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Cthulhu - Goose Island Beer Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

15 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 15
Hads: 225
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 10.48%
Wants: 360
Gots: 38 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co. visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Oatmeal Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jegross2 on 07-12-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in an 18 year Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrel.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 15 | Hads: 225
Photo of Stevedore
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

75cl bottle with the gold wax, poured into an unlabeled snifter on 24 August. Thanks to Dustin for breaking this one out.

Pours with a fairly typical black body, very dark and opaque. Minimal tan head that disappears quickly. Not much lacing to speak of. Just about typical for a BA stout.

The nose is pretty straightforward. Plenty of bourbon, some vanilla, some oak. Doesn't smell particularly sweet. It is rather bourbon forward without much of the underlying malts showing up. Would have expected some chocolate, some coffee, etc. but it still doesn't come out even as the beer warms up.

I'm sorry but the flavour profile on this beer is disappointing. It's a smooth combination of bourbon, oak and a little bit of toffee and not a whole lot else. Its not complex at all. It's got a one-dimensional sweetness to it, which was rather disappointing. It's good, but nowhere near the hype it got on its release.

Mouthfeel is pretty typical for a BA stout. Full bodied, smooth, with a decent bit of heat on the back end. Still a sipper though.

Definitely highly overrated. I can't believe this beer traded 1:1 for Fou' Foune. I think the combination of low bottle count, the Goose Island name and packaging blew this beer up. It's a big barrel-aged stout that fails to deliver in terms of what we have come to expect from Goose Island at Fulton and Wood. We need to remember that this is the brew pub's handiwork rather than the main Goose Island barrel-aging program and add the according amount of hype. This beer is Parabola-good, but not much better than that.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Small khaki head that doesn't last.

Smell - Bourbon is a little sharper than regular bourbon county. Oak is strong. Vanilla. Chocolate.

Taste - Again, very similar to bourbon county. Sweet caramel. Chocolate. Vanilla. Oak is strong. Bourbon throughout.

Mouthfeel - Not quite as heavy as Bourbon County. Just about as boozy, though. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Very similar to bourbon county. A different bourbon character, though.

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Photo of timc100
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap - Cthulhu Tuesday fuckers!

Big whiskey aroma that is interestingly berry forwards. Lots of whiskey booze, some sweeter oak, light vanilla and nuttiness. Similar taste profile - a lot of the whiskey, and raw barrel notes but it doesn't have the smooth sweetness that I had expected being an oatmeal stout.

Very enjoyable, but not anywhere near bourbon county level.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, toasted oat, cocoa, brown sugar, marshmallow, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, vanilla, marshmallow, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with nice barrel aged and marshmallow qualities all around.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a dark, almost black, brown with a slight milk chocolate color head that bubbles up. The nose is dominated by deep dark chocolate and whiskey. Taste is dominated by dark chocolate, oats, thick wheat like taste, sweet caramel, and a strong whiskey presence. The whiskey that comes through is strong and not as sweet as something aged in bourbon usually is (not sure what this is aged in). The body is thick and creamy as you would expect in an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. It coats the tongue and goes down smooth. The finish is astringent though from the strong alcohol presence.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to TATURBO for sharing this bottle!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with no head at all. Thick legs stick to the side of the glass.

Smell: This really smells like cinnamon toast crunch plus bourbon and oak. its smells like it all about the barrel.

Taste: Yup this is a bourbon forward stout. I can't seem to find any reminants of a base stout, but that okay by me. Finish of the beer is both tobacco and cinamon notes with some more oakiness.

Mouthfeel: medim bodied beer with low carbonation. Silky and smooth beer. not really boozey either.

Overall: Another great GI beer from the barrel program. Its barrel forward and hides the base beer. I am not complaining here!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased from the brewpub. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to a thin collar and a few stray wisps on top, but no lacework. Body is pitch black.

S - Smells a lot like Bourbon County Stout to be honest, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. Loads of dark chocolate, fudge, anise, dark fruits, bourbon, oak, and light vanilla. There's a bit of red fruit and berry that's a bit different.

T - The taste is a bit sweeter, with more of a vanilla, milk chocolate, and dark fruit character to it and less of the oak and bourbon intensity of the aroma. Roast is present, but restrained, although it shows up a touch in the finish alongside some earthy bourbon kick.

M - Full bodied, chewy, and roasty, with mild alcohol warmth. Lower carbonation, and a dry and tannic, oak-heavy finish.

D - It's a very nicely made bourbon-barrel Imperial Stout. I'm not sure I could distinguish it from a number of other beers without an A/B comparison, and it doesn't totally hide it's booze as well as something like BCS, but it's still a very good brew that should improve over the next six months.

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Photo of Duff27
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Short lived head, near nil on the collar. Body is black, loving the color.

Bourbon barrel notes on the forefront, smells delicious. Slight oakiness.

Base oatmeal is definitely overpowered by the barrel presence. Roasty. Feels closer to 12%abv.

Mouthfeel is great...super thick and chewy, smooth. Medium-low carbonation. Near perfect mouthfeel overall.

Bourbon barrel oatmeal stout, with an emphasis on the bourbon barrel. no complaints from this guy. Thanks for the share TATURBO.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled at FoBAB. Reviewed from notes.

The pour is pitch black with a velvety coating of brown head that retains pretty well. Nose starts with heavy chocolate and toasted marshmallow follow by barrel char, boozy bourbon notes, and waves of vanilla. The flavor is similar to the nose... Huge marshmallow notes paired with somewhat hot notes of bourbon. This is all intertwined with heavy dark cocoa notes and vanilla. The finish is hot. Mouthfeel is very heavy with mellow carbonation. Overall, I really enjoy this beer but it could use a little age to tame down. I prefer bcbs to this, but this one isn't far off. Can't wait to see what the pub does with future batches of this beer!

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Photo of jegross2
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Cthulhu from the Goose Island Brewpub (Clybourn) out of Chicago, Illinois.

Score: 95

Tap pour served in a 12 oz snifter and enjoyed on 07/11/13.

Appearance: Deep, dark brown in color; practically black in appearance. Vague ruby tones at the outer edges of the shiny body when held to the light. Served with just a ring of tan head around the glass. Below average lacing, but good retention. Imposing, but fresh in appearance. 4.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate and notes of raw oats (kind of like smelling a tube of Quaker Oats, only subtler here). Nice bourbon-forward nose without overwhelming the chocolatiness from the base. No roastiness. The more the beer warms up, the more marshmallowy vanilla that comes through in the nose. The vanilla character in the nose is quite reminisce of Three Floyd's Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. Around room temperature, some twenty minutes after the beer was first poured, I detect some maple in my final wafts. The oat character gradually disappeared as this beer warmed up and aerated. 4.55

Taste: Tastes just like the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, marshmallows, brown sugar and chocolate with lingering caramel flavor. Really excellent flavor profile. The vanilla flavor is quite delicious, and as the beer warms up and layers on the tongue the marshmallowy vanilla flavor gradually intensifies. Bold and flavorful, but smooth. Just a touch of alcohol warmth without any boozy bite. There is a nice brown sugar and waffle syrup flavor complexity to the backbone flavor that shines best at room temperature. Overall, the brew reminds me of a vanilla-infused blend of fresh Bourbon County Brand Stout and the white wax (Elijah Craig 18) 50/50 Eclipse imperial stout on the nose without any of the "fresh" booziness of either. Quite excellent. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, very low carbonation. Sticky and slick. Sweet profile, but no sweeter than fresh Bourbon County Brand Stout. 4.5/5

Overall: This beer is a total vanilla bomb that is sweet, but not cloying. I loved how the notes of marshmallow, bourbon and chocolate complemented each other here, with the vanilla taking an increasingly prominent role as the beer warmed up. My only suggestion would be to add some roastiness or coffee flavor to help counterbalance the sweetness and add an additional layer of complexity.

Cost: $10 for a 12 oz pour.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.71/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: 8-10 oz. pour into a snifter at the Clybourn brewpub.

A: Pours a dark black body with a light tan head. Appears a bit thinner than BCBS.

S: Vanilla, oak, marshmallow. Lots of barrel characteristic on the nose.

T: Vanilla, burnt coffee beans, oak, and bourbon. Tastes more similar to BCBS than I thought it would.

M: Thinner than BCBS, but still nice. Similar booziness, but well balanced.

O: Clearly from the same bloodline as BCBS, just maybe a slightly mini version. BCBS has more depth and body to it, which I appreciate more. But the flavor profiles and aroma are surprisingly similar. Another world-class stout from the folks that started it all.

Recommendation: This beer is probably extremely hard to trade for, and so I don't think it's quite worth it. But if you're in Chicago this month, would definitely recommend hitting up Cthulhu Tuesdays.

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Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is BCBS like. Black, oily, perfect carbonation and delicious

Smell is that of a stout, but cocoa, vanilla and a tiny hint of coffee. You can also get a solid whiff of whiskey, but not as strong as other BA beers.

Taste is exquisite. It's like bourbon county, but has a little more burn and a little less sweet after taste. It's smooth for being a10%, but also gets better as it warms up. No real oatmeal flavor, but you can surely taste a hint of coffee and vanilla with a little cocoa. Burn will probably smooth out with a few months in the cellar.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a little thickness, but not like motor oil. It has a great after taste and the immediate burn is gone in a second, leaves you wanting more.

Overall this is a fantastic beer! It surpasses BCBS but only because it has a little less heat and a smoother after taste. I'm definitely glad I had this on tap with no limits as I went back for more and with its limitedness it may be the last on tap. If you can seek it out you won't be dissapointed!

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Photo of HOPSareKey
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review is based off notes taken while on tap at clybourn.

Pours an intense, opaque black with one finger deep chestnut head, which diminished within a minute.

Smell is a lovely melody of barrel, caramel, toasted marshmallow, and booze.

Taste is pretty much spot on to the smell. Big roasted malts, drippy residual caramel sweetness, fluffy marshmallow. Had to give it a tiny ding due to a slightly over the top booziness (which may have subsided by now).

very solid BA oatmeal stout. Perfect blend of all components.

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Photo of PlayaPlaya
4.96/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First review after a year on BA and hundreds of rare/craft beers consumed...

I had to go out of my way to make this review.

This is the best beer I have ever had. I know they say don't compare stouts to IPA's etc. etc. But this beer is in a class of its own.

Its kinda like Goose Island is brewing their stouts with top notch ingredients and methods, and all the other breweries are just buying some stout kits off the local homebrew website.

S'mores would be an appropriate name, because this is exactly what the beer tasted like....

Vanilla BCBS might also be fitting.

Just an outstanding beer that shows how far and above Goose Island is compared to everyone else, when it comes to making a barrel aged stout anyway.

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Photo of SeanBond
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

FINALLY tracked this down after missing the bottle sale a year back.

Imagine Bourbon County as an oatmeal stout; this is it. Smooth, boozy, with a nice thick mouthfeel, the creamy marshmallow taste mixes with a pleasant alcohol burn to create something really great. This should be distributed, ala BCBS.

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Cthulhu from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.