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The Illinois - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.
The IllinoisThe Illinois

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

146 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 146
Hads: 1,121
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 28.28%
Wants: 27
Gots: 132 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nmann08 on 06-15-2013

The first Imperial beer of the year is The Illinois, a 9.0% ABV 95 IBU Imperial IPA that pushes the limits of hop flavor and aroma. Deep gold, complex citrus aroma, balanced clean bitterness, medium to full body.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 146 | Hads: 1,121
Photo of RAlmeida77
4.82/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW....those were the first words after tasting this Imperial IPA. It has a nice, darker color which leads you to the wonderful malt/hop aroma and well balanced flavor of this beer. Very well balanced Imperial IPA that is smooth and easy to drink. It's got just the right balance of malt and hops. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of TerranceCullen
4.74/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served in a chilled pint glass at Es Tas Sports Bar Ames, IA. Great muted citrus taste, no after taste of alcohol even though its 8.4%. The cloudiness and haziness make it look great in the light. The feel in you mouth was very smooth, perfect amount of carbonation (just a little.)

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.74/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

pours a nice amber color, finger of off white almost cream colored head, nice lacing

Smell is tons of tropical and citrus notes a ton of lemon, kiwi, mango, pineapple, pear, orange, pine sweet bready malt, papaya

taste is tropical fruit, papaya, kiwi, pineapple, citrus, bitter grapefruit peel and orange peel, light pine, a bit of a astringent note, a nice malt backing of sweet bready and caramel backing but the real show here is the tropical and citrus hops

Mouthfeel on the fuller side of medium, nice carbonation, finishes quite dry with a light lingering bitterness that builds as you drink

Great DIPA, grabbed a single will probably get a 4 pack or two sometime!

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Photo of pkalix
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

wow. darn near perfect smell!!! this is really nice. citrus- tangerine, lime (not sour), very juicy.
looks very nice also with streamers of tiny bubbles rising straight to the top in a pine-y gold colored liquid.
taste drops off a little though as there is a dull twang of bitterness where I was expecting a more sharper bite, but still a nice taste of citrus and grapefruit and some bread-y malt.
I think I was expecting less from this beer because it's goose island and it really surprised me. but this really is a sound brew.

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.59/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark burnt orange color nice clarity. Fluffy white head. Smells of pine, resin, hop, citrus. Very inviting for a fan of dipa. Nice hop bitterness at the start, drying but not overly bitter. Very pleasant. Some boozyness but nothing too overpowering. Very easy to drink this one could be sipped or enjoyed a little quicker. Would seek this out again if given the chance.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured deep amber with a big oily marshmallow head with outstanding lacing. Gentile bubbles cascaded up the middle of the clear glass of brew. Perfection.

S- Like a garden of hops. A bit of grassy/piney tones. Some citrus. Appealing

T - Hops are centerstage, bitterness right alongside the wheaty malt. Some sour flavors, and a finish of spicy chinook hops. About as spicy as an IPA that I've had. Strong white pepper. Along with a lingering bitterness. Taste lingers, but smooth enough making you anxious for the next sip

M - Lightly carbonated, some creaminess, but equal parts watery

Well crafted. My kind of Imperial, albeit dangerously drinkable. Yes - perhaps heavy-handed with its hop usage - 95 IBU - but delicious for the hophead in all of us.

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Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an FFF Teku glass

A) Dark orange almost brown leather in color. Clear and it has a two finger head that lasts and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S) Juicy fruit gum, earthy, pine, a little dank and citrus fruits.

T) Orange skittles, citrusy, juicy, resin, and alcohol towards the back of the throat.

M) thick, juicy, medium amount of nucleation

O) A solid DIPA, I can't wait to try on tap.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Goose Island The Illinois is a lovely double IPA with lots of grapefruit hops over a strong malty base. Very balanced.

A: Orange colour and a nice head. 4

S: Maltiness along with some nice grapefruit aroma. 4.5

T: Malty with lots of grapefruit hops. Nice clean finish. 4.5

M: Foamy 4

O: 4.5

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg PA, served chilled in a tulip.

The color is deep amber with hazy look when held to the light with a light beige cream head with ultra fine bead and good lace stickage. The smell is so aromatic that it brings to mind tangelo, pineapple, kumquat and other citrus which includes grapefruit, very mild malt underneath the hop aroma. The feel is great with lots of citrus tanginess and light acidity with mild sweetness and moderately high carbonation with semi-dry finish.

The flavor of this Imperial IPA is special it has both a plethora of citrus flavor and still contains the bitterness and astringency to a mild level considering the amount of alcohol it has hardly any in the flavor instead it is mostly lemon zest and tangerine with a hint of pineapple and grapefruit with light tangy kumquat and lemongrass as it finishes somewhat dry with a mild alcohol flavor. Overall I was thrilled to be able to try this locally and when I drank 3/4 of it in less than 15 minutes I knew it was not just thirst - this is a very drinkable Imperial IPA and hides the alcohol well I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the style.

edit - recently tried this in bottle format and it seemed more tame, I recommend this on tap as most IPA's or Imperial Ipa's score better in that format especially if not brewed locally.

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Photo of TychoNDC
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on February 10, 2014 and drank on March 12. Poured into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Pours a gorgeous, deep amber. This beer has a gemstone like quality to it. It's remarkably clear and gives off a wonderful light. A modest creamy white head recedes to mere whisps on the surface of the beer, while the glass retains a nice lacing and some froth on the sides. A beautiful beer.

O - A nice combination of citrus and pine. Fills the nose nicely, but definitely gives you the sense that there's some hefty malt behind this beer.

T - Pine, sap, resin, and spice check in and they don't check out. The sweetness of the malt kicks in fairly quickly but is never overwhelming. Hops really shine; this beer has a lot of balance. There's a point in the middle of every sip where you expect the malt to take over, but the spice lives on and leaves you wanting more.

M - Oily. Definitely oily. Not in a bad way; this beer coats the tongue. It's a great sipper. In moderation it wouldn't overwhelm, and its probably best enjoyed at a casual pace.

O- I came in with no expectations, and I'm pretty impressed. This is a good beer. Based on this bottle, it's a SLIGHTLY more balanced Stone RuinTen. I look forward to the rest to see if that holds up.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a golden/orange/amber hue, small head with bits of patchy lacing on the glass.

Smell starts out with a good piney aroma, touches of citrus, almost flowery in some ways.

Taste has a good mix of pine and citrus hop presence right on the forefront, caramel malt sweeten things in the aftertaste and add some balance without muting the hops too much, alcohol is wickedly well hidden, body is fairly viscous for a DIPA, carbonation is medium yet finishes quite crisp.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up a few weeks back at the ShopRite Liquors in Wharton, having never had this before. I'm a big architecture geek so I was impressed the with the idea and packaging behind this beer, as it stayed true to the style and design of arguably America's greatest designer of buildings but what was in the bottle was just as impressed, as this had to be one of the most balanced Double/Imperial IPA's that I've ever had. There was enough body and wet, sticky hops to this that it felt like an Amber and of course, it went down just as well as a good beer of that style would!

The pour to this was great, as the deep copper hue paired nicely with the towering head that rose up quite high but never made it over the edge of my pint glass. In due time, that settled and left its mark on the side of my glass as I worked my way through this. Lots of pine and grapefruit in the nose, which were also equally detectable in the taste. Nice malt underneath this that had a bit of a toasted nature to this but the mouthfeel is where this really shone brightly. Wonderfully balanced with a good amount of carbonation, sticky resin, and understated but sharp hops that came out in the back, along with hints of rye, booze, and sour grassy notes. So much going on here but like any good work of art, the harmony and balance were perfect here and there was a nice minty feel in the back of this, leaning to a clean sensation as each sip slid down the hatch.

Yes, this was strong and it made no bones about it. The alcohol didn't detract from the taste and it added nicely to the imperial nature of this beer. With so many IPA's out there, it's hard to find one that is good, strong, and unique but this certainly fit the bill. Tough to pace through, even with the potent nature of this, but its worth warming up as one warms up to this. I have no idea if Wright was a beer drinker but if he was, he'd be proud that this beer came from his home state and how well it represents it and his legacy. This is for anyone who wants to feel a mile-high level of exhilaration but can't wait until a builder realizes Wright's vision. Thoroughly enjoyable!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Paid the price this one 4 dollars for the single. Trouble is around PA we don't pay by gouging we pay by ABV. Into a pint glass.

A dark rusty/orange color with a white head that sticks around forever but eventually pulls back to a thick ass lace ring.
S - The aroma brings deep orange and pineapple and candy caramel. Not very hoppy but it smells rather sweet with a hidden ABV.
T - The flavor has a nicely blended medley of orange, mango and pineapple. Caramel and lemony with a balanced malt base..
M - It actually tastes quite light maybe medium bodied at most but very drinkable.

Overall even though they are owned by AB they still make great beers. Would pick it up again for 12 dollars a four pack.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on date of March 27, 2014.

Appearance: Pours a deep golden amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid two fingers of off white head which slowly fades into a thinner layer. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: An earthy and juicy hop forward aroma with hints of pine, citrus, and a strong malt backbone. Earthy, floral, and herbal hop scent with hints of grass and spicy pine resin. Citrus hop hints of grapefruit, orange peel, tangerine, pineapple, mango, and lemon. Big supporting malt presence with sweet hints of caramel, grains, yeast, and cracker. Some hints of booze as well. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, an earthy, juicy, and fairly sweet hop forward taste with notes of citrus, pine, and caramel malt. Earthy and herbal hops with notes of wet grass and pine resin. Some floral notes and a citrus taste of grapefruit, mango, orange peel, lemon, and tangerine. Solid backing presence of sweet malt with notes of caramel, grains, cracker, and yeast. Big and nicely balanced. Solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, chewy, and fairly drying on the finish. Slightly boozy but not overly hot.

Overall: A pretty solid take on an imperial IPA. Good earthy and citrus hop notes with a solid backing of caramel malt.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.26/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

picked up a 16 oz fill locally yesterday. Was surprised at the price of the fills but word is this is small batch? Enjoyed from a goose island tulip.brew poured classic ipa chestnut orange. Very thin head but real lively carbonation could be seen. Smell is soft citric hop with a sweaty dankness to it. Taste is similar with a very even subtle bitterness that makes the body feel a bit thin and watery. Really tasty though. Like a single ipa. Drinks.like hop juice. Leaves great lace on the glass. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of lochef81
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Was excited to find this on a recent buying trip to one of my favorite out of town bottle shops. This imperial ipa pours a clear copper amber color with a small white head that leaves decent lacing and thick legs. You can see just how boozy this bad boy is gonna be. The nose is a beautifully bitter and fresh blend of hops and boozy malt. Pine, citrus, tropical fruits, and floral hops abound. The flavor is very bitter in the best of ways. But it is nicely balanced by a generous amount of caramel malt. The alcohol is definitely present but not displeasurable. Mouthfeel is super sticky and resinous, just how you want it to be. This is very good, reminds me of a hoppier version of 90 Minute. Very balanced but still very hop forward. I will definitely look forward to this one's release each year.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

These unappreciative reviews are driving me bonkers. Do you people not understand what you are drinking??!! This beer is a beautiful representation of Centennial hops. Almost candied in flavor, unlike many representations I've enjoyed on numerous occasions. Citrus, flowers, and smooth transitions between hop varietals make this a true winner! 9% to boot!!! Do not allow inexperienced reviewers to influence your decision in trying this beer. Be Your own judge. Cheers!

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours an impressively deep golden-orange hue in the body, probably the deepest colored IPA or DIPA I've ever seen. Average sized, two finger head with awesome retention and lacing adorns the top of this beer. The body of this beer is almost perfectly translucent.

S- Huge, bitter hop flavors hit you square in the nostrils right up front. First flavor that hits is a sticky smelling, resiny pine. Not overpoweringly bitter in the scent, but definitely an 8 or 9 out of 10 on the bitterness scale. Piney hops bitterness presides throughout the the smell, fading slightly at the end, but no malt is ever detectable in the scent of this beer.

T- Starts with a moderate to strong hop bitterness bang on your tongue. Hops in the flavor are not so overtly piney as in the scent, but more balanced, leaning towards pine, but giving a little floral quality shortly after. Bitterness fades in the middle a bit, letting a touch out maltiness get to your taste buds, very similarly to Goose IPA. The hops bitterness returns in a big and stronger way right at the end, leaving your palate reeling from one last bitterness punch.

M- Not a lot to say here, because this beer feels like a DIPA should. Overall feel characteristics are smooth, thick, light carbonation, and a slow, bitter, and boozey drink.

Overall, a very good DIPA. Gives plenty of hop bitterness for the hop heads, yet there is somewhat of a resemblance to an English IPA with just a touch of malt base detectable.

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Photo of gopens44
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm such a whore for a perty beer. This thing had (and still has) latte colored lacing that fools you into thinking it's head in this perfect little glass. Color is orange, yellow and crystal clear. Nose carries a little of the upcoming hop goodness, but is overshadowed by the floral at first, piney on finish glorious taste. Just a hint of alcohol in what should be a far hotter taste that sneaks in a little sweetness on the tongue before dryness takes hold. Great beer, enjoyed much by this native Illinoisan.

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Photo of fastenoughforphish
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Golden orange, clear, small head the lingers on the glass.

Smell: Light honey sweetness, some minor hopiness, maybe floral. Pretty weak for a hop forward beer.

Taste: Huge turnaround from the smell. Sweetness right up front from the malt, a bit of biscuity cracker. A lot of floral hops and a bit of pineyness too. Mainly sweet floral taste, almost like floral marmalade. Maybe a bit peachy. The finish leaves me in awe. The bitterness lingers in the back of the tongue but the sweet malt sticks around up front. Really good finish and the most pleasant aspect of the beer. Great taste and surprising from the smell.

Mouthfeel. Nice carbonation, you can feel the malt sweetness but not sticky. Good.

Overall: Its delicious. Don't really understand the rating it currently has. Its fantastic and really reminds me of Hopslam. I like my DIPA sweet and malty. It's no 90 minute but it is sweet. The flavor is like very herbacious and floral, but mixed with the sweetness its great. Just enough pineyness and bitter but not overwhelming. Not tropical at all. I love how this beer finishes. Surprised since GI IPA is fairly run of the mill, but I guess they can throw out a great DIPA. Once again, not sure why it's only an 89 but I love it.

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Photo of Redrover
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown longneck poured into an imperial pint glass. The beer is copper with a sticky off-white head. It leaves lots of lacing on the glass.

The beer has an aroma of lots of citrus and something sweet. Fresh and inviting!

The beer is nicely bitter. Citrus and tropical fruits all backed by some sweet caramel malts. There is a bit of toffee then a nice dose of pine resin.

The beer is oily and tongue coating.

I liked this one and was glad my neighbor bought over a 4 pack to share! I'm hoping I can find it on draft.

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Photo of Elimav
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A nice dark Amber color with a nice silky head. A malty grapefruit smell. The beer has a nice amount of hops but is very smooth. A really nice imperial IPA!

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Photo of Bierman9
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought a single 12oz bottle today at The Beer Store ($3.25) after hearing decent things about this one....

Filled my Sammy glass to the brim... Color is light copper/medium golden, and there's a healthy carbo level here (something I've noticed from most everything I've poured into the Sammy glass). Head is light tan, and a bit frothy and rocky, and lasts well. Good lacing is sticking around, too. The aroma has a nice bit of caramel malt along with a solid bit of citrusy West-coast hopping. Body is solid; a middle of the road medium all the way. The feel is pretty creamy, too, with minimal prickle.

Flavor also has a bit of malty sweetness, but then the hops go balls to the walls! Great citrus, with grapefruit all over, plus some resiny, pine action. The pithy bitterness makes for a very dry finish, and the ABV dangerously hidden. A supremely solid, well-made DIPA. With a 4-pack at $10.00, I can see more of these in my fridge soon. Prosit!!

4.16/5 rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 4.8.14

A - Pours a clear dark orange with a fluffy light tan head with good retention.

S - Pine, grassy, dank, orange peel.

T - Sweet citrus, pine, grassy finish.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Nice well balanced IPA, Good Stuff.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a deep amber orange color with one finger of a fizzy white colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a grapefruit hop smell mixed with a good amount of sweeter fruit aromas of tangerine, some apple, and a bit of pear. Along with these fruity aromas are some light bready smells as well as a bit of caramel. Other hop aromas are there too, with notes of pine and some light floral aromas making for a very citrusy/fruity, and smooth smelling double IPA.

Taste – The taste begins much drier then I was anticipating. It begins with a bready flavor mixed with just a hint of tangerine. Right from the start the hops hit the taste buds with a good dose of grapefruit as well as a moderately strong pine hop taste. As the taste advances the sweeter tangerine fades almost to nothing being replaced by just the tinniest amount of a toffee sweetness. The hop flavors all the while grow stronger with the grapefruit becoming rather potent and being joined by some earthy hop flavors. In the end with the loss of the sweet and the increase in all the hop, one is left with a somewhat snappy and bitter hop taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both really accentuate the grapefruit, earth and pine hop flavors rather nicely really allowing them to shine, all while further accentuating the lack of sweet flavors and yet still bolstering the bready base of the beer well.

Overall – A rather nice bready and drier hoppy double imperial that yet still maintains a great drinkability. This was a rather enjoyable brew.

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The Illinois from Goose Island Beer Co.
87 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.