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Gillian | Goose Island Beer Co.

74 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: 74 | Ratings: 643
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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Photo of snaotheus
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

765ml bottle poured at fridge temp (41 F) into a pair of chalices. Second chalice has much more sediment than the first. I'm drinking the first.

Dingy yellow, fairly cloudy (second is quite cloudy). Pours with a big initial head that dissipates very quickly (like pouring pop on ice).Leaves very little head, just a ring around the top that is more or less constantly maintained by the large amount of carbonation. Smell is sour grapes, some lemon, something just sweet-tarty about it. Smells good.

Taste is total sweet tarts. Candy like, but in a much stronger realm of tartness with a weaker balance of sweetness. Something about this even brings to mind the chalkiness of sweet tart candies.

Mouthfeel is chalky (where'd I come up with that) -- more dry, very effervescent. Overall, this is a tasty beer.

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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 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 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 metter98
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is slightly hazy pale yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger bright white head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of white whine and sourness are present in the nose along with hints of yeast.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has some added hints of strawberries and oak from the wine barrel aging.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is an enjoyable saison that has interesting flavors of wine barrels and sourness.

Note: Bottled on September 11, 2013

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Photo of nataku00
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy golden color with a slight rosy tinge to it. Half a finger of loose off white head dissipates immediately despite a constant stream of tiny bubbles feeding it.

Nose is sweet strawberry fruit and floral honey, earthy soil and grass, red apple, grape skin, and wine soaked oak. Biscuit malt sweetness as it warms a little, with a slight bubble gum yeast ester.

Taking a sip, flavors lead with a grape skin and oak tannin flavor mixed with a sharp lemony lactic acidity, mellowing to sweeter strawberry, floral honey, red apple. Very drying on the tongue, with an astringent wine character lingering with some unripe strawberry flavors.

Light body with prickly but pleasant carbonation that disappears in a flourish as the tongue is dried out more by the beer. Strong wine influence on this beer.

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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 LambicPentameter
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a brown 765 mL bottle with a bottling date of August 30, 2013 marked on the label. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack series tulip glass.

Appearance - Pour yields an effervescent white head that brings to mind champagne fizz, with small active bubbles. Builds to about three-fourths of a finger thick before dissipating into a thin line of foam around the edge of the glass, then nothing. Zero lacing whatsoever. On the first pour, the body is a clear yellow-orange shade with some hints of amber and golden highlights from where the light pours through. Subsequent pours reveal some hazy opaqueness, as one might expect from the sediment hiding in the bottom of the bottle. Looks more like a lambic than it does a saison.

Smell - I'm very pleased to find the strawberry notes very detectable up front. Bright acidity of fresh picked strawberries alongside a nice complex wood characteristic from the barrel. Some notes of apple cider vinegar and after it warms a bit, the delicate earthiness of the white pepper begins to shine through. The overall smell has a gentle sweetness to it that balances quite nicely with the more astringent tart characteristics. Very excited to dive in and taste this beer.

Taste - As with the smell, the strawberry is front and center, but this time is joined much more aggressively by the white pepper--reminds me of fresh-ground white pepper. To me that spice is awesome because it isn't overpowering or terribly spicy, but it has a real earthiness, almost clay-like, that provides a lot of character and depth. The taste reveals more sour bite than I would have expected based on the smell, but that is entirely a good thing. As I take subsequent sips, I start to get some notes of oak tannin and perhaps blush wine (but not the crappy, sweetened variety) elements as well. A fantastically complex beer.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied, with a high level of carbonation. As noted in the appearance, almost champagne-like in feel, with a ton of effervescence and prickliness from the bubbles. Finish is mostly dry, with just a kiss of fruity sweetness.

Overall, a wonderful offering from Goose Island. I know the use of strawberries and honey really drives up the price based on how expensive those raw ingredients can be, but I think it was well worth it. The additives used to make this beer unique really shine through--there is no doubt that either are present. Looking forward to picking up a bottle of this each year it comes out.

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Photo of GoneARye
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pricey bottle - excited to see if this lives up to the hype.

Appearance: A golden straw color - well filtered, extremely pale. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: First and foremost, I get huge whiffs of peppercorn. The saison yeast kicks in next, with a surprisingly present undertone of strawberry, and a little bit of the wine barrels this was aged in.

Taste: I'm enjoying the strong bite of the peppercorns here - they play extremely well off of the already pepper-like notes from the saison yeast. Reminds me a bit of saison poivre styles, but the white pepper definitely brings less heat and more of a fruitiness to the mix. The buttery chardonnay-like notes are mildly present as I let this linger on my tongue, followed up by a tingle from the gentle carbonation. I'm not sure that I pick out strawberry in the taste, as much as the smell, but strawberry is extremely hard to bring across in beer in my opinion, and its definitely there on the nose. Last taste as I swallow is a pleasant interplay between the sweetness of the honey and the slightly sour notes brought out by the saison yeast.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I would have expected, especially given the honey. The carbonation level is just about perfect - on the lighter end but still present enough to tingle as the flavors mix on my palette. the chardonnay-like buttery feel is present, but more subdued than in other beers like Black Raven's Por Les Oiseaux.

Overall: This is an enjoyable experience and I'm glad I bought this bottle. I'm not sure I'd buy this every year given the steep price, but it is well crafted and the high praise its gets is well deserved.

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Photo of spoony
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 765 ml bottle (dated September 11, 2013) into a tulip. Reviewed from notes dated January 5, 2014.

A-Interestingly, my first pour is nearly clear and golden in color. The second pour from the same bottle is much more cloudy and looks like crystalized honey in color and clarity. I get about a finger of short-lived white head both times and no lacing.

S-My first whiff suggests strawberries, white grape, green apple, and a pretty substantial lactic tartness. Further sniffing discloses some oaky tannin-like dryness, some alcohol warmth, and a bit of honey as the beer nears room temperature. Pretty inviting.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with a subdued but noticeable strawberry flavor; dry, tart white grape, a touch of honey, and tart granny smith apple. There is a nice, vinous acidity that provides a good bit of tartness and a warming, slightly medicinal alcohol. It is mostly dry on the finish despite the honey flavor up front.

M-The feel is lighter to medium in body with a chunky, assertive carbonation.

O-This is a really nice take on strawberry, which is a hard flavor to do right in a beer, IMHO. The honey provides just enough sweetness to balance the dry, acidic fruit flavors. This may not be my favorite sister from GI, but I would happily drink more of this and it goes great with food. It would pair especially with roast chicken.

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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 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 cvm4
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Version

A - Pours a slightly cloudy apple juice color with a fizzy one finger head that dissipates pretty and doesn't stay around to say hello. Lacing and retention are minimal.

S - Funky yeast characteristics and sweet berry aroma to start off. The latter has a white wine tart character and more of a belgian quality.

T - To me, the belgian yeast is much more evident throughout on the taste. It really follows the nose, in my opinion. Really good funk, strawberry sweetness, some lemon and a little white pepper.

M - Lighter bodied and medium carbonation. Crisp body and effervescent.

O - Really enjoyable take on the style. The strawberries and tartness are a treat.

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Photo of Florida9
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy pale pastel yellow. Forms a smallish, fizzy white head that reduces to absolutely nothingness fairly quickly. No lacing.

S: Aroma is quite pleasant. Typical Saison notes: yeasty esters, fruity, and fresh. With some bright berry notes and hints of pepper.

T: Tastes is similar. Very inviting. Again there are those typical Saison flavors: yeasty, slightly peppery, and lemony. But then there is another layer of flavor. Strawberry, hay, mildly vinous. Maybe some Brett notes, though I question if I am perceiving the white pepper as Brett.

M: Lighter bodied with a effervescent carbonation. Mildy prickly. Tart, but not quite sour.

O: A very nice take on the style. Rather enjoyable.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My friend brought over a bottle of Goose Island's Gillian to share. I really wanted to try some of the new Belgian inspired beers that Goose Island recently released and I was pretty happy when my friend brought over a couple to try, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on September 11 2013. Poured from a brown 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks pretty good, it's pretty simple, but I think it looks pretty classy. It poured a cloudy bright yellow color that took on more of a golden hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that eventually disappeared and it left some spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but i wish the lacing and the head retention were a little better.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness that has a really slight honey like aroma to it followed by a good amount of funky yeast being the first to show up and it imparts some funky, barnyard, and wet hay like aromas that really stand out. Up next comes the strawberrys which were a little lighter then I expected but they impart a nice light strawberry aroma with some fruity sweetness in the background. Towards the end a little bit of barrel comes through imparting a dry white wine like aroma that was on the light side. The aroma was pretty good but I thought it could have a little better balance.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness that still had the really light honey aspect to it and it was followed by strawberrys being the first to show up and they impart a light natural strawberry like flavor with some fruity sweetness and a little bit of generic berry flavors in the background. Up next comes the yeast which really shows up and it imparts all the those funky barnyard and farmhouse like quality's that I got in the aroma. Towards the end there's a light spicy flavor with some light dry white wine flavors with an equally light wood flavor that isn't too noticeable and its followed by a medium amount of tartness that was just slightly sour with a fruity and funky aftertaste. This was very nice tasting beer, but with a little more balance I think it could be awesome.

M- Fairly smooth, medium tart, lively, crisp, medium bodied with a good amount of higher medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was very nice and it worked really well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had all the aspects that I look for in the style with no off flavors or anything that stuck out as not being true to style, I enjoyed it. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, lively, not too filling, and the taste did a good job of holding my attention and keeping me coming back for more, I think half the bottle would be the perfect amount but I wouldn't rule out drinking the who bottle if I had the chance and I think this would be a perfect summertime brew. What I liked the most about this beer was the complexity, there were some nice layers to this beer that did a great hob at holding my attention. What I liked the least about this beer was the balance, it wasn't bad by any means, but I thought yeast stuck out a little too much and I would like to see some of those other flavors come out a little more to balance out that yeast. I would for sure buy this beer again, my friend payed $12 for this beer and I think that's a fair price and I would for sure pick one up if I saw it on the shelf. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer, I have been craving something funky for a little while and this beer did a good job at fulfilling that. Good job guys, like i said before I'm not the biggest Good Island fan, but I really like this Belgian series they do and I have yet to be disappointed by one, keep up the good work and I'll keep a look out for more beers from this series.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.12.13
Bottled on: 1142

A - Pours a hazy light orange with a fizzy small head that is gone fast.

S - Nice strawberry sweetness, slightly tart.

T - Strawberry sweetness, tehn a puckering tartness and a spice-pepper finish.

D - Good carbonation with a light body, tart and pepper finish.

O - A nice fruit, then tart punch. Pleasent finish.

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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 SpeedwayJim
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml foiled and capped bottle into Tired Hands stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a frothy 2 finger white head that dissipates quickly. Beer is a clear, dark goldenrod. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little stick. Average.

Big strawberry notes in conjunction with oak, hay, froth and a lingering background of spices. Mellow but clean with some nice notes that come through.

Opens sweet strawberry and funk. Hay, oak, wood, plastic and cobwebs. Sweet and tart red fruit throughout. Spicy and funky end with an accented tart and peppery finish. Same aftertaste. This is pretty good.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down aggressive and bubbly. Finishes accented with a slightly filmy and lingering aftertaste. Excellent.

Another very impressive beer from Goose Island. Their wild offerings are getting close to rivaling their legendary stouts... which is really saying something. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Cloudy bright yellow, nice carbonation, one finger head.

S-Strawberries but not that much, more of a faint note. Some tartness, slight grapes and honey.

T-Starts with strawberry and tartness. The strawberry isn't overly sweet or domination or artificial which was nice to see. Then honey and a tad bit of spice from the pepper. Slight grapes but not much oak.

M-Light with nice carbonation and crisp.

O-A good beer, one of the better strawberry ones. But for the price tag not worth a second try.

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

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 12/10/13

Appearance: Light orange with some nice honey highlights - some golden highlights - lightly cloudy - some milky clarity around the edges - pours with a medium sized, creamy head - keeps a few hints of a cap, leaves some spots of lacing

Smell: Strawberries and lots of funk - nicely wet, damp, funky, musty - nicely tart - strawberry flesh holds up remarkably well, especially considering the barrel-aging - some white wine - some light grains in the background, some light sweetness

Taste: Wet, tart, and sour, with some really nice fruit - as the aroma suggests, the strawberry flesh here is remarkable - a light touch of honey, and the peppercorns are much more apparent in the taste than in the aroma - musty, damp basement, very went funk - lots of white wine flavor - extremely interesting - nice, pale malts at the base

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with some interesting spiciness from the peppercorns, lightly puckering, nicely smooth, nicely carbonated, touch of alcohol heat

Overall: I want to believe

This bottle is almost worth $30. Almost. The sourness and tartness elements are great, as are the strawberry flavors. The peppercorn is kind of weird, but it works. This is not the best sour from Goose Island, but it's definitely worth a try.

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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 BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Goose Island asks us to pay an ultra-premium price in order to enjoy their strawberry infused, sour Saison. With their reputation on the line and with my wallet at ransom, the ale proves to be much more lambic-inspired than that of farmhouse.

Medium goldenrod in color and with threads of peach and amber, the hazy ale pours and simply gleams with a glow despite its yeasty veil. As its racy carbonation rises to fuel a light creamy head, its retention is light as the beer's acidity breaks up the bubble and relegates any head character to a dainty necklace with minimal spotty lace. The beer looks as much like sparkling white wine as it does ale.

Musty fruit springs to life like dehydrated lemons, limes, tart green apples, under-ripened berries and over-ripe strawberry. The ale miraculously retains the recognizable characterists that are unique to strawberry without fermenting away its subtle and volitile aromas. A waft of weathered oak, cellar-like must, saddle leather and wet hay offers up a robust and pungent "mossy" earth character to complement its sourish twang.

To taste, its "Pez" like malt sweetness is somewhat confectionary although light. Supple honeysuckle gives the beer's fruit flavor a riper taste before turning bracingly acidic in the middle. Dried and must fruits pile on the taste buds with sour white grapes, crab apple, tart berries, lemons, limes and unmistakable strawberries! Caught somewhere between dry cider and white wine vinegar- its sour tone is front and center. Earthy flavors of cooked hay, sea salt, brine and mineral is lightly rustic and raw as a woodish and leathery taste leave final impressions with echoes of strawberry and wheat in aftertaste.

Its light and bone-dry body becomes racy with its champagne-like carbonation that carries away its early candied sweetness. What's left is an arid and acidic texture that evaporates off the palate like cotton candy. Much of the beer's flavor experience happens in aftertaste as its high carbonation ushers in a quick and fleeting finish of pepper, warmth, wood spice and sourness.

Gillian is the queen of the crop of Goose Island sours because of its complex offerings of earth to its sourness. Gillian is unique in that the earthen qualities are quintessential Brussels, and doesn't only lean on sourness to carry the load. Also, the way that it retains its strawberry aroma and flavor is nothing short of remarkable.

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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.