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Gillian - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

69 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 69
Hads: 610
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 26.52%
Wants: 62
Gots: 190 | FT: 32
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 08-12-2011

Gillian - Saison with Strawberry, Honey, and White Pepper

Alias of Scully:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... 1549/61122 
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 69 | Hads: 610
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 bobhits
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy yellow with gold and orange highlights. A very acidic fizzy carbontion, somewhat boring but very to style.

There's a lot of citrus aromas. Strawberry dominates but the citric notes bring out hints of orange, pineapple, and passion fruit.

I'm not a big fan of strawberry, but thankfully the mix of light pepper, strong acidic notes, and a relatively minimalist malt bill keeps this pretty exciting.

Sour yet carbonated well enough to keep it interest. The 9.5% is very hard to notice.

Two major flaws with this beer. The price is high. The bottle is annoyingly large. I hope this is a beer that's WELL distributed otherwise opening this means 10 others aren't going to get it, really who makes a damn 765 ml sour? Put it in an 11.2 oz bottle or something!

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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 beerhan
3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a hazy copper/yellow with a one finger head. Rather lighter than I expected considering the abv and aging.

S-Lots of strawberry after popping the bottle. Smell is rather reminiscent of fruity sparkling white wines. Not as funky as some of the other sisters, jammy fruit aromas dominate and the pepper was undetectable from the aroma.

T-Initial taste is a lot of fruit, strawberry, grapes, subtle melon flavor. Pepper over dominates the palate and nothing else is really detectable afterwords.

M-Very light body, goes down smooth and the alcohol is undetectable--Actually it was rather shocking to discover this was 9.5%. Pretty low carbonation compared to some of the other sisters and overall more sweet than sour. The pepper makes this one a bit tougher to get down unfortunately.

O-This is probably my least favorite of the sisters. The pepper hurt the beer more than anything else. If this was more similar to say dominique, the pepper may have had a better role but it was too dominant and did not allow the fruit notes to really sink in to your tongue. The price tag on this one also hurts it, 26.99 no wonder it is still on shelves everywhere. If you are a Gillian Anderson fan like myself then this might be worth it just for the bottle.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

765ml brown glass bottle with classy understated red label and white foil-ed over branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster stem tulip/snifter hybrid glass in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. 2013 vintage. "Ale brewed with strawberries, honey, & white pepper. Aged in wine barrels." "Belgian style farmhouse ale." Reviewed as a farmhouse ale. Bottled 11 Sep 13. 9.5% ABV confirmed.

Served chilled after a period of rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a quarter finger white head which recedes to nothing inside 15 seconds. No lacing.

Body colour is a vibrant orange-copper. Translucent but nontransparent. Appears well-carbonated. No floating yeast particles are visible.

I'm quite disappointed with the (lack of) head, but overall I'm optimistic. It's not unique or special, but there are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Wonderfully subtle strawberry notes - real authentic strawberry, not some artificial fruit syrup. Crystal malts. Belgian pale malts. Light honey. A hint of tart fruit, maybe even a kiss of sourness. Hop profile is floral and fruity but vague. Maybe some faint white wine? I only notice it because I'm looking for it. A pleasant clean aroma of moderate strength.

No alcohol is detectable.

T: Lightly sour - particularly on the finish - which is a welcome characteristic. Faint nebulous white wine tones guide the beer and lend it some cohesion throughout. Belgian pale malts, tame honey, and crystal malts provide the accomodating effective foundation. The strawberry is lovely - it's very subtle yet still evocative, and there are no traces of any artificial fruit syrups or extracts; strawberry is a hard note to nail, but Goose Island succeeds here. If brettanomyces was used, it's extremely reticent here because I'm not finding it at all - no funkiness or biscuity character at all. The honey sweetness is nice, but I would like a bit more sourness. Hop profile is almost purely floral, but there are some light nectary and fruity notes as well, all of which complement the other flavours well.

Overall, it's a very balanced brew with some impressive cohesion, but it isn't gestalt. I love how the fruit is handled. Well-built, with notable complexity and subtlety. I'd even say the strawberry is intricate and nuanced, but the white wine does feel a bit wasted - there just isn't much character there, let alone any true barrel/wood notes. Sadly, no white pepper comes through. I do get a hint of peach. I'm content to treat this like an American wild ale rather than a saison as there's not as much complexity here as a good saison would have, nor is there any white pepper or milky character. For a wild ale, the depth, duration, and intensity of flavour are average. (It's too intense for a saison and nowhere near as deep).

No alcohol, overt spice, or cream comes through.I can't tell what kind of yeast is effecting the sourness, but I'd get it's actually a bit of lactobacillus bacteria.

The strawberry note is exquisite, and is easily the highlight of the beer for me.

Not puckerworthy, but it provides enough sourness for sour lovers to be satisfied. If Cascade Kriek is a 10 on the sourness scale, this is a 5.

Mf: Crisp, soft, smooth, and wet. Refreshing. Medium-bodied. Great comforting approachable presence on the palate. Perfectly carbonated. Constructively, it is a bit too thin. Above average acidity. Really complements the flavour profile well.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Incredibly drinkable; I could easily kill a few bottles of this in a night. It's a shockingly effective profile for a saison-meets-sour, and I'd recommend it to friends if not for the flat-out-ridonkulous price point. With the myriad of superior offerings in the style available well below this price point, I can't say I'd get this again. At half its price, it'd be worth it every once in a while. As much as I've enjoyed this bottle, it's still not a world class beer - and it disturbs me that the brewers labelled this a saison. Well worth trying once if you've got the scratch. Hides its ABV very well; I'd guess this was 7% if I tried it blind.


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Photo of jeonseh
3.74/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Light yellow with an orange haze. Small amount of carbonation sits on top

S - Strawberries, passion fruit, tart lemon, and slight sweet tarts.

T - Strawberries up front, light vinegar and sweet tart. Pepper spice in the back

M - Really thick, much thicker than I'd like. Kinda chewy overall. Finish is dry

O - Another solid sour from GI but I wasn't as impressed with this one as I was with Halia. Good strawberry presence and the pepper is there but light

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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 corby112
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly cloudy, bright golden orange color with a half finger white head that immediately fades leaving no head or lacing. Visible carbonation bubbling up.

Vinous white wine barrel aroma with subtle oak and vanilla subtly integrated into the farmhouse yeast, light fruit and peppery spices. The oak is faint but the wine presence really stands out slightly overpowering the saison characteristics. There is some subtle musty, funky yeast but the wine, peppery spice, strawberry and other ester-y light fruit notes stand out. Slightly buttery Chardonnay presence with some strawberries and cream. The oak and honey are kept in check, and although it has nice wine and light fruit character, I wish it smelled a but more like a saison.

On the fuller end of medium body with tight carbonation and a nice wine and ester-y light fruit presence that's nicely integrated into the saison characteristics of the base beer. The white pepper and dry, funky farmhouse yeast stands out much more than in the nose. Sweet and vinous with grape and light raisin complimented by honey sweetness and estery light fruit. Strawberry and cream along with apricot, tangerine, apple and faint citrus acidity. This is countered by some peppery spice with hints if white pepper, ginger and coriander that goes well with the dry farmhouse yeast. Slightly earthy, grassy and funky with some light fruit and subtle boozy sweetness rounding out the finish. The appearance and aroma of this beer aren't too impressive but I find it to be well balanced, flavorful, complex and easy to drink with a well masked ABV. Overall, this is a solid beer but nowhere near worth the hefty price tag.

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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 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 BMMillsy
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Fishpaws shared with Dad. Unexpectedly pours hazy light golden color with a fizzy white head that goes away quickly. Aroma of strawberries, sour vinegar, crisp Brett. Flavor follows with tangy tart strawberry, crisp spicy yeast finish. Very light and airy with huge effervescent carbonation and lingering tart strawberry on the palate. Overall a neat take on a strawberry beer. Almost champagne like. Not my favorite sister brew but interesting brew and nicely crafted.

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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 dar482
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes super hazy yellow orange color.

The aroma has a breadiness with a fruity berry note along with lots of honey sweetness. There's tartness and a bit of funk in there.

The flavor mostly hits of white pepper and pure floral honey. The sweetness is really definitely honey. The light pepper lingers around with a gentle tartness throughout. There's some fruit in there, but it isn't not really that strawberry forward. The funk in there that gives this beer some barnyard notes. The barrels dry this beer out at the end of the palate.

The beer is quite drinkable and really hides its alcohol well. However, still a bit weak on the flavor for me.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Hazed golden yellow. Head is bright-white and bubbly. Minimal retention leaves a small collar in relatively short order. Moderate carbonation on the pour. A vigorous swirl creates a rich creamy one-finger head that drops pretty quickly.

Smell: Fresh juicy strawberry. A touch of honey laced through the back with a soft peppery spiciness. Deeply fruity with a slight push of peach, apple, and pear. Very light pale maltiness thrown in the mix. A touch of bread with oak tannins. Wine barrel rounds the whole thing out. Push of grape skin and bright white wine. Warming ups the strawberry flesh and wine component. A bit of powdery floral yeast. A touch musty and damp.

Taste: A little bit less assertive than the nose would indicate. Nice push of clean fresh strawberry up front. A touch of pepper runs through the back of the whole thing. Softly spicy. Raw honey adds a nice element as well. Yeast is very light with some mild fruity esters. A touch of apple skin. Grape must with a nice push of oak and white wine. Almost like a spritzer on the finish. Manages to keep the slightly tart push of strawberry. Some underlying musty funk. A touch grassy and damp. Juicy. Slight citric acid tartness. A nice complexity and fruity depth.

Mouthfeel: Mediumish body with a moderate carbonation. Slightly dry on the finish with an initial juicy sip.

Overall: Definitely not the ugly one.

A nice blend of powdery funk and fruit. Manages to balance strawberry and wine without being a wine cooler. Well played and delightful. Not the best of the "Sisters," but it's definitely drinkable.

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Photo of kevanb
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

765ml bottle poured into a Goose Island "goose" wine glass.

The beer pours a hazy golden color, hues of apricot and straw with many bubbles rising to the top of the glass. There is a loose fizzy head that briefly appears, hardly a quarter finger high that vanishes immediately leaving no lace or film behind. The aroma is pleasant, lots of sweet strawberry and honey, bretty funk that is both fruity and dirty, a bit of straw, pale grain, light chardonnay barrel with some earthy peppercorn at the back end. The flavors are in line, mild strawberry fruit with honey sweetness, some peach flesh, white grape with a bit of lemon zest with oak, bretty funk and a nice layer of peppercorn before an unusual and somewhat unpleasant mineral quality pops up, reminiscent of a minerally white wine. The body is zippy, crisp and lively, takes a bigger swish to coat the mouth, and finishes with a bit of a creamy touch, although perhaps a bit weak.

Verdict: An interesting soured saison from Goose Island. I feel like strawberry is such a tough fruit to translate to beer as the fruit itself is mostly water, and this one just failed to really pop. The peppercorn was a pleasant experience, but the mineral qualities found on the tongue just didn't do it for me, it felt a bit out of place and broke up the balance of the beer. It's got a lot of redeeming qualities, it's just not quite there, perhaps time will help.

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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 gr0g
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Despite the strawberries, Gillian the beer isn't really a redhead. Cloudy with an orange-amber color. Meek head formation and retention as only a small, fizzy head is formed. Interesting aroma features hints of fresh strawberries and Brett funk. Some band-aid and musty cellar. Hints at a tart, fruity flavor.

Flavor is, indeed, tart and fruity. For a strong saison, the alcohol is expertly hidden. Tartness comes on upfront, leading to a dry finish. It also helps to mask a sweetness that would otherwise be apparent. Minor funky notes. No strawberry in the flavor, more like tart apple and grape skin. Interesting and tasty, but not as much as, say, Matilda. Suffers from a slight undercarbonation.

At a $27 dollar price point, Gillian underdelivers. It's a complex saison with some funk, and it's certainly tasty, but I was hoping for something epic given the high price.

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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 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 mwilbur
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 765 ml bottle into tulip. Bottled on Aug 30, 2013.
A: Pours a clear yellow with moderate carbonation producing a 1 inch fizzy/bubbly white head. Fairly quickly recedes.
S: Wonderfully fresh and strong aroma of strawberries and white pepper. Hint of honey and citrus.
T: Strawberries and honey up front. Mild citrus and white pepper enters later. With warming, an oaked vinous note emerges.
M: Smooth and crisp. Moderately sweet. Light bodied.
D: For some reason, this beer reminds me of strawberry balsamic...in a good way. Not very complex, but what it does it does well. Hits more like a lambic than a saison to me. Solid brew, not spectacular.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a very cloudy pale yellow color with a small fizzy white head that has short retention

S- raw, cheesy lactic funk takes over the aroma up front. Beyond that, some fruity esters kick in along with some classic saison aromas of fresh cut hay and peppery spice, sweet strawberry at the end

T- the underlying strawberry is there, but subtle. Peppery notes mix with sweet honey wine, barnyard and cheesy funk, closing with a Belgian yeast linger

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to an almost flat mouthfeel and a slick finish

O- the cheesy funk takes center stage on this one, but not so much that the pepper and strawberry notes don't come through as well. This one is about even with Halia for me

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

765ml bottle into a HF wine glass

A: Pours a slightly hazy light golden color with a finger and a half of fizzy white foam. Poor retention and lacing.

S: Strong peppercorn, citrus, and grapefruit. Some musty funk behind that. Peppercorn certainly stands out in the aroma, though.

T: Strong tart, slightly sour grapefruit is most evident. Peppercorn comes in after that. As in the aroma, the peppercorn is quite strong in the flavor. Some musty funk behind that, but certainly not strong - just enough to remind you this is a Saison. The beer remains well balanced between dry and sweet (for my palate that admittedly tends to prefer dry Saisons). As the beer warms, the peppercorn comes out more and more.

M: Medium thickness with fairly high carbonation.

O: A very nice Saison, but disappointing both for the price and after having Halia (which is certainly better). I do like the peppercorn in here, but with it was toned down quite a bit.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy yellow orange. Not much of a head. No collar.

Smell - Grapefruit. Nice grapefruit. White pepper. Tons of citrus. Combines to yield an herbal character.

Taste - Grapefruit. Less of the pepper. More white wine. Herbal character in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Kinda sweet.

Overall - I really dig this. Awesome grapefruit flavor, even though it isn't listed in the description.

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Photo of thezach
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How a fruit beer should be done for ever and always. The strawberry is subtle, much more so than the raspberry in Lolita, but dead-on. There is no cloying sweetness, it is tart, dry, a little funky, and wonderfully carbonated - nice and prickly to keep the beer light. My favorite is still Lolita, but what a well-balanced wild fruit ale.

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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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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.