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The Illinois | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
158 Reviews
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The IllinoisThe Illinois

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by nmann08 on 06-15-2013

User Reviews
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Reviews: 158 | Ratings: 1,177
Photo of DefenCorps
2.24/5  rDev -42.6%
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 martyl1000
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
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 Jackofallbrews
3.51/5  rDev -10%
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 jucifer1818
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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...)

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Photo of BB1313
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
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 Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
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 RoamingGnome
4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of JayQue
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
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 +2.1%
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 +1.5%
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 +17.9%
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 +5.1%
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 -8.2%
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 -1%
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 +0.3%
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 +4.6%
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 -29%
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 +9.2%
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 +4.4%
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 -3.6%
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%
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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The Illinois from Goose Island Beer Co.
87 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.