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Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co.

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very good
1,264 Reviews

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

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Golden sunrise color, baking spice aroma, fruity biscuity malt flavor, dry body.

Users have reported some infected bottles from these batches:

4/1/10 12oz
4/17/10 12oz
4/22/10 12oz
5/20/10 12oz
4/16/10 650mL
5/21/10 650mL

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2003

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,264 | Ratings: 4,679
Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Like a saison, extremely horse though recent brew. Some spice, cinammon, nutmeg, not much, pale colour nice amount of head, and foam at the bottom. Nice drinking, but you have to get by the smell. Do you think skunked in short time? Peppery, medium mouthfeel.
I had this again 5.3 years later and it was much beter in the aroma department(yeasty and normal) so upgraded it,

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy copper orange color with a 1 inch head that fades to a 1/2 inch cap. Good lacing on this beer.

S - Smells of tart fruits (pineapple/green apple) and biscuit.

T - Grainy biscuit, tart fruits, and a very mild bittering finish.

M - Good carbonation with a creamy finish.

D - Very good beer. I will pick this one up again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: two finger of thick white head on a copper-crimson hazy body.

S: cedar, oak, citrus and orange peel with a nice mild belgian yeast musty note.

T: Nice twang to this one. Corriander, orange citrus, belgian yeast and biscuity... in a word complex.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate to high carbonation. semi-dry finish.

Overall: very complex beer. One of the better beers from this brewer. Cant wait to have again.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a fantastic american made belgian ale. pours hazy copper colored with a lively 2 inch head. smells a lot like a sour, with a funky sort of belgian yeast. flavor features the yeast and all kinds of balanced other flavors. its fruity, malty, and refreshing all at once. the feel is perfectly approproate as well. highly carbonated and just medium on the body makes this beer very easy drinking despite its complexity and depth. the finish is quick and only the gentle but distinct yeast notes remain on the tongue. i was really surprised by how much i liked this beer, and im eagerly looking forward to my next. superb

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Photo of Knapp85
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured out as a golden color with a white fluffy head on top. The aromas of Belgian yeast and some grainy malts were on the nose. The taste of the beer to me was like most of the other Belgian Ales I've tried, it was soft and slightly fruity with a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was light and well carbonated. Overall this brew wasn't too bad but I wouldn't have to go seek it out again I don't think.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured clear light amber in color with a thin off white head that quickly vanished. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose is filled with spicy and yeasty aromas.
T: Like the smell, flavors of spices and yeast dominate the overall taste, which is quite complex and also has some hints of fruit and a slight amount of sweetness. The finish is rather spicy.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and there is dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink and the alcohol is well hidden from the smell and taste.

Note: 2010 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer in the line of Goose Island's Big Beers. Good aromas of Belgian candy and barley malts. Transfers to flavors along with over ripe fruits: oranges, plumbs, and berries. Has some slight hop bitterness and flavor. Spicy coriander, cloves, pepper, and allspice. Some organic, sour, or earthy flavors ride underneath other flavors, these resemble Trappist Orval. Its a good beer, but the flavors need a while to come together.

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Photo of largadeer
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautifully clear amber in color with a one finger head that surprisingly disappears completely - not even a ring remains. Odd. Otherwise, a great looking beer.

Smell: Sweet and somewhat grainy. Spices and herbs, a hint of fresh flowers. A nice aroma, I just wish it were a bit bolder.

Taste & mouthfeel: Fruity and phenolic, but with an American cleanness - for an Orval inspired beer this is missing the funk. Carbonation is low for the style. Crisp biscuity dryness takes over in the finish, bringing out a nice earthy hop note.

Notes: Well, it doesn't hold a candle to Orval, but comparisons aside this is good.

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a modest head that doesn't hang around long and fades to a ringlet with very little lacing

Smell: Yeasty phenols, with elements of pear, JuicyFruit and crisp apples

Taste: Honey and Juicy Fruit opening, with a quick nod toward some bitter, grassy hops through mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitter flavors persist and balance out the sweeter fruit elements

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation

Drinkability: I don't appear to have had as highly a carbonated a bottle as others have reported and I think the lack of carbonation was a drawback; otherwise a decent, not great, BSPA

2008 bottling, courtesy of iasanlee, tasted on 8/13/09, with much the same commentary

2009 bottling, also courtesy of iasanlee, tasted on 8/13/09, the first time tasted without a year of aging....a bit better head retention; a lot more tartness in the nose and taste (virtually none of the sweet Juicy Fruit aspect); more prickly carbonation...I think I prefer the beer with a bit of age, to be frank

2011 bottling, (bottled 12/22/11; tasted on 3/17/12)....better head retention and lacing (bumped the appearance up .5); not only is the Juicy Fruit back, but there is a basket of strawberries in the aroma, as well; very fruity, with a more refined tartness (bumped up the taste by .5); better carbonation (also bumped up the mouthfeel .5)...this is a really nice beer

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Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, procured in some random grocery store in the Pacific NW earlier this summer. 09/30/10 batch here, hopefully no infection present beyond my incurable beer affliction.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, dark golden amber hue, with two fat fingers of puffy, foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves but a few ambitious streaks of streaky, sudsy lace around the glass as it gradually sinks away.

It smells of sharp, acidic stone fruit, milder earthy yeast, field honey, a complex bready graininess, and herbal, leafy hops. The taste is wheaty, caramel-tinged malt, softly funky, barn-borne notes, Belgian yeast, mild earthy and savoury spices, and a muddled fruitiness that nonetheless proves itself more than welcome. No real indication of the elevated ABV presents itself as such, yet.

The carbonation is quite involved, in a palate-probing frothy manner, the body an aspiring medium weight, and smooth amidst the brio of the swirling yeastiness. It finishes fairly off-dry, the newly unshackled malt having much less funkadelia with which to deal, somewhat thankfully.

While more than a few purveyors of this particular style choose to do so in exactly this heady sort of manner, it's a bit of an eye opener all the same. Being a beer produced in Amur'ca, I'm coming to appreciate our southern cousins' predilection for emulating the weird, unusual, and just plain wonderful Old World off-road leanings. That is to say, this is good, damned good.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a medium brown color beer with a nice big foamy head with good retention. Aroma of sweet cookie dough with some yeast characteristic. Taste is somewhat dominated by the sweet cookie dough, some yeast and some dry fruits. Body is a bit thin and carbonation is just perfect. Overall, I wasn’t expecting this to be such good Belgian ale.

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Photo of emerge077
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brown 12 oz. bottle. My personal preference is the bottle conditioned variety over the draught version.

Cap is cracked... fruit and spice are immediately present in the air. Hazy orange-apricot body. Streams of visible carbonation. Aroma of orange zest, clove, nutmeg, and musty yeast with Brett.

Taste is true to first aroma impression, clove and yeast, hops, then a tart citrusy element toward the end. Warm spice lingers in the aftertaste, dry and inviting of another sip. Styrian Golding and Saaz hops lend some crispness. Not identical to Orval, but definitely stands tall on it's own. Very refreshing and thirst-quenching, mainly due to the citrus and yeast combo.

A strong example of successful Belgian-style brewing, right in my own backyard!

EDIT 4/2007 bottling: Lots of estery yeast, not much Brett presence at all. Slicker mouthfeel. Will cellar for 6 months to see if any Brett character shows up.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz bottle, batch 08/11/11, served into 25cl Antwerp beer passion weekend stemware in Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. I'm excited to try this because I've had some decent brews from Goose Island before.

A: Pours a half finger head of no cream, bad thickness, and terrible retention. The colour is a bit more appealing: semitransparent vibrant copper with some floating yeast particles. It looks alright, but I wouldn't call it inviting.

Sm: Bright fruit esters, biscuity yeast, well handled malt, and fresh barley. Quite a nice aroma. Moderate in strength.

T: A crisp fresh flavour of mild esters, a healthy dose of Belgian style candied sugar, and some pleasant malt. The candied sugar dominates but holds together the other notes in a nice balance. It's a bit simplistic, but all in all it's refreshing. The yeast would be better if it were stronger. It's built to style.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but not too thick or too thin. Mildly refreshing, but lacking cream. I don't know that cream would be a welcome addition to this style anyway. The texture suits the flavours in a general way, but it certainly isn't tailored to it.

Dr: A very drinkable beer for the relatively high ABV, but not one I'd come back to at its price point. I'd certainly try it on draught if I found it, but overall it's unremarkable. It might please fans of the style, but should be passed over by those who aren't.

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Photo of zeff80
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on March 2, 2006.

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy/orange color with a tan, bubbly, one-finger head. The head dissipated after several minutes and left a little lace.

S - It smelled of corriander and orange. The was a dried fruit and malt aroma, too.

T - It tasted of orange and malt. It had some spice from the hops.

M - It was crisp and dry. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is another good GI beer. A descent attempt at a Belgian ale.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11.21.2008. Consumed on 01.21.2010.

Pours a pale, slightly hazy orange color with a good bit of lacing as it goes down, but the initial head wasn't too tall, especially for the style. The aroma is of slight Belgian yeast in addition to some sweet, and partially caramelized, malt. Touch of Brett in the background.

Taste is similar with the malt coming out a bit more and the yeast moving to the background. Nice earthy background tones. Light-medium body and nice carbonation. Quite good.

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Photo of nickfl
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer is a very hazy orange brown. It forms a large, creamy white head that sticks around for quite a while before receding to a robust film of foam and leaving a thick residue on the walls of the glass

S - Spicy yeast aroma, very musty and wild. Leather, pepper, vanilla, and a definite citrus acidity.

T - Citrus oil flavor with smooth malty flavors in the beginning followed by drying acidity and hops. There is a good spicy yeast character throughout and the beer leaves behind a lot of refreshing sourness and hop bitterness.

M - Strong carbonation and a very nice dry acidity.

D - Very drinkable. The smell and the finish were definitely the best parts of this beer. The aroma is not too complex, but it is enough to keep you interested and the dry, funky finish kept me coming back for more. I understand that this is basically an homage to Orval and I have to say that GI succeeded marvelously with Matilda

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Photo of jlindros
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GOt this one thanks to AgentZero before this beer was available in MA.

A: It's filled almost all the way to the cap, screw cap, and there's almost no sound when I pop it... hmmm... An aggressive pour into my tulip glass yields a small 1/2 finger fluffy head that retains well. It's a slightly hazy golden orange almost rosy color.

N: Pretty nice, lots of malts, Belgian malts. Some sweet sugar with that, a Belgian candi sugar and almost boozy aroma with that. Touch of fruit. The thing that is surprising is the fruit that is like a sour cherry, almost like a cherry lambic. It's pretty strange for a Belgian strong. With that is the very slightest sour yeasty funky. If this is not infected its great, and if it is infected, who cares.

T: Here comes the real test... hmmm, def tastes somewhat like a lambic. A slightly sweet Belgian malt and candi sugar presence, but not that much. It then comes through with lots of tangy sour fruits. Tasty though. A slight yeasty barnyard funk, but not much. The sour fruit is offset by a slight vanilla oaky taste. It sure is tasty if that is what it's supposed to be.

M: Lighter body with tons of carbonation, which is strange that it didn't have any real sound when opening.

F: Dries off quite a bit. A light lingering tangy sour fruit, but that's mostly gone. A little sticky sugar feel, and slight bready malts. Mostly its just gone once you swallow. Finish is pretty short.

Well, I'll have to make sure that's what it is supposed to taste like, cause if it is I'm excited for it. This is a really tasty beer, not sure if I would call it a Belgian Strong Pale, but that could also be an older version, or this is a well done infection that I hope more are like. It's dated 2009 vintage in 12oz bottle.

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Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition. Bottled on 11/26/07.

Poured into a tulip glass.

Color is a golden orange. Head is a light white that leaves little lacing.

Smell is of a hefeweizen. Banana, fruites, and cloves. Slight hints of floral hops. Taste is of strong bananas and cloves. This beer is not very strong on the malts.

Mouthfeel is amazing. Very smooth and clean. Carbonation level is low, and leaves a slight dry aftertaste.

Overall, this is an amazing beer. I am sad that this is my last one. I would recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/20/2012. Pours lightly cloudy golden orange color with a 2-3 finger foamy and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big pineapple, peach, apricot, orange peel, pear, apple, hay, floral, grass, candi sugar, caramel, pepper, light funk, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of yeast ester, hop, and malt notes; with great strength. Taste of pineapple, peach, apricot, pear, apple, candi sugar, caramel, grass, floral, light funk, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pineapple, peach, apricot, pear, apple, candi sugar, caramel, grass, floral, light funk, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of yeast ester, hop, and malt flavors; with a great malt/fruitiness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Belgian pale ale! All around great complexity and balance of yeast ester, malt, and hop flavors; and extremely smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Matilda pours a hazy golden-orange body beneath a creamy head of ivory froth that holds quite well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. In the mouth it gently bristles before warming to become lightly creamy. The nose is fruity with a suggestion of tartness (think Brettanomcyes); malty and a bit candyish; a touch musty; and subtly spicy.... all of which carry over in the flavor with the addition of some welcome hops! It finishes drying with some residual sticky malt, but it's solid, underlying bitterness wins out in the end and leaves you ready for another sip. Well done!

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Photo of mactrail
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber in the New Belgium snifter. Fruitcake nose. Rich flavors come on immediately. Distinct sweetness with candy flavors. Some tart fruity flavors, like a hint of raspberry jam and a touch of pie cherries. Clean but complex. A bright flavor. Interesting to taste for the Belgian character, though with less funk and more drinkability. Carbonation is just sprightly enough to give it a sparkle. Aftertaste brings shades of darkness and a welcome touch of bitterness.

Bottle date is 02/18/10, so this has lasted well. Better than I remember from last year.

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Photo of chinchill
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very fresh 12 oz 2011 bottle - 7/13/11 date - served at about 50-55 F.

Appearance - a clear amber with a small head that quickly settles to a lasting ring. Visible moderate carbonation.

A light to moderate strength aroma promises some yeasty and spiced light malt, with plenty of cloves. The flavor itself largely follows, but being more spicy and flavorful than the nose indicates. The spice complex is too reliant on cloves, a commmon complaint (from me) for light Belgian styles beers. The beer does have some underlying complexity that is perhaps most obvious in the lasting finish. Lightly earthy with hints of raisins and more than a hint of yeast.

M - Good carbonation streaming up from the bottom is also evident in the mouthfeel of this medium bodied and lightly crisp beer.

O - Plenty of flavor despite a nose that is a tad light. I enjoyed this beer more as I got further thruthe bottle, some acclimation perhaps, but likely some warming too. It has more complexity than my first impression indicated but, unfortunately, the overload of clove as well. I'd like to try an aged bottle down the road.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Particulate-riddled ripe apricot with a (nearly) Belgianesque amount of carbonation hurrying up to a (nearly) Belgianesque head of sticky foam that is somewhere between ivory and beige in color. Assorted squiggles of sudsy lace find their way to the glass as the head begins its lazy descent. A good start.

I think I remember that Matilda is supposed to be similar to Orval. I can definitely smell the resemblance, although it's been so long since I had that other beer that it's hard to say for sure. The nose is barnyard funky and impressively phenolic, scents that didn't used to appeal to me, but now do. It's softened (and improved) by a Juicyfruit quality that adds even more interest. Even those who might not care for the aroma have to admit that it's authentic.

The flavor is the nose in liquid form. If my memory is any good at all, Matilda tastes remarkably similar to Orval with a few key differences. First of all, it's pale malty and sweet rather than bone dry and crisp. Second, it's a wee bit less funkyphenolic. Third, it's less chaotically carbonated. Not bad (and I didn't even go back and read my Orval review).

Whether my tastes have changed or whether the above changes are more in line with my preferences (probably a little bit of both), I like Matilda more because it isn't as much of an extreme, polarizing, take-it-or-leave-it kind of beer. Goose Island had to pick just the right yeast strain to pull this off. Credit must be paid where credit is due.

German hops (I'm guessing) contribute a fair amount of bitterness and spicy, grassy flavor. I wish that I had cracked this bottle open when it was fresh, rather than just past its first birthday, so I could have experienced even more of a hoppy rush. I won't make the same mistake next time. And there will definitely be a next time if the opportunity presents itself.

Although far from the light and effervescent mouthfeel that my memory wants to attribute to Orval, Matilda feels just fine in the mouth for one who loves Belgian beer, but still enjoys the more full, less bubbled beers of this country. Not quite authentic, but still praiseworthy.

Matilda is yet another good beer in GI's 'Reserve' line. As far as those offerings that fancy themselves Belgianesque, it's superior to Demolition 1800, but falls short of the superb Pere Jacques. Goose Island should be proud of the fact that they're among the handful of U.S. breweries who are able to give the Belgian masters a run for their money.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $3.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Bottled On: 08/17/12.

Appearance: Pours a clear, darkened gold body with a medium-small, white head.

Smell: Moderate maltiness with a very light toastiness and thin caramel edge. Vibrant melange of fruitiness, particularly as it warms, as with the taste, sometimes it's a note of pear, apple, sultana, citrus, even kiwi.

Taste: Sweet, sugary barley with a touch of treacle. Hint of tropical fruitiness (just a hint, mind you), but also a little golden raisin and apple. Lightly spicy yeastwise, leafy, maybe even a trace of gum in there. Lightly bitter. Some warmth from the alcohol. Sweetish, soft finish with a bit of spice lingering into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Matilda is a fairly enjoyable, fruity Belgian-esque ale.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of 1/29/2010 poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish gold color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, light caramelized malts, spices and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel, fruit and spices followed by some mild sourness from wild Belgian yeast. The malt character is hearty and there’s a mild hops presence that creates good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a good beer with some nice complexity that makes it worth drinking for a while.

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,679 ratings.
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