Pepe Nero | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Pepe NeroPepe Nero

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mahogany color, black pepper aroma, roasted malt and spice flavor, creamy body.

Added by adamette on 03-30-2010

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Reviews: 497 | Ratings: 1,772
Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Bottled in December 2011.

A- Pitch-black liquid with trickles of carbonation. Light but frothy 3-4 fingers of head and streaks of lace. 4.25

S- Sweet malt and dark fruit. Very faint aromas. 3

T- Licorice notes, dark fruit and floral yeast. Sweet malt flavor is heavy on the finish with a slight caramel, almost molasses flavor. 4.25

M- Effervescent throughout, with a smooth, creamy body. It's pleasantly sweet and I don't detect any bitterness. 4.25

This aged very well. It drank smoothly and retained a good amount of flavor. 4.25

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Photo of BigRedDog
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%

Bottled on 6-13-12. Opened 8/30/14.

Pours very dark brown with a light tan head.

Smells of pepper and slight lemon. Some light roasted malt.

Taste is light and creamy. Definite citrus upfront which fades into a roasted caramel malt, which lingers with a nice peppery finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated upfront which fades into a nice creaminess.

Very good with 2 years on it.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Pepe Nero is brewed in the style of a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale. Available in 12 oz. 4 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 54 degrees fahrenheit.

Pours a tan white head of a frothy foam consistency over a maple brown body. Retention is average and lacing is light and droopy. The aroma is slightly tart and vinegar acidic with a roasted chocolate malt backbone, a slightly peppery and fruity yeast profile. The flavor is similar with a mild peppery fruit profile up front finishing on a dark roasted malt note. The texture is slick and peppery with a moderate carbonation for a frothy mouthfeel. The body is medium for the style, medium overall. Alcohol presence is modest, off characters are minimal. A very interestingly flavored dark saison with a good deal of roast and vinegar that sets it apart from others of its style.

Goose Island Beer Co.'s
Pepe Nero

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Photo of GarrettWelson
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It's a pretty good Belgian style farmhouse ale. It has a VERY heavy mouthfeel, which if you like is great, but if you don't it's not. This isn't exactly a refreshing beer, but it has a very nice taste and I do appreciate what's going on with it. I would not be able to drink more than one in a sitting because it feels so heavy.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: I am surprised to see the blackness of this drink. Expected a golden farmhouse! Almost no light through and a bubbly dissipating head.

S: Not much at all here. If anything some straw and malt.

T: Very interesting. Smoke, some chocolate flavors, it's got a tartness to it that is in the background. Also some dark fruit, straw, funk, and slight bitterness.

M: Creamy as stated. Got a dry finish with the slightest bite of carbonation.

O: A pleasant surprise. This is unique and great for the style. It reminds me of a black lager with a funkiness to it. Good job Goose Island.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From the 750 ml. bottle dated 21-Mar-13. Sampled more than a year later on June 15, 2014.

The pour is a beautiful looking dark brown to practically black with a long lasting silky tan head.

In the aroma I pick up some dark malts, yeast, molasses, a touch of spice, and a sourness.

The body is bold and smooth.

The taste brings out those roasted malts and spices briefly but then the sour character teases the palate and lingers to the end. But it is not overly sour or tart. It does not make me pucker up. 16 months of aging enhanced this one I am sure.

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Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- hazy ebony. Full head tinted light mocha.

Aroma- roasty mild grains, almost like a hint of pumpernickle bread.

Taste- starts roasty and rich yet light, then adds a layer of complexity with hints of over roasted coffee and perhaps a subtle smoke, progressing with a licorice note mixed with brown sugar, finishing long, slightly roasty and yet dry like a quality English porter. Bottled on 2/12/2013. Purchased June 2014 at an HEB in North Austin.

Poured from a 765 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted 6/10/14.

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Photo of fgmiele
3.82/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 version..pours dark maple brown with slightly foamy off white head. Smell is not overwhelmingly Belgian in nature but the key characteristics are present. Taste reminds me of a Belgian style stout..definitely notice the 2 years of agey sweetness here. Mouthfeel is foamy and definitely sense the heat of alcohol here, although this is just stated as 6% abv on bottle. Overall, as a person who is not the biggest fan of Belgian style, highly drinkable. Could use more bite.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown with a ruby tinge, relatively clear on the first pour, little carbonation, huge 5 finger tan head with large and small bubbles. The head colour is like the head of a Coke, but with a good, long retention.

S: Belgian yeasts, much like those of Unibroue’s, light smokiness, caramel, bacon, pear, light creaminess. Fresh musty grass.

T: Fruity, dark toasted caramel, light smokiness, prunes, apricots, light floral notes. Moderately sweet, light tartness, light brininess. Freezer burn. Alcohol, but not in the face as its well hidden.

M: Thick lightly syrupy body, chewy, medium low carbonation.

O: Bottled May 28, 2013, drank May 8, 2014. Its stretching my perception of Saison, farmhouse ales. Saison Silly was dark, but not as dark as this one. A lot more toasted notes, darker and deeper flavours.

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Photo of MV_CHI-NS
5/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: Bottle of 2011 'Pepe Nero'

Appearance: Licorice/bistre head with slight maroon/burgundy shading when held up to the light, with an ecru/chocolate head.

Aroma: Profound notes of raspberries and blackcurrants with a wine-like nose (like a lighter Bermet)

Taste: The taste with this one comes in two stages:

a. The raspberries and blackcurrants come through, making this akin to a lambic.
b. Spicy pepper and roasted chocolate.

The first thing to hit you is the fruit, which is quickly followed by notes of spicy pepper and roasted chocolate which linger on the palate; truly, not what I would expect from a saison - black or not.

Mouthfeel: Light, almost creamy mouthfeel with a 'peppery' tinge resolve.

Overall: As a fan of saisons, I had high expectations of Pepe Nero - particularly because it is a black saison; I can say with certainty, those expectations were exceeded. The aroma and taste threw me off at first because 'fruit' and 'chocolate' are not terms I would associate with a saison, but this has easily become on of my favorites.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark chestnut; medium, frothy beige head with good lacing

Smell: earthy smell; smells almost like a newly dried tobacco leaf; light hops, almost undetectable; different smell than any beer I've had before; interesting

Taste: creamy malt with roasted grains; light hop notes; finishes semi sweet that starts to turn to a dry lingering aftertaste

Mouthfeel: creamy, medium bodied; medium carbonation

Remarks: not bad overall

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Photo of Jnashed
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a pint glass from a 12oz bottle bottled 1/15/13

A: dark dark brown, lots of head especially in a beer over a year old. Creamy head with lots of retention

S: funky yeasty, slight grassy hops. EtOH smelled too

T: interesting, grainy, lots of malt background. Sweet bread-like flavor. Tartness is not overwhelming, nice balance of the malt and yeast with burnt flavor

M: light, lots of carbonation actually

O: good but not my favorite of the farmhouse ales. Interesting to have a dark version and I think that burnt malt takes over a little much for me. Surprising how much alcohol taste is there in a beer stored for over a year and at only 6.5%

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

765 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled May 28 2013. Served slightly chilled, and poured into a wine glass.

Pours a dark, brownish-garnet colour, topped with nearly two fingers of fluffy, light beige-coloured head. Excellent retention; it slowly seeps away over a period of many minutes, leaving behind a dense, creamy cap flanked by a generous swath of lacing. Darker than any saison I've ever seen, but a fine-looking beer nonetheless. The aroma is equally unique, with notes of spicy pepper and coriander accompanied by lemon zest, raisins, toasted malts, and a slight yeasty funk.

Appealing flavour; nice mix of nutty, toasted dark malts and Belgian nuances. Notes of banana, toffee and bubble gum are accompanied by some raisin and phenolic vibes. Highlights toward the finish include cracked peppercorn and coriander, with a touch of clove. Earthy finish, with some lingering yeastiness and astringency that fades into a roasted nut flavour late into the aftertaste (almost chocolate-like). This saison tastes lighter than it looks, and it's of normal heft for the style - medium-bodied, with appropriately brisk carbonation levels. Surprisingly drinkable, though not the most refreshing or funky example of the style I've ever tried.

Final Grade: 4.13, an impressive A-. Goose Island's Pepe Nero makes for a tasty spring or summertime treat, offering up an interesting marriage between dark, toasted malt notes and more traditional Belgian ale tropes. A bit more peppercorn would bump this up into world-class territory. A great beer that I would consider purchasing again, but I think I still prefer Sofie's lighter flavour (and lower price).

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Photo of 312HopBomb
3.99/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruddy brown with smallish head with no lacing to speak of.

nose consists of Belgian phenolics and spicy pepper.

Taste has a twang with Belgian flavor and some alcohol bite with the spicy pepper flavor midway through. some tart and then drying. Some earthy hop note and more rye like spice.

Mouthfeel is light and some light/med carbonation.

I enjoy this take on the Belgian style with some interesting flavors pairing with the peppercorns.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Modified rating on 6/15/15

Bottled on 2/11/13. Purchased in a bottle shop in Wichita and poured into a high ball glass in my hotel room.

Unimpressed with the appearance and aroma, a good representation of the style but not distinctive 4.0

A – Pours a clear cola color, opaque in the glass with a one and a half finger mousey beige head, zero lacing 3.5

S – Funk, yeasty, a bit of spice 3.5

T – Peppery – more than the aroma would lead you to believe 4.25

MF – Medium-light body with a dry finish, a little chewy 4.25

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Photo of buzzardman
4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Light funk, slightly fruity.

Appearance: Nice head that drops to layer covering, dark brown light hint of red body.

Flavor: Sweet funky, light fruitness, raisin, light pepper and banana.

Mouth: Medium, tart.

Overall: Nice balanced slightly tart, a little different than most saison's but in a good way. Would buy again. $7.99 22oz

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Photo of MattTastrophee
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in April of 2012
Opened in March of 2014

Appearance: Copious amounts of foam. Looks like a big old root beer float after letting it settle a while. Dark garnet in color.

Smell: Fruitiness from the yeast and a pleasant amount of malt comes through.

Taste: Big mouth full of fruit, not to mention the malt. Dark cherry with a toasty finish. Really interesting flavor profile. Tartness and toffee flavors all wrapped up together.

Mouthfeel: A drinkable medium body.

Overall: I'll get this beer again, it was a fun adventure. Quite an interesting brew. Makes me want to pick up Monk's Stout, see how that stacks up.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for approx. $14.00. Served at 10deg C in a tulip glass.

A- Opened well. Poured with a ton of foam. Super brown foam with nice lacing after 3-4mins.

S- Lots here. Yeast. Roasted malt, coriander, clove

T- See S!! Also Foam to the extreme!

M- Very good. Very smooth very tasty

O- Very good. Not the thing you would see anywhere but someone that has a vision. Try it. It is interesting to say the very least.

Food Pairing

This unusual Saison paired very well with... Curried Goat


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Photo of BierStein711
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into wine goblet, three finger beige head, and dark brown to red hue in the body. Almost zero carbonation, the mouthfeel is smooth and thick. Light brown lacing covers the walls of the glass well.

Smells of peppers and coriander

Taste: Peppers, chocolate, bananas, and Belgian yeast at the finish.

Overall, I believe I'd have this again. There are three beers left in the pack- I shan't be buying this again though. This isn't for me.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2011 bottle, poured into a stemless wine glass.

A- Pours like a dark brown ale with a very light brown head that dissipated quickly. Barely can see some light coming through on the edges.

S- Roasts and that unique saison aroma of fusial esters, fruityness.

T- Roasts, banana and some light clove. Not really digging the yeast and dark roast combination.

M- A bit thin and a bit too much carbonation.

O- This is the first black saison I've had and it didn't really work for me.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Surprisingly dark- like dark molasses, with ruby tinges near the surface (this is a saison?). Big soapy brown head, decent lacing on the glass. Not much carbonation visible.

S: Raisins, faint chocolate, slight tartness/sweetness, even maple syrup. Smells nice, but barely in the style from my understanding of it, and somewhat faint.

T: Mostly raisins, with the addition of some earthy notes. Well balanced sweetness and bitterness. Nice, but not overly complex.

M: A little course, full bodied. Carbonation level certainly fits a saison.

O: I'm a little confused by this one. Doesn't fit the style very well, and beyond that it seems to lack the complexity of other Goose Island craft beers. It's good, but nothing to go out of your way to try.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.39/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark ruby red around the edges, but otherwise black with a foamy light mocha head.

S: Sweet coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, black peppercorn and a little bit of dark fruit in the nose.

T: Roasted malt, coffee dark chocolate, but not bitter. Some lemon, light citrus, and maybe a bit of dark fruit.

M: Smooth and full bodied, but also a bit foamy.

O: I really liked this beer a lot.

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Photo of avalon07
3.24/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a large, off white, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing. Doesn't necessarily look like a saison, but is nonetheless a decent-looking beer.

S: A strange (given the style) aroma of roasted malt, pepper, and a smoky quality.

T: Like the aroma, the flavor was not what I expected: The smokiness was evident throughout, along with malt, pepper, and other mild spices. Definitely not your typical saison flavor. A bit thin. Almost tasted like a weak porter.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth, creamy finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Aside from its diversion from the characteristics of the style, this beer just did not have an interesting flavor. Could have been more powerful than it was.

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Photo of Mike_Moe
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark color with very thick light brown head.
Aroma: Very spicy & malty, with a light coffee smell.
Flavor: The beer is heavy on the spices with a light coffee flavor. This brew is full bodied, and highly carbonated.
Overall: A descent tasting beer, however, in a blind taste test, its not styled like a Saison. Its appearance, complex spicy, malty, mild coffee flavor is that of a good Porter. I’m confused!!

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Photo of jjboesen
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pepe Nero was my last beer of the year 2013. First of all, the initial pour literally fills the glass, a tulip, with a beige foam, chunky and billowing; after about 10 minutes, it subsides enough to allow for quaffing. The body is an impervious mahogony color.

There is a pleasant nose of plum and chestnut. The taste is a subtle balance of semi-sweetness and toasty malts with a quick pepper finish. This is a rather light beer, at 6.4% abv, there is lightness to the mouthfeel. Complex beer is this one.

Goose Island classifies this as a "vintage" beer what with it being bottle fermented and all that. While I was never a big farmhouse fan, this one does make for a decent sessional any time of the year.

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Pepe Nero from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.76 out of 5 based on 1,772 ratings.
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