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Sofie | Goose Island Beer Co.

1,040 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
80% Belgian Style Ale, 20% Belgian Style Ale aged in wine barrels with citrus peel. Champagne color, white pepper aroma, citrus & vanilla flavor, sparkling body.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-29-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,040 | Ratings: 4,253
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour with a slightly hazy golden beer and a pure white, pillowy head that is refreshed by a constant steram of bubbles. The aroma is gentle and tangy with green apples, grass, and some very light coriander and clove. Very creamy with more of that light apple found in the aroma appearing on the tongue along with some smooth, light graininess and fresh straw. Beautifully balanced and on the creamy rather than crisp side for a saison. Beautiful beer that I could drink all day.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up after work the other day.

Appearance- cloudy, golden color, thick foamy head

Smell- citrus, spice

Taste- citrus fruit, earthy spice

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied

Drinkability- I really enjoyed this. It was really refreshing after a long day of doing stuff for my wedding. It hit the spot.

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Photo of weeare138
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much different than what I remember having in the bottle...
Appears a slightly hazed light gold with a small white cap that slowly fades into a gentle film and hearty collar.
Smell is of white wine, vanilla, mild citrus, and herbs.
Taste is of the aromas with lemon zest, pineapple, and a hint of black pepper pulling through on top of the white wine flavors.
Mouthfeel is light-medium

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Photo of liamt07
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 341ml bottle into a tulip, bottle courtesy of AJacob81! Beer is a blended saison, 80% belgian yeast and 20% of it aged in oak barrels with orange peels and Brett. Excited! Pours a pale orange, with a huge fluffy, billowing head (maybe 2 1/2 fingers at least) which settled to a nice thin layer with great retention and webbed lacing. Smell from the bottle was initially very citrusy and fresh, and was quite the same when poured. Very floral, citrusy (lemons, orange) and a touch of spice. Taste is quite similar, crisp, citrusy. Touch of sweetness, and the malt feels quite organic and earthy. Just delightful. High carbonation on this one (initially seen with the head on the pour), but fits the bill just perfect. Highly drinkable, just a great surprise for my first offering from GI!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Bottled on 02-19-10.

(A)- Pours a hazy straw yellow to goldenrod color that produced a good bubbly white head with great retention behind it. Left big clumps of lacing here and there as it finally began to dissipate.

(S)- A light spicy wet grass with a pale straw/hay dryness. A tiny kiss of lemon and banana. Overall, a very light/airy aroma.

(T)- Pretty much like the smell, only backwards. A bigger banana fruit creaminess with an equally crisp/tart lemon bite up front. Finishes in a lightly dry straw/hay spice.

(M)- A big carbonation level that creates a fiesta on the tongue. Rather dry, yet has a crisp tartness too. Smooth, yet has a light spice kick.

(D)- A solid Saison with all the right stuff. I guess my only wish is that it had a bit more pronounced funk; this one is overall cleaner and has a much fruitier profile. Still tasty though.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very light pale straw color with a huge soft white head. Lots of bubbles rising.

Nose is a little barnyard funk, lemon, and corriander.

Dang tasty. Lemon zest, apple, funky yeast, and a peppery spice finish. All the flavors are very vivid.

Lighter body and well carbonated. It has a very crisp punch to it.

I really enjoyed drinking this, especially in warm weather. I will certainly revisit this one.

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Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, pale yellow color. One inch head of a white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of tart malt, citrus, slight spice, pale hops, sweet malt, and slight wheat. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with a high carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, citrus, pale hops, slight sweet malt, slight wheat, and a hint of spice. Overall, a good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Straw gold, burnished slightly around the edges. White cap is tight foam that leaves decent sticky, but not a lot. Pleasant look overall. Nose is spot on, with a hint of wild, funky earth and lemon/citrus as the spotlight. Slightly spicy, well done overall.

The flavor is also lightly funky, with a stronger kick of orange than I got in the nose. Quite orange-zesty in general. Tartness keeps things dry, and moving quickly. Hint of bitterness in the back of the dry mouthfeel, very little sweetness overall. Peppery finish, with the malts bringing a pale, balanced sort of "not-much" to the beer.

Pretty damn good take on this style. I enjoyed Sofie and would get it again.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2009 vintage ale which has been in my cellar most of the winter. The beer in the glass is a tad hazy but certainly golden. A big white rocky head floats above. This beer looks like what you would expect a Saison to look like.

On the nose, a bouquet entices. Green apple is mixed with earthy spice and yeasty funk. This is a Belgian beer all the way.

The flavor profile keeps up the theme. Crisp orchard fruit and pale malt lead into the guts of this beer. Spice, sourness, and earthy funk combine to provide that distinct Belgian Saison flavor. It finishes a little dry. The light body adds to the refreshment.

Goose Island hit the nail on the head with this one.

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Photo of Pahn
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled on 2/19/10.

Appearance: Moderate pour down the side and middle of the glass yields a one inch, fluffy white head with popping carbonation, that dissipates quickly. Pours a hazy yellow and leaves occasional arches of lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: orange peel, strong Belgian yeast, and some funk. In the glass: a deeper orange, with more restrained (but still prominent) and more sugary Belgian yeast. Some banana esters and the faintest hint of soapiness. Faintly boozy and possessing a light, beautiful, effervescent smell as I get deeper in the bottle.

Taste: Mmm, it tastes better than it smells, and delivers solid saison flavors from the first sip. Starts out with some tangy funk, then a smooth, subtle, but deep orange flavor along with a milder Belgian yeast than found in the nose. Hints of vanilla (from the barrel aging?). No soapiness. Dry finish. The brett gets harsher as I drink more, going from tangy to a deeper funkiness (this is a good thing). No detectable alcohol in the flavor. Excellent balance. The different notes in the beer don't fight each other for prominence, and it pulls off that great balance between refreshing and tart, funky, and dry.

If the flavor were a bit more complex, I'd give this a higher score than a 4.0. What's going on is good--excellent even. Still, I've had saisons with a lot more going on and comparable balance. This is one of those "it doesn't do anything at all wrong, it could just do a little bit more to be perfect" cases where I feel it's less a criticism and more a silly, technical, rating thing. If you asked me in a store, "Hey, how's Goose Island Sofie taste?" I'd respond, "Excellent, I suggest you buy it."

Also, not to nitpick, but while I did get a nice (and strangely harmonious) vanilla note, i think the barrel aging of 20% of the contents of the bottle is perhaps too subtle an influence for me to pick up on, for better or worse. I mean, it's aged in "wine barrels", and if you somehow made me remember every wine I've ever tasted (which is a lot, though not as much as beer), then asked what kind of wine barrel this beer were aged in, my answer would be a total guess. I couldn't even say red or white. If it's doing something good that I'm not matching up with the aging, great, but it doesn't taste like wine (or champagne specifically, in response to the website's description) in the slightest.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, creamy, with very bright, prickly carbonation. Arguably perfect.

Drinkability: If I want a saison, this beer is just about exactly what I want. Would buy again, would never refuse one if offered, and have no trouble drinking a lot of it. The flavors in this beer are solid without being particularly bold, and they're never, ever garish or grating or cloying or overwhelming. It's just good flavor from start to finish.

I'm getting the impression that Goose Island isn't screwing around with their "reserve beers". When they go all out, the thought and work show in the beer. Sofie is no exception; great stuff. The only complaint I have with this bottle is that I didn't wait 2 years or so to see how it developed before drinking it. Guess I need to buy more.

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Photo of vkv822
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle into snifter.
bottled on 01/29/10.

Pours a cloudy, yet bright deep golden color with light orange hues and fine yeast particles. The head is a thick foamy white head.
The aroma is of strong spiced clove and yeast, with a nice backing of grassy hops and a faint tartness and light bready malt.
The flavor is a complex mix of spices and slightly fruity banana notes, with grassy earth tones and a slightly tart and crisp finish. It has a light to medium body, with very present carbonation and a dry finish. I could very easily go through a bottle or more of this, especially on a warm summer afternoon such as today. And though my experience in Belgian styles is limited, this is one of my favorite offerings so far.

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Photo of ausonius
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Sofie (12/11/09 bottling date)

From 22 oz. Bomber

Bought tonight; Chilled; Popped & poured.

Appearance - Head settles quickly leaving a thin head, barely covering the brew w/little lacing
Light blond yellow with a almost imperceptible touch of green.

Aroma - fresh, grainy, metallic, Belgian yeasty, farmhouse ale type of nose, but with more freshness. Hint of piquancy & pungency. Earth, sour limes, sourdough. Complex, big & rich, but not sweet (not much banana) & has freshness with a hint of fruity citrus. Very nice.

Palate - Big, grainy, creamy, but not fat. Long, full, slightly linear (not in a thin way, just not round), with an earthy dry, slightly spicy key lime, grainy, clean finish. Hints of licorice, orange, spice, oak & clean earth in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Interesting & changing from beginning to finish. A Saison with a twist - a twang of citrus. Loverly!

Drinkability - Hard to keep the glass out of my hand. Little trace of alcohol (none negative). Frankly, this can be a Great sesh brew, but probably only with another beer Lover - it's so complex, ever-changing, & just damn interesting, that only another beer lover will forgive the smiling introspection this may inspire.

95+/100 Points

This is Great Beer & I Love it!

Really nice now, but definitely will age.

From the label: 80% Belgian styled ale blended with
20% Belgian styled ale aged in wine barrels with orange peel.

I'm beginning to think these guys may be turning out more great beer than any other brewery in the US. Hmmm . . .


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Photo of daledeee
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a new beer in our cooler. I bought a four pack.

This one pours an almost clear straw yellow with good bubbling from the bottom and a nice white head. The head stayed around the entire beer but not much lacing.

Nose is very strong. I have never noticed this before, but if you take too deep of a whiff it actually takes your breath away. Although that is remarkable, I am not sure it is desirable. The nose is fine if you don't inhale too deeply. I notice grains, spice, herbs and yeast.

Taste is pretty appealing with nice fruit flavor; mostly tart apples and some citrus. There is a good dose of spice and some funk when you first pour the beer. I think it might have some Belgian hops to boot.

Mouth feel is pretty carbonated and a strong finish but I can't put an adjective on the taste. Overall a nice beer.

UPDATE: My initial review needs to be updated. I just tried another batch. This is one of the top Saison type beers I have had. The taste is fresh, crisp, citrus, spicy and well carbonated. The overwhelming nose is gone, which increases the appeal.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.55/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into my over-sized wine glass

The appearance was quite surprising as I have never seen a color like this. The color is very yellow like(not like a pale yellow from a pislner), I mean very deep yellow. To put in example picture in your mind, it almost resembles the color of mountain dew. The pour produced a beautiful two inch white head with average head retention. Huge amount of bubbles can be seen rising to the top, I can only imagine the carbonation on this beer is going to be high.

The aroma is sweet smelling with orange coriander being the highlight followed by some lemon. Secondly it has funky smells of wet hay, barnyard, with herbal qualities. Thirdly it has a spicy nutmeg almost like smell. Fourthly, I got a whiff of scented perfume that smelled really nice. Pretty complex smell always comes from these styles of brews.

Upfront taste of slightly bitter orange coriander that follows with a slight tart like lemon zest taste. Herbal qualities follow with a slightly floral hop taste with freshly cut grass and Saaz hops maybe? In the end I get a yeasty like flavor that has a pretty funky taste to it

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation.

Well it has been quite a while since I have reviewed or tried a Farmhouse Ale/Saison. Typically I pick one up every once in a blue moon, overall this was ok but not close to being as good as some others I have tried.

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Photo of DarrinRasberry
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light - it could pass for a wheat beer. Coarse head and good lacing.

S: Rich orange peel pipes through my nose from quite a distance, inviting me to just go ahead and dive in the deep end. Apples. Lemon. Delish.

T: Very direct citrus flavor. Slight spice. Funky, but not as much funk as a typical Sai. This is a delicious brew.

M: Sharp carbonation coupled with the fruity feel make this almost like a Sprite.

D: Could take a few more of these down. A perfect beer for a summer day.

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Photo of melliott2811
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sofie Belgian Style Ale 2010

"80% Belgian style ale blended with 20% Belgian style ale aged in wine barrels with orange peel"

22 oz bomber poured into pint glass
Bottled 01/29/10; Poured 05/31/10

A: First pour is light and clear, looking more like a lager than a Belgian. Second pour with the yeast turns it a more classic cloudy look but retains the lighter, yellowish hue. Head is thin and white.

S: Orange peel hiding in the background, but not as much as I would hope.

T: Slight sweetness one would expect from Belgian with orange. Taste is balanced much better than the smell. Bottle says 20% aged in wine barrels, but I wouldn't have guessed that without reading label.

M: Good beer to have in the summer heat. Lighter than a typical Belgian and good carbonation. Refreshing.

D: I like a beer with more punch, but this is a quite good Belgian. Perhaps some cellar time would bring out the flavors a bit more. Not too expensive, so I will consider doing just that.

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Photo of froghop
3.44/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy yellow with a very thin white head, above average carbonation, and a little lacing.

smell is of lemon, some banana, and a touch floral.

taste is crisp, fruit, malt, banana, and lemon, ends refreshing and a little tangy.

nice for a farmhouse ale, just missing a little sourness.

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Photo of beertunes
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Johnmichaelsen for this 2009 bottle. Poured into tulip. Poured a hazy golden straw color with a 1-1/2 inch fluffy white head that had great retention and minimal lacing.

The nose has the expected yeasty spice flavors over a solid grain base, just a notch or two bolder than expected. The flavors were also a nice take on the style, perhaps not as bold as the aromas had led me to expect. There was a citrusy zing that I didn't pick up on the nose and that complemented the spice and yeast nicely.

The body was fairly typical, light and crisp with nice carbonation, but again, very well done. Drinkability couldn't possibly be better, this is a beer for breakfast, lunch, dinner or any other time.

Overall, a very good beer, worth seeking out.

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Photo of Murchmac
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a hugely complex beer, but a really good one. This is like a hoppy, sweeter brettier version of orval. Funk, earthy, citrus, spice, cloves, hops mix the smell and taste together. This beer is a crisp refreshing beer i'd drink this beer all summer long.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rather bright golden color with very slight haze, large bubbled head, and tons of lace. Tons of carbonation in this beer that is mesmerizing to watch. Nose has some orange & funky yeasty aromas. On the palate there is a nice citrus flavor with light wheaty malt. Easy drinking and refreshing.

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Photo of hdofu
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy gold with a thick white head. Smells of spices and fruits, possibly oranges and ginger. Taste is bitter with a tangy finish. The beer has a pleasantly high amount of effervescence. It goes down pretty easy and is light enough it wont knock most people out in a 3 drinks

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Photo of andyfrancis
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale yellow with a gorgeous white head that is settling ever so gently.

Smells of light champagne, has some fruity notes.

Oh yes. Great complex flavor smoothly washes over my tongue, followed by bit of carbonation ting and some lingering spice. Great belgian flavor, yet surprisingly light and drinkable.

Given the choice, I'd take this over Matilda.

Pairing with some Point Reyes Farmstead Toma. Works fairly well.

I burped through my nose. Burning.

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Photo of Prostman81
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very light straw color, with a little bit of haze and decent carbonation. Produces a 1 and a half finger head that dissapates over time, not as 'rocky' as other high carbonated Belgian beers.

Not much in the way of smell, just a fine hint of clove and citrus.

Taste is very refreshing and light. The clove and citrus dominate, but not overwhelmingly so. Almost like a German Weissbier without the banana. I tasted just a hint of vanilla. Alcohol was completely masked. I know G.I. says this can be cellared for up to 5 years, but this is so refreshing, I won't be able to keep them around for very long. I haven't had any other Saisons yet, but from what I've read, this does a good job of being representative of the style.

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Photo of Xul
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy pale golden capped by a two finger white head. Retention is rather poor but it does leave behind some lacing that sticks around for a while.

S: A citrusy sweetness - almost with a sort of lemonade characteristic - is prevalent up front. Wheat base is evident behind, along with some pepper and clove characteristics.

T: Wheat base with lots of sweet citrus - lemon zest and orange - balanced by a spiced bitterness with coriander, pepper and cloves. Some distinct breadiness comes in later and finishes with a light fruit flavor.

M: Light to low moderate body with high carbonation.

D: Very, very pleasant, this would be easy to sit back and drink on a warm afternoon.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I wanted to review a bottle of the 02/11/11 dated batch, as it was listed as a recalled bottle on Goose Island's website. Hoping for some nice sour/funky action. My number scores pertain to the original review, as they refer to the non-recalled version.


A-Pours hazy blonde with a quarter inch of bubbly off white head. Leaves minimal soapy lacing.

S-Wonderful vinous fruity notes of sweet wine grapes, blackberries, and barnyard funk.Citrus fruit skin dryness and white pepper.

T/M-There's a little fruity tartness in the back end, but other than that it doesn't seem too different from what I remember. It's less crisp, and a little funkier maybe. Apricot, white wine grapes, and a hint of green apple. The finish falls apart a little bit. It suffers from not being quite as dry as previous batches. Otherwise, very nice.

O-Preferred the nose on this batch, but the previous batch I reviewed was superior.

Review from 05/23/10

Pours a hazy, straw color with a
fluffy, off white head. Excellent lacing and

The nose has lot of funk up front,
earthy aromas of band aids and old leather.
These pull back to reveal light touches of
zested orange and fresh cut grass. This is
what a saison should be, a beer that conjures
images of farmland and rustic living.

The first sip is prickly, and reveals dry Amarillo
hops and notes of orange peel. Musty and
sweet mid-palate, with flavors of banana,
white grape, and clove. The finish is funky
and lingering, with a layer of drying
hoppiness. The carbonation is really
impressive in this one, right on the line
between prickly and crisp. It's a big part of
why all these flavors come through
individually before they melt together. One
of the best American saisons I've ever had.

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Sofie from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,040 ratings.