesn't stand up too well). We're going to cellar a few four-packs and see if it mellows with age. But while I think it could use a bit of the discipline that age provides, its complexity and flavor profile deserves attention right out of the blocks.

Edit: With 2-3 years on it, GIBCS may be one of my favorite beers, period.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.53/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH tulip. bottled 10/2/09 super fresh.

A- pours the best of colors, motor oil black. definitely no light penetrating this one. produces a minimal dark brown head that dissipates a thin ring around the outside of the glass. there is some lacing but the beer coats the glass nearly as much as the head does

S- A very appropriate name for this one. Bourbon covers almost all other aromas. Some roasted barley and coffee coming through as well. as a lover of bourbon stouts this is right up my alley.

T- like some bourbon? my answer is yes. luckily too, because this amount could drive alot of people away. there is a very robust stout under all the bourbon. it's kind of hard to pick out some of the flavors through the bourbon. I can taste a good amount of bitterness from some coffee and hops. I'm guessing the IBUs are fairly high here. some chocolate in the backround gives it some espresso type qualities. absolutely awesome combination of flavors. I really wish I had access to this beer.

M- thick and tasty stuff. a good amount of carbonation really sets off the bitterness provided by the coffee and hops. spot on for the style.

D- I'm rarely halfway through the glass before I get to this point. Possibly due to having to take a couple extra sips to find flavors under the bourbon, but either way it's going down very quickly.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage courtesy of stopbarking. Thanks!

Pours a thick, oily deep brown, with no head, just a tiny halo of dark bubbles.
The nose of this beer is strong, sweet licorice with fig, dark cherry and earthy tones, with some oak in the background.
It is thick and sweet on the palate. More licorice and fig with some molasses along with vanilla and tobacco on the back that rolls into a mellow and warming bourbon finish.
The mouthfeel on this beer is really what sets it apart. You can almost chew it. It is slick and oily with a nice stickiness to it. It is everything an Imperial Stout should be and the barrel aging just adds to the complexity and the warming alcohol taste.

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

355ml brown bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. 2009 bottling sampled on 29/12/10.

A. Rich black in colour with a double finger thick red-brown foam head that rapidly disappeared which is exactly what I like to see happen on any beer of this strength.

S. Meaty but not overpowering. Chocolatey, Christmas cake, morello cherries, port, sherry, red wine, demerara sugar, molasses.

T. Dark fruit covered in dark chocolate. Meaty and chewy, caramelised sugar, very port like, liquorice. Some smoke in the finish.

M. Full bodied, ridiculously thick and chewy. So thick you almost need utensils to drink it with.

D. Pure heaven in a glass. This is my favourite beer to date. If only all beers had the class that this black beauty has. Any beer drinker that does not like this doesn't appreciate beer at all.

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Photo of smcnulty1981
4.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: pours a viscous deep black color very little head maybe half a finger of a mocha head with the ammount of alcohol that would be expected good ammount of lacing and some alcohol legs

S: lots of complexity on the nose vanilla and bourbon up front it's a hint of oak and caramel as well

T: up front there is again a lot of bourbon vanilla and oak with a toasty malt backbone great complexity in the taste however there was a little bit of alcohol heat on the backend which should go away afte a little cellaring

M: very full mouthfeel coats the mouth well leaving a bit of sticky residue at the finish

O: as advertised one of the best bourbon barrel aged stouts out there deffinetly would recommend this and make sure to keep some to cellar

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hopefully going to have some fun with this as I have a 2011 version with a 2008 by the side. Bothe poured into snifters.

A) As would be expected, no real head, very mild lacing on the glass (11) no lacing for the 08.

S) Both versions are similar...bourbon with the 11 having a bit more of a cherry vanilla smell.

T) 11 Bourbon, Cherry, Vaniila, Plum...2008 get a bit more chocolate than I did in the 2011 version.

M) Both are very smooth.

O) Great beer going to save the remaining 2008's for a few more years.

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

This is one beer that lives up to the hype and then some. It is like having a Kahlua and bourbon cocktail. Very tasty combination.
Now, THIS is a beer that a lot of your "non-beer" drinking buddies might seriously get into!
Quite a good value when you consider that one of these babies is equal to two or three normal strength beers, but it blows just about anything else you could call beer away if you enjoy such an extreme amount of rich bourbon / chocolate flavor.
I'm gonna buy more of this for Christmas gifts to send's just that good.

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Photo of oatsodas
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark, with a thin, light tan head.

S: Bourbon, a little toasty, malty. And bourbon.

T: More bourbon, some toffee, chocolate, oak. Some booziness. Lots of layers, a lot going on, but comes together very well.

M: Lightly carbonated. Smooth, full-bodied.

O: An excellent barrell aged stout. Lots of flavors that all come together well with a nice bourbon, oaky flavor. Don't sleep on this one - if you see it, buy it.

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Photo of DMXLOX22
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Picked up a 12 oz. single of this brew at my local establishment, Civera's Deli in Drexel Hill. Very excited to get a hold of this one before it sold out.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, almost complete black body, no visible carbonation at all. Leaves a copper tan head on top that dissipates to only a lingering foam in about 4 minutes. Lacing is pretty decent, could be better, but that may just be my glass.

Smell: Aromas are somewhat complex. First couple of checks of this beer reveals a boozy and strong odors of burnt wood. I go in again about halfway down, and caramel malts are definitely noticeable. Also a very slight hint of maybe vanilla and coconut. Toffee is also on the way down and gets strong as the brew reaches room temperature.

Taste: Again, first few sips off the top reveal a somewhat overwhelming taste of booze, sweet, burnt wood-like flavors. another few sips, the burnt flavor gets milder and toffee-like flavors take hold and a semi-sweet chocolate and coconut also take shape as the brew reaches the bottom. Once at room temperature, I notice the bourbon that the entire label brags about. Delicious flavors complementing each other.

Mouthfeel: Below average carbonation. Thick body, rich flavor and dry finish. Semi-alcohol burn on the way down. Not bad. Goes well with this pumpkin pie I'm enjoying with it.

Overall: Excited to grab this brew while supplies still lasted. Delicious and strong. Good to enjoy with food that's light, but flavorful to really compliment this brew. I would totally have again, maybe with a group of friends. Would totally recommend to a friend. Cheers!

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Photo of badboyrsl84
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black darkness in a port Brewering glass with a small molasses colored head

Smell - intense molasses, Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oakyness. All these flavors are intense remember.

Taste - Smokey chocolate, some Bourbon but not as much as I smelled, milk chocolate, okyness and a hint of vanilla.

A very well done beer that has aged pretty well. I'd love to see this aged a little longer.

Vintage 2009 bottle but the twist top killed this one for me.

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Photo of UMNbeerhunter
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Surly Darkness goblet on 4/13/11.

Pours a motor oil black with one finger on mocha brown head that dissipates leaving no lacing. With agitation it leaves small bubble lacing that has no retention and disappears quickly. Love the look of this brew but I wish there was more head retention and lacing.

Smells of bourbon and some coffee. Roasted barley, and vanilla as well. A great smelling brew. Well balanced, smell is aggressive but not overpowering. This smells damn good.

Tastes is of bourbon up front and then sweet malt, and then some chocolate to finish. This beer is a perfect balance and damn is it tasty. Can't wait until next winter on a cold evening. Wow!

Mouthfeel is medium weight even though the taste is so heavy, well done. Almost no bite at all. The resin and after taste is great, sticking to the entire pallet with chocolate, and roasted malt.

Overall this is a grand slam. This beer is what craft is all about, craftsmanship. One hell of a job GI you have won me over. Lets just keep this going after the InBev takeover.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with tan colored head, dissipates very quickly. Pours very thick, like milk..very inviting.
Damn this smells so good. The aromas just fly out of my snifter. I don't have to work to it at all, it's just there in all it's greatness. I'm picking up wood, bourbon, chocolate, and a bit of alcohol.
The malt flavors are very rich and very tasty. I'm getting chocolate, coffee, also the wood and bourbon. With this guy coming it at 15% I'm also tasting the alcohol.
Full bodied, thick, rich all these adjectives are what come to mind. The flavors are so rich and deep on my palette I can tell its going to stick with more for awhile.
This is an amazing beer, probably the best barrel aged beer I've ever had. This is complex, with lots of different flavors and aromas. Wow!

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.43/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Bourbon County into a Belgian Tulip.

A - The black brew is black as midnight with a skim of dark mocha head.

S - Vanilla, butterscotch, light whiskey, maybe a hint of char. Looking forward to this baby.

T - Heavy bakers chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, sugar sweetness. It has even more vanilla mid palate. Milk chocolate with more vanilla and a touch of char on the aftertaste. This flavor finishes long and smooth. It does have alcohol in this one because you can feel the warming in your chest, but you can't taste it.

M- Thick and smooth, light to medium carbonation. No complaints here.

O - A very nice beer to sip and enjoy for the evening. At 15 percent its a one and done.

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Photo of badgustav
4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This has become the bar by which I measure all bourbon stouts. There is a strong and distinct bourbon smell and flavour to this beer, though it is mellowed and sweetened on the tongue. Very hard to find (especially the further from Black Friday you get) but worth picking up and stashing a few away. Ages very well.

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

one of my favorite styles. bourbon aged stouts. 100 days aged. thank you goose island. either you love em or you hate em...or you think they are just ok. A-ok in my book. their IPA is safe, and so is their harvest. the Belgium styles are hit or miss. i guess i just need to go to the brewery. i live only a couple of hours from chicago, and there are a ton of beers they have on their profile page that im not familiar with. ok, back to the behemoth. i drank this one at a local watering hole called the 'black sparrow'. hipster bar close to my house. as tina fey says 'it's hard to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless. they all have beards, wear plaid, and ride bikes.' they also all drink PBR... not that there is anything wrong with that. 'NO CRAP ON TAP!' is the motto down at the sparrow and they ain't kidding. this is why i am constantly finding myself there. I heard rumors of dogfish head world wide stout kegged there and i was very excited. the bartender informed me that i just missed the worldwide but they just tapped the bourbon county so i didn't burn the place down. a little too smokey in there to fully enjoy it but it was BIG. alcohol was present but you almost always get that with the bourbon. dark dark dark.dominated by chocolate and booze. the mouthfeel is perfect. more please

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Photo of KBomb
4.14/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon County Stout poured into a snifter-- it comes out thick and nearly syrupy. Close to the blackest stout I've ever seen, with just a tiny ring of dark brown on the edge. Nearly zero head, not unexpected for the style.

Aroma is a brilliant bursting bouquet of vanilla, cherry, bourbon, and roasty-toasty malt. I can't pull my nose out of the snifter, we're getting some chocolate notes now as it warms up, sweet molasses too!

Taste is very sweet, a little bit of that chocolate and fruit persists. Bourbon flavor compliments well, does not overpower the rest of the beer. Sadly, these nice flavors are getting crowded by a little charred taste and alcohol astringency. We've just barely crossed the line of roasted sweet flavors to burnt flavors.

Feel the heat, my friends, all the way down your esophagus. On this damp, spring night it doesn't feel bad at all. Super slick mouthfeel thanks to minimal carbonation.

Not overly heavy with the style in mind, we're talking about Double Stouts here.

This certainly is a good beer, but I know other brewers have managed to make big sweet bourbony beers without the defect of burnt wood flavor. Of course, that is an elite bunch. I'm not unhappy with GI-BCS, but I can think of a few who have pulled this off a little better.

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.84/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ringing in another Lakers victory with a Bourbon County Stout.

Poured a darker than night black body with a nice dark caramel colored head, with very light retention, and minimal lacing. I thought there would have been more head, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is going a be a very good and very big beer.

Intense aromas. Massive roasted malts, with extreme doses of dark caramel, sugars, vanilla bean, and of course Bourbon. It is such a powerful and potent sniffer for sure.

Taste was a massive hit! Off the wall amounts of roasted malts and showcasing Bourbon in immense glory! Bittersweet chocolate is evident, along with flavors of brown sugar, burnt caramel, and pleasant vanilla bean. The bourbon plays really well with the other flavors, and accentuates the sugars and malts.

Top notch mouthfeel. Smooth, thick, velvety, chewy, etc. The list goes on and on about the mouthfeel. Fantastic!

Drinkability is good. The alcohol presence is nice, but is still really potent. I really enjoyed this beer, but can't see myself having more than one. Cheers!

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

A - Dark as the darkest of stouts with a mocha colored head. Little lacing.

S - Sweet malts, booze and oak.

T - Mostly the sweet malts that leave a predominate flavor of raisins and other dark fruits. Some cocoa with a touch of chocolate round this brew out. Very complex; I would rank this among BSDAs for complexity.

M - Lighter than expected, but rich and smooth. No presence of alcohol burn.

D - Wow, this brew lives up to its hype; not many can say that. The range of flavors in this beer put it ahead of any other bourbon barrel aged stout.

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Photo of mendonjoebeer
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter- is this pancake syrup or beer? thick,no head,coats side of glass. It is not too cold, but maybe needs to be warmer? Zero carbonation

Smell of bourbon,sugar,burned something

Taste of yuck- bourbon,burned wood, yuck- and I love good bourbon

Great mouth feel for maple syrup

Tasted by six people- 4 stout lovers, 2 bourbon lovers. Sill have some left to cook with, surely not to drink.

I can only imagine this is a bad bottle- bottled on 11/12/09.
I will have to try again in the future- I can't believe this is a true representation of this highly rated beer from a great brewery

Edited 12/08/13

Forget everything I said earlier. This is a great beer- believe the hype!

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Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 12,070 ratings.
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