The Illinois | Goose Island Beer Co.

very good
1,208 Ratings
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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 CHickman
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%

Pours a very cloudy dark gold/copper color with a 1 finger foamy tan head that faded slowly and left decent lacing and a layer on top. Smells of pineapple, grapefruit and mango up front, with strong but not exactly fresh citrus hops coming through in the nose; smelled like the citrus mixed with brown sugar, toffee, malt, bread pudding, syrup, apple, cereal, piney hops and a general sweetness that makes this a coin flip on whether the hops or malts control the aroma. Pretty good overall and just strong enough to reach the DIPA nose level. Tastes exactly like it smells, with the juicy citrus combo of pineapple, grapefruit, mango, orange, citrus hops and fruity candy like Skittles or Sweedish Fish mashed together with graham cracker, caramel, brown sugar, sweet malt, syrup, piney hops, toffee, light spices like pepper and tea leaf, and some mild booze which makes this taste more like a Barleywine than a DIPA. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a heavy body, light carbonation and more of a syrup or honey flow than a watery beer feel. Above average DIPA that lacks the massive hop attack I was expecting but hides the ABV quite well, I think this bottle may have been 6 months old so I’d like to try this fresh is they keep making it. I would have it again for sure.

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Photo of MDDMD
4/5  rDev +2.6%

A-dark orange amber color with a nice off-white head and good lacing

S-tropical fruit, caramel malt, pine, floral

T-grapefruit, tangerine, mango, caramel malt, pine, light floral, moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-decent beer with interesting flavor profile for DIPA

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Photo of A_bit_of_the_Sacrament
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Surprising malt background for a generously hoppy offering. Lots to experience in this brew. Citrus. Pine. Sweet caramel notes. Very satisfying but at 9% it's like a punch in the face.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Has a dark orange color body with a small foamy head.
aroma has a pine, bitter smell to it.
taste is piney and has a little bitterness to itm
mouthfeel feel is good and overall a good dipa

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Photo of barczar
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%

Floral hops, pine, and muted citrus accompany slightly sweet caramel malt in the aroma. Flavor reveals a sweet, lightly toasted malt backbone, with a fairly bitter finish. Soft citrus and floral notes weave throughout. I appreciate the malt presence, and the bitterness balances well, but it could use a little more citrus to contrast.

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Photo of puboflyons
4/5  rDev +2.6%

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle dated 12FEB14. Sampled on August 22, 2014. So it is 6 months old. Within reason I suppose.

It pours a milky looking orange-copper color that leads up to a big off-white cream colored head. The head lingers and laces.

Such a bright hop character on the nose. Floral, grass, resin, and citrus all envelope the senses while the malt character stays deep in the background.

Medium body. But a tad astringent.

Again, like the nose, a robust floral hop bitterness in the flavor that really coats the back of my throat.

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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 Jadjunk
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

"Big hop flavors and complex citrus aroma built on a strong malt foundation." Brewed in the style of an American Imperial IPA. The first release in Goose Island's recently launched imperial series, The Illinois was released in early 2014. Available in 12 oz. 4 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a snifter glass. Served above 52º Fahrenheit.

This beer pours a frothy foam tan white head over a caramel amber body with visible light, soft carbonation. Retention is good and lacing is thin and patchy. The aroma consists of a moderate syrupy caramel grain body with a moderate sweetness alongside a mellow hop profile of resins, muted citrus and piney hops with a modest bitterness. Aromatic potency is limited. The flavor improves upon the aroma with more pronounced hop flavors of resin, pine and milder tropical fruit hops toting a moderate bitterness amongst a fairly slick caramel malt body with a mild graininess to match. I can faintly recognize notes of licorice off the back end of each sip which is unusual for the style yet surprisingly pleasant, perhaps a unique unintended impact of the hop choices. The texture is slick, quite dry, slightly grainy and spicy, with carbonation lending a moderate fuzzy carbonation for a medium crisp mouthfeel. The alcohol presence is mild, although accented by the graininess of the malt bill which approaches unnecessary at times. I did not perceive any other notable imperfections. In conclusion, The Illinois makes for a decent Imperial IPA option, although it's a slightly rougher drinking Imperial IPA than other popular examples, with a malt profile that comes off half solid and clean but half grainy and harsh. The youthful brashness of the malt profile suggests inspiration from the Barleywine style at points. This beer showcases a bit more of the piney resins amongst the more passive tropical fruit notes making for a slightly more assertive and varied double IPA. Although west coast hop notes are becoming a highly demanded mainstay, I appreciate the use of piney hops in this beer which takes it in an pleasant direction of its own. Despite its praise, The Illinois has its hairy spots, and I feel that this beer can shine up its rough edges and come out even stronger on the far end.

Goose Island Beer Co.'s
The Illinois Imperial India Pale Ale

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Photo of Jefriedrichs
3.69/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bought a 4 pack of 12 oz bottles. Poured into glass. A-deep amber with good retention. S-burnt licorice, prune scent. Alcohol present. I already know malt is apparent. T-slight pine with malt backbone. Light citrus. M-medium body that coats the tongue and sits nicely. O-malt overbalanced this imperial just a tad but flavor is established so leaves a nice resiny taste on the buds. Will drink again because the nose detects alcohol as well as the label but the taste not too much.

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

Picked up a single at Total Wine back in early June for $2.99. Bottled on 2-10-14.

Beer poured orange with a pretty good white head on the initial pour.

Nose is full of citrus.

Taste is citrus and pine with a hint of tropical fruit. Caramel and pale malts attempt to balance this out but the alpha hopping leaves a piney hop residue.

Mouthfeel is pretty lively and prickly on the palate.

Overall another nice example of a double IPA. Not bad considering this is almost 6 months old!

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Photo of Scrapss
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nonic, as instructed on the packaging. Thanks for the service tip.

A: Totally clear golden hue with a high impossibly rocky head that hangs around forever. minimal lacing with minor legs. Easily stirred back into a thick head indicating higher than average carbo

S: Malts are way more up front at 5 months post-bottle age versus fresh, and the lemony hop combined with the malts are pleasant. some white peppery yeast notes creep in.

T: Piney and lemony bits present immediately, followed by a very nice,, rich malty backbone and a lead into...

M: Creamy finish. none of the nose or taste lasts into the creamy finish except a very slight malt note. A little hot in the throat toward the end of the 12 oz.

O: Very well thought out and balanced at 5 months. Not terribly complex to my palate, and kinda says "here is a big ABV example of a very nice, pleasant IIPA that essentially turns into nicely aged barleywine at 6 months"

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Photo of KTCamm
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a bottle into a pint glass, hazy dark bronze with a ring of white foam. 6/19

Strong sweet malt nose, caramel. Little brown sugar too. Really strong bitter, bordering on harsh. Pine, spruce. There is a nice malt below, but the tongue scraping bitter holds serve and controls the palate. Flavor's a bit intense.

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a clean copper color with a creamy white dense head that starts at about two and a half fingers and falters just slightly, leaving an extraordinary amount of lacing down the glass. A gorgeous example of a DIPA.

S: Strong citrus hop aromas, with juicy pink grapefruit wafting out of the glass. Light notes of orange zest and pineapple and a faint caramel malt sweetness. I thought I detected some pine resin, but consecutive whiffs failed to reproduce what I thought I was sensing.

T: Flavors are a little weaker than the nose, but still quite boisterous. This is definitely a juicy DIPA. Tons of pink grapefruit, slight tangerine, and some tropical fruit that I can't fully decipher, but it's definitely of a tropical nature. Malts reserved, but present, and add a little bit of a bready sweetness it all. The finish is dry and fruity.

M: Fairly standard, but pleasant. Medium to medium-full with a crisp carbonation and overall smooth texture with a mild creaminess. Drinks easy for a 9% ABV ale.

O: I've always been a big fan of Goose Island's standard IPA, so when I saw this on the shelf, I felt confident enough to grab it. It's a little juicier than I prefer my DIPAs, but the flavor itself is wonderful and I can't, in my right mind, complain about it. I think it should be noted, however, that this bottle is about 90 days old and I'm sure it's suffering a bit of a loss of hop potency, but even with that being said, it's still wonderfully flavorful and extremely refreshing for a 9% ABV ale. Recommended and would definitely love to try this fresh.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger head that reduced to a frothy layer. It is a copper color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Resiny, grassy, pungent, citrus, candied orange, caramel, and warm booze.

Taste: Same as above. IBU'S are definitely there with lingering bitterness in the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel: Warming booze, chalky tingling bitterness, full bodied, sipper, medium carbonation.

Overall: A solid DIPA. Definitely could enjoy this one again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap and served in a tulip, the beer is a hazy, orange-copper coloring with a tall, foamy, bubbly, off-white head. Aromas of grapefruit, floral highlights, cannibus, oregano, pine pitch, subtle caramel, and a solid bitter backbone. Flavors are well-rounded, but lack the punch the nose was advertising. Caramel and citrus fruits blend on thw forward tongue, with a light, creme sweet backbone. Subtle resnous and bitter notes build as you drink, as does the booze. Smooth, robust bodied, with a subtle underlying edge. The aftertaste is slowly warming, with a bitter, resinous edge. Slightly effervesced, smooth finish. Not bad, but the palate lacked the punch I was looking for after the aromatic nose.

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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 lochef81
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Was excited to find this on a recent buying trip to one of my favorite out of town bottle shops. This imperial ipa pours a clear copper amber color with a small white head that leaves decent lacing and thick legs. You can see just how boozy this bad boy is gonna be. The nose is a beautifully bitter and fresh blend of hops and boozy malt. Pine, citrus, tropical fruits, and floral hops abound. The flavor is very bitter in the best of ways. But it is nicely balanced by a generous amount of caramel malt. The alcohol is definitely present but not displeasurable. Mouthfeel is super sticky and resinous, just how you want it to be. This is very good, reminds me of a hoppier version of 90 Minute. Very balanced but still very hop forward. I will definitely look forward to this one's release each year.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up a few weeks back at the ShopRite Liquors in Wharton, having never had this before. I'm a big architecture geek so I was impressed the with the idea and packaging behind this beer, as it stayed true to the style and design of arguably America's greatest designer of buildings but what was in the bottle was just as impressed, as this had to be one of the most balanced Double/Imperial IPA's that I've ever had. There was enough body and wet, sticky hops to this that it felt like an Amber and of course, it went down just as well as a good beer of that style would!

The pour to this was great, as the deep copper hue paired nicely with the towering head that rose up quite high but never made it over the edge of my pint glass. In due time, that settled and left its mark on the side of my glass as I worked my way through this. Lots of pine and grapefruit in the nose, which were also equally detectable in the taste. Nice malt underneath this that had a bit of a toasted nature to this but the mouthfeel is where this really shone brightly. Wonderfully balanced with a good amount of carbonation, sticky resin, and understated but sharp hops that came out in the back, along with hints of rye, booze, and sour grassy notes. So much going on here but like any good work of art, the harmony and balance were perfect here and there was a nice minty feel in the back of this, leaning to a clean sensation as each sip slid down the hatch.

Yes, this was strong and it made no bones about it. The alcohol didn't detract from the taste and it added nicely to the imperial nature of this beer. With so many IPA's out there, it's hard to find one that is good, strong, and unique but this certainly fit the bill. Tough to pace through, even with the potent nature of this, but its worth warming up as one warms up to this. I have no idea if Wright was a beer drinker but if he was, he'd be proud that this beer came from his home state and how well it represents it and his legacy. This is for anyone who wants to feel a mile-high level of exhilaration but can't wait until a builder realizes Wright's vision. Thoroughly 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 EGreen
3.07/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

very malty head with mild pine. very malty with a mild pine and mild lingering bitterness. Overall, i'm not really impressed with this beer as an iIPA or as a beer in general. It's not a bad beer, but definitely not exceptional or even very complex. Just kinda of a boring beer to drink!

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Photo of hosehead83
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a balloon glass.
Deep copper/apricot in color, with a big head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Big whiff of toasted malt and hops
Taste-Slightly sweet toasted malt followed by big wave of hops. Pretty smooth for the strength. A bit malt-forward but otherwise well-balanced with big character and flavor. Well worth a try.

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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 Franziskaner
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mild copper colored with excellent clarity. A good quarter inch thick layer of tightly knit light beige foam. Brussels lacing. Moderately intense pine hop aroma is what I get out of the nose. The front of the palate is sharply bitter pine hops with a saltine cracker light malt backbone,followed by a fairly sharp pine hop bitter finish. The mouth is thick and sticky.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: Draft
Glass: Tulip
From: Southpaw Social Club in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4 (w/ Happy Hour, $6 regular)
Purchased: June 3, 2014
Consumed: June 3, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark caramel color with two fingers of khaki white head when I got it. Above average spiderweb lacing along the sides of the glass. Below average retention on the top.

Smelled caramel, citrus hops, floral hops, light rye hops, peach, mango and other tropical notes, along with some light spicy hops.

Tasted iced tea, rye hops, caramel malts, sugary syrup, citrus hops, mango and other tropical hops.

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, rather smooth finish.

A pretty good smooth IPA overall. I’d have this again for sure.

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Photo of ZAP
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light orange/tan color..frothy white head with plenty of lacing on the glass.

S-Sticky sweet aroma of overripe tropical fruits...a whiff of booze as well...aroma reminds a little of Hopslam.

T-Sweet, overripe fruits....nectarines, peaches, mangoes, and papaya. Orange marmalade. Some pine notes later in. Malt leans toward caramel.

M-Body is full...finishes with a good splash of alcohol.

O-This does remind me a little of Hopslam. Not at that level but a nice alternative for a decent price. Rock solid DIPA but not elite.

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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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