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Big John - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Big JohnBig John

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,383 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,383
Reviews: 434
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 159
Gots: 599 | FT: 51
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: 1,383 | Reviews: 434 | Display Reviews Only:
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3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

06-21-2013 13:23:49 | More by cmdmzmjm
Photo of roostor07


4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-20-2013 13:39:51 | More by roostor07
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3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

06-20-2013 04:29:45 | More by pascilla
Photo of Damian74Shensky

South Carolina

4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-20-2013 00:40:27 | More by Damian74Shensky
Photo of Scotchboy


3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

22oz bomber, 12/7/12 bottling, sent to me by Dope (thanks!), poured into my Hair of the Dog snifter.

A: Opaque, jet black body with a darker tan cap of head with small bubbles, good consistency and retention, decent lacing.

S: A bit hot/boozy right away; big, deep roasted malt bill, almost to the point of smelling burnt. Strong leafy hop component, almost resinous - deja vu to Night Stalker for a second - some deep, dark caramel and earthy carob as well as dark fruit.

T: A bit hot, with a dark, almost char-like roast; plenty of caramel, boozy raisin, and an herbal/almost resinous hop component. Suggestions of unsweetened bakers chocolate, vinous notes of dark fruit and a touch of spice. Dark chocolate comes out more as this beer warms.

MF: Pretty robust full body. Slick and sticky at times, with a dryish finish. Alcohol is noticeable on the flavors more than the mouthfeel but there is some heat.

O: A decent and fairly original brew, just not what I was expecting from an imperial stout brewed with cacoa nibs. Pretty hoppy and earthy, almost distractingly so. That combined with the alcohol makes me think this one could use some age.

06-17-2013 13:37:23 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Mitch_Cumstein


4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

06-17-2013 00:52:55 | More by Mitch_Cumstein
Photo of tjsdomer2


4.73/5  rDev +16.2%

Appearance: Looks like molasses. Incredible brown lacing.

Smell: Pine, coffee, and sugar. Excellent combination. Definitely didn't expect pine.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Balsamic vinegar, red wine, burnt caramel, and roasted coffee. The best double stout I've tasted. Sweet flavor is a bit cloying, but fits with the flavors.

Overall: A+

06-16-2013 23:20:15 | More by tjsdomer2
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-16-2013 03:27:13 | More by bostonryan
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New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-15-2013 06:01:04 | More by mattparsons
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-13-2013 07:13:02 | More by bifrost17
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4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

06-11-2013 06:13:26 | More by drewone
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-11-2013 02:15:55 | More by Snikwad1020
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4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-11-2013 01:39:04 | More by Ayelikebeer
Photo of MaineBrewing


4.88/5  rDev +19.9%

A- poured a thick viscous oil black with a nice thick dark brown 1.5 finger head. Not a single glimmer of light gets through. Head dissipated quickly to a nice cap, ample legs upon swirling.

S- intensely rich aromas upon upon opening, dark chocolate, raisin, candi sugar, and alcohol. He aroma is very sweet, complex, and intense.

T- taste is as intense and complex as the aroma, but goes a slightly different direction. The roasted malt comes through with intense smokey/roasted notes, the cloying sweetness I expected is actually well balanced, I still get the beautiful combination of fruit, chocolate, candi sugar, and alcohol but it is matched by the roasted malt notes and an intense bittering hop finish. The vanilla might be in there, somewhere within the amalgam of complex flavors.

M- as expected very thick mouthfeel, light carbonation which is what I want /would expect. Although its high abv there isn't much alcohol warming, and the finish is on the sweet side.

O- overall this is just ridiculous. I will come back to big John, probably one of the most intense and complex stouts I've had.

06-11-2013 00:56:37 | More by MaineBrewing
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New York

4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

06-10-2013 23:05:40 | More by BKBassist
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4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-10-2013 13:54:11 | More by BuckTuckian
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North Dakota

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

06-10-2013 03:19:11 | More by jarrgal
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-10-2013 02:07:00 | More by NSK79
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4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-10-2013 00:46:46 | More by Massbmx
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4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-08-2013 23:32:11 | More by 4amepiphany
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Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

06-08-2013 15:35:31 | More by Mikecap
Photo of sliks96


3.5/5  rDev -14%

06-08-2013 04:03:47 | More by sliks96
Photo of kojevergas


3.68/5  rDev -9.6%

650ml brown glass bottle with appealing label art acquired at a Binny's in Chicago and served into a standard water glass at a Chinese restaurant. Served from an ice bath. Expectations are high given the brewery. 11.50% ABV confirmed. Bottled 12/07/12. Reviewed from notes taken on St. Patrick's Day.

A: Pours a half finger rich tan colour head. Nice cream, fair thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention. Body colour is a solid dark black. Nontransparent; opaque. Typical of the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Cacao/chocolate, dark malts, chocolate malt, light light vanilla. Very buried roast. A moderate strength aroma. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Cacao/chocolate. Dark malts. Buried roast. Rich and refined. Slightly hot, but not boozy; alcohol is noticeable but not detrimental. Mostly well balanced. Quite tasty. Complex and well executed. Pretty subtle for what it is. No yeast character comes through. Tasty.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Good thickness and carbonation. Feels custom-tailored to the flavour profile. Still, it's not quite ideal. Well executed overall. Not syrupy.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. Not quite a sipper, but your taste buds do hold you back from drinking it as fast as you will want to. It's meant to be consumed slowly and respected. A solid imperial stout from Goose Island. Quite well done. Hides its ABV pretty well for how high it is.


06-07-2013 21:00:10 | More by kojevergas
Photo of BMart


4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-07-2013 18:53:22 | More by BMart
Photo of weonfire


4.29/5  rDev +5.4%

Enjoyed on this on tap at the Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, IL in a 12oz snifter.

A - Black, opaque, pinky of mocha head which dissipates slowly, small amount of lacing.

S - Chocolate, Bourbon, carmel, booze (not bourbon)

T - Sweet chocolate, bourbon, Vanilla, toffee, carmel. Finish has a sweet chocolate, hoppy (3/10) and touch of roastiness

M - Nice and frothy, full body, creamy, very nice carbonation, bourbon-chocolate that tingles the throat

O - Excellent. Mouth is outstanding. Love the chocolate bourbon. Booze has no heat. Balance among all flavors is very well done. While this might be the lowest in the Bourbon County series -that is no means a knock- it is very very good.

06-06-2013 19:00:02 | More by weonfire
Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,383 ratings.