Icarus | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
29 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Per the brewmaster, Greg Hall, "American Barleywine".

Added by CRJMellor on 04-23-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 66
Photo of drabmuh
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Geist, a rarity for sure. A decent little barleywine but I sort of failed to see what was special about it except that there wasn't much of it around, and now even less.

Beer is brownish and hazy with almost no head, at least no serious attempt at one.

Aroma is sweet, raisin, malt, smells like a barleywin.

Beer is sweet and medium in body, hides the alcohol well in a palate of malts and sweetness. The finish is nice, mildly bitter, sweet, nice, good. I enjoyed it but I'm unsure if I would return to it. Other beers like Arctic devil, Perfect Storm, King Henry are amazing beers, this wasn't in their league.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage

The beer is hazy and copper hued with a small, broken head of off white bubbles. The aroma brings butterscotch, oranges, booze, malt, candies, sugar. The flavor is decent, offering everything promised in the aroma. A bit sweet. Present alcohol, though not terribly in your face. Moderately low carbonation. Smooth on the palate. Overall, this was ok.

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Photo of Etan
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip. 2005 vintage (ICARUS1536 printed on the label).

A: Pours a dark amber-brown with a decent off-white head.

S: Thick oxidized aromas and faded hops at first. Sugary molasses, figs, browned apples, cardboard. Some pleasant vanilla and spice notes come out as it warms.

T: Mildly sweet caramel, cooked apples, treacle, hop bitterness which fades as it warms, old hop leaf, carrot cake. Becomes richer and smoother as it warms, with lots of vanilla, cloves, and toffee notes coming out.

M: Medium-bodied with light yet crisp carbonation.

O: At first it seemed like this beer had been ruined by age, but it became surprisingly tasty as it warmed up. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get another bottle, but it actually became quite enjoyable and interesting as it sat.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Local Option cervoise.

Grabbed a bottle o' this from the Vintage Bottle Program at Clybourn. Figured I'd split it with VDubb during a visit. Why not? It pours a slightly murky sunset amber-ruby-sienna topped by a finger or so of cream-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, pine sap, light caramel, light menthol, and a mild feather-brush of grapefruit zest. The taste leans heavily on the biscuit, with the pine and grapefruit combining to provide a small tinge of bitterness that tries to pervade for the duration. Unfortunately for all involved, the flavors kinda drop off near the finish. There's also a clear sense of oxidation going on (dammit, it's been seven years, after all), what with a touch of cardboard and a bit of thinning in the body. Speaking of which, the body is still a lithe medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a surprisingly crisp finish. Overall, I'm bringing age into things here and calling this guy pretty nice for his age. Sure, oxidation has taken its toll, but things could be a helluva lot worse. As things stand, it's still fairly enjoyable, but it is disappointing that the flavors don't wanna linger, hang out for a bit after the party's ended. I'd definitely have another were one offered to me.

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Photo of BlastBeats
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Icarus - Generously served at the Goose Island Clybourn Vintage Program Kickoff/Tasting - reviewing from notes.

Appearance: Icarus features a dark Tuscan red hue that churns out a few large bubbles when poured freely.

Smell: very herbal aroma, actually, it smells kinda musty too.

Taste: Well, according to staff cicerone, back in 2005, Greg Hall brewed Icarus in the American barleywine tradition, in the same vein as Bigfoot or Great Divide's Old Ruffian. Fast forward 7 years and you've got yourself a barleywine that tastes more like it's British counterpart. Anyways, the mustiness noted in the smell carries over to the palate, which could very well be an oxidation issue. There's some dark, dried fruit flavors in here though; most notably dates. Most of the hop character, which I'd imagine was quite pronounced at one time, has all but faded.

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, if I can recall correctly, it wasn't as smooth as anticipated.

Overall: an interesting tick to be sure.. glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.84/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (2005)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, 1noa!

(Aged for 7 years)

Murky and cloudy dark honey and light ruby in color with a very small light khaki colored head that doesn't last for long at all. This eventually leaves spots of stick. Not particularly attractive.

This smells like old beer, unsurprisingly, though there's some citrus flesh and zest elements remaining, with some caramel and toffee, but also lot of oxidation and sherry notes. Not particularly impressive or expressive.

The flavor too is decidedly old in character with lots of sweet oxidation present, mild orange zest, and boozy caramel and toffee.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

Past its time, but I'm incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to try this beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ehammond1 for sharing this at DarthKostrizer's tasting.

2005 vintage.

Pours a murky honey brown with a beige head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is of malt, slight brown sugar, and citrus flavors. There is some oxidation going on in the flavor as well. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it definitely is showing its age.

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Photo of JustAnotherGalen
2.1/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 12 oz bottle with a white label that read ICARUS05 1537 into a Tulip.

A: In the bottle: there was a huge yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. Biggest I've ever seen in a commercial 12oz.

In the glass: Beautiful dark burgundy. Light passes through easily, with a few particles floating throughout, (I tried my best to leave the yeast behind in the bottle). Pours a less than 1 finger white head that is quick to recede leaving a fine lacing and a rim of white bubbles.

S: Immediately upon pouring, the beer smelled like my grandma's basement. It was rather unappealing. After sitting for a few minutes in the glass, a sweet malt, bread crust, slight alcohol, and slight cherry came through. Upon swirling the beer, I was taken back to my Grandma's basement. Possibly some hop aroma in there, released with the carbonation, but not enough to mask the Grandma's basement.

T: Rather sweet malt flavor up front, mild bitterness in the middle, and a finish of warming alcohol that lingers. That all said, the visceral response my body is giving me is, "Don't drink this." No off flavors, but the aroma is hard to ignore.

M: Velvety smooth, coating my entire mouth, though medium to light bodied. Slight carbonation, not surprising after almost 7 years in the twist cap bottle.

O: A cool BA experience, but I would never recommend this to someone who I was trying to expose to cellared beers. Can't help but feel like I was just a lemming who was "Buying all the shit that they sellin' ya!" at the GI Black Friday '11 release. The beer is really old and tastes off, period. Was it worth $12? Sure, it gave me something to do for 30 minutes... not because the beer was outstanding.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a reddish caramel color with medium carbonation and a dirty white cap that qyuickly fades leaving some bubbles and lacing

S: Immediate funkiness, cardboard and a whiff of sour with some toffee, caramelized sugar

T: An immediate hint at cardboard oxidation and a lightly soured note, some caramel, toffee and faded hops come into play. A little bit of booze but very smooth

M: Big body, well carbonated, a bit sweet but not to bad

O: Pretty good and thanks to ChadQuest for sending this extremely rare bwine my way

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Photo of dlello2
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark red/brown. Some light getting through. Quite cloudy. More head than I would have thought. Lots of

S - Smells strong! Getting some alcohol, yeast, sweet syrupyness. Hmmm, something in there a little strange. Smells like a cellar!

T - Lots of flavor but super mellow in terms of the alcohol. Definitely tastes like it's been on the shelf for 7 years. Very hard to describe--a thick, yeasty, honey-sweet offering with some earthy/animal qualities to it.

O - I've never had icarus before. Trying to appreciate this for its age, but it is not as inviting as I would have liked. Definitely glad to have tried!

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Spycow for the bottle!
12 oz twist off bottle with Icarus05 1537 printed on the lower left had corner of a plain white label.

Poured into a Rock Art tulip. Red-copper body with a fingers worth white foamy head. Nice lacing.

Malty caramel and honey glazed fruit on the nose. Apples, figs, grapes and a hint of chocolate. Hops are fairly laid back at this point, but still ad a touch of pine.

Sweet, burnt, caramel mixed with apple, cherry and a bit of grape skin. Light, sticky, hops towards the finish. Nice blend of the English and American styles at this age. Some toffee and just a hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel is surprising thin, but smooth. Not overly thin, but light for the style. Feels more like a regular ale with some heavy alcohol warmth on the finish. Low, but adequate carbonation.

Overall, this is a tasty treat from Goose Island. The nose is great and the flavor is quite good as well. Not the best barleywine out there, but still top notch. I just wish the body were a bit thicker. Definitely worth trying if you get the chance.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, revealing a few fingers of dense beige head over a crystal clear amber brown body. Slight lacing. Smells beautiful with some high notes of vanilla and creamy milk caramel. Sweet-smelling like a well-rounded English barleywine with lots of malt and not much bite or floral presence.

Tastes sweeter and light with some of the smells echoed in the flavor. Malts are more subdued and a faded hop presence is just detectable. Body is thinner and with a faint nuttiness. Mouthfeel is clean with an able-bodied but not abrasive carbonation. Decently drinkable, but it strikes me as tasting as though the flavors have faded moreso than that they are coming into their own. Not quite the same amount of depth that I enjoy in the good English barleywines, but missing the forwardness of what it once surely was.

Overall a worthwhile rendition. For once, perhaps this one is a barleywine I would have liked fresher.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 05/10/2011
Type: 12oz. Bottle(Plain White Paper Label W/ Computer Print Stating Icarus 2005)
Vintage: 2005
Glass: DFH Chalice

Thanks to AgentZero for the opportunity to sample this brew!

Pours a brown mahoghany w/ ruby hues in color w/ a 1/2 finger bubbly white head that produces light sticky lacing. Aromas of caramel, toffee, oak, slightly vinous, and basement mustiness. The taste was of caramel/toffee mixed w/ dark fruit sweetness up front, followed by a close of oak and mild hop bite. Medium bodied and decently lush. Drinkability was dangerous! The hop bite has almost died w/ almost 6yrs. of age, and has made this very smooth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brew! This is just my style, the 6yrs. of age have transrormed this American Barleywine into an excellent English Barleywine.

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Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Joe for sharing this one, also have to give a shout out to Skiba... review from analog notes.

Into a small snifter, Icarus pours a deeply saturated orange tone wiht a frothy ring of larger bubbles around it's outer edge. Spotty bits of lace are left in the glass.

A little bit musty and funky from apparent oxidation at first, though it eventually blows off and mellows out a little. Burly malt and citrus peel.

Rich caramel toffee, citrusy, dry and bitter. Some grape or golden raisin fruit character in the aftertaste. Time has been kind, though it clearly shows some age after 6 years in the bottle. Rich, creamy, mellow feel, not too sweet, sticky on the lips. Finishes clean with a lingering bitterness and notes of golden raisin. Reminded me a little of Lee's Harvest Ale. Wonder if this is a precursor to King Henry, or something totally different.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a white label 12oz bottle into a North Coast snifter. Thanks to Joe, Matt, Wil, Justin, Jay, Aaron, and Alex for the assist! Honorable mention goes out to Skiba!

ICARUS05 1537

A: Pours a deep autumn orange color with nothing but a filmy skim on top.

S: Loads of sweet, dark fruit, honey, bourbon, caramel, leather, vanilla, and some bruised red apple.

T: This tended towards the sweet side of the scale with lots of caramel and fruit. This does get balanced by some earthy dark chocolate and a little rough alcohol.

M: Oily and coating with a nice long finish that turns a bit prickly.

D: Definitely a sipper! Nowhere near oppresive, abv-wise, but the sticky sweetness acts as a speedbump to prevent you from racing through it. Slow down and enjoy it! Thanks to Joe for sharing this from his cellar.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After hearing about this several times from Mike and Alex I finally got it. Presented in a 12oz bottle with a blank white label that says Icarus at the bottom left. Looks ghetto fab, but I like it. The beer pours a transparent medium brown, with orangey light brown on the fringe. A little off white head that is gone right away...The aroma is very bready, toffee, and caramel. Its pretty sweet overall, not really balanced out with anything, but I like it. Smooth...The taste is a touch more balanced with lots of toffee, caramel, plums and vanilla. A slightly hoppy finish. Smooth again, so easy to drink.

Worth trying!

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Photo of AgentZero
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Randomly stumbled onto this at GI, bottle shared with the epenephrious MasterSki and sampled by the beernicient Vav. 2005 Vintage, with old school blank lable and a dot matrix printed "Icarus05 1538" on it, or something close to that.

A - A dark, burnt-orange beer with a small white head that didn't really stick around very long. Some minor wisps of spotting and lace left on the side.

S - Very strong smell, with some oxidation and sweet phenol-like qualities. It's a pretty potent smelling beer, very barleywine-esque, with some caramel and english hop qualities to it. Smells good, but like it could take some effort to get down.

T - This was quite the surprise, as this beer is fantastic. I was expecting some rougher edges due to the smell, but it is quite smooth, possibly due to the age of the beer, or possibly just due to it being a great beer. Caramel and toffee backbone, with a bit of vanilla. The finish is like gingersnaps or subtle ginger sugar cookies, it is very pleasant.

M - Smooth, lower carbonation, medium bodied.

D - Not a barleywine fan at all, but this was an all around fantastic beer that was super easy to drink. Would gladly enjoy this one again and highly recommend it.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very surprised to see this on Goose Island - Clybourn's new "vintage" menu. Shared a $12 bottle (12oz) with AgentZero. Served in a snifter. Unlabelled white bottle with Icarus Batch1538 printed on it in cash register font.

A - Pours with a quick-dissolving dime of off-white foam that settles to a partial ring and a bit of film on top. Transparent orange-brown body, although there's a ton of yeast a the bottom of the bottle.

S - Big caramel, light port-like oxidation sweetness, some light spicy estery alcohol. The menu mentions cloves, but I don't get much of that beyond some nebulous zest that intensifies as it warms up.

T - The taste is actually quite a bit better. Very smooth, with plenty of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and vanilla. I don't think this was barrel-aged, but if it was the tannic and oaky elements have faded outside of obvious perceptibility. Very smooth and mellow, with well-hidden alcohol.

M - Smooth, medium-full body, low carbonation, and a chewy, sticky finish. Spot on for an English barleywine.

D - This is really good, and was a pleasant "right place, right time" surprise. I can imagine that there might have been candi sugar or a Belgian yeast strain involved at the outset, but this is about as "Belgian" as Blue Moon. I'd actually pony up $12 to have this again if it's still on the menu next time.

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Photo of grub
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

autumnaldave hooked me up with this with a bonus in a trade at DLD in '08... finally dug it out of the cellar and opened it. thanks dave!

12oz bottle, plain white label with "ICARUS05 1538" on the bottom left. sampled feb 17/2010.

pours hazy + muddy red-brown with a small dense cream coloured head. the head drops fairly fast but leaves spotty lace.

aroma is great. caramel and toffee. butterscotch. light alcohol. vanilla. dark fruit. raisin, date, and fig. earthy and woody. bit of bourbon and oak. whole wheat bread. cracker. bit of biscuit.

taste is great. lots of caramel and toffee. butterscotch. rich dark fruit - date, fig, raisin, plum. bit of alcohol. vanilla and spice. earthy and woody. dark chocolate, almond, and a hint of smoke playing in the background. touch of sweetness, but mostly fruity and not sugary. whole wheat bread. cracker. bit of biscuit.

mouthfeel is great. nice medium-large body with a fairly dry finish. very fine carbonation, just under medium level.

drinkability is great. great balance. tons of depth and complexity. it feels like a slightly american interpretation of the style, but a damn good one at that.

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Photo of goethean
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to BA Furioguinta for giving me this bottle.

Golden. Beer has a big, yeasty, light bready aroma and flavor profile which may be due to the yeast esters rather than to specialty malts. Not really biscuity, nor toasty. Mildly phenolic, happily much less so than most Belgians. Hides its alcohol level very well. No hops bitterness or flavor detectable. Very satisfying.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Icarus 05 Batch 1538. Pours a beautiful, hazy, rusty copper color with a small buttery cream head that fades to a ring. Plenty of sediment in this one, most retained in the bottle, but still a small slurry in the glass. Aroma is of aged sweet malts, a mixture of prunes, raisins, and berries, some leather in there as well, especially when agitated. Taste follows with strawberries, some leather, dry woody notes, spiced breadiness, just a lot going on. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy in body, a little creaminess from the carbonation, a good amount of bready dryness in the finish. No idea what this beer was like fresh, but it is lovely right now, rich fruits, and spiced breads, just very complex. Could no doubt go a little longer, though it would definitely be hard to keep the hands off something this good. Thank you Dave for the very enjoyable opportunity.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Holy murky and thick. No head, just a thick delicious syrup.

S: Lots of citrus hops. Butterscotch, vanilla, and fresh bread. Like sitting at a warm breakfast and enjoying the aroma of it.

T: Super sweet and very balanced. Bread, hops, vanilla. Slightly bitter, but like I said really balanced.

M: Thick and really chewy. Stays on the tongue and coats the whole mouth well. YUMMY!

D: May not be able to put more than two of these down, but the two are way delicious. Very filling, a meal in a glass!

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught at the Clybourn location, served in a goblet. Reviewed from notes.

As a general rule, I really enjoy GI's Belgian exploits. Icarus is no different.

Brown in color with a frothy, thin light brown head. Aroma is sweetness on one hand and a touch of hops on the other, nicely balanced. Flavor is similar, with biscuity malts, spices, and some fruity sweetness folowed by a lightly bitter finish. It's almost like they blended a Belgian strong dark ale and a barleywine - what's not to like?

I'm a fan.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A rather light to medium cloudy brown with nicely sized, lasting head. Lacing is beautiful. The nose has a weird hoppy juniperness to it that I’m not used to in this style. A sugary sweet, caramelized breadiness dominates the scent, however. Deceptively full bodied (based on the rather light appearance) with a sickly sweet, bready front and a nice, mildly bitter finish. Subtle earth and spice come through as well. Not very Belgian, a bit too sweet, but not bad.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a Goblet)

A- This beer has a warm light brown body with a low carbonation and a thin creamy head that last for the first few sips. It gives some lacing after it has disappeared.

S- This beer has a nice smooth sweet pale malt aroma with some slight floral perfume notes. There is a nice green pine hop finish to balance the sweetness.

T- The slight sweet creamy caramel taste has some faint light fruit flavors with notes of biscuit malt to balance. The hops spiciness is enhanced with a soft kick of alcohol at the finish.

M- The medium light mouthfeel has a slight watery mouthfeel but it enhances the taste. There is a faint alcohol warmth but no astringency.

D- This beer has great malt flavor with lots of subtle complexity that is hard to pin down. The hops and alcohol really do a good job of complimenting those sweet malts.

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Icarus from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.93 out of 5 based on 66 ratings.
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