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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: 1,127
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 28.28%
Wants: 27
Gots: 133 | 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: 1,127
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 TreyIsWilson
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper with a two-finger foamy white head. Light sticky lacing.

S - Juicy hops, mango, orange, and pineapple.

T - Starts with sweet malts upfront giving way to some tangerine and grapefruit. Piney hops come in once the sweetness fades producing a nice bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Dry finish.

O - This is a nice DIPA. A touch on the sweeter side but has a nice hop punch. Recommended.

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

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Pours a deep rich gold, with a two-finger off white head which dissipated pretty quickly. Nice wide rings of lacing.

S - Strong aroma of hop alpha acids, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and butterscotch.

T - More malty than the nose would indicate, with lots of sticky sweet honey notes upfront. Lush and fruity notes present in the nose hit in the mid-palate. Lingering, bitter, resinous finish. Nicely balanced. ABV well hidden.

M - Medium bodied. Medium carbonation. Dry finish. Not much to say here except that it supports the flavor profile decently.

O - A enjoyable on-the-sweeter-side DIPA from Goose Island. The hop and malt bills really work well together. There's better out there, but I certainly would buy and drink this again.

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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 Keffa
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Live review, bottle on date of 3/27/14, poured into my Granville snifter.

Saw this today, sounded interesting. Looked it up on GI's website, Chinook, Cascade, Citra, and Meridian. Hell yeah, I'm there.

A: Pours a deep goldish tinged copper color, nice 3 finger off-white head, head settles after about 5 minutes into a full cap. Leaves extremely good lacing for being an IIPA. VERY IMPRESSIVE.

S: Awww yiss. Tangerine, pine, pineapple, and mango, off the bat. Warmed up a little, I get a tiny smidge of alcohol, but nothing off-putting. Some sweet malts, are in there, as well as a little bready character. Great start.

T: Very, very solid. Starts with bitterness and piney, resinous hop, slowly transforming into a bit of tangerine and slightly sweet bread character, then goes back to the lingering bitterness and a bit of warming alcohol. Really solid. Other than the warming character, I wouldn't have guessed the ABV on this one.

M: Slick and oily, carbonation is appropriate, and not overbearing. Finishes long, dry, and bitter.

O: Truly impressive. Took a chance on a 4 pack, and glad I did. Highly recommended.

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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 yemenmocha
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy pale copper color with thick, creamy white head. Nose is light, but still offers some pleasant juicy fruit hop aromas. On the palate, some nice dryness with hop bitterness noted right away - pine, herbal hops, overripe melon, and decent balancing malt in the mix. A sort of "hop chalk" flavor noticed on the finish and aftertaste. A slow drinking DIPA for me.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle in a Perfect Pint. A very appealing deep amber color; about a finger's worth of head.

Smells like citrus and an array of tropical fruits.

Not my favorite DIPA; it's a bit too sweet. I want a bigger hop profile. But it's enjoyable

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

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- A hazy opaque copper color with a one finger white head.

S- A sweet hop, very citrusy, ,bold mango and grapefruit, a touch of honey in there as well. Reminds me a lot of hopslam.

T- A bit sweet at first. Bitterness takes a while to kick in. Takes a while while to get the flavor but the flavor is obviously hop forward. A lot of grapefruit, a lot of mango and peach. A solid honey flavor in this beer. More honey malt on the back end while the hop flavor fades away. sticky and somewhat plain aftertaste.

M- A moderate mouthfeel, easy drinking and well rounded. Sticky aftertaste with a bitter feel.

O- Very close to hopslam in flavor but no so much in the overall quality of the beer. Not far off though and certainly worth a go.

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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 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 Labeorphile
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pine glass. Beer is light copper colored with a rather fizzy head, but nice and thick and supported by small streams of bubbles from underneath. Head slowly recedes, leaving lacing down the glass.

Smell is sweet malt with lots of piney hops and citrus in the nose as well. The taste is resiny pine, along with a bitter grapefruit taste, but it works without either overpowering the other and is very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and alcohol is well hidden. A good strong IPA.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled 2/10/14.

Appearance: medium golden hue with no haze and a moderate effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam with a hint of an orange cast. Quite attractive.

Smell: big, sweet malt aroma with a relatively subdued hop character. Very caramelly with a little bit of an earthy, herbal and perhaps noble hop aroma. Not too bad, but I prefer a big bouquet in a DIPA.

Taste: sweet, caramelly and malty; the hops are more herbal in character and have a lot more flavor than aroma. Bitterness is high, but appropriate for the sweetness. Good, though it doesn't blow me away.

Mouthfeel: rich body with a great carbonation and a mouth-filling creaminess that won't quit. Bam!

Overall: this is a relatively tasty and inoffensive DIPA, but it lacks the big aroma and bombastic punch that I love so much in the style.

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Photo of gatornation
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap @ red cow
A=pours a mostly clear golden yellow color with afresh white head
S-fruity hops of orange and grapefruit slight pine bready mallts
T-hops first slight bitterness with fruity bite grassy taste with lemonbread malts
M-medium carbonation sweet and hoppy
T-good 2ipa not great recommend this one to try not over the top in any category but enough hops to satisfy

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

Hi there.

This beer is like an arrow shot from one of those olympic bow and arrow bros - straight like an, umm, arrow. Yeah, it's straight like Derek Jeter and solid like his ability in the late 2000's. (This isn't four World Series' in a row Jeter, but it also isn't 2012 break your ankle on a pivot, Jeter.)

Moving along...

Big and boozy, but not really. The alcohol is hidden well like a leprechaun on holiday, while everything else is just pretty much slightly above aite.

So if you like "slightly above aite," have at it!

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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 Pencible
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear dark gold with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like fresh apricots and bubble gum.
T: It tasted like apricot and herbal hops, with some sugary malt. It had a clean bitter aftertaste.
M: It was thick with some carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a nice double IPA with enjoyable scent and taste and body. The finish was smooth, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was easy to drink. Solid brew.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled. bottled on FEB 10 2014.

A: amber hued. pretty good clarity. head is slightly off-white and is frothy. decent retention. not getting any lacing in this glass.

S: malty. smells full bodied. very fruity, very floral, a lot of pine and hop resin. varied complex and inviting.

T: a minor oxidative flavor. which is certainly unfortunate considering this is really not that old. a little bit of nail polish remover. a lot of hop resin stickiness. sticky icky, big time hop flavor. a very classic hop flavor. finish is slightly hot, but really moderate. not much bitterness.

M: a moderate carb on a full bodied DIPA.

D: sort of a "classic" DIPA. and by classic DIPA, I mean one that would be considered world class if it were produced 5 years ago. still a really good beer. the malt adds a nice layer of complexity to the aroma. big, hoppy, what you would want in a balanced DIPA.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Pours a very clear deep gold, with lots of visible carbonation. Forms a one finger white head with a creamy consistency that has very good retention. Very nice.

S: Big resinous piney spruce, some citrus and a mild soapiness, leafy green grassy hops with spicy toasted malts and a bit of alcohol sweetness.

T: Bitter grapefruit, fresh pine tree, and a bready and biscuit sweet malt backbone with a touch of toasted caramel. Resinous and citrus rind hop bitterness lasts with some alcohol heat after the swallow. Seriously bitter - you taste every one of the label-claimed 95 IBU - but not pure alpha bitterness; there's a bunch of hop flavors too.

M: Good full mouthfeel, lots of carbonation sensation. The alcohol flavor is noticeable and warming, but doesn't really reach the point of losing drinkability.

O: I thought this was pretty good. It's not something I'd always keep in my fridge, but in the right mood for the right beer this hit the spot. I would generally prefer a more fruity hop profile but this worked for me.

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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 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 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 brewandbbq
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle dated 2/14/14.

Pours hazy copperish-gold. A quarter inch head of white settles to a partial skim coat with some torn lacing.

Pine and grapefruit fill the nose with hints of dank resin and tangerine.

Medium bodied with a tacky and crisp mouth feel.

Tropical fruit with crushed pine boughs lead off the palate. Some warming, boozy alcohol follow through with a firm bitterness. Very slight malt to balance.

Finishes with a lingering bitterness, grapefruit, and pine.

Nice beer, probably excellent when fresh.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - 4.25 - clear copper beer with nice white head that dissipates down pretty quick
S - 4 - super sweet citrusy hops and booze, balanced by caramel malt
T - 4 - follows the nose, sweet citrus hops/caramel malt... some booze in there but its a pretty standard amount for an iipa
M - 3.75 - light medium mouth feel. Pretty bitter, the citrus rind kind of bitter. Aftertaste is bitter grapefruit/ citrus peel. Alc present, maybe could be a little better covered.
O - 4 - better than I expected. People said it was really malty but not getting that out of it. I guess this could be a fresher bottle or just different tastes. Who knows.

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Photo of DomD1121
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Very clear dark orange, deep golden, almost amber color. Nice two finger head. Leaves a nice lacing around the glass as you drink it.

S: Huge hop aroma. Lots of sweet, citrusy notes mixed in up front with a slight booziness. Really impressive.

T: Follows the nose pretty much exactly. Hops hit your palate hard right up front, and fade into a sweeter, orange citrus flavor with some peach and grapefruit notes. Slight maltiness in the aftertaste, with some booziness.

M: Full bodied and thick with mild carbonation. Classic DIPA mouthfeel. Slight boozy heat in the aftertaste.

O: A really solid DIPA from Goose Island. Obviously not in the same league as some of the big west coasters, but very good. Maybe I'm biased as a Chicagoan, but Goose Island can still make a great beer when they want to, and this is a perfect example. This is something I'd like to have in my fridge regularly.

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