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Gillian - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

554 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 554
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 54
Gots: 174 | FT: 30
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 554 | Reviews: 65
Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of mwilbur
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of rdooley
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of nlmartin
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Wowcoolman
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Pdrufo
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of NastyNate11
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of JCam9981
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Rion
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of DRBiser
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of LoveStout
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of GoneARye
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Photo of Griffith
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of JamLand
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of bauermj
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of bismarksays
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of spoony
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of jeonseh
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
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

Photo of thezach
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of LightnerLiquorKS
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of jklecko2
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of leftstagebrew
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 554 ratings.