Imperial Brown Goose | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Imperial Brown GooseImperial Brown Goose

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Blend of Goose Island's 2004 and 2005 Christmas Ales, both of which were aged in 4-year old Jim Beam and 12-year old Heaven Hill barrels.

Bottled once in 2006.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-29-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 165
Photo of professorninja
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this after trying a few local porters and stouts at the Bomb Shelter in Milwaukee. Awesome, awesome beer.

A - Dark, rich brown. Like a melted beer bottle.

S - Bourbon cake.

T - Carbonated bourbon. I love these bourbon barrel aged beers. This one tasted like it was beer barrel aged bourbon. Soooo good.

M - I have to go back to the cake metaphor. Like drinking liquid cake.

D - Can I have some more? Seriously? If I didn't have to drive that night, I would have bought three or four more glasses, easy. Shit was pricey, too.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees, then fridged for about 15 minutes prior to opening
2006 BATCH (The only one, so far?)

Pours a nicely dark shade of brown. A very easy pour produces an almost three-finger head of foam. It's light brown in color and very dense and creamy, in appearance. The retention is great and the lacing is in very thick strands that are extremely sticky.
Excellent appearance.

HUGE notes of bourbon, accompanied by a strong oak presence. I can't believe that this is four years old and still has a nose like this. Wow. Definite notes of big, sweet, malts in here, as well. Mild traces of dark fruits and maraschino cherries.

Man, that is tasty. The nose prepares you for a huge bourbon bomb, but what you get is an incredibly well-balanced flavor profile. A big presence of smooth maltiness is met by some great notes of dark fruits. Figs, dates, raisins, cherries, and more. This is all encompassed by a smooth layer of bourbon and some nice hints of oakiness.
This is delicious.

This one is full-bodied and has a mild-to-medium level of carbonation. The carbonation is very smooth and nicely creamy, although it could benefit from just a touch more creaminess.
This is the only thing keeping this one from a perfect score, for me.

This is absolutely tasty and drinkable. The 8.00%abv sure doesn't hurt either. That's low enough to not really worry too much about your consumption rate. Not like you'll be slamming bottles of this, especially at the price, but you could easily nurse a bottle or two, over an evening.
More proof that Goose Island is a world class brewery. As if I needed more proof....

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Photo of jbrown1
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Requested 1/2 pour at Bad Apple located on Lincoln Avenue.

Knowing this was a bourbon barrel ale had come to expect the powerful Bourbon County Stout, but no, this was an elegant surprise. While Goose has some hits and passes, the Imperial batch is a standout.

This pours a bright golden brown and was served in a snifter. In fact, the Imperial demands a snifter. It offers the sweet peat and aromas of bourbon coupled with the fine drinkability of a pleasant beer. I 'thought' that Bad Apple advertised this at 10% APV, but it is strong regardless and pleasantly easy to drink.

This is one of finest beers.

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Photo of getkrunkhoe
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thnx to my boy sirch. had on 3-28-09

App-nice Brown color (no head since it was a small pour).haze in the color

Ar-DAMN!!! vanilla,bourbon, roasted malts(maybe chocolate malt),maple. theres much more that I couldn't pin point.

T-same as aroma. very enjoyable beer.good it melted in your mouth (no homo).

MF/D- just a pleasure to have, not too heavy but just right.drinks very similar to a Stout.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared a 750ml bottle with my girlfriend after dinner.

Appearance- Pours a muddy brown with a lot of beige, egg white head and good bubbling. Some deep garnet highlights help round out this good looking beer.

Smell- Bourbon hooo.... Lots of Bourbon and oak and vanilla. Very pleasing. Just begs you to sip this beer.

Taste- Starts with a smakck of bourbon, wood and malt. Then the middle specifies the wood into a more oak and beechwood kind of flavor mixed with some strong vanilla and light cream. And of course...bourbon. The finish shows off a little bitterness from the English hopping, nuts, roasty, and BOURBON.

Mouthfeel- Great after dinner, before you go to bed beer. Smooth, complex. Lots of stuff going on with some smooth, yet strong carbonation and well incorporated alcohol.

Bought a bunch of bottles for aging. So I'll keep you guys updated.

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Photo of overvolting
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I sampled this for the first time at a craft brewfest in 2012.
Goose island said they recently recovered some bourbon casks they had misplaced and this was in them, aging for 6 years instead of the usual 8 months, in the casks. Yes this was batched in 2006.

I felt bad with every sip that I was depriving the world of tasting this nectar but like that last dorito in the bag, it was impossible to resist it.

Very smooth and dozens of flavours delivering bourbon like an irish car bomb wrapped in a psychedelic amazing techicolour dreamcoat.

I tried other bourbon stouts and they were not in the same ball park. In fact, this one almost ruined the beer show for me because nothing compared to it.

Edit: I forgot to mention that according to goose island, I killed the last sip. This no longer exists in their possession.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the GI Clybourn brewpub. This batch was listed as 7.2% ABV. Served in a snifter.
Poured a rich caramel color with a shallow head that faded slowly. The smell is full-on bourbon from arms length. Full flavored, primarily bourbon caramel, very similar to Bourbon County Stout, but a little sweeter, more vanilla caramel lighter and less roasted. Tangy lightly carbonated medium body that compliments the lingering caramel aftertaste. This batch is 7.2% ABV and is one hell of a drinker. Comes across as if there's much more to it. Highly Recommended!

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Photo of kms910
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: poured into a Sommeliers Grand Cru

A: Dark mahogany with a red tint. Full tan head – lacing stuck to the glass the entire way down

S: loads of bourbon and vanilla, that last little something may be wood –oak??

M: very smooth and mellow, warming after a few sips. The alcohol is present but not over-bearing.

D: I wish I had another bottle- very enojoyable

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Photo of jampics2
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Winking Lizard. Holy smokes, how did the Beermeister score these kegs? At any rate, thanks for providing such a nice exclusive for a cold January night.

After a bad parking lot scene, I was excited to get in a seat and try this. Waitress got the glass quickly, much appreciated. A nice goblet with a murky brown and plum liquid with a nice head.

I could smell it before I even thought to lift the glass. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, sweet malt, wow, this smells amazing.

Taste is INCREDIBLE. This may be the best wood aged beer I've ever had. Complex, perfect layers of taste, just amazing. Starts off with a nice bourbon taste that dances with some caramel, then a bit of hops and an amazing wood taste. The wood gives a nilla wafer taste with a dash of coconut. Just exceptional wood aged balance and depth of flavor.

Mouth was good. Nice level of carb, a pleasure to drink! Just a bit of a workout for the taste buds, a bit heavy, but worth it for the great taste.

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Photo of aaronh
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright amber body topped by a luxurious cream colored head. You can smell the bourbon aroma from 18 inches away. Heavily inflected with vanilla, the aroma has a slight sweetness to the distinct bourbon notes. The flavor is bourbon, again heavy on the vanilla but also backed but some nice brown sugary-malt. Virtually no bitterness is apparent, but it's obviously there to suppress the sweetness. Mouthfeel is super-smooth. Drinkability is good. At first I was thinking I wish i could get a case of this. By the end, I was thinking that even a 12 oz bottle may be too much of this sometimes. Still a wonderful experience I hope to repeat soon.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhhh. My first review in my new house... not to mention the first chance I've had to review in a while. This one was the perfect pick.

Pours a dark ruby red against a good light. Dense and compact light tan head rests on top for a good while. Good consistent lacing.
Sweet malt is abound. I definately get a bourbon nose on this one. Also a somewhat sour character which I tend to see alot of in barrle aged beers. Almost a touch of chocolate.
What a wonderful flavor! So well balanced it's almost hard to identify the flavors. The bourbon is not as noticeable as in the nose, but more of the oak comes through. Good malt play and some hop character as well as a slight touch of dark and citrus fruit. There is that sour/dry note again. Great F'n beer.
Medium bodied and well carbonated. Definately on the dry side at the finish but I think that's the perfect call for this beer. Other Old Ales seem to be a bit sweeter, but this one nailed whatever it was going for.
Great beer and highly drinkable. Got to say thanks to Stan at Lone Hill for the kickdown on this rather pricey beer. I can't say I'd normaly shell out the bucks for a beer like this, but now I may have to.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on-tap at Romans' in Milwaukee. I believe i've had this once before but was very happy to see it again...

cellphone notes

appearance: served in one of those silly Goose Island mock-chalices...muddy mahogany body with a creamy tan ring

smell: just one whiff of this one reminded me instantly of my love for this beer. smooth bourbon, vanilla and oak, creamy caramel. a divine aroma

taste: great things going on here - everything plays out harmoniously - the effects of barrel aging are perfectly executed. The bourbon is smooth and warming without being abrasive. Vanilla and oak compliments are presented flawlessly. Support is provided by smooth caramel and cream, milk chocolate, toffee, brown sugar and dark fruit

mouthfeel: superb smoothness

drinkability: good

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance of rich sweet notes and oak soaked barrel

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle. Got this from MrFootstones, thanks a bunch, Brian! This bottle was a Christmas present for my girlfriend, which she got early. She was nice enough to open it tonight and share it with me :) Poured into my darkness snifter:

A - Black/dark brown with a huge amount of head. Creamy white head that dies down eventually but sticks around for a while. Pretty suprised with the carbonation since this is almost 5 years old. Would have given this a 4.25 but I rounded down this time.

S - The smooth bourbon is upfront. Both barrels are united in quite a deliciously smooth dance. Brown sugar is top smell, followed by earth and oak barrel. Butter scotch and nice creamy candy follow along the way. Just great!

T - Creamy, smooth bourbon barrel. Follows the nose with brown sugar, toffee, butter scotch and caramelized candy. It is fantastic! The barrels mix really well here and I'm quite impressed.

M - I'm really suprised that this is soooo carbonated for a beer almost 5 years old, which is slightly the downside for me. Although it is nice that it is carbonated, it is sort of fizzy carbonated and distracts from the smooth bourbon presence that I wanted to feel in the mouth. After the fizz subsides, the smooth, velvety feel sets in and finishes very nicely. But the!

D - Way to easy to drink. I had this on tap at Busters in the cities a month ago and thought it was crazy awesome...and so did my girlfriend. I just had to get myself a bottle, and thanks to Brian I had the chance to try it again. It's a solid brew and I wish I had more. I'll seek it out again, but it's slightly hard to find. Delicious!

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Photo of adamette
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From notes at the Winking Lizard: Our friends at Goose Island are providing our first small batch draft selection of 2010. Bedford Hts, Peninsula, Macedonia, Independence, Canton, Gateway, Fairlawn, Avon, Brunswick, Mentor, Crosswoods and Bethel Road will offer Goose Island Imperial Brown Goose Friday, January 22nd. This very limited selection from Goose Island is a bourbon barrel aged Old Ale. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel aromas are most noticeable. Flavors of brown sugar, raisins, wood and vanilla are more prevalent than the bourbon notes.

Review from notes taken about 45 minutes ago at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio. Poured from tap into a clean, clear tulip glass, probably about 10 ounces for $6.00.

A Creamy head over an absolutely gorgeous opague caramel body in which I can see sediment floating about. Just a great look. 5.0

S Nice strong malt and bourbon smells in an ultimately delicious smelling beer. I don't know how it can be improved. 5.0

T Great bourbon based sweet malt taste with nearly no hops bitterness. This is a hell of a great tasting beer! 4.5

M Full, thick, syrupy, creamy. A dream feel for a beer. 5.0

D Really good for the style and ABV level which does not normally lend itself to drinkability. I found the bottom of the tulip within 3 minutes. 4.0

Notes: I am thoroughly impresssed with this beer crafted by the masters at Goose Island. I only wish that there was more beer produced like this!

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Photo of Florida9
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to try this one at GI's pig roast. What an absolutely amazing beer, truly one of a kind. At first sight, you notice the mahogany brown color and the light tan head. Its not an overly impressive head, but maybe the setting was right. Then again at 9%, I guess I shouldn't be expecting much anyway.

A whiff of this elixir reveals the strong, unyielding aromas of vanilla, oak, and boozy bourbon. The aroma itself is intoxicating; both sweet and innocent from the vanilla, while the bourbon reveals the sly, debaucherous side.

By the time this beer hits the lips, spills over into the mouth and crawls its way over your tongue that pungent aroma has punched you in the nose again. The aggressive flavors of the sweet malts and raisin start off the show, yet, not to be outdone, the caramel vanilla flavor of bourbon overtake the dense sweetness in a much more aromatic fashion. One taste begs for another. And then another. Maybe a good long draw of that funky bourbon breathe in between, but it definitely needs another sip. Yet, that is the way this beer is. Its meant to be a sipper. A warming, comforting ale. But that sweet, raisin malt plays so well with the vanilla, sips just aren't cutting it.

In short, this is an excellent beer. Anyone who thinks BCS has bourbon characteristic should seek out this beer. Whereas BCS has a huge, malty backbone, this ale is lighter and alcoholic, much the way bourbon is. Both are excellent beers and are quite fine for their styles, but where the bourbon accents of BCS are used to fine tune that beer, this beer is more of a love child being much more aggressive and straightforward in its flavors.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 batch, poured from a 750 ml bottle. Deep hazy amber in color. Head is intense at first, but diminishes quickly to a thin rim of small bubbles. Aroma is strong of alcohol, for an 8% beer. Smells strongly of bourbon and raisins. Very malty and sweet, some vanilla notes. Taste is out of this world, my first Imperial Brown ale or "old ale" as the site says. Strong raisin flavors but very well balanced. I'm reminded of Brooklyn's brown ale with a kick. Fantastic beer, glad my friend let me indulge in a glass of his beer.

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Photo of silenius
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rapapoda mentioned to me once that when Goose Island brews this beer again that I should try it. Good recommendation!

Poured into a large pint glass at the Clybourn location.

Smallish tan head that disappears quickly with a dark and clear ruby brown body. Very much to style.

Smell is where it is at with this beer! This beer smells like a good Late Bottle Vintage port. Dark and ripe red fruits coated in dark chocolate and sprinkled with brown sugar. Sweet and rich. No hops noted.

Tastes like cinnamon spiced melted dark chocolate with a hint of raspberry syrup. This stuff is out of this world!.

This is a thick-bodied beer that really satisfies. One is enough for me!

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Photo of KeefD
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Muddy Pig in St Paul. Served in a Leffe goblet, ruddy brown, small white head that was gone in an instant, no lacing. Very nice aroma on this beer. Fantastic mixture of bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, brown sugar, and sugary sweetness. Really digging the oak on this one. Flavor reminds me of Extremely Naughty Goose in that it has a roasted marshmallow-like sweetness which is delicious. Some light chocolate, more of the bourbon, some vanilla, and all around delicious. Medium bodied, light carbonation. I'm usually not a huge fan of brown ales, but this is simply outstanding.

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Photo of rallison
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle.

Pours a beautiful dark brown with a 3 finger off-white head that never fully dies and leaves extensive lacing.

Smells of sweet bourbon with pleasant waves of vanilla and hints of chocolate and oak. Beautiful.

Layers of bourbon and oak dance on top of a smooth layer of this imperial brown. The base beer seems to only serve as a staging ground for the bourbon barrel aging; that said, it works. Molasses, light candied fruits and a finishing touch of alcohol warmth round this out.

Mouthfeel is very smooth with a slight bit of lightness on the tongue. Just enough carbonation to keep the beer from dragging itself down. Nicely played here.

Drinkability is, all in all, quite good.

I've had many samples of this beer - but, only fresher bottles. Fresh, it is rich in bourbon, but there is no subtlety and no balance. With age, it appears that, while the bourbon is still the strongest player, the supporting actors finally get their voice and get to bring a promising beer to greatness. Age this one a couple of years, you won't be disappointed.

Highly recommended (2+ years old).

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Photo of ppoitras
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Black foiled, capped, 2006 vintage.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 2" tan head above the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head is rejuvenated by a river of bubbles flowing from the bottom, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is dark malts and bourbon. Taste is creamy malt sweetness upfront, a tinge of fruitiness in the middle, and vanilla and bourbon to close. Moderate flavors all, nothing overpowering another. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is way easy for an Old Ale. Good stuff.

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Lucky break found me this bottle recently, haven't had it in two years. Split with Jyp, into the Chimay goblet...

A - Dark, rich amber that can almost pass for brown. Real good retention on this cream-colored head.

S - Glorious sweet bourbon! Oak, vanilla, cherry, alcohol. Very, very, very minute toffee and caramel malt flavor. Chocolate cake like sweetness.

T - Wow, this is much different than I remember. The bourbon is still present, but is secondary to the rich dark fruits and smoke than one expects in a good Old Ale. Starts out with a slight rock sugar sweetness with good roasted malt to back it up. Cherry, apple, maybe pomegranate-like sweet/tartness become more present in the midpalate, but only as highlights. Bourbon notes do make an appearence right before the swallow, but does not last too long, and allows for the smoke and alcohol to dominate in the finish.

M - Very carbonated for it's style, would not have minded a thicker, silkier, less lively mouthfeel.

D - So this evolved from a fun, although one-dimensional product to a deep, complex old ale. The bourbon is a nice touch to a flavorful old ale. If you can tract down a bottle, it's worth it, but don't expect it to be a bourbon bomb.

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Photo of emerge077
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ON TAP @ Goose Clybourn. This has to be batch #2/3, as it hasn't been available for a year or so. Aged one year in bourbon barrels according to the menu.

Served in an 8 oz. snifter, this murky, tawny brown old ale had a slim cap of foam at first, that retreated to a thin skim after awhile. It took about half an hour to drink it, I was too busy inhaling (not huffing). Vanilla, tobacco, brown sugar, and fruity bourbon notes take center stage. No alcohol that I can smell, just the distilled essence of sweet bourbon perfection.

Flavors were rich and malt dominant, plenty of strong bourbon flavor, fruity with drying oak bitterness in the finish. The heat is there, but it's not all that boozy. You get all the complex flavors of the bourbon without the burn. Vanilla, apple, pear, brown sugar, tobacco flavors are all intertwined nicely, wrapped in a malty blanket. Carbonation was low, and the ale was full bodied. A slow sipper, the small snifter was just the right size.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at Goose Island-Clybourn 11/25/07. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

According to the beer menu this version of the beer clocks in at 11% abv and has been aged for three months in Jim Beam barrels.

A: Served a deep, dark, chestnut-brown color with a tiny brown head. Minimal lacing.

S: BOURBON!!! Sweet oak/vanilla, chocolate, and toffee washed in caramel.

T: See above with flavors of sweet caramel malt, brown sugar/molassas, sweet dark fruit, and something along the lines of candi sugar.

M: Smooth as silk.

D: Considering the abv, this goes down incredibly well!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle shared by Javier, thanks! The beer appears deep brown with a light beige head and crimson highlights. The aroma showcases big caramel notes with accompanying vanilla and a monstrous bourbon presence. Excellent. The flavor opens with a huge bourbon flavor that carries through to the long finish. The caramel presence is huge and there's a light oak presence. There's a nice level of heat to this. Great stuff.

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Imperial Brown Goose from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 165 ratings.
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