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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 DHS1029
1.75/5  rDev -55%

One of the worst beers I have ever had. Way too heavy, boozy, and bitter, was like drinking a glass of bitter hop syrup. I hated this beer. Drank half and poured the rest down the sink. Goose Island can do MUCH better than this.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.24/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

On tap at 16 Tons.

An overly malty, copper-colored dipa that is unpleasantly bitter, lacking in Hop flavor, excessively caramelly, this is another chore of a beer. Too full in body, too sticky from the sugar, this pine and grapefruit heavy IPA is unworthy.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.29/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, bottled on 2/7/14. Pours clear golden amber with a medium pillowy white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is subdued - sweet caramel malt, alcohol and a little grassy, piney, minty hops.

The flavor is sweet biscuity caramel malt, lots of sharp alcohol, a little fruit and a big green bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I'm not a fan. Too much predominant alcohol, overly sweet and biscuity, and not much hop flavor.

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Photo of hardy008
2.77/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours amber with a one finger off white, with decent retention, and leaves spotty lacing. the aroma has mild citrus, with citrus zest, white pith, and biscuit malt. Nothing special.

Tastes much like it smells, with mild citrus, citrus zest, white pith, biscuit malt, pine, and some toasted malt. There is not enough citrus taste, too much citrus zest and white pith, and the malt that is present doesn't do enough to counter the bitterness.

Medium to full bodied with modest carbonation. Finishes more bitter than I would like. I think this recipe needs to be tweaked to get rid of the harsh bitterness.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -28.5%

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninteresting label art and a branded black pry-off pressure cap acquired at a Colorado beer store. Bottled 14 FEB 14.

9.00% ABV. 95 IBU. Reviewed live - as an imperial IPA - because the label clearly identifies it as such.

Served at fridge temp, into a mini nonic glass. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Average thickness, creaminess, consistency, and complexion. Retention is pretty good for the high ABV - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Clear copper with orange and gold hues. Average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Not unique or special. Generally appealing.

AROMA: Pale malts, caramalt, hints of pine, floral hops, and a light hint of soap (indicating this may have spent too long in primary). It's not particularly appealing, and is rather generic for an imperial IPA.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable. Overall, it's an inoffensive aroma of average strength. Meh.

TASTE: Pale malts, generic floral hops, a kiss of pine, a kiss of nectary hop character, and some indistinct tropical fruit character. Overall, it's a boring and relatively bland build for an imperial IPA, and offers little of interest. Simply built, with a loose cohesion and no real intricacy or subtlety. I like it in a general sense, but there's nothing here to intrigue the discerning drinker. Very generic across the board.

Average depth, duration, intensity, and amplitude of flavour.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, and overcarbonated. Has too much heft and weight on the palate considering the relative lack of diversity and depth of flavour. Slightly oily.

Not syrupy, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

Overall presence on the palate is decent. This texture suits the taste generally well, but never feels tailored specifically to it.

OVERALL: A generic imperial IPA on par with Sierra Nevada's mediocre offerings. This is the Goose Island I expected after the takeover, not the Goose Island that has surprised with its continued quality. Drinkable and forgettable. Not worth picking up. Very pedestrian. Hides its ABV decently...

Low C

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Photo of EGreen
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

very malty head with mild pine. very malty with a mild pine and mild lingering bitterness. Overall, i'm not really impressed with this beer as an iIPA or as a beer in general. It's not a bad beer, but definitely not exceptional or even very complex. Just kinda of a boring beer to drink!

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Photo of far333
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Clear straw colored with a crazy inch and a half high head that lingers long. Low aroma of sweet overripe fruit, floral hops and brown sugar.

Initial flavors of ripe fruit, semi-sweet maltiness, brown sugar, floral hops, not overly hoppy or very assertive bitterness. Full mouthfeel, a bit slick. Decent beer, but expected more.

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Photo of estimatedprophethawk
3.32/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bought a four-pack which was bottled a week before purchase. Poured a yellow-amber, with large white head and plenty of lacing. Nice citrus and pine aroma, with notes of cream. Taste was syrupy at first, trailing off to a sweet slightly piney and citrus notes and ending with all three flavors. Not overly complex and the bitterness trailed off quickly. Nice for a novice iipa, but not really my style.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a Goose Island nonic pint.

Appearance - Hazy deep orange. Medium white head. Wispy surface.

Smell - Lots of caramel malt. Grapefruit hops. Kinda grassy. Mild toasty malt.

Taste - Grapefruit and pine hops in balance. More hop presence than malt presence, but it's still sweet. Caramel is still strong. Grassy hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Pretty sweet.

Overall - Gets a little sluggish. Just too sweet to be really good.

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Photo of BB1313
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/27/14. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours burnt golden with a slight haze; small white head that fades and leaves nice retention and okay lacing. The aromas are full of orange. Orange zest and orange peel dominate. Lots of citrus notes. Hints of caramel in the mix as well. The flavors really seem to match the nose. More orange, along with hints of lemon. Very grassy. Lots of pine needles. Very solid malt backbone. Clean refreshing bitterness. The malts cut down on the bitterness, but it still lingers. Maybe some black pepper in the mix? It's slightly spicy in the finish. Alcohol goes unnoticed. It's not boozy. Mouthfeel is nice. It's on the lighter side of full-bodied. It has moderate carbonation and is slightly creamy. Easy drinking.

This is a fine beer, but it doesn't really standout or grab my attention. It's somewhat redundant. I still had fun drinking it though. It's enjoyable, just not something I'll be dreaming about. If you like orange, definitely try it.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a bottle into a pint glass, hazy dark bronze with a ring of white foam. 6/19

Strong sweet malt nose, caramel. Little brown sugar too. Really strong bitter, bordering on harsh. Pine, spruce. There is a nice malt below, but the tongue scraping bitter holds serve and controls the palate. Flavor's a bit intense.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Aroma is an intriguing grapefruit and gardenia smell, though the alcohol is pretty evident. Fine-grained foam on the dark amber brew. Clinging foam in the glass, all quite pretty. Mouthfeel is zingy with some malty substance.

Flavor is fairly sweet with an odd sugary taste. Hops are bitter but with plenty of aromatics. There is a Meyer lemon taste-- the sweet and sour. Plenty more citrus with an orange flavor plus some spoiled tropical fruit. The cat pee flavor is not one I'm crazy about. Hard candy with a tang.

Aftertaste is hot and bitter. It's intriguing and definitely a personal taste as to how you like it. In any case it's an adventure. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Special Brews in Lynnwood, Washington.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper hue in the body a slight chill haze with light white head forming thick fine bubbled lacing is complex let's smell and taste this fine looking DIPA. Aromatics has pungent grapefruit and sticky malts including amber grains, cereal notes. Flavor has a perfect malty DIPA profile, big sticky malts with resinous hops started out citric and dank but when combined with too many residual sugars It ends up a distraught mix of over hopped zest with the sticky sweet unbalanced Midwest DIPA the rest of the country wants this to be. Mouthfeel is cloying with too many sticky malts hanging on a big DIPA that is beautifully balanced wins awards this barely gets recognized as a new player in the game available since A-B has taken the helm go figure. Overall, resinous grapfefruit and sticky sweet pineapple makes up the hop profile, it's just too alcoholic for being 9% abv...this one hits you with the alcohol. It's just overkill, especially for how excited I got when I saw a Goose Island DIPA.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Has a dark orange color body with a small foamy head.
aroma has a pine, bitter smell to it.
taste is piney and has a little bitterness to itm
mouthfeel feel is good and overall a good dipa

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Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.51/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This one clocks in at 9% ABV and 95 IBU. I bought this fresh at The Four Firkins and served it in a Goose Island pint glass.

Aroma: Sweet malt with a hint of grain. Fruity with a combination of navel orange and lemon atop a light caramel. A slight grassy aroma as it warms.

Appearance: Deep gold to almost copper, this is a darker version than typical. Fine white head that fades quickly. Excellent clarity that may indicate filtering.

Flavor: There is a pretty up front alcohol flavor and hotness to this beer, melded with a sweet maltiness. The sweet fades quickly to a rather rough vegetal bitterness. As it warms I get more orange and grapefruit flavors and perhaps some English bready malt character.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. A very noticeable alcohol warming that borders on uncomfortable. Ends with an astringent finish.

Overall: This one is not terrible, but it fits in the category of IPA that I'm not a big fan of. Some folks love the vegetative mouth-puckering astringency in their IPAs, but I'm not one of them. I like mine more smooth and balanced with hop flavor rather than crazy bitterness. This is balanced much more to the bitter and the booziness accentuates that astringent finish to a slow burn. I gave this a 3 at first but upped it to a 3.5 after it warmed up a bit. I'll stick with Bourbon County Stout if I can find it!

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Photo of metter98
3.52/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Iron Monkey, Jersey City, NJ

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that slowly died down, leaving lacing on the surface, a collar around the edge and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts, citrus hops and tropical fruit hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has light flavors of tropical fruits and oranges along with notes of caramel malts and hints of alcohol. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to taste more like an IPA compared to a double IPA as there's not much in the way of hop flavors or bitterness.

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Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clear medium amber with a small bag that soon reduces to a thin top coat.

Hop dominated aroma followed by a slightly more balanced flavor. Fruity with a mix of soft fruits and not just citrus. Mild bitterness.

Medium body with lively carbonation.


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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pulchritudinous burnished orange clear body, big rocky orange-tinted head. Few bubbles.

S: Citrus rind, hints of pine and mint, some caramel malt.

T: The pine comes through more here, but orange is pretty clear still. Tasty, but I could use more variety. Bitterness is solid but not overpowering, and the finish carries a nice mint refreshment.

M: Slightly syrupy, but otherwise easy drinking, especially for 9%.

O: Nothing to gripe about, it's very well done, but nothing especially compelling.

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Photo of soju6
3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2013 Artisans Craft Beer Festival.

A: Pours a copper color with a creamy head and good lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus and pine with a bit of malt sweetness and grain.

T: taste of citrus with a mold malt sweetness and grain. Nice bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Medium body and crisp.

O: Nice beer for the style without being overly hopped.

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Photo of argock
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass tulip. Bottled on date in May 2014. Reviewed from notes. Consumed in August 2014. Purchased at WIne Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Hazy amber with 1-finger of frothy, off-white head with average retention and a scant stripe of lacing around the top of the glass.

S: Strong pine resin with milder dank aromas and lemon/oragne citrus hops and bready pale malting. No yeast or alcohol aromas.

T: Flavor follows the aroma closely with resiny earthy pine flavors coating a strong but not prominent bready pale maltiness. A bit boozy in the finish. Hops component is a bit one-dimensional.

M: Syrupy with very heavy, not too drinkable body with lowish carbonation hurting the drinkability even further.

O: A very middling IIPA with heavy body and one-dimensional hops character. NOt a great one but maybe it's better fresher.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 03/27/2014. Poured into a Goose Island nonic pint glass per the label suggestion.

Appearance: Pours two fingers of bone colored head. Clear golden body. Like really clear. Nice head retention in the form of a half finger cap.

Aroma: Big juicy hops of orange and grapefruit. Citrus zest. Some woody, almost catty hops in the middle. Sweet caramel malt foundation. Some clean alcohol if you smell deep enough.

Taste: Some orange sweetness and grapefruit zest remain, some juicy green hops and the catty/herbal hops from the nose. Huge foundation of honey malts. Oniony finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy, lower carbonation.

Overall: Basically a really big DIPA. Nothing really new, but if you’re a fan of those big IPAs with a huge malt presence then this will surely appeal to you.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Amber gold with a thin disc of head collected. Visible aeration.

Citrusy nuggets, caramel malt, sliver of melon, orange, and pine. Mildly toasted. Not particularly distinguished.

Rugged hops, citrus, pine, amber grain, fair toastiness, pith, orange zest, and grapefruit. A tad sweet. Bone-crushingly bitter. Massive.

A hard-nosed 9% plus immense bitterness... all you need is about six ounces. Gruff carbonation rustles up a textured body. Has medium-fullness.

Eh, it's okay. Totally not my kind of DIPA. Disappointed, really.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear-ish copper color. The head is a finger high, off-white in shade, and rather bubbly looking. It doesn't really have the best retention, but leaves behind streaks of soapy lacing.

S: There's a good grapefruit character to be found here. Even better, there's a faint tropical hint as well. Not a whole lot of pine or dankness here: the citrusy character makes a better ballast for the prevalent malt character of caramel and toffee. As it warms up, the grapefruit aroma becomes a little more defined.

T: At first, it's very grapefruity on the palate, with a nice bittersweet character to it. Its midtaste is typically malty - caramel, toffee, and maybe some brown sugar - with a twinge of the opening grapefruit flavor intermingling all the way into the marmalade-y finish. At first, it tastes a tad boozy. This will go away after a few sips, leaving a well balanced yet slightly unexciting DIPA.

M: The body is typical for a DIPA: medium thickness (maybe erring slightly heavy), slightly syrupy on the linger, yet mildly bitter. I'm missing the crisp bite I'd expect from a great DIPA feel; still, it only becomes slightly too sweet after about 2/3rds of the bottle. Carbonation is mid-pack for the style. Drinkability isn't great, but it's very nice to sip on.

O: This one is quite good, but it doesn't really break any new ground. It's just another tasty DIPA in a sea full of tasty DIPAs - it's very grapefruity, malty, yet with a nice bitterness. It's definitely worth drinking again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-tap at Iron Monkey in Jersey City, NJ

A: Pours a crystal clear light to medium golden yellow with minimal amounts of visible carbonation and some faint yellow + orange highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy white head that quickly reduces to a small to medium sized patch of extremely very thin film and a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of tropical/pineapple, citrus/orange, and citrus/tangerine hops over the top of a light aroma of grainy malts.

T: Overall the flavors of this beer are extremely light. Upfront there is a light flavor of slightly grainy malts with just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of citrus/orange and citrus/tangerine hops that impart just a hint of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Thin/watery.

O: I would have to say that this seems like a pretty weak offering for a DIPA - the flavors and aromas are really faint and it lacks the intensity/complexity that I expect for the style. All that being said, this is probably one of the easiest drinking DIPAs that I have tried due to the light/thin body and subtle flavors/aromas - the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

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Photo of Gavage
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: amber in color with a 1/2" head. Some mild lacing paints the glass during the session.

Smell: caramel and bitterness is mild on the nose.

Taste: grainy malt, caramel, orange, some grapefruit, and a biting bitterness are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp to start, smoother and dry at the finish. Long lasting bitter aftertaste.

Overall: an easier drinking beer than I expected. Mildly refreshing and worthy of a try.

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