Goose Island Beer Co.

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
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.
Reviews: 1,317 | Ratings: 4,905
Photo of TerryMills
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle..The usual super carb/foamy Belgian bottle condition thing going on , bottle overflowed from opening .

Hazy golden copper color with lots of pure white head .

Smell is mostly funk with some slight hints of malt sweetness .

Taste is much more subdued than the smell would lead on, it has some farmhouse style funk but plenty of malt sweetness and some grassy hops yo balance it out .

Decent amount of body for the style .

Normally not a huge fan of funky farmhouse/Brett beers but I try everything lol .. This one is very drinkable and not overpowering with that wet horseblanket flavor..

 604 characters

Photo of KeithJames
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not seasoned in the terminology of beer reviewing. I just love this beer. I bought it for its reasonable price for the 7% alcohol content. I think the bottle describes it best: Rustic, Old World. This beer has a good flavorful bite, but it's not the same old IPA bite. It's different, complex, strong, but goes down very smoothly. The flavors are subtle yet so complex that it's a bouquet of flavors making it seem like a beer for Christmas, tastes so satisfying by the warmth of the indoor fireplace. It's got a beautiful amber color that is augmented by the bubbly head. The feel may only be half way to indulgently smooth and soft but it's enough to lead into the many flavors that pop. This is currently my favorite beer and I can only look forward to finding one that surpasses this in enjoyment.

 816 characters

Photo of cyclonece09
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours hazy orange yellow with a small white head. Smells of wheaty grain and slight citrus. Tastes of wheat with nice citrus aftertaste. Beer is light bodied and very nice drinking, good carbonation. Overall, a good beer.

 266 characters

Photo of miguelocastillo
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. This is a nice looking beer, pale and amber. It has too little head retention and foam dessapears really quick.
Smell. I can feel some sweet malts Malts, a little fruity aroma
Taste . A very sweet feel is present , perfect balance between Hops and malts
Mouthfeel. Carbonatation was present but was not a special or spicy one. Beers Body is just perfect
Overall. I would drink it again

 400 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Finally got around to trying one of these lady-names beer from Goose Island, not bad at all...

I found this to have a visually appealing orange-copperish color, weak to no head and no lacing to mention. The smell was a bit also-ran - wheaty, earthy, with hints of fresh grass to it. Sloshing this around your mouth proved to be very crisp and light, very drinkable at 7% ABV. Speaking of that, the grassy taste also had a hint of sweetness - I'm not sure I entirely like it though I found it certainly unique. A decent beer, a good one to have in hand and enjoy on any lazy evening...

 589 characters

Photo of andrewh995
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi hazy honey gold with a white head. Smells of yeast, sweet malt, white pepper, and coriander. Tastes of white pepper, coriander, Belgian yeast, sweet malt, and light fruits (pears possibly). Medium crisp body with medium carbonation. Overall one of the better Belgian pales I've ever had. I like this much better than Sophie.

 338 characters

Photo of josanguapo
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From Saveur biere. In Teku glass. Playing Pilgrim Academy. Not exactly a belgian pale, more like a saison, with nicely soft funk notes and some sweetness that still dont hide a champagnesque profile

 198 characters

Photo of Shanex
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a teku glass. Moderate hand. 2017

A: Golden, copper-colored body with good clarity. 1/2 finger of almost white head. Ok retention. Light lacing.

S: Must, funk. Grassy, floral hops. Fruit notes with element of indistinct berry, apple. Soil, earth. Candi sugar.

T: Light malt and an earthy funkiness open. Traces of fruit lurk in the background with a hint of sweetness. Noble-type hop bitterness builds to a mostly dry, but not exactly clean, finish. Light alcohol presence at 7% ABV.

M: Moderate carbonation with a medium body. A bit syrupy on the palate.

O: Not expressly bad, but this one just didn't resonate with me. A bit anemic in the hop department and the funk factor seemed dominant. Somewhat unique among Belgian pale ales, I suppose, but felt a bit heavy and unrefined.

 818 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2016 vintage

Cloudy, copper-orange body; dense, creamy head. Sweet, dried apricot and fig aroma. Phenolic, brett flavor with light hints of delicate sweetness; mild fruit notes like pear. Heavy body yet rather flat; starts slightly sweet but finishes dry overall.

Nothing special about this beer. It looks great but lacks character and depth for the style, and the appeal fades as the smell, taste and feel come into play. Perhaps this just wasn't one of their better years...

 478 characters

Photo of bwood06
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been on a bit of a Goose Island kick recently, and I'm not sure why, but I will say that it's about time that I've gotten around to a few of their beers that I should have had a long time ago. This is one of those beers.

This beer pours an amber hue that is on the hazy side of cloudy and sports very minimal carbonation. The head is white and frothy, dissipating slowly to a thin lacing with a neck. 4.25/5 The aroma is full of malt and fruit with a good dose of rich caramel and rye bread along with Belgian candi sugar and fruity, yeasty esters. The aroma also reminds me of raspberries and strawberries, with just a hint of sour cherries. 4/5 The flavor profile is nice and strong with a heavy lean towards the malt instead of hoppy. There is a good amount of caramel and rye bread up front along with Belgian candi sugar, coriander, white pepper, and clove. The spices come out very nicely in this beer and play off of the sweetness of the malt. The hops really don't seem to add much, rather preferring to act as an earthy undertone for the spices and sweetness to build from. Bitterness is light and does not linger after swallowing. A very slight bit of sourness comes through due to the Brett in the aging process, but it's not very strong. 3.75/5 This is a medium bodied beer that is a bit dry a very light lingering dryness but the dryness is not parching. Carbonation is minimal. 4/5 This is definitely a full flavored Belgian Pale Ale.

 1,472 characters

Photo of claminat420
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottled on 29MAR17 0933. poured heavily into my Michigan awesome imperial stout glass.

Appearance- hazy copper/ slight amber colored with a off-white head that leaves decent lacing.

Aroma- the slightest bit of a Belgian ale. as in light clove and banana. has a musky basement smell. not great but not absolutely terrible.

Taste- light doughy character. very light clove and banana notes. abv is well hidden. like the smell but drop that moldy basement smell.

Mouthfeel- solid medium bodied. good carbonation. feels a bit bubbly like champagne. don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

Drinkability- on #three of the four pack right now and easily gonna kill the four pack. prolly last four pack of this I buy tho.

Overall- I don't know how I didn't review this beer before the inbev/ bud buyout. from what I recollect of the pre-sellout this brew use to be much lighter. almost like a mini trippel with some hoppy action. i'm sure they'll prolly say this beer is brewed the same as last time I had this ( multiple four packs of 2007 and 2008) and i'll say ok. .. this brew is more of a mess. it seems like the malt and the hops are battling and the yeast comes in and makes everything worse. not a drain pour don't get me wrong just a sloppy brew.

 1,263 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 07NOV16 into pint glass. Pours a clear honey-amber color with a fine white head. Initial impression is a very clean, slightly sweet Belgian, with up-front citrus and hints of banana and clove. Mouthfeel is medium, as is carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter, but refreshing. I'm not a big fan of Belgian beers, but this was one of the better ones (at least in my admittedly skewed opinion).

 409 characters

Photo of OldeGolde
3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one has a pretty supreme balance of Belgian yeast (mine was quite carbonated and bready!) and biscuity American ale. Something about this makes me want to reference champagne, but that could just be the bottle type. I do feel confident in saying that this is a crispity, crunchity, refreshing part of a well-balanced brew sesh. I mean seriously, this could be a wedding beer. Very elegant and smooth.

Roommate Mike's Quick Sip: "taste's kinda sweet" (he's used to session ales)

 485 characters

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

drank from a bottle so not getting the full experience. Good but not particularly memorable -- and I'm not sure why it's showing up as a Belgian Strong Pale. It reminded me more of DC Brau Citizen.

 200 characters

Photo of EMH73
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a thick inch and a half head that dissipated slowly but left minimal lacing. Smells and tastes of cloves, banana, pepper, orange, sweet malts (almost honey like) and a hint of funk. Medium body, light carbonation and crisp.

 265 characters

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

Vintage 2013 -
Smell: fruity yeast esters dominate (get some papaya, orange rind), some spices, some sweet malts and a slight funk.
Look: pours (into tulip glass) a medium amber with a maroon tint. a 1/4" of white head with below average retention. the beer is hazy but not overly so. some minimal lacing was observed.
Taste: pronounced sweetness, caramelly malts, molasses and candy sugar. somehow balanced by enough earthy bitterness and yeast funk.
Feel: medium/full body, rich almost chewy texture, moderate carbonation, and significant astringency. Finishes sweet and long. Lingering astringency.
Overall: complex beyond a basic BPA. has not mellowed with age. still a lot going on..

 690 characters

Photo of Benjolovesbeer
2.58/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Cloudy haze of caramel apple cider brown color with minimal thin lacing. Has slight banana, bready, fizzy taste.
Yet very scotch oriented with taste and smell which I was expecting stronger bready banana Belgian taste like Sofie. Perhaps I'd like this beer with a little more age but it is nowhere close to as good as Sofie or any Belgian I've had while fresh. It's a typical GI which imo is very mediocre if that. Only Sofie has intrigued me but then again I've never had Lolita (which I have and soon will consume) and I never had any bourbon counties or Juliet or Pepe. But Matilda imo is nothing impressive.

 618 characters

Photo of beerguy04
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark orange juice flavor. No head, just bubbles around the glass. Smells very citrusy. Taste is a boozy orange juice. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Overall, really good. I'm starting to like Belgian ales more and more.

 226 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an almost clear pale/medium amber producing almost 2 fingers of, finely bubbled, somewhat lasting, off-white head that leaves only a few wispy strings & webs of lace. Aroma is biscuity musty barnyard funk, earth & hay with some small amount of citrus & sour apple. Taste is a Brett like mustiness, pepper, phenolic notes of acetone & band-aides, biscuity with hints of a sour fruitiness & earthy hops. Finishes phenolic with a dry, astringent, barnyard must, sour fruit aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, peppery with moderately high carbonation, dry & slightly astringent, crisp & lingering. The nose is simple, the taste complex.

 642 characters

Photo of Goose_BNB
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Born 04/05/2016 - Opened 01/30/2017

Appearance: Golden honey in a glass. Finger to finger and a half of head that left no lacing and after 15-20 minutes dissipated almost completely but looked pretty while it lasted. Gained more of an unfiltered pale ale nectar like appearance after I poured the dregs.

Aroma: Plenty of clove and sweetness immediately on the nose. Smells more hoppy than your typical Belgian style but offered nice sense of balance between malts hops and yeast.

Taste: Really clean and Belgian like similar to a hoppier tripel. The hops made more of a presence before the dregs were poured but were replaced by spice aromas afterwards.

Mouthfeel:Before dregs: Medium light body low carbonation. After dregs: Medium body no carbonation

Overall: After the dregs were poured in I feel the spiciness and depth of body was thrown off but still good in my opinion however next time I will probably drink without the dregs. I am a fan of this beer and brewery and will be getting this beer again.

 1,014 characters

Photo of patre_tim
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Copper, filtered, highly carbonated 2 fingers of off white foamy head.

S: Belgian yeasts and malts, fruity, a blue cheese bite, smooth and light, dry all the way through to the finish.

T: Follows the nose. Well balanced. Reminds me of Leffe Blonde, and is in my opinion much closer to true Belgian style than many other highly rated American versions of Belgian beers.

M: Medium smooth, creamy body, medium carbonation.

O: Balanced and delicious, as good as Belgian even though its an American made belgian style beer. Will give it 9.3 out of 10. Great by itself it would pair well with blue cheese and apple wedges. First reviewed in 2014.

 652 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.81/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 16-oz. draft
Glass: Goose Island chalice
From: Goose Island Pub at Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Price: $8.00
Purchased: Dec. 14, 2016
Consumed: Dec. 14, 2016
Reviewed as: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Misc.: N/A

Was staying at the Hard Rock for a work trip and had planned on heading to the Goose Island Pub once I saw that BCBS was on tap. The plan was to review Sofie and Matilda, and have a BCBS. However, once I got there I was told that they ran out of BCBS in the last hour. Bummer. Still wanted to try both beers and was actually surprised that I had not yet.

Poured a copper amber clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of frothy white head when I got it. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Decent wet foamy lacing. Below average retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled banana, pear, mandarin, range, allspice, cinnamon, sugary Belgian cloves and Circus Peanut candy. (Smell - 4.00)

Tasted allspice, Belgian cloves, peppery spices, banana, pear, spicy coriander, Belgian candy, grassy notes, hints or herbal and caramel. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Dry finish. (Feel - 3.75)

Not as good a beer as Sofie, but glad I got to try it. (Overall - 3.75)

3.81 | 86 | B+

 1,238 characters

Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Is it potable? Sure. Is it a Belgian style ale? Not really. I can find no hint of the yeast flavors so evident in real Belgian style ales. It poured with a 1 cm head. There is some malty flavor at the start that lasts all the way back... The carbonation is medium. It seems thin and uncomplicated. A bit bitter. Not one of my favorites. Not sure what happened over there at Goose Island, but this one fails to aspire to the levels I am used to from other North American breweries like Ommegang and Unibroue. I hear there are bottling and consistency issues with this company, which might be at play here and explain the reoccurring inconsistent reviews.

 654 characters

Photo of enoughalready
2.6/5  rDev -36%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I've tried this four times now. I think they have some real quality control problems with bottle caps / carbonation fizzling out. Most beers like this are bottled like champagne with a cork and wire top. This doesn't have it. The first bottle I tried awhile ago was flat (also tried sister beer, Sophie at that time which was also flat. So that was a huge disappointment.) Then I finally thought it can't be that bad, and tried another bottle of Matilda. It seemed really pretty good, not flat. Then I tried smaller 4 pack (instead of large bottles I was getting). It seemed bitter - as in not good bitter, and maybe a bit flat. Now I just got a larger bottle again, which I believe is the same batch as the 'good' one - 10Jun16. I have a bad cold, trying that one again. It seems about as fizzy, not flat, but definitely not as fizzy as a Chimay or other genuine Trappist ale, nor like a Unibroue. I can't really give this last bottle a fair review, given my head cold, but feel that 4.0 might be average rating, for a 'good' bottle of this stuff, with possibility of outstanding 4.5 on rare occasion. it is really hard to know what to think about Goose Island's operation. With the 10Jun16 I have to do a vigorous pour to get a lot of head. This is a stark contrast to Chimay. I'd say Matilda is more akin to a richer, darker Hoegaaarden, and though for me better than that, is not really the flavor nor feel I am seeking out in a Belgian beer. I'd rather up the ante and get the real thing. A lot of these Belgian style, American brewed ales are too far off in my opinion, making labeling as Belgian a joke. Given the quality issues I perceive, I have to unfortunately say the same of Matilda. I was introduced to Chimay at a young age and also tried Rodenbach Grande Cru back then, which I also liked. I'm not as much into the sour ale, having tried it again more as I am older, but prefer the sour type by Rodenbach as well as one by Westmalle and all the other fine Trappist Belgians - preferring them to Matilda and La Fin Du Mond by Unibrou (which being bottled with a cork is a lot fizzier and truer to the spirit it is trying to imitate).

 2,171 characters

Photo of CaptainHate
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 2/18/2011. This was among an awesome stash of brews that a couple of fellow dog walkers just gave me because they'd had them lying around and didn't want. Great for me.

Bomber poured into a Dogfish Head tulip. More coppery orangish type color than I was expecting with a huge head which gradually dissipated.

Spicy but not overwhelming smell.

Taste is outstanding with a carnival of spices dancing in my mouth. Seems like a Belgian Pale crossed with a Saison.

Feels great in the mouth. I may try a younger version of this in the future just to test how much the aging impacted my impression but I like this a lot.

 633 characters

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