Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018)
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018)Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018)
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Stout - American Imperial
4.56 | pDev: 7.46%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018)Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018)
Notes: Aged in 12 year old Elijah Craig bourbon barrels
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.36/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like oak spice, pecan, caramel, dark fruit, char, chocolate fudge, peanut brittle, and leather.

I always love how spicy and barrel forward the Reserve Bourbon County beers are. This has a bit of chocolate and brown sugar sweetness, but more nuttiness and barrel char, with some dark spiciness, leather, tobacco, etc. It's got a bit of heat on the back end, but nothing all that intense. I wouldn't classify it as sweet, but it's definitely sweeter than '17 or '19 Reserve was.

This is medium bodied, with a lingering spicy finish, with not too much booziness, just a bit of warmth on the back end.

I think the '19 Reserve was the best one of all of these, but they're all quite nice and are great examples of unadorned barrel aged stouts.

Apr 09, 2021
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 8/4/18; consumed on 1/15/21

Pours a dense, oily black body with a briefly forming sliver of effervescent, mocha foam fizzling out almost immediately to a nonexistent cap, stalwart, frothy collar holding firmly around the surface, and no lacing whatsoever clinging to the walls of the glass.

Aroma shows a brisk oak/barrel profile upfront easing into bourbon-soaked fudge and undertones of walnut and peanut shells; waves of boggy, bourbon heat across the bouquet persist, though give enough breath to fluffy marshmallow beneath a heavy, malty roast over the middle and milder cherry liqueur and assorted dark fruits through the close.

Taste opens with a punchy barrel spice, tingling the palate with building, oaky bourbon into more detailed notes of melted marshmallow and cherry cordial; milk chocolate over the mid-palate embraces an increasingly gritty barrel as burnt dark chocolate with pangs of dull, boozy heat interspersed between distant espresso and nutty fudge define the back end; the finish showcases vividly fresh toasted cacao lingering long past the swallow.

Mouthfeel brings a slick, almost oily, medium-full body with expectedly minimal carbonation; paradoxically, a uniquely pillowy char scrapes across the palate, remaining oily and smooth in texture though steadily building aggression, imposing a warmth and now outright char (bordering on bitterness) colliding through the dry, barrel-laden finish; synchronized, assertive, and entirely composed despite its hold on the palate.

The massive, beautifully integrated barrel presence is poised yet relentless in its influence across this BCBS, over time opening to a patient malt profile quietly thriving beneath the waves of bourbon saturation; a wholly rewarding sipper with a distinctive evolution in malt/barrel complexion resulting in a weighty and elaborate barrel-aged beer.

Jan 16, 2021
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Near black in color. No light passes through the edge of the glass. Very little head even with a vigorous pour. What shows up fades quickly and produces absolutely no lace.

Dark chocolate with cinnamon is the initial impression of the smell. Rich like a pudding to the nose with some light brandy-like alcohol.

A bit sweeter than the 2017 version, this still features mostly darker roasted chocolate. There's no bitterness nor any hint of coffee. Quite boozy on the pallet with a long whiskey-like aftertaste. Very low carbonation enhances the strong silkiness feel to this beer.

Dec 25, 2020
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zac16125 from South Carolina

4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours opaque black with 1plus fingers width of tan colored head. Aroma is absolutely huge bourbon characters, some chocolate and roasted malt but this is a bourbon bomb on the nose. Taste is very sweet, very chocolatey, and very bourbony, all at once. It’s just remarkably good, so much going on yet nothing is overpowering. Much more balanced than the aroma. It’s super rich, the sweetness is balanced by roastiness, the roastiness by bourbon barrel characters, and the bourbon notes by a fairly prominent yet appropriate bitterness. Notes of chocolate and rich bourbon linger for days. Mouthfeel is actually a touch thin, which i don’t usually get in BCBS or the variants. Drinkability is very good for the ABV. Overall, this is a fantastic beer. I do think I slightly preferred the ‘17 Reserve I had a few weeks ago, but I would drink this literally every day if I could.

Aug 31, 2020
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Goose Island BCBS Reserve 2018, 15.2% ABV. Pours black and thick with no head. Nose is primarily Strong Chocolate and Vanilla. Taste is strong chocolate, light vanilla, some coffee, light bourbon, with some sweetness, some bitterness, and light bourbon heat. Excellent mouthfeel, overall world-class.

Jan 05, 2020
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good. It's less dark fruit than regular bcbs and more tobacco and smoke. It's more similar to 2014 and older regular bcbs yet still not quite as good as them. It's also was hotter than bcbs. Extreme alcohol heat here.

Dec 14, 2019
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Jlabs from New York

4.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass via bottle (2018 edition)

color is midnight black, with dark brown foam

smell is Vanilla, Caramel, coffee upfront, the bourbon is there but shockingly more reserved than anticipated. Getting some char and wood notes in there too.

Taste is chocolate fudge dipped in vanilla and caramel. Again, bourbon presence is there but restrained compared to regular BCBS. I think this is sweeter too. the 15% ABV is barely noticeable here

carbonation is medium and the mouthfeel is perfect. thick but not syrupy. Some nice creaminess as well

as expected this is heavenly..after the Vanilla & Coffee editions of BCBS this is probably my favorite variant. I'd definitley buy again, even with the high sticker price ($33 for 16.9oz bottle).

Aug 19, 2019
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 nice bourbon notes with some woody notes with some vanilla notes. Taste is also a great mix of sweet chocolate notes with some woody notes, some vanilla, and residual sugar notes with some light char. Body is full with some creamy notes and oily-like texture with good carbonation and some light warming alcohol notes can also be detected. Solid version of BCBS while the nicer bourbon notes are clearly perceptible.

Jun 02, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 8/4/18; drank 4/30/19 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

A violent pour yielded a small tan head; no lace.

Dark chocolate, tobacco, burnt caramel & bourbon heat notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Burnt caramel, dark chocolate & tobacco flavors up front; mild bourbon heat on the finish.

Balanced, flavorful but with some heat for bourbon heads.

A nice treat...but I think the "regular" version is better.

May 01, 2019
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, snifter glass. Dark black body, one half finger mocha head, short retention and no lacing. Smell is massive chocolate fudge, sugar and even a touch of caramel, big charred oak barrel presence, vanillin. It's Bourbon County at its best, with a bit more of the bourbon standing out on the nose and palate. The finish is a bit harsher in an oaky, astringent way compared to standard Bourbon County, but it's nothing really to complain about- a bit more of a differentiator from the standard version. Full bodied, sweet bourbon-forward chocolate creaminess all the way through, bit of warming char on the finish.

Apr 27, 2019
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kevanb from Illinois

4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle, 2018 release - Elijah Craig 12 Year Barrels, dated August 4, 2018, poured into a 2012 Bourbon County snifter glass.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, thick and viscous with a firm finger of khaki head that has minimal retention and offers no lacing. The aroma is great, tons of barrel, so well rounded, charred wood, smooth bourbon, toffee, caramel, coconut, loads of chocolate and rich grains with lingering vanilla and stone fruits. The flavors are great, loads of chocolate, smooth and layered bourbon barrel, charred oak, spicy bourbon, caramel, coconut, vanilla and a great dark grain finish that has a touch of licorice at the finish. The mouthfeel is great, heavy body that has a nice liveliness and a rich and creamy finish.

Verdict: An incredible barrel aged stout from Goose Island. This is BCBS firing on all cylinders. Rich barrel, tons of chocolate cake base, nuanced layers of rich and decadent flavors that are balanced so well. Forget the adjuncts, this is the premier Bourbon County expression.

Mar 29, 2019
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 16.9 fl oz bottle on December 31, 2018. The same base recipe as Bourbon County Stout Original, but this beer is aged in 12 year old “Elijah Craig Barrel Proof” bourbon barrels. The bourbon from those barrels was awarded 2017 “Whisky of the Year” by Whisky Advocate, the top honor in the world of international whisky. Reserve is intended to showcase the nuances of a premium single source and highly sought after bourbon.

Feb 05, 2019
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KyleTheBeerMan from Indiana

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is it the beer among beers. God created this magical elixir with his hands and all other bourbon barrel aged beers must bow before it because this beer is truly the cream of the crop

Jan 27, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is stupidly good, kind of as striking as i remember the original bourbon country stout to be when nobody else was doing anything quite like this. this is even more robust, even more barrel forward to me, extremely elegant though in its enormity somehow, and just exquisitely well refined overall. the elijah craig barrels are obviously special, and this beer seems perfectly built for them. whiskey of the year apparently, and its cool they were able to showcase them this way. the barrel char is high, woody and coal and carbon forward, which is perfect with all the rich dark roasted grain in here, things like wet leaf tobacco, black licorice, black tea, and high end espresso come up in the nose for me, and the whiskey is strong in the flavor, even more than the barrel, sweet like maple syrup and vanilla, but with a nice bitterness and earthy character coursing through it as well. its thick as syrup in texture too, palate coating and lingering long, faint smoke, raisin, and whiskey too expensive for my budget. there is a booziness to this, but it stays with the whiskey flavor, like there is actual whiskey blended into this or something, the flavor of it is incredible too, has me dying to try this bourbon! amazing depth of feel and flavor, permanent on my palate. smooth for its strength due to all the body and oak structure. this is killer, supreme among the bourbon county beers ive had in the last handful of years, and probably the best thing these guys have bottled in a long time! blown away really...

Jan 25, 2019
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Moriarty27 from Kentucky

5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the first beer I’ve ever tasted that deserved a perfect 5 out of 5 in every category. This was hands down the greatest beer I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

I waited almost exactly two months after purchasing this on Black Friday to finally try it. It superseded all expectations.

The 15.0% abv is as well hidden as any high abv beer I’ve ever tasted.

To be honest, words simply do not suffice when rating this beer. If you are fortunate enough to taste it, then you will likely agree that this might be the greatest beer ever made.

I’ve never tasted anything that came close to this one in terms of perfection on every level.

I’ve tasted several BCS offerings over the past 3 to 4 years, and they were all very good beers. However, none were perfect until this one.

Mark my words, this will very likely go down as one of the greatest beers ever made. Fortunate are we who had the opportunity to try it.

I can hardly wait until next Black Friday in the hopes that I can win the lottery drawing at the local liquor store and be able to buy another bottle or two of this world class brew.

Jan 24, 2019
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OompaMentor from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/23/2018; NYC - Thanksgiving (Top Hops Bottle Shop)
5 oz pour on Black Friday. Nice bourbon notes to nose, medium MF (leaning to thin) with chocolate and bourbon to palate. Bourbon lingers

Jan 04, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured the trademark viscous jet black bcbs. Smell was huge bourbon, wood, tobacco, and molasses, to go with the usual bcbs aromas, very hardy. Thought the taste accomplished what last year's reserve could not fully, really show off the rich barrel character without losing the bcbs complexity, just fantastic, could sip this forever. Feel is even more robust and full than original. Just a gorgeous beer, one of the best they have in the series

Dec 26, 2018
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oberon from North Carolina

4.31/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on August 21st 2018.Pours into a snifter jet black with a thinner very quick to fade head.Bourbon tinged vanilla and caramel stand out at first on the palate,as it warms I get some chocolate and graham cracker-like notes,top notch.Smooth and slick in the mouth,it glides down easy.Flavors of bourbon tinged vanilla and treacle with some underlying nuttiness and fudge,roast is almost non existent.This is a helluva sipper but I think I'am partial to 2017 version,still a very nice CHRISTmas eve sipper.

Dec 24, 2018
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bobhits from Kentucky

4.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

So this was the "easy" got get bottle this year. I guess the price was a turn off. I got 3 bottle of this the bourbon county stout was impossible to get....thanks goose island!

Pour - Bourbon county stout.

Smell - Bourbon county stout

Taste - well I mean about this is bourbon county stout. Look the difference in a 4 year barrel from heaven hill and a 12 year from EC is basically nothing. See my review of bourbon county. I get nothing different here.

Mouth - out standing

Look this is amazing beer but I honestly don't think this is even a hair better than past base bourbon counties. I've had better form better barrels, the pappy barrels for example were amazing! These.....I don't think so. EC 12 year isn't that good in terms of nose and flavor. It is better aged and it is better than heaven hill, but the barrel itself isn't better imo.

This imo is the regular BCS, just priced more.

Taste - Just like the bcs

Ok so I'm scoring this as the normal bcs with a lower overall score due to price. This is dead on the base beer at double the price. Mind you the base with 4 year heaven hill barrels is basically the best beer ever made in human history.

Dec 10, 2018
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curtis6290 from New York

4.68/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Acquired from local shop on Black Friday. Poured vigorously into snifter.

L: little to no head, oily appearance when swirled. Yellow/brown hue, jet black appearance. No particles present.
S: That cherry and chocolate candy/vitamin smell that BCBS is famous for. I get major alcohol scents when first poured. Warm wood, orange, chocolate, cold brew, fresh baked pie.
T: Straight Fruit juice. Plums, Dates, Raisins, Cherry, Tamarind, chocolate, hint of espresso, cacoa, orange liquer, vanilla. Perfect whiskey secondary taste/finish. Ash, charcoal, earth, tobacco is in the aftertaste and lingers for a very long time. All of these flavors combine to produce a very pleasant and complex experience.
F: Small citrus bite upfront that is mellowed by the oily feel, then the slight bourbon bite comes in. All followed by the whiskey aftertaste and a cheek-puckering feel that leaves you craving more. Becomes creamier/smoother as it opens up, but all notes still present..
O: I had very high expectations for this one, and it exceeding them all. First tried at Prop Day, then from a bottle on a cold night, this beverage is incredibly complex. Drink it slow, in good company, and let it open up.

Dec 04, 2018
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vanilla from barrel, bourbon, dark chocolate, coconut, milk chocolate, oak, thick and creamy, marshmallow, balanced roasty malt

Overall amazing aroma and taste. Slightly different from regular bcbs

Dec 03, 2018
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Radcpa from Washington

4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very dark appearance with slight tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is a slightly sweet bourbon and dark fruit. Taste is also a very pleasant smooth bourbon and dark fruit.

Nov 26, 2018
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ChicagoJ from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

11/23/18 (Chicago): $8 5 oz snifter draft pour at GI Brewpub. Pitch black pour, bubbly razor thin off-white ring around glass edge. Very strong bourbon aroma. Very strong bourbon taste with first few sips, as beverage warms bourbon becomes more mellow and taste becomes more balanced. Nice sweetness arrives later, this pour grows on you. Very smooth and cream texture, easy drinking! Overall great offering!

Nov 24, 2018
Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout (2018) from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 115 ratings