Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale) | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)
32 Ratings
Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale)

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewers from fifteen Illinois breweries formed four teams, each creating a recipe and brewing it at Goose Island Beer Co: Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy and Barleywine. All were aged seperately in bourbon barrels. The resulting Symposium ale is our taste-tested blend of all four batches.

Added by nickfl on 04-22-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by DaPeculierDane:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brewed for the 2010 Craftbrewer's Conference at Goose Island by: America's Brewpub, Destihl Restaurant and Beer Works, Emmett's Tavern and Brewing Co., Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery, Goose Island Brewpub, Goose Island Beer Co., Gordon Biersch Bolingbrook, Half Acre Beer Co., Lunar Brewing, Mickey Finn's Brewery, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, Revolution Brewing, Rock Bottom Downtown, Rock Bottom Lombard, Rock Bottom Orland Park, Rock Bottom Warrenville, Three Floyds Brewing

Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Scotch Style Wee Heavy and a Barley Wine Style Ale were brewed by separate teams and aged in Bourbon barrels, then blended. 10.5% ABV. Lable art by Randy Mosher.

Appearance: Dark Brown with a thin but everlasting beige head. Shines ruby when held to light. Excellent clarity. Very nice.

Nose: Intense bourbon overwhelms everything else. Vanilla notes dominate that. Smoke and molasses follow. Limited depth.

Taste: Dark sugars, loads of vanilla, black cherry, oak, toffee, and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Boozey, hot, this is quite obviously high in octane content. Very sugary, not sweet, but sugary. Slightly smoky. Lighter than expected at 10.5 and BB aged, but still rather heafty.

Drinkability: For a Bourbon and BBA lovers perhaps this might be quite drinkable, but for me I am having a tough time finishing one botItle. I just find the bourbon overwhelming and don't find much complexity here. I'm sure it's in there but I just can't get past the bourbon.

 1,481 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of nkersten
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes, thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Pours a medium brown with a small tan head. Smell is caramel, bourbon, lots of oak, and some euro hops. Taste follows smell, it is a bit harsh and boozy. A bit on the sweet side, lots of sugar and bourbon. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, some heat, low carbonation. Not the most drinkable beer right now, like others have said this one could use a bit of time to mellow.

 422 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle generously shared by TedSwimmer.

Clear caramel body with a thin tan cap that retains well for the style. Smells strongly of toffee, bourbon -bals, vanilla, alcohol and toasted oak. Pretty nice boozy barrel aroma on this one. Rich caramel flavor, fruity and oaky with vanilla, raisins. Full bodied with a tannic, sharp and alcoholic finish. Pretty tasty stuff, but it could use some age to mellow out. Thanks Ted!

 420 characters

Photo of AgentZero
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Nicole for hooking me up with this!

A - Brown colored beer with a small, tan head that didn't rise up very high. Little bit of stick left on the sides.

S - Well, when this beer was described to me it sounded like a disaster with all the stuff they were mixing together. It smells better than I guessed it would have, although it's definitely a "strong ale" aka we mixed a bunch of stuff together and need a catch-all category to put this in. A lot of wood, molasses, alcohol, caramel, bourbon? and sweet fruit.

T - Kind of beats you over the head with flavor. Heavy malts and molasses, some alcohol burn, caramel, and some surprising hops in there as well. Interesting, but should have given it a year to cool down as it's drinking hotter than preferred.

M - Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

O - It's an interesting mix that wasn't a massive failure like I was expecting. Flavors are too hot and heavy but glad I got to try it.

 947 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Drew for sharing this beer.

A: The pour is a dark amber color, sort of brownish in certain light, with a finger's worth of off-white head.

S: Quite a bit of sweet vanilla and caramel and toffee malt up front with some bready malt base. There is a definite oak presence, as well as bourbon, with some hints of dark fruit.

T: A fairly well balanced flavor of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet toffee and caramel malt. A soft bready flavor with some dark fruits and brown sugar.

M: The body is medium with a somewhat low, but quite smooth, carbonation.

D: This is a very nice blend. The bourbon is definitely present, but not overdone. And pretty easy to drink despite a rather high ABV.

 698 characters

Photo of nulledge
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jarret Crader of Hellbender Brewing for sharing this one.

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a small, khaki colored head of foam. Minimal lacing.

S - It smelled of vanilla, oak and some bourbon. There are some bready malts and toffee, too.

T - Fairly boozy malt with sweet caramel. The oak and vanilla are quite prominent.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a nice beer and I'm really glad I got the chance to try this.

 504 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of HopHead84
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks to Stawn for opening this.

A: Dark brown with some crimson highlights. Wispy beige head.

S: Scotch ale comes through strong, imparting caramel, toffee, and bread notes. Bourbon is quite strong, smells great. Some evident booze and earth notes. Booze is actually pretty evident but well integrated. Some oak notes and light tannins. Faint chocolate notes.

T: Bourbon, toffee, caramel, low bitterness, alcohol is quite powerful, could stand to mellow a bit but it's still quite nice. Light chocolate notes, lots of oak. Boozy bourbon toffee finish.

M: Creamy mouthfeel and dry, moderate carbonation and medium body:

Overall: Great beer, though a touch boozy in the flavor. Delicious.

 703 characters

Photo of thewimperoo
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark brown color, transparent, tan head.

S-bready malt up front, slightly earthy, dry oak with a touch of vanilla, quite woody, sweet malt in the back, tart cherries with a hint of booze.

T-very sweet flavors, lots of sugars, earthy, nice notes of bourbon, strong flavor of oak and a light vanilla, cherries and plums in the back with a touch of booze.

M-creamy and soft, strong carbonation to balance a chewy body, very crisp finish for such a creamy beer.

D-very tasty with a nice balance of flavors ranging from the bready malt to the sweet dark fruits and a nice presence of the barrel.

 609 characters

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After winning this from a HopCast contest I finally have the courage to brave this beer, and I must say it has heavy notes of oak, bourbon, and a nice earthy hop bitterness on the finish. Heartwood pours with a half a finger head that dissipates extremely quick. On the nose it has a beautiful aroma of sweet vanilla, oak, bourbon, and some sweet, bready, two row malt. Heartwood also has a dark coffee like appearance with slight crimson on the edge of it. As for the mouthfeel, it has a nice a bubbly carbonation with smooth richness. Overall, I have to say this beer was well done. One thing I would do next time with this beer is not to oak/barrel age most of the components; I feel it covers the subtleties of the styles and just allows for huge bourbon and oak notes. I am not saying Oak and Bourbon are a bad thing, but sometimes can be over done. But, once again, this is a well done beer and would definitely try it again.

 931 characters

Photo of ChicagoNick
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of BrianBo
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark brown/amber pour - surprisingly lighter in color with a small layer of head composed of tiny dense bubbles. Aroma and smell are dominated by bourbon. There is a nice strong malt presence as well - its just a very very strong beer overall.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but the high abv and intensely strong flavors make it a true sipper. This was good now, but I think it would be even better with more time on it.

Very glad I was able to try this one!

 455 characters

Photo of PHBoiler
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is drinking extremely smooth. It far surpassed the FW 16 we had next to it. The blend gives an old ale taste with some bourbon, oak, dark fruit, tannin, and rich chocolate. All of those blend seemlessly without sticking out. You'd be in for a great night if you had a 55 degree bottle of this to enjoy over time. It's not quite Melange 3, but it's in the ball park.

 375 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Served in a Lost Abbey rastal teku glass.

A - Pours with a minimal foam that settles to a thin ring and leaves a few spots of lace. Transparent mahogany color.

S - Wood, brown sugar, bourbon, maraschino cherries, more wood, bourbon and fusel alcohol.

T - Taste is less harsh than the nose, but a bit cloying and mono-dimensional with it's heavy-handed assortment of brown sugar, burnt malts, molasses, and vanilla. Some residual hop bitterness from the Imperial IPA portion makes itself known in the finish, mingling with the barrel tannins.

M - Body seems a bit undersized for the ABV, and clocks in at medium-plus. Low carbonation, some obvious warmth, and a dry tannic finish.

D - The 2-3oz I had was plenty, although this was definitely better than the Berkshire Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale that preceded it. This could definitely use some time to mellow out, and perhaps I'll get lucky and be able to revisit it down the road.

 971 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of kscaldef
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

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Heartwood (2010 Symposium Ale) from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 32 ratings