Serve in Shaker, Tumbler


on tap


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RATINGS: 526   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.3   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 28   EST. CALORIES: 168   ABV: 5.6%
Toffee brown, medium-bodied, with a creamy head and an aroma of raisins and freshly baked dark bread. Mild Winter’s rich caramel malt and spicy rye flavors are sure to take the bite out of whatever Old Man Winter brews up for you this year.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1467) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 2, 2010
UPDATED: JAN 6, 2010 The word “mild” tends to scare me away when it comes to beer. Most of my favorites are quite intense in more ways than one, so I was a bit skeptical when it came to Goose Island Mild Winter. It purports to be a fairly complex beer and yet mild at the same time – is this even possible? Well, having actually drank it, I can say it is possible to have it both ways.


The brewer’s website describes the color of Mild Winter as “toffee” – which is something I’d associate with taste rather than appearance, but in this instance it’s quite accurate. This beer is a dark amber/rusty red color which is crystal-clear and moderately carbonated. It produces a big, beige, foamy head which is slow to dissolve but doesn’t leave much lacing on the glass.

The aroma is also toffee-like with a confectionary scent being the most predominant. It’s also generically “malty,” but mostly it’s mild.


Toffee and chocolate and flavors I tend to associate with autumn rather than winter seasonals, but somehow the Goose Island Brewery has managed to make those flavors adapt quite well to winter. Not unlike an Oktoberfest, Mild Winter’s most noticeable flavor is indeed toffee, but chocolate seems to be playing the role of sidekick rather than caramel.

This beer is made with six different malts and two hops and this is evident in the palate. Toffee, chocolate and a general “roasty” flavor are all noticeable. However, what’s also noticeable is just how well this beer lives up to its name: in that is mild. As I drank I noticed the palate went from fairly intense and sweet to mild, subdued, and (as much as I hate to say it) watery.

Goose Island recommends serving the beer at 40 degrees, but I noticed the flavors really opened up after I let the beer sit for a little while. Not that it suddenly exploded with flavor, but enough to make a noticeable difference. It was satisfying, to be sure, but some beer drinkers aren’t satisfied with simply being satisfied.


Winter beers tend to be very spicy and can often intimidate amateur palates. Not so with Goose Island Mild Winter which is in the running for one of the smoothest and easiest-to-drink beers I’ve ever encountered. This could be due to the blatantly mild and fairly watery body, but most likely this is intentional. Pedestrian drinkers will be able to slug down this brew as easy as any “lite” beer and the medium body lends itself to pairing with a wide variety of foods (probably not anything spicy, though).

The fact it weighs in at 5.6% ABV seems a little inflated to me since this drinks and feels like something much milder.


I have to say I genuinely enjoyed Goose Island Mild Winter, but I couldn’t help but want more from this beer. Perhaps that’s unfair for me to expect considering it’s an intentionally mild beer, but at least I can appreciate it’s craftsmanship and relative complexity. It’s a good beer for those looking for a winter brew that drinks like summer brew.

NOTE: watch the video version of this review at:


   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
TheJester (2216) - Peterborough, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 1, 2010
On tap at Cole’s. Reddish-brown with a medium-sized, but short-lived, white head. Sweetish aroma of caramel and spice. Flavour is slightly sweet as well, with slightly burnt caramel, toast, and a little spice from the rye. No hop presence to speak of. Sessionable.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jredmond (6503) - New York, New York, USA - JAN 1, 2010
Draft at coles in buffalo, ny. Pours a dark red body. Aroma is slightly burnt roast. Flavor is very meaty.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
yespr (36237) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - DEC 31, 2009
12 fl oz bottle. Pours a clear and deep golden hazzlenut brown with huge and off-white head. Aroma is roasted malt, light breadish and dark caramelish. Roasted malty flavoured with a light chocolate note and mild bitterness. Lingering malty roasted finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 30, 2009
Pours smokey quartz in color sporting not much of anything in the way of suds...other than the light orangish-tan ones that came and went within seconds of the pour. The nose threw me off as unless the rye is taking the nose in a strange direction, the yeast notes showed lager characteristics, at least to me. Other than that, sweet toasted rye cracker is what’s left. Flavors are toasty and rye-influenced, lager yeast-like, with a crisp finish. Fairly toasty, with toasted rye and crisp hoppiness dominating the experience. body is surprisingly full for the alcohol content. Decent for what it is, though not a style i fantasize about..and i just get a taste that its bottom fermented despite the name and commercial deScription, and the brewmaster using the word "ale" 14 times in the video deScription of the beer on their website. Im probably just confused...The hop bill and/or the rye could be throwing me off. I’d like to note that i liked this beer a lot more the more i drank and analyzed. Damn glad i don’t rate everything from a 2oz sample like some geniuses...that would make all my ratings completely useless to both myself and everyone else.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JahNoth (1039) - Rochester, New York, USA - DEC 30, 2009
Brownish red in color with a quickly disappearing white head. Some lacing. Noble aroma with some fruits and spice - inviting. Medium bodied. Very tangy, lots of caramel and breadiness in the flavor with some lingering apple and yeastiness. It’s a nice quaffer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
lithy (2996) - Capital of Appalachia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 29, 2009
Red with a whitish foam. Light toast aroma, caramel. Taste is sweet, caramel, toast, bready, dry.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
BigBeer45 (1343) - Michigan, USA - DEC 27, 2009
Bottle, has a mostly clear red-ruby pour (it looks to have a little haze) with white and slight off-white bubbled one finger head that depletes to a ring and swirlies for a cover, left good lacing on the glass, aromas of toasted malt, earthy scents, dark caramel, toasted Rye, faint spice and chocolate in the background, flavors of toasted malt, caramel, hints of chocolate, has a dry toasted flavor I sense in Rye Beers, also, the Rye appears to give a sharpness or accentuate the bitterness of the hops, nice and gentle hop bite, less than medium mouth feel with a nice carbonation on the palate, another nice Goose Island drink.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Silphium (3190) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - DEC 26, 2009
Medium-deep orange-brown body, thin, clumping buff head. Toasty nose with brown sugar and grapes, tart. Toasty malt body with brown sugar and red grape notes, finishing bitter and leafy. Creamy, rich, and quaffable. Pour two at a time.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
slitcher (266) - Freeport, Illinois, USA - DEC 26, 2009
Pours an amber brown with a thick off-white head. Aromas of rye bread and caramel. Spicy flavor up front from the rye with a long dry finish. A very nice sesion ale.

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