Gillian | Goose Island Beer Co.

87 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: 87 | Ratings: 716
Photo of Gus_13
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy golden in color with a white head full of tiny bubbles. Decent retention but did fade as I drank the glass.

Flavor is tart with a touch of strawberry character and a hint of the pepper. White pepper has a distinct flavor and you definitely pick up some hints of it.

This beer does not drink like 9.5% and could be very dangerous. One of the few beers I pick up every year from them other than Sophie. Not 100% sure it's worth the price of entry but it is a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

765 ml bottle, 2016, poured into chalice

A- A fairly clear golden yellow with a small white head.

S- Tart strawberries, some honey, touch of peppercorns and funk, oak, brett, some wine

T- Tart strawberries, brett, some peppercorns, some barnyard funk, some oak, touch of honey.

M- Smooth, light to medium body.

O- A solid strawberry sour, worth trying.

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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 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 GrumpyGas
3.41/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz draft pour into a snifter shows a hazy gold body with a slight ring of bubbles and lacing.
Aroma is strawberry/banana and a touch of sour.
Flavors include the above.
Clean feel and dry finish.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled February 22nd 2016.

Pours a cloudy orange yellow with a small and quickly receding head of foam.

Smells like wine infused with Brett. Strong Brett.

Brett and tartness rule with some honey like sweetness interspersed throughout. Tasty.

Very lively carbonation.

A very good sister.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Added from previous notes from the first release:

T: Tart, sweet strawberry, earthy funk, plastic/rubber, honey, peppercorn, champagne, too expensive to get often

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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 shleepy
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Golden color (or maybe a shade darker than that). Stonefruit and bright strawberry notes in the smell. A great (high) level of sourness in the taste. Some vineousness. Quite drinkable and refreshing. Very good.

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Photo of russpowell
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent peach color with near zero head. No head retention or lacing, murks up a little

S: Sourness, wet hay

T: Follows the nose, lemon & cherry sweet tart, plus dryness up front. Puckery sourness as this warms, a little grapefruit, lemon & raspberry & strawberry, plus a little oaky dryness, some dry white wine sneaks through as well. Finishes with a little acid, strawberry, & Chardonnay & a touch of lemon sweet tart

MF: Light body, delicate carbonation, a little acidity

Very good take on the style, pretty darn drinkable, ABV is very well hidden. Worth the money

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Photo of Kgoldsbe
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
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 BEERMILER12
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2016

A: Pours a golden yellow color with 2 fingers of head that fairly quickly fades down to a thin cap

S: A bit of a tart note to start things off, followed by the strawberry and light peppery notes. Light sweetness from the honey comes through as well, although it is a bit hidden under the tart notes

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a moderate tartness and some light acetic notes followed by the strawberry and white pepper notes. A bit of fruitiness and farmhouse character comes through from the yeast as well. Finishes with lingering strawberry and pepper notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate, spritzy carbonation

O: An extremely refreshing and surprisingly easy to drink farmhouse beer, especially considering the higher abv (the abv on this bottle is 8.8%). A good summer sipper that has the potential to age very well. Definitely worth checking out

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 oz pour on tap into snifter.

A: Light amber burnished gold in appearance. Almost no head.

S: Honey, strawberries, a little funk hay a little sourness.

T: funky hay clove taste with very faint taste of strawberries lightly sweet but not very sour.

M: Lighter with a soft feel.

O: Very good beer this one makes me want to try the other two Lolita and Halia. Goose island makes a good farmhouse and this is no exception.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

No label information. Gillian is brewed in the style of a Farmhouse ale with strawberries, honey & white pepper, aged in wine barrels. Available in limited run 750ml. bottles and on limited draft. 2013 Vintage.

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, fizzy head of a straw-white tone over a medium hazy pale amber body with moderate active carbonation. Retention is poor and there is no visible lacing. 2.5

(Smell) Pale, lightly toasted bread malts, tangy and sweet strawberry puree, spicy peppercorns, light funk and moderate acidity. The honey is not particularly aromatic and fairly transparent. Very evident strawberry impact, but nicely displayed, not overly syrupy and sweet, displaying the subtler tart characteristics, further accented by the farmhouse yeast and effervescence of peppercorns. White wine barrel aging is evident, generating a slight dryness and vinous undertones. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Very sour up front, moderately drying. Pale, cracker and bread malts with the slight viscosity of fermented honey, quite a clean malt delivery nonetheless. Tangy acidity and essence of strawberries, even better concealed into the flavor than in the aroma this time around. Finishes spirited, dry and peppery with the added pinch of spiciness from peppercorns and young barrel notes, and a moderate vinous character from white grape notes. Very rich, tasty and strikingly pleasing sour farmhouse flavors. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, smooth, medium dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a light frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is slightly tangy, acidic and sour over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A very solid and strikingly soured farmhouse ale, although some time to mature in the bottle clearly did it some good. I'm still looking forward to this in more reasonable-sized bottles but recommend this as one of the better entries in the "sister beer" saison series, above at least Halia, and about on par with their year round offering of Sofie. 4

Goose Island Beer Co.'s
Gillian Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light copper to orange in color. There's a just a little whiff of off white in the middle of the glass. The complexion is very hazy. I smell strawberries, pepper, and lightly tart Brett. The taste closely mirrors the aroma with strawberries, light pepper and lightly tart Brett. The mouth is highly carbonated and very dry.

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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 stevoj
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle share at Darrell’s, thanks to Rich for bringing the "Sisters". Good solid sour, lots of herbal and floral notes, red/pink pour, tart nose and taste.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy orange body with two finger head and some lace that died quick. Some typical Belgian type yeast comes through along with a sour aspect and some spices, and there is even a slightly vinous aroma. Smooth, fuller body thanks to yeast, beer has lovely interplay between sour/funky and spice notes along with a thicker malt based sweetness (assume this is the honey) and a fruit like sweetness (I guess this is strawberry, per label, but tastes more like white grape (I guess this is white wine aspect that seems to pop up)) to me). Finishes with slight acidic sharpness that compliments, not detracts, from beer, and with ABV well hidden this is a very interesting beer with great flavor combinations.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Gillian 2013, bottle pour at Hawthorne's in Philadelphia for Migration Week. I had Lolita 2010, Juliet 2010 and the Gillian, and this one was my least favorite.

Fresh, lively, spritzy... but lacks the complexity of the other vintages I had. A little on the thin side overall, and not sour enough. Don't get much strawberry or pepper. The nose is on point, though.

Glad I tried on tap instead of spending 45 dollars on a bottle.

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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 Moose90
3.79/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rating from 2013. Pour is mostly clear golden orange with a tight white head. Nose has a fair bit of grain and tangy yeast with a focus of leathery bret and some fruity bret in back. Taste is unique, body is medium with very strong carbonation. Loads of bret and fairly sour. Golden fruit bret with some citrus and a tangy yeast underneath. A good bit of peppery spice towards the back. Different, theres an interesting dusty cobweb mid palate. decent.

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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 charlzm
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on April 27th, 2015 from a bottle dated "12SEP13", so it has aged in my beer fridge for 17 months. Poured into a snooty Teku glass.

Beer is a clear rich medium golden with plenty of active carbonation. Smallish white head dissipates rapidly. Lots of cloudy yeast when you get close to the the bottom of the bottle.

Aroma is mainly pepper with a dash of white wine character. Too much pepper.

Flavor is likewise dominated by pepper, though there is also peach and white grape. Moderately tart without crossing the threshold into actual sourness. No/low bitterness. Fairly simple flavor profile. Slightly warming after a few sips.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little spritzy. Tingly if held on the tongue for a few moments.

Overall, this is a unique and interesting beer that suffers from too much pepper flavor. I paid $31.99 for this bottle when new, and that was certainly too much. Won't be buying this again.

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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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Gillian from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.12 out of 5 based on 716 ratings.
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