Class Of '88 Belgian-style Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 7 | Display Reviews Only:
3.76/5 rDev -1.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
765mL into a tulip. Opens with a pathetic pft and pours a clear golden copper color, but the head barely builds to anything and within a minute of the pour it lies still as glass. There's carbonation, but this is a disappointing looking beer.
Aroma is both floral and vinous, sweet and vaguely tart.
Taste is brightly sweet and sour; crisp. Green apples, white wine, pear juice, lemons, pale malt. Just a touch of boozy warmth hits the throat. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, I actually like this beer quite a lot. And the high ABV is extremely well disguised.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and round. The lack of carbonation doesn't detract too much; in fact it's just a touch prickly.
Overall this beer got off to a rocky start but I'm enjoying it. Not sure I'd drop $20 for another bottle, but it was good for what it was.
Serving type: bottle
05-27-2014 01:51:28 | More by draheim
3.96/5 rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
A: Bright orange, absolutely no head, which is laudable in its own right, and equal lacing. Not much carbonation either; a few weak streams were present for a while but are gone now. It's the least lively beer I've ever seen (save the vibrant color), to my amusement.
S: The opposite of the appearance. Decent sour character, with cherries, grapes, and strawberry notes. Funky yeast on the fringes. Embracing and assertive.
T: Same as the nose. The intensity of the sourness is moderate; it will scare off people who don't like sours, but I wouldn't mind it upped a little. I get surprising, but still minor, appearance of hops and malt on the finish, decently well integrated into the rest of the profile but kind of a detour. A little watery.
M: Light, slightly syrupy, tiny carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.
O: A damn good beer. Can't fault it for anything for hardly anything based on the style, only on my personal preferences.
Serving type: bottle
05-25-2014 06:21:47 | More by 1000lbgrizzly
3.35/5 rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
765ml brown glass bottle with classy label and black foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Central Market grocery for around $20.00 USD and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery and style. 2014 vintage. Bottled "14JAN14." Reviewed as a Belgian Style Ale for obvious reasons. 11.2% ABV.
Served cold - at fridge temp. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.
Pours a one finger wide head of white colour. Not as thick or creamy as would be ideal. Poor frothiness. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is below average - about one minute. Fizzy.
Body colour is a translucent transparent pale copper with orange hues. Above average vibrance. Clean looking; there are no visible yeast particles nor is there any visible hop sediment. Appears well-carbonated.
Bottle-conditioning seems to have done this beer well in spite of the subpar head retention. Overall, it's an appealing appearance for a Belgian ale. Not unique, but luscious and attractive. I'm looking forward to the first sip. There are no obvious flaws here aside from the lackluster head retention.
Sm: Has some really nice funkiness and yeast character. The dryness of the wine is a perfect complement to the seeming spritziness of the pilsner malt and clean barley base. Wine must is obvious. White, red, and rose grape notes come through. Floral hop character. Pleasantly dry oak wood/barrel notes. Some faint apple and cidery notes. The delicate wine character is intoxicating; I can't wait for the first sip.
Overall, it's an enchanting aroma of moderate strength. No alcohol is detectable. There are no off-notes.
T: The pilsner malt and clean barley foundation easily bends to the will of the dominant white riesling grape character. There are touches of pleasant oak throughout. I'm not picking up on much in terms of red grape or pinot noir character; sweet white wine definitely dominates. I'd prefer more of a dry white wine character; this is too sweet for my tastes, and even flirts with sparkling character. There're also touches of apple and low-attenuation cidre. Hop character is entirely floral; there's no piney, citrusy, nectary, etc. hop character. Light pear. I could definitely go for more tartness (or even some sourness, which wouldn't be too outlandish a request given this beer's price point).
As it warms, I'm getting a kiss of strawberry (especially on the finish). I search for the banana mentioned by some other reviewers, but I never find it. (There's also no clove, if we're focusing on yeast-derived notes). A bit musty, sure. One might even call it damp, if you'll excuse the pretension implicit in that phrasing.
Overall, I'm glad it delivers on its premise - this beer has immediately evident wine character. It's always annoying when you can't find any traces of wine character whatsoever in a wine/beer hybrid, but this one commits. I dig that boldness.
That said, it's far from complex or intricate. There's plenty of wine-derived nuance, and it integrates the wine character into the beer well. There's also some subtlety there. Good amplitude.
It's pretty flat both structurally and in terms of layering; the flavour is consistent throughout the entire flavour duration. If not for the mouthfeel, it'd be a one-act beer; the open/set and finish taste the same as the body.
Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.
No alcohol or off-notes come through.
Pleasant and enjoyable to drink. I like it, and the yeast character does lend it a Belgian feel. Very cohesive stuff.
Mf: Crisp. Slightly coarse. Wet. Kind of refreshing. The alcohol is noticeable, but it's not a hot or boozy beer by any means. Slightly overcarbonated. Not as acidic as I'd like. Some acetic touches would suit it well too.
Not oily, gushed, astringent, or harsh.
Medium-bodied, with moderate weight on the palate. Overall presence is pretty decent, but not ideal. Could be softer. A biteen smacky there on the finish, which I adore.
This texture complements the taste well, but doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to it.
Dr: Absolutely a drinkable brew, especially for its high ABV. This beer succeeds at combining wine notes with a beer base, but never feels quite as Belgian as it should - mainly due to a strange commitment to a pilsner base rather than a Belgian pale malt base, as well as a restrained approach to the integration of the yeast. This beer will please the discerning drinker, but probably isn't worth buying more than once at its unreasonable price point. I know I won't be buying it again. But it's a strong offering from Goose Island for what it is. I do wish it had more of a red wine emphasis, but I notice that the red wine grapes become a bit more expressive as the beer comes to temperature.
Serving type: bottle
04-16-2014 07:31:57 | More by kojevergas
Class Of '88 Belgian-style Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
85 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.