Matilda - Goose Island Beer Co.

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4,356 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,356
Reviews: 1,236
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 224
Gots: 859 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2003

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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,356 | Reviews: 1,236
Reviews by CZs:
Photo of CZs
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Poured into 8oz tulip glass. Unique warm orange/amber color. Medium carbonation.

Smell: Reminds me of a Belgian amber. I would like to sit this side by side with a Rare Vos and compare notes. I get a little Saison like farmhouse smell mixed in there with bready, slight bubble gum notes. Very pleasant to the nose. Not one aroma stands out - but it presents a "huh, I get a nice blend of numerous things." I think this separates what Belgian breweries produce v. what some U.S. breweries try to attempt - Complexity v. one predominant aroma and/or flavor. Neither is wrong, but having that complexity is what puts this right in the same league as the originals.

Taste: For me, it tastes like it smells - only I get a D-45 like taste in the background I didn't get in the smell. Without researching, I'd almost say they used 3-5% of Special B in here. Excellent, easy drinking taste. The appearance is a little deceiving - goes down more easily than an Amber style - they got a pale with a touch of amber, orange style Saison although slightly lower carbonation in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: I get dry, I get silky - a not often found combination outside of water infused with silica or ginger ale.

Overall: Goose Island Beer Co. is becoming my close second in terms of favorite American breweries next to Ommegang. I've had their Nut Brown, Pepe Nero, Sophie and now Matilda - all of which I "really like to love." If you aren't familiar with their brews, I suggest trying them out - very diverse selection for those that enjoy a wide spectrum of brews.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, nearly four years old. Thanks, Kevin. Matilda pours a foggy copper outlined with some lighter brushings of amber at the edges. Though at first glance it may appear completely opaque, it has the lightest bit of translucency as I can see a faint silhouette of my hand on the other side of the glass. No head - just white, wispy collar. Not a huge surprise given the age of the brew.

The aroma is quite a bit different than I was expecting, but nearly better in every way. Heavy notes of dru, musky funk and an undeniable barrel-presence that oversees the whole process. Damp cellar, dirty cobwebs, and barnyard floor all come to mind when sniffing this funky brew. It's not without it's tart offset, though - generous helpings of lightly acetic vinegar, harsh apple skins, and lemon juice add a touch of tartness and combat the funk for center stage.

I'm already pretty impressed with the aroma, and the first sip keeps things rolling. A substantially dry and cheesecloth-y funk is the first flavor to run out of the gate, but it's quickly followed up with abrupt apple skins that play the fine-line between tart and astringent just a bit. Lemon, vinegar, and heavy tannins play hard mid-palate and add nice complexity to this Belgian style brew.

Matilda is pretty damn spritzy and effervescent on the palate, biting the tongue on all sides and really projecting the flavors forward with each and every sip. The nice tart spikes that sift through the mostly-funky static are really enjoyable, especially considering that I wasn't expecting much of anything from this beer. The finish is full of more tannin and dry oak, making the barrel-aging known and clearing your palate for each successive sip.

Very nice brew. I haven't had one fresh, so I don't know what four years has done to this brew, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. Quite a nice mixture of funkiness and tartness, never leaning too heavily towards one side, though the funk may have the lead by just a nose. If you've had this fresh and didn't like it, I recommend sitting on it for a while.

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of the 750ml and into the Maredsous chalice like a king at supper.

Quite nice. Not nice like seeing a Victoria's Secret receipt on your girls kitchen table "nice," but nice enough. The appearance shines bright like an apricot tree while on acid, yet that's more or less the highlight of the experience. Like your last ex, flavors are there, and they're not, and the mouthfeel is a bit watery.

Overall, it's aite, but, yeah...bye!

Photo of thehyperduck
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

765 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; bottled June 27 2014. A friend shared a bottle of this with me in May 2013 (originally submitted as a 'had'), but I neglected to post a review at the time. I enjoyed it enough to consider it worth revisiting. Served at cellar temperature.

This one foamed up a bit when I popped the cap, but in more of an 'oozing lava flow' manner than an 'angry geyser' one. Once it settled down and I got the pour off, I was presented with a hazy golden-orange coloured brew, with visible floaties slowly hovering through the liquid. The white head is dense; about a half-inch thick and quite creamy-looking, though not very long-lasted at all. After only a few minutes, it has wilted into a filmy cap and thin collar, with some spindly lace strands left clinging to the glass. Not the most visually-appealing BSPA I've ever looked at, but the aroma gets things back on track - some musty, funky acetic tartness is the most noticeable facet, but this is merely the loudest voice in a chorus. Notes of lemon, wet hay, apple skin, apricot, bubblegum and floral hops combine to produce a seriously enticing bouquet.

The flavour profile is similarly complex, with a nice blend of orchard fruit notes - including red apple, orange, pear and apricot - starting things off smoothly. Candi sugar, bubblegum and a vague hint of banana are next in line, alongside some grainy, doughy malt goodness. The latter half of the profile is dominated by funky, tart acetic notes, with grassy hay and accents of lemon citrus peel, clove and yeast. Finishes relatively dry, with a slight tinge of ethanol - not exactly noticeable enough to be outright warming, but detectable nonetheless. Medium-full in body, with weak carbonation levels for the style - this is not a feature I recall from my last sampling - possibly a characteristic of this year's batch, or maybe just a storage/handling issue. Regardless, the beer itself tastes fine.

Final Grade: 4.07, an A-. Goose Island's Matilda is an interesting strong Belgian pale ale, but in my opinion it doesn't compare with the real titans of this style - and having had two bottles of this from different vintages, I feel pretty comfortable stating that. The Brettanomyces provides a unique background tartness, and overall I must say that I do really enjoy this beer - but it's still no Duvel or Don de Dieu. Pretty good stuff; there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be drinking this again at some point.

Photo of monkeybeerbelly
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just realized that somehow I never reviewed this one. An excellent example of the style. I like this one with at least a year on it to really bring our the Brett flavor. I call this the poor man's orval

Photo of don1481
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Just picked it up from the grocery store, so no refrigeration.

Appearance: Golden with a bit of haze and a nice, steady stream of bubbles. Poured with about a finger-width of foam at the top. Foam does a nice job of lingering, but not obnoxiously so.

Smell: Definitely... different. Get the bananas, cloves... I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Is this the "funk" that others are talking about? Interesting and complex, to say the least.

Taste: VERY complex. Yeasty, sweat, and with a hint of hops all in one sip. I keep having to drink this thing down just to be able to try and figure out all the different flavor notes. I may empty my glass just trying to figure this one out. This is REALLY REALLY delicious - that much I can say.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, and pretty clean. Lingers slightly, but it's not a bad linger by any stretch. Makes me want to drink more of it. Definitely not a bad thing.

Overall: I might down the entire 4 pack I bought tonight. This is disappearing from my glass at a surprising pace. Keeper! It'll be hard to cellar if I buy it because I'll just want to keep drinking it.

Photo of MadScientist
4.69/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: A deep golden beer with excellent clarity. Pours with a finger of fine to rocky, off-white faom that leave fine lacing on the glass.

S: Lots of floral hops and orange aroma with a some black pepper. There is a moderate amount of bubble gum, barn yard brett aroma in there.

T: Fruity and spicy with a touch of honey-like malt sweetness. There is a moderately-low hops bitterness. Some brett funk. Oranges, peaches and black pepper. The balance is a slightly sweet and the finish is medium.

M: Medium bodied with a strong level of carbonation.

O: Exceptional, everything I want in a Belgian Strong like fruit and black pepper without being all that sweet with a satisfying brett character.

12 oz Bottle, bottled on: 07/26/12

Photo of brownbeer
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Nose starts off with bread and subtle brett and a spicy hop note, toffee, and a biscuit dough note that is a little to pronounced for me.

The flavors are very unusual. A kiwi-like fruitiness mid palate, caramel, watermelon, orange, with a slight tart touch. It remains fairly sweet overall.

Not bad, though I would like to try an older bottle to see if the brett comes out more and the flavors synch up a little better.

Photo of kaimcm
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled 03/2006, sampled 05/07

A: gunsmoke and a mild eruption. age and bottle conditioning have produced an agitated beer. medium brown body with amber hue. over fluffy white head. a few splotches, not much.

S: spicey, bready, yeasty. husk and pepper, ginger, a tinge of alcohol and some peach fuzz kinda fruityness. light funk.

T/M: body is light, a bit prickly. over carbonated due to its age, needs to be worked out with agitation and air. softens up with time. very bready and yeasty, almost overly so. lightly fruity, funky, hints of wasabi and soy, starch and salt. a bit spicey but not as present as in the nose. finishes dry and slightly astringent.

D: decent. doesnt offend by any means but doesnt really beg for much more.

overall a nice beer. seems like a solid foundation for a few tweaks and the eventual production of a really nice beer. i wonder how much the age in the bottle has effected it but as i find it, this beer is lacking a complexity, and artistry readily available in other belgian examples.

Photo of sgoodship
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

10oz bottle that was bottled on 10/10/08. Donated to the cause by a friend.

A: Nice clear dark golden color. Plenty of carbonation. Creamy head, great head retention and nice frothy lacing.

S: Yeasty, phenols, fruity pears, almost a wheat dryness

T: Tangy fruitiness like the smell is up front. Goes quickly into a phenolic taste but also some has sweet maltiness. Good amount of hop - very well balanced. Overall flavor is not that complex but seems to be delicate and well done.

M: Smooth creamy mouthfeel. Fuller body than you would expect. Plenty of carbonation that adds plenty of life without the prickly aggression.

D: I am not the biggest fan of Belgian ales but this is a really nice brew. I'd be happy to have it again and I'd love to try it at Goose. I would also be interested to see how this flavor manifests itself over time.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Matilda pours from the bottle a deep orange/peach color with a touch of brown as well. A nice bubbly, foamy half inch of white head develops on top of the brew. Aromas of sour candied fruits hits me initially, apple, pear and lemon. Sweet pale malts collide with an earthy, musty yeast aroma and a mix of some herbal, spicy hops as well. A touch of clove and some pepper. Almost medicinal. Quite an intriguing aroma overall.

First sip brings a sweet, fruity pale maltiness with a blast of earthy, slightly funky yeast. Soured apple juice swirls around with cloves and cracked pepper. Quite fruity in the middle with a touch of herbal, spicy, grassy hops on the way down. The yeast seems to give off a very herbal, floral vibe throught the brew. Good balance between sweet and sour, this is another tasty brew in the GI reserve line.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a strong blast of carbonation that dashes across the palate. Goes down fairly easy at 7% and each sip keeps me coming back for more. I wouldn't mind enjoying a few of these in a sitting. Worth seeking out and trying I'd say.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was a pleasure to drink this beer.
Bottled 1/29/10.
Copper colored, small white head.
Yeasty aroma, candy, fruit, and a bit peppery.
Tart fruit taste, apple, still sweet and yeasty.
The aromas and tastes fit really well together, and made this beer very refreshing and enjoyable.

Photo of gregmoscetti
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fell in love with a girl...

After the very first sip, I couldnt help but be surprised by the b+ that Ms. Matilda was carrying. I can't think of a beer that has been this pleasing to me in a long time. I am not calling it the best beer I have ever had by any means, but of the genre, it is top notch. The taste is calm but complex, the smell is not over powering, its 7% is very well disguised and to top things off, I could drink this beer all summer long. Paired with some fresh fruit and soft cheese, this would be all i need until september

Photo of NWer
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on date: 9/30/10
Poured amber in my Chimay chalice. Nice head retention. Some lace. Nice sweet, yet bold flavors that compliment the style very well. Very pleasant. More of a drinker than a sipper. Smooth and easy to drink. Bought one bottle to try it out but will definitely grab more. Compares favorably with Damnation in my opinion.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark yellow with lots of bubbles and some yeast in suspension.

Sweet and spicy notes.

Complex is too simple a word. Wood, bread, spice, plum, and pale malt.

Good in small doses. Seems more potent than 7%. I'll probably sit on the rest of these a while and see what develops.

Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Bottles 11/15/10; consumed 3/18/11

A - Pours hazy orange with three fingers of light tan head. Head has nice retention.

S - Cloves, yeast, a bit of sweetness and some lemony tartness.

T - Nice hops up front, with a big bready yeast character, followed by cloves, some mild funk, a bit of banana and lemon. Really enjoyable.

M - Nice creamy medium mouthfeel with a good carbonation level. Slight lingering bitterness on the finish.

O - Very nicely balanced flavors and great mouthfeel make this a very enjoyable Belgian pale.

Photo of SunDevilBeer
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meant to grab the Sofie and got this by mistake. Didn't realize it till I got home. Oh well.

Pours a beautiful red amber with a bit of head. Smells like sour apples.

Same sour apples and hot alcohol in the taste which overwhelmed the other subtle flavors that could be there (which are typical for a Belgian strong ale). Odd sweet taste too. Blah.

Drank half of it and dumped the rest. Will pay closer attention to the selection next time! :0)

Photo of TTripp725
2.95/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Just not what i was expecting. The beer had a weird after taste

Photo of generallee
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label has the year (2009) and a "Bottled On" date of 09/18/09. The ABV is listed as 7%. They mention "Belgian Style Ale" on the label but don't say which Belgian style it is.

Appearance: The body has warm reddish orange amber color with a cloudy haze. A thick and tall off white head caps off the beer and makes some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: In the nose I pick up lots of good things. There are notes of spicy and medicinal phenols with tropical fruit, yeast and sweet honey like malt. It also has a light touch of funky earthy hops.

Taste/Palate: On the tongue there is a tasty mix of all the spicy/medicinal and yeast notes with some tropical fruit and honey sweetness. The funky and sweet notes are tempered with a good balance of earthy dry hop spice and bitterness. With its medium to full body I get a slightly different mix of flavor notes each time. The texture is kind of smooth and dry with a nice level of carbonation.

Notes: This is an absolutely wonderful and complex Belgian Style Ale.

Photo of CAC329
1.2/5  rDev -70.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

First Beer i poured down drain ... what a horrible odor and taste and the aftertaste was the worst.

Photo of Jason
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown twist off bottle with a "bottled on" freshness date.

A- Hazed pale orange amber with a thick frothing head

S- Herbal hop oil, slight medicinal phenols raw honey like malt aroma. Lemony, juniper & clove.

T- Great hop character, nice sting of hop bitterness with a flavorful oily finish. Mild phenols bring an herbal almost bark-like flavor. Sweet tropical fruit is light on the palate with a warming ester alcohol ... this mixes well with the pale malt honey-like character. Very flavorful.

M- Hard crispness, solid smoothness within a medium body.

D- Easy to sip, it went down quicker than I anticipated.

This is like a more refined version of De Ranke XXX or Hommelbier. Hands down the best American brewed Belgian Style Pale Ales I have had this year.

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft, pours light almond amber, slight haze with bubbles rising slowly to the top. Frothy tan head, turning slowly to a tiny bubble film. This tasty substance leaves fine, intricate lacing. Nose is mildly of some floral and spicy hops. This is a delicate ale, moderatly hopped, nicely balanced and with a well meshed and subtle Belgian yeast edge mixed in. Light notes of honey, caramel, toffee and piney hops. Nicely crafted B.P.A.

Photo of tigg924
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head, clear, red brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: apple, Belgian spices, caramel

Taste: apple, Belgian spices, caramel, hay, and pear

Mouthfeel: dry, bitter first taste that gets less bitter, light body

Drinkability: Nice and dry with a decent fruit taste. Not bad for the style, but I am unlikely to purchase this again.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, consumed in July 2011.

The beer pours a hazy orange color with a white head. The aroma is very nice. I get some toffee notes, as well as some nice Belgian yeast and cherry notes. There is a little bit of funk and a little bit of tartness in the aroma.

The flavor is more complex than the aroma. I get some leather and funk like you would get from brettanomyces, as well as a lot of juicy cherry notes. There is also a little bit of toffee and some brown sugar mixed in. I get a little oak character, but it is fairly subdued. There is some light tartness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden-orange with bubbly head and lacing that forms and recedes with each sip.

Smell: Tropical fruit, banana, clove, earthy, and slightly tart. A little bit of that wet horse blanket aroma from the Brett.

Taste: Very hoppy, but not in a particularly bitter way. Tropical fruit (pineapple, fleshy fruit), pepper, spice, and an odd (but great) dry earthy mustiness. Complex and I feel inadequate to describe it.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, medium body, very dry.

Drinkability: Nice sipping beer that is a great affordable alternative to Orval. Of course, Orval is still a little better overall.

One of my favorite Goose Island beers, along with Bourbon County Stout and Harvest Ale.

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
90 out of 100 based on 4,356 ratings.