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
Reviews by 1noa:
Photo of 1noa
5/5  rDev +4.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of steve8robin
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
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 TboneRN
4.85/5  rDev +1%

I was lucky enough to attend a Bourbon County bottle share last night where we had every variant present.
This variant was my second favorite of the night just behind Vanilla! I had this beer alongside a regular 2013 bcbs just to compare. Rare is so smooth and more than any other bourbon county variant I have tried you could REALLY taste that pappy barrel. Right at the end, so bright and strong...I was not expecting that. I have read reviews where people say they either a) can not differentiate from regular bcbs or b) it isn't that much better....let me just say it is! These are obviously 1st world beer problems I am referring to but man what a beer! It is still at the top of its game!

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Photo of DrinkBeard
4.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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 SeanBond
4.94/5  rDev +2.9%
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 BEERchitect
4.96/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

With no doubt, this is the best Stout that I have ever had- 100% worth the hype and acclaim!

With even more anticipation than the Coffee and Vanilla infused Bourbon County Brand Stouts, no hype is lost on this beast. This Pappy Van Winkle infused BCBS is much more bourbony than any beer I have tried to date. Imagine my favorite bourbon and my favorite stout hooked up at a great beery distillery and conceived another angelic brew.

The beer opens with a dead-on motor oil viscosity and color. A delicate crème forms with a roast-stained hue. Where the retention eventually succumbes to the alcohol and weight, the legging became more apparent. The low carbonation and visual weight of the beer adds to the mystique of its appearance.

Extremely seductive aromas of decedent cocoa, espresso, and lucious bourbon all stand out in obvious stature. Lighter notes of cherry esters, licorice, and actual molasses help to round out the background attributes. The beer's aroma is complex nearly to the point of becomming overwhelmed with so much power, boldness, and harmony.

Flavors build even more, springboarding off of the powerful cocoa and espresso. But the thickness of the beer along with the creamy maltytness give even greater smoothness and melded taste making this beer way more drinkable than it should be; kinda malty-sweet-chocolatey like Whoppers malted milk candies. As the beer warms and deep in the finish, the molasses, licorice, and cherry flavors become much more apparant. Where hops are restrained, bitterness is achieved with the smooth bitterness of the carefully brewed espresso beans.

Distinct Bourbon notes from the famed Pappy 23 barrels give a sweet vanillan, caramel, oaky flavor and a texture that is smoothly boozy, powdery dry and with an almost marshmallowy feel. Signature Pappy contributes the dry-tannic feel to accompany the oak flavor in a very savory and handsome manner.

As expected, the beer is as thick, chewy, heavy, full, and as round as any beer that has crept into my mouth. And with the ultimate velvety textures, it drank much like a thick chocolate milkshake. The beer remains so very deep, lasting well into the finish and aftertaste.

It's crazy to talk that these unique barrels could make such a difference with the original Bourbon County Brand Stout. I'm not sure that the Pappy 23 release is that much more superior to the BCBS, but does improve upon them somewhat.

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Photo of SkiBum22
4.97/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Motor oil black, not much carbonation, about 1/4 finger worth of head.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and some caramel sweetness. Chocolate and coffee with a light roast. Some dark fruits as well.

T - WOW! The bourbon definitely dominates. Cocoa, tobacco, oak, vanilla, light smoke, chewy malts, light oats, dark choc, baker's choc, light spicy booze, some warmth from the booze, Finishes a bit dry, some booze, lots of great bourbon and dark malts.

M - Very silky smooth and almost had a creamy feel to it.

O - Very good beer that lives up to the hype. The most bourbon I've ever tasted in a bourbon barrel stout.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect beer. I was so fortunate to get some of this when it was still around. Unreal.

86 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with nary a head that leaves a few leggy dots behind

Smell: Fudgy and oaky, with waves of caramel, bourbon and vanilla; a subtle waft of heat from the alcohol

Taste: Opens with dried plum and chocolate fudge, with developing caramel and vanilla elements; by mid-palate, the Pappy barrel bourbon, with its rich warm flavors, envelops the tongue and leaves a rich legacy that lasts well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and velvety, with low carbonation; gentle warmth in the gullet

Overall: Deserving of the accolades; the best Bourbon-barrel stout I have come across by a country mile

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Photo of mig100
5/5  rDev +4.2%
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 StonedTrippin
4.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

a very special beer right here, with plenty of age on it now, and only good fortune allowed me to drink this. apparently aged in pappy 23 barrels, the bourbon character of this beer is like no other, but lets start with the look. packaging is gorgeous, velvety green box, regal looking, anticipation is high. the beer is extremely thick, viscosity to the max, shiny black liquid dances in the glass, producing a short espresso crema head on top. the nose is insane, and i stop and just smell this for several minutes before i taste. the bourbon is everywhere, char and oak and sweet vanilla marry beautifully with dense fire roasted malts, almost has a grilled property with what i perceive to be a touch of smoke, and then a raw brown sugar type sweetness, very little booze in the smell at all, i assume this has calmed down over time. the flavor is gorgeous too, with bourbon leading the way. im also finding all sorts of interesting accent flavors in the dense grain waves, from raisin to fresh cut tobacco and even coffee with a nice earthy body. speaking of body, this is a teeth coater, extremely thick and sticky lingering beer. it has some residual sugar, no doubt, but its never unflattering, and in fact beings out the bourbon even better i think. i havent consumed much pappy, been out of the budget for sure, but i can see why it has a place at the top just from its impact on this beer. ive loved all of the bourbon county stuff, but nothing has come close to this one in my mind. a perfect combination of flavors, stout at its finest. this is in some ways the final word on bourbon barrel imperial stout, i mean, where could it go from here?

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.5/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a deep walnut color. a small tannish head forms and has a low retention. brown viscous legs all around the side of the glass. dark and completely opaque.

Smell: strong booze and bourbon. chocolate, dark fruits and a low roastiness.

Taste: opens up with a strong whisky and some serious alcohol. strong chocolate and dark fruits come in through the middle. more alcohol near the end but finishes with toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel: thick and viscous, strong alcohol burn and lingering warmth.

Overall: wow. can't believe this one is so old. the alcohol and whisky flavors are still so strong I can't imagine them 4+ years ago.

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Photo of kevgod
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of samie85
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes; originally 10/7/11.

A-Pours a pitch black with a 1/2 finger of dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S-The nose is so rich with vanilla and deep rich caramel with chocolate and roasted notes and some mellow bourbon.

T-Opulent chocolate, caramel and vanilla notes with bourbon, light hints of dark chocolate bitterness and oak.

M-Very full-bodied, mouth-coating and chewy with low carbonation.

D-So drinkable, rich, and complex; it's like fresh BCS but so much smoother and refined.... I thought I would like this, but I feared that it was over-priced and over-hyped. Nothing could be further from the truth; in mind, this beer is perfection.

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Photo of Spica66
4.77/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with gwuilliums and my mother-in-law on Black Friday after my return from Chicago ($50 parking ticket in-hand).

Poured into tulip.

A: Pitch black, viscous pour. Minimal head formation, but the carbonation level is spot on to continue to give a nice bubble ring around the glass. Scattered lacing left during the drink.

S: Wonderful nose. Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak and some dark roast. The nose on this is more complex and not nearly as hot as regular BCBS.

T: Really smooth and balanced between a big RIS and an American Bourbon Stout (I know there is no such thing, but there should be!)

This beer has a wonderful malt base of dark fruit and dark chocolate/coffee bitterness. Then it has the wonderful bourbon and oak with some slight vanilla notes.

The finish is super smooth and gives you a nice warming down the front of your chest.

M: I really expected that this would be a thicker or stickier beer. It, to me, was almost too thin for all of the amazing flavor going on. I would have liked it to be "chewier".

D: I can tell you that compared to regular BCBS, which is blazing hot to drink in the first year, this is like mother's milk!

I am putting my thoughts about the price of this beer into this category:

It is crazy to spend $45 on a bottle of beer. It also was a crazy-good bottle of beer to drink. A one-time offering (as far as we know) that lived up to the hype and speculation. I am very glad that I made the drive to Illinois, stood in the freezing cold wind (I was #327 in line), met Vav in person, and got some fabulous beers!

Getting to share this bottle with my mother-in-law is now one of my favorite memories of her now that she has passed on to the Great Beyond!

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Photo of OrionsHunt
5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Date: September 5, 2011 Mode: Bottle Source: Trade with FullObs, Plainfield, IL Appearance: Opaque jet black, slight amount of tan head and good lacing. Aroma: Chocolate, bourbon, woody and vanilla. Flavor: Consistent with aroma but also some sweet brown sugar or molasses, thick bodied, and a long lasting delicious finish. Other: This was amazing! Had to put my whole beer rating experience under analysis after trying and could not say this was not at the top or near top of its class in every category. Bottled 11/19/2010, bottle 7,324. Shared with BVery which made the experience even better.

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Photo of SeattleBoB76
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Gmann
4.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11/19/10, bottle # 10,240.

Pours a flattish pitch black color with a late addition of a small brown head.

The aroma is of sweet bourbon which dominates the senses. There is also some notes of burnt caramel, molasses, and anise. A bit of a smooth vanilla undercurrent that transitions into a sour berry punch.

The taste is of subtle vanilla and bourbon. Very strong bourbon flavor without much of an alcohol bite. Not sure if the additional year aging cooled it down. Sweet caramel flavor, slightly burnt. Light anise and toasted pumpernickle. A sour berry twang shows up in the finish.

The feel is quite thick and smooth. Some tingly carbonation to help break up the body. Sweet on the palate with some roasted bitterness, though not much. Quite sticky in the finish.

A very strong bourbon flavored brew without much of an ABV bite. Very smooth, great sipper.


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Photo of DucksFan16
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of injuredreserve
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of dfhhead25
4.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of GatorLCA
5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of TwistofKane
4.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev -1%

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Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.8 out of 5 with 1,386 ratings