Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout
Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye StoutBourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
4.39 | pDev: 10.71%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye StoutBourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout
Notes: Imperial Stout aged in Heaven Hill rye whiskey barrels with raspberries & blackberries.
Reviews: 249 | Ratings: 1,191 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sound_Explorer from Washington

4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2018 draft in March 2021

Surprisingly well balanced with the roast, fruit, and alcohol across the aroma and taste/body. Other than the slight burn after and the stumbling it is rather easy drinking as well. Not a big fan of fruit in a beer like this but it is done well.

Mar 14, 2021
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2018 Vintage - 500ml bottle - poured into a snifter at 50°F.

Pours a deep, dark black walnut hue, sitting stout black in the glass, with faint reddish-maroon edges. No head formation, and just a razor-thin tan collar. Basic.

Nose: The signature BCBS base is evident, but there's some big changes. The roasted malt is very unique, lending neither substantial chocolate nor char. Instead, a huge molasses note sets the tone. Molasses from the jar. Sweet, tangy, dark brown sugar, with some caramelised sugar, muscovado sugar, coconut sugar, toasted toffee, and a faint savoury note. Malty. The blackberry lends this wonderful berry tang, with notes of blackberry jam, blackberry seeds, candied figs, and sweet raisiny Pedro Ximenez sherry. The barrel is lending a lot of vanilla.

Palate: Bramble Rye greets the palate with a delicate malt sweetness tasting remarkably similar to Tootsie Rolls. Still avoiding classic chocolate, coffee, it really leans more into malty light roast, toffee, and vanilla. The berries are front and center - tart, jammy, and bright. Blackberries upfront, with juicy, tangy, even seedy elements, and then shifting into raspberry - less tangy, and pairing nicely with the roast, finally showing some dark chocolate. Not at all dissimilar to those chocolate cherry cordials, but with black and raspberries. Tangy berry juice persists, as the roast shifts into cacao nib territory, and the rye barrel begins to emerge. The sweetness fades, as some bolder roast pairs with charred oak, barrel spice, vanilla, and some whiskey, lending a ton of Bourbon County character, backed by these tangy, juicy berries. The berries flow into the finish, until finally, the roast and barrel take over, reducing them to vague dark fruit. The barrel lingers for ages, with some faint rye spice peeking through at the end.

Mouthfeel/Body: It's possible time may have affected this one - I'm never know. At first, there was a surprising fluffy softness and even some dense chewiness, but this thinned out dramatically fast. Still absolutely full-bodied - slick, soft, and heavy, but tending a bit more fluid than some other BC offerings (Vanilla!). Definitely some sticky lips. Effervescence is very low - not quite still, but not too far. Finishes with some nice drying oak tannins.

Overall: Having tried Mon Cheri and really not enjoying it, I worried this might be similar. Not at all. The pairing of stout plus blackberry and raspberry just works exactly like you'd think. It's a the barrel BCBS that you squeezed berry juice into it. A really unique and enjoyable variant. Drink now, as this will bit,improve with further cellaring.

Feb 25, 2021
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agreenman19 from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage, thanks Ryan!

L - pours a prune juice-lookin' barleywine color. Translucent brown settles into something darker and A bit like muddy water. MInimal head, but there is a red wine-stained ring left around the edges.

S - utterly massive raspberry aroma up front. It was difficult not to smell it while opening the glass, giving myself a pour, and pondering over its appearance. Strong and penetrating like a sour ale. Transitions into the sweeter blackberry, while maintaining a light tang. Finishes with sweet, caramelly bourbon woodsiness. Beautiful transitions. The way each act of this beer melts into the next is dreamy.

T - surprising amount of bitter tang up front that lasts through the whole beer. I'm guessing the age on this really brought out the berry tartness. Immediate dark chocolate that quickly subsides into blackberry syrup, much like biting into a fruit-filled chocolate candy concoction. A touch of maple. Reminds me of an exotic pancake breakfast. Hardly any booze heat at all, this one is smooth and syrupy with an aggressive fruit-forward oomph. FInish is lightly drying with a touch of tobacco.

F - not at thicc as you'd expect a 12.7% stout to be, but its silky syrupyness helps keep it together. Can't help but feel like the fruit might be a bit more balanced with a thicker, fuller feel.

O - the Rubus genus shines strong in this one. Perhaps a bit slanted toward these delicious tart berries; the balance is a little jarring at times. Not getting a whole lot in the way of "stout" or even the barrel, but boy is it drinkable.

Nov 01, 2020
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black pour with a short-lived beige head and minimalist lacing.

S: Tootsie rolls, semisweet dark chocolate, chocolate truffles. Raspberry tootsie pop. Plenty of raspberry and blackberry. Chambord. Whiffs of bourbon and wood.

T: Raspberry liquor (chambord) up front. Plenty of syrupy sweet raspberry and blackberry. The expected Bourbon County dark malt richness is on full display too. Chocolate syrup, chocolate truffles, tootsie rolls, etc. Bourbon, woody barrel, and a kiss of smoke too. Brush of alcohol. Some cardboard oxidation, as this bottle is some few years old now, but it is not a distraction. Finish is chambord, chocolate, and smoke.

M: The thickest of bodies: rich, chewy, coating. Weighty. Moderate carbonation. Warming.

O: Pretty straightforward as far as the variants go. Just Bourbon County with a charge of raspberry and blackberry. The fruits come on in more of a syrupy sense though. I don’t mind it, but it isn’t better than the original and wasn’t worth what the hype was charging.

Oct 29, 2020
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mschrei from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/24/18, so slightly over two years old. Poured dark with a red wine like purplish tint. Smell is the standard Bourbon County base-roasty stout and a strong bourbon and wooden barrel presence-but the berry notes shine through. The berry flavor on the taste is really strong-sweet, juicy, red wine reminiscent with the bourbon barrel booze burn, but also similar to a grape juice flavor. The roasty stout notes are a bit overwhelmed by the berry, but the barrel still shines through, so in that way, it’s definitely a Bourbon County Beer. Big full body, boozy, mouth watering, mouth filling, a really good beer.

Sep 02, 2020
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vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout pours a black color, with a very small head, but lacing. Sweet aroma roasted notes, with sweet berries. Flavor is full of roasted flavors, a small amount of smoke, and sweet berries, that are not overpowering. Good body and feel. Overall, nice stout, rich, sweeter, with very noticeable berry flavors.

Jul 29, 2020
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snaotheus from Washington

4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a tiny little Hair of the Dog sample glass. 2018 bottle, purchased recently at a liquor store that had it in the fridge. Apparently for two years. Date on the back is 23 Aug 2018, 12.7% abv.

Pours black, with a small ring of head and a pretty significant amount of fine, slow carbonation. Smell is stout roastiness, some sweetness, cherry cough syrup, something that makes me think of a berry jam.

Taste is berry jam, lots and lots of sweetness, a little bit of roast bitterness (well, probably a lot, but drowned out by the other stuff), less of the cherry cough syrup characteristic.

Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, sticky. Overall, it's pretty good, but it's too sweet to be great.

Jul 12, 2020
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice, deep brown viscous, but not heady, pour. Sensationally smooth beer with delicious dark fruit flavor. Distinct raspberry undertones that are never cloying, and blend beautifully with the rye barrel oakiness. Aged this one for two years before drinking, and that really paid off in smoothness, and depth of flavor.

Apr 09, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled 8/24/18, had 3/15/19.

Pours near black and opaque, thick looking, with a quarter inch quickly dissipating head and a little soapy lacing. Aromas of raspberries, blackberries, rye whiskey, chocolate, malt, fudge, some oak and char. Flavors of rye whiskey, raspberries, chocolate, blackberries, malt, some vanilla. Smooth, a solid full body, well carbonated.

Love the berries, and while the barrels aren’t very strong, everything blends together really well. Very enjoyable.

Mar 17, 2020
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Gajo74 from New York

4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at DiveBar, NYC. Despite a mere 5oz pour, I feel there is enough complexity in this drink to rate and review.

Black color with hints of dark mahogany. A tan head quickly dissipates. An elegant looking drink.

In the nose, the raspberry adjunct is the dominant aroma. There are also notes of coffee, chocolate, caramel, rye and nutty malts.

Full bodied, sweet and mouth coating. Boozy with an almost medicinal finish. Lush and rich malt flavors of roasted malt, coffee, sticky chocolate fudge, dark caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and jammy and doughy biscuity, nutty dark malts. The rye a provides a balancing spice, as does the gentle earthy hops presence. Raspberry flavors throughout provide the signature flavor of this BCBS variant, and a light tartness as well as refreshing properties. The barrel aging yields oaky and vanilla notes of bourbon. Moderately gentle carbonation with a touch of alcohol warmth.

Boozy, rich and complex, a big beer in every way. An interesting iteration of BCBS.

Dec 20, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2018 Vintage with one year bottle aging.

L: Pitch Black, auburn at the edge of the glass, with a eighth inch espresso foam head, fading slowly to a thin ring with minimal lacing.

S: Oh wow. Big raspberry and blackberry up front and in a powerful way. Not overtly sharp, but seems more in he oaked wild ale category that sweetly jammy. Chocolate malt and a note whiskey. More bourbon than rye.

T: Not a decadent as the smell and more fruit sour than clingy sweet stout, but I really enjoy this variant overall. Drier but not too tart. Berry heaven. Any booze has left this one and any remnant is just there to remind me that this is beer. A bit of class in the execution. Wish for more bourbon, cocao stoutiness to nail the balance.

F: Full body, but appropriately lower than BCBS. Low carbonation.

O: Not at the level of The Bruery Sour/Stout blends, but it hits that same spot in my heart. I'm not a big wild ale fan but when you add that rich stout lushness in there - I'm sold.

Dec 08, 2019
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16.9oz bottled 24AUG18, opened 11-22-19.
1/4" beige head with short retention, falls quickly to a ring. Black stout with some dark brown at the edges and the bottom. No lace.
The jammy berries are still alive and this has almost a red wine barrel age character at first smell. Barrel character is prominent but not the typical boozy/whiskey smell. Slight roasted malt / chocolate character starts to appear with a little warmth.
Tart berry flavor over a smooth roasted, chocolatey malt flavor...barrel is here but not overwhelming by an means. The berry flavor is well integrated but definitely the show. Pie filling. Very nice depth of flavor here.
Full body, low carbonation...smooth berry and chocolate filled medium to medium long finish, not hot or boozy at all (12.7%).
Very good. By far (in my opinion) the best Goose Island Bourbon County Stout I've ever had...I hit it at just the right time maybe (15 months)?

Nov 22, 2019
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: very dark with ruby highlights. Nice swirly tan head with clingy lacing.
smell: strong fruit but as with all the variants i've had, the base beer decadence holds it's on.
taste: As in the nose, the fruits all very strong and there's a slight tartness in the finish, but that BCBS richness still shines through.

Nov 19, 2019
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michaelsmith11 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As with all the BCBS stouts this one pours a deep black color. The berries in this one really set it apart from the others. At first it was a little too sweet for me but as it warmed and the barrel started becoming more prevalent.

Nov 19, 2019
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DoctorZombies from Florida

4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 57 degrees; black with ruby edges; fizzy fast tan head; thin ring, no cap retention, no lace; thin ring, thin legs on swirl. Jammy raspberry nose up front with a whiff of booze; strong blackberries!. Taste is blackberries,sweet raspberries, chocolate and whiskey. Medium full plus body; moderate carbonation; jammy fruity tongue coating; minimal warmth from 12.7% abv. Overall, not what I was expecting - the flavors are juicy, fruity and berrylicious and fun!; smooth and worthy for a fruited Stout; Impressive, if you like fruited stouts.

Nov 18, 2019
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EMH73 from New York

4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin tan ring of head that left no lacing. Smells and tastes of rye whiskey, mixed berries, roasted malts and a hint of chocolat and vanilla. Raspberries and blackberries are both tart and sweet, overall a little more sweet than I expected. Full bodied, minimal carbonation, smooth mouth feel.

Oct 30, 2019
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GlennBags from North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted sweet in the little dram cup I was given to try out of the tap. However, once tasting at home, slightly more on the bitter side. Reminds me a lot of KBS, however, not quite as good, thought close, IMHO.

Sep 24, 2019
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dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black. Aroma is roasted malts and berries. Very simple but delicious smelling. Taste is as it smells (roasted malts & berries) with an added component of rye whiskey. Overall an incredible stout.

Sep 14, 2019
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a thin light khaki head that dissipates to sparse patches with slight lacing. Aroma of mild dark toasted malt and blackberries; berry component dominates. Flavor is light dark toasted malt, blackberry and raspberry juice, hints of cocoa and rye whisky. Sweet and tart berry juice in the finish with fleeting chocolate and a some rye tartness blending with the berries. Medium bodied with light creaminess. The least BCBS tasting variant I've ever tasted. The berry character dominates everything, even the rye, which is surprising to me. On the other hand, the bright black/raspberry flavors are very nice, reminiscent of a cordial. This reminds me a lot of Dogfish Head's Fort, although there is a suggestion of darker malts here, the fresh fruit is the center stage show. This will get a higher score from me exactly because the dark malt is in the background; I'm not a big fan of tart dark roasted malt ales. Not what I expected, but very enjoyable. Glad I didn’t cellar this any longer. It's time to finish up my 2018 variants to get ready for the new batch coming in a few months.

Sep 09, 2019
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with the ubiquitous dense dark tan head all BCBS pours exhibit. A truly beautiful beer, IMHO. The nose has the char and barrel notes also associated with BCBS, but the raspberry and blackberry aromas are very prominent.

Those aromas translate even better to
The taste, with the berry flavors providing a perfect counterpoint to the rich char and dark chocolate flavors, then folding nicely into the oak and vanilla flavors from the barrel.

The mouthfeel is a smidge thinner than some of the variants and the base beer, but not distractingly so. This is a really fun beer to dance with.

Jul 01, 2019
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours black with thin tan head that dissipates to a thin ring.

Aroma - Chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon. grape just a hint of rye, caramel smells hot.

Taste - The grape sort of overpowers the other flavors. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel oak and bourbon.

Feel - Slick oily feel nice warming from the alcohol.

Overall - Hit what they wanted not a huge fan of the grape in the taste it could be a little more subtle.

Jun 16, 2019
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color. No head when poured from the bottle.
The nose has the standard BCBS aroma mixed in with some grape. These two aromas mix together well.
Taste - the grape comes in up front, but then it tastes more like BCBS.
Smooth fell, but it's also full bodied.
Interesting take on the standard BCBS. Good beer, and I am also having fun sharing it.

May 20, 2019
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Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.96/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Serving: 1 Pt. 0.9 Fl. oz. bottle poured into a GI BCBS snifter. Bottled on 8/23/18, making this just over 7 months old at this point.

A: Pours a pitch black color with an imaginary reddish hue. Minimal head and good lacing noted.

S: Oh yeah. Fresh raspberry puree. Blackberry jam. Deep in there is some vanilla character too. Not a ton of whiskey or bourbon, but noticeable.

T: Man oh man, this is good. Rich raspberry and blackberry flavor up front. Not too sweet at all, very flavorful. Just a hint of whiskey and vanilla on the finish, and that's fine because the fruit is the star here.

M: Maybe a touch thinner than Reg, probably because of the fruit and acid, but still overall very nice and full. The least boozy of all the BCBS variants I've had in some time.

O: Well, well, well. After Rare, this is probably the one variant I've longed for the most since it's initial release. Finally got Rare in 2015, and 2018 brings back Bramble. Both were released the same year I believe, the year before I really even got into BCBS. I'm a huge sucker for fruit beers, Backyard and Cherry being among my favorites. But this one probably takes the cake. The blackberry and raspberry are captured so well, are so rich. I can see some people knocking it for being pretty far from Reg and maybe too fruity, but this is right up my alley. Not to say it's better than Reg necessarily, it just really depends on my mood and what I want. All in all, this beer is amazing and really adds to the BCBS dynasty of truly world-class beers.

Recommendation: One of GI's finest, a must-have for all beer lovers.

Apr 01, 2019
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Buck89 from Tennessee

3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2018 batch poured into a stout glass. Opaque dark chocolate color with a faint tan head. Aroma was blueberry, chocolate, and faint bourbon. Thick and sweet tasting with intense blueberry, chocolate, and bourbon notes. Overall slightly tart from the fruit. Sweet on the finish. All in all, a bit much for me. Too heavy on the fruit.

Feb 23, 2019
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75


2018 Bottle to tulip glass.

LOOK: super thick, and dark black. Healthy beige head.
AROMA: sweet fruity aroma (a bit overly sweet, I'm sure in the summer bees would be all over this). raspberry is definitely the forefront aroma. hint of booze from the barrel conditioning.
TASTE: sweet and tart fruit. raspberry and blackberry. touch of char and whiskey.
FEEL: super thick and full bodied. astringency in the finish , but also a really nice soothing warmth from the rye. Think "that first sip of Brandy from the St. Bernard that rescues you from the avalanche."

This beer has some great peripherals and is definitely different. I think the Rye barrel keeps the sweet/sour from the berries in check a touch whereas as maybe bourbon (and definitely rum) barrels would not do so. The tartness still keeps this from being top notch in my book though.

Feb 22, 2019
Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1191 ratings