Bramble Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Bramble Rye Bourbon County Brand StoutBramble Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged in Heaven Hill rye whiskey barrels with raspberries & blackberries.

Added by Khazadum on 02-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 967
Photo of rtaps
2.56/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

pours pitch black with a very small dark brown head that fades quickly to a small film

dark chocolate blackberry and raspberry's soaked in bourbon

pretty fruity again like a liquor soaked in bourbon but very sweet, sweeter than expected.

light bodied medium carbon pretty viscous

well i had high hopes for this and it all seemed to be good until the liquor soaked fruits came into play, and yes i hate to admit it this was my first drain pour all three guys i drank this with got to a point where we just couldn't drink anymore and wanted to more on.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.61/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. Kindly shared by Deer. Larga Deer.

A: Pours black (dur) with a small collar of tan bubbles.

S: This was incredibly berry-like on the nose. Coupled with the alcohol, it creates an unmistakable air of cough syrup, though the roast, chocolate, and whiskey differentiate it. We did a blindfolded smell test with cough syrup for shits and giggles.

T: This is sweet. It's not so syrupy that it is undrinkable, but it is immediately noticed as the type of beer that begs a small pour for sipping and no more. It's like a fruit liqueur or cordial drizzled with raspberry schnapps. It is interesting in the first sip and immediately tedious after. Way too jammy with a noticeable tartness that doesn't meld with the rest of the flavor.

M: It's thick and it coats the mouth, but the booze is brash and unapologetic.

O: I was unimpressed from the first sip, and letting the beer warm didn't do a lot for it. Perhaps, like the Vanilla, Bramble will turn into something fantastic down the line. I doubt it, though. I think you only have one shot to integrate fruit flavors into a stout, and that's when it is fresh. Miss that window and you lose. Buuut I could totally be wrong. As it stands, there are far better imperial stouts out there.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.73/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Rogue shaker pint glass.

Big thanks to TheStretch for sharing this bottle!

Why stop now? Bring on more all-star beers! It's the Super Bowl, for Pete's Wicked sake! This one pours a staunch black-brown (razor-close to onyx) topped by over a finger of brown foam. The nose comprises blackberry jam, dark cocoa, roasted malts, whiskey, oak, light raspberry, light plum, light vanilla, and a touch of straight booze. I actually think the combination of barrel-aged stout and berries works decently well here. Unfortunately, things go awry when the tongue gets involved: The strong, boozy, whiskey-dipped stout clashes with the jammy berries. Nothing but discord for the tastebuds, a riot of muddled, alcohol-induced mania. Even with a bit of warming, this stuff just doesn't taste very good at all. The body is a light heavy, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly chewy feel. Overall, a seemingly nice idea, but decidedly poor execution.

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Photo of StoutFest
3.04/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled 12/10/11

Aroma- Dominated by berries with some bourbon in the background. Smells like Fanta grape soda.

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown color. Soft carbonation with little to no head.

Taste- Imagine blending a grape soda that had little carbonation with some grape flavored cough syrup. The berry flavor is very forward and dominant. The sourness from the fruit and the berry flavors drown the base beer. Hard to tell this is bourbon county. Has a dry finish at the end with a hint of barrel.

Palate- medium bodied, soft carbonation, slick, and dry.

Overall- If you love fruit beers and fresh Bourbon County is too strong for you, then you will enjoy this. The base beer is hidden here by the domination of the berries. If you love regular Bourbon County and all the other flavors, you will not find them in this variant.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.16/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black in color with a small tan head. Intense berry aroma, smells like jam with how sweet it is. Not much whiskey to it and not much in the way of typical stout aromas like roast or chocolate. The flavor is absolutely cloying. Like eating a spoonful of jam. Maybe a bit of vanilla and whiskey. Some dark chocolate in the background and a bit of booze. Why ruin perfectly good Bourbon County?

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Photo of Auracom
3.23/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting choice of a prep. beer to get us ready for KBS Day 2012. Bottle purchased at Poor Phil's and served in a tulip on March 9th, 2012.

A - Looks identical to regular BCBS. If anything, it appears to have even less carbonation than I recall. The fruits must have mellowed this one entirely.

S - Sweet, astringent dark fruit, dark brown sugar, oak, faint bourbon barrel. It's not as robust as the regular stuff.

T - Holy shit batman, insanely huge, cloyingly sweet fruit. Definitely far more raspberries, as the the fruit element has far more tartness than the richness I might expect from a blackberry. Thick syrup and molasses. The traces of bourbon are again, quite soft. Wood undertones. No alcohol detection, which is vastly different from regular Bourbon Co.

M - Medium body, might be a tad light, average carbonation, some alcohol warming in the backend.

D - The fruit is simply too much. It overpowers the base recipe too much. I'd recommend keeping it in the bottle for a while, but I really don't know what will happen. A friend mentioned it may just amount to a dark sour as the blackberries further express themselves. The big plus for Bramble over regular is far less alcohol heat, actually making it more drinkable assuming you can handle the fruit.

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Photo of Siggy125
3.28/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into taster glasses at a share. Deep black in color with reddish purple highlights along the outer edges of the glass. The berry color characteristics definitely visible. Low levels of carbonation with off white foam that fell off quickly with no lacing.

Fresh berries on the nose with typical stout malts present. Traces of dried fruit and burnt sugars and roasted malts.

The taste is powerful raspberry and blackberry right up front. A little sweet but not cloying to me. My palate is searching for the typical Bourbon County whiskey presence and I can't find it. The berries are dominant. Other flavors include dried fruits, bread dough, burnt sugars, roasted malts. Low levels of hop bitterness. As it warms, the bourbon whiskey makes a weak appearance and melds strangely with the berries. Almost like a fruity soap. I'm a bit disappointed.

The mouthfeel is a bit weaker than I expected. A solid flavored stout but it left me a little short and I don't believe this one will be highly sought after over time like its big brothers. GI would've been better off marketing this as just a berry stout rather than attempting to include it in the very successful Bourbon County family of stouts. I'm glad I got to try it I recommend you do the same if you have the opportunity. But I won't be going out of my way to obtain more.

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Photo of craytonic
3.28/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown mahogany pour with touches of purple.

Appearance: Fake raspberries and sweet malts, touch of bourbon

Taste: Rasberries and the BCS base beer do not belong together, they dominate and detract and make it more like a cheap flavored liquor.

Mouthfeel: It is BCS-base, so of course it is a very full mouthfeel, carbonation is a bit low

Overall: I have enjoyed most of the BCS experiments, but this one is a flop.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.3/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with my dad, brother, and brother in law, while playing anti-social.

Pours black with a short lived head.

Smells slightly children's cough syrupy with an underlying spicy bourbon.

Very, very sweet and crazy berry forward. Time has not quelled the berryblast here at all. Base beer is summarily swallowed up by plums...fruit that is not added and rarely tasted in the base...odd..and the syrupy sweet and borderline cloying berries. I absolutely love dark chocolate covered fruit, but this doesn't express those wonderful qualities. It is something else entirely.

Well, in the humble know-nothing's opinion, Bramble is a much better beer in theory than in execution. The berry flavors are too expressive, serving to eat up much of the best of what the base has to offer. A nice try, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity, but I would not seek this out. For those who are gooing over how well this beer has aged, I can only imagine what an absolute train wreck it must have been to begin with.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle served in over sized CBS snifter.

A: appearance is pretty much right on par with the rest of the BCBS family, a bit less in the way of head, and tints of red around the edges

S: the first thing that comes to the nose is ripe blueberries, beneath the blueberries is some vanilla and oak and a hint of chocolate, raspberry comes through as well. Right now these components aren't coming together, the blueberry character is dominating the show and hiding some of the BCBS deliciousness.

T: this is incredibly fruit foward on the palate, much like on the nose, blueberry starts things off with a bit of raspberry to make for a compote like flavor. The middle is syrupy and sweet, the bourbon plays a secondary role here and I think I lost the stout base somewhere in the mix.

MF: this feels a bit stickier than the rest of the BCBS flavor with a hearty body and mild carbonation

O: well this is certainly the bastard child of the family so far. I mean its not terrible by any means, but when the realm of comparison includes the likes of Rare, BCBCS, and so on... this one falls quite short. I will give it another chance with a year or two on it to see if the fruit components mellow and allow the barrel character to make more of an appearance.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.41/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Brad for sharing this beer last weekend. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a bit of a purplish hue. Maybe it's just my eyes, but the berries even make their way into the appearance of this one.

The nose is simply loaded with berries. I can't fathom the amount of berries that would have to go into this to overtake the Bourbon County base. Whatever that amount is, Goose Island hit it. There's a bit of oak and rye whiskey behind the berries.

The flavor is the same, though not quite as intense on the berries. Really, still quite a bit over the top and it's a shame that the base is so far gone. This would have worked a lot better with 1/4 to 1/3 of the berries.

Full body with a bit of sweetness and booze. This works well, though the berries are still over-the-top. Overall, just far too much berry taking this one almost-completely over.

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Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black and inky, quick fleeting and short lived tan foam. Smells of raspberries, sharp rye whiskey alcohol, bourbon, sweet roasted malts. I'm surprised about the amount of raspberry on the nose, bits of blackberry, but sometimes I feel like I'm convincing myself of this. Tastes like flourless dark chocolate cake/torte with a mixed berry reduction syrup - really, really rich. I shared this with one other person, wish there were two more to share with. Profoundly rich and worthy of complement with a hi end vanilla bean ice cream or a well chilled creme brulee. Full bodied with small carb and a viscous finish. A nicely done beer, but not for me.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1418th Review on BA
Bottle to small snifter

2011 Vintage
Chicago Bottleshare

App- Pours out like most of the BCS variants. Rich and creamy brown, almost black. This had s smaller head and didnt leave any cling or lace.

Smell- Too sweet on the nose. The barrel treatment doesnt really do a whole lot for this one. The rye whiskey only adds a bit of a prickly nose with the bakers filling pie nose.

Taste- The beer is pretty good. A bit sweet and borders on being too sweet. A good amount of berrys and jam flavors with a bit of rye.

Mouth- Medium body with a medium carbonation. A creamy residual with a lot of berry on the finish.

Drink- This is the least compelling of the variants but had to try it. Glad I have a bottle to sit on.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad.

The beer is deep black with a small, fleeting head. The aroma is dominated by raspberries. The flavor is significantly sweeter than the standard version of Bourbon County Stout. Bold raspberries and blackberries followed by a sweet, chocolaty malt. Carbonation is pretty low with a lingering berry sweetness in the finish. While I appreciate the bold nature of this variant, I feel that some subtlety in regards to the raspberries would have greatly enhanced the overall experience. The rye aspect of the beer was lost on me, as again, berries really dominate the flavor. Worth a try, but not on the same level as the standard version or other variants.

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Photo of oline73
3.54/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A: Not as thick as I would have liked. The color is black and the bubbles are large.

S: Seems a bit off. Raspberries and a hint of vanilla. There is a dark sour note here too.

T: Better than the smell but not by much. Raspberries show up but there isn't much rye. The roast, bourbon, and fruit seem to be fighting.

M: the body is too thin with large bubbles. The finish is really dry.

O: not nearly as good as the cherry. Never really came together.

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Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dan for sharing this one, happy birthday buddy.

Pours into a snifter like any other BCS variant, black body with tobacco stained edges. Scant lacing around the edges, a feeble swirl of skim on the surface.

Jammy fruit dominates the aroma, some mild stouty roast peeks through, but just barely. Its a bit more subdued and less complex than BCS and other iterations.

Indistinct sweet fruit dominates the taste, flirting with becoming artificial/medicinal. Some mild chocolate, vanilla and mellow stout flavors linger beneath. Sweet and jammy fruit lingers, creamy full bodied feel, mellow carbonation.

Not one i'd pick up considering the price and overt one dimensional sweetness and cloying fruit. It isn't as successful as other BCS treatments. Give me Bourbon County any day of the week.

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Photo of Treebs
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle served in a CBS snifter. Bottle on 12/10/11 with a 1116 after the date.

A: Pours a jet black with a one finger dark mocha head forming on the pour. It subsides quickly to a thin collar and leaves some legs behind. The stick is there, but no lace.

S: Upfront there is the solid barrel smell. Rye whiskey and the booze are more present up front than the regular and Coffee of this year. The oak is very much present as well and there is an odd fruity sweetness on the backend, but it's not as pronounce as I would have imagined. There is a slight spice from rye lingering in there.

T: The bramble fruit really comes into play in the taste. There is an underlying tartness and sweetness from the fruit. I'm getting the darker fruits for sure, mainly black berries. After having a desert with raspberries last night I really can't get much of it. There is a slight cherry cough syrup flavor in the middle that lingers in the background throughout the finish, but the barrel comes through in the end to remind you it's still Bourbon County. Slight roast with a caramel and vanilla sweetness and a minimal chocolate. The rye whiskey gives a slight spice to the finish that prickles the tongue a bit.

M: A touch too thin on the body for my liking, but the body is creamy and sticky all the same. Carbonation is low as usual to allow the stick across the palate. The alcohol is noticeable more so than the other variants of this year.

O:'s ok. I'm not one to like hops or fruit flavors in my darker beer and this one, at the moment, doesn't do it for me. It's still a very solid and above average BA beer, but at the moment the jammy fruit flavors are a little much for me.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.6/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black oily and viscous with a short brown bubbly head. No retention or lacing. 

Blackberries and raspberries and pretty prominent in the nose. A bit of bourbon and drunken fruit with a little chocolate. 

Flavor is interesting. The furthest away from the other BCS variations. Very tart and fruity up front. Berries are prominent. I dont get too much from the rye like I'd hoped. 

Velvety smooth mouth and full bodied. Low carb. 

Overall it's the least of my favorite BCS variation. It's good but not really my stee-lo. The berries are a bit too much for me. 

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.62/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is jet black, thin bubbly dark brown head that dissipates quickly. The nose is of raspberry purée with notes of roast. The taste follows the nose, raspberry purée and not much else. There is a touch of the nice heat in back but not much else in terms of similarities with bcbs. The body is big, soft and silky. Sweet but seemingly real fruit and not cloying or under attenuated. It is what it is.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a tinge of purple when held up to the light. No head at all.

It smells like blackberry jam and chocolate. It has a heavy sweet presence like dessert in a glass.

It's overly sweet and, when combined with the booze, tastes like childrens' cough syrup. The berries overwhelm the beauty of bcbs and almost take the bourbon out of the equation.

Mouthfeel is thick, astringent, and syrupy. Again, cough syrup.

This was disappointing and a mediocre version of a great beer. Unfortunately, only a shell of that beer remains in this version.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

finally got my hands on a bottle of this today. enjoyed from a deschutes snifter.

a - pours the standard bourbon county black, but with a surprising amount of creamy frothy head (perhaps since this was aged in rye whiskey barrels?) that vanished rather quickly leaving nothing. has a nice barrel shine to it with an almost reddish pinkish tint. no lacing to speak of.

s - the raspberry was evident as soon as the bottle was opened. it is rather intense on the nose giving the beer an odor of a deep raspberry and blackberry chocolate cake. the blackberries mix with the raspberry giving it an ultra ripe berry smell. the rye whiskey barrels is noticeable, but sitting in the, the the raspberries and blackberries.

t - as suggested by the nose, this is a berry medley. however, it is a bit of a clash with the base beer and the barrel aging. at first, this beer really just tastes like a hot mess. once you get adjusted to the berry assault, it is pretty good and carries that berry chocolate cake thing well. the rye whiskey doesn't seem to add much but definitely seems to pull back some of the berry flavor and give it a bit of a boozy shine.

m - thick and berry filling (HA!). leaves a bit of a cough syrup aftertaste and a slight tingle. thick and rich as you'd expect for this series, but too much berry.

o - overall, i didn't say you COULDN'T take night stalker and age it in rye whiskey with a shit ton of raspberries and blackberries...i said you SHOULDN'T. as a huge fan of the bourbon county series, this one is even more of a let down than bourbon county vanilla (which is still drinking like a vanilla bomb in my opinion). if you really wanted a good raspberry beer, you'd go for a new glarus raspberry tart, and i think darkhorse taught us that berries and stouts in general aren't a great match. worth the try for the novelty and it isn't a bad beer considering what it is...i just don't get why you would want a berry filled barrel aged (in rye whiskey no less) stout. not sure whereabouts in the history of the mgmt change this beer was made, but it doesn't hold a candle to any of the other recent beers from GI. like i said, not a bad beer, but not what you'd expect from GI's bourbon county series. good for what it is, but why would you want to make something like this?

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Photo of HopHead84
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Thanks! Snifter.

A: Deep reddish brown with a fast fading beige head.

S: Blackberries and raspberries are strong, with notes of seeds and flesh. There's a restrained tartness with a touch of chocolate. Whiskey is very light.

T: Whiskey chocolate raspberry blackberry dessert. It doesn't remind me at all of BCS, but it's pretty tasty in its own right, initially, that is. As I make my way through the glass, the fruit becomes increasingly artificial tasting and somewhat medicinal, which makes this difficult to drink at times. The fruit overwhelms the base beer.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with some alcohol warming.

Overall: A solid beer, but a major step down from BCS or any of its variants.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours opaque black with just a thin film of head that has ruby red tint to it.

Smells like a chocolate covered blackberry. Bourbon heat is subdued compared to other BCBS variants. Notes of vanilla and wood as well.

Lots of blackberry sweetness in the flavor. Typical BCBS flavors are also present although the alcohol presence is much less in this variant. Finishes with a slight blackberry tartness. Notes of vanilla and slight coconut throughout. Good flavor, but way too sweet as it warmed.

Mouthfeel is good, but not quite as rich and creamy as most GI. Seemed a bit thinner than most. Lowish carbonation. Good flavor, but way way too sweet with the blackberries as it warmed.

Solid, but nowhere near some of the other variants. Still glad I sought it out to try. Ended up drinking most of the bottle by myself after the gf said she wasn't a fan. Way too sweet by the end.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by someone at a local tasting, I think someone dissolved fruity pebbles in my BCS. Beer is black with a ring of small tan bubbles that cling to the glass. Some lacing, low carbonation. Looks fine.

Aroma is hella fruity, the raspberries are winning, honestly up until this point I didn't know this was a fruit version, I just thought it was a rye barrel.

Beer is still boozy, in a good way, but the whole thing is dominated by berries. Sweet sweet berries, black berreis and raspberries sort of drown out the liquor and the stoutiness of this beer. Not a repeat for me.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter. Bottled 12/10/11.

Appearance - Inky black as always from GI. Minimal head, but what it has it holds. Mocha bubbles form a collar and some wisps on the surface.

Smell - Tons of raspberries. Blackberries too, I guess, but I'm not as good at identifying those. There's a whiskey character there too. Distinct from Bourbon. Molasses and chocolate trademark of a GI stout.

Taste - Dominated by fruit again. More blended than the aroma, but it's still a bit too much fruit. Sweet raspberries and chocolate. Molasses and some whiskey notes spike in the finish. Not the barrel character I'd like. More of a rye whiskey flavor integration than barrel notes.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly tame in the alcohol. The fruit seems to have put out the BCBS fire. It gets hotter as it warms (you know what I mean), but overall easier to drink than regular. The fruit makes it very sweet and sluggish, though.

Overall - I like fruited stouts. Maybe not this much fruit, but the flavors always seem to complement each other nicely. I'd still prefer other variants to this as the barrel doesn't seem to make as much of an impact.

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Bramble Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 967 ratings.
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