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Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,720 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,720
Reviews: 740
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 14%
Wants: 249
Gots: 578 | FT: 30
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,720 | Reviews: 740 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Bottled on date of 2/19/10.

Appearance: Black body with a thin light brown head.

Smell: I've never had an imperial stout that was this hoppy. It's smells like a quality IPA except it has a little bit of roastiness and big alcohol presence.

Taste: Big hoppy flavors make me think of an imperial IPA or an American barleywine initially. After a few sips the bitter chocolate and roasty qualities of an imperial stout began to set it on the tongue. Very fruity hop flavors with grapefruit and pineapple. It's a good thing that this beer is so bold with it's use of hops because I think it would be rather weak without such a hop presence. As it is, though, it's pretty dang tasty.

Photo of dankbrew21
4.78/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my New Belgium snifter.

This is a huge beer. I just described it to my brother as the density of Black Bear stout with more hops and lots of vanilla notes.

A- Poured slowly expecting a quick rising head. It did not come...right away. Almost mo life in the head at the beginning of the pour and then all the sudden, like a dormant volcano with thousands of years of built up pressure, here comes this overflowig caramel colored goodness spilling over the side of the glass. Syrup like consistancy, pitch black. A beautiful looking beer.

S- At first pop there was a whiff of a healthy dose of hops. Followed by caramel, lots of vanilla, I am catching a hint of oak, and some stong ethanol.

T- Hops arent overwhelming but they are more prevalent than other Imperial stouts. Again, lots of vanilla and some oak. Maybe light hint of roasted coffee, some burnt flavors. Body is suuuuper thick and chewy, definitly a meal in a bottle. Alcohol is strong but all the rich flavors blend it in and give it just the right amount of burn and add to the complexity of this wonderfully crafted beer.

D- Drink it slow, as it warms up it smooths out and makes it easier to put down at a faster pace. Not saying drink it fast but it is so good I find myself grabbing my glass every 1-2 minutes.

NOTES: I will be stoked to try this after a few years in the basement. My sugggestion however is drink it now, fresh, down let those hops die down at all. Amazing beer and not something I could handle drinking every day. Maybe once a month. This is a HUGE beer and worthy of the A it has as of now!

Photo of ne0m00re
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured the 22 oz bottle (dated March 6, 2010) into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Black with some brown hues. This one poured with a thick chocolate head that slowly died to a film.
S: Green, earthy hops with citrus, cinnamon, subtle chocolate espresso, caramel oaky alcohol, and roasted walnuts with banana and rum raisin.
T: Chocolate malt balls. There is a strange, very milky chocolate taste, which is almost buttery. The banana and rum raisin bite in the back of the mouth. It's almost too spread out, with a manufactured cocoa on one end and the hoppy bite on the other. This evens out as the temperature nears 70 F, which is why I didn't completely dock all of the points. The coffee lingers.
M: Very creamy and syrupy with a foamy carbonation that is barely able to break with a crisp finish, which is mostly due to the alcohol.
D: One glass is enough.

Photo of techfed87
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a strong, thick black. Has absolutely no head to it, even when pouring.

Color is absolutely pitch black.

Smell is noticeably more hoppy and floural than I expected from an Imperial Stout, but I'm guessing that's what they were going for with this one.

First sip is...very weird. There's an almost fruit like hoppiness to what would otherwise be an Imp. Stout. It leaves me confused, like finding out a milk shake is made from custard instead of ice cream. You just kind of sit there, take another sip, and get confuzzled all over again.

That aside, I think the hops really give this beer a kick and body that I've never seen an imperial stout have. It's the sweet cousin to Bourbon County's sourness. I would be very much intrigued to see how this beer ages.

A new type of Imp. Stout, this one really does rock!

Photo of aerozeppl
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mred137 for the share.

A: Black. Minimal coffee colored head. We had a few big stouts and it seems the head was really dark on all of them but I actually noted it for this one.

S: Hops right up front. Reminded me of Darkness. Lots of roast right behind it.

T: Hops up front. Lots of bitterness in the taste from the hops and insane amounts of grain in this one. There was some chocolate that managed tofight it's way through.

M: Well carbonated. Quite dry. Well attenuated.

D: Really great beer. This should cellar well and be even better once the hops calm down.

Photo of jt31914
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from bomber

A: Dark black with a small amount of brown head; little carbonation and wonderful lacing. Beautiful Imp stout.

S: Hop profile and dark malts/coffee aromas apparent. Subtle chocolate/other dark flavors.

T: Best part of beer; Char flavor mixed with some pleasant hopiness and coffee/chocolate flavors. Great taste.

M/D: Super smooth and tasty. Wonderful for 11.70 percent. Great beer from GI.

Photo of zoolzoo
2.02/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to wedge42 for the bottle.
22oz, Duvel tulip

Nightstalker pours pitch black, one finger khaki head. Looks like a stout....A good start.

So this thing smells odd. Huge whiff of citrus hops, absolutely clashing with chocolate malt, coffee, and nuts. I don't get it, Im sniffing two different beers in one glass here. The melding of the two smell like something strange I cant really accurately describe. Ill reference to it as "crap".

The taste is pretty much what I expected from the aroma. Im getting that citrus up front again but the back end is all sugary coffee and chocolate malt. Its weird, clashing, a mess. I can understand hopping stouts for bitterness but this is just too bright up front for me. This is certainly "unique" as far as stouts go, but its just not for me.

This is the first GI offering I haven't liked. They are certainly still one of my favorite breweries and Ill continue to try whatever they come up with.

Photo of chaz410
4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I have to thank my friend Michelle to getting me this little bottle of masterpiece!
It pours a deep coal black with a small khaki head.
Smells of cocoa, coffee and molases.
Taste heavy cocoa and mocha. Coffee robust flavor layers over chocolate, dark crystal malt and munich toasted malt. Light hop character interlaced between layer after layer of full bodied chocolate malt.
Mouthfeel is like syrup and silk.
I forced myself to drink the whole pint, not because it was overpowering but because it was so rich!

Photo of jsh420
4.87/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled 02/19/10 0437

pours dark dark brown almost black with a 1+ finger tan head with tight bubbles faded to a film that stuck around all the way to the last swig

smell - wtf?? is this hop stoopid? dreadnaught? sculpin? it sure smells that way huge tropical fruity hops

taste - impy stout not sure? black dipa hell yes - think sculpin with some chocolate malts

mouthfeel is a little light for a double anything but that just adds to the drinkability which is about a 6 - very smooth creamy - one thing i like about it was most heavy hopped brews are sticky and this one isnt at all - slick and creamy

drinkability - out of this world - every sip was bliss

bottle says can be aged up to 5 years but i dont know if i would want to age this beer because the hops are so good

Photo of AleWatcher
4.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this one many times on tap-- I just figured I'd get around to reviewing it... so I poured a bomber into my New Belgium Globe (oversized/elongated snifter). Served at about 55*.

Pours deep dark black. Tan head rose nearly 3 fingers before settling and leaving a nice cap of tan bubbles. Big chunks of lace hang in random Modern Art kind of abstract shapes-- certainly not leaving rings.

I first smell chocolate. Then harsh astringent piney hops and some earthy notes that seem intertwined with the piney bite. And a little apricot? This smells pretty great-- especially now I'm noticing some citrus hop hints too... I think I even smell coconut! This thing is like God's Potpourri. Not smelling a whole lot of booziness-- except the astringent pine note.

I taste the chocolate, bitter, unsweetened cocoa. Some notes of bitter coffee too, but those hide behind the chocolate. I really taste the hops in this one-- lots of hops for an Impy stout!! Big piney and earthy hop presence. Has a slight sweetness before the bitterness, but then the hops hit fast and furiously. It finishes rather dry and smooth with a slight boozy warming feel. It's like that nice calm after a storm-- but in this case, it's your tastebuds that just took a beating-- but now just let them sit and savor the calm. As this warms, I seem to taste the coconut and apricot notes that I thought were in the nose-- but that could just be the power of (self) suggestion.

Wow is this a great beer. The carbonation level is huge, really helping this thing glide down. It is full bodied and almost a touch gritty, but really nice. Works very well with the complex flavors.

This is one of those beers I will return to regularly. If you find this one on tap--- it would be an injustice to yourself if you didn't get it. It is great out of the bottle, but in past glasses on draft, I would have probably given it a full-out 5 on everything but appearance (I like just a little more lacing).
I imagine this would pair well with a nice creme brulee or some other kind of vanilla custard. Maybe even flan. Get that nice caramelized sugar and tropical flavor notes really standing out! Or, of course, this might pair pretty well with a good dark, robusto cigar.

Photo of deereless
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A finger thickness of dark creamy head that quickly dropped to an espresso like swirl of foam, black to bark brown in color with a slight burgundy hue, the beer swirls and moves like warm syrup, minute to no lacing - 4.75, S: The first whiff is strong of Maraschino cherries and prunes along with a whiff of some mild solvent (from the high alcohol content I presume), quite earthy and herbal, some aromas of star fruit and plums, very intriguing and inviting nose, less coffee and roastiness than I'd expect from a American Stout - 4.25, T: Alcohol is very evident but largely stays hidden behind the colossal load of hop and sweet malts, tons of pureed raisins and prune juice along with a heavy dose of coffee and chocolate milk, hops are sticky and pungent and pack a strong citrus punch, molasses and rum soaked fudge brownies, all arond an intense and extremely complex beer - 4.50, M: Extremely creamy and thick - 4.50, D: An amazing stout, a true sipper, reminds me of Bourbon County Stout without the bourbon - 4.25

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, bottled on 2-19-10 according to the label. Huge, bold, tasty double stout. Waves of dark coffee, dark chocolate, as well as more then ample levels of piney and quite drying hops. So to review, loads of dark malts, laden with chocolate and coffee notes. Rich, chewy and complex. Get a knife and fork out and enjoy this one as a big and bold nightcapper or with a double chocolaty dessert.

Photo of MrDanno96
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours pitch black with a thin tan head. Very little lacing overall.

S: Surprisingly floral hops dominate the aroma. I distinctly smell fresh grapefruit. Hints of chocolate and darker malts are pushed to the very far edges.

T: Lots of tropical hop flavor and pine mix with molasses to dominate the flavor. Feint hints of chocolate and licorice poke through the hops from time to time. This is interesting and different, but in the end I thought it was a little too sweet. It got cloying for me towards the end of my glass.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with a mild amount of carbonation. A little sticky and cloying.

D: This one let me down to be honest. It's just too sweet in the end for my tastes. It's an interesting concept - a very hoppy Imperial Stout. In the end, however, it just did not work for me.

Photo of david131
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- A deep, inky black liquid that has a slow to rise brown head. Looks scary and awesome.

S- Grapefruit, tropical fruits, alcohol, and some dark roasted malts. Very unique and messes with my head by how the aroma is much fruitier than the appearance lead me to believe.

T- Grapefruit, tropical fruits, dark chocolate, alcohol, and a bit of cinnamon. Very strong, but none of the aspects are overbearing.

M- Unbelievably smooth and creamy with a bit of a alcohol-hop bite at the end. Very nice.

D- This would have been much better off in a smaller bottle, but it is damn tasty. Very rich and flavorful. This will age amazingly well.

Photo of Beejay
3.18/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Very dark black, with a small, though full head of chocolate colored head.

S: Boozy with a big bite from the hops. Smells heavy with earthy tones, and perhaps a touch of tropical fruit.

T: Interesting. Very heavy. Earthy and fruity at the same time. I can't figure this this out. Very hop heavy but I keep getting the tropical fruit flavor getting in the way of the malt.

M: Very thick, fairly high carbonation.

D: This beer is like yin and yang, but there isn't a balance in there. It's like it has everything in it to make it a balanced beer, but somehow something pulls out front. Not something I would seek out again, but very interesting.

Photo of BearsOnAcid
1.63/5  rDev -60%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I've had this enough times to make my decision on it now.

Night Stalker is the base beer for BCS so as expected it's black slightly viscous and is topped with a caramel head. This one carries a slightly larger head from the different hopping. Good start here but that's all it's got going for it.

The smell is a preview for this beer's trail of destruction. Coffee notes and a nutty/woodsy/Simcoe aroma blend together to create an extremely repulsive smell of cat excrement. Like you were gone all day at work and left your coffee at home from being in a hurry. But it's okay cause your cat took a big shit in it while you were gone. There's no getting around this for me. It's awful. I almost want to throw up in my glass and drink that instead. Underneath, there is pine and a little spiciness.

The taste is not as bad but follows along the same lines as the aroma. There's a prevalent nutty/woody flavor that almost imitates the oak that is missing from how this beer is usually produced. Oak is something that this particular stout needs. Textbook Simcoe flavors are coming through as well as freshly roasted coffee. It's sweet but seems to be battling the mess of flavors inside this beer. The sweetness never prevails. It's not really a hop bomb or anything, there is just too many things going on. Almost like you are drinking two beers at the same time and neither compliment or drink well together.

Luckily, I've been able to try this many times without having to buy a bottle. I think if I was drinking this on my own I would have to dump this. My stomach would thank me because it makes me feel like I'm going to have heartburn. I get a agitated, burning feeling even after a couple samples.

Photo of pmccallum86
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an extrmemely dark color with a huge head. The bubbles in the head of this monster are very small and very slow to dissipate. Great beer in appearance.

The smell is a a little strange for a double stout. Lots of hops in the nose, it has a very grassy and earthy aroma to it.

Taste is big and bold. Lots of earthy hop notes in the taste, followed by a sweet malty finish. This beer is not like any other double stout I have come across. It's just so big with an extremely fresh grassy flavor, surely due to the dry hopping. The hops definitely come through more than the malts here, although the chocolate malts do have a large presence.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Very full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation.

Good drinkablility, quite an original take on a double stout. If you enjoy hopped up stouts this beer is for you.

Photo of soco7tyx7
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark dark dark like some engine oil with a thick pour to match. 1 finger dark tan head with some light lacing and a film around edges throughout

S - Piney and grassy up front with with some roasted malty character. A little boozy with a some fresh coffee bean notes hanging around in there

T - Again piney up front with a bold roasted malt body. Finishes with bitter chocolate, a touch of alcohol and a lingering bitterness. A bit of spice as well that hangs out till the next sip

M - A medium wet body on the heavy side with a litle heat in the finish

D - One to be sipped on for sure. A tasty, unique offering from Goose Island that I will certainly be buying again and aging for some time. Very impressed by the hopped up twist and interested to taste what a few years will do to this

Photo of ridglens
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

shared this beer with the girlfriend, poured a healthy helping into a portsmouth snifter. started it just warmer than fridge temp, drank it slow until it was just cooler than rm, temp

A- poured a jet black, no light visible at all. i could tell the thickness by the way it poured, got very excited. poured a two finger, dark brown head, which quickly dissipated to about half a finger that stuck around for quite a while

S- rich and burnt maltiness everywhere, with the sharp scent of alcohol in there too. a little chocolate appeared as it warmed up

T- rich and malty, burnt coffee, lots of sweetness accented with a good alcohol punch

M- great for the style, thick and rich. leaves a coating on the glass and my mouth, very creamy and smooth. great feel

D- the sharp alcohol and thickness combine to make this one GREAT for a glass, but like many RIS's, 12 ounces is probably plenty!

great beer, thanks Goose Island!

Photo of OttoBomb
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (March 10, 2010). "Bottled on 02/19/2010" is printed on the label.

Eyes: Pours a dark ink black with dark brownish/red at the extreme edges. A half finger brown sugar colored head arises and receded fairly quickly. Lacing is minimal, as is retention.

Nose: At first sniff I'm happily surprised at the amount of floral hops present, probably the most hoppy stout I've had to date. There is roasted coffee, toast dark malt and some spice, as well as a hint of alcohol.

Tongue: The hops provide flavor on the tongue, rather than bittering, which is another nice surprise. Notes of coffee, tons of roasty malts, brown sugar, all mixed with a fruit character, both dry and fresh varieties.

Mouth: Impressive that such a potent flavor profile is wrapped up in such a very smooth weight. Creamy and soft, but not oppressively thick.

Libation: I really like this beer. It has many characteristics that are all wrong for the style and some that are just off, but somehow it all works well together. Despite being a little heavy on the alcohol, low in head retention, lighter than many Imperial Stouts and more hoppy than some IPAs, this is tasty, flavorful, and goes down easy.

Photo of hardy008
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black, with a one finger tan head with decent retention and some lacing. There are a lot of citrus and pine hops in the aroma, along with chocolate and some sweet malt.

Sweet chocolate malt is the strongest flavor, which surprises me, given how hoppy the aroma is. There is also vanilla, molasses, dark fruit, and a some hops. This surprises me. I expected a hoppy tasting beer from the aroma, but the flavor is malt forward.

Full bodied, viscous, chewy, with low carbonation. Very smooth. As far drinkability goes, this does not taste like it should 11.7% abv. The alcohol is well hidden. This is a sipper to be sure, and is also a beer I would seek out again.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 22oz. bottle from my buddies girl friend, thanks Flora! Pours a deep black brown with a small tan head that sticks around for a second and fades to a thin ring around the glass. When agitated the head clings to the glass nicely and slides back on down to its resting place. Great aroma, defiantly can tell this stout has been dry hopped. Great to have a stout with a little hop aroma on the nose. There is also a lot of roasty aromas coming from the array of malts used. Flavor is amazing, chocolaty, caramel and roasted malts hit you right away. There is a distinct vanilla quality to this beer. Its great to drink a stout that hops play such a great role in, wow. This one is velvety smooth with a just right amount of carbonation for a stout of its strength. Thick and rich. Can't really tell this beer carries the percentage it does making it a dangerous one being it is so tasty to drink.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I want to give a shout out to levifunk for hooking me up with this monster of a brew and being an awesome trader.

Bottled on 3/6/2010

Poured into a large Portsmouth tulip glass. Night Stalker is jet black, with a thin tan head that slowly fades into a ring of foam. Patches of lacing left behind.

Prying off the cap let loose a hiss of hop infused air. Once getting the beer into the glass I could smell a nice mixture of sharp hops, big roasted malts and chocolate. Bittersweet cocoa. Quite hoppy for a stout.

Tipping this one back reveals rich, roasty, slightly bitter dark malts that transition smoothly into a wave of hop bitterness. Lots of chocolate mixed with a touch of orange citrus from the hops. Molasses and possibly a bit of anise. Faint alcohol lingers in the background. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth, rich and creamy. Very well done for an imperial stout. Light carbonation almost feels more intense due to the hop bitterness. Nice warming alcohol. This is a big beer.

Drinkability is quite good. If you like Storm King or fresh '09 Darkness, then add this beer to your list. A big hoppy stout with a smooth body. Sipping on this is very enjoyable.

Overall, I'm impressed with this beer. Goose Island has made a beast of a stout that tastes great. Lots going on from the well roasted malts to the hops to the chocolate molasses notes in the flavor. I can see how this makes a great base beer for the Bourbon County Stout (which I have, but still haven't tried). Luckily I have another bottle in the cellar, so I'm excited to see how this one develops.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes on 3/27/10. Thanks to levifunk for this!

A - Impenetrable black with brown hues in the light. Tan head that lasted maybe 5 minutes, then retained as a thin ring. Nice lacing though. 4.0

S - Huuuge roastiness with lots of citrusy, piney, and earthy hops. Lots of hops. I'm wondering if this is the true meaning of a Black IPA. There's so much going on here and I can't get enough of it! 4.5

T - Wow this is intensely sweet and piney and bitter at the same time. Rich malty and roastiness, hint of vanilla, dark chocolate, and toffee. Touch of ash/charcoal. Lots of hops alll over the place here. Pine, grapefruit zest, bitter herbalness. It's everywhere, followed by a dash of alcohol. 4.0

M - Thick, rich viscous. Well carbonated too. Not slick though, which is a good thing. This is quite nice. 4.5

D - Decent for the high alcohol. Pretty good actually. Splitting it with the lady was just right to finish a bomber. 4.0

Photo of biggred1
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and viscous with a creamy cocoa head that leaves sticky lace on the glass. Rich roasted malt and plenty of resinous pine sappy hop aroma. Pungent, fruity hop flavors up front that in the end are almost tamed by the lush dark chocolate and espresso flavors that follow. Considering the high ABV, the alcohol is well hidden. The flavors really pop when served at cellar temerature. Full bodied and sticky with prickly carbonation. A whale of a beer from GI.

Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,720 ratings.