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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,266 |  Reviews: 418
Photo of LucienDeRubempre
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of 1Adam12
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of tchaos
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of eerbayman
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of HoppyMcStout
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Agold
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Pahn
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of marvin213
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
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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Photo of SDDanC
4.77/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Im excited to finally try this one. Its been staring at me for 3 months now. Poured from bottle into tulip. Completely black abyss with very light oatmeal colored ring. Otherwise, no head. Nose is spectacular, loads of vanilla, alcohol, and down home mommas waffles. In the mouth, the tastes create a masterpeice of bliss. Sweet vanilla comes from right up front, followed by toffee notes, and boozy warmness. Coffee hints from the roasty malts. Mouthfeel is warm, fuzzy carbonation, coats the tongue well. Very, very awesome drink.

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Photo of davey101
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle into a brandy snifter. Bottled on 11/05/2010. I decided to crack this open since its almost a year since bottling and its national stout day.

A - Pitch black body with a small dark khaki head. Lacing and retention is huge...this has crazy booze legs going on!

S - Very similar to the standard BCBS. Massive bourbon presence with milk chocolate, roasted malts, coffee beans, and vanilla. The vanilla really isn't that dominant though. Incredibly sweet and bold.

T - The flavor starts off with bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts, then a huge wave of natural sweet vanilla. Unbelievably sweet, but never syrupy or fake tasting. The finish is very strong on the bourbon and barrel notes. This is such a rich beer. The alcohol is very noticeable, but in the best way possible.

M - Creamy and smooth. Carbonation is low but who needs it anyways!? Mouth feel is perfect with these flavors.

O - This is an amazing beer. Its really difficult to drink since it is so rich and sweet, but its just fantastic. Wish I had a few more bottles to see what happens over the next few years. Its drinking amazingly right now.

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Photo of hombrepalo
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle and twice on tap. 3rd best out of the 5 BCS I've had. Poured black color with an average brown head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Moderate to heavy sweet chocolate, wood and vanilla aroma. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy toasted sweet flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of long duration.

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Photo of Damian
3.99/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 650ml/1 pint 6 fl oz bottle
2010 vintage
Bottled on 11/05/10
Served in a snifter
Acquired in a trade with Montrose79

The liquid poured a thick and slick, motor oil brown color. Absolutely no head or lacing. Not a surprise for a 13% ABV beer.

The nose was simply mesmerizing. Tons of fresh vanilla beans. Rich, smooth and quite sweet. The bourbon presence was intense. Some toasted coconut was noticeable. Brown sugar, maple syrup and plum notes came through as well.

While the nose contained quite a bit of bourbon, the flavor profile was literally overwhelmed by it. The alcohol heat hit hard right from the start and never let up. Notes of port notes were apparent. Loads of brown sugar. The vanilla presence was quite strong, but it was not nearly as noticeable as in the nose. Strong roast. Some sweet cream. A touch of burnt caramel came through on the hot and somewhat harsh finish.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied for the style. Moderately creamy and smooth. The liquid contained a fairly aggressive, spritzy effervescence that I found a bit distracting.

I sampled Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout at the American Craft Beer Fest this past year and thought it was one of the greatest beers that ever passed my lips. This bottle however was overwhelmingly boozy and quite difficult to drink. Time might smooth out the alcohol heat but it will likely mellow out the amazing vanilla character as well.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into a Darkness snifter, sharred with a fellow BA.

A- Pitch black motor oil color, ½ finger dark brown head dissipates quickly, typical looking BCS beer, splotchy lacing, decent carbonation.
S- Huge bourbon aroma upfront, stings the nostrils, sweet vanilla beans, alcohol is definitely present.
T- Very similar to the aroma, big bourbon and vanilla, the vanilla takes over this beer, so delicious; the alcohol is warming as it goes down, caramel, sweet malt.
M- Big mouth feel, coats the palate, big alcohol presence but does not detract from the beer, dry mouth feel.
O- This is one Amazing beer, the bourbon and vanilla notes are amazing, one of the best Bourbon Barrel Beers I’ve had, perfect for the cold whether that is taking over here in MN.

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

Had on tap for Festiv-ale in Chicago.

A: Pours black with just a quarter of brown head.

S: Chocolate, vanilla and bourbon and the smell is fantastic.

T: Sweet vanilla upfront moving into chocolate and nice smooth bourbon. All the flavors in this meld so nicely together.

M: Lighter side of heavy with average carbonation.

O: I would drink this all day.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split with mjyoung. Bottled 11/5/2010.

A: Pours black with a very thin dark brown collar. A few spots of soapy lacing were left down the glass.
S: Powerful notes of bourbon, sweet malts, caramel, raisins and a splash of vanilla.
T: Warm bourbon, vanilla, spicy oak barrel and sweet malts and caramel. Sweet overall without as much vanilla as I was expecting. The aftertaste is sweet, syrupy and lingers forever.
M: Thick body, moderate carbonation, with a soft mouthfeel. The alcohol is warming but dies down after a while.
O: I had heard this beer was crazy sweet when it came out so I am glad I waited to crack it as it is still pretty sweet. The vanilla wasn’t super potent but it was there. Overall, just as good as the original but not necessarily an improvement.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split w/ scottfrie. Drank 9/25/11. Thanks much Mr. Frie.

A: Quite dark, with a minimal head.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, and booze.

T: Strong notes of bourbon and the vanilla comes through nicely. Definite a strong hit of molasses and oak. Overall, there's a lot more heat here than I was hoping for, but see the caveat at the end.

M: Delicious. A nice, chewy body with delightfully low carb.

O: This beer followed immediately on the heels of the Rare Bourbon County Stout. Possibly a pour choice, but any inadequacy I state in this beer is likely a relative thing. Rare was SO smooth, anything after seems harsh.

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage, can't save it any longer...
Pours black with a thin tan head that leaves a little lacing.
Nose is strong bourbon, vanilla, chocolate & oak, very nice reminiscent of Bailey's.
Taste is exceptional, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate malt, kinda taste like Bailey's. Alcohol is pretty evident, but not overpowering, considering it's 13%.
Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied, not too carbonated, as a good stout should be.
This is an exceptional beer, one to sip and enjoy all evening long. One of the top stouts I've had.

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

Served on-tap in Westchester NY.

Appearance is black with a short coffee colored head.
The smell contains bourbon, coffee, vanilla, roasted malts and chocolate. Its` taste has toffee, roasted malts, tobacco, vanilla and more bourbon. MF is pretty heavy as some might expect. But, with some time to savor it, this is a fantastic stout.

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Photo of waltersrj
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Viscous dark black...almost the color you'd imagine space to be like with a dark espresso like head. The head is thick, creamy and diminished to a thick ring around the glass' edge.

Nose: Dark chocolate, intense vanilla, bakers chocolate, fudge, toasted oak, rich cherry, alcohol and slightly toasted coconut.

Taste: Strong sugars, rich dark chocolate malt, fudge, intense and lingering vanilla, oak, well integrated alcohol, slight cherry, slight coconut and bakers chocolate. Insanely good. The winner at my first "cellar tasting."

Mouthfeel: Thicknand chewy...everything you'd expect from a BCBS variation. The legs stick so well to the glass...this is amazing.

Overall: This beer is one of my favorite imperial stouts that I've ever had. The vanilla takes this over the edge with the well integrated bourbon. Amazing. They better make this again :)

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Trying to clean out the voice notes on my iphone...
Reviewed from those notes.

I've had several of these--- and I'll be honest, they have continued to get better. I opened one on Christmas Eve of 2010 and it would have gotten a C+/B- had I typed up a review. Most recently I had a bottle in mid August of 2011 and loved it.

These notes are a combination of 2 different voice note reviews from two different times. The scores reflect the most recent tasting.

Really suprised at how chocolately the initial nose is on this... Lots of big chocolate malt-- and tons of bourbon. The vanilla was weak on the first few bottles, but seems to grow as time progresses. The vanilla initially came across like it does in a cream soda.
Pours an inky viscous black with a minimal dark tan head. Some spotty lacing... Looks a lot like regular BCS.
The nose is defined by the bourbon--- but age has mellowed it more quickly than the vanilla, which appears to have increased by contrast.

The flavor has tons of vanilla, chocolate malt, and bourbon. Nice roasty character. The bourbon just slays my taste buds on the finish-- giant boozy warmth is pleasant and inviting.

Body is very full, but there is almost a bit too much carbonation. A little less could be more. I like that creamy feel, that thick, rolling, tumbling, mountainous region roadtrip kind of feel. That vibrating and gyrating craziness kind of feel.
Sometimes reviews don't have to make sense. The mouthfeel has also improved since fresh. This beer, by all accounts is amazing-- and shows no signs of slowing down.

The drinkability is fantastic. I could sip this all day. It is exactly what you'd expect: It is bourbon county stout plus vanilla.

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Photo of CurtisLoew
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a trade, thanks! Poured into my lost abbey tulip. Enjoyed during a Star Wars marathon on a cool fall night, does it get any better?

Pours pitch black. Cannot see any light through the glass. Very thin brown head. A swirl produces those tiny bubbles that look so nice in a good stout. Great looking stuff.

Smell is bourbon, raisins, slight vanilla, slight wood. Doesn't smell like most imp. stouts. I don't get much chocolate, coffee, etc. Raisin smell is pretty strong.

Taste is very unique. The closest thing I could relate it to is BCS (go figure). It is quite different than coffee BCS in my opinion. Taste is slight vanilla. Bourbon. A very prominent presence of dark fruits and raisins. If I didn't know any better, I would guess this is a very high ABV belgian strong dark ale w/ vanilla. Taste is very enjoyable. A sipper for sure. Compared to Coffee BCS, the bourbon flavor is pretty subdued and well integrated.

Mouthfeel is very good. Very nice feel for an imp stout. Not overly syrupy, yet definitely not thin.

Overall. Very good beer. Very enjoyable to drink. Not mind-blowing, but I would definitely like to drink this again. I only wish I had more bottles.

I just got mine in a trade, so I'm not sure what it tasted like fresh. Based on some earlier reviews, I would say that age has treated this beer kindly. It is drinking great right now.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle split two ways with Stigs. Finally drinking the winnings from Beer Puzzle 2, thanks again Mike!

Poured into a Piraat tulip. A tiny sliver of dark khaki head formed on top of the coal black body. After a few seconds, it looked like someone filled my glass with motor oil…no colors or lace could be detected.

Wow…the nose lets you know this is going to be a powerful beer! Lots of bourbon up front with a subtle hint of chocolate and roasted malts in the background. I cannot pick up the vanilla in the nose, but that may be due to the powerful bourbon aromas. Note: as this warms, hints of the sweet vanilla do come out.

Multiple layers of flavors hit your palate. Sweet vanilla lies beneath throughout the drink. Roasted malts and coffee starts things…the center turns boozy with a woody/bourbon flavor and the finish is even boozier…warming your throat and chest.

Thick and viscous, the body has almost zero carbonation.

Super complex with many layers. This is not a quaffable beer! Great, great flavors combine with a powerful nose to make this a one of a kind offering. Very glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of Spider889
3.54/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Owen49 for this extra in our first deal. I still feel like I owe you some more beer, but first you've got to actually make it to a tasting or down to Jackie O's!

Shared this at our Bourbon County tasting a while back.

It looked the same as the others, thick, black, with little to no head. I did NOT spill any though.

Smells like BCBS alright, though mayhaps a bit sweeter and smoother. Overall though, the vanilla isn't super strong on the nose, and I don't really find it an improvement over the base beer.

Tastes really sweet and at a year+ old at the time of opening, it was very boozy still as well.

Overall I found this beer to be a disappointment. I prefer regular BCBS over this. Not really getting the hype, though in retrospect this would have served better as trade fodder given what some seem to be demanding for it these days.

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

Big thanks to my buddy Chris for this one, it was not the first rare beer her was generous enough to share with me and I look forward to returning the favor when I return to Chicago.

APPEARANCE: Stark black with a little, tiny ring of red around the upper edge. Not much head and no lacing, but that is to be expected from a beer this big. Still a great looking stout.

SMELL: This is far less boozy than the other Bourbon County Stouts. The bourbon is still strong and instead of the oak coming out, like it did in the Rare, the vanilla makes a bold appearance. It smells smooth and absolutely delicious.

TASTE: Sweet, merciful crap this is good beer. If BA let every user give out a 5.5 in taste just one time in their reviewing career I would use mine for this beer. Again, it is way less boozy than the Rare and the booziness is replaced by a spectacular vanilla, smooth bourbon and oaky flavor. Once again, this beer does much better with a little room to breath. Let it warm to 55 degrees and taste the sweet, vanilla reward.

MOUTHFEEL: Fairly strong carbonation for a gigantic imperial stout, but it is still pretty oily. There is no bite to this beer. In fact, it is one of the easiest drinking beers I've ever had. It completely lacks in harshness unlike some of the others and it goes down like a dream.

OVERALL: I love this beer. Passionately.

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Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.47 out of 5 based on 1,266 ratings.
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