Big John
Goose Island Beer Co.

Big JohnBig John
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From:
Goose Island Beer Co.
 
Illinois, United States
Style:
American Imperial Stout
ABV:
11.5%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.09 | pDev: 10.76%
Reviews:
457
Ratings:
1,123
Status:
Retired
Rated:
May 08, 2021
Added:
Mar 13, 2011
Wants:
  175
Gots:
  555
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Big JohnBig John
Notes: Brewmasters Notes:
Inspired by the epic skyline of Chicago, Goose Island's brewers set out to craft Big John; a tall, bold slugger of a stout that stands out vividly against the little soft beers out there. Epic amounts of roasted malt and an addition of cacoa nibs give Big John a massive chocolate flavor and aroma. With a body as substantial and black as the building to which it pays homage, Big John is sure to inspire a sense of awe with each sip.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Sigmund
Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Bottle, kindly shared by gunnar. ABV 11.5%. Pitch black colour, moderate brown head. Nice roasty aroma, notes of coffee and cocoa, hints of leather. Fairly sweet and malty flavour, strong roasty coffee and cocoa notes. Lovely! Has "much of everything", but is not too extreme. Well balanced.
May 08, 2021
Photo of garymuchow
Reviewed by garymuchow from Minnesota

4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
12/7/2012 1000
Not sure what the 1000 means but here we are.
Initially a big shot of booziness, but that settled out and a deep rich malty roast. Some coffee but more darker fruit. Only faint hops.
Smallish dark head even with an aggressive pour. It settles to flat but not gone pretty quickly. Black as black can be without even any highlights on the edges. I'm not sure I've ever had anything quite this black.
Still a very rich and smooth mouthfeel. The malts still have a little edge. Guess it could have aged some more.
Fullness in flavor. Enough sweetness that moves towards more fruit, as with the aroma. The rich fruit stays throughout and is really quite good. Roast is smooth. No dryness or bite on the finish. Coffee flavors blend and no real strong chocolate, which is interesting, considering the addition of the nibs as noted on the bottle ("imperial stout with cacao nibs added"). Some hop flavor with a soft "green" quality but nothing more than that. Alcohol blends very nicely.
This is good, and more than that. I love the feel. Smooth and soft. Not quite to velvet but approaching it.
Still surprised how fresh of a taste it has. This could easily go a couple more years with no problem. I almost wish I held it a little longer.
Dec 08, 2019
 
Rated: 4.19 by Gemini6 from Michigan

Dec 02, 2019
 
Rated: 3.99 by SWChi from Illinois

Oct 11, 2019
 
Rated: 5 by Kwright from North Carolina

Jul 20, 2019
Photo of Korbynlehr
Reviewed by Korbynlehr from Kentucky

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Tried a bottle from 2011 in 2018. Jet black in color and boozy nose with a Charred overtone. Taste is charred and licorice flavors. Bit of a burn from the Abv. Good stout.
Dec 26, 2018
 
Rated: 4 by BEER88 from Washington

Dec 14, 2018
Photo of cmedrink
Reviewed by cmedrink from Illinois

4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
I pulled this out of my cellar and noticed it is a 2012 and boy is it pouring well. Black, sweet and malty with a fair amount of hop flavor still present, but very mellow. Pours like black molasses with a hoppy front end that hits the upper part of the tong and lingers as if one was drinking a cup of Sumatra coffee. Wish I had more, but this is a once in a lifetime bottle that was tucked away and almost forgotten. Glad the wife never found it and polished it off!
Dec 11, 2018
 
Rated: 4.43 by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

Nov 26, 2018
 
Rated: 4.42 by rrossjets from New York

Oct 14, 2018
 
Rated: 4 by jak from North Carolina

Jan 18, 2018
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
I hope they named this beer after Big John Studd, because he was Braun Strowman 1.0 back in the 80s. Anyways, pours a thick black pour, brown head on the top, 5/8" in depth. Roasty nose and a little bit of chocolate malt otherwise. Pretty straightforward, almost export stout kind of roastiness leading the way.

Taste, more of the same, heavy dose of roasted malt, light chocolate feels. Good amount of bitterness. Like, this probably clocks in at around 100ibu. Heavily roasted malt and lots of Cascade hops will do that. Mouthfeel is really good, it covers up a substantial amount of alcohol, one of the easier drinking big ass stouts that isn't barrel aged. Goose Island has always had their stout game dialed in, this is no exception. Its a ton of malt, heavily roasted.
Dec 03, 2017
 
Rated: 4.45 by Viperman1316 from Indiana

Oct 07, 2017
 
Rated: 4.21 by Bum4ever from California

Jul 26, 2017
 
Rated: 4.12 by kingjohnh from New Mexico

May 13, 2017
 
Rated: 4.21 by Prost76 from New Hampshire

May 06, 2017
Photo of darktronica
Reviewed by darktronica from Indiana

4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Bomber from December 2012. Pours thick and black, with half a finger of head that takes a while to emerge and then fades to the rim of the snifter quickly. Still a strong cocoa aroma and syrupy, vanilla malts on the nose. More complex once you take a sip, with raw cacao nibs, raisin liqueur, pomegranate molasses, dark chocolate maltballs, and lesser notes of anise and red wine tannins. Hard to believe it's just bottle-conditioned but not barrel-aged. Really glad to have a chance to try this.
Apr 14, 2017
 
Rated: 4.21 by MDDMD from Pennsylvania

Apr 08, 2017
Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
Reviewed by BloodSoakedAleMug from New York

4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
2011 vintage;
Enjoyed on January 28th of 2017

Appearance: Pours a dark brown almost black color with virtually no head besides a very small ring of tan bubbly suds that hang around for about ten seconds before fizzling away. If I pour hard straight down into the glass, a two finger, rapidly disappearing head forms, but still leaves no lacing.

Aroma: Estery with slightly tangy and sour notes of dark red fruits like raisins, sugarplums, candied apples, currants and tamarind. Sweet aromas of rich molasses, cocoa and slight notions of caramel syrup.

Taste: A heavy hitter. Big and complex. I'm getting tart flavors of fruit balanced by rich cocoa and slightly dry roasted malt. Malty flavors of toffee, gourmet milk chocolate, treacle, italian pirouline cookies and mildly bitter coffee in conjunction with savory hints of juicy red fruit like raisins, figs and tamarind.

Feel: The 11.5% abv has really mellowed out over the course of almost six years. I can't detect any abrasive, hot alcoholic notes. The palate is sweet soft and luscious, and the beer is in fact quite smooth and silky on the tongue. Mid-heavy body with almost no carbonation.

Overall: What a treat. Enjoyed this over the course of two hours. I think the time spent in the cellar really evened out the alcohol, allowing the roasted malt and dark fruit flavors to really come out and assert themselves. The cocoa nibs were not lost during the aging process, and what would have been a very bitter beer from the ridiculous amounts of roasted malt used in the brewing process has mellowed out to make way for deep and intricate flavors of a multitude of different sweet chocolate confections and candied fruits. It's a shame the brewery got bought up by Ab-inbev. I feel like I'm drinking a part of craft beer history here. RIP old school Goose Island, you will be dearly missed.
Jan 28, 2017
 
Rated: 4.21 by xShoWTeKx from South Carolina

Jan 17, 2017
 
Rated: 4 by AngusOg from North Carolina

Jan 07, 2017
 
Rated: 4 by A_Rad from Wisconsin

Jan 01, 2017
 
Rated: 4.11 by RPM3334 from South Carolina

Dec 27, 2016
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Pitch black.

Dark khaki head which dissipates; minimal lacing.

Black licorice, booze & oak in the nose. Woah!

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Not sure if this was bourbon barrel aged, but it sure tastes like it was. Super boozy, with a black licorice vibe backing it. The cocoa nibs finally reveal themselves as this warms. Unique & bold, but ultimately a bit too much for my palate.
Nov 29, 2016
 
Rated: 4.02 by SlightlyGrey from Minnesota

Nov 14, 2016
Photo of Sabtos
Reviewed by Sabtos from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Black, viscous, with a tan collar.

Whoa. Big oak on the nose, with maple, molasses, and an almost funky blackberry syrup.

Taste is prune, fig, and smooth, warm, thick blackberry with a little chocolate and coffee.

A little boozy heat, semi-wet.
Oct 24, 2016
 
Rated: 4.21 by tmryan21 from Illinois

Jun 22, 2016
 
Rated: 3.72 by EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona

May 31, 2016
 
Rated: 4.88 by diddy4l from Illinois

Apr 15, 2016
Photo of jaypaul522
Reviewed by jaypaul522 from Iowa

4.59/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
Shared a 2013 bomber. This stout poured thick black, with a good head. the smell was of strong malt and subtle chocolate, some alcohol. Taste was robust, smooth, and again subtly chocolate with some alcohol taste at the finish. Very good beer - wish it was more readily available.
Mar 26, 2016
 
Rated: 4.25 by petrusek23 from Ohio

Mar 20, 2016
 
Rated: 4.38 by strengthdoc from Connecticut

Mar 13, 2016
 
Rated: 4.48 by WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

Mar 10, 2016
 
Rated: 4.25 by MartyIU13 from Illinois

Mar 07, 2016
 
Rated: 4.14 by Hohnbaum from Kansas

Mar 03, 2016
Photo of Sludgeman
Rated by Sludgeman from District of Columbia

4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
On tap at the Anchor in Wichita.
Feb 23, 2016
 
Rated: 4.59 by Coorsy from Massachusetts

Feb 07, 2016
 
Rated: 4 by SteveTheBrit from Illinois

Feb 05, 2016
 
Rated: 4.35 by JakerLou from New Hampshire

Jan 22, 2016
 
Rated: 4 by benzalman from California

Jan 07, 2016
Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1580 ratings