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Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,689 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,689
Reviews: 733
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 14%
Wants: 245
Gots: 568 | FT: 28
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 02-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,689 | Reviews: 733 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigAl723
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Pretty much just black as night. (As the name would suggest) Mean and aggressive looking with a dirty brown head that lets you know this beer means business.

S: Bitter chocolate, smokey bitterness, hops, dark roasted (almost burnt) malt, espresso, campfire, and a little bit of alcohol too. A lot going on in this one. I can't wait to try it.

T: Very similar to the smell. Lots of dark chocolate, fruit, coffee, malt, and even a smokey campfire if you will? The alcohol came through a little bit but nothing too crazy. Fairly well balanced and very tasty.

M: Medium heavy to heavy mouthfeel. Medium low to low carbonation. The mouthfeel was just right on this one.

D: I think the high ABV knocks the drink down just a little bit but like I said earlier, nothing too serious. It still went down smooth and was very good tasting.

Overall, I'm happy I was able to get my hands on this stuff. Very heavy, complex, and there's no doubt you feel like you're being stalked at night. A perfect name on an almost perfect beer. Good job GI!

BigAl723, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of kbutler1
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Buster's on 28th on 10/28/09. Came in the GI Matilda "goblet"
Dark as night color with slight tan head with lacing.
Smell of coffee and chocolate notes. Tough to get a great smell at a bar cooking up tons of burgers!
Great taste, the abv is well hidden. slight up front hop flavor transitioning to a smooth heavy dark malt taste.
Heavy mouthfeel.
Very good overall! A bit pricey at $10 a pour but hey, you get what you pay for, right?

kbutler1, Oct 29, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had been wanting to try this on tap around MPLS, but was unsuccessful in finding it, but alas Darkness Eve @ Stub n Herbs made it possible.

I opted for a 7 oz pour and seeing hundreds of dark beers around made me all the more excited and impatient.

A: Dark as a moonless night, slight mocha head...I imagine the pour had been sitting there for a while.

S: Smelled like roasted milk chocolate

T: Whoa, tasted like a magnified version of what I smelled. I sipped patiently waiting for the brew to warm. Oddly enough someone mentioned cantaloupe and oddly the hops give it a citrus character that I really enjoy, cantaloupe isn't out of the question, seriously. It's not just chocolate, as it warmed I got all sorts of flavors, yum.

M: Just like how I like my Star Wars...Chewy!

D: When will I ever find this on tap again, tell me.

MPLS, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Stub and Herb as my second whale of a beer. 7 oz pour.

Color is pitch black with a small ring of brown sugar colored froth. Leaves a little lacing here and there.

The nose is very sweet, but it also has a woody character to it. Big roasted malt base that envelops the senses and commands respect. With all that being said, I almost found the nose sort of muted as compared to the taste.

The taste is just an amplification of the nose. Strong roasted malt base with a nice woody and earthy character. Very sweet and appealing. This is some tasty stuff. If I hadn't had this back to back with Bell's BA Double Cream/Expedition Blend the scores would have been even higher, but comparing this beer to that, this has flaws.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, yet smooth and creamy. Slick going down the throat. Drinkability is awesome, the alcohol is very well hidden, but there is a small warming presence.

A great beer that I would definitely have again. Solid stout from Goose Island.

Mistofminn, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Original review was deleted but I remember the beer well enough that my sparse notes will do. Scores I entered are the same as my original ones.

This one poured menacing black just like an imperial stout should. Smell was not overly bold, but was a nice blend of hops and the usual big stout suspects. Taste was very hoppy, with a nice chocolate backbone. I was picking up quite a bit of wood which is surprising since I don't think this one touched a barrel. Mouthfeel was thick and creamy like it should be. This was a very fine beer that needs to be bottled.

alcstradamus, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of aaronh
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black topped by a cappuccino brown head. Aroma of hops is very powerful. Notes of dark chocolate, espresso, and alcohol sweetness push through the hop perfume. Flavor is very well balanced between roasted malt, alcohol esters, dark chocolates, and that wonderful hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is also very rich and smooth. Drinkability - I only give it a 4.5 because after I had this, the bourbon county stout, the imperial brown goose, and a coffee bender I stumbled a bit on my way down the steps. Otherwise - it would be a 5. No way I thought this was nearly a 12% abv brew! An awesome stout.

aaronh, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of homebrew311
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this at the Bad Apple in Chi, the whole bar was treated to any Goose Island offering thanks to a Goose Island rep. Nothing better than a free beer!

A: appears thick and black as night. Definitely lives up to its name sake. Need I say anymore?

S: Intense roasted malts and assertive hop character. I don't know which dominates. Malts at the beginning, and huge hops on the end. This beer smells like its going to be fun!

T: Wow! initial flavors are a nice sweet roasty imperial stout with a dominance of dark chocolate character. All things roasty quickly turn into fresh tasting hops. The dry hopping of this beer adds a one of a kind dimension. Doesn't remind me of other hoppy imperial stouts (like Old Rasputin or Storm King), this one is far more balanced. Everything is a ridiculously bold, but the hops play off of the huge malt character in an amazing way. This is incredibly complex and delicious. This is a world class stout!

M: thick chewy texture that is velvety and smooth going down. Real low on the carbonation which works well in this beer.

D: what's the abv here... 11.7%?!?! Are you kidding me? This is a huge beer, but comes in extremely balanced and the alcohol is not very detectable. Of course it is a like a meal in a glass with its thick chewy texture, but it is so well balance... this one is dangerously drinkable. The high drinkabillity comes at a price though as I have never seen a 8 oz pour of this under $7. I would love to see this bottled... hopefully the rumors are true.

homebrew311, Oct 16, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
4.26/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An aggressive Imperial Stout with unrelenting malts and resiny hops; reminescent of Bell's Batch 7000 when it was young.

The beer pours black, opaque, and with the impression of thick viscocity and motor oil. Light on head formation but the lace of foam holds on for the majority of the session. Stouts just don't get darker or thicker.

Serious malts are actually dwarfed by the resin, pine, and fresh cut grass aroma. But still, the espresso, roasted grains, and bittersweet cocoa make a lot of headway towards the end.

The malt sweetness shows a tons of toffee and molassas that edge on toasty and roasty character. Espresso notes do the most damage with a robust attack on the palate. Hop flavor creeps closely behind with the same pine and resin notes as experienced in the nose. As the beer warms, a mild note of anise shows the only hint of ester. This beer is pretty straight forward with the roasted malts and sharp hops.

Thick, heavy, chewy, and strong; this beer is all that it is billed to be. Much like the Bourbon County Stout, this beer is a Goliath of a beer, at least in the textures. Oily, rich, and fulfilling the beer is intimidating. Hop bitterness helps to cut through the malts, as do the 12% alcohols.

The Bell's Batch 7000 rounded out in a year to a near flawless beer. I expect the same out of this one.

Thanks Cheezdawg! (04/10/10)

BEERchitect, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of will4240
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Happy Gnome, compared it with Southern Tier's Choklat as well as Founder"s Breakfast Stout, all three of which were world class.

A- Everything that one might expect from an Imperial Stout. One can hardly see through it even when held directly into the light. Black black black... One finger head that didn't exactly stick around. Good lacing throughout.

S- Fantastic... the usual chocolate-y coffee-ish goodness... Amazing to say the least...

T- Absolutely exceptional... Chocolate, smooth, wonderful... within my top five all time...

M- Although this is an imperial stout, it was in no way overwhelming in the mouth. Definitely should be considered full bodied, but at the same time VERY enjoyable.

D- HOLY BALLS, is this really 11%? I do not believe it... I could drink this all night.

An excellent brew by an excellent brewer. I prefer this over the BCS

will4240, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of heliosphann
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

64oz Growler. Served in an a oversied Duvel Tulip/Pint Glass. I've had the pleasure of trying this a few times, and this is a combination of both experiences.

A: Jet black pour which swallows up the light. Fitting for the name of the brew. A very small amount of mocha head departs quickly. Some lacing left over.

S: Sweet bitter dark chocolate dominates along with some nice roastiness. Noticed some oak, vanilla and carmel notes as well. Hops are there, but somewhat muted. Also detected some booziness is as well.

T: Lots and and lots of chocolatey goodness. Hops are noticeable and provide some bitterness, but not overpowering. There's some alchohol burn, but it's far from a bomb. Finish is nice and sweet.

M: Somewhat deceptive as it starts out lighter, but finishes super think and creamy. Carbonation is just about right for an RIS.

D: For a big stout, this drinks very well. The almost 12% ABV doesn't discourage much here. I could drink a few pints of this give the chance (and I have!).

Being that Night Stalker is the base of BCS (one of my favorite beers period), it's hard for me not to love it. The dry hopping adds a nice touch, and helps bring out some of the other flavors you don't get in BCS. I'd be nice if Goose Island would bottle this as well. Then more people would be able to enjoy it.

heliosphann, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of DawnL
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Great tan head atop a jet black brew.

Deep roasted malts and hop character on the nose.

Coffee like with pine hops. Very intensely flavored. Bitter hops. Burnt character. Intense flavors collide on the palate like a typhoon. Beautifully balanced alcohol kick.

This is an overwhelming brew. What a complete knock-out!

This is a brew where one is truly enough, but in a very good, soul-satisfying way!

DawnL, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of Florida9
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ GI-Clybourn

A: Served in a 10oz snifter. Comes with a minimal 1/8 inch of darker tan head. Dark black in color, but there is a little light sneaking through around the edges.

S: Dark roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate and a metallic off-scent that became more pronounced as it warmed.

T: Sweetness of prunes and plums mixed with dark roasted malts, cocoa, and the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate.

M: Heavy and bitter with a noticeably thicker viscosity.

D: The heaviness and thickness lend this to being more of a sipper, though that is to be expected. Overall a good stout, but between the odd metal smell and the cocoa bitterness, I thought this beer was just a little rough. In my opinion there is good reason why GI typically puts this one into bourbon barrels to mellow.

Florida9, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of Goldfish19
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

~ Purchased this 32 oz growler from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Pours jet-black and immediately you can smell hints of chocolate, dark fruits, and roasted malts. With a name like "Night Stalker" and this bad boy coming in @ almost 12% ABV, you would think this beer would be a little intimidating? Not at all! This goes down surprisingly very smooth and as I let it warm up, all the flavors came rushing out making this one a very special and complex brew. Highly recommended! Watch out though, if you try to drink this one too fast, it'll creep up and hit you like a freight train! ~

Goldfish19, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice shade of black with a small tan head. Ample carbonation allows you to bring back a head over and over again. Okay lace.

S: Rather sweet aromas. Fudgy chocolate, caramel, brown sugar and molasses. Light roasted malt notes as well.

T: Roated malt up front with a big blast of coco. The sweetness hits you next with molasses and brown sugar leading the way. A touch of alcohol and a hint of bitterness round things out.

M: Medium in body, nice carbonation.

D: Pretty good. Great beer that I thought would be outstanding.

tpd975, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of Floydster
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce growler from Bierkraft courtesy of tpd975, thank you very much for this treat Greg, opened with my dad tonight to celebrate my second birthday here on Beer Advocate, poured into my Charles Quint goblet, color is black and it looks nice with a creamy dark brown head that lasts around ten minutes, which is not too big but stands it ground with great retention and decent lacing, aroma reminds me of the Rolo candies, for some reason I kept getting a sweet caramel scent inside a nice milk chocolate, roasted malts mixed with a bit of smokiness, earthiness, toffee, vanilla extract, burnt sugar, good amount of booze, and cinnamon, flavor starts off with roasted caramel and toffee with creamy cocoa flavors following in the middle, roasted malts dominate the finish but there is still that dark chocolate flavor that keeps lingering behind, slightly hot in the aftertaste but not nearly what I was expecting after smelling it a few times, warms up with dry hops oddly, expected these to stick out more at first when it was more chilled but they finished nicely with an earthiness followed by sweet chocolate, flavor sweetens up by the end with dark ripe fruits that almost gives this stout a liquor feel, awesomely balanced beer with a lot to like about it, roasted, bittersweet, and warming mouthfeel, full bodied, medium level of carbonation that probably kept it from being overwhelmingly full, taste lingers for a very long time, drank half of this no problem, wish I had not shared it afterwards in a way, light and inviting for how big of a beer it is alcohol is hidden well in the flavor but stronger in the smell, this stuff went down like it was three or four perent less in ABV, nice and smooth, stoked I got to try this draft only beer that is sitting in the Top 100, one of my favorite beers from Goose Island and one of the better stouts I have had in a long time, wish they bottled this stuff, great beer and glad it was preserved so well in this great Bierkraft bottle, would love to drink again, recommended

Floydster, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of hoppymeal
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz 'growler' from Bierkraft. Pours black in color with a good sized 3 finger rusty tan head that slowly dissipates. Aroma is big and rich, some strong vinous notes, dark fruit, bit of chocolate and a hint of some ashy roastiness. Taste follows with a nice dose of sweet chocolate and caramel followed by some more of the fruit flavors, ripe grapes, almost a cherry and apple like flavor mid taste, molasses in the finish and aftertaste along with a hint of smoke, some hoppy bitterness and a brush of alcohol. Mouthfeel is very nice, it is definitely big thick and chewy, and yet also smooth and creamy. The malts are heavy and you can feel the weight and strength of the beer, but it stays on the verge and does not get overly cloying or thick. Soft creamy carbonation, a bot of alcohol and hop bite in the finish along with some alcohol warmth. Overall a delicious stout imo, definitely a sipper, a very big beer, but also a very well crafted beer, a great dessert or night cap.

hoppymeal, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8oz snifter on draft at the Clyborn location of Goose Island. A very dark beer with about one finger of creamy light brown head. Caramel, coffee and oak notes in the smell. A pleasant burnt coffee taste with a hint of oakiness and heavy malt lingers on the tounge. Very pleasant to drink but very strong also. Took awhile to get this one down but I enjoyed every minute of it.

mymrnngjckt, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of bret27
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of kplynch

Smell: burnt, roasted, raisin, caramel malt, booze, woody, vanilla, hop presence. Second smelling booze and vanilla take over.

Appearance: Super black, dark tan head, as expected.

Taste: Chocolate, vanilla, roasty malt balanced out by serious simcoe hops and booze.

Mouthfeel: fairly thick, but not out of control. Creamy head.

Aftertaste: Roasty, hoppy, boozy w/a little burn on the throat on the way down (think BCS or KBS). not too heavy. Coffee-liqueur. Lingering dirt/stale taste in mouth unfortunately.

Overall: Bottle was traded to me few months back. Tastes old and possibly oxidized. The fact that this is so hoppy may mean it's not as great aged. I have to think it would probably be better on tap.

They say beer will speak to you. This beer says "I'm too old, possibly bottled poorly, and a bourbon barrel is better than hops for an imperial stout"

bret27, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Ginger Man. Pours black with hardly any head. Aroma of booze, sweet roasted malt, cocoa, and raisins. Flavor is sweet with toffee, lots of caramel, honey cracker, nougat, and raisin. Certainly very complex but I guess I just wasn't a fan of the flavors it had.

LilBeerDoctor, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In a world sick with great Imperial Stouts (to include Bourbon County Stout), I thought this one was exceptional. I looked for evidence during my visit that somehow Goose Island had been tainted by their affiliation with Anheuser-Busch (InBev), but other than having Redhook ESB as a guest tap, I could find none. Instead, I found this beer, which was a really pleasant experience - massive, flavorful, but not overly taxing or intimidating.

As you'd expect, it comes served black, a little viscous, and with more head than quite a few other RIS's. Aroma is more hoppy than any other Imperial Stout I can remember - seems to me that RIS's are usually hopped heavily, but to me those flavors are usually lost amid the other roasty flavors. This one was a little lighter on the dark roasty notes, although they were still discernible. Flavor was not very boozy for 11.7% ABV. Mouthfeel was smooth but not syrupy. A very solid brew.

I would highly recommend this beer. I had this on tap at Goose Island (Clybourn).

BeerBelcher, Aug 12, 2009
Photo of craytonic
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Motor oil, no lacing but more head than I expected.

Smell: Little coffee, I get massive massive dark malt, fudge, chocolate, toffee, caramel, brown sugar vanilla, molasses, figs, dates and other dark fruits.

Taste: Some breadiness, massive dark malt, fudge, chocolate, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, figs, dates, and other dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Extremely creamy without being overtly heavy.

Drinkability: Like BCS, this belongs in a 12oz serving that will last quite a while. You will feel the ABV, although it is barely present in the taste and smell.

*NB - I believe that BCS is far superior.

craytonic, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Kelleher's in Peoria, Il. This place never fails to serve up something ridiculous...

A - super black with a perfect one-finger, chocolate head. Looks intimidating, yet delicious all at the same time.

S - smells of dark chocolate, toffee, and sweet malt. Smells like a textbook RIS.

T - Dark chocolate with some hints of toffee and burnt malt. There is more chocolate than burn malt. This is a great RIS because the flavors are bold, yet not too overly unbalanced in one direction, albeit the chocolate is more noticeable than the malt.

M - smooth and full, great mouthfeel. Plus this was 11.7%? I wouldn't have guessed that at all.

D - This was an awesome RIS. It is not too over the top but extremely flavorful, but the abv forms a monster, making it hard to tame more than one. This is one of the best RISs I have had. Well-done Goose Island.

birchstick, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a growler from New Beer distributors into a snifter.

A: A relatively fine deep caramel 2 finger head that dissipated quickly. This brew poured jet black like used engine oil.

S: Cherries, licquorice, raosted chocolate malts, and alcohol. This one was distinctly lacking a coffee aroma that I expected it to have. Don't know why though since it's closely related to the GS Bourbon stout.

T: Very sweet throughout. Taste of cherries, licquorice, dates, roasted chocolate. A strong alcohol taste in the finish that really seems to linger in my mouth. Much hoppier compared to the Bourbon stout.

M: Medium to full bodied with little carbonation. This beer is deceptively silky because the alcohol really becomes apparent at the end.

D: This brew opens and sits in my mouth amazingly but the harsh alcoholic finish makes it a real sipper. Very good, but I'd much rather have the Bourbon stout than this.

SpeedwayJim, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of capra12
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed with the help of Speedwayjim on 7/6/09, served out of a snifter glass.

Appearance: 2 fingers head which dissipates quickly and is jet black.

Smell: Initially it smelled like an IPA but with further inspection there were hints of dark currants and smoked dark chocolate.

Taste: Opens slightly carbonated with roasted malts. The sweet dates and dark fruit come through in the middle with some earth notes as well. The earthy notes remain as thet are accompanied by subtle hop profiles and hints of sour notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a silky smooth finish but finishes with a strong alcohol kick which lingers.

Drinkability: I would have another but not on the same night, but definitely worth a try.

capra12, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one courtesy of RomanW70. Poured two shades shy of black with ruby-red highlights around the base of the glass when backlit with a quarter inch, consistent, khaki-colored skim. Nose was molasses, brown sugar and some booze in the back. Taste consistent with nose - lots of brown sugar, chocolate malt and some licorice at the finish. Mouthfeel was lightly effervescent and medium-bodied. Easy drinking - sweet, but not too sweet. Alcohol was well-hidden. Great beer; wish I could get more of this.

Jwale73, Jul 24, 2009
Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,689 ratings.