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Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - Vanilla Bourbon Barrel

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RATINGS: 474   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.16   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 390   ABV: 13%
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Bourbon County Brand Stout spiced with fresh vanilla beans.

This entry is for original FoBAB and festival entries, 2010 Bottling, and some special events. For the NEW Vanilla entry please see "Vanilla Rye"

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
nickd717 (3569) - San Francisco, California, USA - JAN 5, 2011
Thanks to afrantzell for sharing this bomber. Pours black and rather thick with a small tan head that fades to thick foam ring. Big awesome aroma of vanilla, chocolate, roast, bourbon, molasses, and soy sauce. The flavor starts good but finishes a little too sweet. Big bourbon, booze, and molasses, with vanilla bean and coffee, followed by big sugary sweetness. Some soy sauce, but not too much. Full bodied and very slick, with a long finish. A solid beer, and would be great if not for the insane sweetness. Not one of the best in this great series though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 5, 2011
Thick, dense, two finger thick, richly brown colored head. The beer is opaque and almost midnight black. The aroma smells more of Bourbon than vanilla; there is vanilla aromatics, but it is not so expressive that I wouldn’t attribute this to the Bourbon / oak influence. The nose gets a bit boozy as it warms up, though it doesn’t quite get to point of coming off as harsh. The stout aromatics play a secondary role to the huge Bourbon aromatics.

Beer is thick, viscous and rich as it rests on the palate. The flavor of vanilla is most definitely here though; smooth, creamy and vanilla mixes with big Bourbon notes. The Bourbon character provides lots of toasted coconut and smooth spiciness up front, but gets hot, boozy and a bit harsh in the finish. The malt character is somewhat secondary, but contributes big time to the heft of this beer; rich notes of dark chocolate, sweetened coffee liquor, and an ample roast character are all present, but play more supporting roles to the dominant Bourbon and Vanilla flavors.

A 13% abv beer is just too big for this kind of treatment; a 13% beer is already going to be a bit boozy, but Bourbon barrel aging only accentuates this and that has most definitely happened here. Certainly an enjoyable beer, but it has really made me realize that I like less and less the hot, boozy, harshness that comes out in beers that are too high in strength. I also think that drinking order might have an effect on my perception of these beers; my original rating of regular Bourbon County Stout was made after a night of enjoying a couple other beers, and other times that I came back to it I always found it a bit boozy, but didn’t update my rating. For this vanilla interpretation, this was my first, and only beer of the night, and the boozy, hot alcohol was a really hard thing to ignore as I drank this beer. This is certainly not a bad beer, and I would enjoy it as a night cap in small amounts.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SSKD814 (854) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 3, 2011
Thanks Jim for setting me up with this! A- Body is a nearly opaque dark brown nearly black hue. Pours with a very small dark brown head that quickly fades completely. No lacing is left behind in the glass. S- Nose is hot and packed with bourbon sweetness and astringency. Behind this is vanilla, dark chocolate-the oak is there but it is very hard to detect. T- Flavor is much more balanced than the nose. Vanilla and bourbon sweetness upfront with a nice, rich, chocolately backbone as well as soaked oak components. The sweetness and a slight bit of alcohol astringecy kick in for the finish. Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon sweetness, and a bit of alcohol heat linger. M- Low to medium carbonation and a thick velvety body. D- This is a very good stout overall. Its sweet and hot in alcohol. I would think of this as more of a dessert beer than anything else. Right now-the bourbon is the highlight. I’d like to get ahold of another bottle and let this age for a bit-as regular bourbon county blossoms after about 2 yrs or so. As with most stouts-this one gets better as it warms-the complexity really shows. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 01-02-2011 01:29:47

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Rando7 (750) - Iowa, USA - JAN 2, 2011
Pours thick black with wafer thin tan head that fades rapidly to a ring. Aroma bourbon coffee, chocolate. Taste bourbon, vanilla, a bit of chocolate and malts. Palate thick and a little sticky, minimal carbonation. Nice finish of bourbon and vanilla. Alcohol very evident. I liked this one more than the regular BCS but not as much as the coffee. The vanilla adds a nice flavor element, the palate is smoother and seems to moderate the alcohol hotness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
portableparty (1953) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - JAN 1, 2011
Bottle shared by DalzAle (thanks Greg). Pour is oily black brown with a reddish head that fades quickly. Aroma is sweet boozy. Taste is very boozy bourbon with sweet suryp feel and licorice and burnt textures and some vanilla.Palate thick and suryp with a boozy dry finish. I liked this just as much as the rest of the bourbon series, but was not blown away with all the hype!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DalzAle (1999) - Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA - JAN 1, 2011
Bottle. Dark black pour, no carbonation and an aroma of bourbon/chocolate. Flavor is also rich boozy dark chocolate, tons of bourbon and a sweet and rich vanilla aftertaste. Really good and well priced at $13.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
jar72404 (426) - USA - DEC 31, 2010
Bomber, 2010 batch. Pours black with a very thin tan head that rapidly dissipates. Aroma is coffee, bourbon and vanilla. Flavor is also coffee, bourbon and vanilla. Great beer. Looking forward to letting my other bomber age; think it should be a little smoother.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
thirdeye11 (5634) - Dallas, Texas, USA - DEC 31, 2010
(22oz bottle 2010 vintage) near black, very little dark tan head. Nose of espresso, big vanilla, bourbon, sweet chocolate. Taste of bigtime vanilla, sweet fudge, smooth, bourbon, espresso. Thick body, over-carbonated. Great beer, not as good as coffee.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - DEC 30, 2010
22oz bottle. Short rating (I’m still at work). Big, sweet, caramel, butterscotch, coconut and vanilla aroma. A touch of bitter chocolate. Pours a thick, opaque black with a thin film of dark khaki atop. Flavor is very, very sweet. The addition of the vanilla does not better the base beer at all. Tons of butterscotch, melted caramel, coconut and vanilla sweetness. A hint of ashy and charred malt on the backend attempts to balance out of the sweetness, but mostly fails. Slick, sticky body with a hot, boozy, sweet finish. Meh...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
rayl101 (163) - Brownstown, Michigan, USA - DEC 29, 2010
Pours black with a thin off white head. Huge vanilla aroma dominates, but you can still pick up the roast, chocolate, and bourbon. Mouthfeel is is thick and creamy. Flavor is also dominated by the vanilla, with a little hotness from the bourbon. Chocolate, and roast flavors are very subtle. Enjoyed this very much, but would love to taste it again with some age on it.

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