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Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Goose Island Beer Company
  • Website:
  • Country: United States
  • State: Illinois
  • Style: Russian Imperial Stout Spirit-Aged Beers
  • Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black
  • Hops: Willamette
  • ABV: 13%
  • IBUs: 60
  • Tasting Notes: Bourbon, licorice, molasses, caramel
  • Preferred Glass: Snifter
  • Food Pairing: Chocolate, coffee cake
  • PHM Grade: B

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout

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Goose Island BCS Rare! The last of three special BCS beers released in 2010. What makes this beer different is that it was aged for two years in Bourbon barrels that had previously been filled with spirits in 1985 and emptied in 2008. I was lucking enough to get a few bottles and plan to age the rest (which I would recommend doing if you haven’t opened yours already).

The brew was thicker than my old car’s engine oil after being 3 months past the scheduled date. Extremely viscous and high in alcohol it produced legs that were a burnt caramel in color as I swirled it around the glass. The overall color was black with deep rich mahogany edges while the head was no existent.

When held to my nose the biggest hint I got was the Bourbon-like high abv quality. Next came large wafts of black licorice and an astringently bitter burnt grain component. Almost too harsh on my nose I blamed this on the fact that it had been bottled on 11/19/2010 and could probably stand to some cellaring. Working past the initial smells I dug deeper to find that the extra year of aging did not bring forth a noticeable variation when compared to the Original BCS. All I could say is that it has a more smooth maple syrup quality. Additional notes of prunes, dates, figs, burnt toffee and darkly roasted/charred grains filled the air. There was an oaky aspect, but I found it to be hidden behind the abv. [Side note: I left a sip in a glass on my dresser for a week and come back to it. I was able to pick up on the tannins, wood caramels, and grains in more detail].

The taste was harsh on the tongue at first. Bold and dark it did not display hints of coffee or chocolate as much as I had hoped. Rather it produced burnt caramel, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, Bourbon profile that brought my taste buds back to the Original BCS. This is not the beer to open without at least a year of cellaring to allow the beer to develop and mellow out. The mouthfeel was full bodied and super thick. Wood tannins and the high abv contributed to a dry finish and mouth smacking effect. Some residual sugars were present, but I found the oak, woody campfire-like flavors did come out toward the end.

On the whole, this brew was not “rare” enough for me, but maybe my opinion with change when I open up a bottle in the future. For now, I’ll stick with the Coffee and Vanilla BCS as being my favorite of the bunch.

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout, 3.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings

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