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Big John - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Big JohnBig John

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,444 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,444
Reviews: 436
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%
Wants: 160
Gots: 602 | FT: 54
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewmasters Notes:
Inspired by the epic skyline of Chicago, Goose Island's brewers set out to craft Big John; a tall, bold slugger of a stout that stands out vividly against the little soft beers out there. Epic amounts of roasted malt and an addition of cacoa nibs give Big John a massive chocolate flavor and aroma. With a body as substantial and black as the building to which it pays homage, Big John is sure to inspire a sense of awe with each sip.

(Beer added by: aasher on 03-13-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,444 | Reviews: 436 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by WesWes:
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a pitch black color with a thick frothy tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, warm roasted scent along with a solid chocolate aroma. It's bold with excellent complexity; truly a BIG beer. The taste is good as well. It has a top notch roasted and chocolate malt flavor that goes down slow and finishes with a good deal of warmth. It's a sipper with loads of malt character. The cocoa nibs really enhance the experience. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good double stout. It's bold, but nothing over the top. It's a slow drinker with lots of character.

WesWes, Aug 24, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.71/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of dark chocolate malt with light roasted malt and light residual sugar notes. Taste is a sublime mix between black milk chocolate with some light molasses and liquorice notes with light dry roasted malt notes also perceptible. Body is full with nice thick creamy texture and good carbonation and no alcohol presence is easily identifiable. I really enjoyed this huge beer and I’m glad they were able to maintain such balance and drinkability to match the complexity of this beer.

Phyl21ca, Nov 12, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single finger dark tan head on a jet black body with no light passing through. Lots of vanilla with dark fruit and chocolate. A very nice dark fruit, vanilla and chocolate mix in the flavor as well. Right amount of sweetness. Slight roasted malt note. thick in body, very smooth and viscous/creamy. light to moderate carbonation. Another excellent beer from goose island. This one is very smooth and flavorful. Strong but not too boozy.

kylehay2004, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of aszatk01
4/5  rDev -2%

aszatk01, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

DanGeo, Feb 10, 2014
Photo of jono0101
5/5  rDev +22.5%

jono0101, May 18, 2013
Photo of weatherdog
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a Goose Island signature glass. Bottled 3/25/11.

It pours an ever familiar BCS midnight velvety black, a 1 finger seep mocha head rises from the depths and settles down into a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing is present.

The aroma is of sweet sugary malt and alcohol. It isn't as hot as BCS obviously but it's still up there. A very mild bitter roasted chocolate aroma near the backend. It's just so rich and thick.

The taste has an obvious amount of rich sweet chocolate flavored malt but there is a surprising bitterness as well. It's not enough to make this beer balanced but I think it goes a long way to not having it undrinkably sweet. There is just a tiny amount of roasted malt flavor near the end but once again this baby is sweet. An obvious alcohol warmth coats the throat as it goes down.

The only obvious flaw with this beer is the mouthfeel. It's so sweet and dense and rich that without very careful analysis sweetness is all that is detected. I'm not positive, but I'm assuming this is the base beer to BCS. If this is the case I think they made a mistake having such an underattenuated beer. In BCS the bourbon goes a long way to thinning out the beer and making it (relatively) drinkable and not cloying. This beer lacks the thinning sensation and just comes across as a liquid sugar delivery system, not a terrible thing, but certainly not my preference.

Overall it's not a bad beer by any stretch but just lacking that barrel character that GI does so well with and ties the beer together. It's one thick drink and since my wife fell asleep, the one who I was supposed to split the bomber with, I'm gonna attempt to drink the whole thing. Wish me luck.

EDIT: It's about an hour later and the beer was warmed up to room temperature. I'm enjoying it much more this way. The sweetness seems a bit cut down and the individual chocolate flavor seems to pop. This is as much as a sipper as fresh BCS but I'm enjoying the second half of the bomber MUCH more than the first. I've bumped up a few of the scores to match.

weatherdog, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of delaced21
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

delaced21, May 12, 2014
Photo of RebeccaMB
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

RebeccaMB, May 19, 2014
Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

sabitu, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev -2%

DaftPatrick, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of csmartin6
4/5  rDev -2%

csmartin6, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of DWolf
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

DWolf, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of beckard13
4/5  rDev -2%

beckard13, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of Snikwad1020
4/5  rDev -2%

Snikwad1020, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of mctizzz
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

mctizzz, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of Lgrec8
4/5  rDev -2%

Lgrec8, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pawola22 for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a smallish tan head. The aroma is very powerful. I get a ton of chocolate up front, as well as some heavily roasted malts.

The flavor is more of the same. There is a lot of milk chocolate and dry cocoa powder in the aroma, as well as some roasted malts. This beer is definitely all about the chocolate and is very enjoyable. The alcohol is completely hidden and the beer is very easy to drink.

Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Mora2000, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

olradetbalder, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of Shankopotamus
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Shankopotamus, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of BrandonDZ
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

BrandonDZ, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of bsp77
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter. Bottled on March 25, 2011.

Appearance: Pitch black with large initial brown head that leaves some light lacing.

Smell: Molasses, soy sauce and booze. Chocolate is pretty light.

Taste: Chocolate is certainly more noticeable in the taste, but this is still driven by molasses, soy sauce and booze. Light indiscriminate hops at the finish. Little one dimensional.

Feel: Velvety smooth and creamy, but the finish is a little off. Very warming.

Overall: Nice and smooth Imperial Stout, but a little disappointing considering what Goose Island is capable of.

bsp77, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of jaminjohnson
4/5  rDev -2%

jaminjohnson, Oct 02, 2012
Photo of gibgink
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

gibgink, Nov 09, 2014
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Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,444 ratings.