Class Of '88 Belgian-style Ale
Goose Island Beer Co.

Class Of '88 Belgian-style AleClass Of '88 Belgian-style Ale
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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
3.89 | pDev: 13.62%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Class Of '88 Belgian-style AleClass Of '88 Belgian-style Ale
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 120
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/13/14; drank 6/24/15 @ California Split.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Opaque light orange appearance.

Minimal white head; minimal lace.

Peach & mild apple cider notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Peach & mild apple cider flavors up front; no booze heat on the finish. A refreshing, faintly tart treat; I hope to have another soon!

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Photo of drpimento
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I guess it’s not a bad beer, though there’s certainly no "dessert wine flavor". Actually about the opposite with a slightly funky sour taste. Very short lived head. A one off for me.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big heavy wine bottle. Nice for marketing but is it necessary for a bottle of beer? I get it with a $100 bottle of wine; but....? I'm just saying....

In any event, cellar cleaning and found this one that I'd not tasted. Pours a crystal clear gold with a fast fading head - not even lacing after the head fades.

Smell of Belgian esters and carnuba wax with undertones of sweet citrus.

Mouth feel is very tart and acidic. Very wine like and with a real champagne characteristic. I'm not sure if this is intentional.

Flavor profile is interesting in that there is clearly grapes and a muscat characteristic. Actually tastes a bit like old wine. Very much a sour apricot taste is best description of complex flavors with a pucker character. I'm trying to like this one - just not sure. Not what I expected at all.

Clean, salvating, pucker finish. Biggest criticism is that this tastes nothing like a strong ale. On the good side, you'd never guess the abv in a million years.

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Photo of corky310
2.76/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance- Cloudy golden peach, no head to speak of.
Smell- musky fruity wine scent
Taste- sour to me, more wine like than beer, carbonation similar to DP champagne with a cider base. No hint of the alcohol which is nice considering it's 11.2%, very balanced flavor throughout.

Don't think I would ever drop another $20 on this.

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Photo of Amtchicago
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. I have had 2 bottles under the Deschutes label and at least 6 by Goose Island. They are completely different in my opinion, the Goose Island being the superior of the two. Slightly tart, extremely refreshing. This beer is a must try for anyone who loves wine and beer equally.

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Photo of afroitguy
4.93/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Take your favorite wine and mix it with the best beer and you have something that doesn't sound spectacular but it ...if you get this save it for a real special occasion.

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Photo of pat61
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Has a very grapey, winey nose. The hops are very faint. The beer pours brilliant amber under a thin white head that quickly vanishes to nothing. The beer has legs but it is not hot or solventy. The grapes are upfront on the palate with light grains far in the background. A hint of diacetyl arises shortly after the entrance but it quickly fades to berry. The beer finishes tart with a light hop accent and some traces of oak. The beer is pettilant – just barely carbonated, with a slightly above medium body. The bottle says you can age this for 5 years. At one it tastes a little old and flat.

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Photo of travolta
2.84/5  rDev -27%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy peach color with a short lived head. Aroma is sour and musty, white grapes, Belgian yeast, funk.

Appearance: A cloudy golden apricot color with no head retention or lacing.

Nose: Clean white grape and muscat, some cherry and melon.

Taste: White wine tartness, oak, vinegar, and sour grapes, grape must.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from Fri., 01/02/2014 tasting (thanks, Erich and Sara!), unknown brewing/packaging dates, poured into a snifter glass, drank over ~30 minutes

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Goose Island : Class of '88

Pours a cloudy peach color with a short lived head. Aroma is sour and musty, white grapes, Belgian yeast, funk.

In the taste, sour grape, must, white wine tartness, oak, vinegar, and light earthy hops from whole flower, Mt.Hood hops. Nice winesque flavor going with barrel and funk. Whether its a sour barrel aged Belgian pale or American wild ale brewed with grapes, this is great.

Medium bodied, well carbonated ale. Has a sour wine barrel lingering with tannins drawing the palate to a semi dry finish.

Overall, a quality barrel aged brew from Goose Island. Very, very good stuff.

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Photo of draheim
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

765mL into a tulip. Opens with a pathetic pft and pours a clear golden copper color, but the head barely builds to anything and within a minute of the pour it lies still as glass. There's carbonation, but this is a disappointing looking beer.

Aroma is both floral and vinous, sweet and vaguely tart.

Taste is brightly sweet and sour; crisp. Green apples, white wine, pear juice, lemons, pale malt. Just a touch of boozy warmth hits the throat. Despite its inauspicious beginnings, I actually like this beer quite a lot. And the high ABV is extremely well disguised.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and round. The lack of carbonation doesn't detract too much; in fact it's just a touch prickly.

Overall this beer got off to a rocky start but I'm enjoying it. Not sure I'd drop $20 for another bottle, but it was good for what it was.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Bright orange, absolutely no head, which is laudable in its own right, and equal lacing. Not much carbonation either; a few weak streams were present for a while but are gone now. It's the least lively beer I've ever seen (save the vibrant color), to my amusement.

S: The opposite of the appearance. Decent sour character, with cherries, grapes, and strawberry notes. Funky yeast on the fringes. Embracing and assertive.

T: Same as the nose. The intensity of the sourness is moderate; it will scare off people who don't like sours, but I wouldn't mind it upped a little. I get surprising, but still minor, appearance of hops and malt on the finish, decently well integrated into the rest of the profile but kind of a detour. A little watery.

M: Light, slightly syrupy, tiny carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

O: A damn good beer. Can't fault it for anything for hardly anything based on the style, only on my personal preferences.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

765ml brown glass bottle with classy label and black foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Central Market grocery for around $20.00 USD and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery and style. 2014 vintage. Bottled "14JAN14." Reviewed as a Belgian Style Ale for obvious reasons. 11.2% ABV.

Served cold - at fridge temp. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of white colour. Not as thick or creamy as would be ideal. Poor frothiness. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is below average - about one minute. Fizzy.

Body colour is a translucent transparent pale copper with orange hues. Above average vibrance. Clean looking; there are no visible yeast particles nor is there any visible hop sediment. Appears well-carbonated.

Bottle-conditioning seems to have done this beer well in spite of the subpar head retention. Overall, it's an appealing appearance for a Belgian ale. Not unique, but luscious and attractive. I'm looking forward to the first sip. There are no obvious flaws here aside from the lackluster head retention.

Sm: Has some really nice funkiness and yeast character. The dryness of the wine is a perfect complement to the seeming spritziness of the pilsner malt and clean barley base. Wine must is obvious. White, red, and rose grape notes come through. Floral hop character. Pleasantly dry oak wood/barrel notes. Some faint apple and cidery notes. The delicate wine character is intoxicating; I can't wait for the first sip.

Overall, it's an enchanting aroma of moderate strength. No alcohol is detectable. There are no off-notes.

T: The pilsner malt and clean barley foundation easily bends to the will of the dominant white riesling grape character. There are touches of pleasant oak throughout. I'm not picking up on much in terms of red grape or pinot noir character; sweet white wine definitely dominates. I'd prefer more of a dry white wine character; this is too sweet for my tastes, and even flirts with sparkling character. There're also touches of apple and low-attenuation cidre. Hop character is entirely floral; there's no piney, citrusy, nectary, etc. hop character. Light pear. I could definitely go for more tartness (or even some sourness, which wouldn't be too outlandish a request given this beer's price point).

As it warms, I'm getting a kiss of strawberry (especially on the finish). I search for the banana mentioned by some other reviewers, but I never find it. (There's also no clove, if we're focusing on yeast-derived notes). A bit musty, sure. One might even call it damp, if you'll excuse the pretension implicit in that phrasing.

Overall, I'm glad it delivers on its premise - this beer has immediately evident wine character. It's always annoying when you can't find any traces of wine character whatsoever in a wine/beer hybrid, but this one commits. I dig that boldness.

That said, it's far from complex or intricate. There's plenty of wine-derived nuance, and it integrates the wine character into the beer well. There's also some subtlety there. Good amplitude.

It's pretty flat both structurally and in terms of layering; the flavour is consistent throughout the entire flavour duration. If not for the mouthfeel, it'd be a one-act beer; the open/set and finish taste the same as the body.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or off-notes come through.

Pleasant and enjoyable to drink. I like it, and the yeast character does lend it a Belgian feel. Very cohesive stuff.

Mf: Crisp. Slightly coarse. Wet. Kind of refreshing. The alcohol is noticeable, but it's not a hot or boozy beer by any means. Slightly overcarbonated. Not as acidic as I'd like. Some acetic touches would suit it well too.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, or harsh.

Medium-bodied, with moderate weight on the palate. Overall presence is pretty decent, but not ideal. Could be softer. A biteen smacky there on the finish, which I adore.

This texture complements the taste well, but doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to it.

Dr: Absolutely a drinkable brew, especially for its high ABV. This beer succeeds at combining wine notes with a beer base, but never feels quite as Belgian as it should - mainly due to a strange commitment to a pilsner base rather than a Belgian pale malt base, as well as a restrained approach to the integration of the yeast. This beer will please the discerning drinker, but probably isn't worth buying more than once at its unreasonable price point. I know I won't be buying it again. But it's a strong offering from Goose Island for what it is. I do wish it had more of a red wine emphasis, but I notice that the red wine grapes become a bit more expressive as the beer comes to temperature.


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Photo of maximum12
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Somehow my addled brain translated "Belgian" into "barleywine", so the first sip of this bottle was quite a shock. Big 750 ML bottle split with my wife.

The pour is a clear orange with a quick-collapsing bit of fluff on top. Nose is heavy on the white grape, which I've always dug in mid-summer. Alcohol, but of musty grape peel. Not much else.

Class of '88 Belgian Styel Ale is what I imagine licking an old wine barrel would be like. A lot more wine than in the nose, the barrels come out strongly. White grape, banana, & pear skin add to the wine-tasting, along with a musty, old-cavern taste (I'm imagining this is where the bottles originally rested). Pale malts pop out of the toaster but disappear quickly. Spare tartness on the finish, but more the wine-style tartness/bite than anything beerish. I'll get through my glass, but happy to have help with this one.

Nothing much stands out about this beer. The wine barrels come harder than Charlie Harper's girlfriends, & while that's cool, if I wanted a fairly weak wine, I'd hit some Boone's Farm. NowhadImeen? Decent enough.

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

Clear golden-straw. The head is alka-seltzer fizzy and completely dissolves just as fast as it was raised.

Smells vinous. Sweet and white grapes. Light hop bitterness. A little bit of phenols.

The white grapes/muscat is very present, giving it a sparkling sweet white wine feel but also some over-ripe banana.

Crisp mouthfeel, medium bodied.

I liked it very much and it tastes exactly as I though it would.

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Photo of Tone
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an white color. slight retention and poor lacing. Smells of apple, citrus, hint of hop, sweet malt, tartness, and alcohol. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of pale malt, alcohol, apple, slight grape, citrus, and tartness. Overall, weak appearance, decent aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

765 ml bottle, with bottled on date of January 13, 2014 printed on the back label. Acquired this bottle at the local Binny's. Another big beer in this big bottle from Goose Island; these guys have really been cranking them out lately. Vintage 2014, my bottle lists an 11.20% abv. "Michigan Riesling and Oregon Pinot Noir grapes aged with whole flower Mt. Hood hops and pilsner malt in muscat casks". Expectations are pretty good, based on the brewery.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a very pale white wine-like color, but appears more of a hazed golden orange in the glass. About a half a finger of fizzy white bubbles for a head that audibly sizzles down to a ring instantly. A few lonely strands of lacing. Has a slightly thick / viscous appearance.

S - Smell is of musty yeast funk, oak wood, wine-like alcohol fumes, vinous white grapes, strawberries, some buttery diacetyl, mildly leathery. It smells okay, but I was hoping for more.

T - Taste is mostly all vinous wine-beer hybrid, and no Belgian anything. White grape, strawberry, apple, pear, maybe a hint of banana towards the end. Very tart, but not sour at all, which is slightly disappointing. Lightly grainy at times which offsets from the wine-like tartness nicely.

M - Feel is lightly tart and citric. Sticky and dry finish. Slight alcohol warmth. Good drinkability for the high abv.

Overall, very wine like and cider like a lot of the time, but never is it very Belgian at all. I have to say, I am disappointed with this outing, but I had high expectations based on the success of Goose Island Halia and Goose Island Gillian. I definitely appreciate what they were trying to do, and the quality is obviously there, but something about this doesn't do it for me. Maybe I will try the Deschutes version for comparison's sake.

Goose Island Class Of '88 Belgian Style Ale ---3.5/5

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Class Of '88 Belgian-style Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 120 ratings