Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 146 | Hads: 1,121
Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Two finger head that settles slowly and in a lumpy fashion. Leaves plenty of lace as it settles. Light amber color and quite clear.

Clean, recently ground malt aroma. The hop adds a nice spice to the nose, but this is a more malty brew.

This is a malt heavy DIPA. Even in the swallow, the hop is subtle. The aftertaste has a strong alcohol element to it. The body is thick with lower bubble level.

 399 characters

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.

 802 characters

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!

 2,140 characters

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 3/27/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear orange amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pineapple, floral, grass, pine, caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt balance; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pineapple, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, caramel, light bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and balance of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt sweetness; with a great crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice DIPA! All around good complexity and balance of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt balance; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,514 characters

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!

 287 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a balloon glass.
Deep copper/apricot in color, with a big head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Big whiff of toasted malt and hops
Taste-Slightly sweet toasted malt followed by big wave of hops. Pretty smooth for the strength. A bit malt-forward but otherwise well-balanced with big character and flavor. Well worth a try.

 344 characters

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.


 257 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mild copper colored with excellent clarity. A good quarter inch thick layer of tightly knit light beige foam. Brussels lacing. Moderately intense pine hop aroma is what I get out of the nose. The front of the palate is sharply bitter pine hops with a saltine cracker light malt backbone,followed by a fairly sharp pine hop bitter finish. The mouth is thick and sticky.

 368 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: Tulip
From: Southpaw Social Club in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4 (w/ Happy Hour, $6 regular)
Purchased: June 3, 2014
Consumed: June 3, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark caramel color with two fingers of khaki white head when I got it. Above average spiderweb lacing along the sides of the glass. Below average retention on the top.

Smelled caramel, citrus hops, floral hops, light rye hops, peach, mango and other tropical notes, along with some light spicy hops.

Tasted iced tea, rye hops, caramel malts, sugary syrup, citrus hops, mango and other tropical hops.

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, rather smooth finish.

A pretty good smooth IPA overall. I’d have this again for sure.

 734 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light orange/tan color..frothy white head with plenty of lacing on the glass.

S-Sticky sweet aroma of overripe tropical fruits...a whiff of booze as well...aroma reminds a little of Hopslam.

T-Sweet, overripe fruits....nectarines, peaches, mangoes, and papaya. Orange marmalade. Some pine notes later in. Malt leans toward caramel.

M-Body is full...finishes with a good splash of alcohol.

O-This does remind me a little of Hopslam. Not at that level but a nice alternative for a decent price. Rock solid DIPA but not elite.

 529 characters

Photo of daledeee
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not understanding the low ratings from some. I poured this into a sam adams glass and found it to have a dark bright gold clear body with a nice head and really good lacing.

Nose is slightly citrus and tropical.

Taste. I am a bit slanted here. I like the more tropical and citrus IPA. This one has a good dose of malt. Ever since I got overdosed on Cascade hops, I have found this variant to be very refreshing and worthy. Plenty of tropical with some malt background. The finish is a bit dry(others call it wet?). Some sweetness as well.

This is pretty much what I got to now. Yes, there are a few, and I mean very few, that are upper echilon but I will take this one anyday.

 679 characters

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.

 329 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: burnt orange; 2 finger white head; good retention and intermittent lacing;

S: complex; a lot of pine with some citrus; oddly, a little smoked gouda; as it warmed, some pineapple;

T: a little too much caramel sweetness for me; finish starts sweet, but the bitterness kicks in; you can taste the alcohol; some orange peel in the finish as well;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: too sweet for my taste in a DIPA; having said that, it's quite drinkable and gives you a lot to think about while you're drinking it;

 526 characters

Photo of reebtaerG
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Beer Authority NYC on 5/24/14

A-Pours slightly dark amber. Great half-finger foam head. Great lacing.

S-Aromas are rich of sweet caramel malt, citrusy and dank resinous pine hops.

T-Taste pushes back over into the passion and citrus fruits category.

M-Mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation.

O-Overall a decent DIPA worth a try.

 359 characters

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.

 259 characters

Photo of martyl1000
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm gonna review this similarly to Victory Dirtwolf. The two beers each have a fabulous aroma. But they're both way too dry (and a bit thin) for the style.

2014 bottle into a tulip glass. The rusty haze pours a thin fluid, with a luxurious off-white head that leaves misleading lacing. Lots of carbonation trails rising up through the body.

The aroma is wonderful. White gumball and sweet citrus. Unlike with the Dirtwolf, this aroma offers very little grain.

Sharp and bright in the mouth. Surprisingly low sweetness does not follow the gumball aroma. The hops come as a mild citric bitterness that leaves no lasting impression (unlike that of the Dirtwolf, whose bitterness is intense and relentless). While cold, there's no sweetness at all. As the beer warms, the citrus becomes faintly sweet navel orange, and a neutral (not sweet) grain makes itself known. I definitely like it more than I thought at first.

Light-bodied and crisp, with a moderate- to high-carbonation. Lacks smoothness. Somewhat watery on the back end. Finishes super dry.

A solid IIPA, but doesn't have the balance or chewy body I prefer.

 1,119 characters

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.

 273 characters

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!

 1,350 characters

Photo of jucifer1818
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: This beer is medium amber in color and crystal clear. It has a steady stream of bubble rising along the side of the glass, and had a heavy gelato like head....one that lasts a VERY long time (no doubt fed by its bubbles). Good looking stuff, and an unusually good head for a Imperial IPA.

s: This beer has what I call a "fruit cocktail" of smells. Lots of apple, some pear, and maybe a dash of pineapple. It had a generous dose of resin aroma to add to that. Not much piney or woody flavors.
I find that the apple is too strong, and makes it seem like it is struck with Acetaldehyde, but I don't feel that it is present.

t: This beer is surprising: its actually leaning more in the direction of the malt: This beer's heavy (powdery) hop flavors are balanced by a short (but sweet) malty backbone. Its quite refreshing!
(by powdery, I am describing the sort of heavy bitterness you get from chewing on pellet hops, but its far more reserved in the beer).
A bit of bitter grapefruit is also present, but its very reserved. Instead the flavor is decidable in the malt and neutral bitterness area.

m: I have to say, the foamy nature of the beer feels GREAT on your upper lip (it really is a creamy foam head). The beer itself feels relatively heavy, but it should to balance the hops.

Overall this beer is quite nice, but I'm not sure it, ohh how do I say it...meet its price? yes, Id agree with that. if it was 4-5 dollars less...well that would work out pretty well. It is different for a Imperial IPA. it leans very heavily on balance, and its almost refreshing in a world of heavy in your face hop -Bombs.
I give it a 3.75/5. Not bad, but the New Belgium Rampent is just as good, 3-4 dollars cheaper, and has 2 extra bottles.
(I'm just saying...)

 1,770 characters

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.

 995 characters

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.

 473 characters

Photo of RoamingGnome
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Goose Island The Illinois Imperial India Pale Ale

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into the recommended nonic pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Nice looking amber brew with a finger of frothy head, which settled to a dusting and had good retention. Nice sticky lacing.

S) The aroma has a good amount of tropical fruit sweetness. There is some light pine straw, but this is predominantly sweet. There is a little whiff of booze too.

T) The flavor is initially sweet. It's full of tropical fruit and a hint of citrus. Although this finishes with adequate hop bitterness. Resinous, sappy pine, and booze.

M) The body is pretty full. The carbonation is lighter. It's a smooth brew, that provided a bit of an oily mouth coating experience.

O) Another solid offering from our friends at Goose Island. I think those previous concerns regarding inbev turning their beer into unpalatable swill can be put to rest.

 904 characters

Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a small tulip glass a kind of orange-light amber with a nice looking full one finger sticky white crown atop,good clarity and a good head.Sweet sugary aromas with tropical fruit-like hops coming into play,the sweetness is large and in charge here.Flavors are not as big and as sweet as I thought they would be,overripe citrus fruit-like hops and some sugary sweetness at the onset of the palate but a drying leafiness comes in late,but as I say that some sweet booze lets itself be known.More of your typical American DIPA in its sweetness but the hops are big and play a major role,not bad.

 602 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Solid DIPA. Had one with Burgers and corn at a Mother's Day barbeque. Poured into a pint glass, this beer has a nice amber color and an average size off white head. Good retention and thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citrus hops and a little caramel malt. Taste is the same. Good level of bitterness, some tropical citrus fruit flavors and some balancing sweetness from caramel malt.

Mouthfeel is rich and crisp, just right for a DIPA. No alcohol burn and enough balance to go along with the robust bitterness.

One of the better DIPAs.

 541 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 03/27/2014, about a month and a half before the date of this tasting. Cheers.

A: A gorgeous beer, glowing translucent amber-red in the glass. Thick tan cream rises a full three fingers over the body, eventually condensing into a beautiful foamy retention. Webs of lace stick to the inside of the glass.

S: Sweet malt in force, a little stale at times, but overall giving a solid caramel and wheat bread overtone. Hops aren’t too strong; they end up showing a fair amount of jammy fruit character, mostly grape and stewed peach. You can stir up bit more pine with a twirl of the glass, releasing some of the oily aromatics beneath.

T&M: Medium-heavy body with a creamy carbonation, which matches the dense sweetness of the body to a T. First and most prominent flavors are malt, though not all caramel as in the nose: rye bread, raisin, and molasses are what stand out. A subtle palate that never gets too sweet, retaining drinkability and satisfying complexity throughout. Thick hop tastes of resinous pine, lemon oil, and cooked berry round this out with a mild, oily bitterness; finishes in that vein, moderately bitter, but again, with a focus on taste over overbalanced dryness or sweetness.

O: A solid DIPA, a recent favorite from Goose Island; I’d buy it again, especially for the price. I really like that dark, subtly sweet malt base as opposed to the thicker, more syrupy character of other American DIPAs.

 1,431 characters

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