Goose Island Beer Co.

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English Oatmeal Stout
4.54 | pDev: 10.35%
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in an 18 year Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrel.
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 274 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Teal wax vintage.

Black with light tan head.

Thick and rich. Chocolate and cocoa. Lots of bourbon and oak. Warming heat. Vanilla.

Thick and velvety feel to it. Ends with a nice bourbon aftertaste.

An amazing ba stout. The barrel presence here is awesome.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.61/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from desp59 a while back. Cheers!

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2016

APPEARANCE: Clear dark brown pour yields a 1+ finger, looser, fizzy, light tan head with decent retention. Clear bistre brown body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a half foamy wisp with no lacing on the glass. A ring remains until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing as the glass empties. A little light in color with a mediocre head.

SMELL: Bourbon, oak, toffee and butterscotch notes, with milk chocolate and vanilla cream. Not all that much base stout here, but there's plenty of bourbon barrel and it's quite forthcoming for sure.

TASTE: Lots of bourbon and alcohol up front. Toffee and milk chocolate, with some oat notes as well. Heavy bourbon at the swallow with a bold and lingering finish of oak, butterscotch and toffee sweetness, milk chocolate, sweet vanilla, oats and bourbon. Plenty of alcohol and sweetness, but again, missing some much needed base stout to bring it over the top.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little prickly on the palate but not too bad, goes down fine with a good scratch and burn at the swallow, finishing very sticky. Lots of heat lingers. Hot but not overly abrasive like some BCBS variants.

OVERALL: Good stuff all around. It’s pretty boozy with lots of sweet barrel flavor, which I can certainly appreciate, but for top scores, it would need some more base stout character as well. It’s gotta be bigger than the listed 10% too, but it’s a relatively smooth barrel heavy stout, and not nearly as abrasive as Bourbon County. If you like barrel heavy stouts, you’ll like this one. Thanks again desp59. Highly recommended.

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Photo of FourFingers414
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I forgot to review this one. Had it on draft at the release & was told it was the last 2 glasses. A lot of caramel & toffee, a little coffee & vanilla on the back end. Dark chocolate, figs & raisins are also present along with sweet tobacco & slightly woody.

Very drinkable & in no way would I compair this to BCS or any variants. This is a beast within itself.

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

3/4/16 Chicago ($8 6 oz draft pour into snifter at Goose Island Brewpub Clybourn). 2013 - Black pour, tan lacing, no carbonation. Whiskey, oatmeal malt aroma. Whiskey prevalent aroma. Sweet tasting, perhaps a bit too sweet, whiskey, vanilla taste. Very smooth going down, very thin texture. Overall very good offering.

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Photo of toolbrew
4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 on tap at GI - Clybourn, poured into a snifter. Deep brown color with minimal lacing and carbonation. Some matly bourbony aroma. Initial sweet taste, followed by a slight burn and bitter chocolate finish. Thick mouthfeel. Great beer and a nice surprise!

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A good but seriously over-rated beer. The body is lacking; the aroma is too bourbon driven without much base beer revealing itself (yeah - I'm dancing around the notion of calling it "hot").

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Photo of Jovial_Libations
4.38/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank at the Clybourn brewery location. 5 oz pour into a snifter.
Smells like a typical bourbon stout form these guys.
Tastes and feels a LOT like BSBS barleywine.. which means yeah its badass.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: 8-10 oz. pour into a snifter at the Clybourn brewpub.

A: Pours a dark black body with a light tan head. Appears a bit thinner than BCBS.

S: Vanilla, oak, marshmallow. Lots of barrel characteristic on the nose.

T: Vanilla, burnt coffee beans, oak, and bourbon. Tastes more similar to BCBS than I thought it would.

M: Thinner than BCBS, but still nice. Similar booziness, but well balanced.

O: Clearly from the same bloodline as BCBS, just maybe a slightly mini version. BCBS has more depth and body to it, which I appreciate more. But the flavor profiles and aroma are surprisingly similar. Another world-class stout from the folks that started it all.

Recommendation: This beer is probably extremely hard to trade for, and so I don't think it's quite worth it. But if you're in Chicago this month, would definitely recommend hitting up Cthulhu Tuesdays.

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Photo of timc100
4.14/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap - Cthulhu Tuesday fuckers!

Big whiskey aroma that is interestingly berry forwards. Lots of whiskey booze, some sweeter oak, light vanilla and nuttiness. Similar taste profile - a lot of the whiskey, and raw barrel notes but it doesn't have the smooth sweetness that I had expected being an oatmeal stout.

Very enjoyable, but not anywhere near bourbon county level.

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Photo of SeanBond
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

FINALLY tracked this down after missing the bottle sale a year back.

Imagine Bourbon County as an oatmeal stout; this is it. Smooth, boozy, with a nice thick mouthfeel, the creamy marshmallow taste mixes with a pleasant alcohol burn to create something really great. This should be distributed, ala BCBS.

Update: 3/4/16
I've had this a few times now, and am updating my original score now that I've had a chance to taste it under varied circumstances.

Phenomenal beer, and one of my favorites. Especially now, 2+ years later, the taste on 2013 Cthulhu is fantastic; they're saying this is the last of the batch, and if so, I sincerely hope a similar beer gets brewed again soon. Don't remember how long this was aged in barrels, but you get some nice fudgy richness to go along with the standard creamy BBA richness (perhaps due to this being aged in an 18yr EC barrel).

I don't think I'd give this an unequivocal 5 anymore, because my standards are slightly higher, and I'd like to see this stuff have a slightly fuller body. With that being said, that's about the only flaw I can find in this. I prefer this to regular Bourbon County stout, and that's saying a lot. The boys and girls and GI Clybourn have always proven that Fulton isn't the only place that cranks out world class BA stouts, and I look forward to seeing what they can do with AB-InBev's backing in the future.

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Photo of HOPSareKey
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review is based off notes taken while on tap at clybourn.

Pours an intense, opaque black with one finger deep chestnut head, which diminished within a minute.

Smell is a lovely melody of barrel, caramel, toasted marshmallow, and booze.

Taste is pretty much spot on to the smell. Big roasted malts, drippy residual caramel sweetness, fluffy marshmallow. Had to give it a tiny ding due to a slightly over the top booziness (which may have subsided by now).

very solid BA oatmeal stout. Perfect blend of all components.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Thanks to Oneinchaway for sharing this one.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, toasted oat, cocoa, brown sugar, marshmallow, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, vanilla, marshmallow, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with nice barrel aged and marshmallow qualities all around.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Small khaki head that doesn't last.

Smell - Bourbon is a little sharper than regular bourbon county. Oak is strong. Vanilla. Chocolate.

Taste - Again, very similar to bourbon county. Sweet caramel. Chocolate. Vanilla. Oak is strong. Bourbon throughout.

Mouthfeel - Not quite as heavy as Bourbon County. Just about as boozy, though. Medium low carbonation.

Overall - Very similar to bourbon county. A different bourbon character, though.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.3/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled at FoBAB. Reviewed from notes.

The pour is pitch black with a velvety coating of brown head that retains pretty well. Nose starts with heavy chocolate and toasted marshmallow follow by barrel char, boozy bourbon notes, and waves of vanilla. The flavor is similar to the nose... Huge marshmallow notes paired with somewhat hot notes of bourbon. This is all intertwined with heavy dark cocoa notes and vanilla. The finish is hot. Mouthfeel is very heavy with mellow carbonation. Overall, I really enjoy this beer but it could use a little age to tame down. I prefer bcbs to this, but this one isn't far off. Can't wait to see what the pub does with future batches of this beer!

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Photo of jeonseh
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a dark, almost black, brown with a slight milk chocolate color head that bubbles up. The nose is dominated by deep dark chocolate and whiskey. Taste is dominated by dark chocolate, oats, thick wheat like taste, sweet caramel, and a strong whiskey presence. The whiskey that comes through is strong and not as sweet as something aged in bourbon usually is (not sure what this is aged in). The body is thick and creamy as you would expect in an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. It coats the tongue and goes down smooth. The finish is astringent though from the strong alcohol presence.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to TATURBO for sharing this bottle!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with no head at all. Thick legs stick to the side of the glass.

Smell: This really smells like cinnamon toast crunch plus bourbon and oak. its smells like it all about the barrel.

Taste: Yup this is a bourbon forward stout. I can't seem to find any reminants of a base stout, but that okay by me. Finish of the beer is both tobacco and cinamon notes with some more oakiness.

Mouthfeel: medim bodied beer with low carbonation. Silky and smooth beer. not really boozey either.

Overall: Another great GI beer from the barrel program. Its barrel forward and hides the base beer. I am not complaining here!

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Photo of Duff27
4.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Short lived head, near nil on the collar. Body is black, loving the color.

Bourbon barrel notes on the forefront, smells delicious. Slight oakiness.

Base oatmeal is definitely overpowered by the barrel presence. Roasty. Feels closer to 12%abv.

Mouthfeel is great...super thick and chewy, smooth. Medium-low carbonation. Near perfect mouthfeel overall.

Bourbon barrel oatmeal stout, with an emphasis on the bourbon barrel. no complaints from this guy. Thanks for the share TATURBO.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased from the brewpub. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - Tan foam settles to a thin collar and a few stray wisps on top, but no lacework. Body is pitch black.

S - Smells a lot like Bourbon County Stout to be honest, although that's not necessarily a bad thing. Loads of dark chocolate, fudge, anise, dark fruits, bourbon, oak, and light vanilla. There's a bit of red fruit and berry that's a bit different.

T - The taste is a bit sweeter, with more of a vanilla, milk chocolate, and dark fruit character to it and less of the oak and bourbon intensity of the aroma. Roast is present, but restrained, although it shows up a touch in the finish alongside some earthy bourbon kick.

M - Full bodied, chewy, and roasty, with mild alcohol warmth. Lower carbonation, and a dry and tannic, oak-heavy finish.

D - It's a very nicely made bourbon-barrel Imperial Stout. I'm not sure I could distinguish it from a number of other beers without an A/B comparison, and it doesn't totally hide it's booze as well as something like BCS, but it's still a very good brew that should improve over the next six months.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.93/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

75cl bottle with the gold wax, poured into an unlabeled snifter on 24 August. Thanks to Dustin for breaking this one out.

Pours with a fairly typical black body, very dark and opaque. Minimal tan head that disappears quickly. Not much lacing to speak of. Just about typical for a BA stout.

The nose is pretty straightforward. Plenty of bourbon, some vanilla, some oak. Doesn't smell particularly sweet. It is rather bourbon forward without much of the underlying malts showing up. Would have expected some chocolate, some coffee, etc. but it still doesn't come out even as the beer warms up.

I'm sorry but the flavour profile on this beer is disappointing. It's a smooth combination of bourbon, oak and a little bit of toffee and not a whole lot else. Its not complex at all. It's got a one-dimensional sweetness to it, which was rather disappointing. It's good, but nowhere near the hype it got on its release.

Mouthfeel is pretty typical for a BA stout. Full bodied, smooth, with a decent bit of heat on the back end. Still a sipper though.

Definitely highly overrated. I can't believe this beer traded 1:1 for Fou' Foune. I think the combination of low bottle count, the Goose Island name and packaging blew this beer up. It's a big barrel-aged stout that fails to deliver in terms of what we have come to expect from Goose Island at Fulton and Wood. We need to remember that this is the brew pub's handiwork rather than the main Goose Island barrel-aging program and add the according amount of hype. This beer is Parabola-good, but not much better than that.

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Photo of PlayaPlaya
4.96/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First review after a year on BA and hundreds of rare/craft beers consumed...

I had to go out of my way to make this review.

This is the best beer I have ever had. I know they say don't compare stouts to IPA's etc. etc. But this beer is in a class of its own.

Its kinda like Goose Island is brewing their stouts with top notch ingredients and methods, and all the other breweries are just buying some stout kits off the local homebrew website.

S'mores would be an appropriate name, because this is exactly what the beer tasted like....

Vanilla BCBS might also be fitting.

Just an outstanding beer that shows how far and above Goose Island is compared to everyone else, when it comes to making a barrel aged stout anyway.

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Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.9/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is BCBS like. Black, oily, perfect carbonation and delicious

Smell is that of a stout, but cocoa, vanilla and a tiny hint of coffee. You can also get a solid whiff of whiskey, but not as strong as other BA beers.

Taste is exquisite. It's like bourbon county, but has a little more burn and a little less sweet after taste. It's smooth for being a10%, but also gets better as it warms up. No real oatmeal flavor, but you can surely taste a hint of coffee and vanilla with a little cocoa. Burn will probably smooth out with a few months in the cellar.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a little thickness, but not like motor oil. It has a great after taste and the immediate burn is gone in a second, leaves you wanting more.

Overall this is a fantastic beer! It surpasses BCBS but only because it has a little less heat and a smoother after taste. I'm definitely glad I had this on tap with no limits as I went back for more and with its limitedness it may be the last on tap. If you can seek it out you won't be dissapointed!

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Photo of jegross2
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Cthulhu from the Goose Island Brewpub (Clybourn) out of Chicago, Illinois.

Score: 95

Tap pour served in a 12 oz snifter and enjoyed on 07/11/13.

Appearance: Deep, dark brown in color; practically black in appearance. Vague ruby tones at the outer edges of the shiny body when held to the light. Served with just a ring of tan head around the glass. Below average lacing, but good retention. Imposing, but fresh in appearance. 4.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate and notes of raw oats (kind of like smelling a tube of Quaker Oats, only subtler here). Nice bourbon-forward nose without overwhelming the chocolatiness from the base. No roastiness. The more the beer warms up, the more marshmallowy vanilla that comes through in the nose. The vanilla character in the nose is quite reminisce of Three Floyd's Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord. Around room temperature, some twenty minutes after the beer was first poured, I detect some maple in my final wafts. The oat character gradually disappeared as this beer warmed up and aerated. 4.55

Taste: Tastes just like the nose. Bourbon, vanilla, marshmallows, brown sugar and chocolate with lingering caramel flavor. Really excellent flavor profile. The vanilla flavor is quite delicious, and as the beer warms up and layers on the tongue the marshmallowy vanilla flavor gradually intensifies. Bold and flavorful, but smooth. Just a touch of alcohol warmth without any boozy bite. There is a nice brown sugar and waffle syrup flavor complexity to the backbone flavor that shines best at room temperature. Overall, the brew reminds me of a vanilla-infused blend of fresh Bourbon County Brand Stout and the white wax (Elijah Craig 18) 50/50 Eclipse imperial stout on the nose without any of the "fresh" booziness of either. Quite excellent. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, very low carbonation. Sticky and slick. Sweet profile, but no sweeter than fresh Bourbon County Brand Stout. 4.5/5

Overall: This beer is a total vanilla bomb that is sweet, but not cloying. I loved how the notes of marshmallow, bourbon and chocolate complemented each other here, with the vanilla taking an increasingly prominent role as the beer warmed up. My only suggestion would be to add some roastiness or coffee flavor to help counterbalance the sweetness and add an additional layer of complexity.

Cost: $10 for a 12 oz pour.

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Cthulhu from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 274 ratings