Gillian | Goose Island Beer Co.

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Gillian - Saison with Strawberry, Honey, and White Pepper

Alias of Scully:

Added by Jason on 08-12-2011

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Reviews: 85 | Ratings: 713
Photo of brewski09
4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage poured into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter - bottled 1219 @ 12DEC13

A - hazy orange pour with a light, effervescent head that hangs around for a little while. Hazier as the dregs get into the pour.

S - WOW. the white pepper and strawberries (expected them to be all but gone at this point because they fade so quickly) dominate with tart barrel in the background. Much better than from the keg during migration week!

T - The strawberries and sour funk dominate here with some mild barreling (I can't tell what kind of barrel it is but i'd guess pinot grigio or some other white wine) with the white pepper balancing the act on the back end. No booziness at all and a slight sweetness.

M - slightly high carbonation but appropriate for the style and description. This keeps the beer light despite the residual sugars I'm tasting.

O - I really like this beer and am a bit surprised at how much from the initial tasting. I'm thinking the beer is better front he bottle. I'm also pretty surprised that the strawberry is so strong.

This is my first review in some time. Happy to be back at it.

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Photo of zac16125
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Goose Island Gillian
750mL bottle into a tulip
2016 vintage

A: Pouts a golden color, very hazy nearly opaque, small bright white head builds and dissipates quickly. Leaves no lacing. 4

S: Aroma is quite fruity with tons of strawberry notes, prominent funk with burnt plastic and a pungent barnyard character. Its tart and sweet, a bit oaky, very subtle peppery spice. There is a ton going on on the nose here, its very nice. 4.5

T: Taste is super tart, in a good way. It has a puckering sourness, which is great. Its fairly funky as well. Lots of oak. Some citrus notes. Not much fruit at all, subtle strawberry. Faint vinegary wine notes, but overall vinous characters are mild. Exceptional. 4.75

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium body, carbonation is very high but appropriate, ABV which is high for the style is remarkably well masked and drinkability is excellent. 4.75

O: Overall this is a terrific beer. The high price tag makes it a rare treat, but it's worth it. 4.5

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Photo of siege06nd
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

EDITED: what's with all the "Had"'s and no "Review"'s??!?!? Sack up, slacka*ses...

Poured into my Jackie O's tulip...

A. Much like Halia, this pours a very vibrant, honey golden color. It's cloudy, opaque, and typical of the style in appearance. The head is minimal, I get maybe a quarter finger of white bubbles ringing the edges of the beer. Accordingly, lacing is also spotty.

S. Wow. This is nothing short of amazing. A decadent and complex bouquet of wine-soaked fruit (strawberry), sticky sweet juices (honey), and earthy zest (white pepper). The strawberry is obvious, and while I couldn't identify the other two notes without the assistance of the label, they certainly make themselves known. This is a ridiculously refined nose and a spectacular blend of varied ingredients that coalesces into a highly enjoyable whole.

T. Follows the nose exactly...some vinous fruits, strawberry with the stem, sugars from the honey, and then some herbal spice from the white pepper. Dare I say it, there's even a little bit of heat on this...not much, mind you, but enough. This is a marriage of flavor that is instantly intriguing and pleasing. Who says beer can't be like wine? This is satisfying and complex like the best of white wines.

M. If there's a fault, and it's minor, it's the tendency for the pepper to ride a little too high on the finish. Otherwise, there is near perfect balance on display here. It's a brilliant concoction of flavors, one where the adjuncts add to the beer rather than take away from it. It took a very good farmhouse base recipe to stand up to the other flavors. And while the finish is just a touch too much spice, the journey there is excellent.

O. It's a special beer. The "sisters" this year are being widely marketed as sours, and while I wouldn't call that a lie, I would say it might subtly overstate the reality. While there is tartness and some funk here, it is mostly a delicate marriage of fruit, yeast, and barrel aging. A delicious beer to be sure, easily the most interesting of the "sisters", Gillian is a treat that shouldn't be missed. Congratulations, Goose Island, you know your way around a barrel-aged farmhouse.

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Photo of Gruber221
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Gillian is by far my favorite of the four sisters. It is a glass of sour strawberry, earthy funk deliciousness with a hint of pepper smoothed out with honey.

Its frigin awesome!!!

Thanks to Railroad Street Bar and Grill in Limerick PA for hooking me up. If you are in the Area they have a limited amount in bottles available.

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Photo of nabit
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Honestly, I couldn't agree more with the review of siege06nd. Basically saved me a lot of typing. Thank you! However, I did pick up on the white pepper and honey really easily. Also, I think this beer will age VERY nicely within the recommended 5 year window. I have also tried Halia and really enjoyed that one as well. After trying 2 of the 4 sisters this year, I am convinced they are all worth purchasing and laying down for few years. Very unique and exquisite.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour at the Old Toad for their Goose Island tasting.

Pours a hazy, murky pale yellow, especially since I got part of the dregs. There's a small head, but no lacing.

Smells like strawberry, honey, oak, lemon, white wine, and distinct funk.

This is a really unique wild saison, I dig it. As it warms up, the strawberry, while already prominent at the beginning, becomes even more in your face. There's a nice sunny sweetness from the honey, with a mild sourness that's pleasant and plays in the background behind the strawberry and honey flavors. There's a bit of light funk, and a nice peppery finish. I'm glad the pepper is restrained here- I'm not sure how it would work if there was much more. I get a bit of lemon and lime flavors, too.

This is light bodied, with a light, crisp, and sweet mouthfeel. It's really drinkable- the GI rep called "sessionable" which I'm not entirely sure about, given the ABV. He is right in saying how crushable and easy-going this one is.

This was really unique and awesome, and nicely set up the big crushers later in the tasting.

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Photo of GoneARye
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pricey bottle - excited to see if this lives up to the hype.

Appearance: A golden straw color - well filtered, extremely pale. No lacing to speak of.

Smell: First and foremost, I get huge whiffs of peppercorn. The saison yeast kicks in next, with a surprisingly present undertone of strawberry, and a little bit of the wine barrels this was aged in.

Taste: I'm enjoying the strong bite of the peppercorns here - they play extremely well off of the already pepper-like notes from the saison yeast. Reminds me a bit of saison poivre styles, but the white pepper definitely brings less heat and more of a fruitiness to the mix. The buttery chardonnay-like notes are mildly present as I let this linger on my tongue, followed up by a tingle from the gentle carbonation. I'm not sure that I pick out strawberry in the taste, as much as the smell, but strawberry is extremely hard to bring across in beer in my opinion, and its definitely there on the nose. Last taste as I swallow is a pleasant interplay between the sweetness of the honey and the slightly sour notes brought out by the saison yeast.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than I would have expected, especially given the honey. The carbonation level is just about perfect - on the lighter end but still present enough to tingle as the flavors mix on my palette. the chardonnay-like buttery feel is present, but more subdued than in other beers like Black Raven's Por Les Oiseaux.

Overall: This is an enjoyable experience and I'm glad I bought this bottle. I'm not sure I'd buy this every year given the steep price, but it is well crafted and the high praise its gets is well deserved.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a bright, effervescent looking, hazy orange. Medium sized head forms and sticks around just a little bit. Not very much lacing.

S- Fairly complex with strawberry being first and foremost on the nose. Some pepper and traditional saison spiciness mixes in behind the fruit. Towards the end, some lemongrass and light grainy notes make an appearance.

T- Starts with a bang of strawberry fruitiness and grassy saison flavors. Grains and some lemon peek in there too. The end is mainly a dull, grainy, saison flavor profile with a hint of lingering strawberry as it fades away. Throughout the drink, there are bits and pieces of pepper and just a touch of the underlying sweetness from the honey.

M- Light across the palate and quite highly carbonated, making it crisp and a little stinging on the tongue. The 9.5% ABV isn't really evident in the flavor, but is slightly noticeable in the drying sensation left in the mouth.

Overall, this is a very good beer. I'm not sure it's worth the $30 price tag, as it's not much better than Lolita or Juliet, but it is unique. Glad I got a bottle to try and enjoy. This is a very interesting and delicious beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Lots of fizzy sounding carbonation, and barely a faint white head is made which dissolves instantly. Very fine pencil thin collar is left while always drinking, sitting on top of a tang deep but opaque and even orb glowing yellow. Some nice rising carbonation a little on the sides, and some good rising carbonation in the middle.

Very interesting nose, fruity but no sense of heat or hot brett. Strawberry and cake like cooked dough, fluffy, with a sense of cookie like action sensing of strawberry shortcake and some cream. Quite fruity and moderately sweet with hints of lemon peel as well.

Palate jumps on first sip. The brett makes it presence right away but flashes out in a quick heat on the finish with some pepper. Fruit in the mid palate of strawberry and nice punch like qualities. Large carbonation and prickly but not jarring, doesn't give way to the thick fruit angles which contrast more into peaches and lemon while drinking. Subsequent sips keep this moving and repeating, but the brett flashes draw you back since they disappear so quickly. Sweetness turns more into vanilla than honey once again providing a shortcake like sensation of angel food cake.

Overall this is quite impressive, but not much sense of oak flavor or round feel, and I couldn't sense this comes from a barrel, which is an impressive feat in it's own right. Tastes more like a fruit lambic than a saison. It's a great beer but I am not going crazy in love over it. Tasty indeed though.

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Photo of donspublic
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into a shaker pint (yeah full 16 for $7 love Kroger) 1/2 finger head recedes rather quick to a pool. Pale golden in the glass, nor far from being clear. Smells of lactic, peaches. Taste initially of muted peach, somewhat tropical. This is a beautiful beer, great mouthfeel, carbonation, the works. Not much Belgian esters but that is ok.

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Photo of MCain04
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Goose Island for this bottle to review! Poured into a GI belgian glass.

Appearance is a cloudy straw yellow body with a fizzy white head which dissipated into minimal rimming and no lacing.

Smell is of lactate, delicate strawberry, surprisingly strong pepper, some other tropical fruit like kiwi and mango, and lemon.

Taste is of soft sweet fruit, primarily strawberry, tart but not too sour, pepper is somewhat subdued throughout but perhaps present on the very back end.

Mouthfeel is effervescent, light to medium body, smooth, mildly sticky and dry, very drinkable.

Overall, for the price this is definitely a once in a while treat, but this was a very, very enjoyed beer. Great fruit flavor and sour notes are just perfect with a good balance of sweet, tart, and pepper. Very drinkable.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 765 ml bottle into a Goose Island Tulip glass. 2013 Vintage bottled on September 12, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellowish golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Slight white head that quickly fizzes away. Not much lacing.

Smell: A fairly tart, sweet, and sour aroma with good hints of fruit, yeast, and spice. Belgian yeast with good hints of white pepper, farmhouse funk, and slight clove. Big wine barrel presence with hints of white grapes, oak, wood, Brett funk, and acid. Big scent of sweet strawberries along with some tart green apple, cherry, and berry. Sweet hints of honey and cream. Soft pale malt with hints of wheat, straw and cracker. A very good sweet and sour aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a nicely sweet, sour, and tart taste with big notes of strawberry, yeast, and wine barrel. Belgian yeast with some nice notes of white pepper, farmhouse funk, and a little clove. Big champagne like wine barrel presence with notes of white grape, oak, wood, acid, and some Brett like sour funk. Big fruity taste of sweet strawberries along with some notes of green apple, cherry, and berries. Sweet taste of honey and some notes of cream. Soft pale malt with notes of wheat, straw, and cracker. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Tart and fairly acidic with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is masked fairly well.

Overall: A very good twist on a Saison/Farmhouse Ale. Very nice balance of fruity sweetness and sour notes from the barrel.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What fun, nose hits all the ingredients promised, honeyed strawberry shortcake with a light bit of pepper. Palate follows suit, sweet, strawberries unmistakable, maybe a light Brett bitterness in the finish. Don't overthink this one - it's just good, fun indulgence.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear, golden color with a slight head. There is a slight scent of strawberries with yeast and wine. The taste has decent amount of yeast and you can really taste the white pepper. The taste was fairly interesting and texture was great. Not exactly what I was expecting from a sour ale but interesting in its own way.

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Photo of GSSW88
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow, very good, complex, but not too busy. Consumed 5/22/15, bottled 9/12/13. Looks very light bodied and a pale gold color. Looks do no justice to this beer. Scent is fantastic! Strawberries, very sweet, lactic acid, vinegar, a little cantaloupe. Taste is great! More strawberries, tartness, slight honey, pepper isn't too distinct until the after taste. People say Gillian is overwhelmed by pepper but I don't really pick up an overwhelming pepper flavor until the back end of this beer. Great barnyard funkiness as well! Very brettty! Perfectly complex beer without being too complex. Great mouthfeel with very nice carbonation! Totally recommend this one! Love Goose Island sisters!

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a brown 765 mL bottle with a bottling date of August 30, 2013 marked on the label. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack series tulip glass.

Appearance - Pour yields an effervescent white head that brings to mind champagne fizz, with small active bubbles. Builds to about three-fourths of a finger thick before dissipating into a thin line of foam around the edge of the glass, then nothing. Zero lacing whatsoever. On the first pour, the body is a clear yellow-orange shade with some hints of amber and golden highlights from where the light pours through. Subsequent pours reveal some hazy opaqueness, as one might expect from the sediment hiding in the bottom of the bottle. Looks more like a lambic than it does a saison.

Smell - I'm very pleased to find the strawberry notes very detectable up front. Bright acidity of fresh picked strawberries alongside a nice complex wood characteristic from the barrel. Some notes of apple cider vinegar and after it warms a bit, the delicate earthiness of the white pepper begins to shine through. The overall smell has a gentle sweetness to it that balances quite nicely with the more astringent tart characteristics. Very excited to dive in and taste this beer.

Taste - As with the smell, the strawberry is front and center, but this time is joined much more aggressively by the white pepper--reminds me of fresh-ground white pepper. To me that spice is awesome because it isn't overpowering or terribly spicy, but it has a real earthiness, almost clay-like, that provides a lot of character and depth. The taste reveals more sour bite than I would have expected based on the smell, but that is entirely a good thing. As I take subsequent sips, I start to get some notes of oak tannin and perhaps blush wine (but not the crappy, sweetened variety) elements as well. A fantastically complex beer.

Mouthfeel - Light bodied, with a high level of carbonation. As noted in the appearance, almost champagne-like in feel, with a ton of effervescence and prickliness from the bubbles. Finish is mostly dry, with just a kiss of fruity sweetness.

Overall, a wonderful offering from Goose Island. I know the use of strawberries and honey really drives up the price based on how expensive those raw ingredients can be, but I think it was well worth it. The additives used to make this beer unique really shine through--there is no doubt that either are present. Looking forward to picking up a bottle of this each year it comes out.

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Photo of nataku00
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy golden color with a slight rosy tinge to it. Half a finger of loose off white head dissipates immediately despite a constant stream of tiny bubbles feeding it.

Nose is sweet strawberry fruit and floral honey, earthy soil and grass, red apple, grape skin, and wine soaked oak. Biscuit malt sweetness as it warms a little, with a slight bubble gum yeast ester.

Taking a sip, flavors lead with a grape skin and oak tannin flavor mixed with a sharp lemony lactic acidity, mellowing to sweeter strawberry, floral honey, red apple. Very drying on the tongue, with an astringent wine character lingering with some unripe strawberry flavors.

Light body with prickly but pleasant carbonation that disappears in a flourish as the tongue is dried out more by the beer. Strong wine influence on this beer.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.36/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

765 ml bottle poured into a small snifter. Bottled 9/12/13. Apricot in color. Light carbonation. Slight haze. Aroma includes green apple, faint strawberry and tart vinegar. Some white pepper on tasting. Nice and puckering, great mouthfeel. Delicious.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an identical hue to apple juice, clean with mild carbonation. Aroma is fantastic, very crisp dry yeast with notes of strawberry must, candied sugar and a little waft of lacto-funk. As it warms the peppers come out more and it unfortunately produces a campfire / sulfur smell. I thought the taste was also very good, though I wish one or two of the notes would have "popped" a little more. The dry yeast is the backbone, and the lacto is very well done & not overbearing. You can certainly detect the pepper spice (which brings a heat uncommon to the style) and honey, but the strawberry is very faint. I think it is subsumed by the lacto. Mouthfeel is bouncy and crisp, champagne like. Overall a great beer and better than Lolita (the only other "sisters" beer I have had) but it could have been a classic if it had some more stand-out notes on the tongue.

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Photo of brentk56
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange blossom honey color capped by about an inch of foam that fades quickly, leaving a smattering of dots and squiggles behind

Smell: A lot of acidity in the aroma, with tart strawberries, grapefruit and white peppercorns; a vinous quality with some barnyard funk

Taste: Biscuity malt lays the backbone, but the lactic sour flavors take over quickly, bringing strawberry yogurt sweetened with a hint of honey; in the middle, the tartness continues to build, with white wine grape, barnyard funk, grapefruit and the peppercorn elements adding complexity; the finish brings back the strawberry elements, though the puckery tartness lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation; puckery and a bit hot from the peppercorn

Overall: Pricey, but well worth a try - this beer is a stab in a new direction (and how many beers truly provide that these days)

Thanks, redsand22, for the opportunity

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
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 HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.12.13
Bottled on: 1142

A - Pours a hazy light orange with a fizzy small head that is gone fast.

S - Nice strawberry sweetness, slightly tart.

T - Strawberry sweetness, tehn a puckering tartness and a spice-pepper finish.

D - Good carbonation with a light body, tart and pepper finish.

O - A nice fruit, then tart punch. Pleasent finish.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells slightly of strawberry. Moderately sour beer with strawberry notes. White pepper gives a very slight spiciness on the back end. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of superspak
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/11/2013. Pours lightly hazy bright gold color with a small foamy white head with poor retention, that reduces to nothing fairly quickly. No glass lacing, and a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, honey, oak, white pepper, hay, straw, grass, light musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and wine barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, white pepper, honey, oak, hay, straw, grass, light musty funk, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of fruity/acidic tartness and spice on the finish; with lingering notes of strawberry, peach, pineapple, lemon zest, green apple, pear, white wine, white pepper, honey, oak, hay, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and white wine barrel flavors; with a great sweetness/tartness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp/acidic, and slightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding wine barrel fruited saison. All around awesome complexity and balanced of fruity/spicy yeast, strawberries, and wine barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.12 out of 5 based on 713 ratings.
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