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
Reviews by DVMin98:
Photo of DVMin98
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More User Reviews:
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 ryanpj
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

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 Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of jaydoc
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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 RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of artoolemomo
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of krome
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Snow81
5/5  rDev +28.5%

Photo of whatname
3.5/5  rDev -10%

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

Photo of impending
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of gtermi
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of a77cj7
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of user785335
3/5  rDev -22.9%

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 ShanePB
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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