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

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

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:
Aged 2 years in 23-year old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels.

Added by alcstradamus on 10-07-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 366 | Ratings: 1,372
Photo of HopHead84
4.49/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Thanks to Masterski for the bottle. Bottle #1,821 shared with my girlfriend. Poured into a Bruery snifter.

A: Glugs out of the bottle with evident viscosity. A hard pour yields only a wisp of a light brown head. The body is near black, with an auburn tinge near the edges. A vigorous swirl enlivens a small fizzy head, but it lingers for only half a heartbeat and is gone. The swirl does leave behind a faint string of pearls on the glass, which looks quite nice an hints at the potent ABV. When the beer warms up it opens up, and notes of dark fruits materialize.

S: The aroma is outstanding, evincing notes of brown sugar, dark chocolate, and fudge. Vanilla constantly wafts from the glass, and oak is evident. The bourbon character is beautifully integrated here, permeating all aspects of the aroma. I smell hardly any alcohol. A swirl bring out notes of caramel. The barrels have left a distinctive mark on the beer, but have managed to lend only a little heat.

T: The taste is much as the aroma suggested. Fudge, dark chocolate cake, vanilla brown sugar cookie, and caramel. The beer is quite sweet, definitely a sipper, though the oak and booze dry it out a bit. As it warms, I detect notes of dark fruits, perhaps a bit of plum, but they're very faint. The bourbon character is of the highest quality, and its presence is ubiquitous. Malt is slightly roasted. The flavor is centered around the interplay between the rich brown sugar chocolate character, and the effusive barrel notes, and it's pretty damn great. Alcohol is strong in the flavor, stronger than I expected, actually, but it's not detrimental. It provides a good deal of warming, and a slight numbing sensation on the palate.

M: Full body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and syrupy, with drying oak and light tannic notes.

Overall: This is a great beer and it's always a pleasure to try something that comes out of these barrels, but I don't know that I like this enough more than regular Bourbon County Stout to warrant the exorbitant retail price. Still, it was nice to try once and I will greatly enjoy the rest of the bottle.

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Photo of foogerd
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter
Luscious motor oil pour with few coffee colored carbonation bubbles lining the rim. Black as midnight, totally opaque.

Toffee,caramel,boozy whisky, milk chocolate enveloping all these flavors delivering a sweet utopia to your nose. Amazingly not a trace of alcohol detected from this 13% beast.

This takes your taste buds to craftbeer candy shop heaven! Ive never taste such a sweet syrupy balanced beer ever. Youve got bourbon of course up at the forefront, dark chocolate,a slight welcoming acidity from the coffee flavors. This should be the benchmark for balance to any brewer trying to make a sweet balanced brew. At first there was no heat to be found, it sure crept up on me later on.

Pancake syrup. Thats the only way to appropiately describe this mouthfeel.

Amazing! You could do this all on your own if you tried, the alcohol is that well hidden.

So the big question is, is it worth the price? I paid 48 and bought two bottles. Any regrets? A resounding NO! this is the most balanced,out there,renegade beer Ive tried, and it was an experience ill take to my grave. Go for it once, by the time you finish this bottle you wont remember how much you spent.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opened on New Years Eve while watching the ball drop!

Appearance: Motor Oil with a dark brown head. Minimal head.

Smell: Whiskey, Coconut, Smokiness, & Roasted Malts.

Taste: Bitter roast blanced with sweet and rich chocolate. Coffee & Smokiness. Whiskey Booziness. Coconut and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Oh soooo Smooth!!! I am amazed at what 2 years in the Pappy barrels does to Bourbon County Stout. 13% and the alcohol is well hidden. Velvety and Oily. Rich and mouthcoating. Low carbonation, but it still has the right amount of carbonation. Very nice heavy beer!

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the style, but split the bomber with someone. This one will sneek up on you if you tackle it yourself.

Overall: I love this beer its probably one of the top ten beers I have ever drank. Must try this beer! It is over priced at $40 for a bomber, but I still enjoyed it very much when i dont think about what it cost.

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.97/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle #: 11,903

A: Darkest of deep mahogany, exudes richness. Some brownish foam, but main show is the oily cling to glass as I do a slow swirl in the snifter.

S: No disappointment at all. The depth of the darkness of the molasses, coffees, sugars, fruits, and bourbons are infinite. The initial whiff indicates to me this is indeed a blue chip brew, a top seed among bourbon stouts. The flavors and scents are in perfect harmony, no single element stands out which leads to this gorgeous intermingling of perfectly in-synch parts.

T: Still 100% on course as the first sips go down. The after taste is perfect. You know there's alcohol and it's not masked, but it's warming and inviting (almost too much so:). I often think a great brew's characteristic is when the aroma and taste match up perfectly. In the case of Rare the differences are a strong attribute not a miss. The blend of burnt brown sugars, prunes & raisins, dark chocolate, columbian coffees, and top shelf bourbon is 110% on track. And the oily viscocity make the superb flavors last that much longer.

D: Absolute perfection, and demonstrates that Goose Island is the leader in bourbon aged brews, not just first but still the benchmark. Yeah it's costly, esp in a shitty economy, but I've wasted a lot of dough on crappy brews that I'd like to have back to buy more of this Rare. Hats off to the brewers of Goose Island (and distillers of Kentucky).

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Photo of oreo
4.54/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle #7585 Opened New years eve. 12/31/2010 Shared with my brother.

Pours a super dark black with little to no head. Looks like motor oil coming out of the bottle

HUGE aromas of bourbon coming from this bottle. This is the most bourbon heavy aroma I have personally ever smelled. Tons of vanilla come through as well. My brother is getting lots of dark fruit aromas through the nose.

The taste. Not nearly as hot as I expected this to be. Loads of vanilla with a hint of plum? The bourbon is most certainly noticeable but does not overpower the brew. Really smooth and easy to drink. At 13% this is a sipper. I would love to try this side by side with all the previous versions of BCS. While writing this it is warming up, I am getting some coffee and chocolate in the taste now. This is turning out to be one hell of a beer.

Mouthfeel is exactly how I envisioned it to be. Very thick and viscous. Just like a big stout should be.

Drinkability is ok. I couldnt drink more than a glass of this at once.

If you can get your hands on it, do it. Is it worth 45 dollars? Prolly not, but it is worth trying.

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Photo of andreus
4.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I'm glad to say I've had to privilege to procure the last two bottles of this beast at my local liquor store after failing to find any at Binny's. To be fair, I tried buying it two weeks after it was released.

Brought a bottle to New Jersey to share with my father and brother over the holidays - served it at about 55F in broad wine glasses and with clean palates. Splitting another bottle with a beer buddy this week, out of snifters in otherwise the same temperature conditions.

A - Much like regular Bourbon County Stout without only a fleeting view of head. Black as midnight and just as opaque. I'd argue this is the weakest component of the beer, as it does not have the appetizing coffee-esque head or the liveliness of carbonation. The darkness is a sight to behold, though.

S - Very strong bourbon notes plus the usual cocoa and smokiness I expect in its little brother. I found myself smelling this beer in between sips.

T - The strongest suit of this beer, I've always likened regular Bourbon County Stout to a port made from chocolate and cigars. Rare compounds on that profile with heavy notes of bourbon and oak. Sweet, smoky, in all the right places.

M - Rich in texture and with perhaps the least carbonated beer I've ever had. I would say syrupy, but I fear that carries a negative connotation. The sensation of drinking it matches the flavor.

D - I wish this beer was not so rare, I found myself reluctantly drinking it as I know the experience would end sooner the more I drank. One thing to note is how much effort I put into drinking it, as I would like to try the beer with food and whatnot.

Overall a great experience, anybody with the opportunity to enjoy this beer should. Of consideration is its price, a staggering $42 per 22oz bottle - but do not let that be a barrier for an otherwise unforgettable beer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this at a post-Christmas tasting in Chicago, courtesy of AgentZero (thanks Mike!). Poured blind versus PVW Eclipse and 2010 Olde Rabbits Foot, a Pappy Van Winkle fest. Long story short the Olde Rabbits Foot couldn't keep up, while the BCS Rare and the PVW Eclipse were both strong and delicious, only personal taste could decide between them.

The beer poured dark brown-black with no head. It might have been poured too gently, I didn't do it so I don't know. By appearances hard to distinguish from PVW Eclipse.

It smells strong with bourbon, maybe not as harsh as standard Bourbon County Stout but I haven't had one too recently (only the Vanilla). It was easy to pick this beer out of the line-up by sense of smell, classic BCS aromas with the well integrated barrel notes. Dark fruits, cocoa, roasted malts, all of the usual good things.

This tastes extremely good, the bourbon is mellower than the standard BCS, otherwise this tastes like the base beer quite a bit. Delicous and not too hot, maybe more accessible.

Medium-to-medium heavy body, again not too different from the standard stuff. Overall this was as good as I'd hoped it would be, but that still doesn't mean the $45 or so price tag is acceptable. Excellent but overpriced, the standard Bourbon County Stout is very good as well.

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Photo of champ103
4.6/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I am really excited that I was able to track down a bottle of this. Bottle number 1936.

A: Pours ink black color. Impressively opaque, no light gets through at all. A one finger tan head forms, and stays around as a small cap. The tan foam stays all the way down the glass.
S: Just a heavenly aroma. Toasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla up front. Baked bread, roasted nuttiness, and a huge woody/oak aroma that is amazing.
T: Everything that is in the nose, but I love it even more. A tantalizing mixture of toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla that is in all the BCS beers. A great oak/wood flavor that melds perfectly with everything else. A nice, but subtle fruity flavor that is almost Port like. Baked bread and nuts again. Incredibly nuanced, and all around excellent.
M/D: A full body that is incredibly smooth, creamy, and lushes. Though soft and airy at the same time. Not heavy or syrupy at all. So easy to drink. The huge alcohol is very well hidden. I can sip on this all night.

Like everything in this series of releases, this is just amazing. I find it incredible that all the complexities work so well in a beer this young. To say the flavor is just bourbon does not do this beer justice. There are so many things that the barrels add, I can not say just bourbon. World class like the others, and worth every penny as far as I am concerned.

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Photo of maximum12
3.8/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Regular BCS & Vanilla last night, Rare tonight. Feeling decadent. And while I'm at it, I'm going to bitch about the price a bit. Goose Island - don't do this again. Worse, don't think you've made it OK for others to do it. Unfortunately, I just couldn't resist becoming part of the problem. But $40 for a bomber is seriously out of line.

Lovely packaging. Nice box, good micro-story, beautiful bottle. #3165 bottled on 11/19/10. Pours Testors flat matte black. Doubt you could raise a decent head on this without an old Raise Dead spell. Allow to sit for several minutes to warm from fridge temps. Smells like bourbon. Rich & good bourbon, but that's about it, really like a replay of regular BCS with more oomph.

Rare Bourbon County Stout burns all the way down. The additional bourboning has raised the base beer from overamped to carpet bombing. Although I'm actually laughing at some of the other reviews picking out "nuances" in this beer, kind of like criticizing the acting of Jenna Jameson. This is a bourbon nuclear weapon fused with malts. Any other taste is a figment of your imagination. It is, for all it's lack of subtlety, a masterful melding of the two.

Lacking any but the most cursory bits of carbonation, this is a heavy heavy monster mash in the stomach. That impacts how much I want of it, too. I could have easily had another Vanilla last night, but this creature, no way. Splitting a bomber with my wife is plenty, thank you.

Very good beer. But not $40+ good. This is a "glad I had it, don't need to have one again" kind of beer. Next time I'll buy 3 bottles of The Abyss or 12 cans of Furious & be much more entertained.

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Photo of glazeman
4.82/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a five ounce miniature pint glass on-tap on Black Friday at GI Clyborn.
It was really nice that they put this on tap the same day bottles went on sale so I didn't feel I had to open a bottle right away. This was served colder than the recommended temperature (which I thought was strange considering it was coming straight from the people who put the serving temperature recommendations on the bottle). I let it warm some before consuming. From notes:

A: Black as night in color with a ring of tan bubbles around the glass. I swirled this beer and was able to produce a ¼ finger tan head that slowly faded into a swirl of bubbles after a few minutes and left some nice lacing as I drank the beer.

S: Not very pungent at first, as I feel the beer was served too cold, but as it warmed, boy did the aroma come alive. The main notes I got were bourbon, caramel, dark chocolate, marshmallows, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Wonderful balance between the bourbon flavors of the aging and the base stout. The bourbon taste is smooth and not at all hot. It is just to the level where it contributes well to the overall taste without dominating the taste. Aside from the bourbon and woody notes, I get great flavors of chocolate, caramel, a hint of raisons, and a hint of maple. Overall this is a definite improvement over the regular BCS. However, I thought it was fairly similar to the double aged BCS that was at FoBAB. I would love to do a side by side of the two to compare.

M: Fairly thick and viscous with a great, albeit relatively low level of carbonation. This is by far the smoothest bourbon barrel stout that I have had. It sits on the tongue perfectly.

D: As for the beer itself, every sip left me wanting more. Yes it is expensive, yes it is limited, yes it is in a bomber and that's a large serving for a single person, but to me these are not what drinkability should be based on and are rather often just an excuse to lower the rating on a beer. To me, if the beer I'm drinking leaves me wanting more and more then it has high drinkability. That is exactly what this one does. The high ABV is wonderfully concealed.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.35/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle provided by AgentZero at our post-Christmas tasting, thanks Mike! Poured from 22oz bomber into 3F wine glass.

A - Pours black, mocha-colored head, some nice lacing and a thin cap on top which eventually dissipates to some random bubbles and some thin whisps.

S - Chocolate, oak, bourbon, toffee, burnt sugars, roasted nuts. The alcohol is a little hot, but hey, it's still not overpowering by any means. The sweetness is not overdone like I find in some other big -bal aged stouts.

T - A very nice smooth and rich oaky bourbon character, chocolate, roasted nuts, burnt sugars, caramel. Very rich and big, but nothing in this beer is too much for me. All balanced out nicely and very enjoyable.

M - Full body, rich and viscous, creamy finish.

D - Goose really made an awesome beer here. It wasn't as good as the PVW Eclipse that we had in our blind tasting but it was very very close, which is impressive. Highly recommend.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 6,586. Poured into a snifter on Christmas Day. Took the box's advice and shared with my brother-in-law and father-in-law.

A - Opaque mahogany, with a minimal dark coffee head that sticks around as a smoky ring.

S - Fine aged whiskey, wood, caramel, vanilla, with a hint of smoke and roasted coffee. Not as overwhelming as BCBCS, but a great bouquet nonetheless.

T - The biggest difference between this and standard BCBS is the wood of the barrel is a major flavor component, while the alcohol burn is much less pronounced. Everything else from the nose is present in spades; but in wonderful, mellow harmony. As this warms, the bourbon comes to the front and warms like a comfy blanket. Fantastic.

M and D - Rich and thick, significantly moreso than anything not named Dark Lord. The finish is sublime, dry for such a huge stout, but not too dry, with just enough sweetness. I had to force myself to sip and save this as long as I could.

Despite the price point, this is a phenomenal beer I feel very privileged to have tried.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.19/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

drank side by side with regular, coffee, and vanilla BCS.
A: less head than regular bcs, no lacing even after a bit. thick motor oil legs coat the glass.
S: definitely more bourbon/whiskey in the nose than regular bcs.
T: hard to distinguish from regular BCS, maybe a bit smoother.
M: slicker and fuller than regular bcs with the decreased co2.
D: worth that much extra money? maybe once, just to try. nice packaging though and the individually numbered bottles was a turn-on.

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Photo of StormKing47
4.43/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pleasant surprise shared by petesuphi on Christmas eve. Who can argue with shrimp and cocktail sauce, prime rib sandwiches, sugar cookies and four wheelers? Here goes...

A- This one is a deep black color with a no other hues to mention, it's simply dark and deep in color. Black as the winter night and refuses to allow any head through. Has a good carb level that allows the brown and creamy head to dissipate quickly leaving almost no head. Unbelievably inviting to the point where it teases and says come on just sip me and enjoy. How all stouts should look simply gorgeous and sexy.

S- A blast or bourbony goodness greets me with a lingering tingle from the high abv. Has a great oaky aroma with some subtle vanilla notes. As it continues to warm I pick up the other pieces of the puzzle that the high abv hides; nice roasty malts, sweet choclates and some more vanilla goodness. Smells very nice, not scary, but the booze is definitely noticeable.

T- An immediate rush of sweet chocolates, roasted malts and some vanilla accompanied with earthy, wood/oak undertones. The sweet tingle of the bourbon and alcohol heat are a great finish that is also accompanied with a nice and cooling vanilla and butterscotch finish. This one will age magnificently, very complex and delicious.

M- Definitely smooth and syrupy. Has a great chewiness and viscous quality that allows every flavor to come out. To be honest it's a little burning in the finish, but not overwhelming. There's virtually no carb tingle because of the high abv which is expected and loved because stouts should not tingle.

D- Definitely a sipper due to the high abv, but this one is not taxing or palate destroying. It's very pleasant, smooth and has a welcomed warming quality. Loved it. This one will be a masterpiece with age.

I am definitely the minority, but I am not a huge bourbon county fan, but this one has changed my mine. It's incredibly complex, smooth, but warming. A great barrel aged stout from one of the originators. The price is a drag, but there is 11,000~ bottles produced. If people would get past that it is called "RARE" and just spread the love instead of hype everyone could experience this one. Why does every beer that is tagged rare or brewery only have to be held as ransom? If I have something you want and you have something I want and the trade is fair why must it be a numbers game all the time? Thanks again Al, owe you lots.

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Photo of swanny28
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a 22 oz bottle after christmas dinner poured into a snifter. I was lucky to get ahold of this rare beer.

A: This is black gold texas tea I think this is what the Beverly Hillbilly's were signing about when they wrote that song! Rich thick creamy head that disapates quickly.

S: This beer has a striking aroma with a hint of oak : also oozes pappy van winkles finest bourbon ( but not overwhelming) its a perfect combination of beer meets bourbon.

T: The taste is so complex and the bourbon is mixed perfectly with the bcs. A lot of buzz on the butterscotch taste and i agree it has a nice after taste to it.

M: This beer is a thick stout that clings to the tounge and explodes with flavor. Hints of vanilla , carmel, and the bourbon all excite the the taste buds into a frenzy.

D: The beer gods smile down on us. This could be the finest beer ever made. I was worried it would be to hot but it came in easily drinkable.

Overall this rare beer really stands out- it was worth the hype.

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Photo of MowryJC
4.69/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz. bomber.

A - Pitch black midnight with a weak head that was more of a film, and disappeared almost immediately. Left no lacing, but nice curtains down the glass as though it were a dark wine.

S - Wow, truly an amazing nose on this. A wonderful balance of oak, vanilla, caramel, a little butterscotch, bourbon (of course). The complexity was fantastic, and continued to improve as it warmed up.

T - Again, complex and perfectly balanced. All the aromas came through, and nothing played front and center above anything else. The bitterness from the malts were exactly what was needed, no harshness at all, and complemented the sweetness of the bourbon and alcohol flavors.

M - This is where I was truly impressed, as something this strong should surely have too much heat. But fear not, again there was a great balance, and the heat was enjoyable (that long in a barrel really smoothed this puppy out). A nice chewiness rounded off the mouthfeel perfectly.

D - Incredibly drinkable for the ABV and character of the beer. My uncle and I shared this and were able to easily take it down between the two of us, with no fatigue to follow.

Really, I can't believe this beer lived up to the hype that surrounded it. I was sure that some aspect was going to disappoint, but I could not have been happier.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.49/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

What a way to start off an evening (especially with the knowledge of what is to come)! Shared this bad boy with VDubb86, TheStretch, taiyed, and our boy Matt. Good times. It pours a sleek obsidian topped by a minor bit of tan foam. The nose comprises smooth bourbon (yes, I can smell texture...can't you?), chocolate syrup, vanilla, oak, roasted malts, and molasses. Tasty. The taste goes heavy on the roast, though everything else makes a shiny, triumphant return. Imagine a good bourbon-barrel stout. Then make it at least fifteen times better. Seriously. It seems the couple years of aging did wonders for this bad boy (I'm not the biggest fan of the usual BCBS). The body is fairly hefty, with a light carbonation and a delightfully chewy feel. Overall, the ABV may be a tad high to allow the drinkability to really soar, but the tastiness makes me want to sip this over and over again. Call me a homer or tell me I bought into the hype, but this thing is pretty damn tasty, I do declare!

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter

This is review #300

This beer was broken out to celebrate Festivus. The beer pours a nice darkness, there is no head, but the beer poured like a motor oil. The smell is of some nice roasts, caramel, and many generic malts. There is also the distinct oak smell and the sweet nose of bourbon and butterscotch. The flavors are nice an mellow and smooth all together, the 2 years of aging in these flavorful barrels really made this very enjoyable. I'm really quite happy with spending the money on this, I can't wait to try this with a couple of years on it.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.74/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz, $46 (!!) bottle into wide snifter. Bottle 3101. I said I wasn't going to buy this one. Ended up doing just that. Oh boy. Beer is packaged in a box like the FW anniv. beers. The bourbon hit these barrels the same year I was born. Imagine that.

A- lots of tiny tiny active bubbles on the surface and at the outer edges. Beer is brown, not black, but very very dark. Incredible legs on this one.

S- Nutty, caramel bourbon notes. Fantastic nose on this one.

T- The pappy is noticeable, blends well with the base BCS. Great milk chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, and unadulterated bourbon. 5 of 5, no question.

M- Thick, viscous, as it should be. Carbonation is lively (well, lively enough) to keep this one feeling easier than the 13% would have you believe. Not hot, although very boozy (in taste), not so much in presence.

D- This is too expensive, but an absolute joy to drink. Very high price, and one I am not sure I'd pay again. Well, maybe I'd get one more bottle. It's damn good stuff. Really a spectacular bal-aged beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 8,455.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate and roasted malt. The beer smells fairly boozy.

The flavor is heavy on the barrel-aged notes. I get a lot of maple and oak, as well as quite a bit of bourbon. There is also a good amount of chocolate and roasted malt in the flavor. The flavor is just as boozy as the aroma.

Full mouthfeel and low carbonation.

A very good imperial stout that I am very happy I got to try. That being said, I don't feel it is worth near what I paid for it. I think the Bourbon County Coffee Stout is a better beer at a fraction of the price, while the regular Bourbon County Stout has much more bang for your buck. If the beer was $15 it would be a great beer and a good deal, at the $53 price tag on this bottle, it is overpriced for what it delivers - although I am not sure any stout could be a good deal at that cost.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.96/5  rDev +5.5%
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 muskabeatz
4.67/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken at the brewery release on Black Friday. After standing in the cold for an hour and a half to get my bottles, I was ready to get inside and try this on tap.

A- Comes to rest in my glass as the darkest shade of black with a beautiful mocha head stacked on top of it. Head dissipates as quickly as I would expect, and that is that from there.

S- Wonderful. Not quite bursting with bourbon-y sweetness as the normal BCS vintages are. Instead, this is more well-rounded and complex. This has the bourbon aroma upfront, coupled with a rich chocolate. From there this beer takes an entirely different turn from the regular BCS, presenting a wave of coconut, charred oak and vanilla.

T- Mimics the smell and is remarkably smooth about doing so. It feels as though this beer gives you the time to identify each flavor and simply move onto the next one until you have reached the finish. The reason why the flavor does not yield a rating of 5 is because I find it to be too similar to the regular Bourbon County, especially considering the price. It falls just one step short of perfectly separating itself from the regular version, while still retaining its BCS identity. Very good overall, but shy of perfect.

M- This has the trademark viscosity that I love so much from the Bourbon County variants, only it is smoother and mellower than the others. It presents just the right amount of carbonation for me, which may be on the low side for some people.

D- Having only received a 5 ounce pour, it took immeasurable restrain not to drink it in three sips. It is remarkably delicious and hides the alcohol extremely well in the taste, while still letting you "feel" it. Makes you want to keep drinking more, and I can't wait to try it out of the bottle.

I returned home from my Bourbon County journey with the taste of Rare still in my mouth and on my mind. This allowed me to ponder my purchase, as well my tasting notes after escaping the heat of the moment. Overall, I think this beer was worth the trip. I only bought one bottle, as that was all I could afford, and after trying it I have no regrets, only satisfaction. For $45 could this beer have turned out better? Yes. But reflecting on my experience tasting it has provided me with that "I want more!" feeling, and for me that feeling is enough to justify my purchase. I anxiously look forward to opening my bottle a few years down the road.

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Photo of newk340
4.97/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to joshbjaeger for hooking me up!

Shared at a Christmas tasting with joshuaseresse, brian23456, hu5om, and e11a627.

A: a nearly pitch black pour, beautiful deep color with a thin khaki head that left spotty lacing.

S: wow. what isnt going on here. a little heavy on the booze, but the bourbon was not overpowering, faint chocolate scent also.

T: astonishing. any bourbon in the smell is nicely balanced in the taste, some chocolate maltiness with dark fruits and a lingering bourbon aftertaste.

MF/D: incredibly smooth. could hardly believe it was 13%abv (would've guessed 9-10%). left a nice numbing feeling in the mouth and silky smoothness on the lips. thank you sir, may i have another?

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to get a decent pour of this tonight. Big thanks to newk340 for sharing this at out La Crosse tasting this evening. Split with some upright BAs. Poured into tulip:

A - Black with light creamy tan head that is just a tiny ring of foam with cloudy smears in the middle. Lacing is pretty good. The beer actually kind of stains the glass with a yellowish/butterscotch coloring.

S - Smooth,creamy, satin bourbony greatness. So good. Barrel, slight vanilla, buttery awesomeness. Way good.

T - Creamy brown sugar, caramel and toffee. Wood and slight roast is way mellowed by the Pap V' Wink barrel. It was just so amazing.

M - Fantastic. So smooth and velvety. Not overly thick but kind of chewy. Little heat from the booze but not offensive.

D - I couldn't believe this was 13%. It tasted more like a 9%-10% by how smooth and awesome it was. This barrel made an amazing beer even better. Everything worked really well with each other and made this an extremely tasty treat. Thanks so much for busting this out, Nick. Way impressed!

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inky pitch black. Light doesn't stand a chance penetrating this beastly brew. A few centimeters of medium sized bubbles the color of coffee with just a touch of cream is the only head produced by a heavy-handed pour. Thick oily legs that take their time receding into the glass after a little swirl. Eventually no head.

Smell is quite reminiscent of regular bcs. Rich chocolate, cocoa, buttered rum, vanilla, rich notes of bourbon, toffee, blackstrap molasses. An incredibly rich and sweet nose.

The taste is quite incredible. Chocolate fudge, moca, caramel fudge, toffee, blackstrap molasses, buttered rum, fine chocolate truffles. Then notes of fine bourbon on the finish, some spice oak, port wine, smoke, leather, tobacco, coconut and even black truffles. Maybe even a bit of hoppy resin.

Thick sweet syrupy, with a certain spiciness as well as prickly carbonation that lightness up the considerable body of this decadent brew. Warm in the belly, and only slightly hot in the mouth. Both smooth and sticky.

A bit of an improvement over BCS, the bourbon notes are more complex and contribute nicely to the brew.

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Rare Bourbon County Stout (2010) from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.7 out of 5 based on 1,372 ratings.
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