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Gillian | Goose Island Beer Co.

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784 Ratings

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

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Scully

White Pepper Strawberry Saison
After a free rise fermentation with our Saison yeast strain, we add crushed white pepper, mashed fresh Michigan strawberries and Local Farmer's market honey to create a dry, drinkable yet complex Saison variation.

Named in honor of Gillian Anderson who worked at Goose Island Brewpub in Chicago, IL while a student at DePaul University.

25 IBU

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 784 |  Reviews: 112
Reviews by ferrari29:
Photo of ferrari29
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

765ml brown glass bottle with classy understated red label and white foil-ed over branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster stem tulip/snifter hybrid glass in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. 2013 vintage. "Ale brewed with strawberries, honey, & white pepper. Aged in wine barrels." "Belgian style farmhouse ale." Reviewed as a farmhouse ale. Bottled 11 Sep 13. 9.5% ABV confirmed.

Served chilled after a period of rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a quarter finger white head which recedes to nothing inside 15 seconds. No lacing.

Body colour is a vibrant orange-copper. Translucent but nontransparent. Appears well-carbonated. No floating yeast particles are visible.

I'm quite disappointed with the (lack of) head, but overall I'm optimistic. It's not unique or special, but there are no egregious flaws.

Sm: Wonderfully subtle strawberry notes - real authentic strawberry, not some artificial fruit syrup. Crystal malts. Belgian pale malts. Light honey. A hint of tart fruit, maybe even a kiss of sourness. Hop profile is floral and fruity but vague. Maybe some faint white wine? I only notice it because I'm looking for it. A pleasant clean aroma of moderate strength.

No alcohol is detectable.

T: Lightly sour - particularly on the finish - which is a welcome characteristic. Faint nebulous white wine tones guide the beer and lend it some cohesion throughout. Belgian pale malts, tame honey, and crystal malts provide the accomodating effective foundation. The strawberry is lovely - it's very subtle yet still evocative, and there are no traces of any artificial fruit syrups or extracts; strawberry is a hard note to nail, but Goose Island succeeds here. If brettanomyces was used, it's extremely reticent here because I'm not finding it at all - no funkiness or biscuity character at all. The honey sweetness is nice, but I would like a bit more sourness. Hop profile is almost purely floral, but there are some light nectary and fruity notes as well, all of which complement the other flavours well.

Overall, it's a very balanced brew with some impressive cohesion, but it isn't gestalt. I love how the fruit is handled. Well-built, with notable complexity and subtlety. I'd even say the strawberry is intricate and nuanced, but the white wine does feel a bit wasted - there just isn't much character there, let alone any true barrel/wood notes. Sadly, no white pepper comes through. I do get a hint of peach. I'm content to treat this like an American wild ale rather than a saison as there's not as much complexity here as a good saison would have, nor is there any white pepper or milky character. For a wild ale, the depth, duration, and intensity of flavour are average. (It's too intense for a saison and nowhere near as deep).

No alcohol, overt spice, or cream comes through.I can't tell what kind of yeast is effecting the sourness, but I'd get it's actually a bit of lactobacillus bacteria.

The strawberry note is exquisite, and is easily the highlight of the beer for me.

Not puckerworthy, but it provides enough sourness for sour lovers to be satisfied. If Cascade Kriek is a 10 on the sourness scale, this is a 5.

Mf: Crisp, soft, smooth, and wet. Refreshing. Medium-bodied. Great comforting approachable presence on the palate. Perfectly carbonated. Constructively, it is a bit too thin. Above average acidity. Really complements the flavour profile well.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Incredibly drinkable; I could easily kill a few bottles of this in a night. It's a shockingly effective profile for a saison-meets-sour, and I'd recommend it to friends if not for the flat-out-ridonkulous price point. With the myriad of superior offerings in the style available well below this price point, I can't say I'd get this again. At half its price, it'd be worth it every once in a while. As much as I've enjoyed this bottle, it's still not a world class beer - and it disturbs me that the brewers labelled this a saison. Well worth trying once if you've got the scratch. Hides its ABV very well; I'd guess this was 7% if I tried it blind.


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Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Goose Island asks us to pay an ultra-premium price in order to enjoy their strawberry infused, sour Saison. With their reputation on the line and with my wallet at ransom, the ale proves to be much more lambic-inspired than that of farmhouse.

Medium goldenrod in color and with threads of peach and amber, the hazy ale pours and simply gleams with a glow despite its yeasty veil. As its racy carbonation rises to fuel a light creamy head, its retention is light as the beer's acidity breaks up the bubble and relegates any head character to a dainty necklace with minimal spotty lace. The beer looks as much like sparkling white wine as it does ale.

Musty fruit springs to life like dehydrated lemons, limes, tart green apples, under-ripened berries and over-ripe strawberry. The ale miraculously retains the recognizable characterists that are unique to strawberry without fermenting away its subtle and volitile aromas. A waft of weathered oak, cellar-like must, saddle leather and wet hay offers up a robust and pungent "mossy" earth character to complement its sourish twang.

To taste, its "Pez" like malt sweetness is somewhat confectionary although light. Supple honeysuckle gives the beer's fruit flavor a riper taste before turning bracingly acidic in the middle. Dried and must fruits pile on the taste buds with sour white grapes, crab apple, tart berries, lemons, limes and unmistakable strawberries! Caught somewhere between dry cider and white wine vinegar- its sour tone is front and center. Earthy flavors of cooked hay, sea salt, brine and mineral is lightly rustic and raw as a woodish and leathery taste leave final impressions with echoes of strawberry and wheat in aftertaste.

Its light and bone-dry body becomes racy with its champagne-like carbonation that carries away its early candied sweetness. What's left is an arid and acidic texture that evaporates off the palate like cotton candy. Much of the beer's flavor experience happens in aftertaste as its high carbonation ushers in a quick and fleeting finish of pepper, warmth, wood spice and sourness.

Gillian is the queen of the crop of Goose Island sours because of its complex offerings of earth to its sourness. Gillian is unique in that the earthen qualities are quintessential Brussels, and doesn't only lean on sourness to carry the load. Also, the way that it retains its strawberry aroma and flavor is nothing short of remarkable.

 2,420 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My friend brought over a bottle of Goose Island's Gillian to share. I really wanted to try some of the new Belgian inspired beers that Goose Island recently released and I was pretty happy when my friend brought over a couple to try, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on September 11 2013. Poured from a brown 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks pretty good, it's pretty simple, but I think it looks pretty classy. It poured a cloudy bright yellow color that took on more of a golden hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that eventually disappeared and it left some spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but i wish the lacing and the head retention were a little better.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness that has a really slight honey like aroma to it followed by a good amount of funky yeast being the first to show up and it imparts some funky, barnyard, and wet hay like aromas that really stand out. Up next comes the strawberrys which were a little lighter then I expected but they impart a nice light strawberry aroma with some fruity sweetness in the background. Towards the end a little bit of barrel comes through imparting a dry white wine like aroma that was on the light side. The aroma was pretty good but I thought it could have a little better balance.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness that still had the really light honey aspect to it and it was followed by strawberrys being the first to show up and they impart a light natural strawberry like flavor with some fruity sweetness and a little bit of generic berry flavors in the background. Up next comes the yeast which really shows up and it imparts all the those funky barnyard and farmhouse like quality's that I got in the aroma. Towards the end there's a light spicy flavor with some light dry white wine flavors with an equally light wood flavor that isn't too noticeable and its followed by a medium amount of tartness that was just slightly sour with a fruity and funky aftertaste. This was very nice tasting beer, but with a little more balance I think it could be awesome.

M- Fairly smooth, medium tart, lively, crisp, medium bodied with a good amount of higher medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was very nice and it worked really well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had all the aspects that I look for in the style with no off flavors or anything that stuck out as not being true to style, I enjoyed it. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, lively, not too filling, and the taste did a good job of holding my attention and keeping me coming back for more, I think half the bottle would be the perfect amount but I wouldn't rule out drinking the who bottle if I had the chance and I think this would be a perfect summertime brew. What I liked the most about this beer was the complexity, there were some nice layers to this beer that did a great hob at holding my attention. What I liked the least about this beer was the balance, it wasn't bad by any means, but I thought yeast stuck out a little too much and I would like to see some of those other flavors come out a little more to balance out that yeast. I would for sure buy this beer again, my friend payed $12 for this beer and I think that's a fair price and I would for sure pick one up if I saw it on the shelf. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer, I have been craving something funky for a little while and this beer did a good job at fulfilling that. Good job guys, like i said before I'm not the biggest Good Island fan, but I really like this Belgian series they do and I have yet to be disappointed by one, keep up the good work and I'll keep a look out for more beers from this series.

 3,982 characters

Photo of jplopez21
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of misternebbie
4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of riotontheroad
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Everything I want in a farmhouse beer. To me, this is perfection.

65 characters

Photo of ChicagoNick
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Ej8
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sendbeer
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Stevedore
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

765ml bottle, with 2013 bottlecap cover. Split with Regen today, 10/6/2013. Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

Beautiful looking beer. Pours a hazy straw-gold body that looks quite effervescent with a white 1cm head that retains fairly well. Lacing is there in spots. I'm just mostly struck by how nice it looks.

Smells interesting. Some light pepper scents, and some rubber. Definitely get quite a bit of strawberry tartness, if not the strawberry flavour. All comes together in a very interesting way.

Very tasty, if not a bit different. I've had a fair amount of saisons and this definitely fits the profile. Strawberries are present along with a rubbery, funky Brett flavour. Some barrel shows up here too. Very clean, fairly interesting profile.

Medium bodied, a bit heavy handed. The alcohol always reminds you that its there. Its a big flavoured beer, well-carbonated.

This is actually excellent. I was skeptical of this beer coming into this.. its still nowhere near $30, very interesting for a saison but if it was $15, we'd be raving about how good this is. Still, its GI and they definitely are heavy-handed in how they execute their barrel-aged wild ales and saisons. I wish they would be a bit more subtle, like the Belgian masters.

 1,249 characters

Photo of madelf66
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cosmonick
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Ristaccia
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 7Sport
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Moose90
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A — Pours a really light pale yellow color, almost no color at all to it actually, there is a light white head, but it fades quickly. No lacing left behind at all.

S — Smells great, lots of bright berry character, lots of raspberry, some strawberry, and a big hit of sourness.

T — Tastes nice, though a bit off, lots of tart green apple and a bit of strawberry.

M — Very high carbonation, lots of effervescence, almost champagne like.

O — Very nice overall, strawberry flavor is muted, but the rest of the beer is pretty good.

 542 characters

Photo of foundersfan1
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of cjohal85
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

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

765 ml bottle (1 pint 9.87 fl oz.) with bottled on date September 12, 2013 printed on the back label. Very excited to have landed a bottle of this beer after much deliberation. Expectations are decently high based on my experience with Goose Island Halia. My bottle lists a 9.50% abv, rather than the 9.00% abv listed on BeerAdvocate.

Poured into an over-sized wine glass, per the death of my snifter.

A - Pours a nice golden orange colored body, much like Goose Island Halia, with about two fingers of fizzy white head, audibly sizzling away. No lacing. Looks pretty nice.

S - Smell is of barnyard funk, ripe strawberries, peaches, white wine alcohol presence, faint but noticeable white pepper, and what some would describe as "horseblanket". Smells fruity and tart. A mouthwatering aroma. I can't wait to try it. Soft leathery notes in there also, much like Goose Island Halia again.

T - First sip kicks off with some tartness and funky brett, followed by sweet ripe strawberries, some white sugar presumably from the honey, bitter yeast presence, some soft leather, and sour grapes from the wine barrel. I'm really only getting the faintest bit of the white pepper on the aftertaste.

M - Feel is just a bit sticky with some yeast and pepper lingering on the palate, but is otherwise as smooth and clean as can be.

Overall, a very nice beer, but I'm not entirely sure I would pay another $30 to have this again. In my opinion, this is a far better and more complex beer than it's sister companion, but still not as utterly remarkable as I was hoping for. I guess I just set the bar too high, since this is some highly drinkable brew, especially at 9.50% abv. Highly recommended; I would undoubtedly have this again if it weren't for the price tag and limited availability.

Goose Island Gillian ---4/5.

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Photo of alcohline_trip
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of beerhan
3.59/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a hazy copper/yellow with a one finger head. Rather lighter than I expected considering the abv and aging.

S-Lots of strawberry after popping the bottle. Smell is rather reminiscent of fruity sparkling white wines. Not as funky as some of the other sisters, jammy fruit aromas dominate and the pepper was undetectable from the aroma.

T-Initial taste is a lot of fruit, strawberry, grapes, subtle melon flavor. Pepper over dominates the palate and nothing else is really detectable afterwords.

M-Very light body, goes down smooth and the alcohol is undetectable--Actually it was rather shocking to discover this was 9.5%. Pretty low carbonation compared to some of the other sisters and overall more sweet than sour. The pepper makes this one a bit tougher to get down unfortunately.

O-This is probably my least favorite of the sisters. The pepper hurt the beer more than anything else. If this was more similar to say dominique, the pepper may have had a better role but it was too dominant and did not allow the fruit notes to really sink in to your tongue. The price tag on this one also hurts it, 26.99 no wonder it is still on shelves everywhere. If you are a Gillian Anderson fan like myself then this might be worth it just for the bottle.

 1,259 characters

Photo of Hugonaut13
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Kgoldsbe
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is an elegant sour. The subtle redfruit tartness on the tongue is excellent! It won't win any festival awards for best of category, but one never tires of drinking it.

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Photo of Khazadum
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sheffield's Bar had a fantastic event called Goose Island Invasion. I was one of the lucky one's to grab a taster of this before it blew up. Poured into my tasting glass

A- Crisp, tight packing of perfectly white bubbles that were raised to about a fingers worth of head. Decent lasting performance. I'd give its body a similar color as sunset.

S- Reminds me of the mall and walking through a crowd of pre-teen girls who all have a different perfume. Strawberries, watermelon, and breads but it isn't perfect unison.

T- Oh goodness... strawberry tootsie roll wrapped in an IPA. I can taste the generic nature but it is still quite enjoyable. There is an astringent, bitter finish that reminds me of grape juice that I would say benefits rather than distracts.

M- Full, bright, refreshing. Its like biting into gum. It has that crisp nature of cleaning while generating great flavors. However, this becomes distracting towards the end.

D- This is the easiest drinking strawberry beer I have had as of yet. It is delicious while at the same time still being a beer. No alcohol can be noticed throughout it and its got that glorious 6.5%

 1,140 characters

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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 784 ratings