Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
1,236 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Golden sunrise color, baking spice aroma, fruity biscuity malt flavor, dry body.

Users have reported some infected bottles from these batches:

4/1/10 12oz
4/17/10 12oz
4/22/10 12oz
5/20/10 12oz
4/16/10 650mL
5/21/10 650mL

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,236 | Ratings: 4,599
Photo of Marius
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap sample from BeerTemple in Amsterdsm. Clear bright orange with a fine beige head. Smells like honey, eldrflowers and a bit of farmhouse funk. Tastes like brett, honey and bitter medicine.

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Photo of CanadianBacon
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - 2014 vintage poured on 03/29/16 This beer pours a dark hazy orange color with 1 1/2 fingers of off white head, the head fades slowly leaving a thick film of bubbles over the top of the glass. It looks delicious.

Aroma - Wheaty grain, lemon tartness, a bit of funk, coriander, fluffy fresh bread.

taste - grain, yeast funk, lemon, pale cracker malts and fresh white bread from the belgian yeast.

Feel - Heavy/medium body soft creamy carbonation.

Overall - This is an amazing belgian strong pale ale, The brett meshes great with the flavors adding a zesty funk and the belgian bread taste pairs well with it. The medium/heavy creamy body compliments the flavors very well. Not a bad beer at all. Cheers!

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Photo of hotpauko
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle from Sabatinis in Exeter, PA. Had no idea really what I was getting but kept an open mind. Nice carbonation, nice lemony sour smell with a little yeasty backdrop. Mouth feel of a white but immediately followed by a sour bite. Citrusy yeast follow up on the tongue. I would describe this as a Belgian yeast, sour combo with very complex flavors. The yeasty smell and taste is very organic tasting, not especially clean. A touch of bitter cherry sweetness throughout. Sits heavy on the tongue. I liked it and recommend giving it a try. I'm wondering if 4 years of sitting mellowed out the tartness a little.

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Photo of laketang
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled aug. 2015 poured from a 12 oz bottle.
served cold so was a bit murky amber in color nice head
spices on the nose, get the clove right off.
detected no diacetyl.slight malt , light hop presence
prickly, on the light to medium side.
still like on tap the best tho.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Again, I am a Chicagoan... so don't expect an unbiased review.
Carrying on an earlier dialog... AB and the big guys can have good reason to buy a craft brewery.
And they pay good money, so are unlikely to change the recipe.
And I do not believe they have here.
I have had this ale throughout the decade of the AB assuming ownership.
I have saved some vintages and compared them to the newer releases.
And it is all still good.
Is it the same?
Yes, within reason.
Chief characteristic: this ale still goes well with food. I just returned from a 30 person potluck and it went acceptably with everything I ate and great with the garlicky dishes.

This ale is listed in the "1001 Beers To Taste Before you Die" and deserves that honor.
Drink and eat and enjoy.

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Photo of dukeandduke
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2/22/16 Chicago ($8 16 oz pour into vintage glass at Goose Island Clybourn Brew Pub). Mild ongoing carbonation, thin white head, orange bronze pour. Extremely sweet aroma, from berries (raspberries, blueberries), orange, lemon, peach and apricot. Taste even sweeter, and though I generally do not prefer sweet offerings, this one worked well. Somewhat balanced by yeast and grass. Texture light and thin, very easy drinking. Overall good offering.

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Photo of davidperez
4.83/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in April 2015
Served lightly chilled in a Goose Island Vintage Glass, it pours a beautiful golden orange, opaque, with a two-finger head, frothy, with low retention, that leaves a thin layer of foam. A lot of carbonation, streams of bubbles keep going to the surface. Good lacing.
The golden orange is so perfect that you can see it shine.

Beautiful and assertive bouquet. Huge clove, spices, a little funkiness, and fruity sweetness.

First sip. This is so complex that it leaved me perplexed.
It follows the nose accurately, just that the funkiness gained depth, and the fruits gained strength and definition. Peach, apricot, tangerine, plum. There is also a herbal note very assertive too. The spices are present all throughout.
Sweet upfront but it balances, and it finishes dry. The alcohol becomes present in the aftertaste once the beer starts warming up a bit.
High carbonation, with such a gratifying sensation that enhances all the flavors. Medium to light body, mildly smooth.

I've had this beer before, and I don't remember it being so incredible scrumptious. It may be the facts that it has almost a year of age now, its right temperature and that I used the rightful glassware.
I have a four pack eager to gain some years, can't wait.

Amazing complex beer.

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Photo of Pantalones
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle, bottling date of July 20th. This is my second time having this beer.

Pours bright, shiny gold into the glass, settling into a darker orangey-gold once poured. A little layer of slightly off-white foam on top that seems to stick around for quite a while once it forms. Semi-hazy with (if you shine a light through) some visible floating particles and a constant upward stream of bubbles from the bottom of the glass. After maybe a third of the beer is gone, it starts to leave some pretty nice trails behind on the glass. Overall a very nice-looking beer!

While pouring I'm immediately hit with a pretty noticeable fruity/spicy Belgian yeast smell, even from over a foot away! Wow. Sniffing once it's in the glass, the smells are definitely fruity and yeasty; a little bit banana-y and at least one or two different spicy sorts of things that I can't quite put a name to, along with a bit of background breadiness. Some sniffs give me more of the spicy things, while others are more semi-banana-ish fruitiness instead, but either way it's a nice smell. After around 1/3 of the glass I begin to smell the "funk" mentioned below sometimes as well, though it's not nearly as strong in the smell as in the taste.

Taste is really interesting -- there's the things present in the smell for sure (fruitiness right away, not entirely banana-like but sort of a mix of that and something else) and then suddenly things shift in a direction I'm not entirely sure how to describe. I almost want to say... green olives? But that's not quite right, there's maybe something almost leathery about the flavor too, and also that spicyish sort of thing blending in somewhere. And then shortly afterward everything fades to a very dry finish with just a bit of lingering yeast/bread type flavor. Not often I have a beer that I can write a full paragraph on from just one sip, but this is one for sure. On the second sip, it's seeming like a sort of straw/hay flavor is blending into that thing that reminds me almost but not quite of green olives. And... oh! Okay! I think I've finally figured it out -- this must be that "funky" flavor that people refer to with terms like "barnyard" and "horse blanket" and things along those lines. There is sort of a "farmy" thing to it, now that I think about it. It's kind of a weird flavor, not one I'm really used to, and the amount of it here is making me slow down my drinking a bit -- I don't recall noticing it to this extent in the bottle I had last year, though that one did have a bit of that straw/hay type thing going on. Not unpleasant but definitely odd and pretty strong. There's a bit of a a grassy/leafy sort of thing popping in on the very end right after the big burst of "funk," too, which I wasn't noticing until now (about 1/3 of the way through the glass.) Burps are mostly fruity and a bit bready-yeasty. Toward the end of the glass there is a very pleasant lingering bready/yeasty/slightly spice-ish (almost reminding me of cinnamon oddly enough) flavor filling my mouth, which seems to be a common feature of a lot of the Belgian-style ales (both pale and dark) that I've really enjoyed.

Mouthfeel is fairly light, very bubbly in that "soft" way that I like (not prickly in the least despite the amount of carbonation present.) A bit sticky and mouth-coating too, despite the overall dryness of most of the flavors involved, especially that last bit before the end where the green-olive/barnyard "funk"/straw/hay thing kicks in. Lips definitely have an almost oily sort of feel to them after drinking half a glass of this, kinda like I've been eating something with lots of olive oil (...apparently olives just keep coming up in comparison tonight, first there was an almost green-olive flavor and now olive-oil-ish features in the mouthfeel.) Alcohol content is not noticeable at all in the mouthfeel (I completely forgot this was 7% until just now!), no warming or "burn" whatsoever.

Overall, this is a really interesting beer and I'm honestly surprised at how much of a change I've noticed between a very fresh bottle and one that's just about seven months old -- I don't remember that green olive/funky flavor in the previous bottle of this I had *at all* and now it's by far the strongest flavor present, though it only pops in near the end letting the banana-y and spicy and crackery/grassy sorts of things do their thing right up until the moment you swallow. It was kind of a shock to the taste buds at first (much like actual green olives), but I think I'm getting more and more used to it the more I drink. I have to wonder if that'll just keep getting stronger with age, like say if I waited until the 1-year mark this coming summer before I drank my last one -- or will the beer change in some even more unexpected way? Guess I'll have to wait a few more months and find out!

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Photo of do_ob
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Vibrant, tangerene orange in color with moderate clarity; some haziness. Well carbonated, and topped with 3 fingers of solid, white foam which bubbled down to a lacing after a few minutes. Beautiful aroma of clove spice, wild flowers, blackberries, raspberries, tart cherries, sourdough bread, and all with a definitive yeasty, 'wet blanket' bite. Quite complex. Upon tasting, I immediately pick up notes of crunchy, toasted malt, sour blackberries & cherries, salted tropical fruit, caramel, and sourdough bread. The taste is a bit flat and underwhelming compared to the aroma, in my opinion. The sourness intensifies as it warms on the plate, but suddenly falls off on the finish, leaving you with a wet cardboard & dry ginger-ale taste to linger. Some notes of dried fruit and bread on the aftertaste. In terms of the feel, this beer is a lively one on the palate, but misses the mark when it comes to the finish.

Overall, not bad, but not my favorite example of the style.

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Photo of stevoj
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Hits all the right notes for the style, looks like it belongs in a Belgian trappist glass. Copper/orange with a small, silky oil skin head. Aroma of wine barrels and dried fruit. Taste is woody and smoky, some dried fruit, peat. Abrupt finish.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought from Don Quiojte $3.25 12oz bottle
Bottle dated Feb 2015, drinking Jan 2016 - supposed to continue aging for 5 years in bottle
Cloudy orange amber color
Funky smell
Carbonation high
Medium mouth feel
Taste of grapefruit that is a little funky, distinctive flavor.
Overall a good beer to try as it does show you how different a beer can be, but I wouldn't buy it again. I like the Sofie better.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Most recent bottle (just under 6mos old) was a touch flat, surprising for a beer w/ Brett. Still, nice nose, Belgian yeast, little bit of spice, sort of a pear/apricot thing going on. Palate is fruity, a touch sweet for the style IMO, not as yeasty as the nose. I need to head out to a couple of local shops that have some old stock on the shelves to see how this thing does at a year or two. I have a feeling it'll evolve nicely, and I actually love that two of GI's standards are so ageable (this and Sofie), so this is certainly something I wouldn't be sad to have tucked into the back of the fridge. Still, didn't quite enjoy this bottle as much as some of my other favorite BPAs (i.e., Affligem, Antigoon, etc.)

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Photo of SmashAdams
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice hazy burnt orange colored beer. The smell is some dark fruits and spice and quite funky. The taste follows with the lingering funky aftertaste. A good food beer. nb

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Photo of 20holmbrew
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I purchased this 2015 vintage as a single in a mixed 6 pack. Great example of the style. I love the Belgium funk from the Brett. I will purchase a couple more to cellar as I am curious to taste the difference with some age.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright golden orange it low head. Clear until a small amount of sediment at the end added some haze. Hearty and sweet biscuit notes with a carbonic yeast. Hay and straw malt starts off and then fades with a hearty bloomy cheesy funk on a thick hearty bread. A spicy finish tingles with a bright orang citrus brightness. The tangy finish balances the sweetness and the yeast well, but a mild sugary orange syrup finish lingers. Overall one of my favorite American made Belgian style ales I've had. Where as most American Belgian style brews feel forced and unnatural, this beer feels effortless.

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Photo of Trosevear
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle,

L: Hazy yellow with a nice white head that left lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Sweet coriander and a hoppy smell, with a slight maltyness.

T: Minor bitterness with a nice amount of malt flavour.

F: Nice amount of carbination and full body leaving you want to drink more.

O: From others telling me it wasn't good it actually was quite enjoyable!

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Photo of untitledeuphoria
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, Bottled: 7.24.14. Drank 12.6.15. Poured from a 765ml bottle to a tulip glass.

A: A slightly hazy golden copper. Traces of particulate. One finger of fluffy, dense, ivory colored head.

S: Farm-y. Hay, Grain, Butter Tart, Bready, Lemon Zest, some Dark Fruit, Clove. Very mellow and earthy.

T: Clean, Dry, Fruity, Grassy, some mild spices. Very balanced, very easy drinking and enjoyable.

M: Moderate carbonation, even at almost 17 months in the bottle. Swishable, non bitter, medium bodied. Very satisfying to drink, not at all a chore to work through.

O: From what I remember about drinking a fresh Matilda, the extra time has done this beer well. Much more character than before, and everything seems to work perfectly. I am almost upset at myself that I opened the bottle instead of building a vertical. I would recommend this this to anyone with an appreciation of Belgians.

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Photo of petmoo23
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is my review for a 2010 bottle I just opened.

L- Golden brown, tons of fluffy white head, gusher.
S- a little barnyard, yeast, hint of honey, fruit.
T- Dryer that younger bottles I have enjoyed by a significant margin. grassy, citrus, funk, complex and delightful flavor.
F- Medium bodied, carbonated but sits well on the tongue, the kind of beer you can swish around to great satisfaction.
O- I am impressed by how beautifully intricate this 5 year old bottle of Matilda has become, one of my favorite beers I've had in a while. I would love to try this with a meal.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2014 Vintage....nice bottle!

A- Pours a very hazy copper/amber color and has an ivory colored head that is dimpled and pillowy soft in texture! Carbonation is tough to see but upon the pour it seems rather aggressive. Lacing is quite nice as there is a fair bit of thick foam that clings to the glass!

S- The first thing on the aroma is butter tart! Delicious smells of butter, caramel, toffee, brown sugars, bread and yeast, faint raisins and malt sweetness....there are other muted aromas of citrus, spices and some banana....Earthy hop presence on the finish...very nice on the nostrils indeed!

T- This is a relatively clean tasting Belgian style Ale for sure! Butterscotch caramel malts, some slightly burnt brown sugar, molasses and perhaps some dried banana/apricot fruitiness to start.....tart citrus and wild yeast spell out the middle and the finish is robust with dark fruits such as plum, fig and somewhat grapey....tart berries linger on the palate after the drink...very tasty!

M/O- The carbonation is very champagne like in size and a light/medium body keep this as a very refreshing style of beer! I insist on pairing this with Lindt Creme Brule chocolate, as it is simply a delightful dessert paring that makes this beer palate cleansing! Lots of fruitiness to keep it fresh and a highly drinkable session beer that keeps the alcohol well hidden. Recommended for sure and I believe this is worthy of the recommendation to cellar for the full 5 years!

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a hazy straw body.
The aroma is hay fields, dry grains and lemon zest.
The taste is clean to start, then mild fruit sweet to almost candy sweet, finishes with a mild bitter and spice.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.
A fairly mild, but flavorful beer.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 3.30.15

L - Amber with clarity, 1/2 a finger of head and some lacing left on the glass

S - Brettomyces, belgian funk and slightly tart. Awesome aroma.

T - Belgian yeast, slightly tart and funk. Complex.

F - Well carbonated, medium body

O - One of my favorite Belgian Pale's of all time.

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Photo of InsideLiquorMan
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Definitely an interesting beer. For a moment, I thought it was corked as some MOA beers are, but apparently not. Poured it into a nice tall glass and left it for a minute or two, The head is nice and frothy, sticks the sides of the glass as it slowly recedes, leaving a nice little network of lacing right down to the bottom of the glass. The color is a nice dark orange and there is some visible carbonation with some small trails of bubbles working their way up. I can't get much smell. Some obvious sweetness to the nose, maybe some earthiness which also reciprocates in the taste itself, but not much else honestly.

Some gloves, grassy hops, a mild sweetness on the backnotes and a little burn of carbonation that comes with a big gulp. Overall, very silky and tasty. A good beer from Goose Island, but probably one I would not track down again. There's just too much beer, unfortunately and if you can't finish it all in one go, it's a waste of a nice beer. A 6 pack or maybe a 500ml single bottle or can and I would love to stock my fridge up, but as it stands now, it's a nice beer that I would take if offered or on sale, but probably wouldn't buy regularly.

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Photo of dcotom
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a tulip glass. Spice and yeasts on the nose. Quite complex flavor profile, with clove predominant and some malt sweetness and alcohol warmth on the finish. Very impressed with the overall quality amd drinkability. If you like Belgian ales, don't pass up this fine offering from GI.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 2.79. Bottled 5/27/14. Served in a long stemmed Goose Island goblet.

Pours a cloudy burnt orange with about an eighth finger pale head. There is an attractive, rising effervescence along sides and making "blistery pockets" in the clouds of surface retention. The healthy collar leaves only a few sparce specks of lace.

This smells mighty funky with notes of hay, citrus and faint clove-like spice on top of the familiar earthy, farmy Brett funk.

Flavors of old citrus pulp, wet hay, earthy yet fruity Brett funk, faint clove and white peppercorns. The Brett brings some pleasant fruit notes to the seemingly basic base.

Dry feel, on the lighter side of medium body with an appropriately zesty carbonation. Finishes with hay, earth and dry, funky fruity notes.

Matilda has held up well after almost a year and a half. The Brett has developed nicely but there is still something missing from the base to really help it shine.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into tulip

A: very light Amber dirty gold in color smallish dense head that goes to a film good clarity

S:clove, light banana, some lemon, a little grassy with some pepper

T: light clove and banana with a light bready maltiness and a touch of alcohol

M: very soft on the tongue makes the beer feel mellow

O: pretty good beer not overpowering with the spices or clove the alcohol taste was a little surprising I would drink this again but not go out of my way .

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,236 ratings.