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Gillian | Goose Island Beer Co.

71 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Gillian - Saison with Strawberry, Honey, and White Pepper

Alias of Scully:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... 1549/61122 

Added by Jason on 08-12-2011

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 634
Photo of stevoj
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share at Darrell’s, thanks to Rich for bringing the "Sisters". Good solid sour, lots of herbal and floral notes, red/pink pour, tart nose and taste.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy orange body with two finger head and some lace that died quick. Some typical Belgian type yeast comes through along with a sour aspect and some spices, and there is even a slightly vinous aroma. Smooth, fuller body thanks to yeast, beer has lovely interplay between sour/funky and spice notes along with a thicker malt based sweetness (assume this is the honey) and a fruit like sweetness (I guess this is strawberry, per label, but tastes more like white grape (I guess this is white wine aspect that seems to pop up)) to me). Finishes with slight acidic sharpness that compliments, not detracts, from beer, and with ABV well hidden this is a very interesting beer with great flavor combinations.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Gillian 2013, bottle pour at Hawthorne's in Philadelphia for Migration Week. I had Lolita 2010, Juliet 2010 and the Gillian, and this one was my least favorite.

Fresh, lively, spritzy... but lacks the complexity of the other vintages I had. A little on the thin side overall, and not sour enough. Don't get much strawberry or pepper. The nose is on point, though.

Glad I tried on tap instead of spending 45 dollars on a bottle.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells slightly of strawberry. Moderately sour beer with strawberry notes. White pepper gives a very slight spiciness on the back end. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of Moose90
3.79/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A — Pours a really light pale yellow color, almost no color at all to it actually, there is a light white head, but it fades quickly. No lacing left behind at all.

S — Smells great, lots of bright berry character, lots of raspberry, some strawberry, and a big hit of sourness.

T — Tastes nice, though a bit off, lots of tart green apple and a bit of strawberry.

M — Very high carbonation, lots of effervescence, almost champagne like.

O — Very nice overall, strawberry flavor is muted, but the rest of the beer is pretty good.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rating from 2013. Pour is mostly clear golden orange with a tight white head. Nose has a fair bit of grain and tangy yeast with a focus of leathery bret and some fruity bret in back. Taste is unique, body is medium with very strong carbonation. Loads of bret and fairly sour. Golden fruit bret with some citrus and a tangy yeast underneath. A good bit of peppery spice towards the back. Different, theres an interesting dusty cobweb mid palate. decent.

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Photo of GSSW88
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow, very good, complex, but not too busy. Consumed 5/22/15, bottled 9/12/13. Looks very light bodied and a pale gold color. Looks do no justice to this beer. Scent is fantastic! Strawberries, very sweet, lactic acid, vinegar, a little cantaloupe. Taste is great! More strawberries, tartness, slight honey, pepper isn't too distinct until the after taste. People say Gillian is overwhelmed by pepper but I don't really pick up an overwhelming pepper flavor until the back end of this beer. Great barnyard funkiness as well! Very brettty! Perfectly complex beer without being too complex. Great mouthfeel with very nice carbonation! Totally recommend this one! Love Goose Island sisters!

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Photo of charlzm
3.49/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on April 27th, 2015 from a bottle dated "12SEP13", so it has aged in my beer fridge for 17 months. Poured into a snooty Teku glass.

Beer is a clear rich medium golden with plenty of active carbonation. Smallish white head dissipates rapidly. Lots of cloudy yeast when you get close to the the bottom of the bottle.

Aroma is mainly pepper with a dash of white wine character. Too much pepper.

Flavor is likewise dominated by pepper, though there is also peach and white grape. Moderately tart without crossing the threshold into actual sourness. No/low bitterness. Fairly simple flavor profile. Slightly warming after a few sips.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little spritzy. Tingly if held on the tongue for a few moments.

Overall, this is a unique and interesting beer that suffers from too much pepper flavor. I paid $31.99 for this bottle when new, and that was certainly too much. Won't be buying this again.

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Photo of brewski09
4.66/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage poured into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter - bottled 1219 @ 12DEC13

A - hazy orange pour with a light, effervescent head that hangs around for a little while. Hazier as the dregs get into the pour.

S - WOW. the white pepper and strawberries (expected them to be all but gone at this point because they fade so quickly) dominate with tart barrel in the background. Much better than from the keg during migration week!

T - The strawberries and sour funk dominate here with some mild barreling (I can't tell what kind of barrel it is but i'd guess pinot grigio or some other white wine) with the white pepper balancing the act on the back end. No booziness at all and a slight sweetness.

M - slightly high carbonation but appropriate for the style and description. This keeps the beer light despite the residual sugars I'm tasting.

O - I really like this beer and am a bit surprised at how much from the initial tasting. I'm thinking the beer is better front he bottle. I'm also pretty surprised that the strawberry is so strong.

This is my first review in some time. Happy to be back at it.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Murky wheat appearance, not much head, not much lace.

S - Wild fresh and tart.

T - Big tart fruitiness, fresh and clean.

M - Medium body, good carb and balance.

D - A very easy to dink beer, despite the ABV.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

765 ml bottle, 2013 edition, bottled on 12SEP13. I've had this sitting around a while now, and figured I might as well get around to drinking it. Served in a Prairie Teku, the beer pours a hazy dark gold color with about a half inch white head that fizzled away quickly. Pretty much no lacing at all. Aroma is fruity and tart, the brew smells like strawberry, white wine, lemon peel, oak, hay, and a bit of peppery spice. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also the addition of some green apple, funk, lime and some honey. There's a good amount of tartness, but also some sweet fruitiness too (mostly strawberry). Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating with a moderate amount of carbonation. The 9.5% ABV is well hidden! Overall I liked this brew, and thought it got better the longer I drank it. However, with the $26.99 a bottle pricing I don't think I'd buy it again at that price. Still, it was nice to try this once.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour at the Old Toad for their Goose Island tasting.

Pours a hazy, murky pale yellow, especially since I got part of the dregs. There's a small head, but no lacing.

Smells like strawberry, honey, oak, lemon, white wine, and distinct funk.

This is a really unique wild saison, I dig it. As it warms up, the strawberry, while already prominent at the beginning, becomes even more in your face. There's a nice sunny sweetness from the honey, with a mild sourness that's pleasant and plays in the background behind the strawberry and honey flavors. There's a bit of light funk, and a nice peppery finish. I'm glad the pepper is restrained here- I'm not sure how it would work if there was much more. I get a bit of lemon and lime flavors, too.

This is light bodied, with a light, crisp, and sweet mouthfeel. It's really drinkable- the GI rep called "sessionable" which I'm not entirely sure about, given the ABV. He is right in saying how crushable and easy-going this one is.

This was really unique and awesome, and nicely set up the big crushers later in the tasting.

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Photo of superspak
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/11/2013. Pours lightly hazy bright gold color with a small foamy white head with poor retention, that reduces to nothing fairly quickly. No glass lacing, and a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, honey, oak, white pepper, hay, straw, grass, light musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and wine barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, white pepper, honey, oak, hay, straw, grass, light musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of fruity/acidic tartness and spice on the finish; with lingering notes of strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, white pepper, honey, oak, hay, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and white wine barrel flavors; with a great sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp/acidic, and slightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding wine barrel fruited saison. All around awesome complexity and balanced of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and wine barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of barczar
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great balance of tartness and sweetness, with a fruity note running throughout. Wish I had more to say about this beer, but it was one in a long list of beers at a bottle share.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.11/5  rDev 0%

From 08/29/14 notes. Found this on the shelf in Manahawkin, NJ for $17.99 that morning. Date on the bottle is 11/Sept/13, 750ml bottle poured into a wine glass.

Pours a hazy bright yellow color with one inch of off white head that leaves quickly, and high carbonation evident. Lots of fresh strawberries, sweet dark fruity malts, white wine, oak, and citrus. Taste is tart with more berries and sour vinegar notes. Light to medium body and moderate to high carbonation , dry finish.

Overall a good beer. Not my favorite of the GI sours but a lot of good strawberries and lots of sourness in the taste. Worth checking out for sure, would have it again.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours a cloudy gold resembling apricot flesh. Aggressive pour give way to racy carbonation that quickly loses any retention.

First aromas of spice candy, a chinese sweet sour, and mild yeast. Lemon zesty and berry esters.

Taste yields more of the same. Cane sugar sweetness with overripe strawberries. As I'm listening to Richard "Groove" Holmes, funk comes to mind. Squeeze of lemon and peppery spice in the back.

I would say more of a medium bodied brew due to the heavier sugars, IMO. Scant carbonation and quenching.

This was a past Xmas gift to me I finally tapped into. This turns out to be more of a lambic than a saison for me. A little heavy on the sugar and malt. Would not purchase but would always accept as a gift.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Served in a Boulevard tulip snifter.

Big ups to VDubb and his brother for sharing this pricey lady with a penniless vagabond such as myself. This stuff pours a hazy sunset gold topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises mildly-tart berries, Belgian yeast, light black pepper, lemon zest, light white wine grapes (Pinot Gris in this case), and a touch of grassy hay. The taste brings in more of the same, with the sweetness of the yeast and berries mixing with some tartness from berries, apple, lemon, and stonefruits, followed by a layer or three of Belgian yeast and spices. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty tasty fruited saison, nothing earth-shattering, to be honest, and certainly nowhere near worth the price, but it is decidedly enjoyable.

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Photo of JerseyHopHead
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, pale yellow with minimal head retention.
Smells strong of sour grapes with yeasty notes present as well.
It comes on subtle with some fruit notes but then quickly grows in strength and complexity as sour grape flavors take over. It has a medium carbonated, medium bodied mouthfeel. It finishes very tart and dry.

I'm still getting into sours but I really enjoyed this beer. It drinks like a wine and it's definitely got a lot flavor. Might not be a starter beer but worth a try.

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Photo of Astathedog
3.1/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Odd beer. Advertises itself as a "Belgian farmhouse," which I take to be a saison. It is not. It is closer to a lambic. Sour taste, artificial strawberry sweet, very little carbonation for a saison. Loses its head immediately after poor. No funk, ABV too high. Color nice, tho. I'll not buy again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

this whole series is great, but i think gillian is my least favorite among the ones ive enjoyed so far. it comes across sweet from the strawberry, less authentic fruit than the others, and is rather under carbonated, at least mine was, but this may improve with age. its a funny colored brew, caramel colored almost, a little lighter, with the pink from the berries trying to color it, but getting muted a bit by the slightly darker grains. there isnt much head, and the carbonation thats missing ends up being the real weakness of this beer for me. it taste sweet from the strawberry, like dried strawberries in cereal or granola rather than fresh ones. the saison yeast never really cleans it up, and i dont get half as much of the brett funky and bacterial sourness as i do in the others. it just stays sweet. i also dont get as much white pepper out of it as i would like to, its such an interesting ingredient, easy to overuse, which they dont, but i want to taste it more than i do. i think it gets lost by the belgian saison yeast rather than enhanced by it. the finish is sweet and funky, but its also boozy compared to the others. an elegant idea that could use a little lighter hand i think. maybe age will do this well, but i only ever had this one bottle, so maybe i wont ever know. i think still worth almost what they ask for these, but i liked halia much much better.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Bottled on 9/11/13.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is sour with malt, grain, strawberry, white wine, wood, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with sour grain, strawberry, and white wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty and very easy to drink.

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Photo of FLima
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Milky yellow color with practically no head.
Nice aroma, very unique with clear notes of strawberries, funky sour and mild cloves.
Flavor of wild strawberries, salt, white pepper, peaches, lemon, chardonnay and cheese.
Astringent aftertaste.
Light body with good carbonation. Incredible how they hide the whole 9.5% abv.
Great sour, excellent complexity, bold and acid.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden orange with active carbonation bubbles that struggle to form any head.

It has a fruity aroma, like a banana split. Slight vinous quality.

Acidic and vinous flavor and texture. Crisp. The strawberry and honey contribute a sweet fruity angle. Peppery finish.

Good beer, not great. I felt like it got pulled in too many directions without committing to any one.

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Photo of jbaker67
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright golden color with a frisky tight bubbled white foam. The nose is a complex array of strawberry, yeast, vinous acidity and a bit of rustic grain. The palate is ligth and refreshing with nice complexity. Pepper, strawberry, hay, vinous oak, bright acidity. There is a lot going on with this one but I feel the pepper was too much.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 765 ml bottle into a Goose Island Tulip glass. 2013 Vintage bottled on September 12, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellowish golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Slight white head that quickly fizzes away. Not much lacing.

Smell: A fairly tart, sweet, and sour aroma with good hints of fruit, yeast, and spice. Belgian yeast with good hints of white pepper, farmhouse funk, and slight clove. Big wine barrel presence with hints of white grapes, oak, wood, Brett funk, and acid. Big scent of sweet strawberries along with some tart green apple, cherry, and berry. Sweet hints of honey and cream. Soft pale malt with hints of wheat, straw and cracker. A very good sweet and sour aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely sweet, sour, and tart taste with big notes of strawberry, yeast, and wine barrel. Belgian yeast with some nice notes of white pepper, farmhouse funk, and a little clove. Big champagne like wine barrel presence with notes of white grape, oak, wood, acid, and some Brett like sour funk. Big fruity taste of sweet strawberries along with some notes of green apple, cherry, and berries. Sweet taste of honey and some notes of cream. Soft pale malt with notes of wheat, straw, and cracker. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Tart and fairly acidic with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is masked fairly well.

Overall: A very good twist on a Saison/Farmhouse Ale. Very nice balance of fruity sweetness and sour notes from the barrel.

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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.