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Big John - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Big JohnBig John

Educational use only; do not reuse.

442 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 442
Hads: 1,531
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 20.95%
Wants: 169
Gots: 581 | FT: 42
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:
Beer added by: aasher on 03-13-2011

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 442 | Hads: 1,531
Photo of candcholt
1.36/5  rDev -66.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Shared this beer into pint glasses out of a 22oz. bomber to taste.

Dark black, small tan head.

It was actually difficult to drink, which is extremely unusual for me. Felt heavy in the stomach. Tasted like a bitter chocolate liqueur.

Very low carbonation. Oily in taste and mouthfeel.

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Photo of montrealbcr89
1.87/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

Most of my beer ratings tend to be on the "higher than average" side, but I just don't know what happened here.

Poured from bottle into tulip.

A: poured a brown, reddish color. In the glass, it was very black with a tan head that dissipated quickly.

S: As soon as a put my nose into the glass, I was confused. I was hit with an overwhelming amount of sweetness. Artificial grape sweetness, and a strong soy sauce mixed with artificial sweetener. Not a good smell.

T: Thankfully, a bit better than the nose. But. holy wow is this sweet. It's hard to get down. Carbonation was diminishing quickly, too. I found it so sweet that I passed my glass around to a few beers drinkers. All parties found it cloyingly sweet. One even said "I could have sworn you gave me port".

M: Syrupy.

O: I was really looking forward to this beer. But wow, what a disappointment. I could not even tough through a full glass. I'm not sure if there was an infection, but this was unlike any other imperial stout I have had before...not in a good way. I would give it another shot, but that wasn't pleasant.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.33/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bomber from Ryan011235, poured into an oversized snifter. A fortunate choice of glassware, too, given the explosive head on this stuff. I got about third of this into the 25 ounce snifter before I put the brakes on. Enormous tan head that slowly shrinks into a dense, almost sludgy head. Lacing isn't quite as impressive as the head retention, but a great looking beer.

Not a great smelling one, though. The primary aromas, no joke, appear to be grape "drink" and catsup. Perhaps some fruity hard candy. Dark chocolate and roasted malt attempt to assert themselves periodically, to no avail.

Thankfully, the flavor profile turns out to be pretty decent. Most thankworthy is the absence of the catsup (where the hell did that smell come from?). A fair amount of artificial grape remains, but a host of chocolate flavors join forces to suppress it. Semisweet, milk, Yoohoo, we seem to have all the chocolate bases covered. Very light notes of espresso and burnt malt; a bigger dose of the dark stuff would go a long way toward improving this brew. The thick, smooth mouthfeel would be more impressive if it wasn't helping the near-overwhelming sweetness and booziness to linger way past the worn-out-their-welcome point. Not something I'd care to revisit.

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Photo of RedHaze
2.48/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Scored this a few days ago at Beertopia in Omaha.

Pours inky black, just like all of Goose Islands big stouts, with a thin head despite a fairly hard pour. The foam disappear almost completely in short order, leaving only small traces of lace.

Smell; lots of alcohol in the nose especially as it warms, and a ton of sweetness. Dark fruits are present adding the sweet.

Taste; first sip is overly sweet followed by alcohol burn. Some roastiness does make an appearance, but it gets quickly overwhelmed by alcohol soaked plums and raisins and sugary chocolatey sweetness. This beer is really damn sweet and alcoholic, to the point that it took me a while to pick out much else.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and would have been better had there been more carbonation.

Overall I really struggled to drink the half bottle I had, and if I had not been sharing, I think the other half would have been a drain pour. Easily my least favorite GI beer I've had in a long while, and I'm glad I only picked up the one bottle.

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Photo of Buebie
2.54/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured rigorously into an oversized snifter producing a couple inch dark brown head. Settling to leave a solid collar and minimal lace.
Dark as night.
Aroma is roasty and filled with burnt tootsy rolls, loads of grain and malt, dark unsweetened chocolate. Mild toasted wood with some very oaty aroma as well.
Poured out like a thick inky liquid, eager to see what the mouthfeel delivers.
Oh my, mouthfeel is thick creamy and creamy smooth.
Heating up the esophagus as it slides down my throat. But heat on the pallet is not much present. Surprising.
Taste is pretty damn rich and waa waa wee waah malt, a bit too sweet though giving off some undesired cola taste.
Overly mild carbonation presence also creating a bit of an unbalanced feel.
For me its too sweet and syrupy, overpowering in this regard, preventing me from wanting more then a few sips. I wish I had some people over because I really cant drink any more of this. I will choke it down due to the price, plus I'm out of beer. Aside from that it would probably be a drain pour.

Great effort, but I'll pass. Overbearing.

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Photo of brentk56
2.64/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A very hard pour could only raise a smidgen of head and that quickly faded away; the liquid was pitch black and left a lot of dotty legs behind

Smell: An overdose of blackstrap molasses and soy sauce mask the expected roasty chocolate and coffee elements; rather boozy

Taste: Starts out well, with a wallop of dark chocolate but by mid-palate the citrusy hops start to battle with the sweet molasses and soy flavors, a battle which is unresolved in the finish; the lingering sweetness becomes cloying in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation; cloying sweetness and considerable heat from the alcohol

Overall: I had high expectations for this beer as I am a fan of this brewery but it is a real palate wrecker and, ultimately, I had to surrender

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Photo of klewis
2.67/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

A: Pours a solid black with a bubbly, tan head. Brief sustain and light lacing.

S: A big malt aroma with a soft, gentle roastiness. Caramel and light vanilla aromas.

T: Malty and quite sweet - almost cloying. Molasses dominates the palate followed by honey and burnt cocoa. Missing any substantial roasted character that might balance the sweetness.

M: Full-bodied with light carbonation. Smooth.

D: A pretty big miss by GI. Little evidence of the cacao nibs and well outside of the typical flavor profile for a big stout. Perhaps some time on the shelf will benefit this one, but now - it's a chore.

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Photo of Brunite
2.68/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Dark black. The head disappears almost completely in short order, likely due to the alcohol.

Smell: Lots of alcohol in the nose especially as it warms. Some sweetness. Some roasty notes.

Taste: The initial taste is sweet with some chocolate notes followed by alcohol burn. Some roastiness does make an appearance, but it gets quickly overwhelmed by the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied.

Overall: I struggled to drink the half bottle I had. The balance was a drain pour. No doubt my least favorite GI beer. Just too much alcohol for me. Not enjoyable. The alcohol outweighs the cocoa by far.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.7/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter on 5/16/11

Bottled 3/25/11

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.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.71/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was one of my contributions to our Goose Island Stout Line-up. Shared with Nrbw23, Ryan011235, Spider889 and Schwaeh.

Bottled on 3/25/11 poured into a snifter

There's hardly any difference in the appearance to any of the members of the Goose Island imperial stout family. Perhaps the non-barrel aged ones such as this look a little thinner and feign just a little bit more of a head. But in the end this one sits static in the snifter, not so much as a collar. The beer has red edges and my glass looked to have some grittiness in it despite being relatively decanted.

Its mostly alcohol and cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs don't give off aromas of smooth milk chocolate. They are much more of a natural, earthy, raw thing. This beer has lots of that. Aromas of nut shells/husk/bark from the nibs. It still gives the beer a lot of sweetness in the aroma that teams up with the inherent sweet, maltiness and dark fruit elements of the stout.

Much of the same. Lots of booze and crazy, raw cocoa sweetness. Its a very bittersweet type of raw chocolate that has a lot of nuttiness and bark-like qualities. Some dark fruits poke out that seem at opposition to the earthy cocoa nibs. From time to time I get a bit of band-aid and plastic flavors that seem to come from the inner workings of the beer, fueled by a fussel alcohol propellant.

Very full bodied. The carbonation is very low and alcohol imparts a lot of heat. This is the typical experience from these Goose Island beers though. This is something of a slower creature than many of the others though.

Meh, the worst of the lot. In fact, I think I'm growing weary of these big sludge bombs that are Goose Island imperials. I think our little tasting that we did satiated an appetite that wasn't there. I'll be taking a break from the big bruising stouts for quite some time while my body tries to process the residuals of this beer.

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Photo of champ103
2.73/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have had this several times. The first, twiggamortis420 shared a bottle. I found another when I went home to see the family. Review from notes.

A: Pours a murky, nearly opaque brown/black color. A small bubbly tan head forms, but recedes in a second. No lace is left. First impressions: this looks like a thiner version of GI's better stouts.
S: Roasted malt, acrid coffee, light on the coco nibs. A veggie aroma as well that is a bit off putting.
T: Huge roasted malt and acrid coffee. Not nearly as much chocolate as I was expecting. Maybe some powdery, bitter sweet residual sugar. A big cooked veggie flavor, and almost sulfur like. Is that DMS? Odd, and not very enjoyable. Huge alcohol in the throat.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low carbonation, a little to low for my liking. Fairly thin and powdery. Burning alcohol and off flavors makes this hard for me to drink.

I have had two bottles, and both with the same off flavors. I do not enjoy this. Without a doubt the weekest stout Goose Island has made. Not something I would recommend.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
2.78/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz into bell's pint.

A- Fantastic pour- deep brown/black body, tons of tiny brown bubbles form a nice thick oatmeal cookie colored head that settles quickly. Minimal lacing. Great color.

S- Pretty heavy chocolate cake and coffee. Nice, inviting aroma.

T- Very chocolatey, some dark fruit. Very sweet, chocolate syrup and then some. Mild coffee. The flavors aren't off... they're just overbearing. This has the dreaded triple bock/dark lord sweet sludge taste/mouthfeel combo going on. Not a fan.

M- Thick, syrupy, too sweet. More carbonation needed.

O- Eh. Meh. Not worth the price. Would not buy again regardless of the price, actually. Doubt I'll have a 2nd glass.


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Photo of muttyd
2.83/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Imperial stout brewed with cacao nibs. Why not?

Pours a thick, oily, pitch black. Very dense looking beer with almost no head. Surprised at the lack of lacing for such a big stout. Aroma is filled with chocolate, some port-wine fruity characters, and alcohol. Flavor is muted by the alcohol, but I am getting some dark chocolate, roasted malt, sweet dark fruits (raisins ands figs), and molasses. Salty soy-sauce comes through in the finish in a slightly off-putting fashion. Alcohol creates a warming sensation as it goes down. Sliky, creamy mouthfeel with little carbonation. This stout is really on the edge of being too cloyingly sweet. Average stout at best. Maybe another few months would have done this beer some good.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
2.91/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650 ml poured into two stemless wine glasses. First and last time for this guy!

A - pours jet black with some lingering foam, mid tone brown, looks more like an RIS than a double.

S - phew, lots of rubbing alcohol, roasted malts, and some dark fruits. After taking a sip, the smell is even worse.

T - not good, really not very good. Plenty of dark fruits, plums and currants, but nothing is stronger than the isopropyl alcohol. How do I describe a beer than simultaneously hides its alcohol and punches you in the face with it?

M - some redemption here. The alcohol doesn't sting the mouth, but the consistency is viscous - too syrupy.

O - one of the worst stouts I've had to date. Truly worthy of the BMC that Goose Island is surely soon to be.

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Photo of mulder1010
3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into a wine glass

A-- Poured a brownish black color and settling black, no light penetrating the glass. Good one finger dark mocha colored head, does fade pretty quickly but one swirling get one finger again. Very obvious alcohol legs to this. Thick and sticky legs to this.

S-- Chocolate, malt, coffee and a bit of ethanol. A little too much booze for me on this. Does not have the rich thick smell that this needs.

T-- Sweet milk chocolate, Carmel, and once again booze. Kind of an unrefined taste to me.

M-- More booze, a bit prickly with carbonation and hops. Otherwise Chocolate, Carmel, faint hints of coffee, and burnt malts, barley and a ethanol finish to top it off. Base beer is quite sweet and thin I think. Medium light bodied and more carbonated than expected.

O-- Idea is good but execution is lacking. Booze is more than obvious and needs more chocolate. Too much ethanol in mouth and finish to really enjoy this.

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Photo of zimm421
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. First thing I notice is the lack of a substantial head. I gave this a very aggressive pour the second time around, and still got nothing. What little head there was disappeared almost instantly, just leaving a few bubbles around the edge of the glass. Swirling in the snifter brings back some head, but it disappears quickly again. The beer was a solid black, and the very thin head was brown.

The chocolate definitely stands out in the aroma, but the alcohol definitely covers up any other scents. The taste is very dry, and the chocolate is definitely very bitter. The alcohol is again very present, and just overpowers the rest of the flavors. The aftertaste is mostly bitter chocolate, but the alcohol flavors stick around too.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and there is a film left in your mouth after each sip. There's almost no carbonation and it goes down like water; except for the aftertaste. Overall, a pretty disappointing beer. I expected a little bit more out of this brew. Definitely had much better stouts, glad I bought it once though.

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Photo of Spider889
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle opened at our Goose Island stout tasting on 5/7/11, this one is thanks to MbpBugeye I believe.

Looks similar to Night Stalker. Thick, dark, with a short toffee colored head. Perhaps a little thinner than Night Stalker actually.

Smells sweet. Boozy alcohol provides some harsh dark fruit aromas, while all of the chocolate just adds more unnecessary sweetness. The roasty grains do poke through, and it doesn't smell unpleasant, just unbalanced. Also some vanilla and char in the aroma.

The taste was very disappointing, especially after all of the hype surrounding the initial release of this beer. The cocoa doesn't add much chocolate flavor for me, but rather just sweetness. this tastes like sweetened, aged Night Stalker.

Carbonation was too low imo, this seemed thinner and less carbed than Night Stalker to me.

Overall I wasn't impressed. I have a bottle aging, maybe it will improve in a few years... I really hope so at least.

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Photo of beesy
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass around 50F.

A - pours a deep brown with a light brown 2 finger head. Not as dark or inky as I was expecting for 11.5 abv and all the hype. Had a small waterfall effect from a hard pour.

S - not impressive. Some dark malts, some roast and a slight touch of cocoa.

T - serious letdown. Tons of carmel sweetness with little roast or hops to balance it. The small amount of roast is drowned by the crystal malt sweetness. Small amount of cacao noticeable, mostly in aroma and not flavor. A slight alcohol not that becomes a liitle more open as it warms. I'm calling Goose out that this is not 11.5 abv and not 60 ibu.

M - thick - really thick. I took a gravity reading and it looks like it finishes around 1.040for the bombers bottled on 3/25/11 I bought. I am willing to bet they had a fermentation issue.

D - low. The high finishing gravity of this beer leaves it cloyingly sweet and hard to put down.

Overall, a pour result from a beer I've been waiting for. I guess this is what happens when you become consumed by a selloff instead of focusing on brewing good beer.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into Delerium tulip.

A- Pours a pitch black with a decent mocha head, a little more than a half finger. The head dies down quickly and doesn't leave much in the way of lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Big roasted malts and a ton of black licorice. As the beer warms, the chocolate starts to come out a little more. A little brown sugar and alcohol round this one out.

T- A big helping of dark, bitter chocolate, molasses and black licorice. Roasted malts and sweetness which is assume is from the cocoa nibs.

M- Fuller bodied that has a little more carbonation than I was anticipating. Other than that, this is the typical big GI stout.

O- I didn't really know what to expect from this beer but this wasn't it. Not bad by any means but lacks some key components to make this a real winner.

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Photo of Lunch
3.11/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received from a generous trader, aasher at DLD 2011. Thanks, Al!

Poured from 22oz. bottle into a Jester King snifter. Looks fairly thick and almost black, but nowhere near any of their Bourbon County Brand Stouts or Night Stalker.

Smell is so far from where that I thought that this beer would be. Where is the chocolate? This is all dark fruit and alcohol. Taste is all dark fruit as well. No chocolate to speak of. As the kids say "wtfuck". Medium-bodied, but less than what I expected.

This is a very disappointing beer that I am glad now that I was unable to find any locally on shelves. Truly sub-par for Goose Island.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a pitch black color with a 1 finger mocha tan head of tiny bubbles. More carbonated than I thought it would be. Roasty, bitter chocolate notes in the nose with a touch of alcohol as well. Medium/heavy mouthfeel with carbonation, maybe a little too carbonated and light for my tastes. The roast hits me first followed by a dry, bitter sweet chocolate flavor. The chocolate is more bitter to me than actually sweet. Booze is apparent in this one. Overall, a little let down by this.

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Photo of amphion1065
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to vande for this bottle, which was in short supply in Boston. Bomber poured into a tulip.

Thick, thick pour that's black as could be, with a two-finger mocha head. The appearance is very reminiscent of BCBS, with a slightly bigger head that leaves some very nice lacing on the glass.

The smell is quite sweet and fruity. Prunes, raisins, dates, and a hint of banana are all in the nose. This is a very sweet aroma, and though I can't say I detect much chocolate there's plenty of toffee and caramel.

Those cocoa nibs certainly come through in the taste. Plenty of bittersweet chocolate here, with a full complement of dark fruits as well. That said, there's a distracting harsh bitterness that overpowers this sweetness. The hop profile is somewhat similar to Nightstalker, though not quite as pronounced. It definitely lasts though, and absolutely detracts from the overall flavor of the beer. As it warms, there's some alcohol heat that adds to the unpleasantness.

The mouthfeel is the strongest part of this for me: thick and creamy, and the carbonation is spot-on. This is pretty close to chocolate syrup.

At this stage, Big John seems a little young. It's not terribly hot, but the flavors seem disjointed - it could have used some more time in the bottle. As it stands, this is a pretty middle of the road imperial stout.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this beer a while back from Masterski. Cheers for the beers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Bottled 25 March 2011
Bottle 1630
Stout with cacao nibs added

APPEARANCE: Thicker looking, dark brown pour produces a very small, mocha head that's gone almost immediately. A siwrly wisp and ring remain. Black body with medium levels of carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. A relatively thick pour, but head is a little too lack luster. Averages out.

SMELL: Roasted malts, caramel, licorice, some cacao chocolate and alcohol on the nose. Bold enough and certainly enough booze there as well. More than enough, though there is some nice stout aromas under the alcohol.

TASTE: Roasted notes, licorice and caramel flavors, then some cacao powder at the swallow. Big burst of alcohol follows. Bold aftertaste of sweet caramel, a touch of bitter chocolate and a good dose of booze lingers on the palate. Quite boozy, but the cacao flavors do fight their way through.

PALATE: Medium, slightly ligher body with medium levels of carbonation. Somewhat prickly on the palate, goes down a little rough with a burn at the swallow and finishes quite sticky. Too light on the palate and a bit too prickly and abrasive. Much like all of their stout beers, but not quite as thin and harsh as the bourbon county series.

OVERALL: Decently flavorful, but still too boozy and thin for the style. I wish these guys could tone down the alcohol and thicken up the feel a little, because the flavor in their imperial stouts is usually pretty solid. Anyways, worth checking out if it falls in your lap, but unless you love harsh booze bombs, this isn't one to seek out. Thanks again for the beers Masterski. Always a pleasure.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received this want from rowingbrewer after winning a LIF of his; thank you! Reviewed from notes taken 01/03/2012. Poured into a snifter.

A black/brown body with more translucent copper edges. A tan head with minimal retention and no real lacing. The aroma is of caramel, sugar, vanilla, coffee, and alcohol. Some nice scents in there, but they just seem out of whack and don't compliment each other as much as I would hope. Flavor brings out some dried cherry, syrupy sugars (marshmallow?), apple, caramel, and cocoa nibs. Strange and unassuming, but not too shabby. Mouthfeel is overly sticky and sweet, with a syrupy texture and dry finish. Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this one; perhaps a case of high-hopes induced by the attention this one received, but I'm not positive that's the case. Really just seemed like and ambitious swing and a miss for GI given some of the atypical flavors.

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Photo of mdvatab
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz. bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Bottle is dated 3/25/11

Aroma: Woah. Strong metallic note upfront. Hoping it would go away, I stick my nose in the glass several more times. Dark cherry, molasses, dark rum, and cocoa liquer come through.

Appearance: Very black, thick body. 1/2 finger tan head falls quicly, and forms minimal lacing.

Flavor: Sweet molasses, dark, carmelized sugar, dark rum, and cocoa. A licorice note is noticeable through the middle, and pops up again relatively close to the finish. Spicy black pepper pops up toward the end. Unfortunately, the finish is reminiscent of cough-syrup with a light bitterness, and an strong warming sensation from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full mouthfeel. Again, medium-low, silky carbonation. Very warming feeling in mouth and throat after each sip.

Overall: This one should have been much better. I was a bit let down--especially compared to other great GI stouts. Couldn't ever get over the metallic odor at the begining. The cough-syrup-like flavor at the end was also a bit of a let-down. I'd be curious to see what a bottle of this would taste like after a bit of time in the cellar...

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Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
90 out of 100 based on 442 ratings.