Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,709 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,709
Reviews: 735
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 14%
Wants: 245
Gots: 569 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,709 | Reviews: 735 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Like nothing I've had before. Thanks krtman.

Pours deep black and a nice tan head that dissapated to a ring. A little bit of lacing. So far all is normal.

Aroma: WTF? This isn't an RIS. This is a PtE. Wait. Theirs roast and caramel too. What is going on. This smells wonderfully complex. A little bit of a good cigar smell in there too.

Taste is wild. You tase so much flavor hops. Not really bitter per say but flavor hops are there in abundance. Lots of caramel and a different kind of roast. All these flavors are throwing me off. I can't identify some of the stuff because I've never experienced this kind of brew before.

Mouthfeel is thick like an RIS and low carb.

Overall a great experience. Would be interested to see how this does over time. Might have to get a couple more bottles to try it but drink one fresh for sure because I can imagine alot of this hop flavor and aroma will go away fast so if you got only one bottle, don't sit on it. Drink it now and then get another to save if you want to do an experiment because of the hops, I believe this one was meant to be drank soon

Photo of MarkFy
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber.

Look: Pitch black, no head, very thick and syrupy, just like GI BCS (makes sense, same base).

Smell: cigar smoke, licorice, light pine and light coffee

Taste: follows the nose, with prominent, sweet licorice, coffee, and a nice light, but not overwhelming smoke finish.

Mouthfeel: rich, sweet and creamy

Overall a great addition to the GI line. BCS is one of my all time favorites and this is an extremely likable cousin, especially when a bomber is half the price of a BCS bomber. Can't wait to have it again on tap at GI Stout Fest.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Pours out thick and slow. Pouring from a height yields only a half inch of glowing reddish brown head. No lacing but none really expected, long legs though.

S: My first highly hopped imperial stout and it does not disappoint, strawberry, pine, licorice, honey it's really a huge blend of sweet fruit and sweet malts mixed with doses of hydroponic weed (gummi bear aroma) and a dusting of ground coffee and coco powder. Interesting to be sure but does not blow the doors off.

T/MF: Coffee, licorice, honey and pine, rich earth. Sort of like baklava covered in pine resin. There are some spicier aspects to this beer as well, a nasally kind of spiciness like ginger with a bit of cinnamon mixed together with all the other flavors. Nutty in the finish and lasts for quite some time after the beer leaves the tongue. Very dry, almost abrasive

D: Certainly feels like an above 11% abv but does not really drink that way. This is certainly an interesting beast. Certainly hoppier than the Darkness I had a year ago but does not really compare.

Photo of RustyDiamond
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 02.19.10 on label. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter. Very dark brown/black with 1/4" tan head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma of maple syrup, bright hops, licorice, plum & strawberry. Very fragrant hoppy.

Strawberry/blueberry green hop blast up front. Roasted chocolately malt, then more of the green hop assault. Alcohol warmth thrown in there also, finishing dry and hoppy bitter. Hit of bitter espresso in the mix.

Mouthfeel- hoppy, syrupy & slick

Pretty darn drinkable for 11.7%...this one should age fairly well although the hops will die down which I may or may not like.

Photo of AgentZero
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice and black, slightly brown edges, small head, nice lacing with the dissipation. Not the best looking stout ever, but definately solid.

S - The noticable thing in this sout is the earthy hops tones that come from it. Chocolatey smell, almost carob-like. Roasted malt backbone.

T - This is truly a unique taste, earthy hops smell does not dissapoint, as it comes through and blends with the roasted mild coffee malts very nicely. The chocolate hints ride through this beer, with a hint of licorice. I have not had anything quite like this before, this is the true beauty of this brew, it's a different take on a good style, but it still manages to be fantastic.

M - Full bodied, thick, carbonation is slightly less than medium, works for the style.

D - I could obliterate bottle after bottle of this, gets easier to drink the more I go. Unbelieveabley dangerous for an 11.70%. I'm always curious to review highly ranked beers that are rare, thinking that the high rating is due largely to the rarity, but this definately did not dissapoint.

Photo of jwinship83
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle drank out of a snifter as the bottle asks. bottled on 2/19/2010 with a 5 year shelf life.

A- this one pours out a black colored body. no light passes through the beer when held up to a light. a rather large coffee colored head forms on top and lasts a long while. it leaves behind a solid wall of tiny bubbles on the sides of the glass. cant ask for anything more.

S- even before the roasted malts i can smell the end result of the copious amount of dryhopping this beer went through. a sharp blast of piny and grapefruit like hops. after that is the dark roasted malts. sweet and bitter chocolate, and a definite tobacco like odor. very nice.

T- dark roasted malts come to the forefront of this one. after that, unfortunately, comes a massive blast of alcohol. 11.7% and it makes itself known. there is lots of dark chocolate in the middle as well as some smoke (not as much as i could smell). the finish is all about the hops. lots of pine and grapefruit. probably the hoppiest stout ive had.

M- full bodied and syrupy. thick and chewy. one of the most viscous stouts ive had. rather strong warming from the alcohol.

D- this is one intense beer. one bottle by itself is enough for me. in fact, its probably best to find someone to split this with. it took a long time to finish. if possible to believe, i find myself appreciating this one more in the bottle than on tap. wow.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. 2010 vintage, bottled a couple weeks ago.

Pours black with a very small tan head and lacing.

Tastes of sugar, chocolate, a hint of bourbon, fruits, and HOPS! The alcohol taste is noticeable.

Mouthfeel is heavy, syrupy, and smooth.

Drinkability is medium. More drinkable than the BCS as the bourbon taste in that one can get a bit overwhelming after a good amount of it.

Overall a great beer that will hopefully be even better after some aging. The hop taste in this sets it apart from BCS. I do still love BCS, but I could drink this more often than that. Definitely happy I purchased this one.

Photo of ChadQuest
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited to get some of this. Have lived a few hours from Goose Island but never been there while this was on tap. Now that the bottles are out I finally get my chance.

Black as Night. Decent head fading to a attractive collar but leaving some lacing as it dwindles.

BCS has Kentucky influence for its Bourbon...and this also has Kentucky, but for its Tobacco. A nice black Maduro Cigar hits the nose and palette. A touch of sweetness and carmelized brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, and the roasted malt. I was surprised i also noticed faint bourbon notes in this one, though they are faint.
This is quite unique,complex, and excellent.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, the hops dance on the front of the tongue while the body rolls and holds the palette hostage.

Compared to BCS i feel this is more drinkable in a long sitting, as while i love BCS i sometimes feel the heavy Bourbon gets cloying after a while. This is very welcoming for a Imp Stout.

Next one i pop open, i think i'll also light up a nice thick CAO Brazilia and see how they pair, these seem like a beautiful match. From this inital impression i think this could be the ultimate cigar beer.

Photo of jrallen34
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a 22oz bomber into my Orval glass.

The beer pours dark black with a medium tan head that rises about one finger. The head is creamy and full lasts a good couple minutes then falls to a soapy cover. The lacing is really nice and think coating the glass.

The aroma is strong with a nice but not overpowering hoppy smell. The hops have an almost grass like quality to them. At the end you pull out some nice sweet chocolate.

The taste is really and complex. It starts off a little sweet with some vanilla and chocolate. The finish once again is very hopps but the hops are not bitter. They are a green grassy plant like quality that are really outstanding. This is a hoppy beer but not a bitter hoppy like Darkness. This is so different.

The feel is really nice, and full bodied. The feel is slightly warm with a dry lasting finish.

The drinakbility is really good.

Overall, this was a great experience. This beer is awesome, unique, and a must get. I totally familar but different drinking experience.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black with a small light tan head and a creamy smooth ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet dark fruit, bubble gum, alcohol, tobacco, and juicy, spicy hops. The scent is more spicy than the first batch. While still an excellent scent, I prefer the stronger sweetness of the first batch.

Taste of dark fruit, molasses, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, a hint of coffee, and juicy hops. Finishes dry with bitter hops and residual sugars. This is one damn tasty beer, and as amazing as it is fresh I really look forward to trying it with some age.

Mouthfeel is heavy and creamy with a smooth carbonation, marvelous.

Drinkability is far too high for the strength and style, but it's hard to complain with such a damn tasty beer.

Photo of jampics2
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to TurdFurgison for the heads-up that this was on tap just 20 minutes down the road in Kent at the Riverside Wine and Beer joint. I've been wanting to try this for a long time.

10-12oz or so, served in a Matilda chalice - looks like a wonderful RIS. Black with slight brown and ruby highlights on the edges when the light catches it just right. Looses a half point b/c of minimum head, I like a bit more of a creamy look to my RIS.

Smell is wonderful. Typical roasted malt leading to chocolate and coffee impressions, but a sweet dark candy and licorice smell is there too. This isn't burnt, it's magnificently roasted. A little more and this would be perfect, but it's damn close.

Taste - my notes say "HOT DAMN!". Perfect molasses and sweet sugar on top of roasted malt. Wow. Sure, there's a touch of alcohol, but it's expertly hidden and really well integrated. Creamy finish, superb lingering taste! This beer tastes like it's already aged and gelled. To die for, honestly, this is one of the best normal RIS's I've ever had. I have no choice, stalker in the night, I must award you a perfect 5 - I was wishing SO much I didn't have to drive. At 11.5, this is a one and done because the booze is so well hidden.

Mouthfeel is great. Chewy but creamy. Brilliant but just a touch thin.

Overall, a phenomenal beer that just embodies power and finesse. This was a treat and I can't WAIT for the bottles this year, I will be lining up for a case - easily one of the best stouts in the world and well deserving of it's praise.

Photo of rjbeer17
5/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

High abv works well but still a nice balanced stout with definite hop aroma - I have not tasted anything to date to compare.
Only avaiable in draft where I live. I have tried it several time and always seems to taste better.
one of my favorites new stouts

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark, black, small head

S: Syrupy, Chocolate, light cherry sweetness

T: Chocolate, Hops, sweet fruits

M: heavy and slightly creamy

D: very drinkable and very dangerous!

Overall, very nice brew on tap and in growler! Had the pleasure of trying this from a growler in a trade and on tap at BW3's here in Indy

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

Enjoyed at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul.

(From notes)
A: Pours midnight black, with good head retention. Medium tan head.

S: Dark malts, chocolate, layers of caramel, dark fruit, and citrus.

T: Rich, sweet chocolate and bourbon, caramel. Citric hops, and a lingering caramel milkshake. Chocolate covered dark fruit, and pineapple-citrusy hops.

M: Velvet. Dead on--nothing more to say about this one.

While I thoroughly enjoy BCS, the bourbon character is just so huge. The hops are a great addition to the base of this beer and add a marvelous complexity. I will be seeking this beer out in the future...

Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz growler cp filled at Bierkraft. Received in trade with Hoppymcgee. Thanks Greg! Shared with nonstick - poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours absolutely an opaque pitch black with a decent collar of cappuccino foam and the thinnest cap of bubbles on the surface of the beer.

S - Smells largely of molasses and licorice, some alcohol and even a slight touch of bourbon and some milk chocolate. Very faint roasty aromas and maybe a hint of dark fruit. As it warms, a touch of smokiness creeps in, adding more complexity.

T - Dark molasses flavors up front followed by some dark roasted malt with a some dark chocolate and a coffee finish. Dark fruits in the middle of everything along with some alcohol flavor and an overall light sweetness.

M - This is a super thick and syrupy beer. Carbonation is on the low side. Feel is super creamy and full bodied...flows over the tongue slowly. Feels like it coats my teeth in roasty and syrupy goodness.

D - 11.2% doesn't lend well to drinkability. Alcohol is quite noticeable...pretty boozy - but definitely less so than a fresh GI BCS. Split this 22 with another BA, which worked out to be just about right. Very good beer, but if I had the whole bottle, it might be an early end to an evening.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 1-liter swing-top growler (looks exactly look the photo above(!); replace the huge '?' with a handwritten tag 'Goose Island Night Stalker 1/2/10'), poured several times to a snifter to end the evening. Huge thanks to SpeedwayJim for supplying a tough one to snare (though it sounds like bottles are on the horizon).

A: Top pries loose with hardly a 'poof' of air and shows a bit of crusty brown residue around the seal, not sure what to make of that... However...pours a rich, perfect blackness, seemingly impenetrable even at the outer fringes. Decent little head, nearing a 1/2-finger of ginger-yellow cream at its acme. Clings as a slim ring, wispy smoke-like swirls grace the surface once most of the head fades. Lace flecks sprinkled liberally.

S: Smells of dark roast (a creamy chocolate, a little mineral/ashen) and wafting sweet-ish (spicy?) pit fruits...a less subtle alcohol fume warms and engorges the nose.

T: The requisite dark chocolate and coffee roasts, heavy and pungent, with a deeper syrupy fruit (blackberry and a tart fig). Robust and yet sweeter cake/fudge darkness holds true, wavers between a charred/burnt grain and sweeter molasses/vanilla. Has a ton going on and teeters between either extreme - ultimately settling for a deeper, darker bitterness with an almost-forgotten green hop leafiness way in the back. Fun to sip and contemplate.

M: Thick and chewy, like the best of the big stouts. Heavy, but with less blatant booziness than some others and taking creamy smoothness to a whole new level.

D: Whew! A creeping beast that packs a punch in subtle waves. Very easy to drink, but don't be fooled into thinking this demands less than a full belly and ample time. fortunately I had both after an earlier pasta dinner with a buddy; unfortunately (or fortunately?) this growler was a solo venture later in the evening. Grateful for the try (cheers, Jim) and heartily recommended.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a counter-pressure filled bomber from Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn into a Trois Pistoles goblet.

A: Dark and oily with a dissipating dark tan head. Pretty swirls also make their way into the beer.

S: Boozy, raisins, currants, barleys, and malts. As it warms up it starts to smell like a Fig Newton.

T: Complex. Just what I like in a beer. When this beer was cold from the fridge it actually had some good hop presence. As it warmed up the vanilla, maple, and oak made their way to the front. It finishes with bourbon notes. Leaves a pleasant cocoa/coffee aftertaste.

M: Incredibly chewy, nice and carbonated from the fresh keg. Smooth and silky with a creamy finish.

D: Pretty drinkable for almost 12% ABV. I finished the bomber within a couple hours.

Overall, I am one happy camper to hear that GI will now be bottling this beer. It's downright incredible. Very well balanced with just the right amount of sweetness and bitterness.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to enjoy this one at The Terminal. From the tap poured into a tulip glass. The beer is pitch black with a thick two finger mocha hued head. The head has insane retention. Making me wait like an impatient five year old on christmas morning. Ever so slowly the head settles leaving fantastic lace rings coating the glass.

The aroma is a nice mix of roast malt and smokey oak chips. With hints of cocoa, light floral hops and candied dark fruit. The nose was a hint less powerful then I had hope but nothing to frown on.

The flavor is an intense initial blast of roast malt and chocolate oakiness. After some warming the profile shifts to candied dark fruits. Bourbon soaked black cherries along with light orange and grapefruit hoppiness. Almost no trace of booze at all.

Full viscous body that's velvety smooth and devoid of carbonation. Which is how I like my RIS.

Overall a fantastic beer. I'm glad I finally got a chance to experience it. I wish they would bottle this stuff so I could lay it down for awhile and see what age could do.

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

Had this on tap at the herot. Nice hops coming through for a stout with several flavors that you don't have in standard stouts such as interesting dark fruits and an almost grape flavor of some king. Interesting to say the least but keeping it's drink ability and flavor through the entire pint. Will have this again if and when i get the chance ..Good stuff recommend!

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

On tap and growlers multiple times. Review from notes from a fresh tulip.

A: Pours black as night, no light. Nice dark head on the pour with good retention and lacing.

S: A fair bit of roast sits behind a very hoppy blast. Hops are big but controlled and don't become too much. Loads of dark fruits in the back, plums and raisins and cherries.

T/M: More of the big hoppy kick that is balanced by the nice roast and rich sweetness of the malts. A surprising amount of dark fruits going on. Body is full with low, smoothing carbonation.

D: Very big beer but very inviting.

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,709 ratings.