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Imperial Brown Goose - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Brown GooseImperial Brown Goose

Educational use only; do not reuse.

162 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 162
Reviews: 122
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 12.2%
Wants: 98
Gots: 11 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-29-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Blend of Goose Island's 2004 and 2005 Christmas Ales, both of which were aged in 4-year old Jim Beam and 12-year old Heaven Hill barrels.

Bottled once in 2006.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 122
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed FoBAB 05. This is one big Brown Ale! Colors and thick, dark brown, and nearly opaque. Great head retention and lacing. Perhaps a slight haze. Smells very malty, chocolatey, mildly fruity, molassas, mildly bitter, and a lactose aroma. Flavors are even bigger on the malt side, edging close to syrup or molassas. Mild fuit sweetness and tartness of figs, dates, and nuts. Bold bittersweet chocolate flavors throughout. Again, a light lactose flavor. Feels very creamy and silky on the palate. A bit rough, given the alcohol and carbonation. Finishes sweet and with a hop / grain bitterness. A really good Brown Ale with a bourbon kick.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 Batch. Tobacco with a great deal of rust orange and carmine red when backlit with sunshine. A loud rush of CO2 on crown cracking led me to expect a Belgianesque amount of carbonation and a massive head... and that is exactly what occured. The sandstone colored cap is whipped frothy, is softly rocky as it melts, and is a better lace generator than anticipated.

If you like bourbon, then you'll like the way this ale smells. The brewery describes IBG as a 'strong brown ale' that has been aged for nine months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. Barrel-aged beer is great, but they could have picked a better whiskey. There's a lot of carmelized sugar and oak, as well as dark fruit and cocoa.

This is delicious beer because Goose Island aged it for exactly the right amount of time. Although bourbon is dominant, it doesn't dominate. A fine distinction, perhaps, but an accurate one. The base beer is still easily appreciated and passes muster with ease.

Despite a mouthfeel that is too light and fizzy, there is no question that a considerable amount of lightly toasted and moderately roasted malt is in the house. The flavors that result include brown bread (maybe even pumpernickel), dark toffee, ripe figs and cocoa.

The star of the flavor show, however, is bourbon. The key to the final product's success is that the base beer was left in the barrels long enough to be saturated with their previous occupant, but not so long that it became overly oaky and harsh. Kudos to whoever made the decision to crack the barrels open at just the right time.

The biggest disappointment is the mouthfeel. Bottle-conditioning can sometimes be hit or miss. This one is clearly a miss. That said, it's much better now that I'm into the middle of the '750'. Still, it will never reach the point where it's worthy of the flavor profile. The drinkability score can't help but suffer as a result.

It might be an unfair comparison, but I would rather go home with a $20 4-pack of Bourbon County Stout (or two... or three) than a $14 bottle of Imperial Brown Goose. Either way, if you love bourbon whiskey, you'll be in seventh heaven. Nice job Goose Island.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance of rich sweet notes and oak soaked barrel

Photo of womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jacob for sharing this one yesterday. Dated 2006.

A: The pour is a darkish amber color with a moderate off-white head.

S: There is a nice bourbon and booze note to the beer, but it's not overwhelming at all. A nice vanilla and almost honey like aroma on top of a bit of malt.

T: A bit of oxidation on this one--mild stale brown sugar taste. Certainly some bourbon and vanilla, along with a nice malty sweetness throughout.

M: Medium to full bodied with a soft carbonation.

D: A very nice beer. The bourbon and barrel contributions are there but not overwhelming nor too subtle. Nicely done all around.

Photo of emerge077
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ON TAP @ Goose Clybourn. This has to be batch #2/3, as it hasn't been available for a year or so. Aged one year in bourbon barrels according to the menu.

Served in an 8 oz. snifter, this murky, tawny brown old ale had a slim cap of foam at first, that retreated to a thin skim after awhile. It took about half an hour to drink it, I was too busy inhaling (not huffing). Vanilla, tobacco, brown sugar, and fruity bourbon notes take center stage. No alcohol that I can smell, just the distilled essence of sweet bourbon perfection.

Flavors were rich and malt dominant, plenty of strong bourbon flavor, fruity with drying oak bitterness in the finish. The heat is there, but it's not all that boozy. You get all the complex flavors of the bourbon without the burn. Vanilla, apple, pear, brown sugar, tobacco flavors are all intertwined nicely, wrapped in a malty blanket. Carbonation was low, and the ale was full bodied. A slow sipper, the small snifter was just the right size.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours dark brown with a big creme head. A vanilla alcohol nose leads to a strong vanilla flavor profile with an almost mint edge to it. The vanilla screams louder than anything else. Alcohol is slightly noticeable. Feel is smooth with a full carbonation. Nice to drink, yes. a fairly interesting old ale.

Photo of Slatetank
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the GI Clybourn brewpub. This batch was listed as 7.2% ABV. Served in a snifter.

A - One finger of slow-dissolving light tan foam, with attractive solid lacing. Deep ruby red color - almost like stained wood - that is transparent when held up to the light.

S - Bourbon, butterscotch, caramel malts, tart apple, and tannic woodiness. It was served to me far too cold, but it really came alive as it warmed.

T - A mixture of bourbon, butterscotch, caramel, and nuttiness. The finish is dry and tannic with a touch of tart Braeburn apple - however it doesn't have the slight sourness that some other barrel-aged brews develop.

M - This serving seemed overcarbonated - the harshness and burning off my lips and palate interfered with perception of the texture as well as magnifying the barrel characteristics. Body is medium and seemed a little gritty.

D - The mild aftertaste and lower ABV help the drinkability factor for this one. It's not a booze bomb, but more of a bourbon-infused brown (as the menu calls it).

You can tell this has been in the barrel for quite a while - I'm guessing the base beer is Naughty Goose these days (or perhaps it's still the Christmas beer?), but there's almost no trace of the original brew. It drinks like a lighter version of BA Fantabulous Resplendence X, and certainly has more gravitas than your typical 7.2% beer.

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pre release sample, of the Bourbon Barrel Aged version, from the brewer at the Goose Island Clyborne location.

A special thanks to the brewer Will Turner for allowing me to sample this beer. This one has been sitting in a bourbon barrel for the last six months. This has an incredible nose to it, the bourbon barrel character is quite noticeable with notes of oak, vanilla, butter, and a bourbon-alcohol note. The aroma is quite intoxicating, it is thick and sweet, with the bourbon barrel character dominating everything. The beer is a hazy deep amber color, it is flat and has no head, but this is to be expected as it is just being transferred from the cask to kegs, and I just happened to be here at the right time to get a sample. The taste is sweet and malty, with notes of bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, and oak. The finish is astringently okay in character, coupled with a sweet, hard-alcohol bourbon finish. The hops are fairly muted in this big beer, and would probably be out of place in this beer anyway.

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to czoch75 for this one! What an awesome BA! Thanks Clint!

2006 Bottles
Poured into Bells snifter.

Pours 1 finger of light tan head. Decent retention. Fades to a ring around the edge. Leaves splattered lace. Color is a murky hazed chocolate brown.

Aroma: a lot like a brown ale. A ton of nut flavors. Earthy hops, sweet raisins, and cherries. A ton of dried fruits, pretty great. Bourbon, vanilla, and some oak.

Taste: Nut brown flavors, big and malty. Nice touch of bourbon with hardly any heat. Vanilla and oak. Raisins and cherries. Very complex.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, a tad crisp. Some slight heat. Medium bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a fairly clean aftertaste with a slight amount of heat.

Overall, a fantastic beer. A brown -bal aged done well. Very tasty. A sipper, but I am loving it. I wish this was more available or re-made!

Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was served in a tulip glass and came with a deep-brown head. The nose was rich with bourbon and coconut aromas. The mouthfeel was medium, but with a slight warmth on the tongue and as it warmed, the mouthfeel became fuller and creamier. I got flavors of dark chocolate and coffee on the palate. The finish was rich with the bourbon flavor that I noted on the nose. This was a really rich beer that would be good with a chocolate dessert or a maduro cigar. Highly recommended.

Photo of Billolick
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to have a chance to try this delicate, tasty creation at the Cleybourn Goose Island location in Chicago. It poured dark mahogony brown under a minor dark tan head, that left just a tease of fine lacing. Nose of dark, goey raisins,bourbon and some wood. Rich, thick and chewy brew, lots more raisins, smoky wood, rum soaked goodness. Plenty of smooth, dark malts. Nice night capper.

Photo of corby112
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark chestnut brown color that's completely opaque with a two finger frothy off-white head.  Great retention only slowly fading into a lasting cap.   The glass is left coated with rings and chunks of lacing.  

Sweet malt aroma with a prominent barrel presence.  Lots of earthy oak and bourbon as wel as some vanilla and toasted coconut.  Slightly vinous as well with dark fruit notes.  Underneath, the sweet malts are evident with chocolate and caramel.  

Medium bodied with some soft carbonation up front and a strong barrel character.  Lots of toasted oak/wood as well as some prominent vanilla.  The bourbon flavor is there but not as powerful as I expected.  Sweet bourbon flavor but it's well integrated into the beer. Kind of refreshing to taste something that's not a complete bourbon bomb.  Underneath the barrel, the base beer makes itself known.  Sweet chocolate and caramel notes give off sweetness that compliment the bourbon.  Nice alcohol flavor without any heat.  Extremely drinkable.  

Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to zrrbrrt for opening this brew...
This is the bourbon barrel aged version.
Appears a semi transparent muddled brown with a small light tan head that fades into nothing. Decent looking at best.
Smell is of grapes, raisins, medicinal, sugary sweetness, along with caramel, and oak.
Taste...abv is evident among the flavors with run soaked raisins, caramel, vanilla, and oak.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fizzy, sweet of raisins, brown sugar, and oaky bourbon with mild astringency.

Photo of brandoman63
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rather pricey bottle of beer from the Lone Hill in Glendora.

Reddish brown colored beer with some chill hazing on it. This beer forms a massive tan colored head that doesn't fade easily at all.

Whisky big strong whiskey barrel scent. Vanilla, oak, alcohol, pepper, molasses and some sour apple scents. No real hop aroma that I can detect. Whiskey really seems strong with this beer.

The taste begins slightly sweet with lots of vanilla and whiskey. Whiskey flavor does eventually mellow out a bit as you drink this but the taste isn't exactly subtle. Chocolate makes an appearance as the whiskey mellows out and vanilla become a flavor separate from the whisky. Good flavor but I do believe that the whiskey obscures some of the complexities of this beer.

The mouthfeel is OK.

Interesting beer and very much a whiskey barrel beer. I like whiskey barrel beers but this one is a strong version of the current mini fad. I could see trying this again some day but I don't think I will be spending $21 for another bottle.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a dark opaque black body with a hint of light at the base of the glass showing a warm deep brown hue. There is a sea of micro bubbles racing back and forth to the surface where a thick light tan head stands. The head last and last and starts to pull away from the sides of the glass but still keeps its shape.

S- This beer has a slightly sweet oak and bourbon note but I can't really detect any malt characteristics even as it warms.

T- This beer has a sweet dark toasted malt flavor with a wet wood and oak flavor followed by a slight soft bourbon note. There isn't any alcohol taste to the bourbon just a slight sweetness and a faint smoky hint. The finish has a faint green hop hint that comes through as it warms.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a creaminess from the carbonation. There is no alcohol heat noticed until the last few sips, which were pretty warm.

D- You really have to like lots of oak to get through this big bottle by yourself. I like oak but it would have been nice to have some malty aromas and flavors to support it and add complexity. I don't usually pair food and beers as I like to taste the beer alone but the recommendation on the bottle was perfect. I had some nice sharp cheddar cheese that cut the sweetness and enhanced this beer quite a bit. I would give this beer a 5 if I rated it with the cheese.

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle shared by Javier, thanks! The beer appears deep brown with a light beige head and crimson highlights. The aroma showcases big caramel notes with accompanying vanilla and a monstrous bourbon presence. Excellent. The flavor opens with a huge bourbon flavor that carries through to the long finish. The caramel presence is huge and there's a light oak presence. There's a nice level of heat to this. Great stuff.

Photo of Kelp
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ppoitras
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Black foiled, capped, 2006 vintage.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 2" tan head above the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head is rejuvenated by a river of bubbles flowing from the bottom, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is dark malts and bourbon. Taste is creamy malt sweetness upfront, a tinge of fruitiness in the middle, and vanilla and bourbon to close. Moderate flavors all, nothing overpowering another. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is way easy for an Old Ale. Good stuff.

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Imperial Brown Goose from Goose Island Beer Co.
93 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.