Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
BA SCORE
4.61/5
World-Class
1,562 Ratings
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
gooseisland.com

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon County Brand Stout spiced with fresh vanilla beans.

Added by rudylaw on 11-08-2009

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#43
Reviews:
465
Ratings:
1,562
pDev:
7.81%
 
 
Wants:
1,544
Gots:
502
Trade:
21
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,562 |  Reviews: 465
Reviews by cjgiant:
Photo of cjgiant
4.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap:
Off-black body doesn’t need to be to strong to support the thinnest ring of bubbles at the edge. Oily legs encase a few bubbles on a swirl, but nothing sticks.

Nose is very strong vanilla on first sniff, but apparently my olfactory adjusts quickly, as the bean notes start to meld with a deep, rich chocolate note. There’s a slight Oreo aspect, but I think I’m influenced slightly by the recent Prairie offering. Chocolate cake, obvious vanilla, and oddly some almond-like extract - a tad sweet overall, but vanilla tends to have that impression on me.

Slick and not as heavy as I’d expect - medium/medium-heavy. Basically no heat, little late tingle. Fairly sweet but not too crazy.

The vanilla was also strong on the first sip, but seems well integrated within a few sips. Chocolate, root beer, fig/raisin, and vanilla - with the middle two not being definitive but hints towards. Chocolate cake cones to mind again, but not as rich as I’d expected from the nose.

It was not a heavy hand that integrated this ingredient, but it just leans over into hiding the base beer a little more than I’d like. Mild complaints to a fine beverage.

 1,168 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of nihiloexnihil
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a bottle at the DC Goose Island Migration Event, at both Churchkey and Meridian Pint.

A: Black as night, like every stout ever made. Imposing. Very thin mocha head. Great lacing.

S: Ridiculous. Mellow vanilla notes, BCBS bourbon notes, incredibly complex. Maple? Smells like Utopias from the bottle.

T: OMFG. Have you even had BCBS? I want you to take that incredible flavor you know and love, but you know that kind of sweet imbalance that happens at the end of regular, fresh BCBS? I want you to imagine pillow-y vanilla/marshmallow flavors picking you up, balancing everything out, and carrying you off into vanilla Wonderland.

M: Thick, chewy, ridiculous. Everything you love about Bourbon County, and everything that makes you wonder "how do they make a beer taste and feel like this?"

O: I never thought I would have this beer, and between the two DC events, I had almost a full 22oz bottle to myself. I couldn't stop ordering it. This is the best beer I've ever had. Bar none. I've had every single BCBS variant, including Rare. This blows them all away. I hope I get to have it again someday.

I don't want to be that guy, but seriously: give up on trying to find a bottle of Rare for yourself and track this down. I had King Henry alongside this beer, and it made KH taste thin and diminished its bourbon flavors. In fact, there were four of us, and everyone agreed: better than Rare, better than KH, better than Bramble/Cherry Rye/Coffee. Unbelievable, 5/5, my only perfect review.

 1,509 characters

Photo of dar482
4.95/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

At a Bourbon County tasting, this was my favorite of the bunch, including Rare. This beer is very much Bourbon County, but with a smooth flavor. What vanilla does is it adds some sweetness and rounding flavor, which in generally compliments the beer instead of being a prominent flavor.

On the finish, you push towards a vanilla sweetness. The beer is still drinking extremely well.

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Photo of heysuz
4.94/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brew: Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Intro: 22 oz. bottle served in a tulip glass

Appearance: Dark black, opaque. Ample head with good retention. It looked creamy when poured into the glass. It caused anticipation to build for the first smell/taste. It’s one of those beers where you can just tell it’s going to be good just from the appearance.

Smell: Rich malts, chocolate, dark fruits, bourbon, and alcohol with the vanilla shining through. At 13+% ABV you can’t hide the alcohol but there is a host of fragrances that come through. The anticipation builds. It is a VERY inviting brew.

Taste: BINGO!!! Game over! The Holy Grail has been found! WOW!! This did not disappoint, in fact it exceeded all I’ve heard about it. You taste alcohol but not overpowering. There is sweetness but not cloying so. A perfect balance IMHO. This beer does it for me. The bottle was removed from the fridge and allowed to warm for an hour before tasting. This allowed the vanilla to really stand out.

Mouthfeel: Creamy coating that lasts throughout. Just adds to the pleasure.

Overall: As I said, GAME OVER!! It has been found. It’s #1 in its class so far. I haven’t given a perfect 5.0 rating to anything because I figure I haven’t found it yet and don’t know what’s around the corner, but this is as close to perfection that I have found so far. Do yourself a favor; if you like stouts… seek this beer out. You won’t be disappointed.

NOTE: I've only had this one bottle of Vanilla but it's still there and not breaking down. I've had the regular black label, the coffee (2 or 3 years), the Backyard Rye, Proprietor's, and Rare but this one is a personal favorite of mine. Even more so than the Rare.

 1,721 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 500 ml bottle today 11-23-18 at the Craft Beer Quick Stop for $24.99. Bottled on 9-4-18; 14.9% ABV.

Beer poured black as night into the 8 oz BC snifter given out as part of the event. Head was tan and smallish, dissipating quickly.

Nose is very nice, vanilla and toffee forward with some bourbon lingering in the background.

Taste is near perfect starting off as toffee and vanilla forward forming a coffee flavor with the roasted malt base. Bourbon and leather appear with a warming alcohol finish with each sip.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth.

Overall a very nice flavorful sipper to be enjoyed on nice crisp fall and winter days. Glad i got to try! Cool thing is i have two more waiting in the wings to see how it ages over the next year.

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Photo of jampics2
4.82/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I woke up today with a dry throat. The damn ceiling fan, which I rely on to block out noise and keep me cool, had attacked me by confiscating all signs of moisture in my entire respiratory system overnight. I was thirsty. But I had no clue how much my thirst was about to be quenched.

Fast forward 4-5 hours to the first session of the 2nd Annual Winking Lizard cask conditioned beer festival. I check in and get a program which outlines the beers available. I check over the list to see a bunch of familiar names, some extra special treats, and the very last entry:

Goose Island Vanilla Bourbon County

This was the first beer I had today. It was the last beer I had today. It was the best beer I've had in a long time. Overall, I'd say I had 22oz or so, and, let me tell you, this beer delivers.

Appears a magnificent black, the kind of black the Rolling Stones sang about painting things. No head whatsoever, and a ton of alcohol sticks to the side of the glass when I swish.

Smell takes me somewhere. Grandma is baking vanilla cookies. Grandpa is sipping his bourbon. And I'm eating a chocolate candy while my olfactory tingles with delight.

Taste is perfect. A strange combo of coconut, vanilla bean, oak, bourbon, chocolate and caramel tastes more defined and well balanced than any desert I've had. This is exceptional in terms of its depth, extreme flavor, and ability to define different elements in unique flavor spikes along the journey. Honestly, one of the best beers I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is thin, but this may be a result of the cask feel. The carb isn't an issue, appropriate for the serving type.

Drinkability is well above many in the field. Strong? Sure, but this is a magnificent example of when imperial flavor is necessary to achieve such a magnificent result. Kev and John at the Lizard, you have outdone yourselves this year. This was just fantastic, and I want to thank you for a wonderful event and a new top 20 beer for me.

Tonight, I will sleep with the fan on. And it can't do a thing to make me uncomfortable. Try as it might, it shall not rob me of this - my thirst has been quenched for a while.

 2,138 characters

Photo of REVZEB
4.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap. So when I reviewed the vanilla rye variant, my only qualm was the power of the vanilla overtone as the beer warmed up. Here it doesn't need to warm up, no nuance whatsoever. It is like someone dumped too much vanilla extract in my glass. Not a lot of balance with other flavors besides booze, malt, and chocolate. Sure it is good, but nothing legendary. Criminally overrated.

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Photo of aszatk01
3.25/5  rDev -29.5%

Photo of DanGeo
4.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Schlais
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of cjn40277
4.88/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of SkiBum22
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of farundrpar
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of newk340
4.08/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: a nice dark pour, with a classic tan head that quickly dissipates leaving little-if-any lacing.

S: heavy on the bourbon aromas, faint hints of desserty sweetness in the background.

T: extremely bourbonsih in the front, a dark chocolate middle, and a sweet vanilla ice cream finish.

MF/D: silky smooth, but the overpowering bourbon made this a sipper. very hot, would do well with a couple years of cellaring under its belt...

 431 characters

Photo of oddlandf
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black beer with no head.
Strong, but pleasant, vanilla aroma. Some roasted malt.
Again, strong vanilla taste up front, followed by chocolate, molasses, and a little coffee. A hint of bourbon.
Flavorful, big-time sipping beer.

 232 characters

Photo of heddar33
4.73/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jamato3000
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of JayGreezy
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tvenne
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of marvin213
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black as the pitch with a nicely tinged malty top, it beckons. Head retention--albeit thin--is most impressive. Nose is warm bourbon. I sense alcohol over vanilla. I must admit that's disappointing.

It tastes strong, but smooth. It's warm like a soup. Sip after sip, that thin heady veil stays constant. The taste is really secondary to how this thing feels. I can't really taste vanilla in a bean or extract sort of way, but I feel a creamy, alluring slickness that transports an ever so sweet alcohol burn all over my cheek linings. Gum-smacking post-sip gets a little of that vanillaness!

I wasn't too big a fan of the normal Bourbon County Brand, in large part because of how big, bad, and bourbony it is. I thought the Coffee was oh-so-appropriate to make it a two-pronged sharpness, and this Vanilla really turns everything into a sweet, silky sting. Good strong stout + bid bad bourbon; thrown in a slew of quality vanilla beans and I feel all warm and fuzzy.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 1,562 ratings