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Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

Educational use only; do not reuse.

740 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 740
Hads: 1,786
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 21.12%
Wants: 270
Gots: 565 | FT: 26
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 02-02-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 740 | Hads: 1,786
Reviews by tonytuffnuts:
Photo of tonytuffnuts
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a tale of two... somethings?
A- it's like the darkest wood-stain I've ever seen, trimmed with a caramel head that settles into a true Imperial Stout ring.

S- Starts rich, dark chocolate, but the aroma of a mulchy hickory really distinguishes the brew. It's beautiful because it's not intentionally engineered to impart that hickory; there's no additive like in a DFH. Eventually, that distinguishing aroma hides behind the chocolate and booze as the brew aerates.

T&M- It's velvety like chocolate fondue at first, ending with a finishing hop core that leaves the taste of cola on the sides of my tongue. As the beer sits throughout this 25 minute experience, the velvet continues to ring true, but a chalky reminder lingers, and the cola rears strong.

D- I can hardly recommend that anyone tackle the bomber alone, as I've learned (11.7% ABV!). The experience falls victim to the beer's audacity after a single glass-full. Nevertheless, it's moved me to reconnect with BA after a 1 year hiatus (if that's any consolation).

Cheers to Goose Island for another champion brew--and a delightfully simple packaging to boot.

 1,134 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/19/2012. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense dark tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, licorice, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/roasted malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, licorice, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, light pine, and roasted earthiness. Light herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, licorice, dark bread, light smoke/char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready/roasted malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with an awesome roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth, creamy, and lightly slick/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible imperial stout. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/roasted malt and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,668 characters

Photo of Zonian1
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2010. Drank it in March, 2015. Smooth, silky. Molasses, a slight peppery taste on the way down. Very little alcohol noticeable despite the 11.7%. The aging worked wonders on this beer.

 200 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

650ml bottle
Served in a snifter
Bottled 11/19/12

This beer is black. It is topped with an inch of tan head with a little lacing.

There is an aroma of dark fruit, roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a hint of anise.

The taste is consistent with the smell. However, an almost burnt taste develops after about half a bottle. There are some intense flavors and may be overwhelming my palate. There is a persistent faded hops taste. It reminds me a little of tea in the background. Then the anise whisks it away.

It is a thick, sticky, viscous brew. Right in my wheelhouse.

This is another hoppy "insert beer style here" beer that I cellared without realizing that it was a hopped up version of the style. It was a good beer regardless, but I bought it within a month of bottling and just got around to drinking two years later. I guess I need quicker turnover and some interns to study all my purchases. I think I'll call my venture Kramerica Industries.

 955 characters

Photo of MNishCT77
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle from a Sat., 12/20/2014 Better Beer Authority Bottle Share (thanks, Zack M.), 2010 vintage (dated "02/19/10 0458"), poured into a BBA snifter glass, drank over 15 minutes

 184 characters

Photo of madelfonatree
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Night Stalker on May 8, 2015

Look - Oily black. Thin tan head. No lacing. Fine bubbles.

Smell - Whiskey. Vanilla. Chocolate.

Taste - Whiskey. Vanilla and chocolate fade to a tootsie roll like taste. Alcohol is there. Tannin finish.

Palate - Thick and creamy. Carbonation doesn't explode.

Overall - It is going to sound blasphemous but it isn't much different than the barrel aged vanilla Dark Lord I had at DLD.

 422 characters

Photo of oberon
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black into a imperial nonic,a frothy mocha colored head atop.An awesome mix of citric hop,chocolate malt,hardwood,and sweet cherries in the nose,a whole lot of good shite goin on.Full on creaminess in the mouth,chewey but smooth,basically perfect in my opinion,it coats but goes down with ease.The hoppiest big stout I have ever had,resiny and woody at the onset,dark fruit and semi sweet chocolate round out the palate,big roast thru the finish.This is everything I expected,just some much good stuff going on,a fantastic beer.

 538 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes crafted a couple of days ago, 12-17-10. Served straight out of the cellar.

Night Stalker appears black with brown and ruby hues along the edges. The head tops off at 1/2 to 3/4 of a finger after a medium pour into a large snifter. A lively swirl of wispy cloud-like subtance on a dark summer night remain atop the body, with a dark brown froth 'round the edge of the glass. Lacing on the glass shows as thick, streaky lines and large dots.

Huge aromas blossom out of the glass, headlined by a rather sherry or bourbon-like liquor scent and big, roasted dark malts. Dark chocolate, caramel, anise, and tart dark fruits lie low in the smell profile. There is a bit of worn leather and some coffee notes in the bouquet, as well.

The alcohol content is very pronounced at the beginning and through the middle of the sip, which couples with some sweet citric flavors of tangerine and lemon. The sweet booze then transitions to rich, creamy flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate, toffe, and caramel which land squarely on the flat of my tongue. That middle, creamy section of the beer lasts for awhile and then rounds into a finish which has a fine semi-bitter coffee and cocoa flavor. I'm really digging how this beer morphs.

The mouthfeel is a ROLLERCOATER! It goes from stinging and sweet on the sides of the palate to syrupy and coating on my tongue to a lasting residual bitterness on all points of my palate. The carbonation is very low, but it fits the total character of the beer perfectly.

Despite the huge contribution of a liquor flavor, I find this beer to be quite drinkable. The booziness is somehow less offensive than it is in some other beers of this high of an a.b.v. It is a delicious treat, and I will certainly purchase it when I am in the mood for a big, badass Imperial Stout.

 1,819 characters

Photo of MadScientist
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was bottled on 03/06/2010
A: Jet black with a creamy dark tan head. The long lasting head leaves lacing on the glass.

S: There is a moderate roast and umami aroma, somewhat like soy sauce but not in a triple bock foul manner. There are light note of bitter chocolate and coffee. A little flowery alcohol some prunes and little else, no hops as well.

T: Bitter chocolate with a strong bite of hops bitterness followed by strong alcohol; a one, two punch on the first sip. The roasty and malt flavors a moderately strong. The hops flavor is all but gone. There is a moderate amount of dark fruit flavors like prunes, figs and plums going on in there. While there is a moderate to moderately-low malt sweetness going on the balance is moderately bitter, with the hops bitterness having some of that sting like there are some fine particles of hops floating in there when I've gotten the dregs from a dry hopped keg but without that fierce intensity. The dark malt isn't bring all that much bitterness to the beer. The finish is moderately sweet with a lingering bitterness and touch of lemon, maybe there is some citrus hop flavors still kicking.

M: A smooth, thick full bodied beer with a moderately-high amount of carbonation. sure there is warmth but not nearly what you'd think given the 11.7 % ABV.

O: This beer still has a ton of flavor with the flavors having mellowed and blended over time. However the hophead in me want the big hops flavor from this beers youth. Each sip is still bringing layers and layers of flavor but when it was fresh the enormous hops flavors and aromas we matched by the big roasty malt character. The aroma is getting board line unappealing. Fresh this was as close to perfection as I've ever had and I will still seek it out.

 1,768 characters

Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of brownbeer
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a fair amount of viscosity and happens to be impossible to get any head to form.

The alcohol, along with spruce tip hops, happens to be really noticeable in the nose, maybe some coffee in there among the profound hoppiness. Stings the nostrils a bit. It's not as complex as I had hoped, but as it gets closer to room temperature the hops do fade a bit, in it's favor.

The taste is pretty good. It's got sprucy pine resins throughout with a mildly chocolaty, clovey finish. I'm not crazy about its hop profile, it sort of has a cigar box thing going on. As it warms it opens up a little more variety, but in the end I'm not sure if the hops are working for it. I'll definitely give it more chances down the road. The mouthfeel is fine, full bodied with light carbonation, making for a pretty smooth experience. The alcohol doesn't hold it back too much.

This is powerful stuff, and I have to say, I'm still on the fence, but as it has time to warm, it's growing on me.

 987 characters

Photo of weatherdog
3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass, bottled 2/19/10 so drank when 2.5 months old but kept cold in order to preserve hop profile

It pours pitch black with a three finger head that leaves just a small layer of foam when it dies down.

A hoppy stout indeed, although I'm having a problem pinpointing the particular influences the hop has on the smell. The smell is so thick with dark chocolate and coffee that any of the delicate hop aroma are lost on me besides that I can tell that this was definitely dry-hopped.

The flavor is, I guess, confusing. All of the attributes of a thick viscous stout are there with a firm bitterness cutting through all that. The roasted coffee is ever so present and then a once again vague hop flavor takes over and the sip ends pretty neutrally. The best thing about this hoppy stout is that the sweetness of a beer this size is cut way down and makes for a rather balanced beer. There isn't much wrong with this beer, but I don't think I will fall in love with hoppy stouts. I feel that it takes everything bold in a huge thick beer like this and cuts it's legs off in order to tame it.

The mouthfeel is beautifully thick,and smooth with a carbonation level to match. Since it takes me a good chuck of time to finish a bomber by myself as the beer warms it becomes increasingly more silky and drinkable. This beer; as sweet, thick, and high in alcohol, as it is; is surprisingly drinkable, much more so than it's cousin BCS.

 1,463 characters

Photo of meatdreams4life
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of ajkiser12
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of joemetric
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of steelerguy
2.74/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Wow...I either got a bad bottle or this beer just does not agree with me.

A - No head, a touch of lacing on top if you tease it out. Dark brown, with a bit of mahogany around the edges.

S - Boozy with some burnt citrus.

T - Smoke, lots of smoke. The citrus hops try to come through, along with some dark fruit, but I get the overwhelming flavor of smoke It is like grapefruit and some cherries were thrown into a smoker and burnt, then put into a beer. A lot of sweetness remains, a bit of alcohol and bitterness with an acrid bite.

M - Thick and smooth, coats the mouth with a good deal of alcohol warmth. Unfortunate that it coats your mouth nicely with a not so great flavor.

O - While it looks good and has a nice feel, this beer is totally out of balance. Like a RIS that has not been fermented and an IPA mixed with some burnt logs from a fireplace. Not sure I can finish this bottle, so very disappointing coming from Goose Island.

*Edit 11/19/12 bottle here also...seems like this batch is just off.

 1,013 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, like the label on this one. Pours into my glass a deep, brooding black with dark brown edges and a half inch of creamy tan head on top. Aromas start off with a blast of citric and piney hops. Resinous with a mix of rich chocolate and espresso notes. Nice and roasted with a mild burnt accent. Quite complex and the bold hops just jump out of this.

First sip brings big malts upfront with a mix of chocolate, espresso and a touch of caramel. Huge hops intertwine bringing loads of citric and piney resins along for the ride. Hop bitterness does a good job of working alongside the malt sweetness here. Flows down with lingering hops and the alcohol is just barely detectable. Tasty stuff. Nothing like hop burps from a RIS!

Mouthfeel is smooth, rich and creamy with a mellow slickness. This is almost too easy to drink for the abv and the sweetness is kept in check well. Overall, this is a pretty damn tasty hopped up RIS. Worth seeking out and possibly even better than I remember it being on tap last year!

 1,023 characters

Photo of nickadams2
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A_Dark brown with tan colored head that quickly dissipates. Not much lacing.

S_Nose is mostly hops and dark fruits.

T_A lot going on. Hops and dark fruits upfront. Slight black licorice taste. A little coffeecharred woody,earthy flavor on the back end. Hides alcohol amazingly.

M_Full bodied but not as thick as one would expect.

D_Very drinkable.

 351 characters

Photo of danthehopslamman
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of Snikwad1020
4/5  rDev -2.9%

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Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 740 ratings.