RATINGS: 452   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.84/5   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 60   EST. CALORIES: 345   ABV: 11.5%
Inspired by the epic skyline of Chicago, Goose Islands 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.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
blklab2007 (2120) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 25, 2011
bottle poured a dark black in color with a big hefty one finger head that had good retention. aroma has dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and so dark sugar sweetness. mouth feel is thick and oily with low side carbonation. flavor has loads of rich roasted malt, molasses, brown sugar, bitter chocolate, and some anise or licorice. this is such a big thick beer but not up to many of there other stouts.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Brigadier (3620) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - MAY 24, 2011
650 ml bottle
Another imperial stout from Goose Island means another chance to try a top notch beer. This one is not quite in the same ballpark as the Bourbon County series but still great. I wish I would have been able to try more than a few ounces. Assuming this is still on the shelves I may have to trade for a full bottle to get to know it better. Heres to hoping that they can keep this up while being owned by InBev.

Aroma / Appearance - The deep murky black body simmers with a trace of carbonation. A tan soft head was like a pillow dipped in mud. Heavy legs creep down the sides like sheets of rain down a window. Warm cocoa, coffee, and chocolate are the main participants. Along for the ride are also smoke with a brightness that is a little unusual for the style (at least among ones that I sampled recently).

Flavor / Palate - Truffles are thick as if somebody melted a stick of bakers chocolate and poured it into the bottle. Black coffee, licorice, and Starbucks liquer cling to the throat. Well balanced and smooth for being 11% ABV this is a world class imperial stout. It would take some time to chew through a whole bottle but I think I would be up for it on a quiet evening.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Juelze (1146) - Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 23, 2011
I thought this one was mediocre. Seemed rather chalking and the mouthfeel with a bit too oily. chocolate and roasted malt played well, but something seemed sharp and abrasive.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Pailhead (6539) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - MAY 21, 2011
UPDATED: MAY 23, 2011 Courtesy of BrewDan

Bottle: The aroma consists of chocolate, caramel, and a touch of berries. It pours a dark brown with a small tan head that quickly fades to a thin film. The flavor starts with chocolate and a touch of vanilla. The finish has lots of caramel with a hint of citrus. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Im a big fan of all the BCS treatments and Nightstalker, but I thought this one was just okay.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
bluejacket74 (1955) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - MAY 21, 2011
22 ounce bottle, bottled on 3/25/11. Served in a DFH Signature Glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch brown head that didnt stay around for very long. Theres a decent amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is mostly sweet, the brew smells like roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit, and a bit of coffee. Taste is similar to the aroma, but theres the addition of some licorice and molasses. Also, the sweet and bitter flavors in this beer are balanced pretty well at first, then the sweet flavors take over more as the beer gets warmer. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, its creamy and a bit coating with moderate carbonation. Its also smooth and easy to drink. Its a good overall beer, itll be interesting to see how this one ages.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Strykzone (7125) - Wood River, Illinois, USA - MAY 20, 2011
A very dark pour that is rich and thick. A small but cool looking head that has some red in it. A rich nose of chocolate, roasted notes, and dark fruit. Alcohol is quickly tasted. Dark chocolate, anise, soy, cream, and chocolate syrup. A substantial feel. On a cold night the warming would be appreciated. On a warm night, like tonight, it is overdone and it makes drinking this less than it could be. Aside from that the chocolate is delicious and decadent.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
mcmd (315) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - MAY 20, 2011
pours pitch black with a beige head which settles and stays at the rim. aroma is dark fruit - raisins, black cherries, dark chocolate, and booze...can tell by the nose it needs age. Aroma alone seems very similar to Dark Lord. Taste is sweet dark chocolate, intense dark fruit, black licorice, roasted espresso, and booze noticeable. Palate like all Goose Island imperial stouts is incredible, soft thick and chewy. This is the closest beer to dark lord there is. Will get more and age them.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dfonorow (2212) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 19, 2011
Shared at DLD. Pour is solid black with a very small lacing of a tan head. The head fades quickly and leaves some decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is of bitter dark chocolate, sweet molasses, and booze. Flavor is a tad thin and tastes of chocolate and alcohol with a bitter coffee finish. Good, but nothing close to the BCS.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
nimbleprop (7946) - SouthWest, Washington, Washington DC, USA - MAY 19, 2011
22oz bottle pours a thick, viscous, opaque black with a thin, ringing beige head. Nose is coffee liqueur, cherry, malt syrup, some Herseys syrup, a little alcohol, licorice. Flavor is very sweet, licorice, cherry candies, boiled down coffee, brown sugar, chocolate syrup, something a little medicinal, dark fruits, lactose. Really full bodied, almost distractingly thick, cloying sweetness. This needs a lot of time in the bottle to age out some of the sweet tones.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
tennisjoel (1418) - Rochester, Minnesota, USA - MAY 18, 2011
Dark black pour. Very little head, just a ring around my goblet. Aromas of chocolate, dark fruit, soy, vanilla. Flavor is deep and rich, much like Dark Lord and the like. Sometimes these sweet beers for me can be offputing. Tonight however, it is agreeing with me, which is obviously a good thing. Warming feeling as it goes down. An interesting beer anyway you look at it.

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