Beer Feature: Bourbon County Stout

Posted by linelogic

Goose Island Brewery was born into this world after founder John Hall returned from a European craft beer extravaganza. In 1988, he started brewing his own craft beer, and he hasn’t slowed down since.
The brewery was built in 1995, and it has doubled in size since then. Their brewers use 32 fermenters, over 15 different yeasts, state-of-the-art filters, centrifuges and a 50 barrel JV Northwest 5 vessel system that brews 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The brewery produces 500 cases of beer and 50 kegs an hour, all of which is stored in a 143,000 square foot barrel warehouse.
That brewery was home to the now-famous Bourbon County Stout, a beer rated 99, or “world class” by Beer Advocate. Goose Island describes the beer’s history:
“In 1992, Goose Island gave the beer industry a new reason to belly up to the bar: bourbon-aged beer. We pioneered the process, and it begins with first-use bourbon barrels. Our brewers only choose those that have had held sweet, sweet whiskey in their bellies for an average of 8 years, then they age our beer inside for 8-12 months.
“This process takes place in a non-climate controlled space, allowing exposure to the extreme heat and cold of Chicago’s ecosystem, which contracts and expands the wood, pulling the barrel’s whiskey character into our brew. Each barrel is used only once, ensuring the best quality taste in every pint. That first barrel-aging process yielded our ever-tasty Bourbon County Stout back in 2004.”
Bourbon County StoutInterested in a little more specific information about the beer? Check out these facts from the beer profile.
BREWERS 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.”

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

  • Alcohol by Volume: 14.2%
  • International Bitterness Units: 60
  • Color: Midnight
  • Hops: Willamette
  • Malts: 2-Row, Munich, Chocolate, Caramel, Roast Barley, Debittered Black


  • Preferred Glass: Snifter
  • Food Pairings: Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • Cellaring Notes: Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years


  • World Beer Cup Awards:
  • 2006: Gold – Wood & Barrel Aged beer
  • Great American Beer Festival:
  • 1995: Strong Ale

So, the real question that you might have right now, is when will you be able to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind brew? The answer is about as cool as the beer. Stay tuned for more info from us.
Bourbon County Stout
Blog image via.

Leave a Reply

Are you 21 or older? This website requires you to be 21 years of age or older. Please verify your age to view the content, or click "Exit" to leave.