Night Stalker - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Night StalkerNight Stalker

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,766 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,766
Reviews: 749
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 13.73%
Wants: 262
Gots: 563 | 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 mcallister
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Black as night as should be from the name. Pours very still with some spritzy carbonation bubbles around the edge. Mocha colored head small yet retentive with light lacing.

Big thick malty aromas. Dark fudge and bitter bakers chocolate, leather, unmalted barley galore, a bit of a musty type smell that is offputting, some hop character, toffee, caramel and black fruits.

Monster of a beer. Very roasty and dense malts. Unmalted barley and that musty character from the aroma. Huge thick mouthfeel engulfing, creamy and obtrusive mouthfeel. Nice bitterness with huge chocolate and black fruits and a hint of caramel.

Photo of cokes
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Virtually black, although the darkened pub did not allow for a detailed analysis of the color. It seemed very dark and very black and that's what I'll go with. The head was thin and mocha brown, while settling quickly, it endured a while as a skimming.
Pipe tobacco, fudge, latte, and electric wintergreen nose, with backing smoke, liquorice, and mango malts, and grapefruit, pepper, and herb hop componentns. Booze comes through bourbon-esque, mingling with the caramel-vanilla-cocont sweetness, but not in a barrel-aged (a la BCS) sort of way, here it is all in the booze acountrmont.
It enters the mouth barnstorming, and riotous. Fudge and pipe tobacco, and espresso, and caramel, and plums. The middle is rife with confectionous tropical notes, akin to a bag of gummi bears, with emphasis on pineapple-heavy fruit punch and cherry. Some banana bread notions pop up intermittently. It's much brighter than it is dark or roasty or smokey. These candied fruit traits mingle with the twitchy hops, hitting with spearmint, grapefruit, mango, herbs, pepper, and pine. Some Bourbon and aged dark rum booze notions creep in late, around the swallow, but add nuance and depth, not explicit heat.
Full bodied, lowly carbonated, but a lithe bead percolates upwards. This is grabby in sections and taut in others. It brawny, not flabby, and exactly what a huge stout should feel like.
This is, in every way, delicious. It's drinkable it the way that rapidly compromises one's sobriety. There is so much going on here, all of it working with- and against- itself, that it is nearly impossible to keep away from one's lips.
This rivals BCS in every way, and that not the sort of praise I throw around lightly. It is vastly different from GI's barreled version, yet still mirrors its intensity and kaleidoscopic array of flavors.
I would love to see this bottled, as this is more versatile than the Bourbon-drenched BCS (which is one my very-very short list of all time favs...proabably top three). And this is every bit as special.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Clybourn brewpub the day after Dark Lord Day 2009.

A: Pours a very, very dark brown; nearing black with a tiny head and some minimal lacing.

S: Lots of hops going on here; rivaled likely only by Bear Republic's Big Black Bear Stout in terms of the hops it has. Good, complex roasted malts character rounds everything out, but the hops are what's really surprising.

T: Roasted chocolate malts and dark fruit with a tiny bit of coffee. The hops then loom fairly large, creating an exceedingly-balanced stout.

M: Very full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

D: Very well-balanced and wonderfully drinkable. Glad to see this is already on GI's website and will hopefully be a standard yearly offering. Overall, a very solid counterpart to Bourbon County.

Photo of iasanlee
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a creamy brown head that leaves great lacing. Aroma is spicy hops, coffee/chocolate, and molasses. Flavor is complex and unusual. Tobacco, coffee/dark chocolate, huge black pepper notes, pine. Finish is dry with a lasting astringency and bitterness. Full bodied with a mild creamy carbonation. I am happy to have tried this one, the complexity is great and very different from anything I have tried in the past. The incredible spiciness left my tongue numb.

Photo of rhinos00
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at One-Eyed Jacks just outside of Dayton.

A- Pours a dark, fudge brown with two fingers width of mocha colored head. Throughout consumption the head was reduced to a cream colored ring that laced the glass quite nicely.

S- Almost like a marshmellow! Big vanilla notes with chocolate malts and hints of dark fruit throughout. Pretty complex.

T- For me the first half of the taste was spot on. Plenty of chocolate and roasted malts blended perfectly together. Some hints of vanilla and espresso. Midway through and on is where this beer sort of lost it for me. It just became over powered with this dark fruit sweetness that was more sweet than dark, if you sort of understand what I'm saying. Almost reminded me of Black Albert except not as clean in the taste. The sweet finish was just too dominant in this one.

M- Absolutely perfect. Had a nice creamy, frothy texture as it sat on the palate. Just fantastic.

D- For 11% the booze is not too overpowering. To me, the sweetness in this one really affects the overall drinkability. I was only able to manage one of these.

Overall, glad to have had this beer. Based on the mouthfeel and aroma this beer had huge potential. Just something about that last half of the taste with the overly sweet finish that ruined it for me.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderful ba sent me a handbottle of this beer. In a 500ml flip top that was sealed over with tape. I have had several really good expierences with flip top hand bottles, live oak, and a couple rarer west coast sours, when they are done right then can be grand, and this one was done right! Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/25/2009.

The pour out of the bottle was honestly one of the darkest things I have ever seen. Just nuts. Pitch black as night with a light tan head of maybe an inch and a half across the top. This faded down to about a quarter inch but never got any lower then that. Lots of side glass lacing all over the sides as it went down. The aroma was a touch boozy, with tons of chocolate and roasted malts coming through. Almost a licorice like smell as it warms, incredible. As I take my first sip I am floored, rich vanilla and cocoa taste with a large dose of roasted malts. Tons of flavor here, with bourbon notes really coming through on this one. I am literally drooling as I write this that I dont have any left. The finish was soo smooth, and chocolate filled, it was a dessert beer to the extreme. For 11.5% you would think there would be a ton of alcohol swimming in this one, but know, just insanely good and really full bodied,one of the thickest beersI have ever run across.

Overall all, floored, this beer needs to get out more as this almost blows the category up. Seriously one of the richest tasting and fullest beers I have ever run across, top notch.

Photo of dirtylou
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at brasserie V, paired with brunch...$5 for a 6oz pour

cell phone notes

appearance: served in the standard goose island chalice, opaque body with a chocolatey cap and light retention

smell: freshly hopped, very roasty, dark chocolate, espresso, dark fruits, chocolate covered cherry

taste: awesome stout from GI - much different from the thick BCS, this one is a lot smoother and comes with a bit of a hoppy kick (ala surly darkness), dark cherry and other dark fruit, malty, dark chocolate, very roasty, creamy coffee, touch of vanilla, hazelnut

mouthfeel: rich and smooth, abv nowhere to be found

drinkability: high, seek this out

Photo of tmoneyba
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Draft at Catskeller.

A - Poured a clear dark brown color with a large frothy dark brown head that lasted with excellent lacing.

S- Moderate to heavy roasted chocolate, caramel, hops and alcohol aroma.

T - Heavy bittersweet roasted malty flavor with a heavy bittersweet, rye and small alcohol bite finish of long duration.

M - Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation.

D - This is a standout beer.

Photo of davedahl
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I got this on-tap at the Goose Island brewery in Chicago (Clybourn).

From the menu...
"Pitch black imperial stout, rich chocolate flavor with a powerful hoppy aroma. 11.7% $10 for 8oz snifter"

- appearance: completely freaking black...the color from my shirt was sucked into it's black void. Tight head of rich tiny dark brown bubbles - never seen a head so dark.
- nose: smooth hops, sweet molasses, some dark fruit and raisins
- taste: massive sweet roasty malt with big hop presence in the middle very grassy, finishes sweet.
-mouthfeel: well rounded and very full slight slickness but very pleasant. Very rich.
-drinkability: no alcohol, I swear you won't find it. Incredibly more drinkable than it should be...how the hell can such big flavors be so easily drinkable.

How the hell did Greg make this work? Massive amounts of hops, but balanced by the big malts and alch.

Photo of arcgator
4.97/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this from draft at Publican in Chicago. It was described to us as similar to Bourbon County Stout, without the Bourbon Barrel aging, which seemed like an instant turn off, until it was sampled. The aroma had a large amount of depth to it, and the mouthfeel gave no sense of the 11% ABV it contained. May be the smoothest high alcohol beer I've had.

The pour was nothing short of exceptional, maybe the best beer I have had in the Goose Island selection. Highly recommend it to anyone that can find it.

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

Wow, a crazy smooth Imperial Stout stout that hides its alcohol content very well. No trace of booziness in this 11 percenter; just incredibly smooth, lush chocolate flavors with hops on display up front. The hops are more floral than piney or citrusy. The bitterness in the finish is assertive enough, but not overblown. Complex in the true sense of the word (in terms of beer), with a few different flavors mingling together that are hard to describe. I'm glad I had just a five-ounce sample of this silky smooth monster stout. Definitely something to seek out.

Photo of dukedevil0
4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the wrigleyville brewpub into a snifter.

A: Pours dark black with a two fingered khaki head and lacing on the glass. Can only see through the thin edges.

S: smells like the usual RIS smells, but not very intense...chocolate, roastiness, slght coffee

T: just like the smell but a good amount of booziness, almost overpoweringly so. the alcohol flavor gives the beer a nice dimension, but at times it can be too much so...i like it overall, but it will suffer in the drinkability factor

M: pretty creamy as an RIS should be, very sticky on the glass

D: very tasty, but the alcohol sticks out as i mentioned which makes this a little difficult to drink more than one of.

Photo of klewis
4.73/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Catskeller - Cincinnati, OH 4/3/09

A: Pours pitch black with a small, bubbly head. Light lacing.

S: A soft smell with a coffee aroma and light floral hops.

T: Full and complex. Coffee, molasses, and a touch of anise. An unusual (but delicious) herbal and minty hop character. No alcoholic presence or astringency.

M: Full-bodied with light carbonation. Extra thick and syrupy.

D: This beer is worth murder.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a thick black color, a thin, dense, creamy head of mocha. Doesn't lace much.

Aroma - rich chocolate with a grassy, herbal hoppiness, reminiscent of St. Rogue Dry-Hopped Red. It kind of disrupts the malty aspect of the stout, yet makes an interesting contrast that is unique.

Taste - huge espresso and bitter chocolate flavor. The hops on the nose really aren't evident in the taste, any bite is lost in the char of the grain. Notable alcohol warmth accentuates the flavors wonderfully, pushing Kahlua-like flavors a little, but the hops do a good job of checking that. On the swallow, focus returns to the roasted grain, pushing espresso and dark chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel - lucious, velvety, and richly smooth. The carbonation does what it can to make a presence (and you'll certainly get some tasty burps), but the ultimate barrage of malts prove to have enough body to tamp down the bubbles.

Drinkability - drink it where you can find it. Although I think I prefer the BCS, this is a treat that won't disappoint.

Photo of MasterSki
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Goose Island - Wrigleyville while working on my new string quartet. Served in a GI Reserve glass.

A - One finger of slow-dissipating dark tan foam that leaves some solid lacing. Black, but with maybe a hint of dark, dark, chocolate brown to it, and some reddish-brown highlights at the fringe of the glass. Could have used a little more volume of head, but otherwise very handsome.

S - Reminiscent of a black IPA (a la Sublimely Self-Righteous/Stone XI), but a little more muted off the pour. The amarillo dry hopping is obvious and lends a lot of floral and tropical hoppiness, but there's also plenty of coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and caramel maltiness to it. It's delicious, but I wish it was a little more "live" and jumped out of the glass a little more (I even let it warm up quite a bit).

T - The taste is certainly more lively, but definitively less complex. There's a lot more roastiness and chocolate up front, whereas the floral hops kick in a little later. Bitter aftertaste, but I can't tell if it's from the roasted coffee flavors or the dry-hopping - thankfully it's mild and definitely not unpleasant.

M - Really sticky - reminds me of BCS (it is the base beer after all!), but not quite as dense. Good lively carbonation, but not too much. More stout than Imperial stout, but still quite pleasant.

D - This is 11.7%? Really? I can't taste it, although after a half-glass I can definitely feel a slight tingling buzz setting in. Definitely more drinkable than BCS, as it's nowhere near as boozy and intense.

I don't like this quite as much as BCS (which I identify as the quintessential dessert beer), but it's still really terrific. Not sure about those Darkness comparisons - I just had that down the street at Risque and Darkness was much more impressive in smell and taste. Still, it's nice to see GI shaking things up and not resting on their laurels.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Dilly Deli. $7.75 for a 10 ounce snifter.
Pours black as can be with a nice inch of mocha colored head on top. Smell is initially some hops, but are quickly muted by the stout characterisitics. There are some hints of alcohol in the nose as well.
Taste is very nice. Some dark roasted malts, some very dark and ripe fruits, just a bit of tobacco. The hops are just behind the scenes holding everything together. This is an amazing beer. Very big and viscous in the mouthfeel. The beer coats the side of the glass after each and every sip. The alcohol is a bit more noticeable in the taste after it warms up a bit. Still an incredible sipper.

Photo of brentk56
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a chocolate syrup color with very little head but it does stir up some foam with a swirl; minimal lace

Smell: Can this possbibly be an imperial stout with all of this floral citrus? There is some chocolate underneath, but this smells like an IPA

Taste: After a quick blast of chocolate and dark fruit the citrusy hops push everything else aside with their floral character; the hops get even bigger after the swallow, but they are balanced out in the finish by the chocolate and dark fruit flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Incredibly well-balanced for a hoppy stout, this beer is destined to hit the Top 100; first, on to the buzzed beer category

(While I loved this beer on tap, drinking a bottle supplied by BlueOkie would lead me to mark down the total score into the 4.2 range; still good, but not as enthusiastic about the bottled product.)

Photo of tjthresh
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dense and sticky brown head. This is Darkness light. Hell, I'd put this up against Darkness any day. This is a hoppy as hell imperial stout. Dank piny hops with plenty of roasty and chocolaty goodness in the nose. I'm going to punch this bitch if she blows her smoke my way again. Bam! Hops up side yo head!! Really robust roasted malt goodness. Full body with some prickly carbonation. Long dry finish. Wow. Fantastic beer.

Photo of ironarrow42
4.56/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a 10 ounce snifter at Dilly Deli (Mariemont, OH). Appears solid black in the glass. The initial quarter inch of foam quickly fell to a beige collar. It even looks rich and heavy. The bartender warmed my glass briefly to remove excess chill.

Fruity aroma, with some fig, dates, and a roasty note. I didn't get a whole lot of hops in the aroma. Huge body with a viscous texture and full mouthfeel. Sweet up front with notes of baked figs and prunes, roast coffee, cocoa, a hint of oak or smoke, and alcohol. The initial sweetness becomes tangy and gains a bitter edge towards the lengthy finish. More cocoa, baked plum, and a light burn of alcohol.

Huge, complex & satisfying. Well worth the price of admission.

Photo of hawks10
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8 oz serving on tap at Brixie's in Brookfield, IL tonight, tapped within a couple hours of me trying it...

Pours a thick, viscous black liquid with a nice dense one finger tan head that hangs around for a while before dissipating...a hazy film of head caps the brew for the whole drink...

Abundance of coffee in the nose to begin...a strong scent of rubbing alcohol starts showing itself with burnt/roasted grains and a bit of anise/black licorice...

Taste is sweetened with a hint of molasses before becoming bitter with the roasted chocolate malts and mild hop presence. Nice chocolate hints with a mild alcohol burn. Beer tastes like it's been "pre-aged", not hot at all, very smooth and balanced...delicious...

Super smooth, creamy, coating, delicious. Mouthfeel is incredible. The 11.7% seems really well hidden, as there is only a slight, inviting alcohol burn. Thick, with a beautiful taste that lingers for a while...

Have had this on tap a few times and fresh from the bottle (bottled 2.19.2010, consumed 3.3.2010) and it has been near perfect each time. An incredible offering from Goose Island, I much prefer this to Bourbon County Stout and I'm really glad I picked up a case!

Photo of Yetiman420
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at the Dilly Deli in Cincinnati Ohio. Tapped three hours prior to my pour in a snifter. Black with a light brown, not tan, head.

Massive aroma. hops and caramel notes. I held this 30 minutes while I ate dinner to let it warm and breathe.

A noticeable hop flavor on the finish. I keep coming back to the aroma. Beginning to pick up some molasses.

Very full body on this one.

Chocolate becomes present in the flavor as it warms.

I spent a good 45 minutes with this one and am very impressed with the unique hop flavors and the complexity over time.

Photo of murrayswine
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip at my buddy Shawn's store, Three Cellars.

Pour: Well, its as it should be, black, murky, and with a juicy laced head.

Smell: Smell is hoppy as HELL. all green hops with a hint of coffee and English toffee. slight burnt roast in the end, but essentially hops.

Taste: My good buddy, Woodychandler would hate this, as its an uncharacteristic hopped up stout with a mean streak. THis is all hops with a slight cocoa center mixed with a hint of coffee and peanut brittle.

Mouthfeel: It's Goose Island... It's a Imp Stout, what else can I say.

Overall: Simply awesome and a hearty thank you to Jory Hanson for bringing this barrel up to Milwaukee.

Photo of gorby10826
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Right next to DL, KTG, Darkness, Black Albert definitely one of the best I have ever had. I truly hope that goose eventually decides to bottle it!

Smooth. Dark. Pretty thick. Hopped up. Think about mixing black albert and darkness...pretty much the easiest way to explain if you have had those two.

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

Served in a snifter at Goose Island-Clybourn 3/5/09.

A: Served a dense & impenetrable pitch-black color that's capped by a 1/2 finger of creamy, dark-mocha colored head that leaves sticky lace webs in its' wake. When swirled, Night Stalker clings to the inside of the glass, much like how bourbon does the same thing when swirled around in a snifter.

S: Right off the bat, I was greeted with a huge nose of sweet dark fruit, heavily roasted malt, and dark chocolate. I knew more was yet to come, so I let it warm a little and was rewarded with aromas of milk chocolate, toasted bread crust, molassas, and hops...gloriously spicy/piney hops.

T: The taste was more of the same, roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, and hops. Just as the smell awakened when it warmed, so did the taste. Carmelized brown sugar, rum-drenched dark fruit, vanilla, milk chocolate covered cherries, ever increasing levels of piney hops, and a dash of fresh espresso in the finish.

M: I mentioned before how this thing coated the glass so I knew I was in for a very thick and filling glass of beer, and I wasn't disappointed. Very viscous with a perfect balance of sweet, dry, bitter, and oily. Everything works in harmony together.

D: This is a wonderful beer. I often wondered what Bourbon County Stout would taste like without the barrel ageing. Well, I guess the folks at GI were reading my mind. This needs to be more available than a limited draft only release!

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