Is Goose Island Night Stalker infected?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by geneseohawk, Jan 3, 2013.

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  1. geneseohawk

    geneseohawk Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2008 Illinois

    I don't know of any hops that produce "vinegar" flavors..... Also- why would you "experiment" with an incredible beer that people loved already? There is a reason why people are/were buying this left and right- it used to kick ass!

    A buddy of mine sent me a pic of one of his- the cap was put on wrong and was bent upwards... His mistake for buying the bottle and not checking closer- but still a quality issue.
  2. SkeeterBoganski

    SkeeterBoganski Devotee (487) Feb 25, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Here's my response from the brewery:

    "Aaron here with Goose Island. I appreciate your patience as we took a deeper look into your concerns regarding our latest Night Stalker release. It’s great to hear that you were able to get four bottles, yet I apologize you were not a fan of this release.

    At Goose Island, experimenting is what we do best—especially when it comes brewing a great beer. In this batch, we used a new hop that made Night Stalker more herbal and bitter. This is the only change to the recipe, and what you notice about the taste is the more herbal-hoppy profile. The beer is perfectly fine, and we double-checked it to be sure."...

    ...some additional reply content re: Big John. I have to say, I opened a bottle at a share and several people couldn't even get past the smell. I've drank some of a bottle since and it's simply not good. I've got a couple more bottles, so I'll give it a shot after a bit of time. If they are equally awful, the lesson learned here is to never buy Nightstalker again.
  3. ao125

    ao125 Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    I don't know about Nightstalker, but I opened up a bottle of Big John over the weekend and it tasted like chocolate soy sauce.

    Autolyzed like crazy.
  4. MattOC

    MattOC Aspirant (210) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Skeeter, I got the same stock answer. I had my bottle a couple of months back. It was bottled 11/19/2012 from 1700s batch and rang true to many of the negative experiences on here. I still have a couple of bottles left. Hoping aging may help, but unlikely since all are from the same batch.

    Hello Matthew,

    Aaron here with Goose Island. I appreciate your patience as we took a deeper look into your concerns regarding our latest Night Stalker release.

    At Goose Island, experimenting is what we do best—especially when it comes brewing a great beer. In this batch, we used a new hop that made Night Stalker more herbal and bitter. This is the only change to the recipe, and what you notice about the taste is the more herbal-hoppy profile. The beer is perfectly fine, and we double-checked it to be sure. Our Brewmaster, Brett Porter, recently commented on the online threads on this issue as well.

    In the mean time, you may enjoy our recently rereleased Big John. Inspired by the epic skyline of Chicago, Goose Island’s brewers set out to craft Big John; a tall, bold slugger of a stout that stands out vividly against the little soft beers out there. Epic amounts of roasted malt and an addition of cacao nibs give Big John a massive chocolate flavor and aroma. With a body as substantial and black as the building to which it pays homage, Big John is sure to inspire a sense of awe with every sip.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on Night Stalker, Matthew. Our brewers are always looking for feedback on anything we create, and we’ll keep this in mind as we develop our future beers. If there is every anything I can do for you in the future, please feel free to get back in touch. Until then, I raise my glass to you.


    Your Friend at Goose Island
    1-800-Goose-Me (1-800-466-7363)
  5. audioserf

    audioserf Aspirant (253) Sep 3, 2010 Connecticut

    Last Thursday I had my first taste of Night Stalker on draft at the Ginger Man in Norwalk, CT. It was 100% straight up infected, and I know this because I've botched more than my fair share of homebrew projects in my day. I know what infection tastes like. The bar manager insisted that it's just "what Night Stalker tastes like due to the dry hopping" but still happily swapped out my pour for a different beer of my choice. He was cool; Night Stalker most assuredly was not.
  6. TheJollyHop

    TheJollyHop Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 California

    Well at least we know the brewery isn't losing their brewing prowess or customer service touch since the buyout... :/
    JohnnyMc, TomClem and audioserf like this.
  7. geneseohawk

    geneseohawk Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2008 Illinois

    What everyone should write to goose island.....

    Hello Aaron with Goose Island:
    Thanks so much for the canned reply email that apparently occupied your marketing and public relations department for several weeks.I also really appreciate you inserting my name into the mass email to make it seem more personal.Here are some suggestions on customer service:

    1)If your website says that you will “usually write back in one or two business days,”then do it.Even a one line response.Don’t make a loyal customer wait for two weeks when you say two days.
    2)If you’re going to brew an “herbal-hoppy” stout, then call it an herbal hoppy stout.Don’t call an herbal stout a hoppy stout – your good customers expect more and know the difference.
    3)Don’t experiment with a proven recipe. Then your good customers won’t buy four bottles of an herbal stout looking for a hoppy stout that they are used to from every previous batch of Night Stalker.If I wanted an experimental beer, I would have bought an experimental beer.You have just confirmed that I flushed $30 of my $40 spent on Night Stalker down the drain.
    4)If you’re going to request my full name, street address, and mobile number from your contact page (which I provided), then use it.Don’t send me a canned reply asking me to call an 800 number and talk to some beer specialist. I gave you my information – use it.
    5)If you are going to reply to my contact(s), don’t try to sell me on something else.Address the issue, offer a solution, and be done.I’ve had Big John numerous times and I love Big John. I wanted hoppy Night Stalker like the label says, not herbal Night Stalker.
    I was being nice on the first two contacts, but now I’m just plain irritated.I don’t buy this “herbal”nonsense for one second.I don’t know of any hops that taste like astringent vinegar cherries, but maybe there’s something new.If it was a simple recipe issue, it wouldn’t have taken near this long to address – and with a canned response to boot.A canned response tells me that there was a large number of the same complaint, and this is the easiest way to deal with it.Someone who is actually willing to pay $25 for a four pack of beer (BCBS), and who spends hundreds of dollars on your products every year deserves better.This is not the same Goose Island that I’ve been patronizing all of these years. Don’t contact me again unless it’s sincere.I’ll be in my basement opening one of the many aged, excellent other stout offerings I have from GI.

    (insert name)

  8. screwcitybeernut

    screwcitybeernut Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2007 Oregon

    Got the same canned response today. Kinda miffed that they passed the buck instead of owning up. I responded back as such:

    JohnnyMc and Roger85 like this.
  9. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,270) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    hmm, judging by the way it's being handled by their customer service, looks like they're well on their way to being just another brand owned by a mega-corporation...
  10. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2009 Maine

    Well, at least we finally have someone describing off-flavors that are actually the result of infection!
  11. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,291) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Add to your list these. Vegetal (DMS that is like Cabage), acetic (vinegar), lactic (good for sours), moldy, baby diaper are all aromas that came come from infections. I think I have missed some.:slight_smile:
    geneseohawk likes this.
  12. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    Except the same people being treated like poo will be right in line for the next Bourbon County release...

    I can confidently say my bottle was not infected, it just tasted way different than it has in the past, and also way different from anything I've ever tasted. It may very well have not turned out as expected, but I didn't taste infection. Not saying that some bottles aren't infected, but at least they aren't all infected. And given how drastically different this beer tastes from what people are used to, I still think many people are confusing the odd hop flavor with infection.
    dvelcich and beerinmaine like this.
  13. geneseohawk

    geneseohawk Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2008 Illinois

    I brew my own beers- and have for a very long time. Please let me know what hop flavor tastes like infection?
  14. Tmonk13

    Tmonk13 Initiate (0) Mar 13, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I have had a pre AB Night Stalker from 2010 and the one I had from this year from November and the. 1300 lot was just fine. Hoppy and sweet. Sweeter than the 2010 and reminded me of a Mikkeller Hop Geek Breakfammeets Hoppin Frog BORRIS but sweeter and fresh and bright. I'd say no infection and maybe just a bad hop for some people. I liked it. It was enjoyable at all temps From cold to room temp and a nice flavor profile from dark chocolates to bitter coffe and a nice hop bite with a sweet after tone. It actually might be a new recipe than years past or expectations are too rigid and demanding of what once. I am one of the biggest critics of Goose Island since the AB takeover and this is not a eff up on their part. Maybe just trying something new.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  15. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,270) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    there also seems to be reports of either autolyzation or oxidation, hence the soy, teriyaki and worcestershire mentions.
  16. hollerined

    hollerined Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2012 Michigan

    ^ Now that was a funny reference... and I'm surprised nobody else commented on it yet. Anywho, about to crack an 11/19... lets see what all this hooplah is about.
  17. amantini

    amantini Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2009 Georgia

    I received the same automated message after I wrote to GI - the message states that the beer is fine, consumers are wrong, and they should buy more GI! - bothers me quite a bit. It seems that most people have found something wrong with the 11/19 batch. Maybe there is nothing wrong with the batch overall (despite changing a proven recipe for some odd reason), but there is clearly something wrong with some of the beers bottled on 11/19.

    Has anyone had a bottle with a different date that also had the soy/burnt sugar taste to it? The only mention on this thread of something wrong with the beer possibly not bottled on 11/19 is the post above about having it on draft and thinking it is infected. If everyone who tried the beer this year did not like it because of a recipe change, that may be one thing. But with a group of people that have had the same dreadful experience with only beer bottled on 11/19, it seems pretty clear that something was screwed up and they should change their approach in cleaning up the mess.
  18. audioserf

    audioserf Aspirant (253) Sep 3, 2010 Connecticut

    "The customer is always right. Except when the customer is a wrong and also bad customer. Stop being wrong and bad and buy our other beers. Night Stalker is fine."
    -Goose Island
    HipsterBrewfus likes this.
  19. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012


    Yes I had a half glass poured the rest down the drain. There is a weird taste almost like soy sauce, yuck. I have two left how do I get my money back.
  20. RangnaR

    RangnaR Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2012 California

    You can probably get your money back once you've admitted your palate is extremely unsophisticated and unable to detect the subtle differences between a hop and an asian condiment...
  21. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poo-Bah (3,680) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I just tried some from a bottle 11/19/12 1351. I definitely get a bit of teriyaki flavour but it's actually an interesting flavour along with a bit of roasted malt and earthy/grassy hops. I don't think I've ever tasted anything like this from a stout. I've had an infected homebrew before and this isn't the same although this is only n=1. I think it's just a combination of flavours that didn't work out the way they wanted it to, but they didn't bother with QC and decided to sell it anyway.
  22. fastenoughforphish

    fastenoughforphish Aspirant (218) Nov 14, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Whoa whoa whoa... why experiment with a beer that people already love? I think you need to reevaluate that statement. You should send that to Anchor regarding their OSA. Beer is experimentation in a lot of ways.

    Still don't know if this beer is infected. Lots of people saying yes, lots no. Mine was tasty and drinkable. Others weren't. No gushers though, no sour heard of, but I also believe lots of experienced beer drinkers pouring theirs down the drain is WAY out of the ordinary. WEIRDDDD.
  23. RangnaR

    RangnaR Initiate (0) Dec 17, 2012 California

    If they were experimenting with different recipes they should have called it something else, as others have stated. If you went to the Ford dealership to pick up a new Mustang, and it turned out to be a four door sedan, you might be a little peeved, too...
  24. brewtechnik

    brewtechnik Initiate (117) Aug 31, 2011 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    I used my second bottle for a steak tip marinade and had fantastic results!! Another winner from Goose! What'll they think of next?? :grinning:
    Rainblows and savagepm like this.
  25. drewschi54

    drewschi54 Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2013 New Hampshire

    Goose island is run by budweiser....of course its tainted!
  26. RayOhioFelton

    RayOhioFelton Devotee (416) May 24, 2011 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I opened a bottle of 2009 NightStalker in December which had aged amazingly! I was very excited to see the 2012 batch on the shelves ready to let it cellar for 3 years. After reading these posts I panicked and opened one of the three I bought up. First off not pleased with the 180 day shelf life! Over sight by me but know to watch for such changes in the future when buying any beer! As for this 2012 version, I'm really not sure how to tell if it is infected or not but it does taste different! I think I will be pretty weary to spend money on GI in the future when there are so many great beers being produced by real breweries that are not corporately owned!
  27. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Disciple (383) Feb 18, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    As stated earlier in this thread, I believe - just because the bottle says drink within 180 days doesn't mean you shouldn't age it. As suggested, that date likely links to the hoppier profile of this beer (especially in comparison to the Bourbon Counties). Over time, yes, that hoppiness is going to fade away, but that doesn't mean it won't develop into new and delicious flavors.
  28. FishAndBeer

    FishAndBeer Initiate (0) Mar 11, 2011 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I got a bottle this year to try out. I remember it being horrible. I ended up drain pouring it
  29. mhksuccess

    mhksuccess Zealot (577) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    Yesterday I received a bottle 11/19/12 1651 (think) as an extra
    im not sure what to think ?
    what should I do with it ? is it drain pour?
  30. Seanniek91

    Seanniek91 Defender (646) Jul 1, 2012 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    I just drank my "infected batch" and it tasted fine!
  31. jeremiahoden

    jeremiahoden Disciple (332) Apr 4, 2012 Indiana
    Beer Trader

  32. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    My guess is open the bottle, pour into a glass, smell, taste, evaluate on your own.
    Hanzo likes this.
  33. dvelcich

    dvelcich Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2008 Illinois

    Drink it, decide for yourself, and don't let other people tell you what to think. If you think it's a drain pour, at least it was your call.
    bozodogbreath and MarcatGSB like this.
  34. mhksuccess

    mhksuccess Zealot (577) Jul 7, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    that what i figure but infected beer taste like crap
  35. Gotti311

    Gotti311 Crusader (771) Mar 22, 2009 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I opened a bottle of this stuff at 6:30PM and I didnt finish it until 10:30PM. Pretty harsh and unbalanced to me. That beer was all over the place. Made it needed a year to chill out. Now I keep hearing good things about Big John, but I am too frightened to go down that road.
  36. MarcatGSB

    MarcatGSB Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2011 Michigan

    Big John is wonderful.
  37. jRocco2021

    jRocco2021 Disciple (351) Mar 13, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    I opened an 11/19/12 a few days ago and it wasn't completely bad but something was defiantly wrong and it wasn't just me either. I opened it with a group of people who have all had night stalker previously, this years and others, and loved it including myself. We had a brewer try it and he said the same thing. It didn't have that sour funk like tart of darkness or anything close to that but it did have a lot of off flavors I couldn't really describe maybe begining stages of infection? I don't know but it wasn't right for sure.

    Also there is nothing wrong with Big John no reason not to try that lest you want to miss out on a delicious brew for no reason.
  38. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,270) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    just opened a bottle last night. i'm inclined towards mr. porter's explanation. the use of less typically "american" hop varieties is likely what's throwing people off. without the big citrus and pine of previous vintages, the malt and yeast comes through quite a bit more, and can approach an almost savory soy/teriyaki note. maybe, just maybe, there is a teeny tiny autolyzation of yeast, but really i think the main thing is more likely that it is no longer countered by the big citrus/pine character that previous vintages had. i didn't pick up any sourness or funk to indicate any signs of infection.
    bozodogbreath likes this.
  39. tehzachatak

    tehzachatak Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Tell them. Conversing with them about a bad can of 3Beans I had, and they're genuinely concerned and replying almost instantaneously. There are things about Sixpoint I do and don't like, but they're effing responsive.
    HipsterBrewfus likes this.
  40. alex021224

    alex021224 Disciple (332) Nov 3, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Drinking an 11/19 1300 as I type. This is my first time tasting a NS, so I have no point of reference. I do not detect any funkiness or infection. I agree with the statement "tastes like BCBS without the bourbon". Although it is not the best imperial stout I've had, it definitely isn't the worst one either.
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