Goose Island Beer Co.

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Wild Ale
4.15 | pDev: 10.84%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Belgian style sour ale aged in bourbon barrels.
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 104 | Ratings: 194
Photo of dar482
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer has a funky and sweet aroma

The flavor follows with berries, light tart, a sweet booziness, as well as being slightly dry. An interesting and good wild ale from Goose Island.

 184 characters

Photo of deebo
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at happy gnome
A-clear golden/amber with a bit of white lacing
S-bourbon aroma is quite noticeable. Weak notes of Brett like funk
T-more bourbon than sour. The bourbon is upfront with some tartness at the end. A fair amount of grain taste
M-moderate carbonation. Some astringency. Warming finish Finish is fairly clean
O-very light on the sourness. A bourbon forward beer with plenty of beery malty taste

 411 characters

Photo of jsanford
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Rattle-n-Hum in NYC

Pours a hazy orange-amber with a creamy ivory head that leaves behind some great lacing. Great nose of funky "bugs", vinegar, Bourbon, and oak. Taste is nice and complex, with an early earthy vinegar tartness fading to oak and sweet Bourbon. Very smooth, with no biting acidity. Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium body and good carbonation. Overall an excellent Wild Ale that's surprisingly drinkable!

 435 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bright golden orange with a light cloudiness to it that settled out nicely showing some really nice carbonation that reinforced a pillow like white head. nice look overall.

aroma was massive funk that you could smell from everywhere. just a deep vinegar and apple sourness that was only slightly balanced and cut by some underlying notes of fruit and light grain. no matter how you sliced it this one was a beast. each sip puckered the lips,sucked all the moisture from your palate and left you searching for something more. huge sour apple finish

 548 characters

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Matilda goblet, reviewed from notes.

Appearance: Just slightly hazy dark orange brew with a white cap that fades to a thick ring and persistent film.

Smell: Wonderfully funky and fruity; vibrant and fruit forward, but having difficulty picking out individual aromas, as is often the case with me and Brett beers.

Taste: Wow...bourbon, dark sweet and tart cherries up front. This has a pretty strong pale malt background, but is fairly bitter, with a hint of oaky tannin. The bourbon comes on pretty strong mid way through, and could certainly stand to mellow out a bit. The cherry, on the other hand, is in no way fake/cough syrupy/etc like in some fruit beers. This is overall pretty nicely done.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, crisp/tart, and fruity

Conclusion: I was not as enamored with this one as I thought I'd be, but it was a very solid offering. I think I'd prefer this w/a bit of aging, giving the bourbon some time to meld a bit more with the other flavors.

 983 characters

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review 300! I've been wanting to try this for a while...I guess I had to leave Chi for NYC to get this beer??? Poured from a 32oz growler into an oversized wine glass.

A: Pours a murky amber with a fading white head. Looks spritzy like soda.

S: Very complex. Grape, raspberry, lemon and passion fruit are the immediate fruit profile. Sourpatch sourness is perceptible along with the sticky sweetness of the bourbon, which provides vanilla, woodchips and molasses aromas.

T: Tastes does not let down. The fruit flavours are reinforced by some musty funk and pineapple juice sweetness. Bourbon flavour is there, but the heat is nowhere to be found and the sourness is mild and controlled. Hops actually make a nice show in the end and it finishes in a dry, funky, almost Belgian IPA fashion.

D: Absolutely quaffable. Only the ABV slows me down. Mouthfeel is a tad overcarbonated, but it doesn't hurt the beer.

Overall: This did not disappointing. I've heard that this is essentially Matilda+Fruit+Brett+bourbon barrels, so how could you possible fuck that up? Excellent beer and I wish it was put into bottles. This was amazing paired with sour green grapes and Roquefort cheese.

 1,182 characters

Photo of CharlieMurphy
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Hill Farmstead's Harvest Fest 10/1/11. Was super excited to get to try this surprise guest keg.

A: tannish amber with some buttery, orange, and mocha hues. Very little head or carbonation, looks thin in that department.

S: Pretty mild and hard to pick apart much. A little hit of tart sourness, not prominent. Another equally less prominent air of oak.

T: This is truly interesting. It's definitely a bretted beer, but with much less sourness than the run of the mill for the style. Instead there's this light toffee, butterscotch, a little nutty flavor mingling with the subtle wild aspects.

M: Let me stress that it's light, given the toffee and butterscotch flavors which would imply otherwise. The carbonation is actually sufficient although it does go quick in the samples. It's not abundantly effervescent like many wild ales either, definitely modest and refined.

O: I had 3 samples, coulda drank this alll day. Thankful I got to try it, I'd love to get to have this again.

 995 characters

Photo of mltobin
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in Westchester NY.

Appearance is light amber color with very little head. Oak, vinegar, apple, booze are all coming across in its` nose. It is a very appealing aroma. The taste has orange, cranberry, more of that vinegar and sour quality that I was expecting. MF is light-med with a pretty crisp carbonation level. This is one of the sours from Goose Island that I have enjoyed the most.

 402 characters

Photo of DCon
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on-tap @ the iTap House in Chesterfield, MO for $6. Tapped from the Goose Handle into the 16oz Tulip Glass that has a Silver goose on it.

Aroma- A very faint sour aroma. There is more of a barnyard note if anything here. Nice amount of citrus and earthy hop aroma. Very clean.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger of white head that only keeps a ring around the glass... Has a pale orange color body and has good clarity. The lacing is tremendous on this one.

Flavor- Once again, has a dull sour note but then the hops are very noticeable and well played in this one! Has a small hop bitterness at the finish and a bit of oak hanging around? Very strange and not sure what to think with this brew....

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, High Carbonation, Slight Pucker but not what I was hoping for, and then leaves bit of hop on the palate.

Overall Impression- I'm really stuck thinking, what style is this beer really? It teases you at first with a slight sour aroma and then taste, but never has a punch or any real tartness... Not too big of a fan with this brew. More hoppy than anything! Maybe even can be considered a Belgian IPA.

 1,150 characters

Photo of Phelps
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review number 700, and she’s a doozy. Enjoyed in a snifter at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.

She shimmers the dull orange of an old pumpkin. Almost perfectly clear, and with o head. Just a thin light khaki ring.

Nice blend of aromas. Lots of bourbon, lots of sour. Vanilla, butterscotch, sweet dark cherries and a mild tartness like balsamic.

Oh, I like that. Tons of toffee with hints of toast and cocoa before the swallow. Sweet dark cherries as well. After the swallow, it opens up: a blast of mellow tartness, sweet cherries, cola, lingering notes of cocoa. Hot damn.

Medium light massaging carb dies down quickly without much fizz. The body’s a step between medium and medium-light, easily moved and light on the palate. The delicate body contrasts the huge flavor and keeps things as light as they need to be.

Wow. An unexpected and delicious treat. Light and drinkable yet supremely flavor-filled.

 918 characters

Photo of gregshead
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a copper color with a half finger of head thata dissipates quickly.

S: The nose is exceptional. A mixture of sweet bourbon, belgian pale ale and funky/tart sour smell.

T: Sweet up front. Belgian yeasty base is there. The tart hits in the middle and mostly gives way to a Bourbon end/aftertaste

M: Light on the carbonation, little bit of an oily feel that fits this beer. Little bit of heat/burn on the tongue at the end

O: This was a special treat to have. I found the bourbon and sour mix to be really well intermixed. I wish it was a little bit more sour but then again maybe it would have overpowered the bourbon that I loved in it as well

 655 characters

Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours clear red tinged copper with one finger of off-white head. Head has decent rentention and leaves very little lacing.

S - nice blend of tart cherry, lactic acid, oak and very faint vanilla.

T - similar to smell with nice tartness, but no where near mouth puckering. Bourbon notes come through after the tartness fades. Finishes clean with a faint amount of numbing alcohol.

M - light and clean.

O - really enjoyed this. Not the most complex wild ale but the cherries and oaky bourbon work well together.

 517 characters

Photo of JizackFH
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at the Rattle N Hum Big Lebrewski Dude Series Part 2 event on 7/26/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a nice dark reddish copper color. It has a small thin head on it. There were some specs of lacing left on the glass.

S - It smells of sour cherries and bourbon. There is a little bit of funk and some sweetness as well.

T - The taste is fruity sour and there is a nice big bourbon and wood presence. To me it seemed as if there was an eternal struggle between the sourness and the bourbon. The two flavors were fighting to be dominant. I thought it was quite pleasant because sometimes you get more sour and sometimes you get more bourbon and it just makes for an interesting taste experience. There is also a bit of a boozy kick to it. The finish has some lingering bourbon and sourness.

M - This has a medium body and lower carbonation. It goes down easy and has a nice sourness to it. There is a bit of sweetness and some boozy warmth as well.

O - This has good drinkability. I wouldn't mind having a few glasses of this in an evening. Overall, I thought it was a nice sour ale. I enjoyed the fight between sour and bourbon. I'm glad I got to try this one, and I would buy it again.

 1,220 characters

Photo of angelogarcia3
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers. It has a amber color with an ivory head. Tha aroma is a light bourbon with a hint of sourness. In the mouth it is clean with sourness hitting the back of the tongue. Though the taste is bourbon, with hints of sourness that linger after swallowing. Had it at Rattle-n-Hum.

 305 characters

Photo of mrand01
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: copper in appearance with a slight cloudiness. Thin head, glass filled too high to evaluate lacing.

S: light funk, hints of bourbon, slightly fruity

T: Whoa, almost like a sour Curieux. I'm not exactly sure what the base beer was, but the bourbon notes are very present.

M: thin, lightly carbonated, moderately sticky with a dry finish

D: great beer, would have again (and again)

 389 characters

Photo of jera1350
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monks in Sioux Falls, SD.

A reddish tinted copper color with a mere trace of foam on top. A little spotty lacing.

Lightly lactic, sour cherry and bourbon barrel.

The taste is awesome. Starts out moderately sour with notes of sour cherry and raspberry. Then, the bourbon and oak come in quick to compliment the sour and add notes of vanilla and whiskey. This is how I like my sours. Not overly tart, some complimentary sweetness and the extra special touch of bourbon aging.

Quite crisp and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation and about a medium feel.

Overall, I really, really dug this beer. I'm not a huge sour fan, but this one was nearly perfect. Especially since it added the bourbon aging. I would love to have this one again at any time.

 755 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first beer I got at the Rochester Beer Expo.

Poured mahogany brown, mildly hazy, with a slight beige head. Prominent oak and vanilla with lesser notes of toffee, caramel, and maybe even a tiny bit of mustiness? Mild tartness that some may even overlook. A nice beer that is flavorful but simply lacks depth. This is exactly what went through my mind when drinking it. Nothing caused me to stop and ponder "is there a hidden flavor trying to come out?" It simply exploded flavor and stopped as quickly as it appeared. Finish was short and sweet. A good beer, but not a great beer.

 584 characters

Photo of axeman9182
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz pour in a tall thin glass at Rattle n Hum for their Goose Island event 6/21.

Dominique pours a nice orange to tangerine, depending on how well lit it is. There's a little bit of foamy white head crowning the beer, but it doesn't last long and doesn't leave any lacing behind. The nose is an interesting blend of lactic tartness and a vanilla based sweetness, in roughly equal measures. The flavor begins by highlighting that somewhat unusual (for a beer at least) sweet-sour balance. Whatever wild critters were present during aging clearly did their work. At the same time, notes of vanilla from the barrels help highlight the pale fruit sweetness present from the base beer. Just when the novelty of that interplay is wearing off, and I'm hoping for a little something extra, a subtle bourbon flourish closes out each sip. The overall mouthfeel is a bit on the slick side, but there's just enough carbonation to keep the beer from sitting dull on my tongue. I haven't come across many bourbon barrel wild ales, but the ones I have had (this and Brooklyn's Wild 1) have been superb, I hope more brewers look to this combination in the future.

 1,149 characters

Photo of brystmar
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Rattle N Hum.

Pours orangeish copper, mild white head, minimal lace. Bubbles float to the surface. Nose shows tart fruit, malts, yeast, and lactose / milky sugars. Reminds me of a lactose-infused cocktail I had at EMP in the Fall. Really interesting.

Fruity, malty, mild tartness, hints of milk sugars up front. Yeasty sourness adds a unique complexion. Boozy warmth as it wraps up. Kinda hard to describe beyond that -- a unique brew for sure.

Medium body and carbonation, works well with the style. And quite drinkable for a 9% too. I'd happily buy this again.

 575 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Dominique, 32-oz growler filled at Whole Foods Columbus Circle for $12.49.

Appearance: Served in my Sierra snifter, Dominique pours laboriously and flat-looking, eventually producing a classic one-finger, snow-white head with thick bubbles on top. This handsome head, however, dies almost immediately, leaving a rim and a mantle behind. Color is a nice rusty copper/clover honey, slightly transparent and reminiscent of a barleywine.

Smell: A penetrating and enticing aroma of sweet-and-sour bourbon, vanilla, sweet Kinder chocolates (the milk, the milk) and creme brulee. Damn, this is nice! A tad of metal, like licking a penny.

Taste: Comes up sweet and sour again, quite the mix. Oh, that sweetness... you can lick it and pour it over barbecued ribs! A spicy finish and clover honey all around. Some floral points, this makes me think of bees pollinating a lush flower garden in a gorgeous summer day, most likely in the English countryside. Bread and yeast, pastry kitchen. European cookies. Bourbon and some polished wood. Vanilla extract. Pungent, sour finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit of a disappointing, with a watery body, low carbonation and medium flavor. Nice sour-vanilla finish, very desserty or martini-like, but it could use a kick in the ass and way more body.

Overall: Exceptional because it is so damn drinkable, so different, so beautiful and enjoyable... this is a winner. I loathe sour beers but love this one. Enough said!

 1,445 characters

Photo of Alpar
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark copper/amber color with a fluffy white head.

S: Cherries and funk really nice kind of zesty citrusy smell going on as well.

T: Nice and tart a bit sour but not like a gueze. Definitely some brett and the cherries are great.

M: A nice carbonated sting. Thin and refreshing.

O: I enjoy this beer a lot and whenever I see it on tap its my go to. Very nice beer.

 370 characters

Photo of mothman
3.57/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


Pours an off whitehead. Color is a dark gold.

Aroma: Odd funk. Hairspray. Cherries and fruit. Some oak, dry spice, vanilla, light vinegar, and sweetness.

Taste: Caramel and vanilla sweetness. Oak and fruits. Sour and funky. Fairly malty. There is also a sharp and astringent flavor.

Mouthfeel: Sour and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a very unique wild ale. A lot going on here. I kind of like it. Moderately drinkable.

 481 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler from Bowery Whole Foods in NYC. Poured into a Captain Lawrence tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch fluffy white head that dissipates slowly leaving lots of scattered lacing. Pours a hazy orange, and leaves veiny / neuron / flux capacitor / wish bone / (whichever y-shape you want) shaped lacing.

Smell: Lactic sourness and vanilla bourbon. Some brown sugar and cinnamon at first, but eventually it's just subdued lactic sourness, oak, and bourbon. This 3.5 is a mix of "2 for how impressive it is," and a "5 for how much I like the smell." Could be any beer at all with some bugs and aged in a bourbon barrel, which--while thoroughly unimpressive--smells good enough to me.

Taste: Lots of creamy vanilla and American oak up front, leading to a mild (but strong enough) puckering lactic sourness and moving into a finish reminiscent of good bourbon.

It deserves a paragraph break to note: this beer is, simply, a medium for bourbon barrel aged goodness. It's not a bourbon barrel play on a wild ale, it's a mildly soured play on bourbon-barrel-aged beer. Like Goose Island's recent business decisions or not (I don't), like their regular line-up or not (I do), the fact is (at the moment at least) these guys know how to barrel age a beer. If you see any point at all to aging beer in bourbon barrels--and many of us do--you really just can't deny that Goose Island's brewers are pros at it.

A beer like this could be one note and forgettable, but it's not. There's mild--ultimately dominated away--fruitiness (apple, berry), brown sugariness, and spiciness, but even as these base beer flavors die off, the mix of bourbon, oak, and sourness is simply delicious. It tastes like a slightly watered down, ABV-lightened glass of really good bourbon, with some wild ale sourness. Maybe this flavor would offend some beer drinkers ("too gimmicky / trendy"), but to me it's readily apparent that the brewers wanted the beer to taste exactly like this, and I'm glad they're this good at getting what they want.

To be clear, it's not that there's 3 simple notes "bourbon, vanilla, sour." The bourbon is itself multifaceted, fully integrated into the flavor. The oak is full, creamy, straddling vanilla and coconut, perfectly expressing the tell-tale character of American oak. Sure, the beer more or less tastes "Just barrel aged, and a little sour," but the barrel has generously given to this beer.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied, with the impression of creaminess bolstered by the heavy influence of American oak. Puckering and acidic, but both very restrained. Aftertaste beautifully reminiscent of good bourbon.

Overall: What else is there to say about this one? If you get this beer, you get it right away, and you either like it or you don't. One could ask, "why bother drinking this instead of a glass of bourbon?" Besides the ABV and price difference (plus a little sourness), I don't really have a satisfactory, objective answer... maybe that question is a damning criticism for some, but for me personally it's answered, "Why not? It tastes great."

 3,100 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Filled at Decicco's 5/19/11. Poured from a 16oz. swingtop growler into a Darkness snifter. Shared with schen9303. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields a quickly dissipating .5 finger creamy white head. Beer is a nice clear orange. Lacing is stringy and spotty with decent stick. Slightly above average.

S: Nose is cinnamon, caramel, brown sugar, floral, citrus, orange peel, vanilla, and some sweet bourbon at the end. Interesting combination and wholly unexpected for the style but very pleasant.

T: Opens citrus fruit, cinnamon, and candied brown sugar. Notes of butterscotch and vanilla towards the middle with slight tangerine tartness lingering in the forefront. Finish is vanilla and some bourbon heat. Aftertaste is sweet. Not really sour or funky... more of a fruit beer with a bit of bourbon and a twang of tartness.

M: Light to medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily, silky, and filmy in the mouth and smooth and silky going down. Finish is slightly messy with a lingering aftertaste. Nice but a bit dull at times.

O: Dominique is a very strange creation in that its a wild ale that's not really sour and not really funky. More like a well made, mellow fruit beer aged in bourbon barrels. Very in line with a lot of other Goose Island "sister" offerings. Worth a try but it might not be what you're looking for in the style.

 1,354 characters

Photo of fastpass17
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz Growler swing top.

A: Very light orange in color. Very clear for a wild style ale. A one finger head with light carbonation.

S: Candied apple mixes with vanilla, cream and bourbon. A slight amount of funk is apparent near the end of the nose.

T: Apples and fresh cut grass in the start. Cream and vanilla then come in mid drink, with bourbon filling out the middle and end. The sourness is ever so slight. This is a very enjoyable and smooth beer.

M,O: Very velvety on the palate, this is a very nice drink. Unique for the style, I hope more brewers take up the mantle and put sours into bourbon barrels.

 614 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Dominique from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 194 ratings