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Goose Island Bourbon County Stout lives up to the "stout" in its name!

  • Feb 26, 2010

Goose Island was kind enough to send me a sample of their Bourbon County Stout at one time, and I am finally got around to reviewing it. a few weeks later.

Goose Island is a brewery out of the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois. According to the press release they sent me with the beer (which was packaged in a recyclable and reusable tin container and packed with recycled and recyclable Prairie Eco Pack inside a 100% post consumer recycled box):

Goose Island Brewing Company has been celebrating the annual release of its Bourbon County Stout since it was first created 16 years ago by brewmaster Greg Hall to commemorate the 1000th batch at the original Chicago brewpub…

Apparently this beer was aged for 10 months in 16-year-old bourbon barrels. The press release describes this as “dark and dense”, and with a flavor so intense, “only the most decadent chocolate dessert can stand up to it”.

The Pour
On the pour you can tell this is one thick, thick beer. It pours like a fine motor oil, black and thick and clinging to the glass. There is very little head to speak of, but what is there is caramel brown. The beer is absolutely opaque. As a matter of fact, it looks pitch black.

The Nose
There are definitely roasted malt and deep dark fruit aromas here as well as chocolate and coffee notes. There are hints of bourbon as well. This smells like it will be one strong thick brew, not for the faint of heart!

The Taste
This seems actually thicker than you anticipate, which is difficult to accomplish. The higher alcohol content is definitely noticeable, but it does not distract from the overall flavor profile. You can taste the roasted malt and the oak of the bourbon barrel, and chocolate and coffee notes are there as well in varying degrees that seem to change with each taste. Overall the flavor is intense!

This beer is one very well suited for aging, and I would definitely like to try this after it ages a couple of years. It’s a little too thick for my tastes, but it is a unique and interesting beer. It would probably be fantastic after aging a while. Something to be savored, as a fine wine.

Recommended: If you’re after a thick, intensely nuanced beer, absolutely. Definitely something to try now and to age, to compare the flavors as they mellow.

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout lives up to the

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Scott ()
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I am a 35 year old full-time employee, full-time student, and full-time Beer Snob. (Check out my beer reviews on my blog as well as here) I enjoy trying new beers and hope I never reach the point where … more
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About this drink


Brewmasters Notes:
Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer. A great cigar beer.

Recipe Information:
Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 13%
International Bitterness Units: 60
Hops: Willamette
Malt: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black

Serving Suggestions:
Preferred Glass: Snifter
Preferred Serving Temperature: 40º
Food Pairings: Flourless Chocolate Cake
Cheese Pairings: Capriole Bourbon Chocolate Torte
Cellaring Notes: Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years

World Beer Cup Recognition:
Judging Category: Barrel Aged Beer
2006: Gold Medal

About the brewer:
When the first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. The craft beer industry was still in its infancy, with only a handful of brewpubs in existence in the Midwest. In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John ...
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Type: imperial stout
Variety: bourbon barrel aged
Country: Chicago, IL, United States
Brewery: Goose Island
ABV: 13%
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