Big John - Goose Island Beer Co.
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Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 433 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ryan011235:
2.75/5 rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Poured into a snifter on 5/16/11
Deep brown color that is all but jet-black in the glass. No light gets through this one. Determined to get a decent head, I pulled the classic slow drizzle card (no dropped bottles; you're welcome). I was pleased enough with the resulting cap: one thumb of toasted brown foam. Of course, retention is thin though a skim and some bubbles remain. A few globby strands of lace have held thus far.
Undergoing shifting aromas and upheaval, the nose is suspect. Calling it unpleasant is a half-hearted gift. Weird things are going on here. Once in the glass, the first thing I smell? Tomato Paste. No lie. What the hell is this, Hop Henge IPA? Bare Tree Weiss Wine 2007? Get right out of town. A few minutes later, it starts smelling like a proper imperial stout. Roasted chocolate, dusty cocoa powder, and undertones of tangy dark fruit. Reminds me of Hersey's powder chocolate milk mix. Guess what? Yep, the tomato comes back, this time with leafy hop friends. It goes back and forth in this manner. At least it doesn't smell boozy. Yeesh.
Once set to sipping, the beer tastes far more enjoyable than it smells; not a hard feat to accomplish. That said, it isn't spectacular. The powdered aspects of the cocoa nibs flow along in a stream of semi-sweet, burnt dark chocolate. At times it seems rather sweet; other times not so much. As the temperature nears room, the sugars start to crowd the burnt notions and things start to get messy. While some alcohol heat was had on the first sip, it wasn't too much. However, in conjunction with the burnt sweetness the booze moves toward obnoxiousness. Finishes with char, sticky sweetness and some mildly numbing heat.
Full bodied with a moderate, viscous resistance. Make no mistake, Big John is still a heavy imperial stout in a world filled with heavy imperial stouts (a notion room temperature ascertains). Ah, who am I kidding? It's like cake batter once it warms up. While it was still cold, the cocoa nibs translated to a powdery, granular feel. As the beer warms, that granular feel wanes. Carbonation is appropriate, doing its best to hoist this critter. The latter half is slick and coating.
The John Hancock Center is my favorite skyscraper. Alas, for an imperial stout, Big John doesn't even come close.
Serving type: bottle
05-17-2011 05:40:17 | More by Ryan011235
More User Reviews:
3.89/5 rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
In review is a 2011 vintage.
A - Opaque dark brown / black in color, no head and a razor thin ring of toffee colored lacing - lots of legs on the sides of the glass.
S - Light char, dark chocolate, prunes, figs, dark roast, and some light alcohol. Overall, very subdued (probably due to the age?)
T - Dark fruit, dark chocolate, and alcohol reigns supreme through the entire sip with very noticeable warming on the way down. Prunes, figs, light char, some smokiness, and an ever so slight hint of chocolate molasses.
M - Full, rich body that pushes the thickness to borderline syrupy without crossing the line. Creamy with light carbonation, alcohol warming, lip smacking sticky, and slippery..
O - A chocolate boozy sipper that seemed to age quite well despite the lack of head and lacing. Unfortunately, the appearance and smell killed my overall score.
Serving type: bottle
07-15-2014 22:49:55 | More by jzeilinger
Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.