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Goose Island Bourbon County Stout - Vanilla Bourbon Barrel

Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 480   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.17   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 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Leighton (12224) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - JAN 9, 2011
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2011 Bottle at Euston Tap. Big thanks Nate. Oil black pour, beige head. Huge caramel, brownie, vanilla, chocolate and alcohol on the nose. Insanely rich flavor, plenty of bourbon, brown sugar, more caramel and vanilla, rich chocolate cake. Full bodied with mild carbonation. Lots of warmth to finish, slight sting, mocha, beany vanilla, bourbon. So, so good.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jckp64 (356) - St Louis, Missouri, USA - JAN 8, 2011
Pours black with a light tan head. Aroma is chocolate with strong hints of vanilla. Also has a strong aroma bourbon. Strong bourbon flavor. Thought the vanilla would stand out more in the flavor. I believe I will age my other bottles to see how it effects the taste. Still a very excellent beer when drinking fresh.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
TomDecapolis (4568) - Milton, Delaware, USA - JAN 8, 2011
Pours a deep black with a creamy tan head. Aroma of chocolate, loads of fresh vanilla beans, light oak, coffee and roasted malt along with some caramel. Flavor was much of the same. The vanilla lends so nicely to the roasted/chocolate/coffee notes of this beer. Excellent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
EricE (1368) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - JAN 8, 2011
Thick motor oil pour. Light carbonation. Aroma of bourbon. Cream and vanilla notes, though vanilla doesnít really show through any more than other BCSís. Cloyingly sweet. Hot with strong alcohol finish. Roasty notes. Lots of vanilla on the finish and aftertaste.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
corby112 (2214) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 7, 2011
Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter color when held to a light source and a one finger frothy mocha head that very slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic streaks and spots of lacing left behind. Aroma-WOW!! An amazing combination of sweet bourbon, silky chocolate malt, oak, vanilla, toffee and hazelnut. There is a lot of bourbon in the nose but it is amazingly balanced by the other characteristics. Chewy medium body with a huge blast of hot sweet bourbon up front that lingers throughout into a chest warming finish. Although the bourbon is prominent it is excellently balanced by the silky chocolate malt, toffee, coffee bean and vanilla notes. Complex with some oaky character that adds to the vanilla flavor. The vanilla beans really smooth things out making this beer dangerously drinkable. There is some nice heat but overall the 13% ABV is very well masked.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DavoleBomb (1487) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 5, 2011
Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to a couple folks for this. 2.0 A: Hmm, didnít expect this. Unlike the regular and coffee varieties, this one isnít very sexy. Pours thick with a rich black color. Just a half finger of medium brown fizzy soda pop head that falls at breakneck speed. No surprise to see no lacing. 4.5 S: Like the original, this smells delicious, but Iím a bit surprised at how mellow the vanilla is. Donít get me wrong, itís clearly present, but I am somewhat surprised that it wasnít overdone. Afterall, there are some vanilla notes in the original anyway. Anyway, the vanilla accentuates the bourbon aroma - the oak, the leather, the booze, and of course the vanilla. The underlying stout offers what the original has. A light roastiness, a fairly strong caramel and molasses sweetness, and some semisweet chocolate, and of course some booze. 4.5 T: Ahhhh, I see now. The vanilla is very strong in the taste and more along what I was expecting. Bourbon components stand out in the taste as well - booze, oak, melon, and leather. Roastier than the nose with blackstrap molasses, caramel, brown sugar, semisweet chocolate, and a touch of coffee. 4.0 M: Thick, syruppy body. Despite the lack of head formation, thereís plenty of carbonation and, in fact, maybe a bit much. Silky smooth and goes down easily. A bit of warming on finish, but the booze is otherwise hidden spectacularly. 4.5 D: I like the coffee version better, but thatís exactly what I expected to happen so Iím not surprised. Still, this was an awesome drink and Iím glad I have a couple more on route. All the great aspects of the regular are there, with the added burst of vanilla.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
nickd717 (3587) - 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 wouldnít attribute this to the Bourbon / oak influence. The nose gets a bit boozy as it warms up, though it doesnít 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 didnít 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. Iíd 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 (759) - 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.

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