Tonic The Hedgehog | Goose Island Beer Co.

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barrel-aged raspberry saison with Brettanomyces, dry-hopped with Amarillo, blended with tonic water & gin-inspired botanicals.

Added by AgentZero on 09-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 5 | Ratings: 11
Photo of Sean9689
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at WLV for Zwanze Day 2011 and again on cask at Night of the Living Ales 2012. I'm reviewing the NotLA version, because I liked it better. Poured into tasting glass.

A - Poured a reddish/pink color, bubbles on top.

S - Nice fruity sweet & tart notes, light tonic, and a good amount of gin. This time though, it's not so much g&t and more fruity sourness then compared to the batch at Zwanze Day.

T - Similar to the nose. Raspberries, light oak, fruity sweetness, tonic, and gin. A little more g&t then compared to the nose, but still, a very enjoyable combo, IMO.

M - Light body, light carbonation, dry oak finish.

O - An improvement over the batch on-tap at Zwanze Day and one of the highlights of NotLA for me. Had this one many times during the course of the session, and hope it shows up again somewhere in Chicago. Recommend.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firkin at Night of the Living Ales, although I also had this on-tap at Zwanze Day 2011. Served in the affiliated taster glass.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to not much. Transparent raspberry juice color.

S - Raspberry, botanicals, tonic water, lemon zest, some mild acidity and funk. This batch reminds me a lot more of Scarlet, as there's somewhat less 'gin' presence, and I think a better balance of flavors has been struck.

T - The taste amps up the cocktail element a tad more, with the tonic water and botanical notes clearly evoking a beer/cocktail blend. The wild element is a bit more downplayed, and the acidity could be from either the raspberries or the wild yeast.

M - Typical firkin texture. Smooth, juicy, medium body, with very low carbonation. No alcohol presence - was kind of surprised to see 8.5% listed here.

D - I think this is an improvement over the first batch, which could have been mistaken for a mixed drink if it weren't for the carbonation. John's experiments with cocktail-inspired beers are pretty unique and well worth trying - much more successful than 3 Floyds' dreadful Spazzerack! I refilled my glass a few times throughout the evening and I believe this was the second firkin to run out.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at zwanze day

pour was a pinkish with slight hues of violet and orange. i did not get much head on mine, what was there was gone quickly. appeared to look like fruit juice.

lots of sweet raspberry and fruit on the nose. faint citrus hops.

very fruity and juicy with a bit of a mixed drink thing going on. best way i could describe it was a raspberry lemonade that was heavier on the raspberry. a nice underlying sweetness made this sooo easy to drink. nice light malty body. no trace of the 8.5% ABV.

very smooth with a very light carbonation. slick feeling. felt like i was drinking fruit juice.

this was good, very refreshing. my only complaint was the light carbonation. more fizz would add to the body giving this a more saison feel. regardless, this was delicious though. awesome idea.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a tasting glass at Zwanze Day at West Lakeview.

Appearance: The color has a peach grapefruit hue to it with a soft effervescence. A bubbly white head retains fairly well but does not leave much lace.

Smell: The aroma jumps out of the glass and makes me pay attention. Light pale malt, some peach, and a ton of vivacious raspberries. If anything, the aroma tells me it will be sweet, but I have not had anything with an aroma like this.

Taste: The flavor is full, fresh, and fruity. There is a light bready malt that brings with it a soft sweetness, which carries into the fruit flavors nicely. Sweet peach and tart raspberry complement each other well before a light bitter tonic finish.

Mouthfeel: Like a good sour, the fruit in this one creates a nice level of salivation, which amplifies the effect of each flavor on the tongue. The start is smooth and has a nice sweetness to it, while the finish is more dry.

Overall: This beer was one of my surprise favorites from Zwanze Day. The aroma and flavor really blew me away. I would be intrigued to know how exactly this beer was made.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brewed special for Zwanze Day at West Lakeview Liquors by John Laffler. Described as an Amarillo Hopped Raspberry Saison with Gin and Tonic. Complete with John Laffler hedgehog drawing.

A - Nice looking beer, a bit pinkish, with a good looking head that left some moderate lacing and spots.

S - This beer gets very interesting right away on the nose. If offered blind or blindfolded, might not know that this is a beer. Sweet smelling, just a slight bit of raspberry. Hops are there, but are muted by a very large gin and tonic smell. Most seemed to feel the gin was by far the strongest aroma in this beer, I thought the tonic came through a little bit more. It really does smell like a gin and tonic.

T - Once again, blind folded or without foreknowledge I would have thought this was a mixed drink, possibly a gin and tonic. It's quite sweet, but not sugary sweet, more gin/tonic sweetness. Slight bit of raspberry and the hops give it a little added complexity and actually help to bring out some of the gin flavor more. Raspberry almost tastes like a tonic sweetner in this. The initial taste is shocking if excecting a beer, but it is so different it requires a bit of reflection. Unforunately, if you are in a beer drinking mood, this one can slow you down as it is hard to drink like a beer with its very sweet and distinctive tastes.

M - Syrupy, medium-light bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - Bonus points for inventiveness, loses points for me on the drinkability scale. This was a pretty polarizing beer among the group of people I was with, but personally I found it hard to get through much. Part of the problem may be I strongly dislike gin. If you like gin and tonics though, you will love this beer.

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Tonic The Hedgehog from Goose Island Beer Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 11 ratings.
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