Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
1,272 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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Reviews: 1,272 | Ratings: 4,707
Photo of rdickey
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Source: 750 ml capped bottle labeled "2007 Batch"

Appearance: Amber gold in color. Rough pour produces a rocky two-finger head in a Duvel tulip. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet honey, along with some hops. Not what I expected, but very nice and balanced.

Taste: Hops are more up front than I expected, but there's plenty of sweetness that really reminds me of honey.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean, which is quite a feat after the hops and malt battling it out.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. It's easy to imagine drinking this all night. Or as much of the night as one remained upright.

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Photo of Kendo
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on March 15, 2007, consumed on February 2, 2008.

A: Poured into an Augustijn chalice. First impression is WOW -- that's a helluva big head. Body is murky, orangey-amber in color, with a HUGE ivory head on top. The head is active. I wrote "I've never seen a beer with a head that's so alive." I had to let it settle to finish the pour, and when I did, it came to life again, fortifying a craggly, rocky head that settled slowly, and when I started drinking left behind legs of lace with each sip. The active carbonation is there throughout, with bubbles rising and visibly crashing to the surface. Very nice show.

S: Sweet -- candied sugar, maybe JuicyFruit gum, and fruity.

T: Fruity malt with a slightly tart finish -- a hint of green apple skins, perhaps. Some spice as well, maybe nutmeg or even cinnamon-like. Nice balance all-around.

M: Excellent. Prickly and palate-cleansing, like an authentic Belgian, IMO, makes it finish dry and clean and leads you to believe it's lighter in heft than it really is.

D: Very good. I enjoyed this beer and look forward to another soon.

Notes: Bought the 4-pack at Halftime in November; I don't remember the exact price, but it wasn't cheap -- somewhere around $13 for the 4-pack, so I won't be getting this all that often (I also can't find it in Albany). But a worthwhile beer, no doubt.

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Photo of iasanlee
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


A- Pours a clear copper color with barely one finger of off-white head. (It was rather dark in the room)

S- Sweet but mostly bready. Herbal, and just a hint of citrus. Very floral.

T- Sweet carmel. A noticeable hop character. Very faint hint of grapefruit. Floral, and slightly tart.

M- Medium to thick. Not a lot of carbonation.

D- Good, great. I drink this a lot lately.

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

Reading the story on the label, I'm assuming the brewery in brewmaster Greg Hall's tale is none other than Orval. A cool label, a cool story...I was anxious to pop the top on this 2006 vintage (thanks to brew-brutha Nicky Wags).

WHOOOOSHH...huge lava release upon popping the top. My brother, who sent the bottle, told me this happened to him as well. I forgot. Too late. Spillage all over my desk. Luckily only lost about 15% of the beer, so it's not a total waste. Once poured I got a fluffy, creamy, rocky head on top of a burnt copper/sunset color. Lace practically wallpapers the sides of the goblet.

Aroma is big and fruity, also full of yeast funk and fried plantain. Yep, they were obviously going for an Orval-style thing. Judging by the looks and aroma, they nailed it.

Saddle-blanket and leather, banana and orange, honey and pepper, toffee and maple...flavor is also reminiscent of Orval
but the finish is a little too astringent and grassy. Otherwise an amazing tribute to Orval and something that rightfully stands on its own as well.

Mouth is smooth and creamy, sliding across the tongue and down the throat like liquid velvet. In this category I'd say it trumps the monks at the Big O.

Matilda, I could really grow to love you. I wish she traveled my way more often. She's playing hard to get but is worth the chase, for sure.

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Photo of baos
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into my new Schlitz Weizen Glass fresh from Franklin flea market.

A: Nice amber color with a bit of haze, but I didn't pour too much sediment in there. 3 finger head that sticks around very nicely and the lacing is dyno-mite!

S: Banana and pink bubble gum breadiness, with a bit of a lemon twang.

T: Basically just like it smells. I get a little hoppiness the beeswax flavor but this time its with lemon rind instead of orange rind. Clover. Ends with a nice dryness.

M: Medium body. Theres a lot going on in this beer very complex.

D: Very nice seems it would be very refreshing on a hot summer day with its lemon twang and all. Best Goose Island I ever had.

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

I drank this at a "The Belgian Beer Diaspora" beer tasting hosted by the late Michael Jackson at the National Geographic. The tasting involved pairing a number of Belgian beer styles with a Belgian and American interpretation of the style.

These are my tasting notes:

Like Orval but Fruitier.

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

Purchased a 12 oz. bottle from John's Grocery in Iowa City, IA

Appearance: Pale orange in color, slight haze. Poured a very thick white head into a large wineglass.

Smell: Coriander and orange peel really standout with a hint of yeast and bread. At rest and during agitation, no alcohol present.

Taste: Definitely an orange cider flavor with very light malt flavor; the malt is there, but very subdued. Light floral hop on finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: A little grainy, but smooth for the most part. Consistency felt right, not too sweet, not too dry. You can feel the alcohol warming the back of your throat, but cannot taste it.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable, although a little strong for a true session beer. Goose has done well.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled on 03-02-06
According to the label, the "Flavor will continue to develop over five years"

a: Pours a hazy pale orange with abundant debris slowly settling to the bottom of my glass. Thick and frothy head coats my glass with lacing and just won't die down, superb head retention.

s: Well balanced aroma combining honey, hops, spices and yeast.

t: A complex hop character forms the backbone of this intriguing belgian style brew. Notes of honey, fruit, and herbs can be detected.

m: medium body, dry finish, appropriate carbonation.

d: I'm sipping this one, but that's because I want to enjoy its complex and subtle flavors. The alcohol is masked well and it really is easy to drink. A good American made Belgian beer, my only complaint is the price. Not that it's not worth the money, but for the price of a 12 oz bottle of Matilda I can get a 750ml bottle of Ommegang, so I doubt I'll be buying many more of these. Still, it is a very tasty brew.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clouded brown with gold. Big head forms off a not very firm pour. Nose is yeasty a bit, but overall is very subdued. DoesnÂ’t seem to deliver a whole lot. Extremely mild citrus is there. But it is just a weee little bit. Flavor is a punch in the mouth. Firm and full. Sweet from sugars, yes. But the yeast plays a good part in it all and the full experience is well rounded and mature. Feel is a bit dough like on the liquid with a thick carbonation. Overall I have to say that this is a very good production of the style. We all know how it can be with American producers trying to work the Belgian styles. Not the case here. Quite good. Worth trying. And worth holding onto for a while to see what may happen.

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

I picked this up on a whim at Trader Joe's, feeling a yearning for Belgian ale coming on. I was interested to discover how Goose Island dealt with the style. Pours with quite a quiet head, a fairly pale amber and a hint of haze. Aroma slightly muted but has some varietal characteristic. Taste just a bit disappointing - this isn't Orval Trappiste - but is a fair imitation of the style.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a 2006 vintage bottled on 03/02/06 so it is a little over a year and a half old. I foolishly stuck my nose over the bottle and took a whiff, the bottle was a gusher and I began breathing foam, shit! The color is a nice cludy, dark orange. It smells slightly medicinal and tastes medicinal and dry. I'm not so impressed by this beer, its ok.

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Photo of marcpal
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into cylinder glass. Bottled 05, poured 07.

bottled 03/2006, sampled 05/07

A: Dark amber wiith reasonable fading head. Broad bubbles.

S: Spices and fruits. Bready aromas with not much alcohol. Could detect the fizziness.

T: Yeasty and fruity with toasted bubbles. The breadiness was interesting at first but seemed to fight against the fruity esters that were holding down the belgian characteristics. Really didnt pick up much in terms of the hops but the flavors were just a big confusion on my palate.

M: Too much carbonation. Light for the most part.

D: Alcohol presence not strong but did not find it enjoyable enough to really crave more. Not offensive but not tempting.

Overall I was very disappointed in this beer. Just seemed sloppy to me, given 2 tries and still the same. A lot may be due to it not being a style I enjoy perhaps but just found it confusing. Not sure if affected by age but other reviews had me expecting more. Least favorite GI offering thus far.

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Photo of MillRat
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a GI Reserve tulip glass at the Bavarian Lodge. Hazy yellow-orange with a persistent white head. Citrus and pepper aroma with grainy malt in the background. The flavor adds more fruit flavors to the citrus, with some apricot or peach. Prominent (Brett?) funkiness that tames the fruitiness. You can taste the hops bitterness if you concentrate on finding it, but it's only in a supporting role. A well-crafted and true to style Belgian, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy orange with copper highlights and a rocky, two finger, off white head that hold its own. Big lemony citrus and rock candy aroma followed by a booziness and some buttery toffee in the back. Nutty, grain bread, slight caramel malt bill. Citric acidity throughout and a stiff peppery bitterness follows. Tea like florals from the start and notes fruity, orange rind and clove here and there. Hot for a 7.0, but can be easily ignored. A smooth mouthfeel fights with high carbonation that bites the tongue. As it warms earthier and somewhat charred grain characters become more apparent.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.97/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Crystal clear burnt orange body with a thin head that slightly sticks to the rim of the glass. Very light yeast suspension.

S-This is a bouquet of goodness. A grassy, herbal, and spicy aroma is sharp and wonderful. Before taking a sip, you can taste the crispness in the beer. Very slight Brett aroma that makes me want to dive in.

T-Where do I start. This is one of those beers that you do not forget about. A multitude of peppery spice and wild yeast compliment the malty belgian body. It is biscuity, but just enough to add body. The hops are present but must be very low AAU nobles that give off phenomenal flavor and dry bitterness. This is truly an earthy beer that reminds me very much of Orval. A sweet finish brings out the evident use of sugar in this beer. There is definately some wild funk blended into this one, but perfectly balanced. Outstanding flavor!!!

M-The spicy, funky, dry, chalky mouthfeel is magical. The body is thin, but loaded with depth. The finish on this beer is legendary and I would love to see this style of subdued funk in more of today's beer.

D-Oh my god, this beer is so good, it should be banned. I love that it is only 7% because it holds enough body and flavor but doesn't wreck you after the first bottle. I could easily drink this all night (every night)

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

This Goose Island offering pours a clear clean amber. Moderate carbonation drifts up to thick craggy white head. Some lacing noted. Smell is floral hops, lemons, and an earthy element. Taste is fairly sweet with some sour notes as well. At first I was a but put off, but the beer was too warm. The sourness mellowed and turned out to be enjoyable. The sweetness resembles nut bread. Mouthfeel is a bit creamy but nothing over bearing. And gets cleaned up nicely by the noted sour hints and hops. I'd like to try this brew again for sure, though it is definitely nothing to be sessioned.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear, light copper, massive puffy head, lots of lacing.

S - fresh lemon and grass, with some sweetness and spice layered underneath

T - fairly sweet overall, just a hint of herbal hops to balance things out. Spices are just about right for my taste. There is a bit of malt compexity (hence the copper tone), a mild bread/nut mixture shows up in the aftertaste.

M - soft mouthfeel, not as light as most authentic Belgians, but still ok.

D - This is a solid little beer, and at 7% I could easily drink a couple

This beer is really hitting the spot right now. The only other GI beer I've tried is the 312 Urban Wheat, so this is a pleasant surpise (even more surprising was finding 4-packs of these in Minot, ND). This certainly isn't for fans of drier Belgians, but if you don't mind a bit of sweetness, this is a very drinkable version.

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Photo of 1fastz28
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ohh how looks can be deceiving, went to my fave local bar and i was the first to get this beer, they tapped it just for me :) appearance is average a copper color with very little carbonation or head. smell is of fruit and yeast but thats about it, but holy crap it tastes great. i had pen in hand at the bar to review this beer and i dropped the pen, its really really damn good. moutfeel is thick and full and wonderful. drinkability is also very high, just wish they weren't 6 bucks a pop, but if you get a chance to try it, especially on draft, i suggest you do it

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amazing, airy-yet-sturdy Belgian head, vanilla custard in color, styrofoam in texture with mesa-like retention thanks to my Chimay glass. Body is a brightly glowing red delicious orange color.

Smell: Very, very fruity - apple juice, white grapes, Champagne, kiwi, canned pear. Slight clovey spice, glue-like solvents with an almost barnyardy funk, mild caramel from the malts and a citric-herbal hop character reminiscent of autumn leaves or lemon thyme.

Taste: Difficult to pin down, very sweet at first, like apple pie a la mode potpourri. Sweetness slides out of the way like a curtain to reveal a dry, phenolic yeast character and a resiny hop bitterness, which, to be honest, kind of cancel each other out. Hops clinch the finish with a zip of spice, followed by a lightly lingering tannic, vaguel rye bready yeast aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Splendid, thanks to that magical head. Smooth yet textured, airy yet full and creamy. Sticky, yet clean.

Drinkability: A bit of a disappointment, to be honest, but still good. A valiant effort to pay homage to the big boys (Duvel, Chimay White, DT), but not quite complex or interesting enough. And the amount of hops use does not quite seem "profuse," as the bottle describes it.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jpm30 for this one.

Bottled 03/02/06 2006 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a golden orange color, nice carbonation, huge two-finger plus creamy off-white head, tons of sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is malty, yeasty, nice spicyness, and floral, slight caramel. The taste is awesome, malty/yeasty, nice touch of spice/floral, and caramel. There is a very slight tangyness as well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable. Highly recommended indeed. Another awesome brew from GI. Really there is not much difference between the 05/06 vintages, well at least that I can tell. Still an awesome brew.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.56/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Goose Island- Matilda

Thanks to Pimpp for this 1.

A- Hazy/ cloudy reddish orange with a thick billowy head. Messy lacing down half the glass.
S- Weird funkiness. Spices (pepper), farmhouse funk- hay/ straw.
T- Slighty sour with a tart/ sugary twang. Citrus fruits like orange and grapefruit with an equal mixture of tropical fruits, pinapple and mango.
M- Sour and tart up front with a fruity finish.

Overall- Tasty with an odd funk to it.

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Photo of crazybrody06
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a complex beer. Poured from the bottle into a small "water" glass. Poured with minimal head, the amber colored brew had a small amount of sediment in it. At first smell it was very hoppy, citrus, brown sugar. The taste was of a wheat beer with lots of hops, citrus, and the brown sugar comes in too. Medium mouth feel, with decent drinkablity

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

12 oz bottle dated 03/15/2007

Poured into a tulip glass a clear copper with an enormus rocky foamy head. Beads of carbonation rushing to the surface. The apperance is almost picture perfect. Head retention is good, lots of lacing, very sticky

Bready candied malts on the nose with some notes of orange rind, apple cider, brown sugar, spices, nutmeg, clove a bit musty

taste Sweet tropical fruits, phenolls dry finish

Thin body that rounds out nicely in the mouth to feel a lot fuller than it is. A moderate amount of carbonation.

Very dry, the type of beer you need to drink with a glass of water near by, I can't see myself having more than one of these in a session, though I would definitely have it again. I'd be interested to see how this beer ages.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to Jay23 for sending this beer my way.

This is a 2007 edition and bottled date of: 03-15-07.

Pours a rusty golden color with a huge amount of foam. Great head retention and thick soapy lacing.

The aroma is very yeasty with some honey, lemon/coriander, and white pepper aromas.

Taste is similar to the aroma: yeasty/bready, some citrus and spicy notes. As the beer warms up there is more malt and sweet caramel flavors.

Mouthfeel is very carbonated, a bit too much maybe.

I have a 2006 bottle and I'm looking forward to see how a few more years will change this beer, hopefully for the better.

****update 1/7/09****

I got this one a while back from BRoss242; bottled on 030206. I wasn't even planning on re-reviewing this one but the beer was interesting enough. I haven't had the pleasure of drinking this one since I had it fresh back in October 2007.

I read stories about this one being a gusher when aged so I was prepared with my tulip right next to me. A loud "hiss" as I cracked the cap and slowly but surely a stream of bubbles rose to the top. Even with a careful pour more than half the glass filled with a soapy, sticky, a pillow-y crown of foam that lasted a few minutes. Bubbles stuck to the sides of the glass. Very long retention. The color of the beer is a golden color with a hint of brown. (4.5)

Bready aromas mixed with tropical fruits, mango, pineapple, pear, nectarine, peach, green apples, saltine crackers, seltzer water, and an underlying brett aroma. Slight plastic and band-aid aroma, not offensive in anyway, just enough to bring some funkiness to the aroma. Very pleasing aroma, floral, fruity, yeasty, and funky. (4.5)

Some plastic flavor upfront followed by toast, stale bread, and a bit of fruitiness. A dusty, brett-like finish. Second sip had more Belgian yeast qualities with some spiciness. Ripe orange and grapefruit with a touch of bitterness. A little tropical mango and pineapple at mid-palate. Belgian pale malts and toast in the aftertaste with a bit of sweetness but balanced with some dryness. Also picking up some lemon, coriander, and some herbal qualities. (4)

Well carbonated, a little sting on the tongue but the sharpness helps wash out the funkiness in the flavor. Softer feel when the beer warms up a bit, almost creamy. (4)

I'm surprised and glad at how this one has aged, would definitely age some more of this. I think this one is better aged. (4)

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

Presentation--2007 batch from Rare Beer Club

A: red colored ale, almost cherry or burnt sunset. thick head that held for a bit to a thin film.

S: flowery hop nose, pppery spice, alcohol in nose for only 6.5%, full and big, fruity esters

T: nice malty spine, caramel, peppery spice with front end bitterness. fruitiness and very sweet. Spicy finish but not bitter.

M: chewy almost, full with a carbonic bite

D: easy, smooth, and a bit heady for the light alcohol.

Overall: second time I've had this beer, and it's never really grown on me. Don't get me wrong, it's a good beer but doesn't make great for me. Balance seems a bit off, too spicy for the malt, not sure. Good but I won't buy it again when I've got other choices.

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,707 ratings.
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