Big John | Goose Island Beer Co.

Big JohnBig John
1,569 Ratings
Big JohnBig John

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

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,569 |  Reviews: 452
Photo of pjkelley82
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Richie1124
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber poured into a tulip glass.

This beer is HUGE. Very heavy beer and don't expect to put many of these away. A lot bigger and heavier than I expected but it is an excellent beer. The smell is off the charts with a heavy chocolate presence. Has a nice malty, sweet, chocolate taste to it also followed by a slight hint of alcohol.
Overall this is a great stout and worth a try. Averages around $10 for a 22oz. 11.50% ABV so you're getting your money's worth!!!

 470 characters

Photo of I_Like_Beer
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of abkayak
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of Tiburon
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of blindpiggie
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of MarkJBurch
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of PHKrames
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of mpayne5
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of durlta
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of oatsodas
3.6/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, with a light tan head. Little carbonation.

S: Malty, chocolate, cacao, and a bit toasty.

T: Generally sweet and chocolaty, with just a bit of the bitterness expected in an Imp Stout.
A hint of alcohol without being overpowering.

M: Lightly carbonated. Smooth but full-bodied.

O: A very good Imp Stout. The Cacao nibs are a nice touch and very much up-front in the taste. A good cold-weather beer to be sipped slowly, especially with dessert.

 461 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Benesi88
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of cogitodp
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Westuh
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of WanderingFool
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Redrover
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I just had one of these last night with the wife. It was dated 12/7/12.

The beer is black with dark brown highlights. It is thick and a trifle syrupy which is great.

Big aroma of figs, plums, rains, and roasted malts.

The flavor tracked the smell. Lots of dark fruit and roasted malt goodness. The chocolate - coco was less evident in this one compared to a fresh one I had last year. It still adds a nice back ground element.

I was surprised by how much alcohol heat was still there. I wish I had a few more in the cellar as this one was very enjoyable.

 562 characters

Photo of ChrisMon02
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Doogermeister
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a wonderful tarry black that reminds me of a bourbon county. The smell is slightly boozy with a note of cocoa nib and coffee. The taste I feel doesn't live up to the smell. It lingers a bit too long and is pretty bitter. Fans of high bitter beers will enjoy this. The mouthfeel is slightly odd when compared to bourbon county or other stouts by goose island. Overall this beer is pretty tasty. I aged this one for the full year recommended and I am not sure if the aging did the beer any good.

 507 characters

Photo of Hotrod88
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Troville1990
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of vfgccp
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Dec 7th 2012, opened Nov 20th 2013.

A - Deep mahogany black body with thin cola highlights. Fine, milk chocolate colored head has low retention and lace.

S - Huge chocolate covered raisin nose. Thick black chocolate, rum soaked raisins, almonds, vanilla, touch of wood, and chocolate chip cookie dough.

T - Burnt toast, milk chocolate, reduced soy sauce, molasses, brownies, and sweet balsamic vinegar. Thick, sweet, and mildly astringent.

M - Full body, nice legs.

O - A shade too sweet, and the soy sauce is a bit of a distraction, but otherwise a nice AIS.

 572 characters

Photo of corysmith01
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I don't write many reviews but felt compelled to write this one. I saw this in the store, looked at the reviews and thought "decent." As in, this should be a decent stout, based on the various reviews and comments. What I got was a thick, viscous, quite complex stout that caught me off-guard…again, based on the reviews.

This beer mentions cocoa nibs on the label. I must admit I didn't get a lot of that as I think the alcohol quells the subtlety of the vanilla. But what wasn't mentioned, and what I was getting a lot of, was dark fruits; figs, raisins…both in the nose and in taste. This was a really nice surprise as I've gotten that from beers like Deschutes Black Butte XXV, but not so much in your average chocolate/coffee stout. Nice surprise. The mouthfeel is what really sold me…I love thick, viscous stouts. Zhukov, things like that…love them. And this is right in the same arena.

The only knock I could give is that maybe it's slightly hot, a little alcohol burn. But at 11.5% that doesn't shock me. The other qualities are more than enough to subdue that. This is a pretty great beer. As someone who likes heat (Mexican Cake, Bomb!), I'd love to see a variant of this beer with some pepper character, but until then, this version is more than adequate.

 1,276 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.93/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottled 3/25/11, so this is over two and a half years old.

A: Pitch black on the pour. Even a very aggressive pour fails to build much of a head. Lacing is minimal and spotty.

S: Raspberry ester. Fudge sauce and black cocoa. Acrid burnt crust edge. Heavily roasted grain. Big spike of alcohol. A little bit of cardboard oxidation, but this is normal. Dried figs.

T: Raspberry and currant esters. Slick fudge sauce. Bittersweet dark chocolate. Roasted barley. Blackstrap molasses. Cocoa nibs are big on the mid-palate, and create a strong chocolate pull. Roasted coffee beans. Charred crust and a touch of acrid smoke. Boozy. Charred crust, fudge sauce, and lingering cocoa nibs on the long finish.

M: Big, thick body. Slick, coating, and chewy. Very weighty and sludgy. Low carbonation. Numbing alcohol.

O: This is an enormous beer, and there is no subtlety to it whatsoever. Drink this on an empty stomach and you will not need to eat a meal. You will also probably be drunk. Works very well as an after dinner/dessert sipper. It really favors the sweet tooth.

 1,108 characters

Big John from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 1,569 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.