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Matilda - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,925 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,925
Reviews: 1,152
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 183
Gots: 565 | FT: 13
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,925 | Reviews: 1,152 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aranheaney
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought this on a hunch, had never had it, but have great respect for the craft of the folks at Goose Island, very glad the hunch paid off...

My 4 pack ( $ 11.99) was produced on 10-21-09 and includes that it is good for up to five years from bottling

A-beautiful, hazy orange, it looks interesting from the first impression

S-very interesting, at first some fruit (maybe apricot), as it warms more caramel and almost a cognac-like hint

T-really nice, the fruit comes through, but there is a superior depth that separates this from most

M-awesome, from start to finish this is clearly not your normal brew

D-while definitely not a session beer, one that I will always keep a few around, excellent to finish off a night with, sort of like a brandy/cognac

aranheaney, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of StaveHooks
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy orange copper. Nice strips of lacing.

S - Musty yeast. Pale spicy malt. Slightly citrusy and fruity.

T - Belgain yeast. Tart and crisp. Green apples, sour strawberries. Floral spices along with clove, coriander and nutmeg. A muted hop bitterness to round it out. The finish has a chalky husk character.

M - Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

This reminds me of a Saison. I'm really digging the yeast.
It has wild musty characteristics It finishes nice and dry. Strong work. I wish I could get this in my neck of the woods.

StaveHooks, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of mstyne
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Matilda, 2010. Bottled 08/19/10. Bomber purchased from Beverage mart on NY 66.

A very pleasant clear orange (especially this time of year) with a thick head that vanished quickly. Light carbonation. No lace. Smell is yeasty, sweet, and with a slight twinge of alcohol. Not really pleasant.

Flavor is hard to place. The same alcohol-sweetness pervades start to finish. None of the usual suspects (banana, spice, citrus) seem to make an appearance. No burn however, it's a very smooth sip start to finish.

I believe I actually had this brew in its hometown of Chicago a few years back, and remember enjoying it then. Maybe I got a bad bottle? I might give it another shot.

mstyne, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of hopsbreath
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beers #2 BIF "Bombers". Thanks go out to Jamnescameron.

Bomber #10 poured into a tulip. A nice butter scotch body has about 2 fingers of nutmeg dusted white head. Moderate amounts of lacing shows up as the head dissipates.

The nose has me thinking that this is a sour of some kind. Lactic, vanilla, grape, and citrus are easily detected on the nose.

Tastes a little tart, some tropical, creamy raspberry, and some peach (brett?). Very well integrated and interesting.

Mouthfeel is moderate but not gummy. This is low on the carbonation but not adversely so.

Drinkability is pretty good. I would drink this more if it was available by me.

hopsbreath, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of nrbw23
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy copper orange color with a fairly small white head. Head has good retention and leaves some good lacing.

S- Smells of tart fruits (pineapple/green apple) and biscuit.

T- More grainy biscuit, tart fruits, and a very mild bittering finish.

M- Probably the lighter side of medium in body and good carbonation with a creamy finish.

D- Pretty good and easy to drink.

nrbw23, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of afinepilsner
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz brown bottle

Matilda was orange in color and cloudy. It had a beige head that soon became a thin cap, but remained to the end. The aroma was fruity with some spice. The taste was fruit, yeast, and sweet malt. The finish was dry. The mouthfeel was nice; a medium body with medium-high carbonation, sort of creamy. Drinkabity was very good. This is a nice beer and worth a try.

afinepilsner, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of DaveHS
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Hazy, rusty orange with a quarter inch of off-white head.

S-Brett, fruity esters.

T-Lovely. The body and malt character of a Belgian amber ale, with a brettanomyces funk that rivals Orval. The sweetness in the finish is undercut by light bittering hops. A really well put together beer.

M-Light to medium bodied, with moderate carbonation

D- Considering the price and quality, very high.

DaveHS, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass, with a big thanks to Jeff (Alewatcher) for this (hopefully!) lactic-infused take on an old-favorite.

Pours bright copper, clear, with a thin, creamy off-white cap on top that lasts nicely. Pretty good retention and lacing.

Nose is the first hint of something a bit different. Some of the signature Bretty goodness is there, with a bit of a barnyardy citrus kick to it that gives it away, and just a hint of what seems like acidic sourness adding just a bit of brightness as well.

Taste is really, really interesting. Hugely fruity, bright, barnyardy, with just a bit of knife-edge acidic sharpness providing a nice brashness to it that's unexpected. I think if this was allowed to go on too much longer, it could get a bit metallic. As it is now, the big bretty notes pairing with the underlying, slightly unrefined acidity really creates something interesting, brighter and probably more intense for sure. I'm not sure that it's an improvement over the standard Matilda, but very different and interesting.

Mouthfeel is a bit fluffy, medium bodied, with a lingering barnyardy mustiness that just sits on the palate afterward, which is just a bit of a hit on drinkability.

JohnQVegas, Sep 23, 2010
Photo of generallee
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

generallee, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.72/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A clear copper-orange like color with a very minimal head and visable carbonation. The head is about 1/2 finger, creamy in texture, and disappears to just a pin stripe around the glass leaving no lace.

S: First thought that came to mind is the Belgian yeast with a slight hop aroma balanced with some fruits (apple & pear) and spices (cinnamon & clove). As it warms up you smell less clove and more yeast.

T: A wonderful and complex flavor of clove, honey, apples, and Belgian yeast. A perfect balance between the hops and malts resulting in a great beginning, middle, and end. Finishes dry and warm. As it warms up, you taste less yeast and more spices.

M: A medium body with lively carbonation and juicy texture.

D: I wish they sold these near us. Absolutely wonderful and easy to drink. One of the best Belgian Strong Pale Ales I've ever had.

BrewCrew2010, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of aasher
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one pours a rich, burnt auburn in color with a light white head. It's somewhat translucent and medium bodied. The smell is full of yeast with some ethanol. The taste is perfect in my opinion. It's got the perfect combination of yeast, subtle sweetness, and alcohol. It drinks very smoothly and I see no reason to stop at one, or two, or three. It's delicious and excellent on tap or from the bottle. It gets even better with time.

aasher, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Off tap and served to me in a red wine glass at the Chicago O'hare airport this beer was a hazy, tangerine and amber color. The head was one finger of khaki colored head, the retention was good and it left lacing in sliding bands. The aroma was of boozy esters, citrus zest, candi sugar and tropical fruit. The flavors were an interesting, spicy blend of boozy esters, citrusy hops, candi sugar, some fruity esters and then a strong, hoppy finish. It reminded me at first taste more of a Belgian Dark Ale until that bitter finish came through. Still, it was tasty and on-point. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth, the body full/medium and the carbonation perfect. Tap beer was made for beers like this.

thekevlarkid, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled March 17th, 2010. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

Persimmon liquid with lighter orange highlights, topped by a small magnolia head which while thin is dense and creamy. Rich sandy lacing and glassy legs. Superior retention.

Banana pie and sourdough biscuit aromatics arise from the yeast, along with Saaz hops in the nose. The Brett. hasn't really taken hold at this young age, and there is minimal funk at present.

White pepper, nectarine, sourdough, rock candy, and clean noble hop bitterness on the palate. Tart and sweet esters and hops dominate at first, but the finish becomes phenolic, dry, and earthy (this latter character coming from the Brett. I think). There is also a low medicinal/herbal note in the aftertaste. Very nice flavor profile.

Creamy, moderately effervescent, medium-bodied mouthfeel.

A well balanced example of the style, which lacks the complexity of its model (Orval)...though probably worth aging some to see how the Brett. takes hold.

augustgarage, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of mexikrainian
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Piraat tulip.

Appearance: copper-amber with minimal head and non-existent lacing.

Aroma: spice, malty, grassy and mild fruity sweetness.

Taste: gently hoppy, hints of apple, citrus, slightly spicy and malty.

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with high carbonation.

Overall impression: a bit dry in my mind, but enjoyable once in awhile. not my favorite.

mexikrainian, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of sitarist
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a orange sunset color...lots of bubbles rising up to a top-coating...not much head or lacing to speak of; beautiful color though.

I smell pears, sour-dough, wet dog, and bubble-gum...Sweet and fruity with funk and spicy undertones...this is really nice!

The flavors are complex and mixed well...pears, bubble-gum, band-aids, pepper, clove, circus-peanuts,etc...

Medium body, dry, a bit warm on my tongue, the carbonation fizzes out quick.

I could enjoy a few glasses of this...blindfolded Id say this were a Belgian beer.

sitarist, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - this lady pours a dark brown root beer color with a half finger of white head that slowly fades to a ring, fed by steady carbonation streams

S - a natural sweetness in the aroma with a woodiness to it, almost like birch or sassafrass

T - a treacle/caramel/toffee flavor is noticeable at first on the tongue, some bready malts and light hops round out the aroma

M&D - like her sister Sofie, Matilda needs to mature a bit and the other bottles will get that, its a little raw at this time and this review will be edited at that time

sinstaineddemon, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very nice golden color with a nice white head

S: Fruits and hops with some spice

T: Fruity, spice, bubblegum, Belgian yeast

M: Good carbonation, nice feel with a bit of spice, fruits and a champagne like carbonation

D: Very good overall. Liked this brew alot

barleywinefiend, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of bilyboy65
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has a bottled date of 1/15/10. I don't have any cellaring experience with this beer so I don't know if that affected it.

I definitely didn't like this as much as when I had it in the brewpub. Still has all the essence of the draft, but none of the pizazz.

A: Still really good amber color. No head retention and no carbonation.

S: Very sweet and malty. Slight hints of caramel and hops. Some banana and yeasty scents remain as well.

T: More hoppy on the tongue. The malts and banana aren't far behind. The complexities are there and detectable, but not in any great fashion.

M: Full body beer does nothing to entice me to drink more. Especially with the lack of carbonation.

D: Still a very good beer and very enjoyable, but it just doesn't seem to hold water to the freshness on draft.

bilyboy65, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Goose Island Matilda
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a Smuttynose tulip glass

Pours a hazy burnt orange with a mini head on top. Little spots of sticky lace decorate the tulip glass.

A floral and funky nose with whiffs of Belgian yeast, apple cider and spicy hops.

Alright, we got a hybrid of sorts kinda beer. Belgian yeast funk meets hoppy finish. Citrus backbone with lemon zest and orange juice sweetness with a grassy & spicy hop profile on the finish. A blend of complexities with each sip that become more pronounced as the beer warms to room temperature. I like the "dryness" this beer has too on the finish.

I must admit, this beer becomes more enjoyable with each sip. At first, the profile attacks the palate. I'd really like to pair this up with some interesting cheeses.

Hibernator, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of Mosstrooper
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint Glass.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat cloudy ruby-orange in color with a small off-white, slightly orange-tinted head that dissipates slowly and leaves behind a fairly thick ring of lace.

Smell: Sweet and spicy cinnamon is dominant with Some other fruity hints.

Taste: Begins with a sweet and slightly sour apple flavor, finishing with spicy cinnamon and a bit of sourness and tropical fruit flavors left on the tongue. Very sweet and spicy throughout.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with farily heavy carbonation and a slightly dry finish..

Drinkability: I really like this beer- it has some of the most unique flavors I have seen in any beer, almost like a gingerbread cookie. Definitely a one-of-a-kind brew, and not necessarily the best beer I've had, but certainly a very good one I would be more than happy to have again.

Mosstrooper, Aug 21, 2010
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle shared and poured into a snifter.
A: A golden orange body, the head is wispy, that sinks into a foamy layer. Lacing is patchy thought glass.

S: Coriander and clove spices, with a hint of alcohol. A pleasant yeast note is also found.

T/M: A sweet blend of orange, pear and spices. Mouthfeel is slightly thick, but very smooth on the way down. A bit of a Belgian burnt note is on the finish. As brew warms, all complex flavors marry into a bold definitive taste.

D: I find this to be a easy drinking beer, a nice balance of flavors and the palate is calling back for more attempts to denote all flavors. Get GI brew.

GDBEERMAN, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of StephenRich
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Goose Island's Brewmaster, Greg, claims to miss the old world funk and farmhouse flavors in modern beers. Way back in the day Belgian beers traditionally had a wild sense of flavor and vigor due to less sanitary and less precise brewing methods. The elimination of this has created cleaner, clearer and more refined beers, but some would also argue that it produces beers with less character and flavor. Greg happens to be one of them.

The Matilda is a Belgian Style Pale Ale that has been brewed and fermented with a Belgian Yeast strain, and then after fermentation is done, it is re-fermented completely with brettanomyces (brett), a wild Belgian yeast that is feared by some and adored by others. Brett is a bit of a maniac of a yeast. It produces massive activity in the beer, and creates a dizzying range of flavors everywhere from tart to sweet - common flavors in beer fermented with brett are characterized as funky, farmhouse, lemon rind, rotten apple and more. Sound appetizing? It is definitely a specific taste, but those who like it, love it. Like me!

The brett creates spontaneous flavors in the Matilda that remain in its bottle, this way the beer can continue to mature and age over time building in character and refinement. It is given a usage date of 5 years, but supposedly is wondrous after even more. I'd believe it. This isn't a big bad Belgian Strong Ale here; it is a classically wild Belgian Pale Ale. It is 7%, has a relatively simple malt bill, uses basic hops, and has a reasonable 32 IBUs. But what you get is character - real Belgian character.

I opened the Matilda on the upper range of cold around 7C (45F) and poured it into a few tulip glasses. I like these Belgian Pale Ales both cool and quenching, and at cellar when they are smooth - so starting it cooler allows me to enjoy the best of all worlds. The pour was very smooth and less lively than I expected from a beer fermented and conditioned with brett. It created a copper orange beer with amber browns, gold, and cream hues that settled gently into an opaque and hazy beer. A sturdy and airy off white, eggshell colored head stood intently 2 inches above the beer.

The nose was clearly exactly what they were looking for - hugely complex with spice and funky dried fruits, gentle pale malts, juicy caramel, hay field, touches of spicy fresh hops, and that distinct farmhouse aroma from the brett. This is not for everyone, but I love it. It comes to play wearing its game face, without a worry of being judged, and shows its colors right away. This is what it should be; its not a funk powerhouse, but it is perfectly rustic.

The flavor of this beer is smooth, soothing, quenching, juicy and dry all at onces. This is the type of complexity and range that I look for in these Belgian-Style Pale Ales. The beer rolls easily onto your tongue with smooth pale malt sweetness and a complex slew of spice and sugary tart malt. Spice is not dominant, it is more just a seasoning in the background, I think contributed mostly from Saaz hops.

In smooth waves, gentle flavors of dried apples, apricots, sweet lemon peel, grass and caramel malt open themselves into your cheeks and fill your mouth. Now as a juicy and mouthwatering flavor has engulfed your palate, the classic dry and funky flavors of brett begin to lay claim to your senses. The dried fruit flavors begin to show a touch of funk, earth and yeast. Spice becomes dryer, and hops begin to show greater bitter character.

The whole beers seems to have transformed into a quenching farmhouse beer - but they key is the balance. It is not overly rough, to funky, or terribly tart. Sweet malts balance the brett with ease. The mouthfeel is gentle with a tight carbonation that is soft on the palate, and there is a near perfect balance of soft malt sweetness, floral fruits, and hop bitterness. The yeast has contributed a masterful range of funky fresh flavors and the beer end up winning the game for you.

This is an excellent beer to both introduce you into the world of funky beers, as well as for the existing beer connoisseur. It is elegantly complex with freshly rustic flavors of the old world. I would enjoy this with anything spicy, seafood, or wash rind cheeses.

StephenRich, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of chickencoop
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Ledgers/ Berkeley, won of the better beer stores in the Bay Area. Always stayed away from Goose Island, based on the partnership with Bud, stupid me. This is a very drinkable, nice bready malto-meal beer that goes down way to easy at 7%. Unique yeast adds to the flavor?? Good beer, will drink again.

chickencoop, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of OtisinAZ
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was the 2010 batch.

pours a hazy orange/amber body with minimal head.

smell of strong Belgian yeast and some dried fruits.

taste was sour and somewhat hot. not much hop bitterness.

this one may have been to young to drink now, gonna cellar the rest and go from there.

OtisinAZ, Aug 11, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice Belgium styled ale.

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist off bottle. Simple and elegant label with a styled font highlighting the name of the brew over a light cream background. Front notes highlights style and vintage (2009). Back shows aging recommendation, bottling date (10-21-2009), and Alc. by Vol. (7%) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy pale amber pour, with a medium frothy head, short retention, little surface memory and lacing.

S - Yeasty, spicy, and sweet nose. Clove, and touches of lemon punctuate a sweet sense.

T - Sweet malty range with a distinct Belgium yeast sense, spicy notes of clove, pepper with a honey touch in the finish alongside a boozy hint.

M - Medium body with medium-low carbonation and a fair crisp touch in the finish over an otherwise creamy sense.

D - Nice drink, feels like quality and offers a nice range to make it well above the average.

Notes: Now, this is far more remarkable than some of the other Belgium precedents from Goose Island I´ve tried. This is certainly more on par with the quality experienced in some of their brews. Maybe nothing extraordinary but it is quite recommendable.

Daniellobo, Aug 11, 2010
Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 3,925 ratings.