Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine Ale
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine Ale
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Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
English Barleywine
4.3 | pDev: 5.35%
Nov 29, 2022
Aug 09, 2018
Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine AleBourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine Ale
Notes: Working with our friends at Intelligentsia, we flew down to Guatemala to source some of the world's best coffee to use as we release the first-ever Coffee Barleywine. The beer is an English-style Barleywine, meaning malt forward, and aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels before adding La Soledad coffee beans right before packaging to retain a bold coffee aroma and flavor.
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Ratings by BryanB:
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Rated by BryanB from Illinois

4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Apr 21, 2020
More User Ratings:
Photo of Rug
Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Bottled 9/27/18

Well it’s been a while, and it’s time to get back to the vintage BCBS bottles I picked up from GI when I was in Chicago before getting into this year’s variants. The OG Barleywine I had from 2017 was quite good, so I have high hopes for this one. Coffee in a Barleywine is a flavor profile I’ve been chasing lately too, so let’s get into it

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a finger of creamy tan that slowly fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

The coffee has certainly faded in this one over the years but it still has a nice nose to it. I’m picking up on aromas of sweet caramel, raisin, brown sugar, fruitcake, chocolate fudge, light roast coffee, and vanilla

It hasn’t aged quite as gracefully in taste, nearly bordering the green pepper vibe old coffee beers can have but it’s buried by the other notes. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting sweet toffee, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, light raisin, brown bread, bourbon, and light coffee. The swallow brings notes of sweet caramel, toasted oak, oxidized sherry, lightly bitter coffee, raisin, molasses, and light cocoa powder

A full body pairs with gentle carbonation, resulting in a smooth and slick beer. Finishes neutral with a warming alcohol presence yet drinks well below its abv

This one is certainly past its prime, but far from undrinkable. The OG Barleywine from a year before was much better
Nov 29, 2022
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Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
500 ML bottle, 2017 vintage, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - caramel colored with a tan head that lingered
S - caramel, toffee, bourbon
T - follows the nose, a bit more bourbon in the taste
F - thick mouthfeel with minimal carbonation despite the bubbling head
O - excellent beer at 5 years, very impressive; just what you want out of a BBA English Barleywine
Sep 03, 2022
Rated: 4.18 by EdFed from Illinois

Aug 27, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by EMV from Pennsylvania

Aug 21, 2022
Rated: 4.68 by BMBCLT from South Carolina

Feb 20, 2022
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Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
After 3½ years the coffee is still noticeable. Reminiscent of taking a bite of dessert a few minutes after a sip of coffee. Figs, molasses, and toffee plus gentle booze and light coffee. The carbonation is light and the body sticky. I am thoroughly enjoying this. Thanks FBarber!
Feb 08, 2022
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Reviewed by NiceTaps from New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
16.9 ounce bottle, dated September 27, 2018, poured into my Tuckahoe Brewing snifter.

An aggressive pour generates a bit of creamy tan cap which drops quickly and leaves no lacing as barleywines go. The body color is a dark tawny brown with reddish tint.

Strong distinct aromas: roasted malt, oak, alcohol, coffee, bourbon, and vanilla.

Aromas carry right on to the taste, soaking the malt with flavor. The coffee holds up after 3 and 1/2 years of aging.

Full body, booze soaked sponge cake. Sweet and creamy coffee. Wooden.

It aged nicely. A smooth sipping strong brew.
Jan 22, 2022
Rated: 4.27 by crobinso from Colorado

Dec 05, 2021
Rated: 4.21 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Dec 04, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by broadway848 from New York

Nov 21, 2021
Photo of JohnnyHopps
Reviewed by JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Appearance - The beer was dark brown with red hues swirled into the mix.

Smell - The nose was much more of an Earthy coffee than a sweet coffee with hints of booze.

Taste - At the front, dark and slightly bitter coffee led the way. The barleywine backbone gave a modest amount of sweetness. Perhaps it was age, but the profile seemed more like an American barleywine than the English version. The overall profile seemed dry.

Mouthfeel - The body, or perhaps lack there of, did not seem interested in coating or lingering.

Overall - Even as a barleywine lover, I found it hard to fully appreciate this one.
Jan 31, 2021
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Reviewed by Zythophile from Washington

4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottle Date: 2018
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Dark brown (even shading slightly toward red) and minimal head. It is somewhat clear, though.

Smell has lots of coffee up front. There is also molasses, along with a little mahogany and Brazil nut. It could stand to be richer.

And once more, I'm totally okay if what would be the scent stays in the liquid. The coffee is all the richer, and I'd even go as far as to call it espresso with cream and something sweet, like honey. The sweetness also has a grain syrup element. Can't get away from the tree nuts either, with hazelnut and toasted almonds. Mix all that in with some toffee, and you'd have a good candy bar.

Slightly prickly carbonation. Medium-heavy weight. Aftertaste is the taste, although the coffee abates. Alcohol certainly detectable, although not overbearing for a fifteener.
Jan 31, 2021
Rated: 4.18 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Dec 27, 2020
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Reviewed by mothman from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Bottle. Little head. Caramel brown color.

Very odd bourbon county variant. I like the coffee and I like the BW, but mixed is odd. It’s not bad, just odd. Lots of coffee, caramel, toffee, oak, whiskey, and dark dried fruits. Some vanilla. Kind of dry and roasted. Interesting.
Dec 19, 2020
Rated: 4.4 by BAsbill from California

Nov 18, 2020
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Reviewed by zac16125 from South Carolina

3.61/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
500mL bottle into a snifter

Pours a dark mahogany with some ruby hues when held to light. Small tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is very interesting, it’s almost spicey like a capsaicin peppery heat. There’s a strong fusel ethanol character as well, maybe that boozy heat is masquerading as some spice. Coffee is noticeable, and some subtle sweet malts are there, but overall this is quite a strange aroma and not particularly great. Taste is a bit odd too, although at least it is more barleywine-esque and I don’t get any of those peppery notes I got in the aroma. I do get tons of booze, and tons of bitterness. A bit of black coffee adds to said bitterness. The base beer characters are some burnt sugar and caramel. Subtle barrel characters but admittedly you have to work for them. Although there are some interesting notes here for the most part they are overpowered by this bitter, almost astringent note. Mouthfeel is fine, it’s very warming, ABV is high and it’s certianly a prominent component of this beer. I have a very high tolerance (and if we’re being honest, love) for high ABV beers but the boozy prominence here is just too much. I think this is the first time I’ve ever said this about a BCB beer (and I believe I’ve had every single variant to date except a couple of the 2019s I’m waiting on), but this beer is kind of a mess. I try not to overreact to things, but Goose Island, WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY WERE YOU THINKING! (*all caps for overly dramatic effect*). But in all seriousness, I just don’t get this. You have BCB Barleywine which is just a fantastic beer, and you have BCB Coffee Stout which is an elite beer bordering on perfection. Scrap them both and in exchange put out this? Big fail. Looking forward to the return of the OGs, whenever that may be. Easily my least favorite BCB variant to date.

Nov 04, 2020
Photo of garymuchow
Reviewed by garymuchow from Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
In the middle of a move and trying to purge the cellar, so now is the time. 1.5+ years in the cellar.
A bit of a gassy appearance Head is small and fizzles out altogether. Mostly clear, brown with hints of red. A little coffee in a rich malt with hints of candy sweetness.
Full rich flavors, much bigger than in the aroma. And an immediate awareness of the alcohol. Not in a bad way, but a quick shot of warmth in the gut, a ding in the prefrontal cortex and a perfumey and alcohol flavor. Not really hot, but certainly warm. This is a coffee barleywine and that is what it tastes like. Well balance. Get an essence of both and it is nice.
Full rich feel. Feels soft and slick and fluffy. Great feel. Carbonation shines here.
I like this. This is fine. There in time there is a fatigue from such a rich and big beer. The enjoyment starts to wane in time.
Jul 17, 2020
Rated: 4.1 by 22Blue from Kansas

Jun 21, 2020
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Rated by Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 500 mL bottle on April 6, 2020.
Apr 14, 2020
Rated: 4.1 by Eziel from Ohio

Mar 26, 2020
Rated: 4 by mattmarka1 from Minnesota

Mar 15, 2020
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Reviewed by stortore from Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
500 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled 9/27/18, had 12/15/18.

Pours a dark ruby, semi- opaque, with a quick flash of a head and light, spotty cling. Aromas of bourbon, coffee, caramel, dates, figs, malt, plums, some molasses and brown sugar, light tobacco and char, some oak, light raisins. A bit of a sweet aroma. The flavor aligns with the aroma- bourbon, caramel, coffee, figs, raisins, dates, some oak and brown sugar, light vanilla and molasses. A little sweet, but not cloying. Smooth, a very good medium to full body, well carbonated.

This has a great balance between the coffee and the barleywine. Terrific aromas and great flavors. Actually a little hard to describe, but it’s a pretty complex beer. They make it again, I’ll buy it again. Very enjoyable.
Feb 18, 2020
Rated: 4.03 by BEERdedCharmer from New York

Feb 18, 2020
Rated: 4.21 by Nunya from Ohio

Feb 02, 2020
Rated: 4.35 by MDDMD from Pennsylvania

Jan 11, 2020
Rated: 4.28 by TomFoolery_x from Illinois

Jan 08, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by SiepJones from Pennsylvania

Jan 02, 2020
Rated: 4.37 by wisegreensoul from Idaho

Dec 31, 2019
Rated: 4.31 by Kegger37 from Iowa

Dec 30, 2019
Photo of Gajo74
Reviewed by Gajo74 from New York

4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
On tap at DiveBar, NYC; a 7oz pour is just the right amount for a drink of this magnitude.

Pours a dark brown that displays an elegant and clear ruby color against the light. Although there is no head, a thin ring of lacing is evident at the beginning of the pour.

Aroma opens with notes of coffee and cocoa powder; the coffee in particular, dominating throughout and blending well with the bourbon spice. Additional aromatics of vanilla, wood, caramel, biscuity malts and minty hops.

The taste is sweet and boozy with a strong alcohol spice well supported by sticky and doughy biscuity malt. Full bodied, very smooth, mouth coating and moderately carbonated. The coffee flavors impart a unique taste to the bourbon spices and rich chewy sweet malts. Additional notes of chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, raisins and earthy hops bitterness. The finish is long and alcohol warming.

I really liked this variant; the coffee Barleywine combination is a real winner. Powerful like a top shelf spirit and a pleasure to sip on.
Dec 30, 2019
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Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
One of the weakest BCBS offerings I’ve had. Looks nice-great ruby colors, minimal head/lacing. Plenty of coffee on the nose with some rich barrel aged Barleywine characteristics. Problem is the taste-coffee and barleywine just don’t mix, in my opinion. The barrel and malt clash with the coffee and while both flavors are excellent if you separate them, together, it’s not a pleasant mix. Medium bodied, boozy, mouth watering. Brave attempt, big miss.
Dec 30, 2019
Photo of EMH73
Reviewed by EMH73 from New York

4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a medium-dark brown with red hues, a quarter inch tan head that dissipated almost immediately and left no lacing. Smells of coffee, bourbon, caramel, dark chocolate and a mild earthy quality. Tastes of coffee, bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel, toffee, raisins, figs, oak, rye and roasted malts. Awesome complexity. Medium to full bodied, minimal carbonation, full mouth feel.
Dec 29, 2019
Photo of Saylor
Reviewed by Saylor from Pennsylvania

4.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
2018- bottle. Was eager to try this combination but also hesitant because of past both barleywines and coffee beers. This stout is awesome. Easily one of the best I’ve ever had. The coffee flavor wasn’t strongly present but the mix of flavors and smoothness made this beer an instant satisfaction. Hope to see it in the future 2020+
Dec 26, 2019
Photo of Fordcoyote15
Reviewed by Fordcoyote15 from Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Looks pretty crappy. Murky brown, very little head.

Smells pretty muted. Theres coffee but not a whole lot else going on.

Tastes much more complex. Starts with pure coffee and reminds me of founders underground mountain. It quickly rolls into much more depth however. There are loads of toffee, and oak, and caramel, bourbon and cream.

Feel is pretty full and thick.

Overall very nice despite the lack of aroma.
Dec 08, 2019
Rated: 4.21 by Stofko1992 from Pennsylvania

Dec 06, 2019
Rated: 4.29 by csmrx7 from Canada (AB)

Dec 06, 2019
Photo of CHickman
Reviewed by CHickman from New York

4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottled 27SEP18, 15.1% ABV, it pours reddish dark brown color with 1 finger foamy beige colored head that made a crackling sound and faded on the quick side and left basically no lacing. Not unusual for a barrel aged barleywine, but I wish the head lasted longer. The smell of coffee hits first with fresh ground coffee, beans, light espresso and then cocoa, bourbon, toffee, dark chocolate, spicy notes like rye or tea leaf, faint vanilla and earthy notes. A lot going on in the nose, but it's all good with plenty of malt complexities that allows the barrel aging to show through and the spicy/herbal notes to add accents. Not your typical barleywine, this is an amped up version for sure.

Tastes like it smells with the fresh ground coffee, toffee, burnt coffee grinds, caramel, espresso beans, vanilla, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, bourbon, smoked malts, rye, spices notes, tea leaf, piney hops, syrup, brownie batter, tree bark, black licorice and some heat even a year later from that 15% ABV. The barleywine aspects get covered up by the malty sweetness, booze from the bourbon and whiskey barrels, the bitter roasted coffee and the toffee that helps mask the alcohol while making for a dynamic, complex slow sipper. This was really freakin good and the coffee components really were pleasing and enjoyable.
Nov 30, 2019
Photo of ovaltine
Reviewed by ovaltine from Indiana

4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a mahogany brown with a tan head that dissipates immediately - literally before you can put down the bottle after the pour. The rich coffee aromas are welcome, and there’s a lotta boozy notes on the nose, and some chocolate as well.

The coffee leads the flavor parade, and there’s also cocoa notes and a significant boozy component. The mouthfeel is rich, appropriate to the style. Truly a pleasure to drink, this is exceptionally well done, IMHO.
Nov 28, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by Old_Dead_Oak from Wisconsin

Nov 27, 2019
Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 221 ratings