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Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

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1,737 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,737
Reviews: 740
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 13.76%
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.
View: Beers (208) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,737 | Reviews: 740 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gotta thank paco1029384756 for getting me this early, before it showed up here.

A: Pours a huge 2+ finger thick, rich and dark head that fades slower than molasses, but no lacing. The beer itself is as black as the moonless fogged covered night sky.

N: Pretty rich in malts, lots of coffee and roast. Some acidity and lots of dark rich malt aromas, bitter stout like charred malt aromas, some sweet chocolate and nuggat, and a touch of booze. Overall a little too light on the aroma though.

T: Very thick and rich, somewhat chocolatey. Tons of malts, and marshmellow like taste. Lots of roast and a little coffee. Pretty thick and smooth, actually feels like fluff in the mouth. SOme warming booze and touch of burning alc but normal for almost 12%. Sweet caramel and nuggat, very much like a candy bar. Some bitterness from the roasty charred malts and hints of piny hops.

M: Super thick and rich, smooth, marshmellow like, with decent carbonation.

F: BItter, the piny, earthy hops and tons of roasted dark malt flavors give it a lot of bitterness. Some sticky sweetness on the finish with more caramel, nuggat, and marshmellow. Chocolate is also just a little bit. It's pretty tasty with a sweet candy bar like flavor. It does drink pretty well though for 12%.

Photo of OnThenIn
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours thick with a dark tan head that is a finger high on top of a beautiful jet black beer. The head leaves crazy lacing and sticks around fora while. Just beautiful.

Smell: You can smell this the second you open the bottle. There is a huge citrus and tropical fruit aroma. There is a bit of sweetness and really just nothing I would associate with an imperial stout. There is a bit of caramel to the smell as well. There is a bit of roastyness with chocolate underneath. Definitely a green hop pellet aroma.This aroma is intense.

Taste: What the fuck? This took my by surprise, I mean this is one of the most different beers I have ever had. My first sour wasn't as mind bending as this beer. Just wow. It taste remarkably similar to a hop pellet. It has that certain green taste with a bit of citrus hop, but really the aroma made me think the fruit presence was stronger in the taste than it actually was. In fact, the main hop property other than the greenness was a hop bitterness. There was a lot of chocolate malt and slight roastyness going on. The alcohol was hidden nicely by the HUGE flavors, but there was a bit of warming sensation. There is a good amount of residual sweetness. This beer might be too big in pure flavor alone. Even though the flavors were bold, I didn't feel this beer was extremely complex.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very silky with a solid amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a sipper, but it is smooth. I think it badly needs a year on it. I just didn't fall in love with this mildly roasty, hop juice of a beer.

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Lance - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet, dark molasses with dark chocolate and roasted malt undertones. Also present are large amounts of pine and herbal hops. As the beer warms the small amount of roasted malt aromas fade even more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Dark molasses flavors kick things off, not quite as sweet as the nose intimated. Mild amounts of roasted malt flavors even things out a bit, as do very slight amounts of unsweetened chocolate. Midway through the sip pine hop flavors do their best to make their way out, barely succeeding. The ending is on the sweet side but manages a bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got an above average thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with how this beer turned out, although I think it's on the young side and will come into its own in a year or so - minus the hops of course. If you have only one bottle I'd recommend letting it sit for a while, but even if you have it now you'll be drinking a solid beer.

Update: Tried again a few times within the past two months and it's overly sweet with little hop influence. Hopefully it will continue to settle down.

Photo of DoppleJock
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle poured into oversized snifter.

A: Pours out like molasses. Jet black-brown with a caramel ring around the glass. Actually coats the sides of the glass with a tan film when swirled. Zero head, but the swirling creates a marble pattern between the dark beer and the tan carbonation bubbles.

S: Good whiff of alcohol and malt upfront, but it's quickly replaced by earthy hop esters. Amount of hops threw me off quite a bit, but it definitely adds to the beer's complexity.

T: Starts out with roasted malts and dark chocolate and ends with a mild earthy bitter hop taste. Definitely different from other American Imperial Stouts that are dominated by roasted malts and coffee flavors. Alcohol is present but not overpowering.

M: Full-bodied and thick. Almost chalky. Mild bitter aftertaste, but not a tongue-scraper.

D: Surprisingly drinkable. Alcohol isn't overpowering in the taste, but it does sneak up on you. You can feel it starting to work after a few sips. The punch of hops distinguishes this beer from other American Imperial Stouts. Good offering from Goose Island.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky to try this on tap at the Clybourn brewpub last year, and was more than happy when I found bottles here in DC.

Jet black with a rich, creamy dark brown head with excellent retention and some lacing, Night Stalker is a beast of a beer. The nose is just wonderful. Plenty of bright citrus character is apparent up front, but the base stout is remarkable. Rich and lush with creamy, dark chocolate, some coffee, licorice and moderate roast, this is a top-notch stout. The palate opens with a moderate dark chocolate character with moderate bitterness. Mildly fruity, I get a little raisin flavor. Beautiful roast character is present as well. Hop character is present with a light-moderate citrus flavor, the blend of chocolate and orange is very appealing. Full in body with an excellent finish with flavors of chocolate and coffee, this beer is absolutely lush on the palate. Carbonation is medium-low. I had no problem drinking my 22oz and am quite looking forward to my next bottle!

Photo of Liverpool08
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/06/10

This is a new one! First pours a jet black with a big mocha colored head. The head itself is quite delicious. The aroma is unique. Its hops coming from a big stout, but it works. Its almost all hops in the nose, with a little bitter malt. Then the taste. Dark burnt malt quickly followed by dark chocolate and booze. On top of that lingering in the backgroung is some hoppy bitter bite. Its really a GREAT combination. The hops seem to keep the stout from being to heavy or even to boozy. It also makes it an easy drinker relative to the high ABV.
I will be looking to keep these around, plus they should age very well.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter) bottled on 02/19/10 04
A- This beer has a jet black body with a thick light tan head that last for a good bit.
S- The green hop pellet aroma gives way to dark chocolate malt with some char notes aroma with a slight sweetness to the aroma.
T- This beer has a big roasted black malt with a slight herbal note to the bitter roasted char finish. The soft cola notes and a slight sweetness with a hint of prunes come through as it warms. This beer turns a bit more inky as the beer warms.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a warm alcohol heat.
D- This beer has a smooth but big roasted malt flavor that needs something to balance it like a barrel. The hops are present but not full enough to support the big malt.

Photo of afausser
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a translucent chocolate with very slight head that fades extremely quickly. Red highlights, though not quite mahogany. Slightly frothy and very little lacing.

Smell: smells kind of boozy, but not hot. Dark fruits are present here, but don't weigh down the brew. Heavy sweet cherries mix with raisins, grapes, and slight sugar syrup, but there's also piney hops and citrus present. Interesting mix.

Taste: really dark and earthy, with plenty of alcohol (and alcohol related-heat). Smoke and a bacon note are present as are oak notes, coffee, dirt, and chocolate. Cherries and raisins are again present here, as is a pretty heavy anise. The hops are consistent with the smell, giving the brew a nice minty spice that carries through to the aftertaste. A really nice addition here is a not at all cloying caramel. As it warms, a few sour cherries come through as well and the raisins become more dominant.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation works pretty well, as does (surprisingly) the alcohol heat. mouthfeel really becomes superb as it warms and the tiny carbonation bubbles come out a bit more.

Drinkability: I'm not sure this beer is "drinkable." That said, despite its ABV and heat, it's delicious and well crafted and pretty fun to drink.

Photo of bruachan
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer looks like a man's stout. i'm no chauvenist but this one looks rugged: solid black and a thumb's width of tan foam. fantastic geologic lacing (like driving through the cumberland gap)

the aroma is first of all of delicious hops and dark fruit, which is certainly a surprise from a beer that looks like this one does. bright and fresh hops without being heavy and cloying. however i'm missing the roasty aromas. BUT the hop aromas are luscious!

strong kilned astringency and texture; fruity and fusel-ey, rather than a rich malty character (fermented this one warm, eh?). hop bitterness is strong at the finish, an this is where you'll find the only hint of maltiness, really: chocolate and some licorice/anise

mouthfeel and drinkability are neither what i would expect from an impy of such strength. nice beer: not your average impy (fruitiness as opposed to malty elements) but i likey

Photo of steve8robin
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this on a trip to Kalamazoo. Bottled on 02/19/10...

A: Blacker than the blackest black with a huge mocha colored head that slow fades leaving beautiful lacing on the side of the glass. Very good.

S: Earthy hops blended with licorice upfront followed by dark fruits and hints of coffee on the backend. Decent.

T: On the initial sip appears a good blend of booze, hops, and malts quickly followed by bitter chocolate covered licorice and espesso deep on the backend. Good. Age would serve this well. Warms you up on the way down.

M: Super thick. Leaves your palate submereged in a sea of chocolate bitter booze. Good.

D: Goes down very easy.

All in all, I definitely like this brew as it seems to blend some flavors in a unique way. However, I do not believe it is worth the hype it has been getting. If you get a bottle or so, let them age for a good year or 2, then open and this should turn from a good beer into a great beer.

Photo of emmasdad
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, rich, jet black color, topped with a good two inches of brown foam. Aromas of earthy hops, citrus and a bit of chocolate. On the palate I immediately get some medicinal cherry flavors, which settle down into hops, milk chocolate and alcohol. A solid effort here, but not much more.
Black Tuesday

Photo of CosmoHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours jet black, like motor oil. minimal light brown head

S: a lot more hops in the nose than I would expect in a imperial stout. i like it!

T: Hops are still there but took a back seat to the roasted malts and coffee, bittersweet chocolate taste. chocolate covered grapefruits maybe? hops come through nicely again on the finish of each drink. very tasty.

M: thick, chewy, oily, smooth.

D: you'd never guess this beer was 11.7% abv. incredibly easy to drink. finished the bomber and was ready for another one.

Hopefully I'll get more of this one. I'd love to open one every year for the next 5 years and see how it develops. Fantastic as is right now but curious what will happen over time.

Would very much recommend every stout fan try this one!

Photo of movingtrain
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Pours a jet-black color with very little head floating on top.

Smells of bitter hops up front, wet leather, bitter espresso, tarragon, maple syrup, biscuits and gravy, caramel, some smokey notes, overripe banana, earthy root, thyme, honey, and molasses. Surprisingly, not much chocolate in the nose.

The taste of this one is surprising...herbal up front, giving way to a sugary sweetness, cinnamon, and coffee. There are some hints of dry Mexican chocolate, chipotle pepper, smoke, soy and worchestershire sauce, bready, biscuit flavor, and some rum elements, also. Some lemon zest and orange rind in the aftertaste. There is quite a bit going on in this beer...much different than I had expected...it's quite enjoyable, delicious.

This is a dry, funky stout...a lot of fun to drink, as the flavors are all over the place, and not what one would expect from this style. The alcohol is hidden well in the background, not overpowering at all.

This is one that is worth revisiting...it is complex, delicious, and drinkable. Pick one of these up!

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

Beautiful pour with dark black liquid and two fingers of creamy brown suds adorning the top.
Smell is almost like rubber at first. Then you get the coffee and and the burnt malts combined with the strong alcohol that makes this on up.
Taste is a sugary mix of malt and cocao with a tinge of coffee right before the alchol hits the back of the mouth.
Mouthfeel is a bit sticky but clean otherwise. This one goes through a lot of changes in the palate.
Drinkability is not the best here unless you wanted to get plastered cause one bomber is this is plenty!

Photo of bluejacket74
4.77/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle, bottled on 3/6/2010. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a small 1/4 inch brown head. Head retention is low, with a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is pretty interesting, the beer smells like coffee, roasted malt, citrusy hops, bittersweet chocolate and some caramel. It tastes like bittersweet chocolate, roasted and burnt/charred malt, coffee, caramel, citrusy hops and vanilla. Great mix betweeen the bitter and sweet flavors, this is a very tasty brew! Mouthfeel/body is full, it's silky and creamy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is excellent, it's very smooth and easy to drink. It should be a sipping beer, but I like it so much it's a bit hard to just sip it. Also, for an 11.7% ABV brew the alcohol isn't very noticable. I have to say I think this is a pretty good overall brew, it's one of the best beers I've had lately. Definitely recommended.

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

22 oz. bomber gradually poured into a tulip glass

A - Jet black pour, with a beautiful foamy brown head.

S - Sugar, chocolate, alcohol, juniper berries?

T - Extremely complex. Upon first taste, chocolate, toffee, caramel, and a decent amount of hops are foremost. As it warmed, I tasted licorice, espresso, a lot of alcohol, pine, spiciness (ginger and/or mint), and some type of tropical fruit which I can't put my finger on. Odd, but true. The flavor profile is one which I can't compare directly to any other imperial stouts which I've had. Although there was a bit of bitterness on the finish in the first 15 minutes or so, as the stout warmed, this disappeared, and the sugars began to dominate.

M - Exceptionally smooth; a joy to swish back and forth.

D - Did I really attempt to finish a bomber of this by myself? Due to the complex nature of the taste with all of its subtleties, I hate to call this a sugar bomb, but by the end of the bottle, this was far too sweet - no way would I want another.

Very interesting imperial stout. I'm not sure that it lived up to my expectations, but it was certainly enjoyable - at least for the first 3/4. I'll be cellaring my remaining bottles in the hopes that time will dampen some of the heat. Most importantly, I will be sharing with a friend next time I crack one open, which will help to make the sweetness more tolerable.

After 2nd tasting:

Sharing is definitely the way to go - the flavors in here are incredibly complex and unique for a stout, and, in having only a few ounces, I experienced none of the overpowering sweetness present in the last 1/4 to 1/2 of my initial bomber.

This is an amazing, interesting beer, and I look forward to having more soon.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Initial pour of this beer was very dark brown with a touch of midnight. Not impressed by the head, but it improved with some warming and my second pour.

The smell of this tells you it is not a typical stout. Lemony hops, chocolate, and molasses dominate.

Wow, there is a bright hoppy lemon taste up front on this. Very unusual for a stout. This bright taste gives way to a chocolate-y hue amidst a hop balanced back end. It is a taste I've never had in a stout and makes me want more. There is also a bit of coffee, molasses, and believe it or not...a grapefruit hoppy flavor.

Medium bodied, this stout has a sticky feel.

I can't help but want to drink more of this because it is so unique. For you Michigan beer fans, this is very similar to a combination of Huma Lupa and Breakfast Stout in one beer!

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!

Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,737 ratings.