Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Barleywine – 6 out of 7 (not a smokebeer)


In my travels during smokebeer hunts, I stumble across some of the more highly sought after beers. SmokeBeerMinistry’s emphasis will stick with smokebeers, but periodic investigations into all the hubbub will materialize, as seen here.

This is an excellent barleywine. Goose Island’s Bourbon County Barleywine Ale has matched the only other time that SBM has had a great barleywine beer. The first time was around 2006 when a brewer at The Great Dane Pub in Madison, WI made a one-off special brew that had to sit in one of their brewing tanks for over a year to process properly (a great sacrifice for a small operation). I got to try that beer at the release where they only offered half snifters in the hopes of getting it out to as many people as possible. Ever since then I have sought out that taste never to find its equal, until now.

Bourbon County Barleywine smells very similar to the regular and much famed Bourbon County Brand Stout beer but with deep cherry notes more so than vanilla. I had them both on hand to help pull out similarities, of which there weren’t too many, and to add an element of regality and intoxication into my own life. This beer is sweet and tart. Flavorful robust stout notes make the beer’s time spent in a barrel value added. This beer is also helped along by the high booze count seemingly extracted from a fine wine. A cornucopia of dried fruits, coniferous rain forests, and leather furniture in a log cabin are included in this bottle. This is a good beer. I’m fairly drunk now.

Brewer Goose Island
Beer Name Bourbon County Barleywine Ale
Brewer’s Description Aged in the third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then our renowned Bourbon County Stout, this traditional English-style barleywine possesses the subtlety of flavor that only comes from a barrel that’s gone through many seasons of ritual care. The intricacies of the previous barrel denizens – oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and that signature bourbon heat – are all present in this beer. Hearty and complex, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is a titan and a timeline; a bold, flavorful journey through the craft of barrel aging.
Food Pairings deep dish pizza?
Brewery Location Chicago, IL
Alcohol content by volume 12.1%
IBU (International Bitterness Units) 60
Beer opacity rate 1 – 7 (light – dark) 4
Smell smoke? 1 – 7 (No – George Burns) 0.5
Sausage detection? Y or N N
Smokepower taste: 1 – 7 Smokestacks 0.5
Beer thickness 1-7 (water – used motor oil) 6
Barrel Power 1-7 (in name only – burns nose) 2
Overall Happiness: 1 – 7 (sad – happy) 6 (not a smokebeer points)

Here’s a better image of the two, BCBS and BCBW, side by side and underlit.


Learn more at:

About SmokeBeerMinistry

I like beers that taste like smoke.
This entry was posted in Beer, Educate, Enlighten, rauchbier, Smokebeer and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s