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Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
1,248 Reviews
For Trade:

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: 1,248 | Ratings: 4,632
Photo of NEdward
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up needing a beer that was summery and Belgian while not being too light or too complex. copper body, minimal white head. very floral nose: fruit esters, dark Belgian sweetness, some hop bitterness, alcohol. taste follows from the nose, a balanced palette without any one flavor predominating (Belgian notes were definitely only given so much room to develop, presumably by the equally restrained hops). was surprised by the pervading - though not at all unpleasant - alcohol presence. Finish isn't protracted, with the Belgian nature of the beer remaining at almost unnoticeable level. Very pleasant.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

No label information. Brewed in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale with Brettanomyces. Available in 12 oz. bottled 4 packs and in 750ml. bottles. This is the 2013 vintage release.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy frothed head of a pastel white tone over a moderately hazy golden amber body with speckled sediment in tow and light carbonation. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4.25

(Smell) Pale and bread malts with a moderate impact of brettanomyces, generating a moderate funk, some soft sourness and rich, ripe fruit juice characters. Potency is moderate. 4

(Taste) Pale malts with a reserved sweetness, some slight bread body character, and subtle brettanomyces activity, very light, with small order of fruit, funk and sourness notable, highly drinkable and enjoyable, with delicate and graceful brettanomyces and yeast characteristics make for an enjoyable drinking experience. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly chewy, clean, medium dry. Carbonation is full, generating a medium frothiness and a briskly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of medium overall. Balance is nearly even sweet to tangy, fruit and acidity. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A solid Brettanomyces Pale Ale that does a great job at achieving balance while maintaining high drinkability. Matilda’s Brettanomyces character is one of the best developed examples that I’ve experienced in a beer, offering full fruit character and abundant acidity and tanginess without choking out the balance of the beer. Another well-crafted and regularly available gem by Goose Island. I recommend giving a couple of your bottles some time to mature as they have done so in my case quite gracefully. 4

Goose Island Brewing Co.’s
Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale

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

Current vintage ('16) on draft.

Pours a crisp orange color with a nice white head.

Lots of yeast in the aroma with notes of apricots and floral tones.

Flavor was initially some apricot and floral notes. Gives way to a very spicy yeast finish.

Feel was appropriate for the style. Crisp and light.

Overall a very nice belgian strong ale. One of the better american interpretations of the style.

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Photo of Jraiona
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 2015 650 ml into a tulip. Poured a beautiful hazy Amber/copper with a fair head. Definite aroma and taste of yeast, I am learning but assume the yeasty smell I pick up is the Brett. On the palate it had a nice level of hopiness without being overly bitter. It was crisp and quite drinkable and pleasant.

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Photo of mgwagman
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice head, good froth and some lacing. Taste of citrus, wheat, coriander. Middle taste is funky maybe too heavy on the yeast I am not sure what it is but I can certainly taste it. Not a bad wheat beer, but not perfect.

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Photo of Act25
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I rate this about as I rate Sofie. Great Belgian style value for the buck. Try 24.

A: One finger of white head on a copper Mahogany hazy body, tiny bits of lace.

S: Wood, cedar, oak, citrus and orange rind with a deep Belgian must..

T: Follows smell, but more wood, incense, spice, and complexity. Corriander, orange citrus, Belgian yeast and toasted biscuits.

M: Tawny, medium body, with a real honey syrup feel, and moderate carbonation. Culminating in peppery, semi-dry finish.

Overall: Strong ale is right. Up there with Arrogant Bastard and Triples. It's a complex beer. One of the better beers from Goose.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Just too much funkiness for this guy... Pours a slightly orange-yellow with thin white top - looks okay. Smell is pungent - is this bret? overwhelming the Belgian yeast and zesty, spiciness. Flavor follows similarly, eventually by the end of the bottle getting used to the funk, but never fully enjoying. Mouthfeel is as expected. Won't get this one again.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Deep veiled dark golden color with thick storming activity and floating detritus. Frothy beige 2 finger head, lasting around 10 minutes, with nice legs. Flavors of oak, oka cheese, banana yeast, lemon, orange, apples, pears, grapefruits, sweet grains, caramel, herbal spices. Thick fruity sweetness with a sharp sour feel. Smooth light body with crispy carbonation. Medium to strong strength finish, dry tongue coating ester fruits and citrus, thick malty and yeasty feel, with a nice barrel aged effect and bit of clove and codiander. Highly boozy and vinous yet fresh and well balanced. Quite delicious and very complex. Would serve this as an appetizer being a little bold. Overall superb quality craft.

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Photo of KevCan
4.81/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bought two loose 12 oz. bottles from Giant in Arlington, VA. Bottled on Feb 16, 2016. Poured into a tulip glass.

Look: Copper and slightly hazy with a healthy head.

Smell: Smells predominantly of Brettanomyces yeast. A bit fruity and sour smelling.

Taste: Perfect balance of sweet and sour, fruity and tart. Flavorful without being overwhelming. Delicious! From the name "pale ale", I was expecting some hoppy bitterness, but it's very subtle in that regard.

Feel: Medium body and medium carbonation.

Overall: Superb!

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

APPEARANCE: A rich, hazy amber/orange with a finger + of off white head that slowly settles to a thin layer. Plenty of visible carbonation rising and moderate lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Big floral notes, tart green apple, some slight clove, tart/sour lemon.
TASTE: A pleasant bit of sourness or tart quality right away...green apple and lemon, to me. Just enough sweetness to balance out that tart quality.
FEEL: Medium body, strong carbonation, and fairly dry through the entire sip.
OVERALL: A nice brew. I think a good sipper because the flavor is complex enough to make you think about what this reminds you of, different fruits, etc...

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

Light copper color with some crud floating about. Light tan to off white head. The aroma is overripe bananas and apples cider with yeast esters. There is some sweetness that reminds me of caramel. The taste is the same as the nose with apple cider, clove and yeast. This is a really nice beer.

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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. I shared a bomber with a friend and, then, we miraculously went and played good tennis.

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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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,248 ratings.