Bourbon County Brand Special #4 Stout
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Special #4 StoutBourbon County Brand Special #4 Stout
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Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Oatmeal Stout
4.41 | pDev: 5.22%
Aug 30, 2022
Aug 23, 2020
Bourbon County Brand Special #4 StoutBourbon County Brand Special #4 Stout
Notes: Bourbon County Special #4 Stout is an oatmeal stout variant of our original Bourbon County Stout recipe, also aged in bourbon barrels, that uses crystal oats to add a nutty character and a smooth mouthfeel. After barrel aging, we added Intelligentsia Coffee, both their cold coffee and single origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, called “Metad Buku,” to bring out a pleasant fruity coffee character. Lastly bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup from Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio is added which provides complexity to the nutty oats and coffee to round out the flavors, ultimately reminiscent of your breakfast ‘special’ at the local diner.
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Photo of mwilbur
Reviewed by mwilbur from Minnesota

4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured from 16.9 oz bottle into snifter. Stamped drink by 11SEP22…just in time.
A: Pours a dark brown hue with 1/4 inch dark mocha head that quickly settles to a thin skim.
S: Dark roast coffee with cream, smooth dark chocolate, maple syrup, soft oats, subtle bourbon, and a nutty note.
T: Dark roast coffee, maple syrup, smooth dark chocolate, smooth sweet bourbon, nuttiness, oatmeal, and cream.
M: Medium body. Extremely smooth and silky feel. Layers of dark sweetness with mild roasty bitterness. Soft oat feel. Lingers nicely on the palate.
D: Extremely well balanced and a too easy to drink sipper at 13.3%. A superb variation!
Aug 30, 2022
Rated: 4.75 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin

Jul 31, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by a77cj7 from South Dakota

Jul 18, 2022
Photo of SHODriver
Reviewed by SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense and slightly rocky finger of tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of coffee, bourbon barrels, dark chocolate, roasted malts and hints of maple
T: Taste is coffee up front with some hints of maple, nice bourbon barrel notes with oak, caramel, and vanilla along with some dark chocolate and roasted malts interwoven with some maple sweetness. On the swallow there's more coffee, maple, dark chocolate, oak, caramel, and vanilla.
M: This beer sits at the heavier side of medium on the palate. Carbonation is on the slightly effervescent side but it's fine while the beer has a drying finish due to the ABV.
O: Overall this is an excellent beer. Really good flavors and complexity along with some very nice balance. It's a little coffee forward which is fine, but there's still plenty of other stuff going on to keep things interesting. I'd like for this one to come back.
Jul 18, 2022
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Reviewed by drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Look - Black and thick with a great tan head and even better tan thick rimming and sticky lacing
Smell -chocolate coffee maple roasted malts slight barrel
Taste -nice barrel slight roasted malts pretty good amount of coffee slight maple oatmeal
Feel -medium full body with a slight carb
Overall - if it was a little thicker and more barrel it would be just incredible, great balance
Jun 15, 2022
Photo of TheRougeBastard
Reviewed by TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
Decedent! Like drinking an oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie that's been dunked in coffee that had a splash of Bourbon added! 13.3% extremely well-hidden!
Apr 24, 2022
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
500 ML bottle, born on 9/11/2020, poured into a tulip glass at 55 degrees F:
L - dark and static with a hazelnut head that quickly dissipated
S - molasses, bourbon, roasted malt
T - follows the nose, great blend of flavors
F - thick mouthfeel with minimal
O - excellent beer, my favorite variant of 2020
Apr 13, 2022
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Rated by Tiburon from Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Very smooth w no harsh bourbon county edge, smooth and fruity.
Apr 08, 2022
Photo of 5toutman75
Reviewed by 5toutman75 from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Consumed 3/27/22

This is one of the variants (like most honestly) that is best fresh. But, this is still hitting it out of the ballpark for me. The mouthfeel is thick and full. It's less syrupy than a regular non oatmeal stout. There's still a sweetness that a BCS normally has, but the maple adds a nice nuance. The coffee has dropped off a bit more than I expected from fresh, but it's still there on the backend the most. I should try this against a CBS to see which is my favorite. I feel like this has more maple for sure. If you like coffee and maple, I think this is a world class version of these BA stouts.
Mar 27, 2022
Rated: 4 by archero from Texas

Mar 27, 2022
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Reviewed by Franziskaner from Missouri

4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Black in color and impenetrable to light. There’s a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering two thirds of the top. The aroma is of oatmeal, maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon. I’m tasting a wallop of maple syrup, coffee, bourbon, and oatmeal. The mouth is thick, chewy, and sticky.
Feb 19, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by Jonathan-Morgan from Florida

Feb 13, 2022
Rated: 4.32 by Sulty from Massachusetts

Feb 04, 2022
Rated: 3.93 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Jan 27, 2022
Rated: 4.43 by soarinsteven from Illinois

Jan 17, 2022
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Reviewed by agreenman19 from Connecticut

4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
L - 2020 with a best by date of 10SEP22. Pours a cola brown translucence. Settles into something much darker and browner. Not quite motor oil, though. Minimal head that mostly consists of a quick fizz on the surface and a thin, lingering ringering around the edge of the glass.

S - banana pancakes. Chocolate malts and fruity berries. Light metallic aroma from the maple and coffee. The tiniest splash of wood and caramel on the finish.

T - definitely on the brighter side for BC stouts. Light, playful maple up front with a heaping helping of oatmeal, contributing to the banana cream flavors. Brown sugar, molasses, the usual bourbon sweetness. Light on barrel character which I feel would help offset some of the sweetness. Finish is sugary and rich with a touch of booze heat.

F - like most recent BCs, it seems thinner than it should be at 13%+ but features a velvet smoothness that alleviates any concerns.

O - one of the sweeter variants, that's for sure. The oatmeal really softens any otherwise dominant flavors (bourbon, coffee, and maple to a lesser degree). Good Sunday morning beer to have with breakfast. That's a normal thing people do, right?
Jan 15, 2022
Rated: 4.23 by EdFed from Illinois

Jan 09, 2022
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Reviewed by NeutroMan from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
16.9 oz bottle, best by 14 Sep 22, into a snifter.

A: Black motor oil color and consistency. Minimal brown head vanished almost immediately.

S: Lot going on here. Chocolate-covered raisins, demerara sugar, fig, maple syrup.

T: Follows the complexity of the nose. Chocolate, dark fruits, and maple syrup are all there, but the coffee bitterness comes out more in the taste. Definitely hides its ABV - not really picking up much in the way of boozy alcohol warmth.

F: Medium bodied, actually a little thin and watery for the style and most other iterations of BCS.
Jan 01, 2022
Rated: 4.43 by brewskis from Indiana

Dec 25, 2021
Rated: 4.73 by Kuelsken from Michigan

Dec 25, 2021
Photo of dano213
Reviewed by dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
16.9oz bottle purchased off the shelf last year for $24.99. Says "Drink By 10Sep22". 13.3% ABV. I'm guessing that this was bottled on 9/10/2020, so this would be 15 1/2 months old. I gave it some time to come up closer to room temperature before I opened it.

Look: Pours out a very dark brown, close to black. There are some light brown highlights on the edge of the glass. There was a very dark colored head that did not stick around for very long.

Smell: Very interesting, complex, and delicious nose. It's worth it just to smell this beer. Tons of chocolate, some dark fruits like dried cherries and blueberries, plums. Notes of almonds and sweet marzipan. Coffee notes, but not as much as I was expecting. There's a vanilla maple flavor coming through, but I don't know if I would have guessed that this is aged in bourbon barrel aged maple syrup barrels. A bit of heat on the nose.

Taste: Yummy. It's much sweeter than the nose suggests. Totally does not taste like it's 13.3% ABV. Up front - lots of dark chocolate, some coffee, touch of maple. The finish is confectionary, with cocoa powder (leaning toward milk chocolate), vanilla, and maple. Roasted malt and coffee flavor linger long on the finish with moderate bittering. I wonder how much the coffee flavor has faded here over the past year. The acidity is moderate; given that this is a coffee stout, it's relatively low. I heard that they added cold brewed coffee to the base beer, which is generally lower in acidity. They were going for a take on a diner special, with the coffee and maple syrup (just add pancakes kind of thing). It definitely works. I like how the dark fruit flavors are coming through and gives this imperial stout a nice complexity.

Feel: Nice mouthfeel - has a velvety smoothness to it. The oatmeal stout gives it a nice body. Good level of carbonation.

Overall: My first review of a BCS. I have a few more that I look forward to opening at the right times. This is quite impressive. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout is iconic for a reason. Cheers!
Dec 23, 2021
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
absurd, just absurd. i wish my brother and i werent absolutely dickered when we decided it was a good idea to open this at 3am, but hey, you have to make hay while the sun is shining, and since we see each other once a never, i have no regrets. this is just a real special variant, i thought it was a proprietors blend with the color of the label, but its a special thing all of its own, i am not even sure i knew about this when it came out last year! thanks to him for sharing. oats in the base beer, barrel aged maple syrup in the mix, heady coffee, it all is here, and this is packed with barrel character. thick and viscous, rich and regal, i get the corn sweetness of the whiskey with the maple decadence in the nose, i get a vanilla hint highlighting the best parts of the coffee, i get roast on roast, an oak and protein body, the oats matter here, and i get some bitterness from the almost burnt nature of it all balancing the sweetness that runs through the whole thing, wow. no doubt this is hotly alcoholic, but it works to enhance the parts i like, barrel char, honey and maple sweetness, earthy coffee, weird nuances of raisin, olive, and tobacco, i feel almost arrogant drinking this in this state, but sometimes life is just this good. this is majorly sweet, on the edge of too much, but the maple is real authentic, and the sort of double barrel vibe is fully on display. coffee has low acid and still tastes fresh, no oxidation or anything. enormously fancy beer, nice for high stakes gambling, and something i wont soon forget, despite the fact that at the very same time i can hardly remember. ah yes, one of those!
Dec 16, 2021
Rated: 4.3 by uncleotis from Illinois

Dec 14, 2021
Rated: 4.69 by MykeJ from Minnesota

Dec 12, 2021
Photo of sjrider
Reviewed by sjrider from California

4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Bottle pour- dark as night with thin khaki head leaving minimal scattered lacing. Nose is mildly sweet with hints of maple and berry. Taste follows with a hit of coffee and lingering sweetness on the finish. A bit of alcohol creep at the end. Fairly smooth and a touch dry with notes of barrel wood.
Dec 06, 2021
Rated: 4.62 by MJSFS from Florida

Nov 29, 2021
Photo of Olesjm
Reviewed by Olesjm from Kansas

4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
A: dark brown to almost black. Virtually no head, what foam exists is almost pure white.
S: sweet, dark fruit, maple, and a hint of chocolate and coffee.
T: coffee, chocolate, maple, some small boozy or whiskey barrel, and a wonderful finish of nuttiness.
M: full bodied.
O: lots of character and depth. It changes slightly as it develops on your tongue. I wish i could have gotten 2 bottles so i could have compared notes from when it was new to now (a year later) to see how it aged.
Nov 27, 2021
Rated: 4.82 by Pleasure from New Hampshire

Nov 25, 2021
Rated: 4.17 by AD17 from New Jersey

Nov 22, 2021
Photo of Ozzylizard
Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Bourbon Country Brand Special #4 from Goose Island. 16.9 oz bottle from Spec’s # 69. $25.61 (including tax) $1.515/oz. Stored at room temperature in store and at 40 degrees after purchase. Reviewed 14/11/21. Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
Stamped on label “11SEP22” and on neck label “2020”. Served at 50.5 degrees in a hand washed and dried glass coffee cup. Final temperature 53.7 degrees.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Deep Amber (SRM 15), clear.
Body – Brown (SRM 20), murky and opaque. When rear-lite, same.
Head – Small (Maximum 0.8 cm, aggressive center pour), desert sand, fizzy with short retention, diminishing to a one to two mm crown and a thin partial cap.
Lacing – Poor – but not really expected at 13.3% ABV. A few tiny islands and a single arabesque.
Aroma – 4.25 – Weak chocolate. No malt, no hops, no yeast, no bourbon, no maple.
Flavor – 4.5 – Begins with distinct chocolate and weak bourbon, some roasted malt, no hops, no yeast. Can’t taste any maple and it ends slightly bitter. No ethanol (13.3% ABV, as marked on container) taste or aroma; however, there is light gastric and esophageal burning which rapidly subsides. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl.
Palate – 3.75 – Medium, between watery and syrupy, lively carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4.25 Smooth, oaty, some BBA found and eventually, a terminal ghost of maple wafts by. At the end, as the dregs are swallowed, an alcoholic miasma passively intrudes. Generally, IMHO, a decent BBA oatmeal stout but nothing to seek out and definitely not worth the price point.
Nov 14, 2021
Rated: 4.19 by Buck_Jones from Michigan

Nov 14, 2021
Photo of StraightNoChaser
Reviewed by StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Look: deep, dark stout, some cola highlights when held to light. Mocha head on the pour that mostly dissipates.
Smell: coffee, maple, hints of bourbon and vanilla.
Taste: maple is more pronounced than in the nose. Nice finish with roasty coffee contrasted with sweet maple, vanilla.
Nov 07, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by SayBoom from Ukraine

Nov 05, 2021
Rated: 4.34 by dshansen1184 from Washington

Oct 23, 2021
Rated: 4.31 by AlpacaAlpaca from New York

Oct 20, 2021
Photo of Zythophile
Reviewed by Zythophile from Washington

4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottle Date: 2020
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Dark brown. No surprise. A bit of medium-light light brown head. Minimal lacing.

Lots of charred barrel on the nose. Vanilla and fresh coffee. Or maybe it's chicory. Anyways, it has creamer with it. After it warms up, there's a bit of very dark rum that's detectable.

Although I didn't catch any of it on the nose, there's a ton of dark fruit in the taste up front, and it's pretty strong, too. Prunes, raisins, and dates. Sweetness is at the optimal level. That transitions over to a really strong coffee with creamer, and it's actually a little too strong. This thing comes incredibly close to shooting an almost impossible gap. Sweetness is pervasive. (And yes, it does clearly have that oatmeal base.)

Good amount of fine carbonation, and it's really smooth in character. Alcohol is unavoidable, but it doesn't detract, overall. You know what you're getting into. Strong charred molasses aftertaste, although the sweetness is a touch heavy.
Oct 17, 2021
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Reviewed by Beer_Economicus from Ohio

4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Today is a new beer to me.

Goose Island Brewing – Bourbon County Brand Brunch Stout Test beer (2019)

12.5% ABV

This test beer is akin to the 2020 release titled “BCBS Special #4”, which is listed as an oatmeal stout aged in Bourbon barrels with intelligentsia coffee and Bissel Maple syrup” – and listed as “Stout - Oatmeal” on BA.

The beer was removed from a 50ish degree temp fridge after having been refrigerated for approximately 10 months. Beer poured into a 2012 B1 BCBS tulip snifter. Consumed across approximately 1 hours, across 2 separate pours with the beer kept refrigerated between pours.

First Impression: As soon as you pop and pour it, you know it’s BCBS – from it’s first hiss and pop of bourbon to its’ dark and thick (but not thicc as pudding) pour. 4.35

Appearance: Classic BCBS. Not much to say. As is always the case from bottles, a small very dark brown head forms which quickly dissipates to a light khaki ring around the class, lasting for as long as you let the beer exist. I love BCBS, so perhaps I am bias, but this gives me all the right feels, and I’m not sure one can ask for more from the appearance. The only way I think you can is if you’re looking for that thicc as hell pudding pour, or specifically wanting a thick head, or you’re not into that oily-slick coating on the glass. 4.8

Smell: Pretty much all coffee. Smelling this reminds me exactly of opening a BCBCS – it’s straight up BCBS with intelligentsia coffee. Very little if any barrel on the nose, and no maple on the nose (but, it is 2 years since bottling). 4.0

Taste: It’s actually incorporated better than I remember the coffee in 2017 BCBCS, and even after nearly 2 full years the coffee hasn’t turned to green pepper. I know that isn’t the case for everyone, but it happens to me sometimes, and 2017 was one of those. If I am being 100% honest, there’s perhaps a small amount of that here, but it’s hard. With coffee in a stout, it’s very hard when adding coldbrew for it to not have a certain astringent quality to it that is almost like coffee beans were ground directly into the coffee. That sounds like a negative, but it’s not something that bothers me here. Perhaps because the maple is offsetting anything too strong. I am really loving this. I only get a touch of maple – a kiss of it. Wish there was more, but it is 2years old. Lots more to say, but see ‘Overall’ below. 4.8

Mouthfeel: This is a little thinner than I’d prefer, but it’s a coffee stout, and coffee stouts are always thinner than their non-coffee counterparts. Also, this isn’t worlds thinner, it’s maybe 5-10% thinner than standard BCBS. Perhaps the use of an oatmeal recipe is what’s helping the thickness, because this feels thicker than I recall 2017 BCBCS. Or maybe it’s the maple Syrup. Either way, this is great, and totally doable for 12 – 16.9oz. 4.75

Overall: This is basically everything I want KBS/CBS to be, but better. I know KBS is supposed to have chocolate, but mostly I get coffee. -And, I know CBS has maple syrup, but no chocolate. This is nothing short of great and really enjoyable. Would I pay almost $30 for 16.9oz of this on the regular? Not a chance. It’s far better than CBS, but it’s not 5x the price better. I’m not normally someone to make that comparison, but it is true. This just isn’t special ‘enough’ to warrant the price. –Perhaps because it is so close to BCBCS, and that is ~$17, or about 33% less (although not brewed for several years). For me, this is one of the best coffee-forward BCBS variants.

One question that I have to ask myself is whether I would rather have this or Revolution’s Supermassive Café Deth. That’s tough. I think the coffee is actually better in Rev’s, but I prefer BCBS. Also, I feel like I detect more barrel in this than Rev’s, but I detected less barrel in BCBCS. Overall, I think I’d rather have this, but given prices, I’d rather buy Rev’s about 4 out of every 5 purchases, or perhaps even 6 out of every 7 purchases. 4.7

BA Review Score: 4.52
Oct 10, 2021
Rated: 4.32 by AirBob from Massachusetts

Oct 05, 2021
Rated: 4.23 by SMH_NWI from Texas

Oct 04, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts

Sep 23, 2021
Bourbon County Brand Special #4 Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 314 ratings