1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale) - Goose Island Beer Co.

Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

29 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 29
Reviews: 14
rAvg: 4
pDev: 9%


Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewers from fifteen Illinois breweries formed four teams, each creating a recipe and brewing it at Goose Island Beer Co: Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy and Barleywine. All were aged seperately in bourbon barrels. The resulting Symposium ale is our taste-tested blend of all four batches.

(Beer added by: nickfl on 04-22-2010)
View: Beers (269) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 14 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PHBoiler
PHBoiler

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is drinking extremely smooth. It far surpassed the FW 16 we had next to it. The blend gives an old ale taste with some bourbon, oak, dark fruit, tannin, and rich chocolate. All of those blend seemlessly without sticking out. You'd be in for a great night if you had a 55 degree bottle of this to enjoy over time. It's not quite Melange 3, but it's in the ball park.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2013 17:32:56 | More by PHBoiler
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Nicole for hooking me up with this!

A - Brown colored beer with a small, tan head that didn't rise up very high. Little bit of stick left on the sides.

S - Well, when this beer was described to me it sounded like a disaster with all the stuff they were mixing together. It smells better than I guessed it would have, although it's definitely a "strong ale" aka we mixed a bunch of stuff together and need a catch-all category to put this in. A lot of wood, molasses, alcohol, caramel, bourbon? and sweet fruit.

T - Kind of beats you over the head with flavor. Heavy malts and molasses, some alcohol burn, caramel, and some surprising hops in there as well. Interesting, but should have given it a year to cool down as it's drinking hotter than preferred.

M - Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

O - It's an interesting mix that wasn't a massive failure like I was expecting. Flavors are too hot and heavy but glad I got to try it.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 21:08:24 | More by AgentZero
Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
PaulStoneAnchor

California

3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After winning this from a HopCast contest I finally have the courage to brave this beer, and I must say it has heavy notes of oak, bourbon, and a nice earthy hop bitterness on the finish. Heartwood pours with a half a finger head that dissipates extremely quick. On the nose it has a beautiful aroma of sweet vanilla, oak, bourbon, and some sweet, bready, two row malt. Heartwood also has a dark coffee like appearance with slight crimson on the edge of it. As for the mouthfeel, it has a nice a bubbly carbonation with smooth richness. Overall, I have to say this beer was well done. One thing I would do next time with this beer is not to oak/barrel age most of the components; I feel it covers the subtleties of the styles and just allows for huge bourbon and oak notes. I am not saying Oak and Bourbon are a bad thing, but sometimes can be over done. But, once again, this is a well done beer and would definitely try it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 03:29:23 | More by PaulStoneAnchor
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jarret Crader of Hellbender Brewing for sharing this one.

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. Minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of vanilla, oak and some bourbon. There are some bready malts and toffee, too.

T - Fairly boozy malt with sweet caramel. The oak and vanilla are quite prominent.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a nice beer and I'm really glad I got the chance to try this.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 01:48:49 | More by zeff80
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/27/10

Thanks to Stawn for opening this.

A: Dark brown with some crimson highlights. Wispy beige head.

S: Scotch ale comes through strong, imparting caramel, toffee, and bread notes. Bourbon is quite strong, smells great. Some evident booze and earth notes. Booze is actually pretty evident but well integrated. Some oak notes and light tannins. Faint chocolate notes.

T: Bourbon, toffee, caramel, low bitterness, alcohol is quite powerful, could stand to mellow a bit but it's still quite nice. Light chocolate notes, lots of oak. Boozy bourbon toffee finish.

M: Creamy mouthfeel and dry, moderate carbonation and medium body:

Overall: Great beer, though a touch boozy in the flavor. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 17:30:21 | More by HopHead84
Photo of thetomG
thetomG

Illinois

3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark brown/amber pour - surprisingly lighter in color with a small layer of head composed of tiny dense bubbles. Aroma and smell are dominated by bourbon. There is a nice strong malt presence as well - its just a very very strong beer overall.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but the high abv and intensely strong flavors make it a true sipper. This was good now, but I think it would be even better with more time on it.

Very glad I was able to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 20:11:55 | More by thetomG
Photo of nkersten
nkersten

Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes, thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Pours a medium brown with a small tan head. Smell is caramel, bourbon, lots of oak, and some euro hops. Taste follows smell, it is a bit harsh and boozy. A bit on the sweet side, lots of sugar and bourbon. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, some heat, low carbonation. Not the most drinkable beer right now, like others have said this one could use a bit of time to mellow.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 17:07:09 | More by nkersten
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to AZ and his Small connections. Shared at our latest quarterly epic tasting...A watery brown with amber highlights, not much carbonation...An aroma of harsh wood, alcohol and bourbon. A mix mash of a blend for sure, not brewed with a specific aromatic in mind...Taste of a strong ale, molasses, alcohol and hops on the finish. A boring blend, nothing great here. A rarity that should be traded and not enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2010 03:58:11 | More by jrallen34
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Served in a Lost Abbey rastal teku glass.

A - Pours with a minimal foam that settles to a thin ring and leaves a few spots of lace. Transparent mahogany color.

S - Wood, brown sugar, bourbon, maraschino cherries, more wood, bourbon and fusel alcohol.

T - Taste is less harsh than the nose, but a bit cloying and mono-dimensional with it's heavy-handed assortment of brown sugar, burnt malts, molasses, and vanilla. Some residual hop bitterness from the Imperial IPA portion makes itself known in the finish, mingling with the barrel tannins.

M - Body seems a bit undersized for the ABV, and clocks in at medium-plus. Low carbonation, some obvious warmth, and a dry tannic finish.

D - The 2-3oz I had was plenty, although this was definitely better than the Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale that preceded it. This could definitely use some time to mellow out, and perhaps I'll get lucky and be able to revisit it down the road.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 17:14:02 | More by MasterSki
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle generously shared by TedSwimmer.

Clear caramel body with a thin tan cap that retains well for the style. Smells strongly of toffee, bourbon -bals, vanilla, alcohol and toasted oak. Pretty nice boozy barrel aroma on this one. Rich caramel flavor, fruity and oaky with vanilla, raisins. Full bodied with a tannic, sharp and alcoholic finish. Pretty tasty stuff, but it could use some age to mellow out. Thanks Ted!

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 04:24:59 | More by largadeer
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Drew for sharing this beer.

A: The pour is a dark amber color, sort of brownish in certain light, with a finger's worth of off-white head.

S: Quite a bit of sweet vanilla and caramel and toffee malt up front with some bready malt base. There is a definite oak presence, as well as bourbon, with some hints of dark fruit.

T: A fairly well balanced flavor of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet toffee and caramel malt. A soft bready flavor with some dark fruits and brown sugar.

M: The body is medium with a somewhat low, but quite smooth, carbonation.

D: This is a very nice blend. The bourbon is definitely present, but not overdone. And pretty easy to drink despite a rather high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2010 06:46:04 | More by womencantsail
Photo of DaPeculierDane
DaPeculierDane

Wisconsin

3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brewed for the 2010 Craftbrewer's Conference at Goose Island by: America's Brewpub, Destihl Restaurant and Beer Works, Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co., Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery, Goose Island Brewpub, Goose Island Beer Co., Gordon Biersch Bolingbrook, Half Acre Beer Co., Lunar Brewing, Mickey Finn's Brewery, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, Revolution Brewing, Rock Bottom Downtown, Rock Bottom Lombard, Rock Bottom Orland Park, Rock Bottom Warrenville, Three Floyds Brewing

Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Scotch Style Wee Heavy and a Barley Wine Style Ale were brewed by separate teams and aged in Bourbon barrels, then blended. 10.5% ABV. Lable art by Randy Mosher.

Appearance: Dark Brown with a thin but everlasting beige head. Shines ruby when held to light. Excellent clarity. Very nice.

Nose: Intense bourbon overwhelms everything else. Vanilla notes dominate that. Smoke and molasses follow. Limited depth.

Taste: Dark sugars, loads of vanilla, black cherry, oak, toffee, and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Boozey, hot, this is quite obviously high in octane content. Very sugary, not sweet, but sugary. Slightly smoky. Lighter than expected at 10.5 and BB aged, but still rather heafty.

Drinkability: For a Bourbon and BBA lovers perhaps this might be quite drinkable, but for me I am having a tough time finishing one botItle. I just find the bourbon overwhelming and don't find much complexity here. I'm sure it's in there but I just can't get past the bourbon.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2010 02:14:04 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark brown color, transparent, tan head.

S-bready malt up front, slightly earthy, dry oak with a touch of vanilla, quite woody, sweet malt in the back, tart cherries with a hint of booze.

T-very sweet flavors, lots of sugars, earthy, nice notes of bourbon, strong flavor of oak and a light vanilla, cherries and plums in the back with a touch of booze.

M-creamy and soft, strong carbonation to balance a chewy body, very crisp finish for such a creamy beer.

D-very tasty with a nice balance of flavors ranging from the bready malt to the sweet dark fruits and a nice presence of the barrel.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2010 15:06:11 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of light brown foam on top of a dark brown body with good clarity and a little bit of amber light showing through. The head settles slowly and leaves decent lace.

S - A strong bourbon character with nutty caramel malt notes as well as a little bit of smoke and coffee. Some vanilla and cinnamon in the background with a hint of chocolate.

T - Nutty caramel up front with bittersweet chocolate and boozy bourbon. More complex caramel in the middle with brown sugar, molasses, and nutty toffee. Finishes with some cola notes and light roast as well as a pine hop flavor that is accompanied by fairly strong malt and hop bitterness. Lingering smoke and molasses flavors along with tannic oak and sharp, alcoholic bourbon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - This beer is quite complex, as one would have to expect of a blend of four beers made by brewers from fifteen breweries, but it comes together quite well. There is an emphasis on nutty, caramel malt flavors as well as sugary bourbon barrel character. These two dominant flavors work quite well together and are balanced out by the strong hop character that shows up in the finish. The other, more subtle flavors, like the smoke and roasted malts, come out only briefly but are significant enough to enhance the complexity of the beer and help to hold interest throughout the experience. All of the caramel and bourbon comes together with an oaky smoke character in the aftertaste and creates an intensely sweet, complex moment of flavor that reminds me of the aroma of very fine pipe tobacco. Despite the relatively heavy bitterness, the sweetness of the finish lingers on the tongue longer than any of the other flavor characteristics and eventually becomes a bit unpleasant, and while this is the only real flaw the beer exhibits, it is an unfortunate note to end on and it hurts the overall impression.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 05:30:29 | More by nickfl
Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale) from Goose Island Beer Co.
88 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.