Bourbon County Brand Northwoods Stout
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Northwoods StoutBourbon County Brand Northwoods Stout
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Stout - American Imperial
4.32 | pDev: 7.64%
Feb 06, 2022
Jun 11, 2017
Bourbon County Brand Northwoods StoutBourbon County Brand Northwoods Stout
Notes: Stout aged in bourbon barrels with blueberry juice and almond extract added.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
4.65 by BKotch from Texas on Feb 06, 2022
4.38 by Coronaeus from Canada (ON) on Jan 01, 2022
3.85 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Dec 09, 2021
4.08 by SMH_NWI from Texas on Oct 04, 2021
4.35 by BeerBeast from Florida on May 09, 2021
4.18 by shehateme from Massachusetts on Jan 31, 2021
4.5 by dsshuck from Delaware on Jan 25, 2021
Photo of Tilley4
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Tilley4 from Tennessee

Outstanding beverage...

Blueberries and bourbon...

Two of my favorites...

Had this at the brewery quite some time ago... I would love to see them revisit this offering as I found it to be one of the best variants ever...

Ticks all the boxes without being a fruit bomb...

Jan 09, 2021
Photo of jzeilinger
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

A - Dark brown pour with toffee colored lacing.

S - Booze, very subtle blueberry, and toasted chocolate malt.

T - Boozy subtle chocolate malt, light blueberry presence,

M - Thick and silky soft on the palate with a wet finish.

O - It's Bourbon County, everyone goes ape over this stuff, you be the judge. ;o)

Jan 02, 2021
Photo of Knapp85
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Pours a deep brownish black color basically no head. The smell of the beer is a bit fruity and sweet. The taste of the beer is sweet but actually pretty dialed back. Sweet but not cloying. Overall it’s very good even after 3 years.

Jan 02, 2021
5 by ChicagoShakeAndBake26 from Illinois on Dec 04, 2020
4.41 by hopley from Massachusetts on Nov 27, 2020
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
2.61/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
by Jugs_McGhee from Texas

Stumbled upon a 2017 vintage (bottled on 10AUG17) 500ml bottle with a pry-off crown cap today at a beer store that shall go unnamed in New Orleans, LA for $19.29 USD plus tax. That's more than I've paid for a beer in probably 3 years, but I decided given the unlikeliness of the find coupled with the surprisingly below-MSRP price I'd make an exception.

12.6% ABV. "Contains wheat, tree nuts." "Stout aged in bourbon barrels with blueberry juice and almond extract added."

Served cold into the closest vessel I had to a snifter...a stemless wine glass.

APPEARANCE: ~3cm in height. Khaki tan colour. Thick and robust. Lasts an impressively long amount of time...~10 minutes. Leaves thick lacing on the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes.

BODY: Ink black. Opaque. No yeast/lees visible. True to style.

Appears aptly carbonated. It's a nice looking stout, but it lacks the dark gilded tan head observed in the creme de la creme of the style.

AROMA: I do get fruit juice, or more specifically sticky berry juice, but I don't think through my hyposmia I'd ever know from the aroma that it was blueberry juice. And almond? I can't find the almond in the aroma, honestly. Along with the sticky berry juice (think thawed frozen berry packets from the supermarket), I get a generic dark malt sweetness and that's honestly it.

Forget any barrel character (oak, coconut, toasted wood, etc.) or even chocolate malt...the rich bourbon barrel aroma of plain old BCBS is completely absent to its detriment. No roasted barley/carafa, no coffee-like bitterness, no burnt malt, no barrel vanillin, not even a trace of is this so limited given all that was done? For a bourbon barrel aged stout with almond extract added, it's shockingly lacking in terms of bourbon, barrel, stout, and almond flavours. I'm already regretting my purchase...

TASTE & TEXTURE: Sticky fruit juice and dark fruits (big plum and loud prune) are the first things I notice along with a sludgy heavy mouthfeel and a thick goopy (and frankly unpleasant) texture. Sugary sweetness and sticky fruits are big in this brew, and not to its benefit.

Almond I don't find. And the bourbon barrel is all but gone...maybe it's just due to aging at room temperature, but there's no oak, coconut, toastiness, vanillin/vanilla, bourbon spice, or anything else present I'd associate with bourbon barrel aging (or, actually, BCBS itself).

I'm surprised how simplistic and shallow this is. It's a big bold stout, but there's just not much flavour beyond the sticky berry juice, which imparts the beer with a Juicy Juice sort of artificiality sticky mess vibe.

Not chocolatey or roasty, but there is some acrid burnt malt presence on its climax.

Finishes warmly boozy and unpleasant. Not a balanced or well brewed imperial stout.

OVERALL: When the emperor's naked I have to call it, and I'm calling it. A laugh at $20 a bottle, and a poorly executed stout with no barrel flavour at all. Maybe aging has just been unkind to this one-off, but it's presenting to me as a blueberry syrup stout with zero bourbon or barrel flavour, zero almond, and none of BCBS' chocolate malt sweetness. I'd honestly rather drink Buffalo Bill's Blueberry Oatmeal Stout, and this is easily the worst BCBS variant I've tried to date.


Aug 16, 2020
Photo of gholmes
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by gholmes from Pennsylvania

Tastes like an almond blueberry pie. Silky mouthfeel. Worth the wait.

Jun 27, 2020
Photo of zac16125
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by zac16125 from South Carolina

Bourbon County Northwoods
10oz pour into a tulip
On tap at Craftsmen in Charleston,SC
Consumed and review written on Dec 10th, 2017 (late to the posting party here)

A: Jet Black, no head or lacing. 4

S: Huge blueberry, good amount of almond, then the normal BC base beer aromas of huge roast and bourbony oak. Killer nose. 4.5

T: Blueberry is huge, almond is almost non-existent up front but becomes prominent on the finish. Roasty and charred oak on the finish. 4.25

M/D: Full bodied but not thick, ABV very well masked with good drinkability. 4.5

O: Very nice beer, not my favorite BC variant but quite nice. 4.25

Mar 23, 2020
4.66 by MJSFS from Florida on Feb 15, 2020
4.79 by tonkel from Indiana on Jan 19, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by SierraNevallagash from Maine

Huge thanks to Grizleeg for this long time want of mine. Face-to-face at last on New Years Day - 2020

Standard 16.9oz BCBS bottle - dated 10AUG17 - poured into a snifter at 55F.

Leaves the bottle with a thick "gluglugluglug" like motor oil, sitting blacker than black in the snifter, and forming a deep mocha head that fizzes out as quick as it came. Lifeless in the glass, like a deep, black abyss. Completely impenetrable to the light, with just a sliver of deep chestnut brown along the edge. Just a perfect bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout appearance.

Nose: This bottle is over 2 years old, so I suspect some of the aromas have settles down quite a bit. Let's dive in. Right off the bat, there's that classic Bourbon County greatness, fudgy malt, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, charred oak, brown sugar, caramel, etc... However, the most prominent secondary note, surprisingly, is the almond. I was expecting (maybe hoping) that this would be a blueberry bomb, and figured I'd be lucky to get a hint of almond, but this smells entirely like bourbon fudge covered marzipan. I get dig out a hint of blueberry, but had I not known it was supposed to be there, I may have easily missed it. The almond is really quite potent, and adds this whole layer to the base beer, with tons of vanilla, coconut, pastry, and loads of marzipan.

Palate: Northwoods greets the palate with an immediate sweetness that should be expected from BCBS. Tons of sweet toasty dark malts, but the sweetness overpowers any ashen bitterness that might be present. Those who like really dry charry stouts who are sensitive to sweetness likely won't enjoy this, but let's face it...if you're buying Bourbon County, you likely know what you're in for, and love it just as much as I do. The bourbon influence is quite strong here, and I'd say there's actually more sweet oaky bourbon than there is chocolate. Much like the aroma, I'm afraid the blueberry component has nearly disappeared. I do get a very prominent dark fruit tang in here - even more than the usual BC dark fruit character. I'm going to assume that this is what's left of the blueberry, as there's no real distinct blueberry flavour. The almond isn't nearly as strong as it is it the nose, but unlike the blueberry, it's definitely still there. To recap, it starts sweet, malty, and roasty but not charry, tons of bourbon barrel, fudge, vanilla, tangy dark fruit, marzipan, and then we approach the finish, where the sweetness gently backs down, and the almond comes into focus, translating as marzipan filling, a big nuttiness, huge vanilla, and then super malty - not roasty malt, but rich sweet barley malt with a touch of cocoa powder. These components push out everything else, and then slowly fade in a remarkably clean finish for a big stout, with nearly no ashen bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Body: It's Bourbon County - it's known for its thick, chewy, viscous, slick feel. Barrel-aged stouts tend to thin out over time as they sit in the bottle, almost 2 1/2 years, this is no exception. However, this is still Bourbon County, and it's sill thick, chewy, viscous, and slick. Don't expect much out of effervescence. It isn't still, but it's not a bubbly beer.

Overall: I am a sucker for Bourbon County. The base beer, in my subjective opinion, is one of the finest BBA stouts there is, especially considering how accessible it is. Does this make me biased? I'd like to think not, but who knows. Is this the best BC variant I've had? No. So far, Vanilla has that title. Is it still every bit Bourbon County? Absolutely. To be fair, a proper review would be the ones from 2017. I'm sure much of the additions to this have faded, and it's impossible for me to know. This review is for the purpose of anyone who may be looking to obtain one right now, likely via trading. It's still great, extremely mellowed out, with zero heat or harshness. I hate the descriptor "smooth", but I'm sorry, this has really smoothed out from fresh BC. Don't expect much blueberry influence. If you're interested because of that, you'll be disappointed. However, going in knowing that there isn't going to be any, I imagine most will still enjoy this mellowed, unique take on Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Jan 02, 2020
Photo of Gajo74
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Gajo74 from New York

My 2nd Bourbon County 7oz sampling at DiveBar this evening.

It pours a very dark brown and nearly black color. Despite its opaque appearance, there is visible carbonation. A moderate khaki cream head surprisingly displays good retention.

The blueberry aroma, with supporting notes of almond, is the true centerpiece of this variant. Notes of nutty and biscuity malts, caramel, custard, a light dark fruit tartness, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso. Furthermore, bourbon aromas of vanilla and wood, not boozy at all as they are masked by the brightness of the berries.

Opens with a soft and ultra smooth mouthfeel, full bodied and gently carbonated, with a gently warming and spicy alcohol finish. Again, the blueberries are the star of the show, as they help restrain the boozy spice and add a balancing tartness to the malt sweetness. Nevertheless, the rich and decadent stout flavors are still evident, as they display notes of espresso, chocolate, dark caramel, brown sugar and doughy sticky malts. Notes of bourbon, Kahlúa, rum, vanilla and oak blend particularly well with the almond adjuncts.

Perhaps the most interesting of the Bourbon County variants I’ve tried. The blueberry adds a unique touch and through its refreshing qualities makes it, for me, the most drinkable.

Dec 30, 2019
4.5 by TylerJ from Iowa on Dec 18, 2019
Photo of Rristow
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Rristow from Ohio

Tasted at 2017 and again 2019 Prop day. Pours black with beige head. Thick and chewy. Aroma is cocoa, bourbon and fruity notes. Definitely get the blueberry on the flavor with the sweet molasses and caramel. Cocoa and a hint of coffee. Very well done berry stout.

Nov 19, 2019
Photo of Jeffo
3.37/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5
by Jeffo from Netherlands

Got this one from rutger a while back. Cheers!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled 10 August 2017
Stout with blueberry juice and almond extract added

APPEARANCE: Transparent dark brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, semi-creamy light tan head with good retention. Clear bistre brown body with some carbonation evident. Head recedes to a half wisp and ring. A splotchy wisp remains leaving falling dots of lacing down the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Bold nose of bourbon, oak, vanilla cream, milk chocolate aromas, hints of nuts, as well as a definite sugary blueberry character.

TASTE: Bourbon and alcohol, oak and wood flavors, sweet vanilla cream, milk chocolate and fruity blueberries up front, moving into plenty of alcohol and heat at the swallow. A bold finish of barrel, wood, vanilla and sweet milk chocolate, hints of nuts, with a clear sweet blueberry character lingers on the palate. Plenty of spicy alcohol as well.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, enough weight, goes down with a decent scratch and burn and finishes rather sticky on the palate. Lots of heat lingers.

OVERALL: I will be the first to admit that I find the Bourbon County series too harsh and boozy for what it is. I am not sure why this is the case, but a 12% Bourbon County just seems harsher than a 12% Anything Else. That said, if you look past the harsh reality of the situation, this one is rather interesting. The nuts are just present enough and the blueberry juice is a fun addition. I’m still not convinced that adding fruit juice to an imperial stout is a good idea, but this one is interesting enough warrant trying other juices, even if just for the hell of it. Thanks again, rutger!

Nov 02, 2019
4.29 by Jangoon24 from Illinois on Sep 23, 2019
4.34 by brewskis from Indiana on Sep 21, 2019
Photo of marieli
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by marieli from Texas

Have had multiple times from draft and bottle over the past two years. I lean toward sweeter stouts and this is my favorite Bourbon Country variant (and flavored stouts period) by far. Almond is dominant aroma and taste, but the blueberry comes through nicely.

Aug 30, 2019
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by StonedTrippin from Colorado

2017 vintage drinking pretty special right now, so blessed to have some new friends share this with me, its a really remarkable beer. i have long through some nut element would be cool in the bourbon county stout, and here the almond is an excellent fit, still holding up well, and prominent in this beer a couple of years later. the blueberry aspect is cool with it too, an almost baked muffin thing going on, especially with the vanilla notes from all the bourbon on this and the residual sugar that comes with it, an excellent synergy of flavors, and dosed pretty robustly, but not so much so that its not still bourbon county stout underneath it. i think the blueberry and the almond are equally pungent in the taste as they are in the smell, both obvious, but there is cool synergy here too, the almond up front, the blueberry in the middle, and their love child in the finish. for some reason, despite the name and all, i always seem to forget just how bourbon forward these beers are, like there is actual whiskey blended in, its really intense here, especially at temperature, but its also super silky, woody, mature, and complex, and i dont mind it at all. some brown sugar, some deep cocoa, earthy roast, a coffee note that adores the almond, some faint tannic tang from the blueberries, lots and lots of oak, subtle port wine fruitiness and richness, and finally the alcohol, which i dont notice much until i exhale after each sip. the body is like syrup, the flavors are one of a kind, and this is another instant classic for me in terms of the bourbon county variants. really stoked on this, and the drinking and sharing experience with this one was unrivaled! if i had another bottle, which i sadly dont, i would be in no rush to drink it, these ingredients dont seem to be falling off at all!

Aug 09, 2019
4.74 by JamesBondGA from Georgia on Jul 08, 2019
4.5 by WadeBridgman from Illinois on Jun 13, 2019
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet chocolate notes with some strong almond paste notes and light blueberry notes. Taste is a great mix of sweet chocolate notes with some blueberry notes with some strong almond paste notes and light bourbon notes. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no real apparent alcohol notes. Enjoyable but almond paste notes overshadows the other flavours.

Jun 02, 2019
4.39 by EdFed from Illinois on May 11, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
3.81/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

Over the top blueberry in a bad way for me, the tartness saves it, just barely.

May 06, 2019
4.28 by DodgerLove from California on Apr 07, 2019
4.25 by Kurmaraja from California on Mar 19, 2019
4.25 by Hayley_86 from Netherlands on Mar 14, 2019
4.85 by McHenry from Wisconsin on Feb 10, 2019
4.41 by Pro_Magnon from Texas on Feb 09, 2019
4.23 by hcproff36 from Texas on Feb 01, 2019
Photo of michaelsmith11
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by michaelsmith11 from Illinois

Had this in January 2019. The pour was dark black with a bigger tan head the\an expected. The smell was bourbon, vanilla, blueberry and chocolate. The taste is blueberry and dark chocolate, the bourbon is there but not overpowering, and some almond. The mouthfeel is smooth and not as thick as I would have hope but by no means thin. Overall I thought this was an excellent beer.

Jan 30, 2019
4.6 by Scottsbeer from Florida on Jan 21, 2019
4.03 by NappyB from Illinois on Jan 16, 2019
Bourbon County Brand Northwoods Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 410 ratings