25th Anniversary Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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25th Anniversary Ale25th Anniversary Ale

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

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 05-06-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 598
Photo of BierStein711
4.62/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Goose Island 25th Anniversary Ale poured into shaker pint glass, reddish amber, two and a half finger head.

Smells of minerals, bread, and dark fruit

Taste: Dark fruit, minerals, hop, biscuits, and a citrus finish

Mouthfeel: Perfect!!

Overall, this is a fantastic beer! I wish it was year round, and in all honesty I can say this is the best ESB that I have had!

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Photo of shacawgo24
4.52/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark brown, like dark rum. Raisin colored. Murky and dense. Nice color gradation, the bottom body is cedar red. Manila colored head. 2 finger thick quick head. The head is thin, but lacing has good retention. A foamy skin thin top layer remains throughout.

S-Super caramel. Toffee. Dark berries perhaps. Can't name specific ones. Dark and golden raisins. Brown sugar. Damp, earthy, muddy aromas. Smells are potent, strong and alive.

T-Taste follows nose to a T. In addition to: bread, pecans, walnuts, pecan pie, burnt bread, dark rye, bourbon, sweet malt, gentle hops.

M-Low to medium body. Touch of thickness, more fluid. Low to medium carbonation. Decent gentle feelings. Spicy hops in there. Slight delicate burn. Astringency. Bitter metallic aftertaste. Some sours. I enjoy the range of feels here. Spritz-y. Negatives: the beer doesn't thin out, it's just too thin overall. If it had some chew it would rank higher for feel.

O-Very sessionable. Quality. Goose Island has mastered the English Bitter & ESB styles with ease. 25th Anniversary is another notch in the belt. I do wish the taste was more adventurous and pronounced, like the smell is. A memorable beer regardless, that could be a year round effort if Goose wanted. I would buy again. Cheers to 25 years Goose Island.

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Photo of chilidog
4.41/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow, 25th year, a nice job on this one, surprised I was. I haven't bought a Goose in awhile. Kinda lost track of them with only Honkers and 312 in my area. Saw this and wasn't sure with only 6.4% and the BA inventory is quite full, G I has been busy.

It pours a nice amber orange from a April 23rd bottle into a anniversary tulip. A full tannish head that maintained well and laced even better. Rings of happiness.

The aroma is more malts, sugars and baked breadness then hop.

Taste carries that bread like biscuit with malts, toastyness, brown sugar and a good hop bitterness as balance.

The mouth is pleased for as a ESB, it's not over bitter.

Overall a very nice job on this one . Not a Big ABV for an Anna-brew but rather one to sit around and just enjoy a couple, perhaps to just talk over the past 25 years. Cheers Goose Island!

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Photo of Offa
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this cask-conditioned at Goose Island Clybourn and it was, in that form, a wonderful strong English ale.

Copper, it has a big, creamy off-white head slowly shrinking.

Aroma was full-bodied, appealing fruity, flowery, and with tea, but a bit subdued.

Taste was nice flowery tea (hint of Earl Grey), caramelly, toasty, a full-bodied, excellent English ale character.

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Photo of fx20736
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a six pack from Beers of the World on 6/21/13 for $ 8.98.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic, served at fridge temp.

appearance: beautiful dark copper with a thin Manila head. Very nice Lacing.

aroma: orchard apricot with a nutty pancake batter maltiness.

mouthfeel: solid, full.

taste: sultanas with thick pale malt and bitter,earthy hops.

notes: has an Old Ale feel to it. This is a supremely tasty brew, pretty to look it

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Photo of Mitchster
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brewed with Maris Otter malt and dry-hopped with East Kent Goldings, 6.4% ABV. Purchased a 6-pack of this for $10.99 @ BevCo.

Pours out to a clear medium amber with ruby accents, forming a tall whipped yellow head with superior retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate, ~ 2.5 carbs or so. The aroma is wonderful...fruity English yeast, delicately floral and fruity English hops, and a nice grainy and bready malt backbone with a clean fermentation and a slight degree of toast. No fusels/DMS or other off aromas. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a pleasant grain and hop astringency in the finish. The flavor is great as well. A wonderfully balanced amalgam of the above aromas with a pleasant bitterness. This is one of the very few American brewed ESB's that I've had that provides the classic orange marmalade on toast that the very best ESB's display. Exceptionally balanced and nuanced yet exceptionally easy to drink.

A Wonderful ESB. Comparable to the very best English ESB's but with a bit more oomph. I would definitely buy this again and would highly recommend it to friends.

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Photo of scotorum
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Harpoon tumbler.

a: Deep clear amber formed an inch thick tan head which dissipated to surface foam and some lacing.

s: Light malt.

t: A malty ESB delight. Malt balanced by hops just enough without overwhelming the dominant caramel maltiness,

m: Medium and smooth. Substantial.

o: Though perhaps a tad sweeter than other ESBs, this is one of the best I've had, reminiscent of some of the best of the many pints I've tipped in the UK in my travels there over the years. I'll be looking for more of this.

On reviewing the GI beer list, I see four or five other ESBs, including "Harvest Ale" and several which were probably issued only once. I'll be on the lookout for Harvest.

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Photo of TCMike
4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours, a copper/caramel color. Produced a 2 finger, off-white, head. Little lacing.

Aroma is of caramel, malts, some light citrus hops.

Taste is similar...malt forward, smooth, medium body, but a tinge hoppier than expected, (not IPA hoppy). Medium body.

Very good, and balanced. Easy drinking.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Classic malt and english hop nose. Spicy, earthy, nutty and crunchy. Seems just like I like it.
Rather large head that was also loud and fizzy as pouring. Classic amber and semi-clear. Seems right on target.
Apparent bitterness, but not to excess. Nice english hop flavors and noticeable malt that rounds off the flavors quite nicely.
A tad light and a bit carbonated for my tastes.
Such an easy drinking beer. Goes down smoothly and with lots of interesting and enjoyable flavors. Well done and enjoyable 25th anniversary beer. Congrats to Goose Island.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass. Bottled on May 16th, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Big three finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing on the glass.

Smell: A balanced biscuit malt aroma with solid earthy hop hints and citrus esters. Dry toasty malts with good hints of biscuit, toast, grains, yeast, caramel, toffee, nuts, and crackers. Some tea like hints. Nicely hoppy with good hints of citrus orange marmalade. Earthy hop hints along with some grass. A pretty nice English bitter aroma. Mild but zesty and well balanced.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a biscuity malty taste with a solid earthy and citrus hop presence. Toasted malts upfront with a taste of biscuit, grains, toasted bread, yeast, nuts, caramel, toffee, and crackers. Solid hop balance with a citrus fruit taste of marmalade orange. Earthy hop notes of grass as well. Also some tea like taste. Tastes very English with a nice laid back biscuit malt and hop balance. Solid.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Crisp, creamy and very smooth with a drying finish.

Overall: A pretty solid English style Bitter. Has the toasty biscuit and orange citrus flavor typical of the style.

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Photo of Humulus85
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle into my tasting glass.

Pours clear, but deep reddish brown. Nice fluffy, two finger, off-white head has great retention and lacing.

Smells of bready malts, maybe a bit of roast, and old world hops.

Follows the nose. Tons of bread and biscuit malt, some definite roast, some marmalade, and maybe a touch of chocolate. Great malt profile. All kept in check by bitter English hops. Finishes clean with a slight lingering bitterness.

Medium in body. Nice and chewy. Moderate carbonation. Very drinkable.

Overall, I'm actually quite impressed with this one. I was a bit skeptical about the style choice initially, but these guys know how to make a great bitter. The wonderfully complex malt profile in relation to the relatively low abv is what sold me. Its like a double Honkers ale. While it is nothing earth shattering, it is a damn fine and tasty brew. Definitely recommended. Cheers!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Weyerbacher pint glass.

A: Pours a clear brownish bronze, low visible carbonation and a finger's worth of white head.

S: Bitter hops (grapefruit rind and resin), bready brown malts, light caramel and toffee sweetness.

T: Follows the nose in notes, although more caramel flavor; but this stops short of being overwhelming and submits to the toasted toffee flavor and the bitter citrus, pine, mild tropical fruit and grassy hops. Malt sweetness and hop bitterness reach an amicable balance on the hang.

M: Medium weight to the body but it's a lighter mouthfeel than the appearance would suggest. Good carbonation sensation, and the alcohol presence is noticeable but not overwhelming.

O: This is a solid ESB, and it's disappearing from my glass pretty quickly. Recommended to try while you can find it.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper colored. 1.5 finger white head. Decent retention and lacing.
S- Sweet malt, and citrus. Specifically candied orange. There is just a hint of cookie to it also.
T- More of the same here. A simple but tasty profile of sweet bread, cookie, and orange. I rather much like the hop profile in use here.
M- Medium-full body. Carbonation is a bit too aggressive for me in this style.
O- A good ale. Worthy of an anniversary ale. Not the best I've had from Goose Island, but a quality beer nonetheless.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The bottled on date is “24APR13.”

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is ruddy amber or mahogany, and a finger of lightly tanned, buttery head left an even skim and sticky ring around the edge.

Smell: Rich floral hops hit the nose first, then caramel, toffee, cocoa, and some toasted malts emerge from underneath. It is a touch metallic, too. As it warms, the malts gain more prominence and it becomes a balanced mélange.

Taste: Subtle but delicious. There is not much flavor upfront; the floral hops hit the cheeks and back of the tongue and the general experience at first is the creamy, dry mouthfeel. However, the toasted malts, caramel, toffee, and cocoa from the smell emerge slowly. Though not powerful, the flavor is far from fleeting. It settles in and satisfies.

Drinkability: Smooth, flavorful, easy drinking. This is a good beer, and it exhibits the skill of its brewers. I am pretty sure it pales its inspirations.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Goose Island 25th Anniversary Ale

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an English dimpled pint. Served chilled.

A) Darker amber with a finger of soapy head, which settled to a dusting. No lacing noted...

S) A little caramel sweetness, toast, butter, and some nice hop bitterness for balance.

T) Follows the nose nicely. Quite a nice blend of flavors, with the finish being most impressive in my opinion. It starts with earthy/roasty flavors, and transitions to a pleasant grassy, sweet citrus. Just the right amount of bitterness on the aftertaste.

M) Solid medium body with light carbonation. Very smooth... Easy drinking... Just the right amount of hop tingle on the palate.

O) This is most certainly a worthy anniversary beer. Glad to recommend this brew...

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Photo of TastyAdventure
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - nice full 2 finger frothy head. Clear copper body.

S - smells like a delicious, moderately hopped session ale.

T - Fresh hops, distinguish themselves through mild weed and stronger grapefruit flavors. Definitely a main contributor to the taste but not overpowering. Hops lay on top of a solid malt base that has a good sweetness that tastes almost caramel like. Some fruitiness come through, i want to say pear? no, something i cant put my finger on.

M - nice.

Overall: If i imagine myself in the old times going into a popular brewpub in England, or maybe the US northeast, sitting down and ordering the house session ale (ignore ABV) , this would be it. The perfect, tasty drink for a long night of good times. Well done, the best ESB I've had. Make this more than an Anniversary Ale!

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Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had this on draft thought it was little better, but wasn't taking notes. Bottled on 29 May 13

Pours an effervescent copper with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Stellar lacing & head retention

S: Caramel, bready notes, a bit of tangerine & a little bit of pine

T: Follows the nose, plus dryness & pears up front. Caramel, a touch of dryness & woody hops as this warms along with a little pear & white grape, & a kiss of pink grapefruit. Finishes with much citrus, some dryness, a touch of pear & woody dryness

MF: Medium bodied, a bit sticky even, slight carbonation, nice balance

Super drinkability, some American slant on the style. Draft version had more malt backbone/balance

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Photo of RonKoch
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ever since InBev (Anheuser Busch) bought up Goose Island I've been reluctant to try their now mass produced beer. It always bugs me to see the big fish swallow u the little fishes. But this one has a taste worth laying principle aside.

Caramel sweet malt is chased down by a refreshingly hoppy bitter finish.

I loved every moment of this one.

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Photo of shand
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Screw the styles, this is a beer that really blurs style lines. It's a very tasty beer that's really hard to put into a box. The toasty and bready malts of an ESB are here, but paired with the level of hops you might expect from an APA. It is similar to an amped-up version of Honkers, but I think the extra hops do more to the flavor profile than that description lets on.

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Photo of MCain04
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received 2 bottles personally from John Hall as a 25th anniversary gift. John, your contributions to the development of rapid ascension of craft beer, not to mention the explosion of craft beer in Chicago, will be forever remembered and appreciated by the BA community. Cheers to Goose Island! This was poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 5/1/13 into a Vault 16oz tulip glass.

A: Clear ruby hue with about 2 fingers of creamy khaki head. Retention and lacing are solid.

S: Not the most aromatic, typical for the style. Pale malts and toffee are the predominant flavors.

T: True to style, a malty beer with some lingering hop bitterness leading to a dry finish. Toffee and caramel flavors are apparent, with a nice spicy and herbal character.

M: Medium body, crisp, more carbonation that I would have expected for an ESB, with a dry finish. Well-done.

O: John describes this beer as a "Double Honker's Ale." I can certainly see the comparisons, although I enjoy this much more than Honker's. A well-done ESB that, while not always my favorite style, hits the mark on the head.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a tough review because Honkers is a good ESB and this beer isn't too different and doesn't actually have a whole lot more strength than the original. Just per style, it's as good, but there isn't much difference overall.

It looks very similar to Honkers, if I recall; a similar depth and haze in an amber-yellow body. It grows an eggshell-colored head that is both sturdy and extremely creamy, shows good retention, and leaves mostly patchy lace on the glass with some legging.
The smell and the taste comprises the familiar combination of softness and strength that I admire in the original and the style as a whole. It begins with light caramel and toffee sweetness, combines gently floral and grassy notes, shows a very light bitterness, and combines a bit of minerality (metallic note) and leafy earth. It's got lots of flavor and builds a good, strong beer on its malty foundation. This beer is a good celebration of the original, quintessential Americanized ESB.
The body is medium, and this beer finds the balance needed to be struck in the style between having the light metallic / mineral notes (in feel as well as anything) and showing depth. Carbonation is soft, leading to a smooth, creamy flow off just a light, gentle crispness.

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Photo of WillWillows
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an excellent pub bitter. I was pleased to drink this on a very hot summer day outside on a terrace in the shade. The beer had a slight smell of fresh bread upon opening. The pour was very good into a wide-mouth pint and was deeper amber, the slightly tan head rose nicely and settled back to quarter inch. Very happy with this beer. Let's hope Budweiser doesn't change this beer into something else. I would like to try this from a hand pumped pub cask. I am sure I would enjoy it. Drank 3 slowly and enjoyed. It was as good a little warmer and I could smell the hops and malt drinking it English style 55 degrees.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought this a very solid beer and quite true to the style, if perhaps a tad hoppier. That being said, the types of hops used seemed not out of place, and there was a nice balance with some firm malt that turns biscuity on the finish, and a bit of copper as well. Except for the slightly amped up hops, this seems quite traditional to me otherwise and well made. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

L - clear amber color with a off-white head that hung around as a layer leaving a sheet of lacing.

S - floral, earthy, caramel, tea leaves.

T - well balanced sweetness and bitterness with flavors of caramel malt and citrus rind hop bitterness.

F - medium bodied, it's got a smooth, easy drinking feel.

O - very good example of a style I enjoy.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

People are being ridiculously harsh to this awesome beer.

Served in a DFH ultra ultra cool glass.

A: Poured pretty much clear as a bell, gold in color, and with a nice frothy white head that stained the glass on the way down.

S: Didn't smell like an ESB. More like a hoppy pils or something. Pretty fruity actually, with some spice in there as well.

T: First thing I noticed was a bitter, slightly boozy burn on the back of the throat as the brew went down. Lots of citrus in here actually, considering the style.

M: Carbonation was fine and lacing ridiculous.

O: Much, much, much better than anticipated.

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25th Anniversary Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.74 out of 5 based on 598 ratings.
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