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Pepe Nero - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Pepe NeroPepe Nero

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

492 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 492
Hads: 1,707
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 39
Gots: 293 | 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: 492 | Hads: 1,707
Photo of jjanega08
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A= The color is a dark black color that I suspect is more of a brown with a little light shining throught the edges of my tulip. While I look at the beer coming out of the glass it looks hazy. The head is a small off white color with a little retention and some spotty lacing. I feel like a saison should have more head to it.

S= Smells pretty good. Interesting i would say. I'm not gonna say it smell pepper in perticular but I do get some sort of earthy quality buried in there. It has a little bit of a roastyness to it but not much by any means. There isn't much of a typical saison smell to it maybe a little Belgian yeastiness to it.

T= The taste is very interesting. I do get a lot of the pepper. It melds well with a sort of banana flavor but it is there. The Belgian yeast makes itself known as well but it sort of takes the way side. There is a nice smokeyness to it that I attribute to the peppercorns I suppose.

M= For a saison I would say the mouth is spot on. Great carbonation and a nice medium body. The color of it makes me wish it were a little thicker. I will rate it by the saison style because I don't think there are many other black saisons.

D= A very tasty beverage. I can see myself drinking this with some grilled meat in the early spring for sure. This begs to be paired with grilled meat. Drinking it by itself I don't think it holds up as much. This is really a beer that is for pairing and sort of makes one step back and realize how well integrated beer can be in cuisine. (1,508 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a deep cola brown with two fingers of tight cream head. Truthfully, it looks like a BSDA.

Smell -- Roast malt, cocoa, banana, clove oil, cracked pepper, and earthy yeast.

Taste -- Gently roast malt, banana, clove, earthy malt, and faint woodsmoke. Malt sweetness is quite mild, though there is an iota of plum sweetness. While the peppercorn flavor is certainly present, it's not spicy. There is a hint of what seems to be brett funk in there; think Matilda. Overall, very mellow.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied, slightly slick, with moderate prickly carbonation. I typically like saisons to be more active with regards to carbonation, but this is really working for me.

Drinkability -- While this beer didn't wow me, it was incredibly easy to drink. This could possibly be my favorite of the non-sour Goose Island Belgians. A quality dark saison. (867 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A very deep brown with ruby hues at the edges. A nice tan head on top, though it fades relatively quickly.

S: There is a little bit of a sweet/sour thing going on in the smell. There is a tartness with a hint of fruit in it.

T: Very interesting. Sweet right at first, but a tartness takes over quickly. The finish is peppery and dry.

M: Fairly light, the feel of the carbonation is very smooth, like it is comprised of very fine bubbles. Very creamy mouthfeel perhaps the growler knocked down some of the carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable. Very nice overall, and the peppery finish is interesting. (605 characters)

Photo of swanny28
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: supprise this beer was dark.... as supposed to most saisons.. has a small head when poured then fades quickly...

s: not a lot here thought i'd be getting a lot of peper here but not so much on the nose-

T: Here this saison shines: lots of flavor. the pepercorn is not overflavoring... in fact it doesn't overpower at all, but lots of hints of it peper in the after taste.

M: peppercorn is in play here not alot but a hint. any more than this could be overbearing..

D: easy to drink: i love that it is a dark saison - unique and interesting beer. worth a try.... (568 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tumbler glass. Khaki tan foam, sticks at the edges, dark mahogany body. Delicate crown of lacing in the glass.

Earthy, sweet aroma, dominant Belgian yeast.

Creamy feel, medium bodied, dry and slightly bitter. Not so much as a tingle from the pepper. Pleasant mellowness in the finish, the light roast and mild coffee flavors arrive first, with some earthy peppercorn notes, but again, not all that spicy. Feels more like a straightforward Belgian Dark Ale without the sweetness. Not sweet at all, again fairly dry. Some estery qualities for sure, banana almost... Fairly phenolic with notes of clove and licorice. (644 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: onyx body, 1 finger head, fair lacing

S: light fig/date, whiff of citrus, mild coffee, dash of pepper

T: same as the scent, tad sweet in front, malt middle, mild bitter finish with pepper.

M: Medium, prick on tongue, above average carbonation, mild creamy and sticky after sip

D: This tastes nice, BUT very disappointed after reading the label stating it a was Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale w/peppercorn. Tasted more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale meets a porter. Still worth trying, but not cosmically divine. (516 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Bottle is dated January 7th 2011.

Resembles and American stout in appearance. Watery dark walnut brown in body with a tan head of about two fingers. Minimal lacing, some but not a lot.

Faint yeast and floral aromatics with barnyard character and must. Not quite unique though and sort of actually boring kind of pedestrian. At least it's not really awful, but this doesn't smell like pepper at all.

Stinging club soda front in the mouth with a quinine and malt taste. Has a bit more body than most saisons I've had, and has a neat kind of malt chew finish which is a nice touch and spin. A little bit of pepper on the tongue after a swallow but not much, and it comes across like fast food take out pepper packets.

A fairly easy to drink saison for a change, but seems to be missing the so called pepper feel that it boasts about. So I am not exactly drawn to it. (908 characters)

Photo of MarkFy
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

A: very dark brown, no head

S: very faint, hard to tell, some wheat, bread.

T: Again, starts out with a slightly sweet, grainy, bread like taste. The Belgium style shows up on the front with the black IPA characteristics showing up in the end. Finishes dryer with hints of coffee.

M: Maybe slightly too carbonated for my likes, thin.

D: Glad I tried it, a nice version of the style, but wouldn't personally seek it out again. The alcohol is about right with the 6% (507 characters)

Photo of bbarrows
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle to chalice.

A: Very dark brown, opaque. 1/2 inch head; poured too cold (47deg)

S: Spicy like black pepper with a ample yet not over-powering smoke aroma

T: More smoke than spice, long lingering smoke, but again, not overpowering. (And I'm not a fan of smoky beers)

M: Thin, no body to it.

D: It'll take me a while to finish this 22oz bottle, and I wouldn't be longing for another. (405 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Boulevard tulip.

Bottled: 01/07/11

A: Pours a dark cola-brown color with some lighter chestnut at the edges. Sitting on top is one short lived finger of khaki colored foam that quickly melted down to a thick ring and whispy skim. Some specks of lace were present.

S: Interesting yeasty aromas. A tad floral and definitely fruity. Roast, bakers chocolate, dried flowers, grassy hops, some ground black pepper.

T: Just as above with the addition of flour-less chocolate cake, a little pine, and some tart lemon during the finish.

M: Interesting. Just medium bodied with some jammy sweetness, peppery sizzle, and hoppy astringency. Finishes with with a nice mixture of dry, ashy malt, bitter dark chocolate, and prickly pepper.

D: I really dug this. I really liked that this take on a black Saison included lots of earthy hops, pepper, and bitter dark chocolate. This is not a dark Saison with lots of bright fruit, funk, and hay...it's somehow a little more sinister. (1,004 characters)

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Goose Island Belgian goblet.

A: Pours a beautiful dark brown with a wispy Champagne-like head.

S: Delicious funky Belgian yeast and spicy pepper.

T: Taste is dynamic and complex. First you taste breadiness and funk, then some spicy hops and finally the pepper. Every other sip a new flavour emerges.

D: Alcohol is completely hidden in this one; only the uniqueness and amount of flavour in this can slow you down.

Overall: A great beer from a great line of beers. It is a unique and interesting twist on the typical Saison, and is unapologetically original and interesting. Recommended! (625 characters)

Photo of JEdmund
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out looking like black tea' you can certainly see through it, and it's no where near as dark as a stout or even a porter. A disappointing lack of head doesn't form.

Smell is restrained, but what I can detect is slight fruitiness and maybe a hint of funky yeast. But it's hard to tell.

Taste thankfully isn't as muted, though it's by no means full-flavored. Body is thin-medium and carbonation seems dialed too far down; I'd like this with a much more effervescent texture. Flavors are like de-bittered malts, slight fruitiness, and a little pepper spice. Again, I'd like these all amped up a few more notches.

Pepe Nero is a let down after being so pleased with Sofie. I'd be interested in trying this after spending some time in a cellar. (751 characters)

Photo of samie85
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a burgundy-hued brown color with one and a half fingers of light brown head.

S-Spicy smelling clove yeast notes with hints of some spicy black pepper.

T-Mild clove yeast notes with some light malt and roasted notes and a tiny bit of lingering black pepper.

M-Light bodied with medium carbonation at the forefront and ends a little thicker and sticky on the finish.

D-This is a pretty easy drinking saison. I've had a couple that were a little too in your face with the yeast notes and barnyard, but this one avoids going in that direction. As a result, this is a very approachable beer that I would recommend to people who are new to the style. (657 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a maple brown color with tints of walnut and ruby in the corners, along with a gorgeous fluffy beige head. It majestically sits on top, retaining very well, and leaving a web of lace on the glass.

Smell: Tons of yeast spice, black pepper, toasted malt, relaxed toasted malt and a bit of chocolate.

Taste: It starts with a soft sweetness, some general dark fruit notes, and a hint of cocoa. Lots of fruity yeasty esters that I expect out of the style. A full helping of black pepper completes the spiciness. Light earthy hops finish out the taste. The finish is lightly bitter but a little bit more sweet.

Mouthfeel: It starts out juicy with the sweetness, slowly drying out over course of the sip, It finishes fairly dry. A fairly full body for the style, with medium creamy smooth carbonation.

Drinkability: I have not had a black saison before, but this is a valuable addition to their lineup. Definitely something I will come back to when I am thinking about a GI, particularly after their very middle-of-the-road Belgian series thus far. (1,111 characters)

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

I had this on tap at the Beer Bistro. It was served in a very cool Goose marked chalice.

The beer is almost jet black with a fairly dense tan head. It has an aroma of subtle spices, a bit of roasted malts, yeast and dark fruits.

The taste tracks the smell very closely. It is slightly funky with pepper, some raisins, roasted malts and fruit. Earthy in the best way.

The mouth is smooth with a touch of slickness and pinpricks of carbonation.

I liked this beer, but it is not a session beer for me but is an exteemly easy drinker. Well worth repeating and it went well with my Farmer's Panini. (598 characters)

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

Relatively new to the brewing circuit, Black Saisons have potential as an alternative to these ultimately dry Belgian golden-type of ales. But there are some dangers...

Pepe pours a medium brown color with medium haze. Very froathy with a fantastic foamstance, good lacing, and retention. Off white foam caps the snifter with a marshmallowy type of consistency. Very solid.

Muted aromas of fruit and yeasty spice are met with toasty/bready notes. Where the estery and phenolic notes of typical Saisons are present, they share the stage with the added toast and mild chocolate scent. But overall, much lighter than I expected.

Superbly balance flavor of the apple/pear fruitiness and peppery spice weave in and out of the malt complex of toast, fresh baked bread/bread crust, and mild chocolate and woods. Where the added complexity of dark malts give the beer more interest, it also provides some distraction and works against the purity of true Saisons.

Creamy and full textures early fade evenly into a dry toast finish and fleeting aftertaste. Quite refreshing and clean in the end for so much complexity in the early sip and mid palate.

Though Pepe Nero is a very clean and drinkable Saison, it lacks the intensity of flavor and the raw earthy notes that make authentic Saisons so desirable. (1,300 characters)

Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1/2" dark tan head at pour. Dark brown/black, pretty much opaque. Good head cover doesn a good job of trying to hang on throughout entire drink. Spotty lacing on glass. Spicey, peppery, dry saisony aroma. Has that musty, earthiness to aroma. Mild to moderate carbonation. Hop and woodiness to the finish, malt picking up a little on the long finish. Mild fruitiness to the middle of the drink. Also picking up some roasted malt and coffee notes. Really carries the drinkability of a regular saison. Flavors overall seem balanced with a good level of complexity. Not your typical Saison/Farmhouse but a good take on the style and another good speciatly from Goose Island. (670 characters)

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a MJ tasting glass.

Something different, a black saison/farmhouse. Interesting, something I've considered as a homebrew. Let's see.

Pours a deep, black hole black, with some deep ruby highlights around the bottom edge of the glass. Big, light tan head, about two fingers worth that drops slowly to about one, leaving tons of lace. Lots of small, creamy bubbles in the head, intermixed with a few large ones.

Aromas of a light roasted malt, with some farmhouse funk. Breath deeply, and you'll find some roast coffee, and a hint of alcohol. Otherwise, a very "clean" aroma.

First sip is of a typical saison, some peppery spice, belgian yeasty qualities, and some roasted malt and a thin cup of coffee. A little medicinal quality, likely from the yeast. A slight carbonic bite. A mild roast husk graininess to it.

Mouthfeel, is light to medium. Dry, and thirst quenching.

Very drinkable beer. Interesting to see what it would be like with 6 or 12 months in the cellar. Have to stock up on a few, or just brew my own. (1,044 characters)

Photo of MrDriscoll
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured fairly aggresive into a snifter leaving a slight off white foam.

Aroma: Nice hint of spice from yeast and peppercorns and a hint of rye breadiness. Nice roasted malt notes with very subtle fruits notes.

Taste: Slight hint of banana at the front end followed by a collection of roated maltiness and hint of chocolate. Agree with a couple of the other reviews that it is slighty dunkle-weiss.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light viscosity so not to heavy on the pallet. Medium body with medium carbination. Slightly dry finish.

Very drinkable, but not a beer I wold make a long session out of. Had one 22oz bottle and that was a good amount. Will be picking up another bottle soon to see how it conditions over time. (714 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours 1/2 finger of beige head. Color is brown with a copper hue to it. Lace was left.

Aroma: Dry, spice, and rye. Pepper with roasted smoked malts. Light fruits show (bananas). Very odd.

Taste: Bananas, cloves, roasted/smoked malts, some other spices, rye flavors. Kind of dunkel-weisse-like.

Mouthfeel: Dry , spiced, and roasted. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Clean feel to it. Ends dry and spiced again.

Overall, an interesting take on the style, but I kind of like it. Somewhat drinkable, but I wouldn't want too much of it. (553 characters)

Photo of pdoran10
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at happy gnome during goose island tap takeover.

presented to me in a goose island chalice. dark brown with a finger and a half of off white head. dark saison indeed!

smell is a bit muted, a hint of roast, some spicy peppery yeast. not much going on in the nose.

taste is very complex. hint spicy yeast up front, enhanced by the spiciness from the rye. chocolate, singed dark fruit flavors as it warms in my mouth. finishes dry abruptly with no lingering flavors. strange... good flavors, but they dont carry through the dry finish. this beer could be epic win with some fruity finish.

mouthfeel is chewey and dry with tingly moderate to high carbonation just like a saison should be!

could drink a lot of this but the finish is missing something. nice beer! (771 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Bodega.

Dark maple in color, lighter amber hues at the bottom of my tulip. Light white head, very visibly carbonated.

Smelled of sour green fruit (maybe cherries). Light funkiness and some bitter lemon zest.

Taste is lightly sour, golden raisins, light hoppy and mild rye notes. Finishes with a very nice dark chocolate malt roastiness.

Well carbonated, excellent for the style, medium bodied.

Fairly drinkable, a couple in a sitting would be welcome, though not necessarily my first choice. (506 characters)

Photo of sonata2008
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Note: The Happy Gnome listed this as having 8.9% ABV, and it tasted like it. Perhaps this is a variation by Goose Island and does not belong here.

A: Opaque, very little foam in a 10 oz. snifter.
S: Heavy roasted malt aroma with hints of coffee and spice. It also had a yeasty undertone.
T: A very noticeable alcohol taste. A little banana and other fruit taste. Interestingly, not as strong a roasted taste as the aroma promised.
M: Creamy and rich.
D: A slow sipping beer.

An interesting style, but not my favorite. (519 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a dark brown color with no head.

s - Smells of spearmint, chocolate, nuts.

t - Tastes of spearmint, roasted malts, nuts, and chocolate.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - An ok beer but more like a brown ale than a saison, as others have noted. Probably wouldn't seek out again. (350 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 1/2 growler of this today. Poured into goose island flute.

A - Poured a deep brown with a thin head and no lacing. Looks way more like a brown ale than a saison.

S - Very earthy and spicy. Nutmeg in the background. More of a malty smell. Pretty dark smelling compared to other saisons I've had which tend to be more citric. Smells good though, very different from what I'm used to, but seems very true to style.

T - Again, very spicy and earthy...no hops at all deteceted, more of a malty flavor. Dark and bitter, but tasty. As I drank it, I started to notice more of the lighter farmhouse flavors and the bitterness slid more into the background. Became more like a brown ale crossed with saison, but maintained that spiciness throughout. The lighter clove like spices came out the more I drank it though.

M - Pretty dry, pretty bitter, but cooling. As I drank it, it started to show more of the lighter cooling qualities I first detected.

D - Not what I look for in a saison. I really like the soft and light saisons (hennepin/sofie being my favs). This would be the deeper darker cousin to sofie. I'd have a sofie over pepe nero any day of the week in the summer (or any time really since that's one of my favorite beers period), but this one could be a great fall beer if you are into matching beers with seasons. Today seems a bit warm for such a dark saison...I think I'll stay inside with the AC instead of bringing this one on the deck in this 95+ degree weather. I don't think I'll have much trouble polishing off this 1/2 growler. I'd have it again for sure. Great gateway saison beer for fans of darker beers. (1,637 characters)

Pepe Nero from Goose Island Beer Co.
85 out of 100 based on 492 ratings.