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Big John | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Big JohnBig John
BA SCORE
4.09/5
Exceptional
1,570 Ratings
Big JohnBig John
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by aasher on 03-13-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,214
Reviews:
453
Ratings:
1,570
pDev:
10.76%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
181
Gots:
558
Trade:
35
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,570 |  Reviews: 453
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single finger dark tan head on a jet black body with no light passing through. Lots of vanilla with dark fruit and chocolate. A very nice dark fruit, vanilla and chocolate mix in the flavor as well. Right amount of sweetness. Slight roasted malt note. thick in body, very smooth and viscous/creamy. light to moderate carbonation. Another excellent beer from goose island. This one is very smooth and flavorful. Strong but not too boozy.

 436 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of jaydoc
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/25/11.

Pours an opaque black with a small 1/2 inch head that fades to an oily cap. Small legs of lace drip back down into the remaining beer. Smells of chocolate syrup, vanilla, dark malt, and interestingly enough I get a distinct banana aroma. Taste is of sweet chocolate syrup, vanilla notes, and roasted malts. The sweetness is extremely cloying. Very low carbonation with a very thick and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's extremely sweet and sticky.

 497 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a rich black color with a brown head on top. The smell of the beer is rich with roasted malts and chocolate aromas. The taste of the beer is chocolaty with some dark fruit and licorice in the finish. The feel of the beer is full bodied. Overall it's a very good stout.

 282 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is nearly jet black in color—some traces of amber are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a finger high tan head that slowly died down but did not completely fade away.
S: Sweet aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of chocolate and raisins.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, although the strength of the flavors is slightly stronger. Raisins stand out in particular; there are some hints of bitterness towards the finish.
M: It feels very full-bodied, somewhat smooth and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. A bit of dryness is present in the finish.
O: The beer is very drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. There’s no way that I could drink more than one of these in a night because it’s filling and the alcohol will soon catch up with you.

 904 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lush and savory stout with intense chocolate flavor, rich heavy body, and dense malty richness. A most desert-like beer.

The beer creeps from the bottle and into the snifter with a high viscocity that coats the glass like motor oil. Very froathy and rich, the beer's head falls underneath the enormous weight of the beer. No lace but brandy-like legging is evident with each swirl- the black film coats the sides of the glass and is nearly intimidating. Dense, dark brown, the beer carries a complete opaqness.

Chocolate, roast, burnt molasass, walnuts, and malted milk round out the nose that favors the power of a few key aromas over complexity. Alcohols give a warm tingle to the nose in a very rum-like way.

Rich chocolates, roasted grains, espresso coffee, and over caramelized sugars all add to the rich molasass and malted milk flavor. Robust and with a multitude of depth, the beer teases with rum boozy taste, and with walnut bitterness and oils. The cocoa nibs give a genuine cocoa taste and without the refinement of milk chocolates.

The cocoa additions further build the body of the beer towards a very thick and chewy beer. Beers don't really get more lush, viscous, or creamy. Finishing warm, but the brunt of 11.5% abv is never really felt; tempered well by the malty richness and velvety smooth simmer.

Delicious throughout, the sheer weight and richness of the beer make it both a delicacy and limit its drinkability. The full force of chocolate and sweetness, sometimes aspirtame-like, scream about the focus of the beer while balance and complexity are underscored.

 1,591 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml brown glass bottle with appealing label art acquired at a Binny's in Chicago and served into a standard water glass at a Chinese restaurant. Served from an ice bath. Expectations are high given the brewery. 11.50% ABV confirmed. Bottled 12/07/12. Reviewed from notes taken on St. Patrick's Day.

A: Pours a half finger rich tan colour head. Nice cream, fair thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention. Body colour is a solid dark black. Nontransparent; opaque. Typical of the style. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Cacao/chocolate, dark malts, chocolate malt, light light vanilla. Very buried roast. A moderate strength aroma. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Cacao/chocolate. Dark malts. Buried roast. Rich and refined. Slightly hot, but not boozy; alcohol is noticeable but not detrimental. Mostly well balanced. Quite tasty. Complex and well executed. Pretty subtle for what it is. No yeast character comes through. Tasty.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Good thickness and carbonation. Feels custom-tailored to the flavour profile. Still, it's not quite ideal. Well executed overall. Not syrupy.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. Not quite a sipper, but your taste buds do hold you back from drinking it as fast as you will want to. It's meant to be consumed slowly and respected. A solid imperial stout from Goose Island. Quite well done. Hides its ABV pretty well for how high it is.

B

 1,436 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours placidly into a tulip, mahogany tones glinting in the light.
A thin quarter inch of dark tan mocha foam dissipates soon after a couple minutes, receding to a ring around the edge. Spotty bits of froth slide down the glass after a sip is taken, but no lace forms.

Fried plantains in caramel syrup, sticky molasses, brown sugar, deep roastiness, dark chocolate. Rich and complex aroma.

Intense dark chocolate flavor, mellow bittersweetness, rich roastiness, woody tobacco and coffee candies. The roast character is soft and not acrid whatsoever. Sweet as expected with so much chocolate content, with a low level bitterness from the roast. Effortlessly smooth and silky, chewy with a lasting dry chocolate aftertaste, sticky on the lips. Alcohol really isn't perceptible at all. The cacao nibs take centerstage here, while the big roasted malts acting as the supporting cast.

Very enjoyable, a rich treat that is easy to finish, sipping for over an hour of course.
Well balanced for such a big stout.

 1,011 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of brentk56
2.64/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A very hard pour could only raise a smidgen of head and that quickly faded away; the liquid was pitch black and left a lot of dotty legs behind

Smell: An overdose of blackstrap molasses and soy sauce mask the expected roasty chocolate and coffee elements; rather boozy

Taste: Starts out well, with a wallop of dark chocolate but by mid-palate the citrusy hops start to battle with the sweet molasses and soy flavors, a battle which is unresolved in the finish; the lingering sweetness becomes cloying in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation; cloying sweetness and considerable heat from the alcohol

Overall: I had high expectations for this beer as I am a fan of this brewery but it is a real palate wrecker and, ultimately, I had to surrender

 781 characters

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of dark chocolate malt with light roasted malt and light residual sugar notes. Taste is a sublime mix between black milk chocolate with some light molasses and liquorice notes with light dry roasted malt notes also perceptible. Body is full with nice thick creamy texture and good carbonation and no alcohol presence is easily identifiable. I really enjoyed this huge beer and I’m glad they were able to maintain such balance and drinkability to match the complexity of this beer.

 607 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a one finger, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left thin trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of cocoa and some roasted malt. Subtle vanilla notes.

T - It tasted of chocolate, vanilla and sweet roasted malt. The cocoa flavors are really strong.

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

O - This is pretty nice Imperial Stout with a great cocoa flavor.

 454 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -2.2%

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Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 1,570 ratings
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