Goose Island Beer Co.

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Finnish Sahti
3.65 | pDev: 12.05%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Amber color, juniper berry aroma, spicy rye flavor, medium body.
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 45 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Colorado

3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-draught at Goose Island Clybourn over Paddy's Day Weekend. 8.3% ABV confirmed. Reviewed from notes. Served into a 12 oz tulip. This was my first Sahti.

A: Pours a white floater - no head whatsoever. Body colour is a rich auburn. Nontransparent. Semitranslucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Understated yet appealing.

Sm: Red wine. Heavy berries. Cherry. Bright fruit skin. Luscious and appealing. Maybe light raisin? A refined aroma of mild strength.

T: Cherry and berries. Definitely berry-dominant. Light acidity. Fruit skin. Light red wine notes. No hop character at all. Grapeskin. A bit of vine. Balanced and enjoyable. Certainly a different flavour profile from what I'm used to. Still, there's not a lot of depth of flavour here. Earthy. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Slightly dry and coarse. Lightly vinous, even a bit scratchy. Good thickness. Complements the flavour profile well.

Dr: Fairly drinkable, but it's something of a sipper. Hides its ABV well. I need to spend more time with the style, but tentatively I'd say that I wouldn't get this one again; it doesn't stand out.


Apr 29, 2013
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mdfb79 from New York

3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From 01/21/13 notes. Had this on tap at the Clybourn brewpub. Haven't had a lot of beers in this style so was interested to try a new one.

a - Pours a somewhat hazy reddish brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices, fruity malts, apples, spice sticky sweet dark fruits, and some earthy notes. Little bit spicier than I was expecting, but the fruit is nice.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, sweet strawberries, sticky dark fruits, sugar, spices, pepper, yeast, bready malts. More fruit than the nose here and the strawberries are quite nice. A step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. Slightly overcarbonated but pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty solid, interesting beer. I don't think this is my favorite style, but out of the 4 Sahti's I have tried so far this one is probably my favorite; I liked it much better than the DFH one. Lots of sweet fruits and spices, it is an interesting beer worth checking out.

Jan 28, 2013
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lstokes from Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Clybourn brewpub, although I think it was more of a 6-7 ABV? Clear amber, nice finger of foam, good lacing. Nose is grain and very present juniper, which is also present in the taste--it's like a wonderful gin-rye-beer-sour hybrid. Tart on the finish. Medium carbonation and a slightly slick mouthfeel. I've actually never had this style before, so I don't know quite how to judge, but I would definitely have more Sahtis if I saw them.

Feb 11, 2012
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TMoney2591 from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass at the Clybourn brewpub.

Not enough sahtis out there. Seriously. This one pours a clear sunrise amber topped by a finger of dirty cream-white foam. The nose comprises caramel, vague wood, and sour rye bread. The taste holds notes of biscuit, rye spice, light mint, juniper berry, and light balsa. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and an oily feel. Overall, a very nice sahti, one of the more enjoyable examples I've had in a long time.

Jan 04, 2012
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Chaney from District of Columbia

2.68/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I took a chance on this one because it sounded unique. Served in a tulip glass at the Clybourn location.

BA says this one is 5.6%, but the one I tried at the alehouse was 7.5%.

A: Poured a crystal clear, mild amber color, with about a 1/2 finger head that retained itself. This was visibly low carbonated.

S: I got almost nothing on the nose. No spices, grains, malts, etc. After REALLY trying, and for the purposes of this review, I supposed I got a puff of honey.

T: Disappointing to say the least. The only other beer I've had in this style so far has been DFH's entry "Sah'tea." That one was highly creative due to its colorful and usual spice bill. This one had a bit of honey and MAYBE some berries, but that's it. If you're going to create something like this, my suggestion to GI is to lay it out on the line and really soup it up with over the top spices!

M: The syrupy quality without an interesting spice bill was most unpleasant. Additionally, the carbonation was extremely low as well as the lacing.

O: I'm always pumped to try a beer in an out-of-the-ordinary, out-of-the-everyday style, but this one illustrates why the Sahti style hasn't caught on. GI should go back to the drawing board and make this brew a big FU to the man: "You may not like this beer, but your palate will certainly remember how it was wrecked by our draconian spice bomb!"

Dec 28, 2011
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emerge077 from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Goose Clybourn.

Pale orange hue, bright clarity that almost sparkled in the light. Thin cap of creamy foam across the top. Minimal lacing, average retention. Head fades into a broken skim that clings to the edges.

Husky grain in the aroma, simple and clean, oats and apparently rye are used in this Sahti. The lack of any defining juniper/herbals didn't bode well.

Lightly tart with mild astringency that suggested apple, very crisp with ample carbonation. Vague spice that seems derived more from rye than juniper. Nice and crisp feel, the overall simplicity and easy drinkability begs for warmer weather. It would have been better with more noticeable juniper or some level of herbal presence.

Feb 23, 2011
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tjsdomer2 from Illinois

4.07/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Kind of a flat golden beer. Ok carbonation, but good lacing.

Smell: Juniper berries and biscuit malt. Very good.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Juniper berries and malty crispness. Definitely tastes like gin, so I give it points for this. Very smooth as well. No hops or hop bitterness. Very dry finish.

Drinkability: I really like gin, so I could drink this all day.

Overall: A great change of pace.

Jan 14, 2011
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jrallen34 from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

In tap at GI into a tasting glass, recommendation by the bar tender...Pours a yellowish gold, pretty clear, watery lacing...The aroma is pretty good, a nice mixture of fruit and tea. Tea does dominate mostly but the pears and lemon help to balance this a little...The balance on the nose is undone the taste as its mostly tea with aloe and other herbal notes. Still some fruity notes just not enough.

To much tea for me to make it drinkable. What some would find refreshing I find as medicinal.

Dec 31, 2010
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Duhast500 from Rhode Island

3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this while in Chicago for the weekend.

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a clear gold with a slight head and little lacing.

The smell is fruity with a touch of plum and a slight tea like flavor. There is a bit of a malt flavor in the back with some spiciness as well.

The taste is again, fruity with pear, and some apple flavor that is smooth and mellow. There is a nice bready flavor that is a bit dry as well.

The feel of this beer is light and goes down smooth. There is a bit of a dry feel to this beer that is an interesting feature but leave my mouth a little flat. This would go well with the properly paired food that might compliment this beer well.

Nov 02, 2010
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taylorhamrick from South Carolina

3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ GI-Clybourn

Pours a kind of clear straw yellow color, a very thin head, leaving almost no lacing on the glass. According to the style description - this isn't very accurate, as far as the clarity goes. But otherwise, just looks like a pale lager or something. I think some kind of spiced ketchup was interfering with my sense of smell, because I was smelling pumpkin pie spice on and off, I think I'll write it off as something in the room because when I tried, I could only smell the beer. I mostly get a kind of herbal smell, with quite a big pilsener malt backbone, but also a bit of caramel smell, or toffee, like little suckers, whichever kind they are - a big sugary if you ask me. Almost not tartness is detected here, which I would expect, and very little juniper, apart from the kind of light herbal, woody, floral smells mentioned. This isn't too spicy in the taste, but I get it as I pull the glass from my lips, a kind of sticky, woody, kind of spicy taste. The malt has a pilsener taste, no hops, no bitterness, just sweetness. There is really nothing exiting about this, and I can only hope that it isn't an accurate representation of the style - I mean, it doesn't need to be exiting, but it shouldn't taste like some kind of an imperial lite beer (which it kind of reminds me of). The mouthfeel is pretty nice, kind of a good balance between thin and full, like a more syrupy verison of some very light adjunct type lager. There's a nice bite of carbonation, which may be about the most interesting part of this. And it drinks kind of refreshing and light, but there is very little of interest in here. I was exited to try a new style, but I highly doubt that this is accurate. I wouldn't try it unless it's your only shot. It's like a summer beer without any wings - not a sahti, according to what I've learned about it, at all.

Jun 27, 2009
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rtepiak from Poland

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a golden yellow color with a mild head of white. an odor of a very large amount of protein. yeast. almost like burn hair but obviously not on that scale... or that displeasing. palate is quite yeasty and a juniper fruit sweet. the beer is also earthy as well. a musky twig quality... something i find quite interesting. but the protein make the earthy seems like biting fingernails. this is a very interesting beer. something i have to drink up on a bit more. the protein doesn't seems to make for a hardier beer but something more biological in this case. i will have this again in a few month in the face of another of this version.

Jun 15, 2009
Photo of brdc
brdc from Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

It is hard to judge and compare as this is the only sahti I ever had.
Hazy golden, nice white head with good retention, some lacing.
Aroma and flavor are both sweet, more so than I expected. Frutiness, wheat notes, grainy, citric, some acidic and tart notes.
Light to medium in body, very refreshing and easy to drink, worth a revisit if I have a chance.

May 04, 2009
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip with a frothy, initially fat-one-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a murky, pale amber color that shows an opaque, bright, straw gold color when held up to the light. The aroma is interesting, with an herbal, almost pine like character that must be juniper. Other aromas of grassy grain, fresh crushed malt, perhaps a hint of soapiness and even a hint of light tartness in the finish. An interesting, somewhat, hearty aroma. I definitely like the mix of hearty grain aromatics, light spiciness and hint of tartness that is found in the aroma.

The taste is lightly malty up front, but then picks up a definite tartness that is lactic in character. This lactic tartness makes this quite thirst quenching. There is a touch of a woody note and astringency to the finish. Grassy malt notes and some savory grain character are noticeable up front and a cracker-like grain note tends to linger on in the finish. This beer is quite dry, but still has quite a bit of body to it; it has a certain viscous character to it and a palate fullness, neither of which keep this from being quite quaffable. The juniper spicing is more subtle in the flavor than it is in the aroma (and it is fairly subtle there too), in the flavor it sort of adds a subtle spiciness that is just barely evocative of pine and some sort of berries.

My wife just tried some of this and reminded me that I have had this on tap at Goose Island Clyborne 6 to 7 or so years ago; the juniper character was more fresh then, and there wasn't any real tartness to that beer (if my memory isn't failing me). Still I like the extra tartness in this beer, it is a nice, clean sourness and it goes well with the rest of the beers character. Perhaps not the most complex of beers, but it is certainly tasty enough; this would definitely be a great hot weather beer.

Mar 12, 2009
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pmcadamis from Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Semi-clear light orange with a small white head and little lace.

S - Fruity, apples, melon, peach, berries and vanilla.

T - Mildly fruity, slightly bitter, but mainly sweet. Not as exotic or odd as I thought it would be. Pumpkin spice and sugar are there too.

M - Gentle carbonation, light body, and a slightly woody finish compliment the laid-back mild fruitiness nicely.

D - I was hoping this would be a bizzaro brew, but it really isn't. This could be marketed as a light and slightly fruity beer for the masses.

Nov 30, 2008
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KBomb from Minnesota

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sahti is a hazy dark gold with a generous fluffy head. Aroma is marked by yeast, fruity sweetness, and a little bit of "breadiness". It has a light wheaty taste that has a unique tiny bit of spiciness (the juniper I would guess?). Crisp and fruity all the way through with a little bit of tanginess. High carbonation, very dry. Almost like a champagne.

Sahti is fine. Nothing really bad about it, but its not entirely interesting either. I can't say that I'll be looking for it again, even though there is nothing to complain about.

Nov 30, 2008
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GbVDave from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml wax sealed "20th Anniversary Cellar Collection" bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

The label clearly states "Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub, Chicago, IL 60614" so that's why this review is here and not in with the Fulton St. brewery reviews.

A: Pours a clear golden-orange that is very still and generates virtually no head. No skim and just a slight ring. Second pour is nearly perfectly hazy, but still no trace of head or lace.

S: Has an interesting fruity nose that shows signs of having been spiked with juniper. Nice aroma of toasted malt, caramel, earthy hops, and spicy rye.

T: Sweet toasted malt and spicy rye with a bit of pine/juniper that plays well with flavors of tart green apple, lemon, pear, and toasted bread crust. Interesting "communion wafer" flavor looms large in the finish.

M: I have a feeling that the recipe for this has evolved over the years. The mouthfeel is (to me at least) creamier than I remember. Perhaps they're using more oats? Dry and spicy with an oily slickness. Slightly peppery in the middle.

D: Very enjoyable and dare I say sessionable? When I first tried this years ago, I remember it being very harsh and prickly. Maybe my palate has evolved, maybe the beer has...more than likely it's a little bit of both. I will revisit this on draft at Clybourn.

Nov 27, 2008
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paco1029384756 from Illinois

4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden color with minimal head and decent lacing.

Scent of candi sugar, citrus, yeast, some fruits and a hint of bubble gum. I really like the scent of this beer, it has a good balance and a nice strength.

Taste of spices and citrus with some bready malts start, with a hint of bubble gum and candi sugar. Finishes slightly dry with yeast and some malts.

Mouthfeel is very clean and pretty smooth with a good amount of carbonation.

I really enjoyed this beer, it is very drinkable and pretty light, but has a good amount of flavor; enough to make me want more.

Nov 23, 2008
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robbyc1 from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light hazy and fizzy pale gold looking with a neat white head.

Pale malts on the nose with a freshness and spicyness unidentified. The juniper is detectable as well, not hard to find.

Taste is very much like the nose, pale with dominant juniper, a spicy note as well. Very refreshing. No hops for the finish according to the brewer, just for the floral notes. Dry nonetheless.

Mouthfeel is light and silky.

Very drinkable, a session beer at the 6% limit I would favor.

Update: June 2009 - new brew, the nose is still fresh and spicy, with the juniper still there. But the taste of this one is quite sour, not as balanced this time. Lower the taste score by 1/2, some less drinkability as well.

Nov 20, 2008
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botham from New York

3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tap poured into a tulip at the clybourn brewpub. pours a light yellowish amber color with a finger of tight white head.

pale malts dominate the aroma, with notes of citrus fruit and a light spice from the rye. there is no juniper detectable, which was declared in the description of the brew.

taste is of the same pale malts, with a slight floral character. a light citrus note is present as well, with some very mild hop flavor in the finish.

mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a very smooth and silky texture. finish is smooth as well. aftertaste is semi-dry with lingering pale malts.

drinkability is good. there is a solid grouping of flavors and aroms here, which results in a brew bolder than most others this light. cheers!

Jan 09, 2008
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kajerm from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Clybourn. Pours gold and mostly transparent with a slight amber color and a modest white head of fine lacing carbonation.

The aroma is light malts and some piney notes that smell more like hops than juniper to me. Everyone's been saying there's rye in this beer, but if it's there it's doing a good job hiding from me, especially considering how distinctive a flavor/aroma it has.

Tastes like it smells, opening up with malty sweetness and finishing with a piney/herbal hop flavor and some definite yeast notes. GI house yeast has a pretty characteristic flavor that tends to give a "Goose Island flavor" to all of their brewpub beers under 8% ABV or so, and this one is no exception. There is a slightly different character to the pine flavor in the finish--probably the juniper-- but I thought Sahti was supposed to have no hops at all in it.

Mouthfeel is light and briskly carbonated.

Very drinkable, but I wanted this to be more interesting than it was.

Jan 03, 2008
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JudgeRoughneck from Louisiana

4.32/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I got this beer on tap and it came out a translucent, tarnished gold color with a thin white head that didn't really stay. Aromas were piney and yeasty. I thought his was a very interesting brew, but didn't taste much like beer. It tasted much more like white wine to me. I would liken it to a big fat chardonay that has been hopped or otherwise bittered. I definately tasted the juniper, but it didn't really jump out at me. Mouthfeel was a little flat and thin. I sucked this down quickly.

Jan 19, 2007
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ultralarry2006 from Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving in a tulip glass from on-tap. Leaves not much of a head and no retention, and no lacing. Body is a clear gold.

Smell - toasty malt, sour rye, black pepper and a hint of tart berries.

Taste - rye sourness with toasty malt sweetness washed through with black peppery spiciness, and a surprising amount of berry-like sweetness on the finish. Sort of a weak pale ale taste with a little bit of non-hop-associated spiciness, and with some berry tartness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - thin bodied, low carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, but not great, which holds down sesssionability for me, but I'll visit this from time to time.

Dec 12, 2006
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a slight reddish-brown body that was hazy. The light tan head was creamy with a soapy bubble layer on top. The head stays for most of the glass.

S- The aroma of green fresh hops was balanced by a faint gin note that had a slight tart character to it. The tart flavor might have been a slightly old cask but it really gave the aroma more depth and appeared to fit nicely, so I will assume it was intentional.

T- The soft note of gin or pine is faint but gives more depth to the green hops flavor. The hops appear to come before the light caramel malt flavor, which is unique. The finish is a kind of sweet/tart note that is soft but interesting.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with a slight watery texture.

D- This beer is unique and interesting but that is what I would expect from a traditional Sahti, not that I have had very many. The pine and juniper flavors had an interesting quality that comes through more in the cask than in the keg. It is possible that the sweet and tart notes were off flavors but I think they gave more depth and interest to this mysterious style and I think they were designed in the beer.

Feb 19, 2006
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Viggo from Canada

3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This incarnation was 6.2%, served in a tulip. Pours a hazy golden, medium white head forms, good retention and some lacing. Smell is sweet, lots of rye and berries, wheat, pretty mild but neat. Taste is nice and malty, rye has a strong presence, grainy, with citrus and juniper berry in the finish, finish is slightly bitter and has a bit of sourness. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, with medium carbonation, very dry beer. I enjoyed this, on the lighter side tastewise but an interesting and tasty brew, would try again.

Jan 03, 2006
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clvand0 from Kentucky

2.86/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kmpitz2 for bringing me a growler of this one. Pours a golden color with very little head and no lacing on the glass. The aroma is packed with rye notes. Slight juniper aroma as well, but the rye is everywhere on this one. I don't care much for the rye/juniper mix. The flavor was just as the nose described. Lots of rye with hints of juniper. I didn't enjoy this one very much.

Feb 07, 2005
Sahti from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 45 ratings