Goose Island Beer Co.

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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Ranked #18
Ranked #3,876
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: 1,317 | Ratings: 4,905
Photo of Winter
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The label alludes to this being an Orval clone or tribute. Pours amber in color with a creamy off-white head with thick lacing. Aroma consists of fresh pears, apples, bubblegum and peppery yeast. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Spicy malt (from the yeast) and some caramel apple flavors upfront. Peppery yeast picks up midway though. Alcohol detected in the finish.

This was quaffed rather easily and the carbonation and mouthfeel soften as the beer warms to room temperature. Not bad at all.

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Photo of karst
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at the Goose Island 1800 N. Clybourn St.Chicago, Ill. Matilda is offer in limited draft and bottles in mid August.

Pours a hazed peach-gold with a one finger head and a cap supported by strong beading rising from the bottom of the long stemmed Goose Island oversized wine globe with gold decorations that matches the neck ring on the bottle that was brought to the table unpoured.

Aroma fresh orchard fruits sweetened with cotton candy with Belgium yeast hints following far behind.

Flavors sweet and juicy pears. Subtle dryness overpowered by candy sweetness. Mild bitterness in the finish. Well hidden alcohol. Becomes more complex, slightly musty yeast, mild spices and lemon-orange flavors are more evident as it warms.

Body is medium-full and a round dextrinous mouthfeel.

Drinkability: at $7.00 per bottle - this got expensive quick (only $2.50 down the street)! So delecious your likely to ignore its cost. One of the two must haves from Goose Island ( December released - Bourbon County Stout is the other)

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Photo of far333
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apricot colored with a thick head of off-white meringue that leaves lumpy residue atop the liquid and sends fuzzy finfgrs rising up the insides of the glass. Aroma of honey and ripe fruit, some fine hops, bready malt and a bit of yeast. Smooth and full mouthfeel leads to a flavor of cinnamon and clove, a dash of nutmeg, delicate malt, and a finish of yeast. A smooth and well-balanced beer, enjoyable sipper, but just on the low side of drinkability due to the yeasty linger. Thanks ro Brent for sending this one along.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Holy crap! This is THE best American Belgian I've had! This is another of the leftovers from the Iowa City Brew Fest, provided by our Goose Island distributer.

The beer pours to a cloudy pale golden color with an odd rust colored glow. Looks great. Has a very fine head that takes a while to recede but stays at about 1 cm. Carbonation is good. Lacing is spotty.

Smells very light and fruity with some spicy and grassy hops. Definitely some funky yeast going on in there. Amazing stuff.

The taste is exceptional. Very juicy but not too sweet. Taste somehow reminds me of a mamosa with a bit of grainy beer flavor and hops added in. The hop bite is very subtle, but sharp on the tongue. Actually tastes like it's from Belgium, unlike many American renditions of Belgian beers I've tried.

I only wish this was a more readily attainable beer, as I've really got a taste for it now. It would make a great session beer otherwise, but I am still savouring my only bottle as I wrap this review up.

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Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden amber seated below a mountain of mauve fluff.
Baked pears, ginger, horse stables, and lemongrass aromas.
Begins with a concentrated fruitiness that suggests, simultaneously gala apples, peaches, pears, and grapefruit; then it inches sweeter yet via rock candy. Yeast hits with an initial white peppercorn burst, then settles into bretty notions of lathered pack animals and granite. It closes with a loud hop exclamation of orange oil, wintergreen, and fescue.
Modest in the mouth, both in build and in bubbles. A couple tacky sugars keep this from divinity in the mouth, but on the whole it seems pretty authentic, and lightyears ahead of GI's other Belgian-styled creations.
Oh, and this is a drinker in the fiercest sense.
A nice Orval homage here.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
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 faernt
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a changling. It pours well, but not with the big rocky head I was expecting. This is a problem with comparative text. Aside from that, it had a clean, warm white, 1/2" head on top of a clear, golden body. It had a "close to the earth" smell and a sweet start that reiterated the earthiness due to a good aroma release as I brought the glass back away from my nose. This seems unusual to me. The aroma of this beer is a large part of its appeal.

The next taste released a clean, citric, piney approach before the sweet taste. I got a slight sweet coating on my tongue with this. It held up well, but quieted down in the middle of the glass as I stood outside by the grill. ( I may have been paying too much attention to the eggplant) It goes well with grilled eggplant.

The finish was the Orval nose and astringent taste. This was pleasant. I will try more. I find this beer to have the flavor experience of bigger beers. This is the most interesting surprise to me. At 7% it borders on a session beer. It offers a good food pairing and with its citric carbonation will refresh through a meal. The reserve series has another success.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An extensive lable note talks about a Belgian beer sampled by the brewer, and the attempt to recreate that beer (although it is not specifically named). I don't know if I've ever had a beer that touted itself as a clone, but there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Poured a hazy, peachy gold. Some Juicy Fruit gum in the aroma. Very Belgian-esque in character - yeasty phenols and not-overripe orchard fruit, suggesting pear and apple, with the barest touch of spice. I've not had an Orval in quite a while, but this beer immediately brought it to mind.

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Photo of SCW
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

By far the best beer I've had from Goose Island yet.

My sample poured a very nice and brilliant golden color. Very strange and bizzarre soy sauce aroma. Don't know what to think of it really. Also, I do get a little horse blanket as well...

Horse blanket in the taste initially, and then it fades into a hoppy dryness. Wow! A really remarkable beer. This beer is almost exactly like Orval. Does anyone else agree? It's like fresh Orval, the good stuff straight from the brewery. Hoppy and dry, with a complex yeasty spiciness.

The only "flaw" was in the drinkability, but it still went down pretty easily. Perhaps a bit more body and silkiness, but overall, a very impressive beer.

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Photo of beerinator
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, thanks autumnaldave!

Appearance: Pale clear beer with slight peachy color. Nice lacing on the off white head.

Aroma: Belgiany and bubbleyummy at first. Sour apple fruit in the nose. Some very nice apple pie smells.

Taste: Smooth malty body. There is some fruityness that lingers on the palate. The finish is quick, but there is a bit of lingering sweetness. The hops are there, across the tongue, but they seem to fade quickly. The hop flavor is primarily earthy, and subtlely bitter..

Notes: This is a good beer. It probably will not appear at the top of my list, but it is pleasantly drinkable. I plan to do a side by side sampling of this one and the beer that inspired it soon.

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Photo of Quaffer
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 7/27/05. The label states that the "Flavor will continue to develop over five years."

Appearance: This brew was a glowing amber orange with the slightest hint of haze. The off-white head rose up to about one finger and dissipated quickly. A thin skin of bubbles remained on top of the beer for most of the glass. There were a few thin tendrils of lace left behind.

Smell: A unique aroma. Right after the pour it was bready and very fruity, with an almost Duvel quality to it. Then, a very kriek-like aroma emerged. A slight funkiness to the yeast helped to create that illusion. Hints of malt and clean hops hung out in the background. After it had sat for awhile, it developed a fruit soda smell.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with a nice presence. Smooth and round up front with a fuzziness developing as it hit the back of the mouth.

Taste: Whole grain crackers and sharp cherries and apples hit the tongue first. It seemed as though there was a lot of yeast flavor considering that the beer was relatively clear and not bottle conditioned. Floral hops and pepper rose up in the middle and lingered well into the aftertaste. Some husky grains and a light, sweet fruitiness (almost candy-like in nature) showed up on the finish.

A good, albeit a little different, beer. I need to cellar some and see what happens.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear copper color with a finger of head that falls to a moderate coating over top. Nose is very nice. I get lemoney and orange citrus, slight musty and spiceyness. There is almost a perfumey quality to it. The flavor is okay. Rather spicey and almost floral-perfumey tasting as well. The citrusyness is more subdued in the flavor. It seems to want to be doing a lot of things at the same time, but they don't blend as seamlessly as I wouldl ike them to. The feel is moderate to thick with a moderate carbonation. Overall, the nose is really nice, but the flavor is a bit detracting to me. I'd like to see it meld better.

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Photo of clvand0
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a medium head that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of citrus and some yeasty character. The flavor is nice. Some citrus and a tasty caramel malt backing. The flavor sticks to the tongue. Some yeast flavors - slightly spicy. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and the drinkability is good.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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 Boto
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught: This one pours a dark golden, somewhat hazy color. There ws also a hint of orange in there. A good off-white head. The nose is quite full, being bready, yeasty, spicy, and a hint of caramel and hops. The taste has wheat, corriander, breadyness, and some sweetness. Very Nice!

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky golden brown with no head but white lace deposited on the side of the glass.
Aroma of candi sugar, crystal and pale malt and a spicy yeast.
Flavor starts with a heavy dose of pale malt and finishes with a spicy yeast based hit with bitter floral undertones.
Mouthfeel is malty smooth and easy with just a hint of bitter and minerally finish.
Drinkability is pretty high, slightly metallic aftertaste limits somewhat but pretty good beer.

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Photo of MissOrch
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer at Goose Island. This beer poured a rich, mahogany color, letting all light through, with a thin head that dissipated quickly. It had a malty smell with an almost barnyard-like earthiness. I'm guessing that was the barley they were boasting of in the written description. The taste was pretty complex, without being overpowering. The first sip almost tasted like a chardonnay, crisp and fruity. This taste was followed by the sweetness of the malt and finished with a bitter hoppy bite.

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