Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla StoutBourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

Added by rudylaw on 11-08-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 418 | Ratings: 1,265
Photo of ChadQuest
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you've had a normal BCS you know what to expect.
Doesn't get any darker, the head fades to a thin collar.

I've always loved the aroma of BCS, and this is similar in that it has that pure bourbon punch, just in a smoother rounded way. I can notice the Vanilla sweetness coming out, but its more of a accent to the vanilla that is naturally in the bourbon barrels, nothing artificial or cloying, just a more pronounced aspect of what should be there. At this point in the review i still haven't taken a sip, i have literally just sniffed at the glass for 7 min.

There is a gentle heat on the palette much like the standard BCS, a warm inviting touch that keeps this to sipping, no surprise given the 13% content, which only adds to the depth of flavors contained. One thing i always note in Goose Islands big stouts is a unique Tobacco note, along with a deep earthy presence, more then likely just another result of the Heaven Hill barrels this is aged in, and the oak sugars,tannins,residual bourbon and charred oak. Roasted malts manage to gather enough strength to poke out over the rest of the flavor onslaught, along with dark fruits and dried fruits such as figs and prunes. wow.

Viscosity is just a tick under that of the stardard BCS, with the same smooth low carbonated body and slick palette coating nature.

I am always at a loss for words on rating the Drinkability of the BCS line, i mean, it's 13% beer your going to sip, yes maybe 22oz is going to take a bit to get through, but i will get through it, i am willing to take that time. so, if the qustion is if it's worth taking the time to do? then my answer is yes, it most certanliy is.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After knocking back a couple at the sterling Sun Singer, I was chinwagging with the bartender when he mentioned that they had received a case of Goose Island's most recent Bourbon County, which was now in a bomber bottle size, and was rife with vanilla. Despite the expense ($11.99), this was worth a go.

A thin, berry-mocha patch of froth topped an impenetrable black body, leaving little lacing after a short stint atop the trusty Duvel tulip. The bourbon undoubtedly dominates the smell, but the label-advertised vanilla, as well as some coffee bean and molasses, seep through this beast to constitute a splendid smell; excellent nose.

The degree to which the bourbon cask flavor, vanilla, coffee, molasses, and dark chocolate meld is something to behold. The first half of the beer was unquestionably dominated by the bourbon smell and taste, which was fine. Yet it did tamp down on the other flavors. However, in the second half as it warmed, Bourbon County had a much more prominent vanilla-molasses-coffee component, which was most welcome. It is not quite a tale of two beers, and I am unsure why it is that the bourbon recedes as it does to allow for the complementary flavors to emerge. This is incredibly delicious Imperial Stout.

Very good texture, smooth with a bit of molasses grit at first that recedes like the tide into a silky smooth Imperial; just phenomenal. Given the high ABV and its viscosity, this is truly a sipper, yet held up admirably after being open for two hours; no joke. Bourbon County Vanilla is a true soldier, a great beer that testifies yet again to Goose Island's unbridled creative genius.

Outstanding, a mistake to pass on. I have a strong mind to grab another, despite the high price, and cellar it. This is that good, and seems more than well worth it.

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Photo of Florida9
4.12/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Appears black and viscous, though the edges show a deep mahogany brown color. Forms a large foamy, dark pastel brown colored head that dissipates to nothingness, not even a hint of surface coating. No lacing.

S: Sweet dark chocolate, cocoa, figs, bourbon booziness and some light vanilla. Rather complex.

T: A rather complex, but overly sweet blend of chocolate, brown sugar, figs, prunes, deep roasted malts (with only the slightest bit of char) licorice, and vanilla. Finishes with sweet bourbon and a hint of alcohol.

M: Full bodied with a smooth satiny texture.

D: In all honesty, this tastes like BCS with an extra nudge of vanilla. Not sure why I was expecting something more, but I did think the vanilla would be a bit more pronounced. And just slightly too sweet for my tastes. Never the less, a very good beer.

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Photo of latackbeer
4.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have heard nothing but great things about this beer so snagged two bottles. I brought one bottle for my family dinner and gave everyone a sample and I left with everyone asking me where they can get it. I told them good luck this year!!

This was my first bottle of beer that had been aged in bourbon barrels and couldn't wait!! It was worth what I paid. The smell was so rich in bourbon and vanilla but not over powering where I could not drink it. I took one sip and let sit on my palate as it exploded with flavor.

This was the right beer to bring to a family dinner even though I enjoyed it there is no way I could finish a bomber myself!!

Keep it up Goose Island!!!

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't believe I actually got my hands on this. Went into the neighborhood liquor store when home for Thanksgiving, and they had 5 or 6 bottles. I got one, and figured the others would still be there if I wanted more. Guess some other college kids thought the same thing, because Friday morning they were all gone. Almost. I asked, and the bottle that was used to make the tags and enter the beer into the system was still in the office, so I got that one. That's why it pays to ask!

A: Pitch black with a rich tan head of about one and half finger. That fades soon but leaves a nice lacing. The beer itself is solid black. No light, it's like looking at a pile of velvet in a glass. Even at the very edge, only a flash of light comes through. I wish the head would stick around longer, but otherwise I have nothing to complain about this beer. 5/5

S: Strong vanilla extract and bourbon, a deep bourbon barrel aroma as well. It really smells like the outside of a bourbon barrel. This is rich and intense. Phenomenal. The vanilla brings out all of the bourbon aromas I love. I could wear this as cologne. My wife would probably even like it. 5/5

T: The taste matches, for sure. The vanilla, remarkably, rounds off the alcohol very nicely. This is a much fuller flavor than the regular BCS, and much richer. There's notes of burnt grain, cola, chocolate and even some red wine maybe. Too many stouts, too me, are either too roasted/burnt or too sweet. This, while both, is neither. Maybe a bit too sweet. 4.5/5

M: Very smooth, very rich. Not much carbonation, which is great. Smooth is really the best word for the feel of this beer. 4.5/5

D: Drinkable, yes. In quantity, no. This is something I really would want to share around. In no world can I imagine sitting down to drink this alone. 4/5

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour is classic bourbon county: pitch black with no color at the edges, even when held to the light. A thin mocha-colored head develops with a vigorous pour, but is quickly banished to a thin film of bubbles where the surface meets the glass.

The smell is more refined than a fresh pour of the parent beer. The bourbon is obvious at first whiff, but it doesn't have the overpowering bite that a fresh BCS has. With the bourbon dialed down a notch, you can better smell some of the other components of standard BCS (much like you can after a couple of years of aging). Chocolate, toffee and leather are prominent. The vanilla is clear as a bell on the nose, but doesn't overwhelm. One of the better smelling beers out there.

Mouthfeel is full and velvety with just enough carbonation to keep it from being too syrupy.

The taste has all the strengths of regular BCS: bold chocolate sweetness, balanced by unapologetic bourbon, bakers chocolate and tobacco. Added to the mix is a pleasant vanilla note that, unlike a lot of vanilla beers, seems natural and fits in with its surroundings. The only weakness here is that (although the smell suggested otherwise) BCS Vanilla has the same boozy finish of fresh BCS. After two years in the cellar, regular BCS mellows and becomes my favorite beer of all time. My hope is that BCS Vanilla will follow suit without loosing the well-crafted Vanilla flavor that Goose Island has accomplished here. Will give this another try in six months to see how things are going...

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -- Pours an inky black with one finger of milk chocolate head. This soon dissipates to a persistent dirty halo. No lacing to speak of, but it coats the glass well.

Smell -- Bourbon, vanilla, charred oak, chocolate malt, coffee with cream, and dark fruit. Truly wish I could get an air freshener that smells like this.

Taste -- Milk chocolate, bourbon, rich vanilla, oak sugars, brown sugar, licorice, anise, prune, tobacco, and a gentle coffee-like roast flavor. Slight bourbon sharpness toward the finish, though definitely more mellow than a regular BCS with even a few years on it.

Mouthfeel -- Full and velvety with milder carbonation. Gentle alcohol warmth within two sips.

Drinkability -- Definitely better than regular BCS, even better than a regular BCS with two years time to mellow. While the vanilla addition makes perfect sense to accentuate the oak sugar character, but somehow it created a likely false sense of extra malt sweetness as vanilla always brings to my mind ice cream or sweet confections. Nevertheless, this is a beer certainly worthy of desire as well as the considerable effort I exerted to obtain a bottle. Well done, Goose Island.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm so glad I found this at the goose island brewpub at Wrigleyville in Chicago.

it pours a pitch black opaque color with a tan head that dissipates after a while leaving almost no lacing.

Smell is vanilla, some bourbon and hints of booZe.

Taste starts very sweet with mollasses and dark fruits and transitions to vanila and oak/bourbon flavors. Aftertaste follows taste with lots of vanilla and oak.

Body is heavy ( definitely a sipper) with high and sparkling carbonation.

Overall a great beer, similar to the bourbon county stout but with more vanilla (as it should be). Try to find this if you can!

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.02/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with minimal espresso colored head.

Smells of bourbon and sweet vanilla (surprise.) Hints of coffee and charred oak.

I like the touch of the vanilla that enhances that dimension of the bourbon. Overall, it's very similar to the regular BCS but more intense on the vanilla aspect. I have another bottle and am interested in tasting this side-by-side with regular BCS.

Mouthfeel is thick with some boozy hotness. It does leave a lingering sticky-sweetness on the palate.

The booze and sweetness make it lose some ground in the drinkability category, but overall a great beer and pretty much what I had expected. I enjoy both the regular and coffee versions slightly more.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glad to score several bottles of this one. I've had regular and Coffee. Now to expand my love for BCS with the Vanilla version, hopefully. 2010 bottle, 22oz...

A: Super thick black with a very tiny head that fades quickly to a mocha lace on the sides of the top of the brew. Decent.

S: Super sweet creamy boubon upfront with some awesome raisin in the middle. Smells like the regular BCS I fell in love with. Don't get much vanilla on the nose. Very good.

T: A huge vanilla bomb upfront quickly followed byu a bourbon burn. Very balanced. Creamy chocolate walnut in the middle with some great sugary dark frui blended in. I get some hints of bitter hops and some great sweet flavors all blended together with a bourbon bite. Amazing!

M: Full bodied with a great carbonation balance. Thick creamy finish. Very good.

D: Goes down so easy despite the high ABV. Awesome!

All in all, so much better than the Coffee! If you like well balanced BIG beers that bring sweet, an alcohol bite, and hints of bitter, than this is for you. I want more bottles now!

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Photo of JToad
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So excited to try this, as the regular BCS is one of my favorite beers.

Poured into my Duvel goblet a dark chocolatey brown, almost black. Thick and syrupy with a nice brown head, with sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell of bourbon right off the bat, then the vanilla comes into play heavily. The best smelling beer I've ever had.

Tastes of bourbon and chocolate, the vanilla tastes amazing on the finish. The vanilla really smoothes this beer out. Velvety smoothe and rich, it coats your tongue so you can pick out all the nuances before your next sip. Complex and well crafted, each flavor plays off nicely with the next.

For being a 13% ABV beer, the alcohol burn is non-existent, which could be dangerous. The drinkability is as good as you can get for this big of a beer.

All in all, between the Vanilla, the Coffee and the Regular BCS, this is my favorite. The upper echelon of beers, dollar for dollar this is the greatest stout I've ever had.

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Photo of drewba
4.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - shiny, opaque black. Hints of dark brown and burgundy when you swirl it around the glass. Pours with a very thing layer of khaki bubbles, which only lasts a few moments.

S - sweet, boozy bourbon, rubbing alcohol, wood, toffee, molasses, vanilla extract. The vanilla is quite nice, but overpowered by the bourbon alcohol aroma.

T - Holy eff balls batman! The bourbon and vanilla pair wonderfully. With bcsbc, the addition of coffee helped round out and almost counterbalance the big bourbon heat. But with bcsbv, the vanilla is enhancing the bourbon, not hiding it. Though the bourbon and vanilla are the highlights to the flavor, they are subtle and not beating me over the head. Chocolate, molasses, roasty and toasty malts and wood are solid background flavors.

M - Too thin, too little carbonation. BUT, overall the mouthfeel is nice. The bourbon is tickling the tongue and coating my mouth. No homo. There is a slight astringency in the finish but the only lingering flavor is the sweet bourbon and vanilla.

D - Moreso than a fresh bourbon county. The nice bourbon and vanilla balance make this a really nice sipper. In my opinion, this is very drinkable right now and doesn't necessarily need any more time to mature. I am getting a little chest warming action, but that doesn't bother me. The near absent carbonation and thin body knock it down a little bit, but I am excited to have half a bottle left.

ps - Ate a dark chocolate brownie with this, SO GOOD.

pss- a blend of '09 & '10 bourbon county, bcsbc, and bcsbv is magical.

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Photo of birchstick
4.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - pours jet black with a chocolaty brown/red velvet head - looks exactly like regular bcbs

S - smells of fudgy chocolates with a touch of molasses and sweet vanilla - not as much vanilla as I expected

T - the chocolate fudge flavors are first on the palate. This fades to some hot bourbon and molasses, but the bourbon is not as bold as the regular version. Finally, the vanilla makes itself known, and luckily not in an artificial way. Really good stout - the name does an excellent job of describing the flavor profile as it is spot on. I was originally going to put this as a 4.5, but as it warmed it became just as good, almost better than the original version (it is if you like vanilla better than bourbon).

M - nice fully body with amazing carbonation that goes down fantastically. The bourbon heat is a lot more masked in this version by the vanilla. Easy 5 here.

D - I love the in your face bourbon and chocolates in the regular version of bcbs. In this version, the bourbon is there, but the vanilla overpowers it, which works wonderfully. Definitely worth the trouble if you can find it.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.53/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to BeerFMAndy for busting this one out. Nice surprise.

A: Pitch black with a modest finger of mocha head. Fast fading with spotty lace.

S: Vanilla extract all day! It reminds me of when your mom would make cookies and you would take a whiff of the vanilla extract bottle. Hot booze is just oozing out of this sucker. I really can't pick out much else.

T: Thankfully the flavor is much less harsh and more complex than the nose. The vanilla is still strong but I can at least pick out coffee and chocolate with a bit of roastiness. The booze is up front which it is in all BCS varieties. No surprise there.

M: Thich rich body. Mouth coating without being too syrupy.

D: Overall a bit of a let down with all the hype surrounding this one. Kind of a chore to drink. So far regular has been my favorite with coffee coming in second and this one bringing up the rear. Don't mortgage the house or give a kid for this one please.

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on date 11-05-10.

A: Blackhole in deep space. Brownish tan ring of small bubbles around my snifter, that's it.

S: Immediate response is raisins and prunes. Then after a pause the vanilla emerges along with molasses notes, then it hits me that a big bourbon aroma is fuming all around my glass.

T: I use the term complexity and blend way too much. But, this BCVS might be the BEST brew I've ever had. Perfect molasses sweetness, quickly followed by vanilla excellence, then a rush of taste sensations of rich bourbon and Columbian coffee and dark fruits. Mouthfeel, carbonation, and alcohol are all in perfect portions and perception.

D: This brew is an example of brewing perfection. It's a huge in taste and alcohol, but still very drinkable and enticing. I can't overstate the high level of complexity while still being perfectly balanced in absolutely every way. Special recognition to Goose Island for not being greedy. My liquor store had a strict reservation system, and said they could of sold a thousand bottles. At $13 a bottle this brew is a steal. No question in my mind, the best brew I've had this year. What's amazing is how drinkable the brew is right now, even with the big abv. The only question is how long can I resist my last bottle.

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Photo of starrdogg
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beer poured very dark with a pretty minimal head, not quite motor oil, but more along those lines than your average stout

S - Bourbon aroma is most prominent. Has hints of oak as well. I couldn't wait to drink the beer after smelling it.

T - I think my friend put it best when he said it tasted like "pancakes drenched in maple syrup." Flavor has a good amount of sweetness with oak, chocolate and vanilla with a hint of roast malt. Bourbon flavor is not as strong as the smell indicated, but still present.

M - Pretty light on the carbonation and for such a big beer, has a fairly light body. Seems to suit the beer perfectly however. Finish has a bit of booze.

D - This beer is insanely drinkable for a 13% ABV stout. It's still a sipper, but goes down very smooth.

Stouts are not my favorite style, but I am absolutely in love with this beer. It's a lot like the regular Bourbon County but the vanilla brings out some incredible flavor and sweetness in the beer.

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Photo of bwgassman
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark and black with a rich molasses appeal. Minimal head with decent legs.

S: Lavish and whimsical. Immediate whiff of vanilla, bourbon, oak, and chocolate.

T: Impressively rich and smooth with an instantaneous bourbon impact followed by a vanilla tracer. Fairly carbonated compared to other Stouts.

M: Thick and viscous with a dry a finish.

D: Extremely drinkable however this is beverage one must treasure and preserve.

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Photo of waltonc
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Cracked this high class beverage with Doodler and bardwashrind this evening. No need to rehash the obvious - this beer tastes like BCS + vanilla beans. In other words, a high ABV, thick bourbon bomb imperial stout with a good amount of vanilla. I love BCS, and the vanilla is a nice addition. Slightly sweeter and hotter than its coffee counterpart.

My only complaint - it's absurd that this is sold in 22 ounce bombers rather than 12 ounce bottles, or even smaller. My friends at the country club were outraged when they heard they could not purchase this in a 4-pack.

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Photo of daledeee
4.69/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bomber that could have been aged...

Poured into the snifter. Nice dark tan medium head with brown almost black body. No light through this one.

Nose is a 6 if I could give it. Vanilla, of course, chocolate ice cream, milk chocolate.

Taste is sweet, vanilla, cream, cocoa power, charcoal and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is substantial. Very thick tasting yet quite a bit of carbonated bite.

Drinkability is good but alcohol is WAY warming with this one. More so than the other two offerings I have had(Coffee and Bourbon County). So rich and good tasting. This would be great when -30F in front of the fire. It's like drinking hard stuff. The throat is so warmed! Because this matches the taste so well, it reminds me of a fine liqueur. As I drank this I found my self fantasizing that there were cocoa granules in the beer and the wind was howling outside.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Meantime tulip. 13% ABV, Bottled on 11/05/10.

Thanks to Sweemzander for picking up my reserved bottle on the way up here!

A - BCVS is a totally black brew with no slivers of light shining through at all. A tan head springs up after the pour and falls by the wayside almost instantly. We can probably thank the alcohol for that one. No lace is left on the glass at all.

S - Rich roasted malts and milk chocolate with a strong vanilla bean/extract aroma up front. A ton of hot booze along the back side. Smooth smelling from all the good vanilla, but it's pretty stinkin' boozy. Of course, I expected that.

T - Smooth and aggressive vanilla with a huge backing of roasted malts. Notes of milk chocolate backing the bold vanilla. Big and straight forward. Not a lot of depth in this one.

M - For how hot this is, it's surprisingly smooth going down. This is massively rich with a thick finish that coats the throat.

D - Even with splitting the bottle, this is hard to put down. Very good flavor but not the best drinkability. It's good fresh but I'd bet this is going to be even better in a few years. I like Goose Island and this beer but the hype surrounding this beer is outrageous. The fact that I've heard things about beer stores guarding it is just dumb. It's just beer guys, relax.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.87/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into snifter.

Appearance is dark black of course. Medium brown head fades quickly with no lacing, but it doesn't detract.

Aroma outstanding as usual though it is really hard to discern any difference from the regular BCS with a year of age on it. Smooth bourbon and oak smells with plenty of vanilla (I would hope). Roasty coffee tones but an overall sweetness prevails.

Taste is sweet initially with the bourbon and oak notes coming in with vanilla coming in strong. Roastiness takes over with boozey bourbon in the finish and lingering vanilla.

Mouthfeel is as smooth and creamy as it gets, nice and thick. Great.

Overall it's an amazing beer, but I really don't think it's any better than the regular BCS aged. It's nearly identical and at $14 a bomber this is not really worth the cost and isn't really worth seeking out if you can or have had the regular BCS.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: the appearance of this is pretty much the same as the other variants, very thick and viscous looking with some serious legs. Not a whole lot of head to speak of, just a thin collar

S: big notes of dark chocolate and molasses up front with lots of bourbon and oak. It is hard to distinguish the vanilla bean character from the bourbon character...perhaps the vanilla mellows out the booziness a touch and smooths out the over all aroma. For the most part this smells just like BCBS which is great.

T: again I get a lot of chocolate and roasted character up front with a nice presence of vanilla in the mid palate. On the palate, it is much easier to identify the different flavors as the bourbon and oak come on heavy at the end. The beer is rich and decadent and begs to be sipped slowly. There is certainly a warming sensation at the end from the abv.

MF: huge viscous body, massive on all levels.

D: another great brew from Goose Island, but I can't say that I enjoy this variant above the others. For me, this is too much like the original BCBS to really put this in a class of its own. I enjoyed the coffee version better.

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Photo of cetherid
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.


pitch black. some brown peaking through the light but this is a very dark beer. just like the standard bourbon county stout. a little head from carbonation but not too bad.


amazing! bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak and booze. So many powerful smells in every little sniff of it.


amazing just like smell. dark chocolatey malts with bourbon, vanilla (not as strong as expected) and oak smells. A different flavor each sip it seemed like. Vanilla is not as prominent as you think it would be from the name of the beer, but it is just perfect. One of the best brews I've tried!!


full bodied but the beer is smooth going down. Not too carbonated and the booziness isn't too terrible bur prominent. This beer is of the hook!!


Great but not too high. You'll need at least 2 to 3 people to finish a bomber and feel great. At 13% and limited availability, just drinking one is a treat. Probably one of the best beers I've ever had, but booziness and availability make it a little lower on the drinkability scale.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.42/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

This beer pours a superbly thick blackness. There isn't much foam to top it though which is sad, but that doesn't mean that it isn't attractive. The smell is the obvious bourbon, oak and vanilla. The subtle notes are brown sugar and molasses. This is nice and tasty. There is clearly vanilla and bourbon most present on the palate. The subtle flavors are oak, chocolate, perhaps a hint of cinnamon spice, but I could be making it up. The vanilla does lots to cut down the bourbon harshness that tends to plague these beers early on. The harshness does detract from the overall taste, but because of the vanilla it's still good. I really look forward to having the other one age. This drinks really well and it was well worth the hassle.

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Photo of nkersten
4.32/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Darkness glass from a bottle I was lucky to get after visiting who knows how many stores. Pitch black with a small dark tan head after a vigorous pour. Head fades quickly with no retention and no lacing. Would like to see a better retention. Smell is vanilla up front with some chocolate and oak following. I think the sweetness of the vanilla covers up a lot of the bourbon notes found in the standard bourbon county. A hint of alcohol in the background. Taste is unimpressive. Well, unimpressive compared to the standard Bourbon County Stout. This has a subtle vanilla flavor up front and in the finish, but other then that it tastes pretty standard BCBS, which is not a bad thing. I wouldn't mind a little more rich vanilla bean flavor. A it of roasted malt, coffee and oak in the finish. Mouthfeel is great. I was afraid that this one would be flat given the pour, but it has just the right amount of prickly carbonation. Heavy thick mouthfeel, coating and sweet but not cloying, just what a stout this big should feel like. For the style, this one as well as all the other bourbon counties, is dangerously drinkable for a 13% brew. Try this if you can, but if dont manage to get a bottle, get some standard and pretend it has vanilla in it - you wont be far off.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.47 out of 5 based on 1,265 ratings.
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