Imperial IPA | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Draft only as of 2008.

Added by cretemixer on 11-24-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 330 | Ratings: 524
Photo of sulldaddy
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Im sampling a 2006 bottle that has been cellared since purchase. On the eve of my 40th Birthday and for my 1600th review I figured I would dig something out of the archives to commemorate the occasions!

Pouring at cellar temp into a snifter the beer pours a rich mahogany with ruby highlights and frothy fleeting khaki colored head. The aroma is evident immediately after the cap is popped with deep malt notes of toffee and brown sugar, I get prunes, plums, raisins, lots of dark fruit. AS expected no hops and only the a little boozey red wine character. Strong english ale nose if I had to guess blindfolded on this one.
First sip reveals a smooth textured beer with very fine and fairly soft and spacious carbonation. Coating my palate with some sticky malt syrupy feature after each sip.
The flavor is sweet and malty with caramel and brown sugar, loads of dark fruit again, with raisins and plums. No hops on the flavor profile that I can pick up, which is also expected for a 10 year old bottle. I do get a little black peppery bite on the finish, which I attribute to the 9% ABV and not hops. While not warm in my mouth I do get just a little bit of warming in my belly after each swallow. A bit of sipping beer, but very enjoyable and certainly has held up well over the past decade, unless you were looking for hops, cause they are gone.
Im glad I opened this bottle and am enjoying the beer, even though the carbonation characters are soft, I am getting a lot of burps from the beer. Glad this one didnt die in my cellar.

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Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is relatively clear yellowish amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and sides of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts and floral and citrusy hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are a little more flavors of caramel malts and a light to medium amount of bitterness. Only a slight amount of alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Imperial IPA ages pretty incredibly as you can still smell and taste some of the hops after a decade. While the aging has rendered it closer to a barleywine, you can still get some of the hops in the smell and taste.

Note: Aged approximately 10 years.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a tulip at the Blue Dog.
Had a golden orange amber color with a medium white head. Lacing was spotted.
The aroma was fruity hops intermingled with pine. Malts had a ceral grain smell.
Taste was pretty good. Light in flavor heavy in bitterness. You could tell this was loaded with hops, plenty of thick sticky resinous hops. A subtle fruity hop taste came through the sweet malts and then finished with abold dry bitterness.
Drank thick and sticky on the palate.
A desent IIPA.

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Photo of joe1510
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

64oz Growler
Goose Island (Clybourn)

The draft seems to be different from the bottles that I've enjoyed for a few years now. Goose Island's IIPA pours a mildly hazy orange that glows copper when backlit. A great looking two finger creamy white head grew on the pour and left incredibly thick, dense drink lines after each gulp. The carbonation is almost non-existent in the appearance which makes the body glow that much more. A great looking brew and the head just keeps on keepin' on.

The smell is a little muted when compared to the giant flavor present. Caramel maltiness creates a solid backdrop and the hops lay over the top layer upon layer. Thick dense resinous hops come up first and foremost along with a good amount of pine sap. There's a bit of bittersweet orange oils coming through here and there that just add to the complexity.

Goose Island's IIPA is one of my favorite styles of IIPA! I love the big resinous and deep forest pinyness that makes this IIPA what it is. A thick layer of caramel sets a great base for the big mouthful of resinous hops that quickly come into play along with hints of ready to burst pine needles. The bittersweet orange oils don't really come through here and there like the nose suggested but attempt to make a stand on the back of the tongue, they succeed only briefly. The Caramel and resinous hops make a final stand and stomp out the orange. A really great IIPA with a whole lot going on!

The mouthfeel for such a huge beer is right where it should be. The carbonation isn't very present but it doesn't need to be with such a nice body. The body is medium-full with a great silkiness that, even with the mild carbonation, makes its way through at a respectable pace.

Now! This beer goes down really easy but that can get you in big trouble. The big abv is barely detectable and keeps the glass tilted. This is a joy to drink but will, without a doubt, put you down for the night if you go overboard.

I look forward to the release of Goose's IIPA every year and from the tap there seems to be a bit of a difference. Both are World class! I'm really not sure which I prefer...I dig on both of them.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on-tap in a tulip glass in a local bar.

Pours deep copper with a creamy white head that has nice retention and leaves plenty of lacing.

The smell is of tropical and citrus fruits. Hop spicing certainly comes through in a robust aroma.

The taste is citrus and tropical fruits (apricot, grapefruit and banana) mingles with a touch of caramel. It has a spicy, long finish.

It has a chewy full body. Smooth despite abv.

A wonderfully tasty hoppy brew that is dangerously drinkable!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a nice clear orange color with a soapy white head on top. The retention is thin but has a very nice sticky lacing. The smell of the beer is packed with fruity pine-like hops. Very fresh and bright aromas on the nose. The taste is really good as well, lots of sweetness balanced with a great bitterness. The flavored of fruit and malt mix really well with a subtle resin finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied gently carbonated. Overall this is a very good IIPA.

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Photo of ale1
2.77/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

picked up a sixer at local grocer, served at around 60° poured into a pint glass
2-3" head with large bubbles , ok lacing , light amber colour

alright now down to the tasting , by nose possibly cascade hops ..dry hopped
it appears by the results that's ok if your in a rush and want to make a hopped beer however much better if done over time throught the wort boil 60 120 180 min's etc.
yea like Dogfish ipa' s ! this is not a real WOW IPA and wont purchase this one again. Another corprate blaaa ripoff brewer doing it as cheap as they can.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Authority in NYC.

Beer is light amber in colour, with a moderately sized off-white head. Good retention and excellent lacing- glass was just coated in head.

Caramel malt and a large, murky hop scent. Herbal, dank, with a big citrus blast accompanying- grapefruit primarily.

Lots of citrus in the taste, along with a notable dank, herbal flavour, with fits with the nose. A good dose of caramel malt. Alcohol is noticeable. Hop focused but with a big malt presence. Very full flavoured and quite bitter.

Medium to full bodied, moderately carbonated. Oily and a bit bready.

Overally, quite a good DIPA. Not stand-out good, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this on tap at Mari's 6 pack for a goose island tasting.
Review from notes, drank it on Saturday March 2nd 2013
It had a very murkey golden color body with a very small head to it. The aroma was pine upfront then some grapefruit and citrus come through. The taste has a pine,bitter flavor to it. The hops hit your taste buds right up front. I didn't get much malt flavor. The mouth feel is very smooth and leaves a hop after taste. Overall i thought it was a really good DIPA.

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Photo of dar482
3.34/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this on tap at Top Hops in NYC. It comes in a clear yellowish color like many IPAs. The hops come slow and a bit flat. The malty slowness covers up the exciting brightness that I want in IPAs. It ends in a roundish aftertaste. It's decent, but after a while, it tasted almost oxidized, despite being fresh from the keg. I guess that's the characteristic of the beer.

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Photo of corby112
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Draft at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.

Pours a very cloudy, very dark golden orange color with light tangerine edges and a 1.5 finger white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Really good retention with streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Dank resinous hop aroma with lots of pine needle, spruce tip and earthy grass character.  This is countered by a subtle citrus presence along with boozy sweetness and a caramel malt backbone.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a very dry and dank earthy hop presence that lingers over the malt backbone and boozy sweetness into a slightly dry finish.  Dry, sticky and bitter with aggressive hops up front.  The hop profile is a bit one dimensional however with only very subtle citrus character.  Could use some more sweetness for balance.  Malt backbone is a bit too heavy for my liking with notes of caramel, toffee and biscuit followed by boozy heat in finish.  Decently hoppy but alcohol and strong malt flavors hinder the flavor a bit.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer was served from the tap at Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY at their Goose Island vs. Founders Split Tap Takeover. It arrived in a thinned, stemless chalice glowing a muddy golden amber. It held a one and a half finger head of white bubbly cream, showing decent retention, and thick sheets of lacing down the glass. There was a thick haze throughout, with no sediment. Carbonation appeared average. The aroma was big with fresh grapefruit hops and bittering rind, pale malts, and light metallics. Vanilla coolness, black peppery booze, clovey phenols, and the chemical ring of nail polish remover (much like an English IPA) added spiciness to that malty base. With warmth came more fusel boozy rumbles, and the roast of brown sugar. Our first impression was that there was a surprising caramel note to the malts, despite the paler nose at first, with great robustness to the hops through the end. As we sipped, pale grain, borderline Belgian yeast, black peppery booziness, raw honey prickle, muddy mineral, fresh clovey spice, and raw caramels started things off. The peak came with that English IPA-esque fusel phenol bite to ride against continued pale maltiness. Mixing in were also notes of sugary sweet orange flesh, sweet and roasty caramel malts, brown sugar sweetness, and the start of big herbal hop bitterness. The hops enhanced through the finish of the swallow, adding big bitterness in combination with that continued phenolic wash. The hops here became more citric than herbal, and by the end of the swallow gave sweetness and oily syrups to that bitterness. The aftertaste breathed of soured pale grain, mineral, aromatic grapefruit and nectary juicy hops, chalked yeast, wet wheatiness, citric flesh pucker, and peppery booziness. The body was medium to full, and the carbonation was medium, but with big foamy frothiness when held in the mouth to taste. This all made for nice slurp, smack, cream, and froth, with a nice creamy coating around the mouth. The booze and bright hoppiness gave pucker, and light, eventual dryness. The abv was appropriate, and the beer was extremely fresh and drinkable.

Overall, the best thing about this beer was the spice, zest, and big fresh hoppiness to the flavoring. There was such a nice blend of citrus, fruitiness, caramel, and spice. This all sat nicely with that surprising caramel depth and sweetness to the malts. This was all seen through the aroma as well, helping to keep this brew drinkable from tip to toe. By the end the booze may become a bit much for some, but otherwise this is a terrific beer.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.63/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet.

Nice amber with 1 finger of white head. Good clarity and moderate carbonation.

Hops galore. Pine needles, grapefruit zest, lemon zest and numerous other zests. Thick caramel and some toffee.

Big resinous pine, grapefruit zest, lemon zest, orange zest and perhaps some tangerine and the smallest touch of peach. The malts make themselves known in the thickest of caramel and a good dose of toffee. Finishes with an ass kicking of bitter hops that are highly resinous, floral and spicy.

Medium-full bodied, oily, slick and warming.

This DIPA is all about resin and zests and has a rather caustic bitterness. Has a similar hop profile to something Stone would make along the lines of Ruination or Arrogant Bastard. However the malt also has a huge presence in this one. Yet, for some reason the malt and hops do not play well with each other and never strike a balance.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark amber orange color with a thin, but very creamy and robust toasted white colored head.

S - Tropical citrus fruit: oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit, some citrus spice, bready caramel malt. Alcohol aroma is well buried.

T - Sweet caramel malt is starts things off with a slight spicy character. The hops are light in the beginning and gradually builds to a nicely balanced spice (peppery) finish. The hop combination balances with the malt mainly throughout but intensifies after it goes down leaving bold remnants of oranges, grapefruit, some traces of pineapple, lemons, floral, and lingering peppery warmth. There's a slight warming on the way down.

M - Thick and rich, mild carbonation with a light sting, and leaves a hefty coating of pepper and fruit.

O - Very good and worth trying. More malt forward and balanced but finishes with a sweet fruity, hoppy, peppery presence that's quite nice.

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Photo of sprucetip
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RIBCO in Rock Island, Illinois

Golden/orange, clear, with thin white head and not much retention or lacing.

Pretty boozy, but joined by peach and citrus hop flavors. Malty sweetness is slightly more than detectable.

Peach, pine, and floral hop flavors are way more noticeable than the moderate hop bitterness. It's also boozy, and pretty well balanced by some malty sweetness.

Good carbonation, medium body/viscosity, gentle warming, and some bitterness and drying in the finish.

Other than being a bit too boozy this is a really nice beer. Still a really nice beer. Better, to me, if less boozy.

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Photo of notalagerlugger
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the best IPA I have had I wish they still made it. It was well balanced even though it was Bitter to the maximum. Goose Island recommended eating Blue Cheese when drinking it. It was a match made in heaven and I have been an IPA fan every since. Many DIPA or Imperial ipa get to sweet syrup flavor from desire to make them high alcohol. This beer is high ABV but really smooth.

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Photo of daledeee
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An on tap offering. I think this is pretty limited.

Got it in my large wine glass. A cloudy rusty body with great head.

The nose is floral and hoppy.

Taste is of course loaded with hops. Really bitter at first but then there is a wonderful malt balance to it and a floral finish. I personally like the malt, others like mostly hops. I found the drink a very unique tasting IPA and quite refreshing. So good I had 4 of them.

Mouth feel is also exceptional with a very heavy body. I would say this is one of the best IPA I have had. Fresh on the tap helps quite a bit! Goose Island continues to show me that they are very adept at making many styles of beer that are unique and of exceptional quality.

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Photo of hoppytobehere
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy, orange body with thin head. Lacing along the glass is ridiculous (in a good way).
S: Oranges, bitter hops, a little bit of english malt.
T: Pretty true to the nose. Very similar to their regular IPA, just hopped up and way more bitter.
M: Medium bodied, could use a little more carbonation. Very syrupy.
O: Pretty solid IIPA. Would definitely drink again.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 16oz fill at a goose island event earlier today. enjoyed from my goose island wine glass.

a - brew poured a deep ipa orange with a thin head that was gone quick. lacing was fairly sticky although streaky.

s - fairly sweet and malty with a bit of a hop slap.

t - lots of honey, pretty big booze presence and a bitter finish. decidedly malty. the booziness gives it an almost bandaide flavoring.

m - boozy and bitter. full and rich.

o - overall i dug this one a bit more when i had the 3 oz pour but still glad to nab the tick. it is a pretty powerful IIPA but could use a bit more of the classic citric grapefruit flavorings on the taste. the booze is also a bit in your face.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: medium amber body with 2 thick fingers of dense ivory foam; splotchy lace drapings

S: sweet malty caramel and bitter piney hops

T: pale and caramel malt flavors, honey-thick; smokey pine and citrus rind; some grapefruit and butterscotch

M: thick and dense; washing bitter aftertaste; chewy and full

O: I thought this a well-done DIPA - it hits all the benchmarks for flavor, strength, taste, feel... not sure why I see some flat reviews - maybe you need to be style-partial to really dig on this - I know I am, but I also feel this beer is spot-on for the style. I'd recommend picking one up without hesitation if you ever see one. Goose Island makes great beers - especially these high gravity brews.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At the time of this review this beer is illogical on the "Top Beers - American Double / Imperial IPA" list on It does not belong at all.

Beer served in a snifter, on draft at Churchkey DC. Beer is amber and mostly clear with a tan off white head of small bubbles.

Aroma is malty, earthy, mildly piny, smells fine.

Tastes horrid, it is mildly solventy with this odd bitterness at the end that must be from grain, maybe almost smokey? I hate it. I will not have this again.

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Photo of Duff27
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Half inch tall white head on a murky dark red/amber body. Splotchy lacing with a cap and collar.

Smells of citrusy booziness.

Slight citrus from hops. Grassy. Has almost a menthol quality to it. Noticeable alcohol.

Full mouthfeel, good carbonation,

Good beer, although I disagree with the distinction of world class. DIPAs are a crowded field and this one just doesn't have enough to set it apart from the pack. That being said, get your hands on some if you can.

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Photo of mrfrancis
2.83/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear amber with a tight whitish mousse.

S: Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, citrus, garlic, white onion, and radish are present on the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, brown sugar, biscuit, bitter orange, lemon, lime, pine, unripened pineapple, parsnips, grapefruit, white onion, radish, and garlic are present on the palate. The finish is vegetal, fiery, and sticky with a combination of lemon, grapefruit, caramel, pine, white onion, and garlic flavors underscored by peppery, prickly alchol.

M: Medium-to-full in body, viscous, resinous, and sticky. Carbonation is spot on for the style, but alcohol presence is overwhelming. This thing kicks hard.

O: I'm really not sure what to make of this IIPA. It's definitely not what I expected and doesn't display what I generally look for in the style. The flavor is so harsh, funky, and vegetal that I initially thought that there had to be something wrong with the beer. I'm not sure where all of the hype is coming from. This one definitely is not for me.

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Photo of Tone
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, slight flora hops, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, hint of grapefruit, and a hint of pine. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of citrus hops, alcohol, hint of floral hops, sweet malt, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance and aroma, but average body and blend.

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Photo of Retail1LO
3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured on draft into a 9 oz. snifter. Pours an extremely hazy amber hue with a single finger's width head that retreats quickly. The nose is dissapointingly tame. Just the slightest air of hops and citrus. The taste is bizarre as hell. This tastes like it's smoked. It's not horrible, but it's both unexpected and offputting. The mouthfeel is bitter with a quality that reenforces the smokiness. Overall, this just isn't my thing

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Imperial IPA from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 524 ratings.
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