The Illinois | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
162 Reviews
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The IllinoisThe Illinois

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The first Imperial beer of the year is The Illinois, a 9.0% ABV 95 IBU Imperial IPA that pushes the limits of hop flavor and aroma. Deep gold, complex citrus aroma, balanced clean bitterness, medium to full body.

Added by nmann08 on 06-15-2013

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Reviews: 162 | Ratings: 1,208
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at The Daily Pint in Santa Monica, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thick rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with brown sugar and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that reminds me a lot of a hoppy American style barleywine.

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Photo of nmann08
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Churchkey.

Pours a clear amber color with a very white fizzy and fluffy head.

Nose is full of citrus fruits. Orange, grapefruit, hint of lemon.

Flavor is not as strong as nose would lead to believe. The flavors are muted. It's a fruity DIPA, little sweet, light on the bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very light/thin. Reminds me of a session type style, rather than a DIPA.

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Photo of metter98
3.52/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Iron Monkey, Jersey City, NJ

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that slowly died down, leaving lacing on the surface, a collar around the edge and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts, citrus hops and tropical fruit hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has light flavors of tropical fruits and oranges along with notes of caramel malts and hints of alcohol. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seems to taste more like an IPA compared to a double IPA as there's not much in the way of hop flavors or bitterness.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Showing that there's an IPA for every season, the new year rings in a refreshing citric hop taste and with the warmth of alcohol and the elevated body to suggest sustenance. Perhaps we don't need global warming to help us drink IPA year round after all.

The Illinois pours a firm goldenrod with hints of light amber and orange sprinkled in. Its creamy foam cap rolls with the earthy perfume of hops- boisterous in citrus, lightly herbal and sprucy. To taste, its the simple syrup character of confectioner's sugar, light honey and a hint of aspartame that lays a sweet foundation first.

Pungent in hop flavors, the citrus grows quickly to dominate the middle palate and while the sweetness begins to loosen its grip. Pink grapefruit, lemon, peach and the tang of under-ripened orange bounce off the tongue and are given a sweeter branch-ripened character from the trailing sweetness still acting in support. Bitter and spicy late, the lasting flavors are of resinous pine shavings, citrus peel, light chive and a peppery bite of solvent-like alcohol.

Medium-bodied, the IPA achieves a high degree of dryness and drinkability as the sweetness retreats and takes the bulk of the beer's weight along with it. What's left is crisp and refreshing warmth on the throat to accompany the bitter grip on the gullet. Aftertastes of citrus and spruce provide echoes of hop remnants long afterwards.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.78/5  rDev -28.7%

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with uninteresting label art and a branded black pry-off pressure cap acquired at a Colorado beer store. Bottled 14 FEB 14.

9.00% ABV. 95 IBU. Reviewed live - as an imperial IPA - because the label clearly identifies it as such.

Served at fridge temp, into a mini nonic glass. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Average thickness, creaminess, consistency, and complexion. Retention is pretty good for the high ABV - about 6-7 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Clear copper with orange and gold hues. Average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears adequately carbonated. Not unique or special. Generally appealing.

AROMA: Pale malts, caramalt, hints of pine, floral hops, and a light hint of soap (indicating this may have spent too long in primary). It's not particularly appealing, and is rather generic for an imperial IPA.

No yeast character, alcohol, or off-notes are detectable. Overall, it's an inoffensive aroma of average strength. Meh.

TASTE: Pale malts, generic floral hops, a kiss of pine, a kiss of nectary hop character, and some indistinct tropical fruit character. Overall, it's a boring and relatively bland build for an imperial IPA, and offers little of interest. Simply built, with a loose cohesion and no real intricacy or subtlety. I like it in a general sense, but there's nothing here to intrigue the discerning drinker. Very generic across the board.

Average depth, duration, intensity, and amplitude of flavour.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, and overcarbonated. Has too much heft and weight on the palate considering the relative lack of diversity and depth of flavour. Slightly oily.

Not syrupy, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

Overall presence on the palate is decent. This texture suits the taste generally well, but never feels tailored specifically to it.

OVERALL: A generic imperial IPA on par with Sierra Nevada's mediocre offerings. This is the Goose Island I expected after the takeover, not the Goose Island that has surprised with its continued quality. Drinkable and forgettable. Not worth picking up. Very pedestrian. Hides its ABV decently...

Low C

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Photo of emerge077
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft serving in a 12 oz. snifter glass.

Dark amber orange with a slight haziness to it, off white foam forms a compact layer on the surface that sticks around for a good while, leaving behind sticky clumps of lace that ring the glass and drip down the edges.

Minor tangerine and candied orange peel, a sweet aroma, some caramel malt underneath.

More citrus in the taste than aroma, tangerine and orange peel again, sticky sweetness, specialty grain and caramel malt present also. Dry aftertaste with a little sweetness that sticks to the lips. Full bodied with a hefty malt balance, a slow sipper though pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 3/27/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear orange amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pineapple, floral, grass, pine, caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good complexity of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt balance; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pineapple, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, caramel, light bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, floral, grass, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and balance of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt sweetness; with a great crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice DIPA! All around good complexity and balance of bright citrus/grassy hops and moderate malt balance; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A small white head that fades quickly and leaves little lace. The body is clear and golden copper. A fruity hop aroma with notes of melon, pine, and a hint of mint as well as some toasty malt. The flavor is full of toasty malt and pine hops with a pithy, grapefruit finish. Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish. Not bad, it's nicely made and the aroma is pleasant, but it doesn't quite come across as a true DIPA, especially by the standards of the modern hop bomb. Just a bit too much caramel malt, too much emphasis on bitterness and not quite enough hoppy brightness.

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Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a small tulip glass a kind of orange-light amber with a nice looking full one finger sticky white crown atop,good clarity and a good head.Sweet sugary aromas with tropical fruit-like hops coming into play,the sweetness is large and in charge here.Flavors are not as big and as sweet as I thought they would be,overripe citrus fruit-like hops and some sugary sweetness at the onset of the palate but a drying leafiness comes in late,but as I say that some sweet booze lets itself be known.More of your typical American DIPA in its sweetness but the hops are big and play a major role,not bad.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice creamy fizzy 1 finger head that sticks around nicely, slow fade, soapy messy lacing too, crystal clear amber slight orangey note with a bright amber red hue.

Nose is strong, lots of hops as expected, some syrupy malts with that too, little cereal grain and toasty notes, mild copper malt and reddish amber malt with some sweetness and a decent kick of booze tingling the nose. Hops are the front runner though, candied orange peel, orange zest, fruity, mild floral spicy and hint pine, mild appley esters in the back.

Taste brings more hops and sweet malts. Again I'll cover malts first, candy malts, reddish and toasty with some caramel and toffee, nice candy character with fair sweetness that starts high and mellows a bit as it goes, but also the booze comes through as it goes, starting very light then getting a bit warm and tingly. Hops are again big, but not as much as the nose, quite bitter, with spicy hops out first, into candied orange peel and citrus zest again, little stone fruit too. Flashes of a grainy toasted malt with flashes of fruity esters as well, mostly estery booze character. Finish is sticky and sweet, quite sweet still, with fair spicy hop bitterness, more candied orange peel, floral hops notes, caramel sweet malts, and a big booze warmth. The hop bitterness and booze want to destroy the palate but maybe the first time I can say I'm glad it didn't dry too much.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bod, bit soft too, lighter carbonation though, and some warming tingly booze.

Overall not bad, a typical DIPA with lots of sweet malts, candy, toffee, toasty reddish malts, etc, with lots of bitter hops to go with it, citrus peel, little spicy and floral, etc, attempts to balance and does a fair job of it, with so much of every aspect being so heavy. Booze is a bit much, but it is 9% so that's to be expected.

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Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clear medium amber with a small bag that soon reduces to a thin top coat.

Hop dominated aroma followed by a slightly more balanced flavor. Fruity with a mix of soft fruits and not just citrus. Mild bitterness.

Medium body with lively carbonation.


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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. On-tap at WF Venice for a GI tasting.

A: Pours a hazy darkish orange with 1/2-inch thick orangish-white head which leaves some splotchy lace.

N: Pine, floral, some herbal notes and mildly sweet malts.

T: More malt balance here with plenty of pine resin and faint herbal. ABV noticed but not boozy.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Finishes semi-bitter and dry with sweetish malt and piney finish.

O: Enjoyed and would try again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 12/15/2013 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, caramelized malts and floral hops.

T: The taste starts out with a decent burst of hops bitterness that fades quickly and is followed by a strong citrus sweetness. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings some balance. There’s also a significant booziness that you don’t typically get from a beer under 9.00% ABV unless it’s a malt liquor. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth but a bit watery, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s decent beer but there are several other 2IPA’s that I would choose first.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-tap at Iron Monkey in Jersey City, NJ

A: Pours a crystal clear light to medium golden yellow with minimal amounts of visible carbonation and some faint yellow + orange highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy white head that quickly reduces to a small to medium sized patch of extremely very thin film and a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of tropical/pineapple, citrus/orange, and citrus/tangerine hops over the top of a light aroma of grainy malts.

T: Overall the flavors of this beer are extremely light. Upfront there is a light flavor of slightly grainy malts with just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of citrus/orange and citrus/tangerine hops that impart just a hint of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Thin/watery.

O: I would have to say that this seems like a pretty weak offering for a DIPA - the flavors and aromas are really faint and it lacks the intensity/complexity that I expect for the style. All that being said, this is probably one of the easiest drinking DIPAs that I have tried due to the light/thin body and subtle flavors/aromas - the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Capone's.

Served in a Long Trail cervoise, a clear, golden brown color, with a thin white head that sank to a ringlet and held there; minimal lacing on the glass. Aroma of oily hops, citrus and dankly ripe tropical fruits...more syrupy than crisp here. Taste was similar, lots of hops, but with a thick, sweet maltiness keeping it from being anything close to crisp. Orange marmalade and pineapple stood out the most, lesser notes of pot and pine, with a mesh of bitterness and sweetness. Definitely not a bad brew. Mouthfeel was chewy, body was medium-full. Good overall.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Aroma is an intriguing grapefruit and gardenia smell, though the alcohol is pretty evident. Fine-grained foam on the dark amber brew. Clinging foam in the glass, all quite pretty. Mouthfeel is zingy with some malty substance.

Flavor is fairly sweet with an odd sugary taste. Hops are bitter but with plenty of aromatics. There is a Meyer lemon taste-- the sweet and sour. Plenty more citrus with an orange flavor plus some spoiled tropical fruit. The cat pee flavor is not one I'm crazy about. Hard candy with a tang.

Aftertaste is hot and bitter. It's intriguing and definitely a personal taste as to how you like it. In any case it's an adventure. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Special Brews in Lynnwood, Washington.

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Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Two finger head that settles slowly and in a lumpy fashion. Leaves plenty of lace as it settles. Light amber color and quite clear.

Clean, recently ground malt aroma. The hop adds a nice spice to the nose, but this is a more malty brew.

This is a malt heavy DIPA. Even in the swallow, the hop is subtle. The aftertaste has a strong alcohol element to it. The body is thick with lower bubble level.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg PA, served chilled in a tulip.

The color is deep amber with hazy look when held to the light with a light beige cream head with ultra fine bead and good lace stickage. The smell is so aromatic that it brings to mind tangelo, pineapple, kumquat and other citrus which includes grapefruit, very mild malt underneath the hop aroma. The feel is great with lots of citrus tanginess and light acidity with mild sweetness and moderately high carbonation with semi-dry finish.

The flavor of this Imperial IPA is special it has both a plethora of citrus flavor and still contains the bitterness and astringency to a mild level considering the amount of alcohol it has hardly any in the flavor instead it is mostly lemon zest and tangerine with a hint of pineapple and grapefruit with light tangy kumquat and lemongrass as it finishes somewhat dry with a mild alcohol flavor. Overall I was thrilled to be able to try this locally and when I drank 3/4 of it in less than 15 minutes I knew it was not just thirst - this is a very drinkable Imperial IPA and hides the alcohol well I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the style.

edit - recently tried this in bottle format and it seemed more tame, I recommend this on tap as most IPA's or Imperial Ipa's score better in that format especially if not brewed locally.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Beelow's.

Yeah, I thought about grabbing a bottle of Crabbie's from the cooler in front of me, but I went with a new-to-me DIPA from Goose instead. Whatever, there's always time if I fuck up, right? Anyway, this stuff pours a mostly clear sunset amber topped by a half-finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises orange peel, grapefruit zest, light pineapple juice, and a strong vein of pine resin. The taste brings in more of the same, the rinds really providing some sharp bitterness at times, with a tiny rivulet of callow caramel trying desperately to run through the proceedings. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a nice little DIPA, but a bit too--prickly, shall we say?--for my liking.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a Goose Island nonic pint.

Appearance - Hazy deep orange. Medium white head. Wispy surface.

Smell - Lots of caramel malt. Grapefruit hops. Kinda grassy. Mild toasty malt.

Taste - Grapefruit and pine hops in balance. More hop presence than malt presence, but it's still sweet. Caramel is still strong. Grassy hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Pretty sweet.

Overall - Gets a little sluggish. Just too sweet to be really good.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper hue in the body a slight chill haze with light white head forming thick fine bubbled lacing is complex let's smell and taste this fine looking DIPA. Aromatics has pungent grapefruit and sticky malts including amber grains, cereal notes. Flavor has a perfect malty DIPA profile, big sticky malts with resinous hops started out citric and dank but when combined with too many residual sugars It ends up a distraught mix of over hopped zest with the sticky sweet unbalanced Midwest DIPA the rest of the country wants this to be. Mouthfeel is cloying with too many sticky malts hanging on a big DIPA that is beautifully balanced wins awards this barely gets recognized as a new player in the game available since A-B has taken the helm go figure. Overall, resinous grapfefruit and sticky sweet pineapple makes up the hop profile, it's just too alcoholic for being 9% abv...this one hits you with the alcohol. It's just overkill, especially for how excited I got when I saw a Goose Island DIPA.

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Photo of stakem
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thank you Slatetank for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz poured into a tulip appears a clear copper color. 3 fingers of froth hold atop leaving some patchy lace clinging to the glass.

The smell is fruity and floral. Quite weedy and herbal with grass and slight dank/catty appeal overtop some melon aspect. The more I smell this, a little caramel malt comes out.

The taste is bitter, piney and resinous. Caramel malt taste without any sweetness and some warming fruity alcohol. Like in the nose, some melon aspect appears before getting rindy and pulpy.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A nice hop presence and something I would drink again. The alcohol is integrated nicely, it never felt close to the listed 9%.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Ayotte's
Crystal clear deep golden/amber color with a huge bubbly off white head that persists forever. Earth, citrus, pine, caramel and toffee make up the aroma. The flavor is a bit on the sweet malty side with a solid hit of warming alcohol. Bitter pithy citrus and earthy pine provide something to counter. Moderate level of hop bitterness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy resinous mouthfeel. Nice big IPA, a bit on the sweet malty side for my tastes, but I enjoyed sipping on this.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice label. Quite unique. And a bottled on date? Say what?! I like.

Nose is mildly citrus with a heavy resin character. Chewy. Somewhat thicker sweetness on this one. Lots of hops. Just piled on top of each other. What comes out is more of a punch to the senses as opposed to a unique ride. I like it though. It makes me happy to see Goose Island putting something with some stank on it out.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau Dogfish Head IPA glass.

A very nice looking IPA here. Deep orange and copper with some very good clarity. Slow rising carbonation finishing off with a three finger yellow and tan head, lots sticky lacing as well with a good puck.

Nice hop forward nose. There's a noticeable hint of sugary alcohol and caramel sweetness behind this though. Juicy mix of fruit and pine, some tropical mango like notes, and also though a hint of soapy perfume.

Interesting palate. Very odd mouthfeel, comes off like muted thick tonic water carbonation. Palate has a good amount of caramel sweetness on the finish. Hop angle seems nicely subdued but certainly not non existent. Slightly chalky and woody, with a bit of herbal tea like sensations, and some fruit orange. Comes off a little boozy also.

This sort of strikes me as a larger English Style IPA, but with some grainy notes, and caramel sweetness. A perfectly fine IPA but this is not what I sort of look for or desire in this realm.

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The Illinois from Goose Island Beer Co.
3.9 out of 5 based on 1,208 ratings.
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