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 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 steveh
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had no idea this beer was coming out. Stumbled across it at a local grocer and knew I needed to try it.

Bottled the 9th of May, 2013.

A -- Pours a clear, rich looking, orange to copper color with a dense cream colored head that holds up very well and leaves good lacing.

S -- Aroma of spicy, mildly piny to citrusy hops. Fruity esters from fermentation, earthy hops and light caramel become more prominent with warming. Just a little light in the malts for style.

T -- Some nice, earthy to caramel characters up front, folding into light fruit esters from fermentation, then to spicy hop characters and finishing back with the earthy characters in the aftertaste. The Marris Otter malts, that are advertised on the packaging, get lost with the hops.

M -- Mouthfeel is slick to syrupy with a lightly dry finish from the blend of hops and alcohol. Body is medium to full.

O -- This is a very well crafted beer that, as someone mentioned previously, reminds me of the different beers that became available at the original G.I. brew-pub. It's more of an American ESB that balances to hops than malts, and I'm just a little disappointed in that. On the other hand, it's delicious proof that Goose Island isn't changing tactics with the beer it wants to brew. More than worth the $8 a six-pack.

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Photo of bsp77
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Darker than expected amber with initially strong head due to aggressive pour but died down almost completely.

Smell: Extremely mild. Caramel, biscuit, tea and citrus, but I struggle to find those.

Taste: Extremely well balanced and integrated, with caramel, biscuit, tea, floral notes and light citrus. Mildly spicy and bitter finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, creamy and smooth firm body, dry finish.

Overall: This is a perfect example of a classic Goose Island beer, before they were known for Bourbon County, Belgians and Sours. Nice flavor, great mouthfeel, but the aroma could take a kick in the ass.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Clear deep ruby, not much carbonation, one finger head and when opened was a gusher.

S-Caramel, toffee, grass, nuts, malt, some dirt, not much hop presence.

T-Strong malt presence, caramel, nuts, dirt, grass, very slight bitterness.

M-Light to medium in body and nicely carbonated.

O-Not sure why this would be an Anniversary beer, rather malty and could use some more hops but still fits within the style.

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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 budgood1
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

pours out a clear bronze colour with a very light tan head. lots of sturdy staying power leaves some festive lace. earthy, malty aroma...caramel and figs...nougat and some choco notes prevail. the taste profile is of a custom bitter. plenty of roasted and toasty maltiness abound with a nice, bright noble hop presence that brings some spicy notes and to a lesser extent a dash of bitterness. i didn't think i could detect the alcohol but it sneakily asserts itself on the back end, adding a lingering boozy spice that is well integrated within the bitter. there is a lot of subtle layers the peak in and out if you pay attention and the overall flavour is pleasant enough. this anniversary ale is full bodied for a bitter, with tounge tingling additions in the mouthfeel. drinkability is nice, the more i sip the more i get the hop spice nuances, that really do dominate the malt profile.

overall, i am pleased with this heavily nuanced ESB. the alcohol notes that mingle with the hop bite would be more appropriate in the fall or winter, but it seems to work on a late May rainy day. i might revisit this again if the price is acceptable. good stuff here.

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Photo of darvinlikemarvin
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer has been a delight to have in "stock" as the warmer months begin to show themselves. It has a clear brilliant amber color that gives a clue towards its sturdy, but not overly indulgent, malt character. A thin white head provides good lacing around the glass and maintains itself all the way through to the bottom of the glass.

The best word to describe this beer's taste would be, subtle. I could drink several of these through an evening and enjoy every second of it. There is a bready/toast quality to the malt that gives it just enough sweetness to balance the bitter. Theres a bit of piney bitterness towards the end that dances nicely with the sweet maltiness.

I couldn't say this was over carbonated, but it was on the higher end of the drinkable spectrum. I found this to finish rather wet which is perfect for how I was drinking it. The after taste lingers just long enough to remind you take another swig but does not hold long enough to be a sipping type of beer.

It might be a "right place, right time" sort of situation with this beer, but I would absolutely buy this beer again. It's a wonderful session beer that rotated in wonderfully with the summer IPAs that are now occupying shelves as well as my fridge.

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Photo of MaltyMates
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This esb pours nicely into the glass with a one finger head. The color is a nice amber color consistent with the style. There is a nice mild hop aroma with some sweet fruity malt undertones. The taste is on average with this style with a nice balance. The carbonation is a little high but overall not bad. This beer is good- fits within the style guidelines but isn't exceptional.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Local Option cervoise.

For a second there, Rock-a-Doodle was playing on the TV in front of us. It was weird, but sorta awesome. Then it was silenced in favor of some Holy Grail action. Fair enough. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear amber topped by over a finger of cream foam. The nose comprises soft toffee, flowers, and light greens. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a contingent of grass. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, this stuff is a pretty damn solid American ESB, one that kinda makes me wish that it takes the place of the usual Honkers...

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into nonic pint glass (as the bottle demands). Clear amber with a thin white head. Smells bitter and piney, clean malts hiding in the background. Taste is clean and smooth and drinkable, bitterness starts tingling the tip of your tongue at the beginning of the sip and washes over the roof of your mouth as you drink, finishing at the back of your mouth after the swallow. Mouthfeel is fizzy but smooth. A great ESB.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This pours a clear, dark amber color with an average beige head. The aroma is slightly bitter mixed with some malt and grains. The taste is mellow, smooth, and refreshing. It’s a pretty decent quality for a 6pack ESB. There’s nothing all that special about it but it is very drinkable.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 13MAY13
The ale is a deep copper color with a thin, foamy head, a little lace. Aromas are malty, bready, caramel, toasted grain, earthy hop. Tastes are similar to aroma: earthy, toasted grain, caramel, bread crust. Medium bodied, ample carbonation, and a sharp but balanced bitter finish. Overall, I guess I would have expected a bigger beer for a 25th anniversary, but I like it for what it is.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a pale caramel colored amber. Produced some nice white froth and lacing. Decent retention.

(S)- Plenty of resin driven pine. Quite dry with subtle muddled citrus.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Mostly a caramel malt-like sweetness amidst some dry and resin-like pine.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The balance is fine, but it really ends up tasting and feeling a tad thin and bland with not alot going on, even for the style.

(O)- Not bad, but a bit underwhelming for an anniversary beer to celebrate 25years with.

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Photo of Jparker37
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a nonic pint. Bottled 4/23/13.

A - Copper in color with perfect clarity. Medium sized off-white head holds a solid cap. Plenty of streaks all down my glass.

S - Mild piney/grassy hops. Lightly toasted malt.

T - Toasty malt right away joined shortly thereafter by some fruity/citrus/earthy hop bitterness and flavor. Layers of toasted malt are equaled in strength with pleasant hops throughout. Some chocolate malt right at the finish.

M - Medium to medium-full bodied, medium-light carbonation, semi-dry.

O - I enjoyed this beer thoroughly. The balance of this beer teeters right on the edge of being hop sided. Bitterness hits early in the taste the same time good malt flavors traditionally do. The malts in this beer however seem to lack dimension. This is a style I enjoy and this is a good representation.

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Photo of tut2528
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a nice ruby red with some rust color tones to it. creates about 1 fingers worth of head formation and the lacing is quite nice. the head is light beige in color and slightly thicker in consistency.

S: sweet sugary malt dominates the nose here. secondary notes of hazelnut, raisins, and a grassy hop profile. meh.

T: mirror image of the nose. subtle hint of brown sugar, malt, hazelnut, and grassy bitter hops clings to the palate. finish is slightly watery.

M: medium bodied brew (despite a slight watery presence in the finish). as stated it leaves a bit of a grassy hop profile, and there's a slight hazelnut presence as well that is left on the palate

O: decent and sessionable brew. nothing crazy, decent balance. would be nice next to a fire outdoors.

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Photo of barczar
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant amber with a foamy half inch khaki head that dissipates somewhat quickly, leaving modest lacing.

Toasted nutty malt and a bit of a fruity amber malt character form the initial aroma. Slightly sweet caramel and floral notes emerge.

Flavor reveals herbal, tea-like hops initially, which carry throughout. There's an underlying vinous character that distracts slightly from the toasted, nutty caramel malt backbone. As it warms, the vinous character becomes somewhat citrusy. The finish is a tad bitter.

Body is a touch heavy, with carbonation on the high side.

Very herbal, not overly bitter. The citrusy character is offputting.

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Photo of csparace
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is quite a bit more plain than I would have liked. It pours a glassy dark caramel with a small head and an abundance of bubbles coming up. There is no lacing though. The smell consists mostly of really sharp and dark hops. You can even get hints of that dark caramelized goodness that sometimes comes with a beer like this.

The taste is the most disappointing part. Is mostly just a sharp burnt hop taste. Its quite bitter - I would guess close to 100 IBU. The caramelization is definitely present in the malt body. The bitterness lingers and doesn't change much but looses the caramel content. Whats disappointing about this is not that it tastes bad, but its just a really simple and non impressive character. I get caramelized hops and thats basically it. Its like a darkened hop stoopid or huma lupalicious.

I'm glad I only got one in a build your own sampler at BInny's.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

If Extra Special is good, then more Extra Special has to be better- right? That's what the brewers at Goose Island have in mind going into the beer that is to capture the essence of their 25th year. It's the tried and true Honker's Ale, but more of it!

Caramel in color, the beer looks like dense honey as it slowly releases an ivory froth to cap the beer. Its strong retention retains its bead on the glass until the last sip, all the while speckling the glass with lace.

Malty-rich aromas are full of caramel, bread crust, pecan-type nuttiness and a decoration of fruit- apples, orange, and a tinge of earthy fig. And then there's the counter from earthy and spicy English-type hops with notes of wood, grass, and even citrus.

Substantially malty in taste, the sweetness of caramel, light toffee, nutty and woody character dominate the early palate. But a slow and deliberate fade during the middle palate leads to a transition to a lightly floral and spicy wood taste that balances the malts perfectly. And as the taste concludes, the taste trends bitter with the hop development of woody pine, fresh cut grass, mild citrus and wood spice. It's a broad and earthy bitterness also allows for an undercurrent of malt in support.

Medium bodied, the ale does carry an added weight that's odd for British Bitters. But this heartier and breadier texture remains creamy and pleasantly weighted. As the beer carries across the palate, it dries slowly and evenly and ends warm, spicy, and balanced.

There's a pleasant nature about this 25th Anniversary Ale- in that it pays homage to the roots of the brands, but it does leave the inner enthusiast in me wanting more- much, much more. When celebrating a milestone such as this- a tame beer is somewhat deflating.

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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 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 Herky21
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Released this week, so bottle date seems unimportant, but it is April 24, 2013.

How it pours: It is amber, rusty copper, inch of a head maybe - didn't linger.

Does my nose like it? Can barely smell anything. There is slight malt, barely ascertainable spice.

Tasty? Here it gets better. Spice from the hops. Slight orange note, earthy flavors.

Mouthfeel - it has a lower carb, as an ESB should for the style. I think it would be improved with a little more, however, to perhaps improve the aroma. The mouthfeel is pleasant though. Slight hop twinge and the acidic feeling that comes from hop oils.

Overall - I love Honker's so I was very excited for this one. I'll update this one when I finish the 6-pack. I think it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of TongoRad
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This ESB pours a crystal clear chestnut amber color with a pretty dense head that sticks around for a minute or two before receding.

The nose is surprisingly faint. Hops and Caramel Malt do dominate what is there.

The flavor is thankfully more potent than the nose- spicy hops are at the fore (I get a lot of suggestions of dried orange peel, dried ginger and fennel), but there is also a ton of toasty caramel malt to back it up. Bitterness and residual sugars are definitely present, and in proper enough balance to make for repeat glasses. Mouthfeel is smooth and full for the style, and this beer's best attribute. By the end of a pint, hints of cookies (ginger snaps) become very clear and present.

It's a nice enough beer, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it again.

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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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