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Imperial Brown Goose - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Brown GooseImperial Brown Goose

Educational use only; do not reuse.

122 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 122
Hads: 165
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 12.26%
Wants: 95
Gots: 10 | FT: 1
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 122 | Hads: 165
Photo of BlindPig
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006 Batch
A- 1" off white/light tan head on a black body with some murky brown hues. Nice lacing on top of beer.
S- Big alcohol and bourbon. Some oak is in there too. Big caramel and nut malt aroma. Very light scent of dry hops. Some raisins and other dark fruits but alcohol covers up most aroma. Hints of vanilla also.
T- Big alcohol flavors and the bourbon comes through big too. The oak flavors fill in the mouth with it. Really big warming in back of throat and in nose too. Vanilla comes through a bit too. Some big toffee malts really come into play here also. There are some notes of a darker fruits in there too.
M- This is what really sets the beer back IMO. It is like a champagne carbonation instead of like a thicker kind of carbonation. It is also way to thin in the body for such a big beer.
D- This is a really tasty beer. Not sure if it is worth the price but I am glad I tried it. I think if the mouthfeel was better it would be like a complete new beer.

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Photo of ejquin
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep rust color with a decent white head. Good lacing.

Aroma reminds me very much of a bourbon with a slight sweetness and faint hoppiness.

Taste is very unique and deep. Immediately this is my favorite Goose Island beer. It's complex and has a good bourbon taste, but in my opinion, unlike the bourbon county, it actually blends well with the beer. There's a good sweetness also in the beer, and the finish is of hops and a slight alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy with good carbonation.

Drinkibility is downgraded because of high alcohol, and beer is a bit "hot," but is still very good for an 11% beer.

Overall this has to be my favorite Goose Island Beer. I wasn't sure what to expect due to the fact that I didn't really like the bourbon county stout, but I felt that the bourbon flavor in this beer really blended well nad the sweetness and hops really worked well.

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Photo of faernt
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This bottle was acquired at the Clyborn pub from behind the bar. The label calls it a 2006 release, At $25.00/ bottle I'm expecting something good. I don't care much about rare anymore, but good is worth a bit of extra work,

The black foil cap wrap offers a bit of mystery. The abundance of words on the label even exceeds that of Pere Jacques and Matilda.
I'll save the words for later. The picture on the BA website matches the bottle I have. The ABV does not. BA says 11%ABV the bottle says 8%ABV.

The bottle opens with a bit of a hiss. The smell of a little smoke comes out. The pour gives a 3/4" head that is brown with a slight grayness. The gray of smoke is OK and I detect a smell of whiskey.

The taste is like a scotch ale and the carbonation is a bit exhuberant. I must admit that this beer came to mind as I ate some of my wife' slightly smoky guacamole. The bubbles cut through and cleansed my palate leaving a slight sweetness in place. The carbonation is strong enough to give up a belch. This is an unsung attribute of beer, I think, particularly when it comes to pairing. A good belch gives an second chance at the food you just chose and the beer you paired it with. I'll do this on purpose next time. I have a new appreciation for carbonation just now.

The beer looks black, but then I hold it up to the light and it becomes brown (thus "brown" goose). I pour more to see if the grayness of the head returns. It's very slight. The carbonation returns though. Is this carbonation so pronounced so as to live through a long aging? It works for me now even though it's more noticable that most.

The nose returns to sweet whiskey. Not Southern Comfort sweet but whiskey and burnt sugar. I think another version of bread pudding is appearing.This is not a cloying beer, by the way. It is very balanced It makes my cut. I suggest to drink it young even though the attitude would be to let it age...it works fresh. I have another that I thought to age but I think I'll return to Clyborn to see if any remains behind the bar. More now...more later. There may be another aspect of this beer in a year or two.

It's 01.26.08 now. I had this beer again. The alcohol presence is pronounced. It seems to be going through a phase that I would have rather passed on. Don't drink this one now. Its bourbon taste is overpowering. The carbonation has subsided to slightly below normal level as well. It's still a good beer, but temporarily out of balance.

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Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a small cream and light brown head that recedes slightly, but is present throughout. Aroma is sweet apple cider mixed with tart apples and some alcohol, like an apple brandy. A faint brown sugary maltiness is also present in the background of the aroma. Sugary and creamy malts hit the tongue and are quickly followed by a perfumy apple tartness. The tartness mixes with some dry woody flavor as well as a large bite of alcohol. Body is light to medium but a creaminess is there and the beer seems to effervesce as soon as it hits the palette. An incredibly creative and interesting beer, the tartness blends well with the dry woody flavors. The 8% alcohol plays a major role in the taste, every bit of the alcohol seems to be present, but it doesn't feel unbalanced or out of place, rather it complements the flavors like a nice fruit brandy. This 06 batch states it will continue to change and I have no doubt it will, this is one beer that is very unique and enjoyable fresh and yet I look forward to seeing it progress.

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Photo of velo343
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 750ml bottle into a Goose Island Reserve glass.

Pours a deep brown with a nice creamy head. The smell is, well, like bourbon. Vanilla, oak, coconut. Not too much hop smell as compared to it's ancestor Christmastime Ale.

The first taste really takes you back. Not only are there the expected bourbon flavors on the tongue, but there's a strong taste of blue cheese, which in this case is nothing to turn away from. The bourbon flavor subsides as the beer goes down, leaving a nice dark malt taste. As the beer warms up, it looses the bourbon flavor and regains much of the Christmastime Ale characteristics.

This certainly isn't a beer that you'd want to sit down and drink the whole bottle yourself--it's definitely a sharing beer. The bourbon flavor really enhances the beer, and doesn't add an overpowering alcohol taste that is present in many other barrel-ages beers. An excellent beer, and I can't wait to try it after I've laid one down for a few years.

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Photo of zjungleist
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dull brown with an unremarkable off white head. Smells, initialy, of vanilla, grapes, oak, and very faint beer smells of caramel. Taste is fairly heavy on the bourbon, but not as much as an bourbon imperial stout might, with all the vanilla and tannins to go along with it. Some caramely beer tastes and some hops are presant, but more or less overwhelmed by the bourbon. Very lingering and somewhat complex flavor, but not overly bold. Mouthfeels is thinner than I expeted, and sweetness was not overpowering. Overall I loved it.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 Batch - This is a different beer than the brewpub offering that is reviewed under the same name in the early reviews.

A - Pours a very deep brown almost black with ruby around the side of the glass and ruby highlights with a 2 finger off white head that leaves nice creamy lacing.

S - Vanilla, sweet malt, oak maple syrup. It is very sweet and very woody.

T - Maple syrup, toffee, dark candi sugar, hints of wet oak and vanilla. Very sweet .

M - Medium body and well carbonated.

D - A little too sweet for my taste. A very nice idea of 2 different xmas ales aged in 2 different ages of bourbon barrels. I am glad to see Goose take a chance on this beer. I would have found it hard to finish the full 750 on my own. Maybe a little aging on this one might do it well.

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Photo of mcallister
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahagony. A quickly fading off white head leaves traces of lace around the glass and forms into a ring.

Wonderful nose full of bourbon, oak, vanilla, hints of toffee, malt, and other robust aromas.

Bourbon at the forefront, with sweet toffeed malt, burnt vanilla oak, slight hints of fig, as well as a sliver of chocoalte cream pie. Medium complexity with a medium body and mouthfeel. Lacking depth and could use some hop to balance the oak. Otherwise a very good beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of rdickey
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Goose Island Brown Goose
Style: American Double Stout
ABV: 11%

Source: 750 ml plastic corked bottle.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown into a Chimay goblet. I know that’s not technically the correct glass for this style, but I wanted to give it room to express itself. ¼” off-white head fades quickly.

Smell: I’m a Kentucky redneck, and boy does that Bourbon barrel come through.

Taste: Wow. I’m not sure how to describe this. To me it doesn’t taste like a brown ale at all; it’s all about Bourbon.

Mouthfeel: The taste really hits you upside the head but there’s enough crispness here to keep it from being overpowering.

Drinkability: Tell you in 30 minutes. [Time passes] This is a very good, and unique, beer, but you can’t drink it all night. It would definitely work as a nightcap, and might also fare well with desserts.

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Photo of Ego
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle courtesy of my buddy yelterdow (parting with dreadnaught and alpha klaus is quite painfull), this is the 750 caged and corked variety from the mj beer club (2006 batch - 8%)

someone has to say it...
what has brown done for me lately?

let's find out...

even on a carefull pour this one has a massive, craggy, off white head of large gurgling bubbles, deep brown tone with some ruby highlights, carbonation is ample leading to good retention, lacing is good and this also has legs due to the kicked up alcohol, very nice looking brew, I think I will sit here and stare at it for a couple of hours.... nah...

boozy, and very bourbony, not as much as the jack daniel barrel aged stuff I had on sunday, more subdued than that, dark sugary tones, some dark vermont maple, the kind that can glue your fingers together, nothing is blowing me away here but it's good

taste etc...
velvety, very creamy, barley and bourbon flavors abound and the slight wood taste comes through in the end, you get some alcohol warming for sure. very balanced but the bourbon seems to dominate here, you can pick out the malt (sweetness) but this oe takes a smidge getting used to, a nice sipper with strong cheese helps break this up.

a nice smooth beer with good drinkability for the kicked up ABV, the mouthfeel is dead on imo.

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Photo of fartingdog
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, deep brown with abundant head. Fist whiff was I thought whiskey, then I definitely picked up the bourbon. The taste of the Bourbon was somewhat subtle at first, and became more pronounced as I drank more (though it's not quite the bourbon-bomb that is Drake's BW). There is the faintest alcohol warming on the swallow. Very smooth and enjoyable, but with a bit thinner mouthfeel than I would expect (or maybe hoped for). Overall well balance and enjoyable. I've got a couple more in the cellar, so I'll have to see how this one ages.

May 4 2007 - Tried the next one. Whiskey/bourbon aromas were pretty much gone- rich coffee, toffee and chocolate in the nose. Still pours with a thick head. Mouthfeel seems a little richer, flavor is much more complex. Leaves perhaps only the faintest hint of bourbon in the aftertaste. Develops almost Belgian dubbel qualities. Very interesting.

Dec 23 2007- Plastic corked bottle.
Aggressive carbonation, half the glass is head. Aroma is faint bourbon + vanilla. Flavor is chocolatey, hints of bourbon/oak. Mouthfeel seems thinnish. Boozy feeling in the throat. Hints of oxidization. Corked versions don't seem to hold up as well as the capped (which seemed to age better). Good, but not as good as I remember.

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Photo of clickpush
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

M.J.'s 9/06 b.o.t.m.

Pour: 750ml bottle to tulip glass. A standard pour lands a huge tan head, 3 fingers easily, over a mahogany globe of bubble-ridden beer. The descent leaves the walls of the glass webbed and a thick coat of froth atop the surface of the liquid.

Nose: Uncorking this baby was a bitch, but I was rewarded with strong alcohol and liquor smells immediately upon expelling the plastic stopper. More than bourbon, my immediate take on the aroma was that of spiced rum, sweetened up with fruit character. Apricots, brown sugar or maple syrup, and chocolate covered cherries with liqueur interiors.

Mouth: Almost identical to the aroma: the barrel aging adds intense flavors of bourbon and, coupled with the 9% abv, highlights a very heated path from the front of my tongue to the back of my throat. Nice pleasant warmth on the exhale as well. Drinking this one near room temp, maybe an hour in the fridge - I wish I'd chilled it a tiny bit more. Like chomping into a liqueur filled chocolate covered cherry - one of my least favorite candies in the world! Not that it makes the beer bad, but a bit too sweet & bubblegum-y. Mouthfeel is commendable as it's thick and creamy with small bubbled carbonation. A very interesting example of the growing acclaim of barrel aging, but an entire 750ml bottle was almost too rich for me to finish in one sitting.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Clyborne brew pub.
Mahogany color which turns red when held to a light. Thick chewy head. Sweet molasses/chocolate smell. Full bodied with an ultra smooth mouthfeel. Strong, boozy, wee heavy type sweet malt flavor with a pleasing alcohol bite to finish. A very nice sipping beer here.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It was poured into a tulip glass and oozed out of the tap like a carvel ice cream cake. This is a full big Brown loaded with malt on the nose and subtle hints of hops in the background. Very interesting taste of sweet molasses and some kind of cookie in there. Granted there were malt flavors but the background favors (if really looked for) were there. Mouthfeel on this monster was typical if an imperial. Silky and full. In all, a simply good Imperial brown ale.

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Photo of silenius
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rapapoda mentioned to me once that when Goose Island brews this beer again that I should try it. Good recommendation!

Poured into a large pint glass at the Clybourn location.

Smallish tan head that disappears quickly with a dark and clear ruby brown body. Very much to style.

Smell is where it is at with this beer! This beer smells like a good Late Bottle Vintage port. Dark and ripe red fruits coated in dark chocolate and sprinkled with brown sugar. Sweet and rich. No hops noted.

Tastes like cinnamon spiced melted dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry syrup. This stuff is out of this world!.

This is a thick-bodied beer that really satisfies. One is enough for me!

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Advertised as 60% more malt and 2x the hops of Naughty Goose.

Poured dark mahogany with a red tint throughout. Small tan head fades away quickly revealing the potent brew and leaving streaky alcoholic tannin marks on the glass.
Aroma of chocolate and crystal malts with an underlying toffee and caramel note. Dark citrus fruits as beer warms as well as orange peel and a bread and dough-like qulaity. Little bit of roastiness also appears as it warms up a bit.
Flavors are sticky sweet toffe and chocolate fudge with a very bready middle. Sweeter citurs notes near the finish with some gran alcohol alos kicking in.
Mouthfeel is full-bodied wiht a slightly syupy character. Great variety of sweet malts sliding to a citrusy and hoppy finish. High ABV is fairly well covered by the variety of flavors and transitions.
Drinkability is very high for such an alcoholic brew. But you can't just have one it's that good. If you are near GI- Clybourne stop in try this rare beauty.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Clyborne location.

Pours a dark, dark brown in color, almost porter like with a frothy white head that had a good bit of retention. Nose is outrageous, strong aromatic hops present along with a thick sweet smell, indicating generous amounts of both hops and malt, excellent. Taste is slightly floral, sticky sweet at points, notes of caramel and dark fruit. This one reminds me of a nice old ale. Very well done and much more than I was expecting on my recent visit, was well worth a taste.


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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.

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Imperial Brown Goose from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.