Goose Island Beer Co.

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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #144
Ranked #16,815
3.94 | pDev: 7.36%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 41 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Jay_sho
Jay_sho from Ohio

3.29/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Pours great, nice head. Nose is exceptional, deep and intricate like most Belgians. The problem is the taste. Disappoints more than stapple gas station knock offs. Lacking all complexities found in the nose, with a thin and carbonated mouth feel that falls flat before swallowing.

Jan 27, 2019
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Vixie from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby red color with a decent sized tan head.

The smell is a fruity sweetness. There are hints of dried fruit like raisins, also cherry and banana.

The taste is similar to the smell, raisins and cherries, little candy sugar, finishes a bit hot with a lingering brown sugar flavor.

Pretty spicy on the tongue, but a little on the thin side for the style.

Compared to other US made Belgians I have had, this is one of the better ones. They did a nice job capturing the essence of the style, but compared to the best authentic ones from Belgium, it does fall a little short. The flavors are there, I Just think they could be a bit more intense. Still, it is a very well done take on the style, and a nice beer for the holidays.

Dec 25, 2018
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2018 vintage. Bottled on 9/28/18. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a dark brown with mahogany hues; fluffy khaki head that falls leaving great retention and nice lacing. The aromas have some dark fruits along with some cherries. Hints of banana and bubblegum. Malts and yeasts are there. The flavors basically follow the nose. Some raisins, cherries, banana and bubblegum. Subtle hints of candied sugar. Malts and yeasts do their thing. Very nice malt backbone. Low bitterness. There's a touch of sweetness. Very mild warmth in the finish, so the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is nice. It's full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's fluffy, slightly creamy, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a nice brew. It's more or less what you would expect from a "Belgian Strong Dark Ale". It's well crafted, enjoyable and fun to drink. I like it.

Dec 18, 2018
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taste: rich dark bread, malty, spicy, dark fruit notes, boozy finish. Same with the nose. Black with a reddish tint, mostly clear, some head no lace. Medium/full body. warms you up for winter.

Dec 15, 2018
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. This nice BSDA pours a
mahogany tinged dark cola color with a decent head of off white foam
that settles to a thick fine beaded ring with subtle lacing. Nose of
cinnamon, nutmeg, cola, vanilla, chocolate, and dark fruit notes.
Flavors nail the profile of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with fig and
prune notes, subtle yeasty breaded notes, light vanilla, subtle
cherry, hints of cocoa, and warming booze. Very nice mouth feel;
medium body, medium light carbonation, and a lightly dry and
moderately warming finish that is sweet and well balanced.


Nov 11, 2018
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25


Holiday Beer Tasting at JPK's.

1. Bruery 10 Lords a Leaping
2. N'ice Chouffe
3. Goose Island Noel
4. Fegley's Rude Elf Reserve

LOOK: cola color and opacity; no head
AROMA: spice, cedar wood
TASTE: light fruit, hints of cinnamon
FEEL: thin and flat


Jul 25, 2018
Photo of Gajo74
Gajo74 from New York

4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color that has a reddish hue, perhaps maroon. The carbonation is visible as is what appears to be yeast floated. A fingernail length head soon dissipates and yields minimal lacing.
I’m liking the aroma as it offers lots of dark fruit such as raisin, plum and prune. I can also smell cinnamon, bubblegum and clove. There is even a light hint of chocolate and apricot midway.
Taste aligns with smell in that it features flavors of raisin, plum and prune seasoned with cinnamon and clove. Fruity but not too sweet, moderately spiced and hiding the high ABV quite well. A moderate bready malt backbone adds counterpoint yet never quite overtakes the dark fruit and vinous/grape quality.
Medium bodied yet with a sense of creamy fullness evoked by its fruity eaters and malty tones. The finish is chalky and slightly tart. Spicy phenols are relatively mild.
A decent American version of BSDA. I wouldn’t mind having again.

Mar 03, 2018
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The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It pours dark maroon with very little head. The aroma is spicy, with cinnamon, dark fruits and some nice clove. The taste matches faithfully the nose but it finishes with a bit of an intense boozy kick

Mar 03, 2018
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superspak from Michigan

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/27/2017. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy dark reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, apple, orange peel, ginger, pepper, clove, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread crust, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of banana, nuttiness, roast, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, date, apricot, apple, orange peel, ginger, pepper, clove, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread crust, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of banana, nuttiness, roast, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light peppery yeast spiciness and herbal/roast bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of dark fruit, cherry, apricot, apple, orange peel, ginger, pepper, clove, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, brown bread crust, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness/roast, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, fairly sticky, and lightly chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 9.5%. Overall this is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; extremely smooth and easy to drink for the big ABV. Perfectly balanced yeast and malt complexities, with adequate dryness. Never overly sweet/heavy for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

Jan 20, 2018
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barnzy78 from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 27SEP17
Cola colored ale with a thin foamy tan head. Rich dark Belgian candi sugar aromas with caramel, tobacco, raisin, yeast, and a touch of molasses. Rich flavors similar to aroma with notes of dark candi sugar, brown sugar, dark grain, caramel, rye bread crust, raisin, spicy yeast with fruity esters, and booze. Fuller body, quite smooth, igher carbonation, finishes dry. Good beer for late night Christmas Eve with the kids in bed, the stockings stuffed, and the presents under the Christmas tree.

Dec 25, 2017
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PatrickCT from Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A Belgian Strong Dark, to be sure. And a wonderful job by Goose Island. Wonderfully even and delicate balance between malt and dark fruit. The finish on this beer is remarkable. It pulls together all the flavors in the beer without accentuation one of them too much. Livelier with carbonation than its Belgian counterparts and perhaps lighter in body. the finish in both the taste and the feel is port like. I very much hope to see this again next year.

My score is lower for the style but this is a beer that I am actually excited to have again next year.

Dec 23, 2017
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FBarber from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown almost black. Thin fizzy tan head dissipates leaving no lacing or residual head. The fizzy carbonation is apparent and makes the beer look like Coca Cola.

Aroma is rather malty up front - with some hints of spice and a touch of esters and some yeast. As it warms you get more dark fruit aromas popping through but it still is quite malty.

Flavor is malty with a strong dark wholegrain bread flavor. There is no spice in the flavor but you do get some of the dark fruits. Some fruity esters and funky yeast flavors. Based on the flavor and what Im reading online this is not a spiced ale - its unspiced. Bit of alcohol heat on the back end.

Feel is only what I can describe as powdery - it coats the mouth and is quite dry - causing the mouth to feel very dry. Not much alcohol heat on the back end. The carbonation is extremely mild almost to the point of being flat.

Overall its a decent strong ale. For what it is, I would have liked a stronger Belgian character to it.

Dec 18, 2017
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mschrei from Illinois

4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I was pleasantly surprised by this. Pretty healthy head that retains well, malty/dark fruit/mild spices on the nose. Taste has a good tang and spice presence. A bit of a thin feel, definitely can tell it's a 9.5%. It's not a home run by any means, but it's probably a strong double.

Dec 16, 2017
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jwilcox767 from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark brown about a finger of head. Constant stream of bubbles in the glass so I'm guessing good/high carb.
S: Malty/sweet notes like plums and brown sugar. Overall aroma is generally 'flat', nothing really sticks out.
T: As the nose suggests it is dark fruity, just slightly bitter, and sweet. The Belgian yeast really comes through (which I enjoy), alcohol is a little muted and the flatness of the nose comes out here too. The flavors all seem muted.
M: Medium body, good carb, not so much that it burns. Finish lingers for a bit but is nothing of note.
O: A nice beer overall, but not super-imressive. I have no idea how long GI has been brewing this, but for a Belgian-style dark/Christmas ale, this tasted like "version 1". The complexity just wasn't there even though all of the requisite flavors were. Drink it again for sure, maybe let it age for a few months. Haven't decided if I'll get it again or not.

Dec 03, 2017
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seedyone from New York

4.57/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Nice surprise . one of the choices at a GI event, one I was not familiar with. The mahogany color bespeaks the slight port in the flavor.

Way too smooth for the 9.5 ABV rating, but with this pedigree & personality, I can overlook a lot.

Leave me of 2 minds. I appreciate it's seasonal so if it was year round it might become mundane, but I doubt it.

Nov 25, 2017
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Brolo75 from California

4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours dark brown with deep mahogany edges and a tan colored head, no retention or lacing, lots of tiny bubbles streaming up the side, looks lively.

A: Lots of sweet notes like burn brown sugar, toasted ginger bread, figs, dates, plums, bananas, alcohol comes through pretty strong, nice aroma.

T: Not as sweet as the nose, but the sweet notes are there, more dark fruits with lots of banana and Belgian yeast lingering in the aftertaste, alcohol comes through pretty strong adding some heat and lingering in the finish.

M: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation giving it a lively mouthfeel, slightly dry dark fruit like finish.

O: Really nice looking beer with a great aroma and taste, the alcohol comes through pretty strong, not something I expected from a beer with a 9.5% ABV, could use some more complexity and depth for a Belgian style beer but as the beer warmed it lost some complexity.

Nov 10, 2017
Noël from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 41 ratings