Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co.

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4,832 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,832 |  Reviews: 1,303
Photo of mmcave
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this originally on tap at a tasting and then later at the brewery, but never thought too hard about it, or gave it a review. So being a Chicagoan here it goes: This beer pours an orangey must color, with decent head. There is moderate retention and some lacing. At first smells are reminiscent of a Belgian tripel even though there was no mention of it. I assume that would have something to do specifically with the yeast strain and the basic recipe. Any how smells of Belgian yeast, some sugars, mild banana, cloves, pepper and some other spices. The taste is much the same, maybe at first a smidgen thin, but honestly it opens up and has a very pleasant after taste. To me this is a nice American version of a modified Belgian tripel. This is a tasty beer I must give props to the home town brewery and will definitely buy this again.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at the great lakes brewfest in Racine, WI. orangey with tan head. smells great. buttery and hoppy...the hops are flowery and sweet smelling, with vague spices in there too. Taste is initally watery and not impressive but the flavor lingers and expands and becomes truely great. cloves and hops...TONS of cloves actually. and some black pepper. great. a real blast to glad i had the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of fartingdog
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm- first whiff was of a slight sourness I took as some brett going on. The flavor is more similar to a Flemish-style farmhouse beer, (which is not my favorite style, but can be enjoyable at times) and I can definitely pick out green apples in the flavor – tart. Good mouthfeel- rich. Not something I'd keep around for frequent consumption nor something I'd activley seek out personally. Tho if you like like Flemish sours, this is definitely one to pick up.

I have another bottle to cellar for a while and see what happens.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

7.0% ABV, 32 IBU, 13 SRM. I have drank probably 6 bottles of ths and was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed it here.

Pours out to a cloudy orange amber, forming a modest off-white head with poor retention and adequate lacing. Carbonation is a touch mild which is preferable to my palate, especially when it comes to Belgian-style which tend to be overly carbonated, IMO. The aroma is very first there is a very spicy nose, akin to cinnamon and ginger but without the harsh medicinal connotations...lots of vanilla and honey from the abundant pale and crystal malts with a mild degree of grain juice and cotton candy in the aroma as well...very fruity and phenolic. Mouthfeel is slick with a slightly cloying medium-dense mouthfeel...oily on top with a dry finish. The taste begins with apple juice and cotton candy followed by ginger and nutmeg. The bitterness is moderate and maintains a great balance, making you want to drink more with it's slightly dry and lightly grassy finish.

As far as GI's reserve line-up, Pere Jacques is world-class, then Demolition, followed by Matilda. All of these beers are very delicious and Goose Island is to be commended for brewing products as authentic as they come, giving the Belgians a run for their money. Highly recommended.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear orangish golden color with a small ¼” head of off white bubbles. The bubbles are small and fall to a small ring across the top of the beer pretty quickly. There are numerous bubbles rising, but they don’t really maintain the head and it stays just a small ring.

Aroma: Wow, now this is really complex for an American style beer. I get a defined tart character that is indicative of a wild fermentation. I get lots of fruit with lemon and apples along with a citrus grapefruit thing going on. I am really enjoying the aroma of this beer, and it is getting me anxious for the first sip. As the beer starts to warm a tad, there is a floral thing going on that is really pleasant.

Taste: Now this is interesting. This must be an Orval clone, and they got it pretty darn close. There is a very defined hop character going on, but the tangy character of the yeast is a big player. There is lots of citrus to compliment the yeast character, and in fact, I think that some of this fruit is actually produced by the yeast…Brett…whatever. The beer comes across as a lot milder than the 7% that is printed on the bottle. I get about 5-6% in the flavor. The beer has plenty of flavor, but manages to finish a bit dry and refreshing.

Opinion: I am really pleased with this beer. This is without a doubt the best beer that I have tried from Goose Island, and their beers are known to be pretty good. I had considered donating the other three beers from this 4-pack to my brew club…but on second thought…I will probably keep them in my own cellar. These beers are complex, and if they truly are like Orval…they will age well. It says on the bottle that they will age for 5 years, and I believe that. Nice beer!

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Photo of Backer2004
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First of all, I am quite upset with myself. Instead of looking on the label, which states that this will mature for five years, I just looked at the Belgian Pale Ale info here that says not recommended for cellaring. Oh well, I will pick this up again and keep it for a while.

Great hazy, dark pancake hue that is quite fruity, chewy, with just the right about of hoppiness. Smooth and just a slight taste of alcohol, which probably wouldn't have been so apparent if I read the label.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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 Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
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 beermanbrian
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice reddish golden color with a foamy off white head. Nice sticky lacing leaves trails down the glass. A wonderful looking beer. Nice fruity smell. Nice malty taste with a nice mix of fruity esters. Apricot and just the faintest spicyness to the finish. Silky smooth mouthfeel. High carbonation level gives it a nice punch. Overall a very enjoyable beer.

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

Bronzed dark orange. Slight, mysterious haze. Small, ringy, off-khaki head. Raw sugar aromas mix with manuka honey and ambrosia. Fruity and yeasty with a fleck of alcohol. Nice. Belgiany. Lightly toasted malt with floral bitterness up front. Sweet, sugary fruit syrup and rum mid-palate. Wall of noble bitterness with flashes of syrup in the finish. Nice balance. Full-bodied, coating mouthfeel. The liberal hop load saves this brew. Drinks a little stronger than you'd think too!

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Photo of ndekke39
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered this on-tap at the Goose Island Clybourn restaurant. Served in a goblet. Poured a clear golden color with a thick, bright white head. Sweet aromas of honey and malt. Tastes, too, of the honey, with a touch of floral. Hints of the hops in there, too. Adds a nice bitter touch. Clean and smooth mouthfeel, very light carbonation. Overall, a very sweet and refreshing beer. Would gladly go back to this one.

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Photo of
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle. Poured a hazy amber, with some orange to it. Head was off-white and small (hotel glassware issue). Smell was classic Belgian yeast, oranges, cotton candy, and spices (clove for sure and maybe cinnamon). Taste was sweet, almost melon like at first, followed by a fairly strong hop bite at the end, citrus-orange in flavor. I am not doing the flavor of this beer justice, but it was excellent. Body was light and effervescent, highly carbonated and slightly drying. An excellent beer, another "Hoppy Belgian". Somewhere between Orval and La Chouffe Triple Double IPA. Very drinkable.

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Photo of granger10
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy copper hue with a large egg shell airy head. Good lacing. Really funky, earthy, hay aroma. Slightly sour. Delicate flavor on the palate. Firm body with more of a fizzy mouthfeel. Pale malt base with a slight pear, strawberry fruit flavor. Touch of a sour yeasty candylike flavor in the middle. Hops come out but more towards the end. Alcohol is not noticeable at all except for the feeling down my tummy and my breathing afterwards. Interestingly drinkable yet not my favorite. Lots of complexities and subtleties that binded well together but I think it's just solid in the end.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained in a BIF from orbitalr0x, this handsome golden ale was well carbonated, and a four finger head crowning above the rim prevented me from emptying the entire 12 oz. bottle into the appointed oversized wine glass. The aroma was spicy and floral with a dusting of yeast. The taste was dry and tart, with earthy yeast funk and spices also appearing in liberal doses. The mouthfeel was a hair less snappy than the mighty Orval. A good Belgian style pale ale on its own merits.

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Photo of Ego
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/27/05 variety

3 fingers of soapy white head, lots of carbonation, not as overwhelmingly exploding head like many belgian pale ales, retention is good and the lacing is very good, it looks like all sorts of things are being held in suspension, it almost looks like my glass is all scratched up! the color is a nice dull orange sunset... looks great.

floral and grassy with a touch of citrus twang (and some belgian funk), the hops add such a nice sweet characteristic to the usual grassy/weed bomb that many beligians of this style have. does that make it less authentic? nah.. not to me, it makes it amerian and this is an american brewer.. so f' jean claude van dam! there is even some bannana tone in there.. delicious.

taste etc...
I remember the carbonation being more aggressive, it has mellowed sum but is nearly perfect. not gassy and bloating and just a hint of prickly-ness on the tongue. the hops really do it for me here, they add a sweetness and makes this so unique for the style. this drinks smooth, the mouthfeel is excellent, for a pale it has plenty of body (and weight) but yet drinks so damn easy! it is a hair syrupy and coats the tongue very well. I just love all the balance here. You get a bit of every little thing that went into the beer.. and nothing dominates to the point of distraction. you get some citrus twang, some bitterness, some funk, some dryness, some coating... damn fine beer.

I reviewed this quite some time ago and was frankly shocked by some of the low reviews (of course the 06 could be worse). how this is made with the same yeast as orval is amazing to me as I can't stand orval. this one is just under one year old... and I remember loving it when I first tried it, not much has changed. to be fair I will have to do a side by side with a new batch and see what's up.

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

Poured into a wide mouth Ommegang glass.

A: Pours a dark copper color. Slight head, but not much retention, except for on the sides of the glass.
S: Spicy aromas tingle the nose. Nice background smell of lemon and possibly oranges. Refreshing.
T/M: Tastes of spices hit the palate first with a hoppyness character to it. Some island fruit comes through after the first sip with lemon zest. Good initial carbonation and slick through the mouth, though extra smooth. Dry and slightly bitter finish. Well balanced.
D: Drinkable offering from Goose Island. Definately worth a look.

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Photo of cbl2
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottled on 3/2/06 "flavors will continue to develop over 5 years".


Very fine carbonation speckles this hazy brown/orange brew, causing a thin quarter inch tan head to appear on top.


Herbaceous, spicy pepper with belgian candied sugar, and a hint of licorice.


Notes of anise, fresh cut grass, black pepper, green pepper, with just a hint of sweetness in the finish. Alcohol is nicely masked. A well balanced interpretation of the Belgian Pale Ale.

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3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of mlh1227.

A - 1/2" off-white head that fell quickly to a cap. Hazy orange beer. No lacing.

S - Huge yeasty, fruity nose. Some funk. Phenolic. Dried apricot.

T - Yeasty and fruity -- much like the aroma. Spicy hops. Medicine cabinet. A little funky. Complex overall.

M - Between medium and full-bodied. Lively carbonation. Finishes relatively dry.

D - Good drinkability. One at a time would be my limit. Damn fine interpretation of a Belgian Pale Ale from Goose Island.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At long last I found this while browsing at Sam's during a trip to Chicago last week. I bought a 4-pack for about $10, and poured a 12oz bottle into an Orval chalice at home.

Deep orange color, kind of transparent, thin wispy head. The smell was mostly Brett-style sour, similar to Orval or wild ale or such. The flavor was really similar to Orval, but a little sweeter (like the candy sugar overtook the Brett on this). It was completely delicious in any case.

I'd place the drinkability pretty high... I couldn't detect the alcohol in the flavor but it hits you before long. Awesome.

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Photo of carln26
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured into the glass a mildly hazy copper color. It was topped with a decent sized off-white head that settled quickly into the glass. Big spicy nose. It has a ton of yeasty bread, a little cardamom, citrus orange all backed by a date character form the malt. The flavor reflects the aroma quite well. All of the components are there. They yeasty flavor is milder than the nose led me to believe, but all of the spices are there along with a bit of white pepper. The malt has a bit more complexity. The dates are accompanied by caramel, and touch of green apple. The mouth feel is rich, and slightly slick. There’s just a touch of alcohol on the finish, but it s a surprisingly drinkable beer. This is a fine example of this style, maybe the best I’ve ad produced in the US.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one caught me by surprise! This really is quite good. Many American attempt at Belgian styles leave something to be desired, but this one finds a way to be quite nice. Pours a hazy and deep gold in color with a slightly fizzy head that lacked retention, more is the pity. Nose is flight farmhouse, funky and strange but slightly sugary as well. Taste is a big surprise, hints of nutmeg and coriander, lemon peel and random spice. Big malt backbone with enough bittering to balance. Apricots in the background. Mouthfeel is nice, slightly sticky but within reason. Drinkability is great to style.


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Photo of hero27
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. 2006 Vintage.
7% abv. Bottled on 03/27/06.

Interesting story plastered on the label from Greg Hall..sort of reminds me of the ranting on the back of many Stone bottles.

Pours a somewhat hazy, light orange color. Frothy off-white head..slow bubbles of carbonation stream from the bottom of the glass.
Spicier than expected, with a funky sourness that is very similar to a Belgian saison. Apricots, lemon, apple, and the cinnamon bite of Big Red gum. The Belgian yeast plays a major role in trying to recreate the original style. I gotta say, I'm loving these "big brews" from Goose Island. Their Imperial IPA & Bourbon County Stout are ridiculously good, and the Matilda & Demolition do not lag far behind. All are well-worth a try.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.88/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Put off buying this one for a little while, but I still was able to track down a single.

Appearance: Hazed orance color, thing white head forms and fades quickly.

Smell: Citrus and spices (cinnamon?), and a little Belgian yeast.

Taste: Yeah I definitely get cinnamon or nutmeg from this beer, strogly flavored, with a little tobacco, sweet fruits, and hard candy. I am not sure I care much for this flavor, a little obnoxious.

Drinkability: I am not the biggest fan of this beer, the flavor seems thin and incomplete.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy apricot with an amazingly thick and creamy head that seems to last forever.

Smell is sweetly fruity. Mouthwatering in it's appeal. Mild spices, notably corriander. There is a good belgianesque bready yeasty aroma.

Taste is unexpectedly dominated by the spices- corriander, pepper, cinnimon, and nutmeg. There is also a musty sourness. Candied fruit and yeasty flavors are still present but play a diminished role as compared to the nose. Finish is rather clean and mildly hopped.

Mouthfeel is light and generous carbonation adds an airy feel.

I enjoyed this beer. I wasn't sure about it at first, but it really grows on you after awhile. I find myself returning to get this beer again and again...

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Photo of bashiba
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bright cloudy orange with a thick long lasting creamy head with great lacing.

Smell was full of nice fruit odor, banana and apricots, with a slight bit of citrus.

Taste is slighty sharp and spicy with a nice bit of pepper and coriander making an appearance with subdued hints of lemon and apricots with a nice bit of crisp floral hoppiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and very dry.

Overall a nice tasty BPA from the Goose.

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Matilda from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 4,832 ratings