1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Matilda - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,216 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,216
Reviews: 1,191
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 12.13%
Wants: 208
Gots: 746 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 4,216 | Reviews: 1,191
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.69/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

Photo of aasher
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of mexikrainian
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of sitarist
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.35/5  rDev -17.1%
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

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -1%
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

Photo of bilyboy65
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of Hibernator
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of StephenRich
4.14/5  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.

Photo of chickencoop
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of OtisinAZ
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Woderful orange dark golden color with little head little lacing.

S: Malty with a bit of floral notes at end, dark fruits as cherries or plums.

T: spice carmel toasted malt with slightly alchohol hints.

M: medium body with nice carb level and a warming taste of alchohol.

D: Very drinkable a nice Belgian.

Year 1
Vertical tasting from last year slightly new and different flavors and aromas.

A: Dark straw and nice thin cap of tan, slight lacing, color of honey.

S: Caramels and raisins with a slight touch of honey.

T: Cotton candy caramel honey raisin bready crust very nice.

M: Still a medium bodied great carbonation level.

O: Cant wait for next year for another vertical tasting of this beauty.

Photo of Duttonic
3.37/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an over sized wine glass.

A- Copper/amber, no head, cloudy, medium bubbling.

S- Peaches, malty, dark fruit, light caramel, spicy.

T/M- Honey, dark fruit, red apple, really smooth, like whip cream texture.

D- Not my favorite for the style, but I am definitely going to try it again. I wish I had bought more than one. Really interesting taste that differs from the smell, but should definitely be tried.

Photo of ltjska04
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my chalice, this beer is a deep amber and very clear. No head really but a ring of foam around the edges with an oil-slick-looking film. The smell of Belgian yeast wafts up and is supported with a hint of clove. Clean and inviting.

The taste is a bit light with the malt sweetness registering in the finish. It's not as "Belgian-tasting" as the smell would suggest. Admittedly I haven't had many Belgian-style beers but this one doesn't have as much yeast flavor.

The mouthfeel is good if not a little more carbonated than I would like. Despite this, Matilda is a very enjoyable beer that I could have a few of. Its subtle flavor and light feel promote further drinks. Goose Island has a winner here.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.42/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with one finger of off white head that recedes to a layer on the surface and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is aromatic malt, honey, roasted marshmallows, some banana and a bit of spice.

Taste is malt, some caramel and a hint of dark fruit. There is something amiss here... almost doughy and just not right. The finish has some malt, brief caramel and a mild tartness with a bit of metallic taste.

Mouthfeel is moderate with about average carbonation. Doesn't coat the mouth well.

Overall this beer is good, drinkable, but not great. Some of the flavors just don't work together for me and the finish is thin.

Photo of ebin6
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Not much head to speak of. Hope that I didn't pour it too cold (actually checked the goose island website and it recommended 40 degrees...should be good). Drinking it from my NB tulip and there is a hearty pool of carbonation in the middle

S - Subtle, sweet malt smell with some funk (barnyard in a good way). Primarily though it is a very spicy nose

T - Very spicy with some sweetness underneath. Very complex and superbly balanced

M - Hits the roof of the mouth nicely and the spiciness tingles the lips for a good 5 seconds after imbibing

D - Extremely drinkable; the taste never gets old and at 7% it is not too much to have a few more

Photo of wspscott
3.12/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip (2010 edition)

A: A dark amber color, way too dark to be a Belgian pale ale. Pours with a nice head that drops almost immediately to a thin film on the surface, leaves no lace.
S: Belgian yeast spiciness (black pepper and cloves are prominent) along with some raisins and darker caramel, reminds me of a dubbel vs a pale ale.
T: Belgian yeast in the front along with a little bit of sweetness, there is a little bit of dark dried fruits (raisins and prunes). Some hop's bitterness in the back. A little bit of alcohol heat.
M: A little too "round" for the style, again it reminds me more of a dubbel. A relatively low amount of carbonation for the style, but enough to keep it from being cloying.
D: This is a good beer, but a poor example of the style if you take Duvel as the epitome. I don't mind drinking it, but I don't have too much desire to open another one right now. Worth trying, but don't expect a Belgian Pale Ale.

original review (4/6/2007)
12oz bottle in pint glass (Bottled on 7/27/05)
original numbers (4,3,3,3,3)
Pour a hazy orangish/amber color with a lot of carbonation, very thick (1in) creamy head. There are little brown specks that I assume is yeast that was dislodged as I poured. There is a slight "belgian" nose but it is not very strong. The taste is obviously related to belgian style ale but, there is a slight bitter malt (almost metallic) flavor at the back of my tongue, not what I associate with Belgian ales. The spicy flavors seem to be muted, I am wondering if there has been some oxidation, maybe that would explain the brown specks. This is a nice beer and there is enough going on that I would like to try another but, this specific bottle seems to be lacking. I hate twist-off tops for a beer like this.

Photo of Bubba83
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip at 45 degrees or so. A nice tawny orange color that glows when held to the light. A vigorous pour provided me a very thin ring of eggshell white head that dissipated very quickly and left nary a ring around the edges of the glass. No lacing.

Smells a lot different than other Belgian Strong Pales have, there's a kind of deadened floral character that seems a little limp, alcohol, and a good deal of spice. I'm used to the aroma being more subtle but vibrant, whereas this was kinda in my face and yet not "bright".

A lot going on in the flavor department. Brown sugar, kind of a beefy warming alcoholic cherry undertone that ramps up into other milder fruits like apple, pear and apricot. A good deal of funk exists here too that is somewhat inexplicable, almost reminds me of some of the sharper brett qualities. Finishes up with a little bit of heat and peppery tones, but not the classic black pepper I am used to, it's more, well, dusty I guess? Such a hard profile to describe.

Mouthfeel is a little wetter than I'd like it to be for the style, and is also hampered for me by the lack of head. The viscosity seems about right, if not a little heavy. The carbonation is okay despite the lack of head.

I don't find this one very refreshing. There's sort of a common theme going on with Goose Island's belgian styles that I'm not a fan of overall. It's sort of like the yeast they use doesn't attenuate very well. If it was drier it would be easier to drink. There's also a surprising amount of alcohol in the profile even though it's only 7% Not a bad attempt, and I dig the flavors, but overall it's not what I had hoped for.

Photo of Lolli1315
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A golden amber with a small head that holds decently. Some lacing on the glass as the body is slightly murky.

S- Medicinal and malty aromas start the beer as dark fruits come through with slight hints of alcohol finishing out the smell.

T- The medicinal phenols and malty aromas once again take a prominent start in the taste. The phenols slightly fade as tart apples heighten and take hold of the profile as some other citrus fruits help to heighten the sweetening taste. Alcohol becomes more apparent at the end of the beer creating a slight warming sensation.

M- Crisp carbonation and medium body make this a very refreshing beer.

D- Nice to sip over the course of the meal, keeps you wanting more.

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

Picked this one up in Fort Collins recently. Pours a nice medium golden color, with a fairly big, fluffy white head. Nice aromas, yeast, golden applies, pears and slight citrusy hops. Spicy, a little tart and fruity on the palate. A pretty solid offering.

Bought another bottle today...upon further reflection, I have revised a couple scores upward. The brett seems a little more pronounced in this one, and the beer is a little more interesting.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
90 out of 100 based on 4,216 ratings.