Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
1,660 Ratings
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

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

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,660 |  Reviews: 486
Reviews by funkyaudio:
Photo of funkyaudio
4.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pitch black with almost no head but no legs. The aroma has notes of vanilla (duh), chocolate, bourbon, prune, liquorice, molasses, hazelnut, espresso, and light spicy hop esters. The taste is quite sweet and vanilla toned where it is almost too much of a good thing. There is the base BCS as well with the chocolate, molasses, fruity, smoky, and spicy notes. The mouth feel is luxuriously smooth and little bite, a tad tannic and chalky on the finish

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More User Reviews:
Photo of nihiloexnihil
5/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of Jimmy_Kneecaps
4.91/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The appearance is black, no frills here. Not even any head. Only a thin ring forms even after a moderate center pour. The aroma is big vanilla up front followed by chocolate, bourbon, and an essence of sweetness. As it warms the bourbon falls off in the scent and gives way to more sweetness. The taste is spectacular, following the nose exactly but amplifying it very tastefully and not overdone. The flavors all blend together expertly. Vanilla begins the symphony but gives way quickly to decadent, rich, sweet chocolate. Bourbon darts in and out quickly flashing between the chocolate and fudge brownie. The finish is vanilla and chocolate sweetness. Mouthfeel is slick and creamy, but never chewy or overwhelming but fuller than medium. Overall this is fantastic, 10/10 would recommend.

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Photo of dar482
4.95/5  rDev +7.6%
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 +7.4%
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.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.71/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L - Pitch, opaque black with a thin dark tan head (slightly darker than the original BCBS) that sticks around for just a little while longer than the original stout but dissipates completely eventually and leaves behind no lacing.
S - Sweet vanilla on the nose - almost marshmallowy along with sweet bourbon, rich chocolate - maybe a little toffee on the nose
T - Follows the nose: rich, sweet vanilla up front and throughout - at times it tastes like marshmallow, at times like vanilla ice cream - quickly followed by rich chocolate - more milk chocolate than dark chocolate like in the original - and sweet bourbon as well as toffee, dark fruits, raisin, slight oak.
F - medium to full bodied with a light amount of carbonation - smooth, rich, soft
O - Such a complex beer like the original, but I feel that the addition of the vanilla really adds to the base beer in a positive manner providing a cleaner, smoother overall flavor profile

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Photo of arizcards
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
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 +4.8%
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.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.34/5  rDev -5.7%
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 -29.3%

Photo of DanGeo
4.53/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Schlais
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of cjn40277
4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev -13%

Photo of SkiBum22
5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of farundrpar
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of newk340
4.08/5  rDev -11.3%
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...

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Photo of Buttersbrau
3.75/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oddlandf
4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of heddar33
4.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jamato3000
4.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of warnerry
4.5/5  rDev -2.2%

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.6 out of 5 with 1,660 ratings