Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015)
Goose Island Beer Co.

Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015)Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015)
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American Imperial Stout
4.68 | pDev: 6.41%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015)Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015)
Notes: Back in 1979 the folks at Heaven Hill Distilleries filled a handful of new freshly charred American white oak barrels with some of their finest whiskey. It is rare for Bourbon to age in barrels for more than twenty-three years. But these barrels patiently sat for over thirty years. The extra years developed a distinct and complex character that makes them truly one-of-a kind. We filled those barrels with Bourbon County Brand Stout, and then stored them away in our Chicago Barrel House to age for two more years. With these rare barrels from our friends at Heaven Hill we believe this is one of the finest beers we have ever produced. This is Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout for 2015
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 1,032 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Tiburon
4.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No foam on pouring into 9 oz glass. Heavy vanilla and some marshmallow, not real boosy. Mildly bitter chocolate. Muted bourbon county base flavor. Very smooth , mildly heavy after taste. Wish it was from a barrel...

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Tiburon from Wisconsin, Mar 22, 2020
Photo of gudbrande
4.91/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The look is as expected, appropriate carbonation. Barrel shines on the aroma, marshmallow as it warms. Chocolate and marshmallow on the flavor, truly a treat. Best enjoyed by splitting with a good buddy. Glad I didn't let this go too long.

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gudbrande from Minnesota, Feb 11, 2020
Photo of BeerCartographer
4.85/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely legendary! This beer has a very smooth, very sweet flavor, with a bit of a kick from the booziness of the barrels. Smelling this beer is heavenly, and very much informs you of what flavor profile you'll be met with. The mouthfeel is very thick, as if chewing through it. I would drink this again in a heartbeat!

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Photo of superspak
4.35/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

9000th review! 500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/21/2015. Pours dense opaque dark brown/black color with a thin foamy tan head with poor retention, that reduces to a minimal ring of lace pretty quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, raisin, prune, fig, date, smoke, oak char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Slight booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of licorice, raisin, prune, fig, date, smoke, oak char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Very mild herbal, grassy, peppery, roast, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, roasted nuts, biscuit, dark bread/crust, licorice, dark fruit, light smoke/char, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, pepper, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a fantastic roast/hop bitter/sweet, and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and very full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/velvety/bready, and lightly slick/sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is fantastic. Mild increasing warmth of 14.8%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged imperial stout. All around amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV, with the mildly bitter/charred/tannic/drying finish. Amazingly soft feel for the huge ABV, not overly charred/tannic. Perfectly balanced between super rich malts and bourbon barrel presence/integration. Mild earthy hops and restrained fruity yeast. Not overly sweet/heavy from lingering dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and amazing style example as expected. Not hype worthy, but definitely aged amazingly.

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superspak from Michigan, Aug 30, 2019
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a long, long time ago, in a shop far, far away. Aged in wine fridge for over three years. Friend's 48th birthday, so why not pop it open and drink?

L: As you might imagine, any head was knocked down super-fast, no lacing. Beer is black and motor-oily in consistency.

S: Solid whiff of the oak barrel. Unsweetened cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla, marshmallow, well-blended and rounded.

T: Oaky but not boozy, you get a memory of the bourbon. Marshmallow and vanilla, cocoa, roasted and burned malts, caramel. Soft flavors, very little booze if any on finish.

F: Full-bodied, no carbonation. Soft, rounded, incorporated flavors and notes. Smooth as a Yacht Rock greatest hits album.

O: Was it worth $60? Probably not, but it aged beautifully, drank lovely, and everyone in the group is singing its praises. So you have to give Goose Island a well-done here.

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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia, Aug 20, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottled 9/21/15; drank 11/27/15 @ Fatpour.

Black appearance.

Minimal tan head; no lace.

Marshmallow, brandy & rich milk chocolate notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Rich dark chocolate, marshmallow, oak & brandy flavors up front; caramel smoothness on the finish.

A delicious dessert treat; age may be kind to this beer but it's nearly perfect now.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Aug 11, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Won at a Black Friday raffle after failing to snag one on several opportunities in the past. Shared with a friend to celebrate my 1,000th unique beer since I began recording my ratings!

L: A perfect blackness but the complete absence of a head makes this less than impressive to look at.

S: The smoke and leather notes of the original BCBS are traded for divine bourbon aromas of a quality I've never previously experienced.

T: The bourbon used has such an interesting and delicious earthy mineral character. It compliments the base wonderfully.

F: Has anything felt so thick and coating ever? This is Goose Island's number one claim to fame IMO.

O: Was worried it would not live up to the hype, but it was so impressive at three years age.
In my top two favorite stouts most definitely.

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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, May 06, 2019
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 16.9 fl oz bottle on December 31, 2018. Aged two years in the Goose Island Chicago Barrel House in rare barrels from Heaven Hill. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ovaltine
4.6/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is jet black, underneath a dark tan head that dissipates quickly. The barrel notes are prominent on the nose, but not overwhelming.

The taste is in perfect balance, IMHO. The barrel has big vanilla and oak notes, and the base beer has loads of char, toffee, and chocolate. Exceptionally well-executed, IMHO, which is to be expected for a beer named “Rare.”

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ovaltine from Indiana, Dec 25, 2018
Photo of npolachek
4.61/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Smells of sweet caramel especially after this beer has been age to three years. Amazing complexity to the flavor profile with good sweetness. This beer pours pitch black with a good head. Truly amazing!

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npolachek from New York, Dec 16, 2018
Photo of Phineasco
4.99/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer pours Pitch Black with a thin tan head that recedes immediately. It has low carbonation. The beer smells of bourbon heat, charcoal, vanilla cake frosting, fudge, and a little spice. It tastes of vanilla cake frosting, smoke, fudge, spices, and bourbon. This beer is thick, deep, complex, and smooth. This is one of the best Barrel aged stouts I’ve ever had.

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Phineasco from Massachusetts, Nov 24, 2018
Photo of Bum4ever
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Super black with a tiny tan head that disappeared quickly.
S: 3 years in and this still has huge bourbon and oak notes. After the bourbon you get chocolate, then slight notes of toffee, vanilla and dark cherries.
T: This follows the nose almost exactly. Huge boozy bourbon and oak up front, followed by slight hints of vanilla, dark fruits and toffee.
F: Just like most BCBS stuff, the feel is super thick and has a nice dry finish.
O: So glad I got to try this once. I love BA stouts that are big on bourbon and oak and even though this is 3 years old, it did not disappoint.

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Bum4ever from California, Oct 29, 2018
Photo of dukeandduke
4.91/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10/21/18 (Round Lake): Bottle 2037 bottled 9/21/15 purchased in 2015, 14.8% ABV. Poured into three snifters, shared with my two brothers. Pitch black pour, off white bubbly ring around glass. Very strong harsh whiskey aroma, overpowers other aromas. Taste is nicely balanced, the strong whiskey aroma does not portend strictly whiskey taste. Roasted malt, whiskey balanced taste. Silky smooth mouth feel. Overall outstanding offering. Love this!!! Afraid the whiskey taste would overwhelm based on the aroma, but this outstandingly well balanced excellent world class offering is one of the top beers I've ever tasted. Well worth the wait and price.

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dukeandduke from Illinois, Oct 28, 2018
Photo of AngEo
4.35/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Pours jet black with no head to speak of. Over time a tan ring of bubbles forms on the glass
S - The barrel is real. Bourbon is by far the dominant aroma here. Followed closely by hints of toffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak, and booze. Oh so much booze.
T - The bourbon hits even harder here. Booze and toasted oak come at the tongue in force followed by roasty chocolate notes and the slightest hint of something reminiscent of vanilla. Finishes extremely dry and hot.
F - thinner than Ideal but oh so smoothe
O - I love my stouts absolutely chock full of bourbon but I lik it to take a backseat to the beer itself. This is a fantastic beer that I would happily drink again, but I think it needs a stronger sense of balance.

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AngEo from Texas, May 26, 2018
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer has an ABV of 14.50%. The story is in 1979 Heaven Hills Distilleries filled some freshly charred oak barrels with whiskey and aged them for 35 years. Then the empty barrels were filled with Bourbon County Brand Stout and aged for two years, then bottled.
The beer is black with no head, even with an aggressive pour.
Aroma of booze and chocolate, some vanilla.
A more complex taste. Bourbon, bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla. A hint of dark fruit.
Big beer. I could drink this forever.

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lordofthewiens from New Mexico, May 13, 2018
Photo of Snowcrash000
4.04/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black coloration with almost no head whatsoever. Very strong bourbon nose with some chocolate and perhaps oak coming through as well. The bourbon is quite overpowering, although not necessarily in a bad way. Taste follows the nose, with a very strong, nuanced and overpowering bourbon note. Some chocolate, oak and just a hint of vanilla coming through as well. Quite a bit of hot boozyness coming through in the aftertaste. Body is thick and oily, with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and low carbonisation. This is poorly balanced in my opinion, with the bourbon being way to overpowering. I honestly prefer the normal BCBS with its sublime balance of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and bourbon to this, where the hot, boozy bourbon just overpowers everything else. This almost tastes more like chocoloate flavoured bourbon than bourbon flavoured beer, actually.

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Photo of curtis6290
4.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured quickly into a snifter to produce as much foam and disturbance as possible. Enjoyed over 60 minutes of watching Sean White win the Gold Medal.

Look: Little to no foam (tan in color) even with the intense pour. Minimal sediment residue at the bottom. No lacing. Jet black in color, syrupy brown/caramel crowning.
Smell: Maraschino cherry, bourbon, chewable daily vitamins, wet grass, candied oranges, port wine.
Taste: Light enjoyable acidity, intense citrus and stone fruit throughout the beginning, middle and end. Hops are present in the slightest way possible, but can definitely notice them. Slight presence of bourbon on the aftertaste along with oak and peanuts. Maple syrup and fresh sugar cane come through as it opens up, along with smoke, ash, whiskey really come through.
Feel: Extremely smooth and enjoyable, light acidic but nutty tang on the tail end that really make you want to keep drinking this. Opens up nicely, but appears to get thicker as it warms. Resinous, piney, syrupy.
Overall: I am extremely pleased with this brew, definitely worth the wait and the price. Happy to enjoy the wooden box and the honor of being able to try Goose Island's finest. This beer is exceptionally enjoyable, and I wish I had bought a few more.

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curtis6290 from New York, Feb 14, 2018
Photo of RaulMondesi
4.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yes, ladies and gents, this is the real deal here. Smell is about as intoxicating as a Victoria secret sleepover - potent barrel aged booze, yet still delicate. Once I want in for the kill, it was like a Keanu Reeves tidal wave of thick, luxurious liquid chocolate and barrel aged whisky. Even on a bad day this beverage would make Raul’s compass go true north.

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RaulMondesi from California, Jan 01, 2018
Photo of Radcpa
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very dark appearance with tan head that dissipates quickly. Slightly sweet aroma with caramel and a touch of bourbon. Taste is also a very nice caramel and bourbon blend with a Ritchie texture.

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Radcpa from Washington, Dec 13, 2017
Photo of mjpolzin
4.81/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Finally found some time to share this with two other friends. Had it along side regular 2015 Bourbon County Stout. I wanted a comparison of how it stacked up to the original version.

Immediately the nose of Rare blew regular Bourbon County away. There were strong aromas of booze, char and oak. Regular BCBS had very little nose at first but it improved as it warmed. The taste of Rare was as complex as any barrel aged stout I have had. There was flavors of vanilla, roast, oak and sweetness. Each aspect of the taste seemed to come through in layers before it eventually settled on your tongue.

Was this worth the $65 price tag? No, probably not. But it is definitely worth trying if you haven't had it before. And even now that I have had it, I would love to have another opportunity to try it again a few years down the road.

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mjpolzin from Wisconsin, Dec 11, 2017
Photo of DasBeerbaron
3.72/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Waaay too boozy and overpriced especially for a beer that was more readily available than the regal rye from the same years release. Still drinkable and got the job done but learned my lesson. Next time buy it to sell at a higher price to some schmuck.

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DasBeerbaron from Illinois, Dec 01, 2017
Photo of FBarber
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black - shiny and glossy - thick and viscous. Thin wimpy tan head dissipate quickly leaving no residual head or lacing.

Aroma is incredibly strong - notes of oak, bourbon, chocolate, cocoa, marshmallow, and roasted malts. For a bourbon barrel aged stout this is pretty much. a perfect aroma - I wouldn't change a thing - its incredible.

Taste follows the nose with notes of oak, marshmallow, cocoa, dark chocolate, and a nice roasted malt backbone. Bourbon and oak soak the flavors - definite bit of heat from the bourbon but not overpowering.

Feel is thick, sticky, and viscous. Moderate carbonation with a slightly fizzy mouthfeel. Very smooth mellow feel with some alcohol heat on the back end that provides a pleasant warming sensation.

Overall this is a fantastic bourbon barrel aged stout. The price was rather insane, but putting that aside, this might be one of if not the best barrel aged stout I've ever had.

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FBarber from Illinois, Nov 30, 2017
Photo of Buck89
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Huge aroma right on the pour with bourbon and oak. Up front some chocolate and booze was also present. Nearly opaque dark brown with only a faint head. The first sip brought rich chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, and a warming bourbon presence. Great balance. Not overly boozy for a 14% beer. Full-bodied and with just the right amount of residual sweetness IMO. Fantastic.

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Buck89 from Tennessee, Nov 23, 2017
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.21/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a very dark black, with a small head, and not much lacing.

The nose on this is very hot, with charred oak, searing hot bourbon, boozy chocolate, and tobacco. This is almost entirely whiskey on the nose, this is the booziest Bourbon County variant that I've encountered.

The taste reveals a much smoother beer than would be expected from the nose. There's tons of delicious warm toasted oak, with some heavy charred quality. There's some caramel, lots of fudgy chocolate and vanilla (as expected with the barrel), black cherry, and raisin.

This is medium bodied, not quite as thick as Bourbon County usually is. There's very little carbonation. It's definitely a slow sipper.

So this is definitely good, and it's better than '15 or '16 Bourbon County. It's however not better than the best vintages of Bourbon County, and, unfortunately, it's really not worth the price. It's still highly enjoyable, though.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Oct 13, 2017
Photo of cbingham24
4.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black as night

Smell is straight Bourbon

Tastes like the best bourbon you’ve ever had. Beer is almost completely hidden.

Overall - I can’t imagine anything tasting better. I’ve tried them all.

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cbingham24 from Arizona, Sep 28, 2017
Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2015) from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1032 ratings