Goose Island Beer Co.

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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Ranked #18
Ranked #3,952
4.06 | pDev: 11.82%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Notes: Golden sunrise color, baking spice aroma, fruity biscuity malt flavor, dry body.
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Reviews: 1,318 | Ratings: 4,905
Photo of mbcarrol
1.46/5  rDev -64%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I love Goose Island's Honker's ale and enjoy most Belgian ales, so I thought would be a winner, especially with the rating on this site. Boy, was I wrong. Don't waste your money. Tastes like what I've smelled in centuries-old buildings. Truly nauseating.

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Photo of npolachek
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thought this beer was very mild in taste. Had direct from tap at the brewery in Chicago. Has a musky aroma and still a solid beer but not one of my top picks of the day.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/25/15; drank 12/8/15 @ the Yarchives.

Semi-opaque orange appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small, noisy bright white head which quickly dissipated; minimal lace.

Banana, apple cider, mild caramel & faint cinnamon notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Apple cider & mild orange citrus flavors up front; banana & mild cinnamon spice notes on the finish.

A nicely balanced Belgian treat. I'd have another...

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Photo of Viaduck
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Burnt orange color with moderate head. Aroma of mild spices, not very intense. Interesting taste of sweetness, bitterness & a lasting saltiness. Flavors: caramel, grain, a mint if banana, spices & some funk. Medium body.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1.5 years old bottle of this bretted belgian style ale.
The brett is very nice and compliments well the estery and citrusy character of the beer. An enjoyable brew

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Photo of defunksta
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass at 45 degrees,

Look: Pours a beautiful coppercolor with a tall whitehead
Smell: Aromas of Belgian yeast. Lots of coriander. There is tart darker fruit. Nevertheless, this is all overwhelmed by a wet cowhide, leathery, funk that develops. A residual sourness is present as the beer sits.
Taste: Initially slightly tart and slightly sweet stone and orchard fruit come forward. This is quickly overtaken by a strong, mostly earthy, cowhide leatherness, barnyard flavor. Much like a wet leather shammy or sweaty baseball glove. It's like a garage in the hot summer. Mild yeast. Semi-dry finish with a hint of a bitterness. Banana and sweet biscuit, and caramel malt flavors. The earthy funk and malt sweetness actually develops as the beer sits and becomes more complex. I can actually smell the cowhide inches away from the glass!
Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, light mouthfeel, and crisp. Not too heavy.

Compared side by side with Goose Island's Sofie, this one has a much stronger leathery funk. The fruit is tart, more orchard and stonefruit. and less citrus. Less yeast spice overall. The sweet malts finish at the end without the biting yeast bitterness.
Compared with a Tank 7, there is less of a spiciness yeast presence, but more of a sour, funky taste.

Overall: An absolutely delicious creation by Goose Island. The ABV is well hidden and the flavors are well balanced between sourness, bitterness, yeast, and funk. Not one flavor is dominating. This is a well-made beer that incorporates many flavors and nuances well, without one predominating. Very fruit and Brett forward. This Brett has a darker, earthier barnhouse, leather funk profile than others wild ales if that is what you prefer. I would describe it as eating dried dark stonefruit sun-baked on a leather canvas all day. It takes experience to appreciate the balance of flavors in this beer. Absolutely delicious if you enjoy the dark, wet, fruity leathery flavors like I do.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle into Night Shift stemware. Shared by schen9303.

Nose is pretty floral. Hints of peppercorn, hibiscus, lemon zest, flour, hay and a light, spritzy Brett presence. Aromatic. A touch sweet. Beer opens bright, prickly. Notes of peppercorn, cane sugar, lemon zest, hay and grass. Biscuity towards the middle with some cinnamon bitterness. Foamy, floral at the finish. Decent. Body is light with moderate carbonation. Some bubbles on the palate. Goes down soft with a dry, lingering finish. Very drinkable.

Solid but this gets a touch watery at points. Peppery notes come through a bit too much, creating a kind of odd bitterness.

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Photo of Tony210
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium Amber, ample foam head. Malty biscuit aroma, slight funk. Malty and crisp, nice malt backbone, caramel, light sweetness, slightly tart finish. Overall, a very nice take on a Belgian ale, I like the Brett addition. Would drink again.

Bottle dated 10/18/18
4 rating

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Photo of Helluvaz
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a tap in Goose Island in Chicago ORD airport.

L: amber color with thin head
N: Malty scent, toast and roasted barley malt. Some scent of spice (cinnamon and clove), nuts.
T: Abbey beer taste, malty, roasted spice and a hint of sweetness.
F: balanced finish. Not dry.
Overall: great beer to buy. Slightly lighter than other Abbey beers I had. Recommended.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Label's bottled on date is '14AUG17'.
Cloudy, deep gold colored body. One finger white head stays around with lots of individual bubbles. Leaves behind some partial sheets of lacing.
Faint aroma of fruity malts and baking spices (cloves). Presents a whiff of slightly sour yeast.
Taste has several stages of progression. First is slightly sweet fruit with spice (raisin and banana), then some malty bread sweetness, and then the slightly sour yeast at the end. The after taste is a blend, with the fruit and spice coming back.
Medium mouth feel, with slight syrup. Good carbonation. Dry at the end.
This beer has a blend of subtle flavors that present individually in stages but mix together at the end. Well done, and the yeast is a very good addition to the recipe (adds flavor and feel).

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Photo of iguanodon
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

[Original rating 2015-12-30] 765 ml bomber. Pours hazy dark gold with a small off white head. Aroma of yeast and spice, but there is a metallic smell. Taste is sweet malt, a little caramel, with a bitter finish. Nice mouth feel, steady fine carbonation.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark copper-brown that carries a clear transparency. It has two fingers of off-white foam that retains well. Aroma is clove, yeast, plum, and bread malts with a light lactic sour twinge in the back. Flavor profile is bread and pale malts with plum, raisins, yeast esters, banana, and clove all livening it up. There is a touch of sour, but only a tinge, especially towards the end of the flavor profile. Mouth feel is medium-thick in terms of consistency with a fuzzy, velvety texture. Overall, it drinks like a big and well-done Belgian strong ale with a light twinge of sour, just enough to add a unique twist.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz bottle.

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Photo of hman43
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours hazy orange with a bit of yellow tinges in it. It has an off white head with moderate head retention.

Smell: There is a good deal of barnyard elements with some spice. There is a bit of lemon and coriander as well.

Taste: The flavors feature barnyard and leather with some spice. coriander is the most noticeable spice. There is a bit of lemon to it as well.

Feel: It has a moderate body and has a very dry finish.

Overall: A quality saison with plenty of Belgian elements to it.

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Photo of Wolvmar
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, Aug 25, 2016, so almost two years old. 7% ABV. Bought at Beverage Warehouse. Who knows where/what this beer has been through before I found it there.

Pour: tulip glass. Poured a golden/burnt orange. Fairly hazy. One finger head that quickly dissipates into a few clouds and a thin ring. Nice to look at.

Nose: cloves dominate with some bready yeast and malt. A little dark/tropical fruit, maybe some pepper as well. Pretty upfront and pleasant.

Taste: more peppery than the nose with cloves, other spice(?). Some banana, bready yeast/malt. As advertised, fairly dry and little aftertaste. Enjoyed this with Bigalora pizza. Would go with most anything.

Mouthfeel: fairly high carbonation even after two years. But just enough to tingle the senses but not overwhelm. Somewhat viscous but clean on the finish.

Overall: I’m not a Belgium ale expert but I would think this is a good representation. Spiced but not overdone. Plenty of complexity to make it an interesting and refreshing drink.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.14/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours relatively orange with an off white head 3/5" very good retention, stuck around a solid 4-5 minutes. Aroma is bread, spice rack.

Taste is more bread and spice rack, decent amount of phenolic bitterness. I am not a fan of all this clove and spice rack. Never have been and it is in significant form in this BSPA iteration. I don't get a lot of stone fruit or bubblegum flavors, its more of that yeast business all swole and shit. Dunno what more I can say about this, I rarely like BSPA but when I do, they usually keep the yeast profile in check. This one it just bullies the entire beer around, didn't really have much to speak of hops or other nuance beyond yeast sledgehammer over here.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep orange amber. Head is off-white with moderate retention and little lacing.
The nose if full of Belgium spice up front. Picking up clove, candy sugar, sweet bread all mixed in with a yeast spiciness.
Taste is sweet, bread like, and spicy. This one is heavy on the clove. Still the bread and yeast push through making for quit a complex taste.
Mouthfeel medium bodied and well carbonated.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - body is golden with a eggshell white head

Smell - brett funk, belgian yeast, clove

Taste - apricot, green apple, pear, brett funk, clove

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, brett upfront, citrus follows, dry finish

Overall - decent belgian style ale here, definitely worth a shot. Wonder what some age does to this beer?

Bottled in 8/2017

Price Point -$2.29/ 12 oz single

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Photo of Nvrmind16
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

one of the best belgian American beers I have ever had. Something feels very old, and european about this strong american ale. I would say it has the feel of an IPA but the subtle notes of a blue moon

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Photo of SFC21
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage. Gushed out of the bottle and poured with a huge head. Nose has some mixed notes of Belgian yeast, hint if bubble gum and some funk, presumably from the 5 years of aging. Barnyard notes much more prevalent in the taste. Some earthy hops on the finish but they aren't a feature at this point.

Really tasty and interesting

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes taken 06/04/17:

Contents under extreme pressure! Glad I decided to open slowly. The lid is still 95% on as I type and I’d say that a small glass’s worth — down almost to where the bottle is first at its widest — has already gushed forth. A little on my pants, a little on the floor, but I put my mouth around it quickly enough to “drink” (that is, inhale) the rest of what came out, and allow me to say, it tastes great, even if a little, or a lot, effervescent. It is finally subsiding enough to where I feel comfortable to remove the crown cap the rest of the way and pour myself a proper glass. It’s been ten minutes since I removed the foil from the cap. This is the 2013 bottling, but I got it early 2015.

Rich and hazy pinkish orange, like copper and apricot. Beyond hazy and simply opaque by last pour with the sediment. Very light cream colored and fine-bubbled head was tall and active at first, no surprise there but dies down rather quickly apart from a frosty film to coat the surface of the body of beer and the inner walls of the glass. Smells about like other Belgian Pale Ales, with hints of grain, biscuit, caramel, but with a slightly tropical suggestion and a little vinegar-to-rubber character, albeit far less than most other similar Sours I have experienced. These qualities jump out at you more on a taste, significantly distracting from the “Pale Ale” aspect of this dual Belgian style hybrid, without actually coming across as very sour. Which, I’m guessing, is what was intended. This ship is anchored to a floor of caramel and sweet grasses, as tumultuous but balanced waves and gusts of apple skin, ethanol, burnt rubber, funk, lemon, lime, tropical fruit, peppercorn, and other likely just perceived spice notes nearly send you careening over the side. Medium-bodied in general but full and heavy by last pour, semi-astringent, only somewhat warming. Far less effervescent in a glass, with only a moderate amount of carbonation, albeit fine and sharp and possible to reactivate into a creamier mass of suds, after the first few minutes of each pour.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear Amber color. The head was minimal when poured, but white. Some lacing in the glass. The nose is wild, funky, tart fruit smelling.
Taste is on the wild side. It has a funky taste. Fruit. Slightly tart.
Feel is full bodied. Some slight carbonation. Doesn't feel like a 7% beer.
Tasty, and refreshing overall. A solid beer.

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Photo of Spike
3.51/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2017 bottle, 355ml, careful pour.
L: Dark amber colour, no carbonation, haze of suspended sediment, no head.
S: Sweet, biscuity, light.
T: Cardamom, treacle, sweet with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Belgian yeast is there but muted. No obvious alcohol. No ‘rustic’ sourness at all.
F: Medium body, rich, dry.
O: Oddly unsatisfying. Flavour and smell both on the weak side. Neither refreshing nor sufficiently complex.

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Photo of scott_qua_scott
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: Pours a hazy amber. Head is a pronounced yellow.

Smell: LOTS of fruit--specifically, lots of pineapple. This is meant to be a Strong Pale Ale, right? To my nose, it's more like a Trippel. Still: it's a pleasant smell.

Taste: A little bitter and floral up front, but the core flavor is sweet and mellow, almost honeyed. Finish is pleasantly dry and hoppy.

Feel: Pleasantly viscous, very much in keeping with the Belgian Strong Ale style.

Overall: This beer has gotten rave reviews, and ordinarily I'm really into Belgians, but this one didn't do anything for me personally. Worth a shot if you're a fan of the style, though.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a brilliant clear and bright copper-gold with hints of red, and small white head and several fingers of lacing on the glass. This is a very nice looking beer.

S: The Belgian yeast is forefront, strong notes of pepper and clove, mix with a light piney weedy hop and a light crackery malt underneath, I don't detect a lot of the Brett mentioned on the bottle.

T: The Belgian yeast hits first with a strong pepper, followed by some clove and lemon, some light piney and weedy hops mix in with some light crackery malt underneath.

F: Medium body, with some high carbonation and finished fairly dry.

O: I really like how this beer showcases the Belgian yeast, a very nice Belgian styled beer.

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Photo of Brolo75
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review of a 2013 bottle poured into a tulip

Pours a dark orange, amber color with a white full head, lots of carbonation, beer is slightly hazy. Light hints of sour notes, stone fruits, and notes of Belgian yeast in the finish, mostly sour and funk notes. Taste follows the nose with sour and funk notes along with some lemongrass notes, children's vitamins, pear, green apple, and Belgian yeast in the finish, no alcohol on the taste. Medium bodied with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

It's nearly five years old and its held up pretty well. A good amount of sour and funk along with some stone fruits, malt, and Belgian yeast. I'd like to try a fresh bottle to compare with the older bottle I found at my local bottle shop.

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 4905 ratings