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: 966
Photo of kscaldef
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a noticeable red tinge and no head. Blackberry stands out sharply in the nose, dominating any barrel or malt notes. Taste is blackberry juice. It's pretty amazing how the base beer falls away under this assault of delicious fruit. Low carbonation, long linger. Drinking great.

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Photo of greenmonstah
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle from 12/10/2011

A - Black as midnight with a nice brown wisp of head. Looks like any BCBS

S - Incredible aroma of berries; raspberries and blackberries both. Slightest touch of rye, plus molasses.

T - Matches the nose but with more of the BCBS flavors with some chocolate and vanilla to go with the berries and molasses. Wonderful.

M - Full body and a bit sticky. Appropriate for the style and matches the flavor profile well. Lingering.

O - Another ace. I've never had a Bourbon County that didn't amaze me. Glad to have tried this wonderful beer.

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Photo of Florida9
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very dark. Appears black in the glass, but a bit of translucency shows it to be very dark brown. No head. No lacing.

S: Aroma is if dark roasted malts. There is a moderate sweetness and some raspberry jam. It is a very berry forward aroma.

T: Moderately sweet. Raspberry, dark malts, molasses, a hint of chocolate, more berry, and something like cherry syrup.

M: full bodied. Lower carbonation. Sweet, but not cloying.

O: I've got to say, this beer has aged very well is no longer the sweet, cloying cough-syrup of a mess it once was.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

Appearance: Black as I remember BCBS is. Really no head to speak of and no light penetration at all.

Smell: This to me is out of this world with the BCBS backbone and then the berry aspect adds to its depth. I actually get what I can describe as the raspberry seeds. That is how in depth the berry profile is here. There is the BCBS bourbon and chocolate and then the berry comes through. Its as if I'm smelling chocolate coated raspberries. Awesome!

Taste: Just a outstanding chocolate coated berry tasting beer. Raspberry and blackberry takes center stage with the bourbon and chocolate prevalent, too. This is just a perfect mixture of flavors but one that is very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Well what can be expected from Goose Island other than the perfect feel? Full bodied beer with a slight burn of alcohol but enjoyable. Coates every corner of my mouth with it's big sweet bourbon berry goodness. This is most definitely a sipper for sure and IMO must be shared.

Overall: This is my first time enjoying this beer and I can say wow! What an indulgent dessert beer this is. I have read that some didn't enjoy this but I'm not one of them. This is simply outstanding!

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dec 2011 bottling, courtesy of Will (much thanks man!)...22oz bomber poured into a Hair of the Dog snifter...

A: Dark, ominous pour yields a ton of dark chocolate-brown head but it fizzles quickly away...alcohol legs but no lace really.

S: Jammy whiskey, and a bit of booze that calms the more it warms...rye, spice, sweet alcohol, and tons of berries. Basically, BCBS with a side of homemade blackberry & raspberry jam on a slice of fresh rye.

T: Follows the nose, definitely does remind me of normal BCBS with fruity & spicy alcohol finish that is more vinous than beer-like. Chocolate, jammy fruit notes, maybe some earthy oak tones and coffee notes too...still a bit hot, but pretty manageable.

MF: Alcohol thins the feel a bit, it is a fuller viscous medium body with a bitter and dryish finish.

O: Pleasant, not as good as I remember the taster I had a year ago being, but a lot of fun as a sipper.

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Photo of hopswap1
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Whoa. Had during a full bourbon county variant tasting. The fruit really shines in this beer. The berries give it a slight tart flavor that I loved. The smell was probably the best part of the beer. Super Jammy. Just a step below Rare and much better than the rest of the lineup.

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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.

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Photo of mattsander
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

A: Midnight black with deep reddish edges, a bit of head at first.

S: Wow. Very unique... berries at first, deeply caramelized sugar, buttery vanilla frosting. Huge aroma, never smelled anything like it.

T: An interplay between the warming sticky cocoa vanilla-coconut bourbon county vibe, and this array of buttery strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc. Neither elements overpower the other, this is a truly unique beer unlike anything I've had before. I prefer the flavor of the berries in this over the flavor of coffee in BCBCS, great beer.

M: Even a year old this bottle is still quite warm and syrupy, its just sort of the nature of this brand. A slow sipper, share it.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jdiddy for sharing this one at our epic GI tasting. Pours one shade shy of black with a frothy, coffee-colored head that dissipates into a thin band. Nose expresses dark malts, ethanol, toffee notes, cocoa and dark, slightly vinous fruits. Taste reveals raspberries, chocolate, maple syrup and some acidity. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with some acidic astringency - it comes off just a bit thin in my opinion. Overall, this is a really interesting beer. The juxtaposition of the berries and dark malts is really something else. I can't say that I've had anything quite like it.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black color with a thin finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades away fairly quickly leaving behind some light lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of vanilla, oak, Bourbon, rye, roasted chocolate malts, berries, dark fruits, molasses, black licorice, booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of blackberries and raspberries, roasted dark chocolate malts, vanilla, some dark fruits, and a bit of black licorice. Through the middle, the oak, Bourbon, and rye come through with some molasses, and some more sweet berries. The finish is a mix of berries, oak, vanilla, rye, Bourbon, chocolate malts, molasses, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Big bold barrel character, but it is balanced very nicely by the body and the berries. Fantastic.

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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 codysjb
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer tasting on 10/14/12
Pours motor oil, no head
The original bourbon county with sutle notes of raspberry and blackberry.
Wow. Bourbon county with raspberry and other berry notes amazing
Mouthful is all berries soooo good.
Def worth it sooo good.

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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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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this at the July 4th weekend, Sonnen/Silva II, disc golf & pool party extravaganza this summer.

Pours out like most BCS does, black, with a thin head. Aroma, the good blend and balance of heavy roasted malt, bourbon barrels, and a surprisingly present blackberry presence. Good job guys.

Drinks like heaven. The berries really make the beer less bourbony, thins it out just a bit to make it more drinkable. Don't let it fool you that it isn't a massive beer though, there's way more alcohol in this than you can taste. A little sweeter than just blackberries, maybe there was raspberries in this too, or boysenberries, they always have something berry wise going on in Oregon. It can be a rather bipolar beer at times, sometimes the fruityness and high sweetness hits you, other times, your teeth are gritting with burnt malt between it, others, its like you're still sipping fine bourbon. Then you can kind of get the meld of chocolate raspberry cake drizzled in BCS. That's when its best. Carbonation seemed a tad higher, which went well with this variety. A moderate amount of wood still comes through.

If you like your dark chocolate with blackberries and bourbon, you should love this beer. I did.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 09/23/12
Type: 22oz. Bomber
Glass: Goose Island Chalice
Bottled: 12/10/2011

Pours a midnight black in color w/ ruby accents, w/ a thin brown head that left minimal lacing. Aromas of roasted chocolate malts, whiskey, and berries. The flavor was of roasted chocolate malts, leading into rye whiskey spiciness, and finishes w/ tart berry. Full bodied and lush. Pretty smooth to drink w/ pretty well hidden ABV.

Overall, a very unique brew with it's combination of roasted malts/rye spiciness/berry tartness. However, I enjoyed my one glass that was more than enough. In the end, the rye and berries start to get to you and made me want to go to something else.

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Photo of Damian
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 650 ml - 1 pint 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA
Bottled on: 12/10/11
Served in a snifter

The liquid poured onyx black with dark brown highlights. Shiny and viscous like motor oil. A one-finger head of bubbly, cocoa colored froth topped the liquid. Upon closer examination, there was a slight crimson hue to the head. Within seconds, the fluffy mass faded to a thin ring.

The aroma was simply astounding. Quite similar to the standard Bourbon County Brand Stout, but with added raspberry notes. Super rich, boozy and bourbon-y. Lots of brown sugar and molasses-like sweetness. Strong raisin notes. Big roasted malt presence. French roast coffee came through as well.

The taste was similar to the nose. Strong roasted malt notes on the front end. Tons of bourbon flavor. Compared to the other Bourbon County Brand beers, however, the alcohol was surprisingly subdued. Rich, brown sugar notes. Some raisins and dark fruits. Good amount of raspberry flavor. The berries turned the beer slightly acidic and tart. Espresso notes appeared on the back end. The finish was rich, roasty and slightly bitter. Moderately boozy. The sweet/tart berry notes made a final appearance that lingered on my palate.

The mouthfeel was heavier bodied for the style, yet slightly thinner than other Bourbon County Brand variants. Dense and creamy on the palate. Silky smooth and slick with a fine, mild effervescence.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. Although not as mind-blowingly delicious as the Rare and the Coffee Bourbon County Brand offerings, it is still an outstanding addition to the Bourbon County Brand lineup. While many reviewers noted that this beer was cloyingly sweet and far too berry forward when fresh, it seemed that the nine months of age I put on my bottle did wonders for it. With its pleasant berry flavor, slight acidity and surprisingly subdued alcohol presence, this is drinking perfectly right now.

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

Review from notes. Thanks to Jay for sharing!

A: Pours a deep black color with a small mocha colored head on top. A little bit of head retention with minimal lacing.

S: Tons of fruit in the aroma, lots of blackberrys and raspberries, reminds me of pie. There is some vanilla and a little dark chocolate.

T: Similarly fruity with plenty of berry flavor. More chocolate and some rye. The berries really impress me here, I was surprised at how syrupy/sweet they were.

M: Medium bodied, slightly thinner than other BCS offerings I have had. Alcohol hidden nicely.

O: Enjoyed this quite a bit. The jam-like fruit flavors worked for me mixed with a bit of chocolate.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this at Matt's birthday tasting last night. Thanks for sharing this, Anton!

Black with a dark brown head with poor retention but nice legs, this looks decent. The nose is great! It is a fantastic blend of fruit (blackberries and deseeded raspberries) pairing exceptionally well with the chocolate, bourbon and vanilla from base stout. I really can't tell that rye whiskey barrels were used. The palate isn't quite as nice. Chewy and mildly flabby, there's a nice fruitiness that lends an acidity that pairs well with the fruit sweetness and the vanilla. Dark chocolate is present, but is tempered by the fruit. Mild chocolate character on the finish with roast, bourbon, vanilla and fruit. The fruit character is a little "frothy". Lightly carbonated, this medium-full bodied beer is quite enjoyable, but ultimately, not my favorite.

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Photo of illidurit
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Woodshop 7 at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach. I went into this without knowing that there were berries in this beer. Sweet creamy vanilla aroma with strawberry notes. Confectionary chocolate-covered blueberries and blackberries, strawberry ice cream, just freaking ludicrous.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at a tasting hosted by starrdogg, not sure who brought it.

The beer looks like the other bourbon counties, though mostly still with no head or lacing to speak of. Jet black.

Smell has a sticky sweetness and almost musty smell to it, mixed with mashed raspberries and of course some nice hefty bourbon and oak. Some alcohol esters and molasses is big in the nose as well.

The taste really seems to highlight the berries to me, as opposed to the other bourbon counties, and the other big stout and barrel flavors take a back seat, it's by interesting how much raspberry seed and blackberry is in there, it almost feels like tasting the actual berry. The berry seems in contrast to the bourbon and vanilla oak though for me, a little mottled and sweet.

The feel is good, a little hot though and not as thick as desired, seems like the berries add a bit of astringency.

A very good beer, but not at the level of the other bourbon counties.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Traded for a CBS. Also got a Coffee '11 and BCBS '11

A: Nice active pour with less than a finger of brown head atop a black pour. Pretty viscous overall, the beer looks like on you don't want to mess with. The retention of the head is only ok, with not much more than a thin ring remaining after a few minutes.

S: The aroma is much more assertive than I expected. Blackberries and raspberries are huge, big enough to be noticed over the chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon of BCBS. Still getting a good amount of bourbon here.

T: The taste is a real mixup from what I'm used to with this beer. The fruit, again, is huge. Blackberries mostly, but some raspberries come into play as well. It reminds me a lot of Black and Red by Dogfish Head, but much more delicious. The fruit comes first, followed by the chocolate and bourbon. I will say that the chocolate and roast is really toned down from typical BCBS, but the characteristics are still noted on this beer. The bourbon comes at the end, tied with vanilla, and provides a very nice balance to the fruit. The complexity of this beer is really a force to be reckoned with. Each sip provides a nuance that is difficult to capture.

MF: Thick and heavy body, but the carbonation is right there. The booze I expect from this beer is curbed nicely by heavy fruit and the balance makes it very drinkable. However, if I had to drink the whole bottle, the sweetness would absolutely get to me. I split the bottle three ways and it walked the line with being too sweet already.

O: This is a great beer, but I can see how people would think this tastes like fruit juice. The rye isn't really assertive, but the overall barrel treatments are. Really a complex beer that hints towards too fruits at points, but at the least is ridiculously delicious. Glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of bsp77
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Almost pure black with nice tan head at first but quickly settles back to a thin lace.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, berries, whiskey and rye. A little more subtle than expected.

Taste: Wow, sweet berries galore! What was just a hint in the aroma is an onslaught on the taste buds. The raspberries and blackberries are really front and center, with some backbone of chocolate, molasses and anise. The rye whiskey barrel aging is present, but minimally so; much less apparent than the bourbon barrel aging of the other variants.

Feel: Thick, chewy, but oh-so-smooth body with low carbonation. Not nearly as boozy and warming as the other Bourbon Counties. The only downside is that the berries really coat the mouth a little too much.

Overall: While not as good as the Original or the almighty Coffee, I do enjoy this quite a bit - more so than Vanilla, which just seemed too boozy.

Seriously, why didn't I buy Rare when I had the chance? Stupid, cheap ass.

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Photo of claaark13
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the hookup Joel. Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Dark brown body with a fizzy and fading head. Minimal lacing remains. The 2011 BCBS batch and variants really seem to all look like this. Sticks well to the glass though, I guess.

S - Lots of berries, little bit of fudge. Slightest amount of oak. Smells great, but not much like a RIS. More like a raspberry smoothie.

T - Spiced raspberry upfront, berries really stay throughout. They seem to try to fend off some heat that comes and goes. It is weird that it is kinda hot but kinda smooth. The whiskey and oak seem more pronounced in the finish. Roast, barrel and berries in the end. Some dark chocolate is evident mid-taste, but it never really sticks too long. Somewhat noticeable towards the finish as well.

M - Oh, Goose Island. This almost seems lighter than the others.

O - Really an interesting beer. I enjoyed it though. Get it and expect a very berry-forward RIS. If you expect something different, you'll be very upset.

Edit - As of 3/27/13, 4/4/4.5/3.5/4.25

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle poured into my Kate the Great tulip glass. Served chilled and allowed to warm for quite a while.

Appearance: Pours almost exactly like regular Bourbon County. Pitch black with some dark brown hues around the edge. Almost no head and zero retention.

Aroma: A huge hit of berries upfront. Raspberries and blackberries are complimented with a strong alcohol hit. Caramel and bourbon, with a touch of vanilla, really amplify the sweetness of the berries.

Taste: The berry punch is not quite as strong as the aroma would suggest. Really smooth caramel, brown sugar and rye whisky notes upfront. The sweetness of the berries are there too. The rye whiskey adds an interesting dimensional and helps keep the sweetness level lower than it could be. The berries add some acidity towards the end that finishes. An interesting combinatio of berries, sweetness and acidity.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and lower than average carbonation. Feels a bit lighter than the other variants though.

Overall, an interesting idea, but not an improvement over the base beer. The berries add a really nice dimension. This is definitely sweet, but I didn't find it overwhelmingly cloying. Surprisingly drinkable considering the sweetness and ABV. I would definitely try this again although I might not seek it out.

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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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Bramble Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 966 ratings.
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