Bourbon County Brand Reserve Rye Stout
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Reserve Rye StoutBourbon County Brand Reserve Rye Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
4.44 | pDev: 5.63%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon County Brand Reserve Rye StoutBourbon County Brand Reserve Rye Stout
Notes: For the first year since the brewery started doing the Reserve variant, Goose Island is releasing a second Reserve in the same year. For this variant, the beer spent time in Rittenhouse Rye barrels giving the beer a spicier taste that you would expect from a rye whiskey.
Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 114 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: 2019
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Dark brown, lets light in about half and inch. Some fine head that goes away quickly, and no lacing.

Molasses and anise up front. There is a whiskey scent, and it does shade toward rye, although it lacks the spiciness I usually associate with that spirit. Another scent that I get a lot of is banana, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It's sweet and has some depth.

The initial taste reminds me of Coca-Cola. Then it splinters into herbs, non-overwhelming cane sugar, and toasted wood. There is a distilled spirit flavor that's somewhere between rye and dark rum. Anise is more present as it warms. There's a little non-acidic citrus in there, or at least that's the best I can convey it. I have to say, I was getting worried that so many BA stouts are becoming so similar to me, but this one really shows something new.

Medium weight for the type. Alcohol is present, but not bad for a fourteener. The rye/rum really drives the aftertaste, along with toasted wood. Carbonation manages to be both foamy and prickly.

Jun 20, 2021
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bluegrassbrewer from Kentucky

4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bone dry with a peppery finish. Wildly different than the base Bourbon County and other Reserve series bottles. Worth seeking out and trying. Could see this being some folks favorite BCBS in recent memory.

Jan 02, 2021
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barrelbeer from Indiana

3.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Did not stand up well to regular bourbon county. Very little nose, thin and didn't have the normal chocolate and coffee of regular, nor did it have any rye spice from the barrels. Not sure if it's just falling off with a year of age on it, but this one is definitely tailing off already if you have any left.

Dec 31, 2020
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin khaki head that dissipates to a patch with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, dry caramel, cocoa, whiskey, oaky vanilla. Flavor follows with dark toasted malt with slight char, dry caramel, rye whiskey, light cocoa and coffee, barrel vanilla and oak. Finish is rye whiskey and dark malt. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess and sharp, active carbonation. It was time to drink my last 2019 BCBS and it was this Reserve one, the first Reserve I've ever been able to find for sale. Having had the many iterations of BCBS for over a decade, I knew what to expect. The rye whiskey is a clear and authentic note in the classic deep base malt of this stout. The thin head was a big fizzy and the mouth feel also had a sharp carbonation to it. Although everything seems fine, I'm glad I didn't age this one much. The one year seems to have tamed the booziness I expected and blended the flavors a little. This is still rye forward, but the base stout holds up to the barrelling beautifully. This is a fine series of barreled stouts. Many are kind of gimmicky, but I will certainly pursue the straightforward whiskey/bourbon barreled ones. As I expected, I'm not sure I detect a huge difference between this hard to find Reserve version, but the rye is welcome and well done.

Dec 25, 2020
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 batch of Bourbon County Reserve.

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

This smells like charred oak, cedar, cinnamon, dark chocolate fudge, peppery rye, roast, coffee, etc.

The Rittenhouse barrels add a complex and distinguishable dimension to the base Bourbon Count, as there's a whole lot of spice here. It almost feels like cedar or balsam, with some cinnamon. There's a hint of mint, too, but not a lot. There's chocolate and dark roast coffee, with a hint of dried fruit as well.

This is medium bodied, very creamy, with a hint of spicy bitterness on the back end.

My favorite Bourbon County variants lately have been the non-adjunct single barrel variants. This is really tasty, with a fantastic spicy flavor from the barrel.

Dec 06, 2020
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zac16125 from South Carolina

4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2019 BCB Rye Stout (Rittenhouse)
500mL bottle into a snifter

Pours an opaque black with less than 1/2 fingers width of tan colored head. Head dissipates quickly and leaves pretty much no lacing. Aroma is huge rye whiskey barrel notes, oaky, a pete like character. Base beer notes not very prominent at all in the aroma and are mostly roasty notes. Taste is MUCH bigger and bolder than the aroma. Some sweet notes up front, huge roastiness and some bitterness on the finish. Like the nose, barrel notes are huge. Just huge rye whiskey notes, almost to the point of being unbalanced but the sweetness helps keep things in check. Mouthfeel is full bodied, approaching syrupy, ABV present but not in a bad way, drinkability average for the ABV. Overall, this is very good as is every BCB stout, but it’s far from my favorite variant. It’s also probably the variant that is the least different from the regular BCBS. Don’t get me wrong, I’d drink this everyday if I had an unlimited supply, but i’m terms of BCB variants it’s one I would be unlikely to seek out multiples to cellar.


Oct 23, 2020
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GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

As compared to regular:
the tan head lasts longer and has more leggy lacing;

the aroma has that distinct rye bite and a stronger barrel presence;

the flavor retains its complexity with an added peppery bite;

the mouthfeel remains full and creamy;

overall a great variation that somehow looks, smells, and tastes better than the regular.

Oct 04, 2020
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CraftFan5 from New Jersey

4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

26 September 2020 - Beer #188

Price: $19.99 at Food Emporium on 8th Ave in Manhattan

Appearance: 4 - you know, it's not completely black.

Nose: 4 - all barrel, but it's not terribly strong on the nose.

Taste: 5 - yeah, alright. Massive barrel up front, but not too sweet. That's the rye. The sweetness hits you as a slight tingle on the very back end.

Mouth: 5 - just a sip fills your whole mouth and almost chokes you. Well played.

Overall: 5 - I love bourbon county with no adjuncts. Fantastic.


Oct 02, 2020
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.66/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


Rating #2000.
BCBS vs. Reserve Rye.
Quarantine porch sampling with DC.

Similar rating as BCBS, but it is definitely different.

LOOK: same as BCBS.
AROMA: less chocolate and fudge. More wood.
TASTE: more wood, added pepper. Less fudge and fruity flavors. A touch some light vanilla and nuttiness, but very subtle on those.
FEEL: alcohol burn is less. Much smoother also.

Not sure if I like this better than BCBS or not, but it is definitely more complex.


Jun 05, 2020
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was thick and black in color with a small mocha colored head crowning the glass.

Smell - The nose was that of a sweet boozy stout.

Taste - Like regular BCBS, the beer was like sweet chocolate. However, this one had a better sense of balance. It was not overly sweet with very detectable rye. The profile was not hot, but the ABV definitely left its mark. The profile was consistent through the taste.

Mouthfeel - The body was really smooth on this one. There was little carbonation or burn to get in the way of the boozy chocolate.

Overall - Without all of the adjuncts, this was nice.

May 30, 2020
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NoYouDidnt from Indiana

4.87/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a finger head on aggressive pour. Aroma- alcohol, chocolate,cherries. Taste-chocolate, toffee, alcohol, salted caramel, a little pepper. Mouthfeel- very smooth velvety and full. Overall- very very good one of the best variants to date.

May 24, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled 9/24/19, had 1/18/20.

Pours near black and opaque, with a half inch foamy head with good retention and a good amount of foamy lacing. Aromas of rye whiskey, chocolate, oak, some char, marshmallow, tobacco, smoke, malt. Has a spicy aroma. Similar flavors- rye whiskey, roasted malt, chocolate, oak, light char, vanilla, light caramel and tobacco, some cocoa. Spicy and smoky. Smooth, a solid full body, well carbonated.

Lots of rye from some excellent barrels. Terrific aromas and flavors, well balanced. I didn’t pick up any fruity notes, though. Really enjoyable.

Apr 03, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Stark obsidian black with a moderate tan head that slowly dies to a fine chain.

This variant is woody and nutty with a spicy rye presence that is so forward it's almost tart. The body is surprisingly full and fluffy, with a moderate heat that follows the swallow all the way down the hatch. The finish is quite dry, amplifying the woodiness of the barrel contribution, with the rye overall bringing this to a semi-bitter constitution, accompanied by notes of black licorice.

This is easily distinguishable from other non-flavored BCBS variants. Almost startlingly so.

Mar 16, 2020
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Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving: 1 Pint 0.9 Fl. oz. bottle poured into a 2015 GI BCBS snifter. Bottled on 9/2/19, making this just over 6 months old at this point.

A: Classic BCBS, pitch black. Probably noticing this only because of the box, but the edges seem a bit red to me.

S: Getting a lot of vanilla, coconut, oak, barrel. Also a little sweet note too, maybe cherry or raspberry.

T: The box says to enjoy this side-by-side with Regular, so I'll do my best from memory. Certainly a little spicier here, a lot more oak and barrel character. Also getting that spicy fruit note from the aroma, like raspberry or a really tart blackberry. Despite that fruit note, it's really not as sweet as Regular.

M: Classic full, rich mouthfeel of BCBS. Feared it may come off a little boozier with a different barrel, but no such problem. This is the least boozy ~15% beer you'll ever drink.

O: I've long said Regular is my favorite BCBS. While some of the Props can give it a run for its money, a lot of the variants tend to pull out a certain note from Regular and hit it too strongly. It's nice for one sitting, but you always want to return to the OG. So the Reserve series is interesting in that we're just changing up the barrel and that's it. This is my first taste of any Reserve beer, by the way, but it's a good one. I can tell the differences, it's spicier, more oaky, less sweet, but it's still BCBS at heart. It's tough to really pick a favorite, I guess it's up to what barrels you prefer.

Recommendation: An outstanding addition to the BCBS lineup, a must-try.

Mar 14, 2020
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted in a snifter from draft at Timothy O'Toole's on December 12, 2019. The 2019 Reserve Rye is aged in 100% Rittenhouse Rye barrels, lovingly referred to as "the bartender's favorite" rye. Rittenhouse's Barrels had a unique effect on the original imperial stout, imparting flavors of fruit and spice. Reserve Rye accentuates all that makes Rittenhouse and Bourbon County unique.

Mar 07, 2020
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Gajo74 from New York

4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the bottle, it pours a viscous dark brown color with hints of ruby, looks pitch black in the glass. A surprisingly, given the high ABV, large tan foam head retains well. Good looking brew.

The nose opens with sweet and rich notes of toasted malt, nutty, biscuity, caramel, chocolate and coffee. The barrel aromas really stand out with lots of rye, bourbon, oak and vanilla. The hops aroma is minty and woodsy. Despite the high alcohol content, it doesn’t smell too boozy.

Amazingly complex taste that highlights the robust malts with the barrel aged character. Viscous and full bodied with a very smooth, mouth coating feel and moderate carbonation. Opens sweet but not cloying and not too boozy. Richly flavored chewy malts, doughy, biscuity and toasty, with additional notes of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and roasted malts redolent of espresso beans. Nice balancing spice from the barrel, especially the flavors of rye, along with notes of vanilla, oak, cherry, peppermint and dark fruit. The dark fruit adds a plum like light tartness that adds to the complexity; there are also notes of raisins. The earthy hops add a nice bitterness, along with the roasted malts, and earthy, woodsy and minty grass flavors. The finish is long, sticky and dry, with an almost medicinal cherry flavor.

I drank the full 16.9 oz bottle by myself and it definitely hit me. A sipper for sure but fun to drink. I loved the rye flavors in particular.

Feb 24, 2020
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Beersnake1 from California

4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fridge temp into a snifter. Pours thick and black, with nice creamy brown head. Nose is chocolate, nuts, rye, lactose, and roasted malts. The taste is insane. A perfect mixture of bitter and sweet. Some earthy, oaky bitterness. A nice sweet finish with big toffee, chocolate, licorice, vanilla, and a touch of spice on the back end. Mouthfeel is incredibly creamy. Overall, a real winner. Not quite as sweet as bourbon stouts, but that's a good thing.

Feb 15, 2020
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DEZ01301960 from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I love Rye barrel aged beer. This one sits at the top of my list. Goose Island knows what they are doing when it comes to barrel aging. Glad I have a second bottle to age along with another 2019 Prop. Sweet home Chicago!

Feb 06, 2020
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: A dark auburn-black with a finger of espresso cream head fading down to a partial frothy cap. Average head retention, little to no lacing.

S: No vanilla barrel character on the nose, instead a boozy and tart cherry presence with dark roasted malts and a dusty earthy almond-butter note in there.

T: A tolerable boozy heat on the tongue, the cherry aspect is more of a candy liqueur now and coco powder creeps in on the palate as it warms. Less rye spicy notes than hoped for - they are barely present.

F: Medium heavy body with a little appropriate carbonation. Not overly sweet or syrupy.

O: Overall this is a solid beer and a well executed stout, but overall it didn't shine, stand out, or very much taste like anything that could warrant the larger price tag and cardboard box.

Jan 23, 2020
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.73/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Reserve Rye Stout, 14.5% ABV. Pours thick and black, with a 3+ finger brown head that left no lacing. Nose is chocolate and rye/bourbon, with slight sweet dark fruit. Taste is strong and slightly sweet chocolate, rye/bourbon, vanilla, and oak, with a slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is world class, overall world-class.

Jan 19, 2020
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Bourbon County snifter glass. Vintage 2019. Naturally.

Straightforward, minimal collar but with a little bit more of a pencil thin collar after the faint creating tan colored head. Even a bit of a star forming top on a classic walnut dark brown nearly black opaque body.

Very soft, but subtle and enjoyable aroma on the nose. Light touches of oak and molasses like roast and char. Faint touching notes of tobacco and char mixing in with a slight fruity tone in the mix. Very nice.

Palate sticks to classic Bourbon county basics with a good subtle touch. Light almost real creamy sensing milk chocolate, but with a mid palate that is far darker and richer in chocolate taste and bitterness. Super ganache like chocolate and thick velvet rich mouthfeel contributes to a great palate delivery. Light touches of almost dark berried raisin and purple grape flavors. Hits a bit of wine cabernet like character in the mix as well.

A very fun delicious enjoyable Bourbon County brew. Another big hit.

Jan 11, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2019 vintage ("drink by 9/2/24"); drank 12/30/19 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

An even pour yielded a nice tan head; a thick curtain of lace.

Oak, bourbon heat, cream & mild rye spice notes in the nose.

Creamy, medium thick mouthfeel.

Rye spice, bourbon heat, oak, mild mint & faint chocolate notes.

The "regular" 2019 was a damn good beer; this more expensive variant was a messy misfire. Full pass on this going forward.

Dec 31, 2019
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Kegger37 from Iowa

4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This one surprised me. I expected this to be like regular with a little Rye Spice/dark fruit...but this was a substantial improvement over regular on several levels. Pours just like regular, similar nose to regular, but the taste and mouth feel were much improved. The taste was a smooth, balanced rye/BCBS combo. The Rye barrel is noticeable, but doesn't overwhelm. The mouth feel was more velvety than regular as well. To me this was just a more refined beer, worth of a "Reserve" title. My only complaint is that there isn't more of this around, because it was really well done.

Dec 30, 2019
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emyers from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2019 vintage.

Black with a thin light brown lacing.

Nose: Rye barrel is front and center with a backdrop of dark fruit.

Taste: Really captures the rye whiskey flavor profile. Tons of spice, oak, chocolate. Moderate heat on the finish. I personally think bourbon complements the BCBS base flavor profile a bit better than rye but this is a fantastic take all the same.

Feel: Classic BCBS mouthfeel - full-bodied and rich - with an added touch of spice from the rye.

Dec 25, 2019
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pop the top, there’s a booze howitzer on the nose from the rye, but hints of chocolate and stone fruit, too.

On the taste, this is a beer miasma of excellence. it’s a little creamy, rich, and boozy with some incredible milk chocolate and stone fruit notes. The rye is a 2 x 4 between the eyes. Love it.

Dec 22, 2019
Bourbon County Brand Reserve Rye Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 114 ratings