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25th Anniversary Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
25th Anniversary Ale25th Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

119 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 119
Hads: 594
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 7
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 05-06-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 119 | Hads: 594
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.64/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Bilco for the bottle.

Appearance: Tiny white head drops to a spotty cap in short order. Some splotches of thin lacing. Moderate carbonation on the pour. A nice mostly clear copper. Looks on point.

Smell: Slightly sweet hyper bready malts. Some caramel malt sweetness coupled with caramelized malt sugar. A slight mineral backing with a mildly earthy and herbal hop profile. A touch of apple skin and flesh. Vague almost spiciness. Clean and easy.

Taste: A lot more apple than the nose indicated. Apple core and skin. Some malt sweetness pushes caramel and slightly toasted bread. Some earthy and herbal hops compliment the sweet profile. Toasted and dirty. Warming pushes a slightly metallic taste over the apple. Clean yeast finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Clean and a bit crisp.

Overall: But the island isn't the UK.

A decent take on the style. A bit too sweet with some off flavors, but it's not bad. I'd drink it again if offered one, but I wouldn't pick it up.

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Photo of tigg924
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, gold in color, cloudy, sediment

Smell: citrus hops, caramel, and woodsy hops

Taste: citrus hops, caramel, and woodsy hops

Mouthfeel: sweetish start with a bitter with a stronger bitter aftertaste, light body, medium carbonation, dry

Overall: To me this is very much middle of the road for the style for the beers that I have had. Not bad, not overly memorable..I think I will pass in the future.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a pale caramel colored amber. Produced some nice white froth and lacing. Decent retention.

(S)- Plenty of resin driven pine. Quite dry with subtle muddled citrus.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Mostly a caramel malt-like sweetness amidst some dry and resin-like pine.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The balance is fine, but it really ends up tasting and feeling a tad thin and bland with not alot going on, even for the style.

(O)- Not bad, but a bit underwhelming for an anniversary beer to celebrate 25years with.

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Photo of bismarksays
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Always excited to see how breweries celebrate big anniversaries. From showing off new things a brewery is doing (Bell's showing off their local barely or Summit showing their new IPA chops) to just big beers in general, anniversary beers are often beers that allow us to celebrate with the brewery. Goose Island, the maker of Bourbon County Stout and Honkers, should be able to show off. Excited for this.

A: Caramel color, nice clarity, great head retention, laces like a boss. This is what I am talking about.
S/T: Smells of caramel malt, touch of nuttiness, English style hops, well balanced, nothing make or break here.
Tastes like it smells. Tastes....like Honkers. Malty with a metallic note...perhaps like a field green. It is fairly balanced, but that metallic note slightly builds. Hmm.
M: A bit thin, medium carbonation. I guess I wanted more.
Overall: There is nothing worth celebrating here. I guess I understand paying homage to your original flagship, but they didn't really move beyond that. I guess this is why this is draught and 6 pack and not a bomber. Disappointing.

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Photo of KajII
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

[Suggested Glassware: Nonic Pint]

The pour was a cloudy medium chestnut brown with an average (1-2 finger) light cream colored rocky head that diminished at a normal pace, down to a medium wispy film and collar and had decent spotty lacing.

The aroma was a tad mild with a light bread malt, herbal hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of citrus (grapefruit), caramel, brown sugar, a light fruity ester and a mild nuttiness.

The taste was very similar to the aroma starting off with a light sweet maltiness along with a hint of caramel and a light fruity presence at first, then a light hoppiness crept in with a touch of citrus all leading up to a nice mildly bitter nutty finish. The flavor lingered on the taste buds for an average time following the swallow, with a bitter fruity nutty taste left behind.

Mouthfeel was a bit beyond light in body with a somewhat dry texture and an almost medium carbonation.

Overall this was a decent enough brew, with a nice fruity sweetness that eventually gives way to a mild nutty bitterness at the end. Making this a rather tasty and enjoyable drinking experience...


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Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright orange glow with brilliant clarity. Half finger of off white head, pretty clingy. Toasted caramel with piney and soapy hoppiness on the nose. Faint toffee and butterscotch.

Pretty good. Thick malt body, medium bodied. Decent carbonation. Dry hearty breads up front followed by some rich toffee and caramel flavors. Whole grain flavor goes into a snappy hoppy bitter bite that balances the beer. Finishes nice and dry and balanced. Good flavors with good balance, smooth and tasty with alcohol that stays pretty well hidden. Body thins out a bit on the finish.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a perfect pint. An ESB for a 25th anniversary? I don't get it.

3.75 A: Clear orange amber color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is good and a moderate amount of irregular lacing is left.

3.25 S: This smells more like a baby barleywine than an ESB. Caramel left, right, and center. A touch of toffee as well. Lots of fruitiness with emphasis on overripe peach and candied apples. This doesn't have any of the mineral, toastiness, or earthy qualities that you might find in an actual ESB.

3.25 T: The taste is closer to an ESB in that it tastes like an amber ale. Layers of caramel, some toffee, lots of light fruits again, and a touch of toastiness. Sweet, but not overly so. Light booziness throughout.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Velvety creaminess on the verge of being chewy. I prefer ESBs to be more crisp, but then again this isn't an ESB, so it works okay.

3.25 D: It doesn't work as an ESB. That's for sure. Otherwise, it's decent, but nothing special and certainly not 25th anniversary special.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Clear red amber. Lots of carbonation. Filmy off-white head without much retention

Aroma is biscuity and sweet caramel malts. Slightly metallic (copper). Earthy herbal hops. Maybe some tea leaves

Taste follows the nose. Biscuity and bready. Copper shows up. Slightly bitter floral and herbal hop character. Caramel sweetness

Feels clean and slightly crisp. Medium bodied

Overall decent but I enjoyed the honker's ale better. Wouldn't go out of my way to revisit

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Photo of Rope
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A medium brown, with an amber undertone when held up to light. Almost non-existent head, but good hop oil play on top.

Caramel maltiness stands out, and a floral spice hop whisper.

Strikes me as almost a brown ale, with hop bitterness at the end. The malt is definitely the big player. At the end the bitterness comes creeping in, and then quickly fading away.

Small, small bubbles. Not very thick, but the flavor... and a slight smokiness remains.

ESB beers are a rarity, I can really only think of Red Hook as the other I have seen. An interesting style, and could definitely make for a good night out at a rustic bar with good cheer, but not something I would seek out for regular drinking.

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Photo of seedyone
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From bottle. Served a bit cold but flavors were substantial from the get go & fill out as it warms. Raisins, grass, lovely toasted malt & some oak are what I get. The balance swings, sways & teases between the bitter & the sweet. Well managed & enticing. Hope I don't have to wait until the 50th for another.

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Photo of TongoRad
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This ESB pours a crystal clear chestnut amber color with a pretty dense head that sticks around for a minute or two before receding.

The nose is surprisingly faint. Hops and Caramel Malt do dominate what is there.

The flavor is thankfully more potent than the nose- spicy hops are at the fore (I get a lot of suggestions of dried orange peel, dried ginger and fennel), but there is also a ton of toasty caramel malt to back it up. Bitterness and residual sugars are definitely present, and in proper enough balance to make for repeat glasses. Mouthfeel is smooth and full for the style, and this beer's best attribute. By the end of a pint, hints of cookies (ginger snaps) become very clear and present.

It's a nice enough beer, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 5/29/13.

Pours a clear copper with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus, and spicy hop aromas. Taste is much the same with orange juice and spicy hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer with a nice smell but the flavors are clashing with one another in my opinion.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25th Anniversary Ale pours a darker copper color with a very small head. Their earthy malty aroma; very weak. The taste has a toasty malty undertone with hints of a not very sweet fruity note. Nice full flavor, not watery, nice carbonation. Overall a full bodies ESB, that is a bit to bitter for the style, but still overall not bad.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Sampling right now on 8/9/13. Chilled down to 36 degrees in my beer cooler. Pours a dark golden/brown in color with almost a 2-finger off white head that leaves LOTS of lacing with each sip. The aroma is of hops and grains. The taste is about the same with a hint of caramel but leaves a slight bitter finish that stays around for a while. Overall it wasn't too bad but glad I just bought a single bottle with a "make your own 6-pack".

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Photo of barczar
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant amber with a foamy half inch khaki head that dissipates somewhat quickly, leaving modest lacing.

Toasted nutty malt and a bit of a fruity amber malt character form the initial aroma. Slightly sweet caramel and floral notes emerge.

Flavor reveals herbal, tea-like hops initially, which carry throughout. There's an underlying vinous character that distracts slightly from the toasted, nutty caramel malt backbone. As it warms, the vinous character becomes somewhat citrusy. The finish is a tad bitter.

Body is a touch heavy, with carbonation on the high side.

Very herbal, not overly bitter. The citrusy character is offputting.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The brewing experience of 25 years – here’s to 25 more for Goose Island.

A: Tawny amber, crystalline body with a perfectly soft, offwhite head of hardy cream. The pillow of foam stays for minutes, thinning out slowly as I sip, leaving few strips of bubbly lace.

S: A minimal nose that smells mostly like raw brewing ingredients. As per the style, this one is characterized by sweet, nutty profile that’s Maris Otter all the way – toffee, roasted peanuts, and peat – but with a raw quality and a dim, grainy backdrop. Hops provide a faint, leafy pine aroma.

T: A close relative of 312, the palate is marked with a slightly stale grain taste, a flat combo of wheat germ and iced tea with hints of soil. Tastes a bit like chewing on straw, which is a trait of the Goose Island grain bill that I’ve noticed from many of their flagships. Hops give off a floral freshness with tastes of grass and dried lemon, providing more of a spiced rather than bitter effect. Finishes with a mild nut aftertaste.

M: For this style, it’s a little light, going down with nothing more than a slight fizziness. Not a lot of meat here, though it is quite easy to drink.

O: I consider Goose Island as two different breweries, essentially; as for this brew, I’d put it in the Honker’s-Summertime-312 category and not the Juliet-Lolita-Bourbon County one (as expected due to its price). But in that category, this is one of the better beers. Worth a try, but not much more than that.

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Photo of raiderandbeerfan
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the more dark golden colors when poured out. Standard size white head between 1/2 and 3/4".

Mild hopping in the aroma, grainy, noble hopped, tea leaves and biscuits, real mild all around.

Solidly bitter, stronger than your average for style, but a rather effort lacking drink. Citrus and floral notes are barely there. Caramel also mildly present, good integration and mouthfeel, carbonation right where you want it. Malty, but lacks the feeling of too much heft.

Relatively good and sessionable stuff. Reliable esb.

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Photo of scratch69
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Clear amber color with a half a fingers worth of light tan head. Light amount of lacing.

Smell- Faint aroma of malt, earthy hops, and tea leaves.

Taste- Caramel malt sweetness at the start that fades into a earthy hop bitterness with a hint of tea throughout. Fairly well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and just a tad sticky. Moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall- Decent beer but not my favorite from Goose Island.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured out at the first half of the summer concert in the park in Fallon. Came across as a dark golden color, small 1/2" white head on it.

Aroma was grainy and mildly hopped, like nobles. Tea leaves, mild biscuity aromas waft, but aren't the beer's strong suit.

Taste, good bitterness, a little stronger than usual for style, but still drinks pretty effortlessly. Some nice citrusy floral notes that are perfectly minimalistic but yet present. Caramel in a small amount in the mouthfeel, great integration. Carbonation spot on. Malty, but not heavy.

Good, relatively sessionable stuff. When you want something not as hoppy, not heavy, but not aal either. Good call.

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Photo of atr2605
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a nice red copper color with an off white head with decent retention
S-nice hop presence mixed with a malty biscuit aroma
T-nice hop bite mixes with a sweet malt flavor and finishes dry and leaves biscuit flavor on the palate
M-medium bodied
O-decent brew, didn't blow me away but very sessionable

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- A very slightly hazy amber color. with a one finger off white head.

S- A hoppier brew. A slight pine and a bit of an onion hop character. A plain, sweet pilsner malt.

T- A bitterness at first and it lingers throughout. A very slight citrus but a solid resinous pine flavor to this beer. A sweet and sugary malt backbone here. A slight sticky roasted note. An herbal note and a very grainy characteristic. I cant quite put my finger on it but this beer just doesn't seem to work well.

M- I know this is a Bitter, but it seems too bitter and rather difficult to drink.

O- Not terrible but not up to GI par.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This comes off as a decent esb. Kind of one-dimensional really with a nice enough bitter tone, but no real defining character that really sets it apart from other beers in its style class. The carbonation is a bit high too. I feel like I want this to be smooth as if it were coming off a cask.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a Nonic)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear slightly garnet-brown body with a thin film of sticky beige foam and a few random microbubbles working to the surface.

S- The clean slightly brassy malt hint with some stronger mineral water aromas covering in the finish.

T- The slight brassy quality leads to a bitey field greens bite in the finish. A hint of woody malt flavor comes through as the beer opens.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle little fizz that grows as the beer opens.

O- This is a very light beer with odd flavors and only a hint of malt with much more bitterness.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If Extra Special is good, then more Extra Special has to be better- right? That's what the brewers at Goose Island have in mind going into the beer that is to capture the essence of their 25th year. It's the tried and true Honker's Ale, but more of it!

Caramel in color, the beer looks like dense honey as it slowly releases an ivory froth to cap the beer. Its strong retention retains its bead on the glass until the last sip, all the while speckling the glass with lace.

Malty-rich aromas are full of caramel, bread crust, pecan-type nuttiness and a decoration of fruit- apples, orange, and a tinge of earthy fig. And then there's the counter from earthy and spicy English-type hops with notes of wood, grass, and even citrus.

Substantially malty in taste, the sweetness of caramel, light toffee, nutty and woody character dominate the early palate. But a slow and deliberate fade during the middle palate leads to a transition to a lightly floral and spicy wood taste that balances the malts perfectly. And as the taste concludes, the taste trends bitter with the hop development of woody pine, fresh cut grass, mild citrus and wood spice. It's a broad and earthy bitterness also allows for an undercurrent of malt in support.

Medium bodied, the ale does carry an added weight that's odd for British Bitters. But this heartier and breadier texture remains creamy and pleasantly weighted. As the beer carries across the palate, it dries slowly and evenly and ends warm, spicy, and balanced.

There's a pleasant nature about this 25th Anniversary Ale- in that it pays homage to the roots of the brands, but it does leave the inner enthusiast in me wanting more- much, much more. When celebrating a milestone such as this- a tame beer is somewhat deflating.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date May 14, 2013, which was coincidentally my 25th birthday. Bottleneck says Established May 13, 1988, so I guess this brewery is a day older than me. I'll take that as a sign that means I should drink this bottle *now*. My first ESB from Goose Island.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter glass.

A - Pours a nice coppery amber color with about a finger and a half of khaki head. Some nice streaks of lacing.

S - Smells of bready caramelized malts, dirty twiggy earthiness, and just a hint of pine / citric hop presence.

T - Taste is sweet, bready, and caramelized. Bitter earthy twiggy hops to keep things in check. Hint of vanilla / oak wood.

M - Smooth, creamy, crisp, bready. Lots of caramelized malt sweetness, some sugary green apple skin & hop bitterness lingering on the palate. Semi-dry finish.

Overall, a satisfying 25th anniversary beer for both Goose Island and myself. A nicely made traditional ESB with a sessionable drinkable 6.40% abv. I got this bottle as a single in a mixed six pack, but I would drink it again. Seek it out if it is available to you.

Goose Island 25th Anniversary Ale ---3.5/5

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25th Anniversary Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
85 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.