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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Ratings: 967 |  Reviews: 186
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, berries, wood, and bourbon. Taste is the same with the berry flavors lingering on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barrel aged stout but it's quite fruity and different than I expected.

 488 characters

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -29.2%

Photo of metter98
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down and left a color around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of whiskey, blackberries and raspberries in the nose. The smell becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The initial taste has flavors of stout and whiskey with flavors of blackberries and raspberries in the finish. There are also some hints of sweetness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very well balanced between the flavors of berries and whiskey. This is a very nice dessert beer that hides its alcohol well.

 657 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Resting upon the laurels of the Bourbon County versions that began with the original then expanding into the coffee, vanilla, and Pappy 23's, is something that Goose Island apparently can't do. The addition of raspberry and blackberry to the rye barrel-aged stout propels the series clearly into left field.

As always, the every-classy inky black beer crawls about the glass with an oily viscous quality of weight and thickness. The scant head clings to the sides of the glass with a light tanish barley-stained hue. Even a verbose swirl of the glass hardly releases a foamstance that quickly dissolves into the beer with a somewhat fizzy character- a far cry from the delicate creme of other Boubon County Stout varieties.

Seducing scents of chocolate, espresso, and fruit rise to the nose in a rich and mesmerizing way. Sherry, port, and brownie batter match the espresso roast for a very complex and varying aroma that's almost too big for the human senses. Whisky-like aromas wrap around more grounded scents of walnut and burnt toffee.

Each visit to the glass delivers a different experience- first the roasty espresso flavors, then the fruits of sweet-tart blackberry and raspberry jellies and marmalade, then of bittersweet chocolate, then of boozy whiskey, and back to port wines and sherries, and then finishing with slight coffeeish bitterness. The alternation never relinquishes but becomes much more melded as the beer warms and the palate acclimates. all this robust and rich flavor seems too much for the glass- there's a lot going on with this beer and it seems to be pulling in so many directions, but beautifully so.

Full bodied for sure, but it seems that the fruit tartness and slight pectin astringency may thin the beer and this begins with the initial mouthfeel. Fruity and malty sweetness waivers as the light carbonated creaminess subsides and ushers in the slightly acidic and rye spice that creates a peppery/tart interplay going into finish. The beer closes with a semi-malty feel of malt, port, and chocolate.

A sipper for sure, this beer won't pair so much with a desert but serve as a replacement for deserts that enjoy the raspberry and chocolate interplay. I rather liked the fruit additions to the beer as they were large enough to make a full impact in a very fruit-forward manner. It really takes the series into the world of fruit wines, sherries, and sweeter port wines.

 2,413 characters

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.

 493 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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.

 804 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention. Aroma of raspberry jam with light roasted malt with quite a bit more residual sugar than I was expecting. Taste is a wonderful mix between a sweet imperial stout based with light roasted malt notes and some raspberry and blackberry jam. All the flavours mix in very well and nothing was off-balance. Body is full with light creamy texture and medium carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very enjoyable with barrel notes not as discernible as in the regular version.

 560 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of largadeer
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to eorwar for the bottle.

Pours a deep dark brown with a crusty tan head that dissipates quickly. The edges of the beer have a slight ruby tint, the only visual indication that this is any different from regular BCBS.

The nose is surprisingly mild, especially considering that other BCBS variations tend to be so huge aromatically. The fruit is very forward, with a fairly even mix of raspberries and blackberries. The fruit character is largely sweet with a bit of tartness lending some balance. There's also some noticeable alcohol here, along with even more sweetness from the barrel and the chocolatey, roasty base beer.

Initially it comes off as a bit muddled on the palate, with sweet and lightly tart berry flavors at the forefront, supported by a big chocolate malt foundation. It's a rather sweet beer, moreso than the other BCBS variants. The barrel is faint, seemingly contributing more raw booziness than actual flavor. There's nothing that really screams rye whiskey here, but the barrel does come out more as the beer warms, and not necessarily in a good way. The mouthfeel is fine, perhaps on the thin side next to other versions of BCBS, but that's not a huge drawback to me. The swallow brings some astringency, from alcohol and something else lending a tannic bite, fruit seeds perhaps? This washes away in the finish, which is mildly roasty and oaky, but surprisingly mild overall.

This beer sounded great to me on paper, and while it is enjoyable, it didn't live up to my expectations or to the high standards of the Bourbon County series. Nonetheless, it's a good beer and worth trying.

 1,618 characters

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of mothman
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ryan for sharing this!

Pours a little tan head. Color is a deep black.

Aroma: Lots of berries. Raspberries and blackberries. Tye rye and spice hide behind the berries. A lot of chocolate, but the berries are so dominate in the nose.

Taste: Again, lots of berries. A light roast with a lot of chocolate. The barrels don't so too much here. Maybe a touch of warming rye. There is some spice in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, fruity, and warming. Full bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, the berries were delish, but they were the spotlight of this beer and the barrel flavors didn't show as much as I expected or hoped for. This was still a very enjoyable beer to drink.

Edit: 12-2015 bottle

Drinking incredible. Let beer warm and open up a bit. Berries are incredible accents to the base beer. Very nice!

 869 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

 887 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really wanted to try this beer, glad I got a chance to.

Pours a darker chocolate brown fizzy head that fades pretty quickly, almost as if the beer itself is consuming the head, and after a few seconds there is nothing left of the head except this sentence reminding me that there was one. The beer is a pitch jet black color with no light escaping its grasp, and some legs running down the sides of the glass as I swirl, a nice hypnotizing legging.

Nose... holy shit awesome, if that's a not a real descriptor it should be. It brings some of the normal bourbon county stout, with a big dark malty base, some roasted malts, a decent chocolate kick with baker's, dark, semi sweet, and even a bit of powdered cocoa. Then vanilla smoothness and some malty richness, and slight caramelized aromas. The big difference is the pure awesome raspberry aroma, amazingly awesome raspberry and blackberry aromas, fresh, but mostly chocolate covered, like having one of those dark chocolate fountains at a wedding but using raspberries and blackberries to dip init. The deeper I go and the more it warms some nice barrel aromas waft out, this one brings that woody and bourbon like aromas that really bring me back to sampling bourbon in the rickhouses in KY, and brings a light whisky like aroma, not really bourbon, but more of a whisky, at this point I can't tell it's rye though.

Taste is lush and creammm.... oh man its good, again a nice big Bourbon County Stout flavor with pure awesome berries. Dark chocolate malts, some roast that kicks in with a nice big roasty flavor and hints at wanting to be burnt and acrid but doesn't, it just teases my mind thinking it will get over roasty. How the hell do they do it? The chocolate brings a nice baker's chocolate, some light dark chocolate, and even hot cocoa with milk, and even a bit of caramel and some coffee syrup. It's fairly think and a bit syrupy but that's expected for how big the beer is. The berry comes out nice too, like fresh blended raspberry and blackberry, and pure berry essence, with a nice big juicy fruit flavor. It comes out more than I expected it to cut through the beer considering how big the beer already is. It adds a really nice touch to the stout. There is also the whisky, again can't really pick out the rye, but there is a nice whisky flavor, with a bit more barrel and wooden shelf, and again gives me that sampling whisky in a rickhouse sensation. A bit of warming booze kicks in as well, esp as I swirl it more and more, but nothing near 12.7%. The legs I mentioned originally that swirled around the glass also swirl around my mouth and linger for hours and make a nice bit layer around my mouth that keeps me from tasting anything else for quite a while. This lingers on the finish as expected, with a bit of bitterness from the roast and dark malts, maybe hints of hops but i can't taste them, with plenty of dark malts, chocolate, and vanilla barrel lingering, and more importantly the awesome berry flavor sticks around with all that for quite a while. The booze is long gone as well.

Mouth is big bodied, legs that fill my mouth with thick beer and coat everything, a bit syrup, and just enough warming booze to let you know it's a big beer. The carbonation is surprisingly good as well. As I keep sipping and swirling the tingly booze finally starts to hypnotize my tongue with a light tingly feel, and like it's being absorbed through it and even tickles it.

Overall I don't think I even need to say more. The only way they could have improved the BCS was with the berry flavors. This is just soooo delicious, a huge beer that hides the booze well and drinks amazingly smooth all things considered. the berry cuts through quite a bit and really gives you the great chocolate and dark malts syrupy awesome covered berry.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share in Hoboken, NJ.

A: Pours an opaque extremely dark jet black. The beer has a thin dark mocha head that reduces to some very thin film over the surface and at the edge of the glass. No lacing is observed.

S: Some dark roasted malts with quite a bit of dark fruit (raisin and cherry) and some vanilla/oak presence. There is an almost spirit-like (rum) aroma with some light alcohol presence.

T: The flavor has all the elements of the smell (dark fruit, dark malts, char, and oak/vanilla) along with some bittersweet dark chocolate. Not unlike a black forest dessert flavor with some light hints of rye spiciness in the finish.

M: On the lighter side of full bodied with light amounts of carbonation. Slick and oily. Some light alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Extremely rich and a very nice complexity to the flavor. The alcohol is more present than I would prefer but a great beer overall. Glad I got the chance to try it and would love to try it again, though maybe on a cold winter evening in front of the fireplace.

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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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