Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Imperial Brown Goose | Goose Island Beer Co.

122 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Imperial Brown GooseImperial Brown Goose

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

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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 165
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Jackie O's barrel aged festival, served in 4oz pours. The beer was lighter colored than I expected, being that the base is an "imperial" brown ale and all. It was light tan colored, fairly clear, with a few large bubbles on top, not covering the entire liquid.

The beer smelled more neutral than you'd think, a little bourbon mixed with sweet malts and caramel. It's definitely a pleasant aroma, just more muted than what you normally get from a bourbon aged dark beer. It tastes kind of subtle too, on the sweet side but in a light way, with a nice lingering hint of bourbon after each sip. Maybe even some vanilla too, possibly from oak (not sure). The alcohol isn't really noticeable with the exception of the bourbon flavors, everything is sort of subtle.

The body is very lightly carbonated, just shy of flat really, and this is probably why the head looked so flacid. The beer has a smooth and easy drinking feel to it as a result.

I've never tried Imperial Goose before so I can't speak to how the bourbon barrels change it, but nevertheless I'll guess that it removes some carbonation and adds nearly every flavor that I tasted. I was glad to get the chance to try this, but I wouldn't recommend anyone search too hard for it.

 1,263 characters

Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage 750ml bottle received in a trade with wedgie9 thanks!

Appearance: Pours an attractive silky dark brown with a 1.5 finger soft off white (in the gray/brown direction) crown that shows moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Nice soft/refined chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, oak sweetness, earthy wooden notes and roast malt thing going on here. The flavors are really well integrated and if they were a bit more pungent I'd give this one a 5.0

Taste: Same as the nose but the bourbon is much more prominent. Just a whisper of alcohol warmth but a grain alcohol note becomes more apparent as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Good smoothed out body but with lots of fine carbonation in the crown. Body is too thin in my opinion.

Drinkability: Great flavors and a light body help but a grain alcohol like quality and strong bourbon presence makes it quite boozy.

 858 characters

Photo of billshmeinke
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 bottle poured into a tulip.

Murky brown body. Sorta ruby at the outer regions. One finger head reside to a nice layer of patchy foam on top. Nice oily leg, no real lacing though.

Smell is quite sherry like. Tons of oaky vanilla, ripe dark fruits, a strong dose of bourbon. There is also a mild cheese ring like scent.

Taste of rich sweet malts evoking caramel and vanilla fudge. Followed by a hint of sherry, oak, vanilla and bourbon. Taste is quite mellow (probably from it's age).

Mouthfeel is light feeling. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Reminds me of a belgian quad in terms of mouthfeel. Hot in the belly with an oaky, slightly resiny bitter, and dry finish.

Really smooth with no trace of heat.

 717 characters

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....

 1,647 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jacob for sharing this one yesterday. Dated 2006.

A: The pour is a darkish amber color with a moderate off-white head.

S: There is a nice bourbon and booze note to the beer, but it's not overwhelming at all. A nice vanilla and almost honey like aroma on top of a bit of malt.

T: A bit of oxidation on this one--mild stale brown sugar taste. Certainly some bourbon and vanilla, along with a nice malty sweetness throughout.

M: Medium to full bodied with a soft carbonation.

D: A very nice beer. The bourbon and barrel contributions are there but not overwhelming nor too subtle. Nicely done all around.

 616 characters

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.

 427 characters

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.

 535 characters

Photo of chaz01
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap for another great beer event at Chappy's Tap Room in Dayton, OH. Served in a short wine glass.

A: Dark Brown, Mahogany color, small head that quickly recedes.

S: Brown sugar, molasses, rum and alcohol along with dark fruits of plums and dates.

T: Sweet, very very sweet, molasses and sugar with a hint of coriander. Lots of boozy whiskey and alcohol flavors as well, although I tasted more straight whiskey and alcohol than more complex flavors of bourbon.

M: Rich, thick full bodied beer.

D: This isn't something you would drink a lot of, but makes a great nightcap or desert beer.

 595 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another bottle traded to me by TATTORSO. Thanks Jeff!

2006 black wrapped and capped 750ML bottle, with a small label on the back that says...$30.

I removed the cap and it started to gush. Thankfully, I only lost an ounce or 2. I wanted to serve this at rrom temp so I guess I paid the price...

It pours a deep amber colour with a 2 finger head of foam and some good lacing.

The smell? Bourbon and wood. Bourbon and wood. So, I guess saying alcohol in the smell would not be out of order? ;^) Bottled in 06 and this much of a "hot" smell intrigues me.

The taste is much smoother than the smell insinuated. Yeah, the bourbon and woodsy flavours are there with some lightish notes of vanilla but I can *just* taste the base beer here...the Brown Ale, that adds just a touch of chocolate and an ever so light presence of some nuttiness, but it is tough. In my mind and palate, this is *still* a "hot" brew that hasn't seen its real glory days. I imagine this would change in what....another 5 or more years? Maybe for the better, maybe not. A hard call.

It is, imho, pretty light bodied from what I expected and the carbonation is brisk, especially noticeable during the swallow.

Drinkability? A very slow sipping brew because of the ample and in your face abv and the dominant flavour of Bourbon but.... do I like it or dislike it? I give it a thumbs up due to the fact that it is still Winter around these parts and the warming is welcome. I would not want to drink this on a hot summer day as I would not for most Old Ales.

 1,529 characters

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at The Pub in Polaris. Any time I see those bronze and black goose heads I go for a glass.

A- Deep brown, and very murky looking. Not much head at all. The beer looks thick as you see it sliding down the sides of the glass.

S- Boozy and sweet. Lots of dark fruits. Malty, raisiny, figs, bread, brown sugar and toasty.

T- Pretty much straight up whiskey. A very smooth and sweet whiskey.

M- Thick, almost syrupy at times. Hot and boozy.

D- This one is a hot boozy beer. If you dont like whiskey or brown liquors you wont really like this one. I happen to love big boozy and hot beers. I found this beer to be delicious.

 631 characters

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.

 399 characters

Photo of csmiley
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10 ounces served in a snifter

A - Looks to be a deep brown that reveals some reddish tint when held to the light. There is really no head on the beer to speak of. A decent sized ring around the glass sums it up nicely. Lacing is average. This category could probably use a little tweaking.

S - Starts out with lots of vanilla and sweet bready aromas. The vanilla dominates at first but it is quickly followed by doughnuts. Alcohol is definitely noticed around midway and has a nice warming affect. Finishes up with some fig and a little more vanilla.

T - This is where the Imperial Brown Goose really stars to show it's potential. Vanilla and cinnamon get things going. Once they fade, this one reveals itself to be a fairly sweet and malty brew. It's a little spicy with hint of black pepper and maybe some allspice. Fruit comes and goes with hints of black cherry and fig. Alcohol is just right, warm and inviting.

M - Medium bodied with a carbonation level seems rather active on the palate. It kind of works though. There is a smooth creamy quality that works to balance things out nicely.

D - Drinkability is good. I'm surprised the 10 ounces disappeared so quickly. Goose Island has a winner in my book with the Imperial Brown Goose. The balance is flavors is done nicely. It's warm overall but that just adds to the enjoyment. Yes, I'll be having this one again.

 1,376 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear brown with a light tan head of tiny miniscule bubbles.
Aroma was great - overwhelmingly of Jim Beam - a bourbon I love which makes this all the better - Vanilla, Caramel, slight booze presence and oak.
Taste very similar to aroma, Strong whiskey oak flavor to start off and quickly filled with a nearly Belgian style flavored ale. Old Ale certainly fits the profile of the beer more than Imperial Brown - of course they come hand in hand and either name should be interchangeable. A delicious brew- 32 oz for 14.99 is reasonable for a quality brew like this.

Drinkability is about what it should be for a 9 percent abv.
props to my brother for picking this up and asking me what I wanted when he was at Bowery Whole Foods in NYC.

 749 characters

Photo of grub
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap at hopcat jan 22/2010 as part of their 2nd annual extreme beer fest.

pours hazy pale brown with a thin layer of fine off-white head. the head quickly drops to a thin ring around the glass and leaves a few spots of lace.

aroma is good. big barrel character. tons of vanilla. coconut. raw oak. very faint alcohol. biscuit. multi-grain bread. bit of tropical fruit coming from the barrel too.

taste is great. the barrel comes through big again. vanilla, coconut, bit of pineapple and tropical fruit. light raw oak. hints of alcohol, but not overwhelming or really even warming. biscuit and multi-grain bread with just a slight toasting. bit of earthy character too.

mouthfeel is great. sooth well integrated medium carbonation level. just over medium body.

drinkability is good. excellent balance. a little heavy on the barrel, but it still works. i liked this one a lot and will definitely be keeping my eye out for bottles.

 942 characters

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.

 984 characters

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!

 1,437 characters

Photo of MPLS
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a 10 oz pour of this @ the Muddy Pig in St. Paul. Was almost ready to set up a trade for one of these pricey $30 virtually Chicago exclusive bottles.

A: Dark brown in color with the smallest of head. The head was like a thin layer of saliva that quickly faded, but continued to leave a small ring around the glass. Carbonation looks tame. I very tranquil looking brew.

S: The smell is perhaps the best part of this beer. First and foremost it's heavy on the bourbon, but following that is a big sweetness vanilla + caramel + brown sugar + alcohol.

T: The beer has a mellow taste compared to the nose. There is the bourbon component that frolics with its friends nutty brown, caramel, vanilla, and alcohol. The nutty flavors and somewhat chocolaty tones weren't as prevalent in the nose of this beer. There is a big alcohol bite to this beer.

M: Medium bodied at best. The carbonation was sparse and it despite the sweetness lacked a real full body that I was expecting. A good creamy element makes it enjoyable though.

D: The smell of this beer made me think I'd love it. It's a good beer that falls short of greatness for it's thin is in body and slight lack in the depth of it's flavors. A damn good beer that I'd order again come a cold day. Interesting Goose Island offering, their small batch beers are impressive.

 1,328 characters

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

Had at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul on 1/09/10.

A: Very dark brown, appears to be clear when held up to the light. No head to speak of.

S: Bourbon! Rich chocolate malt, dwarfed by caramel, vanilla, and marshmellow.

T: Vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. Malty backbone. Nice sweetness to balance the bourbon in the finish after it warms. Crispy, bready malt presence as it warms as well. Great.

M: Not syrupy, but oddly thin and heavy at the same time--velvetty. Medium carbonation.

Glad I had the chance to try this one.

 521 characters

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.

 602 characters

Photo of Orangeman
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer lets you know what it's all about right from the beginning. As soon as it was placed in front of me, the smell of whiskey and bourbon hit my nose. The taste was surprisingly mellow, but still with a heavy taste of bourbon and some maple syrup. This beer reminded me, to a small extent, of Sam Adams Utopias. This however, is far more "drinkable," not to mention far more affordable.

 392 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed on 11/28/2009. Growler from St. James Beverage. Pours an incredibly cloudy mahogany brown with a small white head. Aroma of bourbon, oak. Flavor of sweet bourbon and vanilla with a hot alcoholic finish. There was not much to this beer besides the bourbon, which was very disappointing. Very one-dimensional.

 316 characters

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to czoch75 for this one! What an awesome BA! Thanks Clint!

2006 Bottles
Poured into Bells snifter.

Pours 1 finger of light tan head. Decent retention. Fades to a ring around the edge. Leaves splattered lace. Color is a murky hazed chocolate brown.

Aroma: a lot like a brown ale. A ton of nut flavors. Earthy hops, sweet raisins, and cherries. A ton of dried fruits, pretty great. Bourbon, vanilla, and some oak.

Taste: Nut brown flavors, big and malty. Nice touch of bourbon with hardly any heat. Vanilla and oak. Raisins and cherries. Very complex.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, a tad crisp. Some slight heat. Medium bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a fairly clean aftertaste with a slight amount of heat.

Overall, a fantastic beer. A brown -bal aged done well. Very tasty. A sipper, but I am loving it. I wish this was more available or re-made!

 892 characters

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.

 610 characters

Photo of quinnsi
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Paddy Long's

Appearance is matte brown with a faint film of tan head, most likely due to the 9% abv. The first whiff is a joy, and I found myself plenty happy just to sit and sniff the wonderfully complex nose in anticipation for several minutes. Malt and oak blend play perfectly together on one side, while bourbon, hops and slightest sour aromas work equally well on the other.

Awesome malt and slight vinegar flavors, with a hint of oaky vanilla. Bourbon presence adds to the beer without ever taking too large a roll. Crisp finish with a nice warming afterglow from the whiskey.

Nice full mouthfeel, this beer goes down incredibly well considering the ABV. I'll have to watch myself, because I could drink these all night. A joy to drink, this beer managed to walk the tight rope in balance some pretty big flavors.

THIS is how bourbon/ aging should be done!

 885 characters

Photo of ChuggyMcBeer
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewery. Served in a snifter.

A: Dark caramel with a small head that clings to the glass.

S: Buttery vanilla and oak. The bourbon asserts itself without being dominant.

M: Caramel and brown sugar up front, cut off by oak and a subdued vanilla taste. Tastes like the topping for apple crisp, but served over oak chips.

M: Light and sticky at the same time

D: Very drinkable for a barrel aged beer.

 416 characters

Imperial Brown Goose from Goose Island Beer Co.
92 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.