Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

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1,766 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,766
Reviews: 749
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 13.73%
Wants: 262
Gots: 562 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,766 | Reviews: 749
Photo of thedoubler55
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a pitch black in color with about a finger of tan head at the top, there was a bit of lacing around the glass.

S: The nose is filled with licorice and chocolate, a bit of bourbon as well, some roasted malts and slight hints of coffee.

T: The taste of this one is a bit of roast and and some bitterness, a strong alcohol taste but nothing to crazy, the taste was a bit bland on the tail end.

M: A full to Medium body with a slight hint of carbonation, not to sticky, I was definitely expecting it.

O: Not a bad beer at all, I was expecting a bit more from it but it was thoroughly happy with it.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip, the beer is almost completely black, with a thick look on the pour and a dense, foamy, light tan head that slowly settles into an uneven surface coating. Aromas of booze, dark cherry and fig sweetness, molasses, and a touch of earth and wood. Roasted notes on the nose, too. Flavors are rich and darkly sweet, with molasses first and foremost, hints of earth and old world fruit, and a touch of roast at the end. Earthy tones help take the cloying off the sweet body, and there is a touch of bitterness that brings balance to the brew. A deep, slow building warmth starts from the booze. The beer is bold and smooth in mouth, with a smooth, clean finish. Aftertaste is heavy and lingering, with subtle molasses and fruit sweet. Heavy hitter, but very good.

Photo of BeerBarron
4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Is it fair to call this beer bourbon county light? Im going to go ahead and say yes. It pours dark and oily and smells like sweet chocolate and rich dark fruits. I didnt like the carbonatiom at first so i let it sit and the mellow mouth feel adds to its depth and complexity. Its smooth and syrupy and exactly what i like in an imperial stout. Its a little sweet for you masochists but overall a great beer at a great price.

Photo of yankeepride
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I just don't care who owns these GI stouts, they are so frickin' awesome. I am a kid at heard (but luckily legally able to drink), so I enjoyed watching the falling out of the hard pour into a shaker. What was even more fun, especially for my wife, was how the foam, just perfectly cresting the glass by a tiny amount, looks like a sugar cookie sitting on top of the glass. With a whiff, there was a pretty noticeable hop presence, but of course not like an IPA. There was also a very strong sweetness that just billowed out of the glass. Taking a big gulp, you get a really, really malty kick, with only a touch of roasted-ness to it. It really had a delicious flavor, and the hop smell that was so strong was only partly present on the tongue. It's hard to believe that this much flavor isn't from barrel-aging, especially with how long the malts linger in your mouth. With a high ABV, it should be a long-sipping beer, but the flavor and silky-smooth texture had me pounding this thing. Awesome.

Photo of barczar
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque deep brown with a half inch frothy mocha head that slowly dissipates, leaving sheets of lacing.

Citrus, resin, pine, and acetone form the initial aroma. Underpinnings of chocolate and brown sugar sweetness combine well with subtle roast malt.

Flavor reveals more acetone, along with grapefruit and lightly roasted malt and a fairly sweet chocolatey backbone that lingers into the finish. Tastes almost soured, but not in a good way. Dates, figs, and hints of raisins surface late.

Body is thick, syrupy, smooth, rich, and absolutely luscious, with minimal carbonation and substantial alcohol warmth.

The acetone character is offputting. Malt is sweeter than expected, and more chocolate than roast. Wish that acetone character weren't present. Not sure if it's an unfortunate combo of malt and hop character for my palate or if it truly has an issue. Still, great malt flavor and mouthfeel.

Photo of Lemke10
4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a very dark brown/black color with a frothy, light brown head. The aroma isn’t too bold, just hints of sweetness that seem a little chalky. There is a very complex taste but I was picking out hints of raisin, plum, and prunes, burnt oak with slight hints of vanilla. This is very big and bold which made for a good hour long sipping beer. The finish was kind of sweet and left behind a chalky texture. A very good beer, but I was left wanting a little more given the Goose Island name.

Photo of GuinnessAtRogerWilco
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a Great Lakes Christmas Ale snifter

AP: deep black, looks like motor oil, light 1/4" tan head that dissipates

AR: black strap molasses, dark chocolate, rum soaked dark fruits and black bread

T: all of the above I detected in the aroma plus the addition of a toffee stickiness and a hint of vanilla cappuccino at the end with a faint brush of Earthy hops

M: creamy and silky yet chewy, low carbonation the way I like my Imperial Stouts

OV: very tasty, balanced and well rounded and the alcohol is pretty well hidden, though you do get it in the aroma and a bit at the first taste, but the flavours are too much and drown it out making this an excellent sipper.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - can you believe this pours really black?!?

S - big malts, dark evil fruit aromas, like raisins or dates or plums, some bourbon like aromas with vanilla/oakiness, makes me wonder if thisis barrel aged at least for a little while.

T - the malts are impossibly big, some chocolate and coffee, but the dark fruits steal the show. The bourbon/vanilla/oak flavors are lurking in the background.

M&D&O - complex and layered, big on flavor and it kicks ass. It cant hide the 11.5%. Not an everyday beer. What a powerful flavor, well done GI!

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 2/6/11 and reviewed on 3/25/13. Poured from a bottle into a Great Lakes snifter. The pour is very dark, not too viscous with very little head. The nose has hints of molasses and dark fruits.

The beer has a full body and a slick, oily feel. I get a lot of molasses and brown sugar up front. As the beer oozes across the palate, some notes of oak and toasted malt develop into a hint of clove. The hops seem long gone at this point and leave only this bit of spice behind. The alcohol is also quite tame given the high abv. Time has smoothed out the bitterness and blended the flavors quite nicely, leaving only a warming liquorice note on the finish.

First time I've had this beer since I tried it fresh 2 years ago. Sadly, I neglected to take good tasting notes at the time, but I do remember it being much more bitter and full of more typical roasty Russian Imperial Stout flavors. It's a very different animal now.

Photo of RoamingGnome
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Goose Island Night Stalker

Thanks to Ncketchum for bottle. Poured into a CBS snifter. Served lightly chilled.

A) This was dark brown with a nice fluffy finger of tan head. Nice retention, and decent lacing too. A rather attractive beer.

S) A fair amount of roast. Definitely some coffee and strong citrus aroma. Hint of chocolate. This is like a Mocha Valencia. Not sure if this is how it's supposed to smell, but I rather like it.

T) The initial flavor is very much like the nose, but then this beer takes a wrong turn somewhere near Albuquerque. What I'm about to say is going to seem strange. Well, it seems very strange to me. The taste was like Jelly Belly popcorn flavored jellybeans. I hate that flavor. What the hell is going on here?

M) Medium bodied, with a fairly rich feel. Light carbonation and rather smooth. This was a mouth coater.

O) I glanced at a thread here on Beer Advocate a few months back questioning the potential for some infected bottles of Night Stalker. This bottle has to be under suspicion. I didn't strongly dislike this beer, in fact there were aspects I rather enjoyed, but the flavor was definitely off. Will need to revisit in order to confirm.

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.93/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this some time ago... maybe a couple years ago and remembered loving it. When I saw a bottle I did not even resist buying it up.

Definitely matches up with what I remember.

-Deep black/brown, with very small bubble, milk chocolate color head. Not even really a head... more like a comb-over dissipates quickly.

-Smells awesome, you can tell it will be a sweeter stout. Has a nice sweet coffee and dark chocolate scent with maybe some raisins, malt, a little smokey earthiness, and definitely booze.

-Upfront sweetness, the nose adds up with the dark chocolate and coffee. Peels away into some serious roast, charred earthy notes, surprisingly woody even though I do not believe this is oak aged or aged on anything. I like this woody, haunting, cabin smoke character to it. Not like rauch smoke... but like this charred, grimy dirty wood taste. I can't explain but it is good. A little raisin and dark fruit. Booze comes in prominent as the sweetness drops down into the bitter hops and piny, herbal notes that are reminiscent of black licorice... and not sweet black licorice either. It begins sweet but ends on a nice subtle bitter and dry side that lingers a while.

The mouthfeel is just a tad thinner than I would like. In a way it is nice but in a way I would like a bit more meat on the bone. Just a bit. And with that... a bit more dryness... just a bit.

Warming... yes. And a nice warm, NOT a heartburn warm. Just subtle and smooth.

Overall the comments on the mouthfeel are my only complaints... and pretty small complaints at that. No one can deny that this is a very good, very tasty imperial stout that is worth... the what, $10-$11? Yeah... no problem. It's great on a snowy night, it's great with a friend or two or even alone when you have a full evening of just taking life easy. Very satisfy. I will be buying this again in years to come.

My last comment is pay close attention to the label where it says to drink within 180 days of bottling date. The first one I had was past, and though still good I certainly remember it not being quite as bitter hoppy, which struck out some of the complexity. Fresh is best with this. And luckily they offer it during the right season.

Photo of mnphish
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle served into a Snifter. Thanks to match1112 for this guy. Bottled on 3/6/10, consumed just over three years later. Pours a dark black hue with a one finger khaki head. The first thing that comes across on the nose is dark fruit and light bourbon, along with chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, and some hop character. The taste is pretty incredible at this stage: Developed dark fruits and caramel mixed with a bold dark chocolate flavor. This has a nice charcoal/wood complexity to it as well. It's followed by a light bitter flavor and a lasting malt finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, sticky, heavy bodied, with light carbonation. Night Stalker is a very satisfying stout, and it's not too over the top or boozy. Good stuff Brett Porter! ; )

Photo of Gatch
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Whoaaaa, this is unique! Bottled 11/19/12 (1525). The bottle and GI's website say to enjoy within 180 days, which I miscalculated as this beer being fresh until 2/19/13. Well, although my math is terrible, this beer seems to be in its prime until 5/19/13! ABV is 11.5% on the label.

A: Super thick, viscous, dark brown/black. If you pour it slowly and with the intention of building a head, a frothy, creamy, pillowy, light brown substance forms and jiggles like jello. Great lace and decent retention.

S: Very roasty with a slight hop presence with a long sniff. Woody, earthy, unique. Slight BBQ sauce or soy sauce aroma if you dig deep. Sweet, malty, roasty.

T: Heavy coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, caramelized sugar, cacao nibs. Some serious, real chocolate in this beer. Ain't no Hershey's chocolate in this brew. Surprisingly spiced and a little bit of heat in the finish. Slightly boozy but it complements the flavors and body. It sneaks up on you...a full bomber puts you in another state of mind. Very woody and earthy. Sweetness is never overpowering. Hops aren't as strong as I expected but this isn't an American Black Ale or Black IPA. It's an Imperial Stout with a heavy dose of hops, so it's definitely unique. The hop oils give it unique qualities.

M: Pretty darn smooth. Great body for the style. Tons of chocolate flavor. Like, straight off the cacao tree.

O: The hops really transform this IS into a beer that I've never experienced before. Strange at first but it grows on you. Let it warm up. Pretty sweet, slightly spicy, very chocolaty, boozy, and complex. Would I drink again? Probably. Just to see if the flavor is different.

Photo of cvm4
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, tight bubbles in the one finger tan head. Pretty good lacing.

S - Piney & floral, very odd. Background has milk chocolate.

T - Botanical, somewhat tart, light coffee & roasted malts.

M - Medium bodied, high carbonation.

O - I think this bottle was slightly infected. Just no way the tartness & floral should be in this beer. Need to revisit again.

Photo of rodlavers
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a re-review, having had it on tap at Kelly's in Chicago.

This beer is completely different than the one I had a few months ago in a resemblance whatsoever. None. And much better.

Smell is decidedly herbal, but not overwhelming or terribly noticeable. Just average, not amazing but ok.

Taste is herbal and somewhat hoppy, with hints of coffee and chocolate. Not bad at all, no resemblance to what I had in a bottle. It's a little flat though.

Feel is smooth and creamy. Very nice feel.

Overall I'm glad I had a chance to try Night Stalker again, and experience it or what it really is. It's unique, unlike most stouts I've ever had. Cheers.

11/19/2012 1633, bottle date and time stamp. Definitely from the bad batch.

Appearance is all well and good: pours pitch black with a foamy mocha head, light lacing.

Smell is super funky. Having a hard time making out any of the hops that are supposed to be in here. Harder still to interpret what's behind it. It literally smells "bad."

Taste is even worse. Super funky, sour and hoppy at the same time, but tastes like it has gone bad, even though I know that is not the case, just something terribly wrong with the batch.

Mouthfeel is pretty weak as well, not sure if it's because the taste is so poor, or what. Certainly nothing as even close to as enjoyable as BCBS, in any way, shape, or form.

Overall, I feel bad reviewing this beer without getting a chance to have a sample from a successful batch. I am not terribly angry, just disappointed.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/19/12, #1523.

A: dark as night, little off white head.
S: I'm actually smelling botanicals that you'd find in Gin. Smells like a gin and tonic with lime to me. Lots of pine.
T: more pine and gin. Some sweetness and roasty malts.
M: nice mouthfeel, not as thick as big john or bcbs. Finishes dry.
O: pretty weird stout. Not bad at all. Interesting. Definitely worth trying.

Photo of facundoCNB
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

a nice thick black pour with a finger of tan head, great retention. smells of grassy hops, chocolate, caramel, coffee. a very sweet, roasty and hoppy delight. this seems like the base recipe for bcbs honestly, slightly smoked flavor with lots of coffee and chocolate. full body, low carbonation, very rich and creamy.

this is honestly a delicious beer. i've heard mixed reviews about it being too hoppy, infected, etc. but none have just been forward and said it's a great stout, which it is. sweet, but not too sweet. hoppy, but not overwhelming like beer hop breakfast was. high on the abv, but not noticeable.

Photo of weltywm
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a bomber into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a thick jet black with about 1 fingers of dark head.

Smell: Very roasty and sweet mixed in with some hop bitterness.

Taste: Awesome, and very complex. Dominated by roasty coffee and chocolate, oily espresso, and hop bitterness. I also taste dark fruits like cherry and plum, molasses, sugar, earth, oak, and last but not least, boozy alcohol. All of the flavors blend and complement each other very well. Wow, this beer is big.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and oily. Also very carbonated for a stout.

Overall: A very excellent stout from Goose Island. A beer to be savored over the course of an hour. Would definitely buy again.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a viscous, dark black. Minimal light penetration. Thinner tan head leaves light lacing freckles along the glass.

S-It really reminds me of an amped up Diesel from Sixpoint. Vegetal, green hops dipped in fondue chocolate. Mocha-coffee and piney hops. A hint of ash with a tiny whiff of dark fruitiness.

T-Again, it is very similar to a gargantuan Diesel. Piney, veggie and even some green onion hops draped it a viscous dark chocolate fondue. Also reminds me of the dark chocolate version of a Terry's Chocolate Orange; there is some citrus in there too.

M-Viscous and heavy. Soft carbonation. High bitterness. Booze is hidden quite well. Flavor lasts and lasts.

O/D-Yet another stalwart Stout by Goose Island. I love the hop expression here. Its pretty amazing how wide of a spectrum Goose Island can place their Stouts in terms of flavor. Although Goose Island's Stouts are dark and oily, the quality shines bright (cheesy final sentence makes this review completely invalid).

Photo of chanokokoro
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle dated 11/19/12 into a Goose Island Brewpubs branded snifter

Pours midnight black capped by a dark tan one and a half finger fluffy head. Above average retention and splotchy lacing. Huge citrus hops, bakers chocolate, and hints of roastiness on the nose. Bitter pineapple upfront, largely unsweentened dark chocolate, and big bitter citrus rind and roasted malt. Full bodied, smooth, oily, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel. This beer's finish just doesn't work for me, intense and unbalanced. Not a terrible beer, but certainly not a brew I'm in a hurry to revisit.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11/19/12

A: Pours an opaque very dark jet black in color with some light to moderate amounts of gentle carbonation and a light amount of dark amber highlights. The beer has a finger tall creamy very dark mocha head that slowly reduces to medium sized slightly thicker patch with some larger bubbles, a thin film covering the remainder of the surface, and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts with some notes of licorice and chocolate. Over the top of the malts, there is a moderate amount of citrus/orange hops and a light amount of pine hops. Just a light hint of alcohol.

T: Upfront there are moderate amounts of roasted malts flavors with some light amounts of sweetness and just a touch of vanilla. There are moderate flavors of dark chocolate and some light notes of licorice as well. That is all combined with some moderate to strong flavors of citrus/orange hops and light to moderate flavors of pine hops. Moderate amounts of bitterness and just a touch of alcohol in the finish.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy with a light to moderate amount of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: This is a bottle from the questionable batch but definitely no infection here so it clearly doesn't effect everything from 11/19/12. This is quite an enjoyable beer but definitely a big beer that needs to be sipped slowly and savored - not the easiest to drink since the alcohol is not as well hidden as I might have liked.

Photo of MCain04
3.46/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

on tap into a 14 oz snifter

a: very dark. 1 finger tan head. good retention and lacing.

s: not a ton on the nose, but lots of hops. can smell some vanilla, some heat, some malty roasty character.

t: hoppy up front, then sweet. then alcohol. then and odd funky taste with soy sauce.

m: creamy, medium carbonation and a little sticky.

o: a beer than I've heard is best after a year. I plan to let my bomber age. I did not care for this beer fresh. heard rumors it's infected... I doubt it really is but it just is a very unique taste that isn't for everybody.

Photo of paperkutt17
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love almost every thing ive ever had form goose island and being from Chicago maybe im a little biased but I had a bottle of the supposed bad batch but to tell the truth it taste good and got the desired affect i was looking for so theres no bad review from this satisfied customer.

Photo of ericlawton007
1.12/5  rDev -72.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Was really hoping I got a good bottle. Did not happen as the smell was very much like the worst thing you could smell when expecting an imperial stout. While I cant fully explain what comes out in the aroma, the taste is all teriyaki and soy sauce. I contacted goose island with my bottle date and time stamp just so they could try and limit the people that wasted over 10 dollars on this and instead of letting me know that they were looking into this, they sent me a generic letter saying how they used different hops and it brought on a different taste from years past. They did not go on to explain why people who have tried multiple bottles from this years batch have tasted two really different beers. I would have felt better had they not emailed me a response back at all.

Photo of Rutager
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Steasy66 for yet another killer beer! Bottled 2/6/11.

Appearance. Pours thick and black with almost a finger of tan head.

Smell. Big citrusy hops and dark chocolate. There's some dark roasty malts as well but the hops and chocolate are the big players here.

Taste. Oranges and plenty of dark chocolate give way to some roasty malts and a little coffee and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel. On the low side of full bodied with medium-low carbonation.

Overall. Interesting beer with lots of flavour and big hops, even with some age. Very nice but would imagine the hops might be a bit much when fresh and in full force. This bottle was very tasty though.

Night Stalker from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,766 ratings.