Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010) | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010)Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010)
Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010)Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010)

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

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 372 | Ratings: 1,386
Photo of miniditka77
4.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drank in 2019, bottle is about 9.5 years old at this point. Smell is chocolate and dark fruit, but oddly weak. It was hard to get much smell off of this at all. The taste followed the smell - tons of flavors swirling around, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, but also weaker than I would have expected. The feel is outstanding, and all of those years really smoothed it all out. Overall, great beer. Possibly a little past its prime, but it's still got it.

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Photo of Rristow
4.79/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with dark brown head. Lot of bourbon on aroma with boozy notes mixed with roasted malts. Thick and chewy mouthfeel. Flavors of caramel, molasses, cocoa, brown sugar, bourbon. Still a little boozy taste on finish but excellent overall.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.78/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Take a stellar vintage of BCBS, elevate the nose and palate with scents and flavors imbued by Pappy barrels, increase the viscosity of an already thick and chewy stout, and enjoy one of the finest beers ever crafted for human consumption. There is virtually nothing wrong with this beer, even after all of these years.

It is the best beer that Goose Island has ever made. If ever you feel the need to tick a whale, this might be the best value still out there on the trade market today.

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Photo of DrinkBeard
4.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the closest thing I have had in terms of a perfect bourbon barrel aged dark beer. The mouth feel was kind of thin so I really would liked to have had it on tap. The newer Rare has nothing on this guy. When this first came out the shelves were full if it. Nobody in Chicago could justify spending $60 on a bottle of beer! Ahhh, the good old days.

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Photo of fireazzi
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful still. Tons of barrel even almost 8 years later. Great nose, not boozy or hot at all. Nice and smooth. Pours a nice dark thick color. Really held up well.

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Photo of bennyman12
4.84/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big business. Looking at my bottle number, I lament I don't have another one of these. I've been into beer for 20 years and I missed this release. SAD!

Bottle split with 2 buddies, allongside bcbs 2011 for comparison

Aroma is rich, increasingly yeasty as it warms.

On the palate, caramely bourbon, toffee, banana, all you'd expect. The big diff between this and the bcbcs 2011 is that while that fades to fuzzy cola, this has more flesh on its backside.

It is past its prime--falling apart a bit in the body, but still super sexy. More so for still being out there.

Get it done!


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Photo of Gambyt20
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply wow, Lucky to get a taste of this rare gem. After 7 there is still so much complex barrel flavor to this beer. Amazing oak, wood, old barrel, rustic, vanilla, musty in a good way nose and taste. wow!

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Photo of Treyliff
4.92/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours viscous black in color with a one-finger khaki head that eventually disappears

S- smells of mocha fudge brownies with toasted walnuts up front, followed by dark artisan chocolate, fig & dark cherry. Big oaky bourbon barrel aroma gives sweet vanilla and coconut, caramel & toffee. All elements blend brilliantly

T- opens up with huge sweet notes of dark chocolate, caramel & toffee, quickly followed by a hit of toasted walnuts. The bourbon barrel kicks in mid-palate, adding plenty of vanilla & coconut and just the right amount of bourbon. As it nears the finish, notes of dark cherry, raisin & fig pop up, along with more toffee sweetness. Lingers of a perfect blend of bourbon, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit

M- medium-thick body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a silky finish that coats the mouth

O- quite possibly the best aged barrel aged stout I've ever had. It blends brilliantly and leaves you wanting more

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Photo of steve8robin
4.97/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally opening up my 1 bottle of 2010 Rare in celebration of my first child, a son named Micah!

A: pours black as motor oil with a small khaki colored head that disapates quickly.

S: like sniffing an awesome triple chocolate cake. Sweet notes, vanilla notes, coffee and chocolate notes, and a hint of raisin on the back. Smells like heaven!

T: coffee notes upfront quickly followed by chocolate brownie smothered in fudge. A slight dryness on the backend and oh so smooth! Man, did those barrels and holding onto the bottle for 6 years do wonders for this beer! Like pouring chocolate fudge over molten lava cake!

F: so thick, but never cloying. Sweet but not overly sweet.

O: this beer is definitely magical! I'm so glad I waited so long before cracking this one. I've had it for so long that I can't even really remember getting it, hah. If you get the chance to try this beer at least once, cancel you vacation to Italy and do it!!

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Photo of mig100
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 11/19/2010. Consumed on 10/2/2016. Bottle #1738.

My god... BCBS heightened to perfection.

There are only a few beers in the world that could be considered perfect, this is one of them.

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Photo of KaeF
4.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lots of booze in the nose, as well as dried fruit and bourbon. Tastes like roasted barley, bourbon, chocolate, cacao, vanilla. A very complex and balanced taste that is still very good after five years. I advice people to drink it soon, since more age won't probably make it better than it already is.

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Photo of zoober911
4.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L - Pours a dark shade of brown. Almost black. No head. A ring of tiny bubbles edge the glass. As you swirl it it coats the glass like cough syrup.

S - Pappy predominance. Chocolate and caramel. For a 6 year old beer the bourbon still dominates.

T - Some bourbon. Sweet malt. Sweeter than expected. Chocolate and caramel.

F - Round, full mouthfeel. Smooth.

O - This is awesome. Duh. I was surprised by the malt sweetness but it was still balanced, and the Pappy barrels still shine through. Delicious.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got a few ounces of this at Yazoo Funk Fest 2016 (5/14/2016). Great barrel character, smooth finish, and just awesome all around. A fine BA stout, the barrel shines even at 5 years old

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was amazing! Vintage 2010...back when Bourbon County was the shit! Those pappy 23 barrels worked wonders! Purchased this bottle along with many others of its caliber for a small group tasting and it was definitely one of the stars!

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Photo of zac16125
4.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle into a snifter
2010 Vintage, bottle #6216

A huge thanks to tchipharveyslake for sending this very long time want over in a trade. Thank you!

Pappy barrels used for barrel aging were originally filled in 1985, same year I was born, which is pretty cool. Opened Easter Sunday, 2016.

A: Pours an opaque black, looks thick on the pour. A sliver of dark mocha head dissipates quickly down to nothing. Leaves essentially no lacing. 4.5

S: Aroma is huge, I can literally smell it as I sit on the couch and it rests on the table. Huge and wonderful bourbon notes, charred oak, sweet bourbon-y vanilla, and a peat-like character. The base beer characters are in the background and include a rich fudge-like cocoa, and big roasty notes. Fantastic nose. 4.75

T: Follows the nose with a big, bold bourbon presence up front and a rich sweetness on the finish. Its so barrel forward, probably the most “bourbony” beer I’ve ever had (which actually surprised me because in general I find that barrel notes fade in BA beers with time). Base beer characters include a big roastiness, subtle black coffee like bitterness, and rich dark cocoa. Cocoa and roasted malts linger forever in the aftertaste. Big, bold, complex and delicious. 4.75

M/D: Full bodied, very smooth, great mouthfeel, carbonation is low but appropriate, ABV is noticeable in terms of bourbony characters but there is essentially no fusel ethanol or unpleasant heat. Drinkability is excellent all things considered. 4.75

O: Elite beer. Still think Vanilla Rye is my favorite BCB stout variant ever (Vanilla ’10 and my quest to complete all BCB bottle variants is complete, but this beer is incredible in its own right. 4.75

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Photo of Fargrow
4.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very surprised that this beer tasted like it did at 5.5 years old. Didn't feel tired or papery oxidation. Any that was there complimented the dark dried fruit character of the beer. A fantastic liquid.

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Photo of sposter4
5/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared this with a few friends. I Could not imagine how to make this beer better even after 5 years. Pours jet black with no head. Maybe the best smelling beer I've ever had. bourbon and dark fruit make up the nose. Covers the mouth like melted butter and stays around. Dark fruit and chocolate notes but the bourbon flavor shines. Still a lot of bourbon even after age. This beer is so velvetly smooth. My only regret is that I couldn't drink it fresh.

Comparing this beer and rare 15 isn't a fair comparison due to the age difference. But for the sake of doing it anyway. Rare 15 is much hotter as to be expected. Similar dark fruit and chocolate under tones. But the rare 10 bourbon flavor is way better as well as rare 10 being a lot more smooth. Rare is all around better even after 5 yrs.

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Photo of SeanBond
4.94/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll start with two disclaimers: I never had this fresh, and am not QUITE as huge a fan of regular BCBS as many people (it's one of my favorites, but I typically like at least one or two variants more per year). With that being said:

As far as I'm concerned, this is the best non-adjunct BA stout I've ever had. BCBS was already right up there (I could never decide whether I preferred BCBS or Parabola, but BCBS '14 clarified that I was a GI boy), but this takes what's great about regular, and amps it up. The mouthfeel is better and creamier, the beer itself is extremely black (blacker than BCBS), and the finish of the beer goes on for days and days (seriously, the first taste didn't blow me away, but the finish did. I literally said "wow" out loud, when it was still lingering for what seemed like forever). Hides the alcohol really well, but this is a 5 year old beer, so that might be part of the reason. The other thing I noted while drinking (shared with my girlfriend, but as usual, it turned into a night of me pouring into my snifter, and drinking the bomber alone!) is how easy/enjoyable it is to drink. It's not my favorite BCBS taste-wise, but it just slides through your mouth like nothing. Awesome.

I'm hoping to grab a bottle of Rare '15 to do a proper comparison (only had one pour at FoBAB, and I don't think that's enough), but I'm really eager to do so. My first impressions of the side-by-side would be that the '15 is possibly more complex, but the '10 is more well-rounded.

I still think Prop '13 is my favorite Bourbon County, all-time, but you can't go wrong with this beer. I'm glad GI decided to bring it back, even if it's in a slightly different form.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.51/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Definitely a pretty girl. Jet black. Brown head. Aroma was warm, bourbon, chocolate truffle type of beer. Where did we drink this, March Madness 2011? Or was it 2012? Eh, still have one more.

Taste again, pvw barrels seem to be hotter than some others, I know there is all this name nonsense, but really that is the most discernable thing for my palate. Its still a great beer, but there are lots of them and I don't see how this is really any better than the base bcs beer. The marketing behind it is genius.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark as night....smell of bourbon and chocolate, flavors started predominantly with raisin, then evolved into tobacco, and finished strong with molten chocolate bourbon brownie... Exceptionally tasty, but may have lost a little concentration over the years...

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Photo of timc100
4.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not but 10 days before the 5 year mark do I have the privilege of finally trying the original Rare. Cellared by Goose Island and enjoyed during a cellar clearing, this bottle has help up perfectly and shows no sign of a half-decade of age.

I am very surprised at how different this is than the regular - so much additional refined flavor from the extra aging and PVW23 barrels. This is really a standout, a top stout in all regards and the best rendition of bourbon county stout I've had. As it warms the sweet barrel nuances that separate this from other stouts are highlighted: sweet pipe tobacco, charred marshmallow, honey, toffee; all over a rich chocolatey and roasty stout. There is enough bold stout and bitterness to hold up it's own and keep balanced after this extended aging in these over-saturated 23yr barrels. One thing that seems to have faded with age is the actual bourbon flavor - at this point it is just very soft nuances but does not have the bourbon and char flavor.

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Photo of NickyDee21
4.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Review from 20 Sep 2015. Poured out of 22 oz bottle into snifter

L: Jet-black. Little-to-no quickly disappearing light brown head. Thick like motor oil
S: Outstanding aroma. Bourbon notes ignite your nasal cavity. Getting some rich notes of dark chocolate.
T: Wow. Bourbon soaked dark chocolate. Even after 5 years, this one is still hot. Best bourbon taste I have had in a beer. It warms but does not overpower. Picking up hints of oak and vanilla on the back end finished with a black coffee bitterness. This beer is something else
M: full-bodied. chewy. creamy.
O: Amazing beer. Great bourbon presence. Great bourbon taste. A+ brew. Has set a high standard for Rare 2015.

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Photo of deadsincebirth
4.87/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look is black with a ring of brown tinge. Smells of chocolate bourbon soaked brownies. Taste is slightly sweet chocolate, coffee like bitterness and bourbon all rounding each other off in perfect harmony. Feel is ligering chocolate that stays with you a while. Overall wonderfully balanced and has held up really well. Oxydation is evident so drink now. IMO this will not be getting any better.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured dark reddish brown hue with a minmal fizzy light brown head that mostly diminished with little lacing. Aroma was a heavy toasted chocolate malt, vanilla and woody bourbon. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Heavy complex toasted malt, vanilla and bourbon flavor and a heavy complex sweet finish of long duration. This is a standout beer.

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Photo of coltfoet5
4.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Opened this a few weeks ago. Thought this held up great over the last 4-5 years. Like any bourbon county it was thick, great aroma, and the bourbon was excellent. Its definitely worthy of its hype.

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Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.85 out of 5 with 1,386 ratings