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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 johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Ayotte's
Crystal clear deep golden/amber color with a huge bubbly off white head that persists forever. Earth, citrus, pine, caramel and toffee make up the aroma. The flavor is a bit on the sweet malty side with a solid hit of warming alcohol. Bitter pithy citrus and earthy pine provide something to counter. Moderate level of hop bitterness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy resinous mouthfeel. Nice big IPA, a bit on the sweet malty side for my tastes, but I enjoyed sipping on this.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice creamy fizzy 1 finger head that sticks around nicely, slow fade, soapy messy lacing too, crystal clear amber slight orangey note with a bright amber red hue.

Nose is strong, lots of hops as expected, some syrupy malts with that too, little cereal grain and toasty notes, mild copper malt and reddish amber malt with some sweetness and a decent kick of booze tingling the nose. Hops are the front runner though, candied orange peel, orange zest, fruity, mild floral spicy and hint pine, mild appley esters in the back.

Taste brings more hops and sweet malts. Again I'll cover malts first, candy malts, reddish and toasty with some caramel and toffee, nice candy character with fair sweetness that starts high and mellows a bit as it goes, but also the booze comes through as it goes, starting very light then getting a bit warm and tingly. Hops are again big, but not as much as the nose, quite bitter, with spicy hops out first, into candied orange peel and citrus zest again, little stone fruit too. Flashes of a grainy toasted malt with flashes of fruity esters as well, mostly estery booze character. Finish is sticky and sweet, quite sweet still, with fair spicy hop bitterness, more candied orange peel, floral hops notes, caramel sweet malts, and a big booze warmth. The hop bitterness and booze want to destroy the palate but maybe the first time I can say I'm glad it didn't dry too much.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bod, bit soft too, lighter carbonation though, and some warming tingly booze.

Overall not bad, a typical DIPA with lots of sweet malts, candy, toffee, toasty reddish malts, etc, with lots of bitter hops to go with it, citrus peel, little spicy and floral, etc, attempts to balance and does a fair job of it, with so much of every aspect being so heavy. Booze is a bit much, but it is 9% so that's to be expected.

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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 Durge
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crystal clear but dark rusty/orange color with a goodly white head that retreats to an impressive lace. The aroma brings deep orange and pineapple and candy caramel and a bit of fermenting banana. Likable. The flavor has a nicely blended medley of orange, mango and pineapple. Caramel and lemony wheat grain show up as well for a very flavorful result. There is a little alcohol but not too bad. The body is solidly medium with a smooth and slightly sticky feel. Modest carbonation but a reasonably tingly sensation is present. Very good stuff.

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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 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 TMoney2591
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Beelow's.

Yeah, I thought about grabbing a bottle of Crabbie's from the cooler in front of me, but I went with a new-to-me DIPA from Goose instead. Whatever, there's always time if I fuck up, right? Anyway, this stuff pours a mostly clear sunset amber topped by a half-finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises orange peel, grapefruit zest, light pineapple juice, and a strong vein of pine resin. The taste brings in more of the same, the rinds really providing some sharp bitterness at times, with a tiny rivulet of callow caramel trying desperately to run through the proceedings. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a nice little DIPA, but a bit too--prickly, shall we say?--for my liking.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Bottled on 10feb14 (just shy of 2 months old)

Pours out a very nice deep orange, very clear body, some nice retentive slightly off white head with some really nice sticky lace. Looks great.

Aroma isn't nothing spectacular or overly hoppy. A nice balance, slight alcohol heat. Some grapefruit citrus and hints of pine resin.

Nicely balanced, slightly sweet light caramel, almost a deep breadiness. Malt forward, just enough alcohol to bring the malt forward. Grapefruit citrus, some resin and pine. Alcohol is noticeable and adds a nice aspect to the beer, in no way overpowering.

Perfect body for a DIPA.

East coast for sure. Good, but nothing too special. Reminiscent of 90 minute. The best thing it has going for it is a nice balance.

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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 Monkeyknife
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a bright and clear copper color with two fingers of creamy ivory head. Sheets of sticky lacing left behind.

Aroma of pineapple and pine, along with mango, candy sugar and sweet caramel malts. Became more malt-pronounced as it warmed.

The taste was less hoppy than the aroma. Sweet caramel malts upfront, along with pineapple, mango, and candy sugar. The 9% abv gave a tingly warmth to the palate.

Medium bodied and sticky with a moderate carbonation.

A solid IIPA from Goose Island but not amongst my favorites. Skewed a little too much to the malty side, IMO.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Golden amber with 1 finger of off-white head that dissipates quickly. Good clarity with light carbonation.

Grapefruit, mango, caramel, and toffee. Hints of peach and passion fruit.

Pink grapefruit, mango, and fresh cut grass. Hints of peach, lime, and passion fruit. Big caramel and honey backbone. Finishes with mango rind, grapefruit zest, and pine with hints of onion.

Full bodied, silky, oily, and dry with a moderate bitterness.

A solid DIPA with big grapefruit and floral components.

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Photo of richj1970
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass. Bottle date was 2/7/2014.

A: Pours a beautiful clear deep golden yellow with a one finger fluffy white head that dissipated fairly quickly. A bit of lacing but nothing significant.

S: Lots of nice citrus in the nose. Grapefruit, oranges, and maybe a bit of lemon along with some sweet caramel and biscuit.

T: A bit of hops, but dominated by sweet caramel, butterscotch, and honey.

M: Medium body and nicely carbonated. Perhaps a touch sweet. A bit of oily resin on the tongue.

O: Enjoyable Imperial IPA. I tend to like these with a strong malt backbone, and this certainly fits the bill bordering on too much.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Capone's.

Served in a Long Trail cervoise, a clear, golden brown color, with a thin white head that sank to a ringlet and held there; minimal lacing on the glass. Aroma of oily hops, citrus and dankly ripe tropical fruits...more syrupy than crisp here. Taste was similar, lots of hops, but with a thick, sweet maltiness keeping it from being anything close to crisp. Orange marmalade and pineapple stood out the most, lesser notes of pot and pine, with a mesh of bitterness and sweetness. Definitely not a bad brew. Mouthfeel was chewy, body was medium-full. Good overall.

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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 ksimons
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-amber in color with lots of visible carbonation bubbles and about two fingers worth of head that slowly disappears and stick to the glass

S-caramel malt backbone, grapefruit and lemon citrus notes, and pine

T-taste is similar to the smell, good caramel malt backbone to give the beer some sweetness and with pine and citrus hop bitterness

M-medium body, crisp carbonation

Overall a really nice looking beer, the carbonation bubbles are still going well into half the beer. Alcohol is not overly present. Just a good overall beer.

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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 stakem
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thank you Slatetank for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz poured into a tulip appears a clear copper color. 3 fingers of froth hold atop leaving some patchy lace clinging to the glass.

The smell is fruity and floral. Quite weedy and herbal with grass and slight dank/catty appeal overtop some melon aspect. The more I smell this, a little caramel malt comes out.

The taste is bitter, piney and resinous. Caramel malt taste without any sweetness and some warming fruity alcohol. Like in the nose, some melon aspect appears before getting rindy and pulpy.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A nice hop presence and something I would drink again. The alcohol is integrated nicely, it never felt close to the listed 9%.

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

Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger of white head. Good retention. On the nose I get sweet citrus, pineapple, peach, bready malts, molasses, and alcohol. The taste has a rich candy sweetness and a big malt presence, but it's undoubtedly a double IPA as it has that bitter grapefruit and orange peel flavor. There's also some sweet fruits like peach, mango, and pineapple. The body is medium and it has a boozy characteristic.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.01/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a clear, light honey gold. Film of off-white head retains well.

Smells of pine, biscuit, honey, and citrus.

Tastes of biscuity malt with a dry piney hoppiness, hints of apple and citrus.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Solid, tasty IPA with good aroma and decent flavor. A bit less floral than most stronger IPAs, so it's set apart a bit. Worth trying and drinks easy.

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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 PicoPapa
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at 2 Bros. Pours a clear brownish yellow with a half inch of head. Good amount of lacing. The aroma is a big juicy whiff of citrus and sweetness. Floral hop hints. The taste is some citrus peel with some floral hops as well as pine. Sweet caramel malts with a flowery hop bitterness towards the end as well as some citrus peel. Slightly bready at times. Slick, oily mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation. Maybe a bit more floral and less citrusy then I had wanted after smelling it, but not a big deal. Overall, a very good Imperial IPA from a brewery I wouldn't expect. Worth seeking out.

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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 RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice label. Quite unique. And a bottled on date? Say what?! I like.

Nose is mildly citrus with a heavy resin character. Chewy. Somewhat thicker sweetness on this one. Lots of hops. Just piled on top of each other. What comes out is more of a punch to the senses as opposed to a unique ride. I like it though. It makes me happy to see Goose Island putting something with some stank on it out.

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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 Omnium
3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle > Sensory Pils Glass

A - Lovely rich clear gold in color, with two fingers off white head, medium lacing.
S - Huge pine and citrus hop aroma, very classic American IPA aroma, caramel malt.
T - Bitter pine and hop resin up front, a little caramel and orange malty sweetness, some light floral notes, but its very bitter, lots of grapefruit in this too.
M - Dry and puckering bitterness.
O - Good, but just so, is very run of the mill in a lot of senses, but demonstrates those traits fairly.

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