Pepe Nero - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Pepe NeroPepe Nero

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BA SCORE
85
very good

491 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 491
Hads: 1,699
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 39
Gots: 291 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: adamette on 03-30-2010

Mahogany color, black pepper aroma, roasted malt and spice flavor, creamy body.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 491 | Hads: 1,699
Photo of fgmiele
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 version..pours dark maple brown with slightly foamy off white head. Smell is not overwhelmingly Belgian in nature but the key characteristics are present. Taste reminds me of a Belgian style stout..definitely notice the 2 years of agey sweetness here. Mouthfeel is foamy and definitely sense the heat of alcohol here, although this is just stated as 6% abv on bottle. Overall, as a person who is not the biggest fan of Belgian style, highly drinkable. Could use more bite. (477 characters)

Photo of patre_tim
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown with a ruby tinge, relatively clear on the first pour, little carbonation, huge 5 finger tan head with large and small bubbles. The head colour is like the head of a Coke, but with a good, long retention.

S: Belgian yeasts, much like those of Unibroue’s, light smokiness, caramel, bacon, pear, light creaminess. Fresh musty grass.

T: Fruity, dark toasted caramel, light smokiness, prunes, apricots, light floral notes. Moderately sweet, light tartness, light brininess. Freezer burn. Alcohol, but not in the face as its well hidden.

M: Thick lightly syrupy body, chewy, medium low carbonation.

O: Bottled May 28, 2013, drank May 8, 2014. Its stretching my perception of Saison, farmhouse ales. Saison Silly was dark, but not as dark as this one. A lot more toasted notes, darker and deeper flavours. (819 characters)

Photo of MV_CHI-NS
5/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: Bottle of 2011 'Pepe Nero'

Appearance: Licorice/bistre head with slight maroon/burgundy shading when held up to the light, with an ecru/chocolate head.

Aroma: Profound notes of raspberries and blackcurrants with a wine-like nose (like a lighter Bermet)

Taste: The taste with this one comes in two stages:

a. The raspberries and blackcurrants come through, making this akin to a lambic.
b. Spicy pepper and roasted chocolate.

The first thing to hit you is the fruit, which is quickly followed by notes of spicy pepper and roasted chocolate which linger on the palate; truly, not what I would expect from a saison - black or not.

Mouthfeel: Light, almost creamy mouthfeel with a 'peppery' tinge resolve.

Overall: As a fan of saisons, I had high expectations of Pepe Nero - particularly because it is a black saison; I can say with certainty, those expectations were exceeded. The aroma and taste threw me off at first because 'fruit' and 'chocolate' are not terms I would associate with a saison, but this has easily become on of my favorites. (1,056 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark chestnut; medium, frothy beige head with good lacing

Smell: earthy smell; smells almost like a newly dried tobacco leaf; light hops, almost undetectable; different smell than any beer I've had before; interesting

Taste: creamy malt with roasted grains; light hop notes; finishes semi sweet that starts to turn to a dry lingering aftertaste

Mouthfeel: creamy, medium bodied; medium carbonation

Remarks: not bad overall (439 characters)

Photo of Jnashed
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass from a 12oz bottle bottled 1/15/13

A: dark dark brown, lots of head especially in a beer over a year old. Creamy head with lots of retention

S: funky yeasty, slight grassy hops. EtOH smelled too

T: interesting, grainy, lots of malt background. Sweet bread-like flavor. Tartness is not overwhelming, nice balance of the malt and yeast with burnt flavor

M: light, lots of carbonation actually

O: good but not my favorite of the farmhouse ales. Interesting to have a dark version and I think that burnt malt takes over a little much for me. Surprising how much alcohol taste is there in a beer stored for over a year and at only 6.5% (658 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

765 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled May 28 2013. Served slightly chilled, and poured into a wine glass.

Pours a dark, brownish-garnet colour, topped with nearly two fingers of fluffy, light beige-coloured head. Excellent retention; it slowly seeps away over a period of many minutes, leaving behind a dense, creamy cap flanked by a generous swath of lacing. Darker than any saison I've ever seen, but a fine-looking beer nonetheless. The aroma is equally unique, with notes of spicy pepper and coriander accompanied by lemon zest, raisins, toasted malts, and a slight yeasty funk.

Appealing flavour; nice mix of nutty, toasted dark malts and Belgian nuances. Notes of banana, toffee and bubble gum are accompanied by some raisin and phenolic vibes. Highlights toward the finish include cracked peppercorn and coriander, with a touch of clove. Earthy finish, with some lingering yeastiness and astringency that fades into a roasted nut flavour late into the aftertaste (almost chocolate-like). This saison tastes lighter than it looks, and it's of normal heft for the style - medium-bodied, with appropriately brisk carbonation levels. Surprisingly drinkable, though not the most refreshing or funky example of the style I've ever tried.

Final Grade: 4.13, an impressive A-. Goose Island's Pepe Nero makes for a tasty spring or summertime treat, offering up an interesting marriage between dark, toasted malt notes and more traditional Belgian ale tropes. A bit more peppercorn would bump this up into world-class territory. A great beer that I would consider purchasing again, but I think I still prefer Sofie's lighter flavour (and lower price). (1,652 characters)

Photo of 312HopBomb
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruddy brown with smallish head with no lacing to speak of.

nose consists of Belgian phenolics and spicy pepper.

Taste has a twang with Belgian flavor and some alcohol bite with the spicy pepper flavor midway through. some tart and then drying. Some earthy hop note and more rye like spice.

Mouthfeel is light and some light/med carbonation.

I enjoy this take on the Belgian style with some interesting flavors pairing with the peppercorns. (449 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Modified rating on 6/15/15

Bottled on 2/11/13. Purchased in a bottle shop in Wichita and poured into a high ball glass in my hotel room.

Unimpressed with the appearance and aroma, a good representation of the style but not distinctive 4.0

A – Pours a clear cola color, opaque in the glass with a one and a half finger mousey beige head, zero lacing 3.5

S – Funk, yeasty, a bit of spice 3.5

T – Peppery – more than the aroma would lead you to believe 4.25

MF – Medium-light body with a dry finish, a little chewy 4.25 (532 characters)

Photo of buzzardman
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Light funk, slightly fruity.

Appearance: Nice head that drops to layer covering, dark brown light hint of red body.

Flavor: Sweet funky, light fruitness, raisin, light pepper and banana.

Mouth: Medium, tart.

Overall: Nice balanced slightly tart, a little different than most saison's but in a good way. Would buy again. $7.99 22oz (341 characters)

Photo of MattTastrophee
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in April of 2012
Opened in March of 2014

Appearance: Copious amounts of foam. Looks like a big old root beer float after letting it settle a while. Dark garnet in color.

Smell: Fruitiness from the yeast and a pleasant amount of malt comes through.

Taste: Big mouth full of fruit, not to mention the malt. Dark cherry with a toasty finish. Really interesting flavor profile. Tartness and toffee flavors all wrapped up together.

Mouthfeel: A drinkable medium body.

Overall: I'll get this beer again, it was a fun adventure. Quite an interesting brew. Makes me want to pick up Monk's Stout, see how that stacks up. (624 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for approx. $14.00. Served at 10deg C in a tulip glass.

A- Opened well. Poured with a ton of foam. Super brown foam with nice lacing after 3-4mins.

S- Lots here. Yeast. Roasted malt, coriander, clove

T- See S!! Also Foam to the extreme!

M- Very good. Very smooth very tasty

O- Very good. Not the thing you would see anywhere but someone that has a vision. Try it. It is interesting to say the very least.

Food Pairing

This unusual Saison paired very well with... Curried Goat

Enjoy!! (515 characters)

Photo of BierStein711
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into wine goblet, three finger beige head, and dark brown to red hue in the body. Almost zero carbonation, the mouthfeel is smooth and thick. Light brown lacing covers the walls of the glass well.

Smells of peppers and coriander

Taste: Peppers, chocolate, bananas, and Belgian yeast at the finish.

Overall, I believe I'd have this again. There are three beers left in the pack- I shan't be buying this again though. This isn't for me. (451 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2011 bottle, poured into a stemless wine glass.

A- Pours like a dark brown ale with a very light brown head that dissipated quickly. Barely can see some light coming through on the edges.

S- Roasts and that unique saison aroma of fusial esters, fruityness.

T- Roasts, banana and some light clove. Not really digging the yeast and dark roast combination.

M- A bit thin and a bit too much carbonation.

O- This is the first black saison I've had and it didn't really work for me. (496 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Surprisingly dark- like dark molasses, with ruby tinges near the surface (this is a saison?). Big soapy brown head, decent lacing on the glass. Not much carbonation visible.

S: Raisins, faint chocolate, slight tartness/sweetness, even maple syrup. Smells nice, but barely in the style from my understanding of it, and somewhat faint.

T: Mostly raisins, with the addition of some earthy notes. Well balanced sweetness and bitterness. Nice, but not overly complex.

M: A little course, full bodied. Carbonation level certainly fits a saison.

O: I'm a little confused by this one. Doesn't fit the style very well, and beyond that it seems to lack the complexity of other Goose Island craft beers. It's good, but nothing to go out of your way to try. (752 characters)

Photo of BierJager89
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark ruby red around the edges, but otherwise black with a foamy light mocha head.

S: Sweet coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, black peppercorn and a little bit of dark fruit in the nose.

T: Roasted malt, coffee dark chocolate, but not bitter. Some lemon, light citrus, and maybe a bit of dark fruit.

M: Smooth and full bodied, but also a bit foamy.

O: I really liked this beer a lot. (389 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a large, off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing. Doesn't necessarily look like a saison, but is nonetheless a decent-looking beer.

S: A strange (given the style) aroma of roasted malt, pepper, and a smoky quality.

T: Like the aroma, the flavor was not what I expected: The smokiness was evident throughout, along with malt, pepper, and other mild spices. Definitely not your typical saison flavor. A bit thin. Almost tasted like a weak porter.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth, creamy finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Aside from its diversion from the characteristics of the style, this beer just did not have an interesting flavor. Could have been more powerful than it was. (801 characters)

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

Appearance: Dark color with very thick light brown head.
Aroma: Very spicy & malty, with a light coffee smell.
Flavor: The beer is heavy on the spices with a light coffee flavor. This brew is full bodied, and highly carbonated.
Overall: A descent tasting beer, however, in a blind taste test, its not styled like a Saison. Its appearance, complex spicy, malty, mild coffee flavor is that of a good Porter. I’m confused!! (422 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pepe Nero was my last beer of the year 2013. First of all, the initial pour literally fills the glass, a tulip, with a beige foam, chunky and billowing; after about 10 minutes, it subsides enough to allow for quaffing. The body is an impervious mahogony color.

There is a pleasant nose of plum and chestnut. The taste is a subtle balance of semi-sweetness and toasty malts with a quick pepper finish. This is a rather light beer, at 6.4% abv, there is lightness to the mouthfeel. Complex beer is this one.

Goose Island classifies this as a "vintage" beer what with it being bottle fermented and all that. While I was never a big farmhouse fan, this one does make for a decent sessional any time of the year. (710 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a skinny chalice, color is dark brown, opaque, head is tan, light lacing and thin leftover top.

Smell is subdued, light roast, some pepper is present, some phenols. Roast is inviting, pepper and phenols are lighter than expected.

Taste is mild roast, light sweetness and then drying; flavors are roast, chocolate, then light phenol maybe some yeast spice. This is a nice tasting stout or a mild saison to me.

Mouthfeel is a little sweet in its presence, there some drying but again not as much as expected.

Overall, a nice tasting brew but it seems to be between styles, maybe the yeast in the bottle needs time to develop? I guess I was expecting a dryer, spicier saison presence over the stout sweetness. (722 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm getting a nice kick out of the aroma...big wheat and Belgian yeast and dark fruits. The smell kind of indicates that I'm going to enjoy drinking it.

Wheat and yeasty flavours there, pretty much dominated by a strong peppery flavour. The pepper doesn't add a whole lot of heat at all and the flavours do not mesh all that well, imho. I guess it's spicy for spicy sakes and not much to it. It gets a bit trying on my palate after several sips. The abv is reasonably low so it isn't THAT hard to drink. I wish is was a bit more complex, in a good way.

Nice and smooth mouthfeel. Again, I think it's what, too one dimensional? If that makes any sense. This is not a brew I'd bIt pours a very dark brown, has reddish hues, a small head of foam that shrinks quickly but leaves some good lacing behind.
uy again but I've said that about brews from most of the breweries I've had the chance to try. No slant on Goose Island intended. (931 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.27.13
Bottled on 21/MAR/13

A - Pours a dark brown with huge foamy tan head wtih great retention.

S - Spices, roasted malt, toast.

T - Spices, roasted malt, toast, saison yeast. Nice.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Nice roasted and light saison. I would drink this one again. (312 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought because the liquor store made me if I wanted to procure a single 12 once of BCBCS. That being said...

Ok, a dark saison... That's kind of like turning on the lights while doing the "thang thang" and noticing that your counterpart has armpit hair. You pause, but continue on.

So it looked different, but ok enough. And the aroma... not much. Not bad, but not much. Taste? Like if armpit hair girl chewed a lil sweet peppered caramel before you rolled around the sheets with her. It wasn't the best caramel, but it was ok.

Doable, but I don't think that I'm calling her back. (592 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single bottle at Pinnoccio's in Media on Thanksgiving day. Bottled on date 9/20/13. Poured into snifter for review.

A: pours dark brown with ruby highlights, almost black. Large tan head. Good carbonation.

S: smells peppery with Belgian yeast phenolics & dark fruit esters. Spicy rye notes evident. Dark fruit like raisins & cherries. Some toffee & light cocoa. Peppercorn don't seem overwhelming in nose as they seem subtle but but more noticeable as it warms.

T: peppers and banana esters. Belgian yeast seems to clash with the dark malts. Interesting & complex. There seems to be a little too much phenolic band aid flavors that overcomes some of the other complex flavors. Some licorice & coffee notes. Earthy hops, maybe a little woody. Bitterness nice and firm.

M: dry and bitter. Crisp with some astingency from use of darker malts. Medium bodied. Alcohol seems well in check.

O: an interesting beer that seems like it wants to be too much. I dig the saison with peppercorns but think the use of dark malts clash with the other characteristics of this beer. Glad to have tried but will likely stick with some of GI's other Belgian offerings. (1,167 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Bottling date is "04/17/12," so over a year old at this point.

Pours a pretty nice saison, if a bit unconventional - near pitch black when held against the light, with only some light reddish tones showing through. Pours a massive four fingers worth of an off-grey head that leaves minimal stickiness and lacing at the finish. Slightly viscous, in spite of its low ABV, and every additional swirl produces a fizziness similar to soda that attempts to maintain the otherwise decent head retention.

Smells good, with plenty of notes of dark fruit, pepper, and some spices. Vinegar is right at the front of the nose, with figs, raisins, and light dates soon following. Some black pepper, with big flavors consisting caramel, clove, leather, and toffee at the finish. Nothing too funky here, but definitely makes itself noticeably old as it is. Light, yet refined.

The flavor, on the other hand, takes a ridiculous nose dive in terms of maintaining itself. While the flavor was light on the pepper, each sip is a black pepper bomb that is coated with an enormous amount of astringency and tannins that distract from the dark fruit flavors. While trying to work out the flavors of raisins and figs, as well as hazelnut and clove, each sip gets progressively overpowered by the pepper, and worst yet, produces a tobacco or black tea-like tannic astringency that makes this quite difficult to drink in the long run. There's a roasted, baker's chocolate finish that decreases the enjoyability factor. The graininess becomes more apparent as this becomes flatter, and, combined with the surprising amount of thinness, reduces the flavor profile tenfold. While it's not a bad offering per se, it's still horribly inconsistent.

I was happy to find this at such an old age, but this has not aged well in my opinion. The nose is very nice, and exactly what I'd expect given the yeast and malt profile, but it seems that the peppercorns have taken over whatever may have made this more appealing. To me, this faults the most with the overly tannic, astringent, thin body of the beer - it makes it difficult to drink and I had to pair this with fatty food to cut it down a bit. By the end, however, I had to pass it on to someone else to finish for me. Here's hoping I get more out of any future GI experiments I get to try. (2,371 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle on 2/11/13

A-pours with a chocolate brown with a tan head that dissipates quickly
S-a dark fruit and roasted malt hint of cocoa
T-flavorable taste of roasted malt, a bit of caramel and a hint a smoke
M-cream roast and smooth carbonated being well balanced saison (271 characters)

Pepe Nero from Goose Island Beer Co.
85 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.