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Bonfire - Imperial Porter - Napa Smith Brewery

Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

88 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.73%


Brewed by:
Napa Smith Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: clickpush on 12-05-2008)
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 56 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with brown highlights that had a half finger of head a left good lacing sticking to the glass. The nose did have a touch of a bonfire but was really light. It was more sweet with chocolate and malts but did have slight molasses, cocoa, and hop notes. Bonfire was a bit more sweet than and hoppy with chocolatey accents alongside hops which I was not really expecting from a porter. The brew was medium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet, silky, and slight hop bitter finish. It drank really well but I not too excited to try to seek this beer out again. I still have to try to taste more beers from this brewery to make a final judgement on the quality.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2010 06:17:42 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body, a little flash of mahogany at the edges in the right light, and underneath a thin, tenuous, off-white head.

Smell: Roasty, toasty maltiness with a noted overtone of moist dark fruits and subtler hints of chocolate powder, caramel, and alcohol.

Taste: Well-toasted bread with a roasty coffee tone and some soft touches of bittersweet chocolate, even less when it comes to some mild caramel. Growing raisiny dark fruitiness. Lightly piney, spruce-like hop accents with a middling bitterness pairing with the roasted grains. Slight alcohol presence, picking up a tawny port hint. Predominately a trail of the bittersweet chocolate until the warming, lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Just a half-notch past medium carbonation.

Overall: It's OK. One of the better releases from the Napa Smith lineup, though that's not saying a whole helluva lot.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 21:14:22 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of sweetbrew82
sweetbrew82

California

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. into a snifter

P: Very dark brown with a milk chocolatey head of frothy foam that showed decent retention. Formed a thick collar on the surface while leaving behind an unimpressive amount of lacing for an Imperial Porter.

A: Smells of lightly roasted malts, molasses, chocolate, coffee, and a puff of smoke. The aroma could use some more depth and punch to it, but it's not bad even if it is a little boring.

T: Very sweet from the jump with flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla, espresso, and molasses. Hop bitterness teams up with slight acidity from the roasted malts to add some balance, while the chocolate turns more bittersweet as it progresses as well. I pick up just a hint of dark fruits toward the finish, which features a nice citric hop kick on the way out.

M: Bonfire is a medium-light bodied beer that feels kind of thin and watery in spots. There is a little creaminess to it when it's room temperature, but it's got some work to do if it wants to be called an Imperial.

Notes: While the flavors could be more rounded and the profile could use some depth, this is still a pretty good beer. But when combined with the wimpy mouthfeel it seems to come off like a strong American Porter instead of an Imperial one. Not bad for the price, though.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2010 20:09:06 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of bbothen
bbothen

California

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours a deep & dark brown color with a small & bubbly 1 finger deep head. Virtually no lacing left on glass.

Some sweet malts, toasted aromas, smoky, coffee, chocolate, faint bitterness.

Tastes like the aroma suggests, along with some hop bitterness, sweet caramel, plum, and fig.

Smooth, medium bodied, low carbonation, somewhat thin.

Easy to drink, the 8% is nicely hidden.

Somewhat of a miss for me, not bad by any means. Just nothing grabs me here.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 00:32:52 | More by bbothen
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is close to being black in color, but is clear and very dark red in color when viewed against a bright light. It has a moderate amount of visible carbonation and poured with a thin tan head that never quite faded away and left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark fruits and chocolate are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is relatively sweet and a bit more complex with additional notes of licorice and molasses. No burnt/roasted flavors or bitterness are detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: While this is an "imperial" porter, it seems like the extra malts used in this beer could be better balanced with more hops to eliminate the sweetness. The beer isn't that difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2012 02:10:10 | More by metter98
Photo of BigPlay1824
BigPlay1824

New York

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a very deep brown bordering on black with just under a finger of fine milk chocolate colored head that dissipates pretty rapidly, leaves no carbonation
S: pretty nice black coffee malts, very deep and pretty strong
T: begins with the strong coffee malts which linger pretty much all the way through the sip, ends with just the slightest hint of tobacco which i have also seen in other strong porters
M: smooth, silky, gentle carbonation
O: drinks nice enough, appearance was off for what i had hoped but for a brewery ive never heard of it was a pretty decent brew, i could drink it again, would like to find it on tap to see a difference

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 02:14:35 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tall glass at some restaurant in Oakland. Pretty sure it’s from a bottle. Reviewed from notes.

A: Served a near black color with a dense dark brown head that held great retention. Streaky lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get sweet notes of toffee and caramel. The nose is also very roasted and toasted smelling.
T: Flavors of marshmallows, toasted grains, and toasted oatmeal stick out with a touch of caramel, vinous grapes and a little bit of wood. The finish is sweet and I get notes of brown sugar and slight chocolate.
M: Full body, soft full carbonation, and a fullish mouthfeel that isn’t as thick as a stout.
O: A solid porter overall that went well with my meal. It lacks a bit of depth though, and I thought it was on the sweet side. A good drinking beer overall though.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 00:15:35 | More by scottfrie
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, home. Not bad but fairly boring for a big porter. Deep ruby with a head that puffs up and fades relatively quickly, leaving no lacing. Aroma is plums, apricots, apples, chocolate, very mild roast and some alcohol - it's pretty good, leaning toward the fruity malt side of things without entirely leaving the chocolate/roast out. Flavor is sweet and fairly boring. There's none of the ashy flavors of most good porters or the rich fruitiness of others. It's just kind of a mild sweetness with a bit of hops in the finish. Feel is good enough. This is a fine beer and not a bad price, but it's just another relatively boring beer from Napa Smith.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 07:32:46 | More by popery
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, caramel, and slight cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with a char flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp but almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smell and mouthfeel each leave something to be desired for the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2013 03:46:40 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark with a reddish cast in the New Belgium snifter. Decent head and carbonation. Fairly heavy body but not viscous. Raisins and mince meat pie in the nose.

Distinct taste of milk chocolate. Quite rich and more on the sweet side. Reminds me of a milk stout with a deeper, darker, fruitier flavor. Dark caramel and pomegranate. A touch of something rusty and a hint the band-aid taste. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Not especially drinkable

From the 22 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 06:28:28 | More by mactrail
Photo of beergod1
beergod1

Ohio

3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber, Pours brown/black with a frothy tan head. Rich chocolate over dark roast malt for aroma. Hmm, Imperial Porter?
I see many good ratings for this beer, But I'm not getting it. This tastes like a mild Brown Ale, Flavor is decent, but not an Imperial Porter in my opinion. Sweet flavor with light roasted malt, caramel and dark fruits. Very light body, Finished sweet. I don't know, maybe I got a flat bottle? With such a good rating (on all beer sites) I should try it again....$5.99, It would be worth it.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2010 00:18:54 | More by beergod1
Photo of 1759Girl
1759Girl

California

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance> Tootsie roll brown, medium liveliness, absolutely not a trace of head, zero lacing. Not too exciting thus far, but with a name like Bonfire, I know it's got to be something I'll like.

Smell> There's the bonfire! Roasty toasty malts. A bit of a sweet nose that is unfortunately covered by alcohol. The smoky aroma FORTUNATELY masks this.

Taste>Immediately ashy. Almost like sour mash at the first sip. Big body malt comes in, but soon departs leaving behind a huge burnt hang.

Mouf> decent. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkable?> Average. I've had better porters, but I wouldn't throw this back in your face if you bought me a pint.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 03:03:54 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Napa Smith is showing up in SoCal...or I've never taken notice of this brewery. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Black like ink, whispy french vanilla colored head, thick, retaining itself well, yes. The nose gives me a little bit of clean hops, but where's my dark malt? I can smell molasses, and not much else from the malt. Call the nose okay.

The front half of my tongue doesn't get much, the back half gets very intense flavor. It's not the most well-made beer around, but it's doable. Black licorice, big hits of molasses, grape, and charred flavors. Plenty of hops as the beer dries. I'd say that this beer *just* hits the target. It feels fine in the mouth. Medium in volume.

Ummm, it's not bad. It's respectable.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 04:53:33 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Tilley4
Tilley4

Tennessee

3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this bottle for a while and decided it was time to give it a go...

The first thing I get out of the nose is hops... Hmmm... they are rather overpowering as well... I might get a hint of chocolate here or there but mostly I'm getting earthy floral hops... Not unpleasant, just....surprising...

Slight hints of dark roasted malts are quickly and powerfully overtaken by a burst of faded floral hoppiness that muddle everything up for me and leave me scratching my head... Both elements are pleasing but there's something about them together that I'm not getting...

Just an ok brew to me... I'm glad I tried this one but I don't think I will be going for this one again.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 03:16:43 | More by Tilley4
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep brown into a large wine glass. Half an inch of tan foam recedes to a thin film after a few minutes. Deep ruby highlights are offered from this unfamiliar offering from Leucadia Liquor.

Nose is somewhat fruity up front with a bit of milk chocolate, some roasted malts and light notes of dried fruits. Quite clean overall and with a somewhat shallow depth, though pleasant, and yet hoppy through the foam.

Fruit and malt forward on the palate and with a touch of spice. Rather thin in body yet without any notes of alcohol. Simple on the feel without any notable positive or negative factors, though somewhat thin overall for the style. Decent for its ABV but a bit light in character.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 06:44:25 | More by HalfFull
Photo of endincolorado
endincolorado

Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark brown with a small tan head. Decent lacing.

Moderately toasty aroma. Dry hops balanced by decent, bready malt and some faint cocoa.

Initial sweetness, followed by some fruitiness. Kind of disappointing, especially for an imperial.

Light body- slightly overcarbonated.

A pretty disappointing experience, since I thought there pale ale was pretty darn good.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 03:35:19 | More by endincolorado
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a translucent coffee color with ruby highlights; the two fingered head pancakes the liquid and leaves a smattering of lace behind

Smell: Vaguely aromatic, with a surprisingly vinous character; some fusel alcohol and peat adds to the overall impression

Taste: Fruity opening, with prune and black grape flavors that are joined by a peaty, licorice aspect that moves in a charcoal direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the char dominates, though the fruity elements return in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkable: In so many ways this beer appears to miss the mark - the mouthfeel is thin for an imperial and the flavor profile is missing the chocolate and dark bread elements; still drinkable and, I guess, a very different take on the style that is typical

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 23:16:49 | More by brentk56
Photo of FanofHefe
FanofHefe

Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip; no freshness dating. Nearly black body with just a slight cap of a tan head. No retention and no lacing.

The prominent note in the aroma at first is dark chocolate. Roasted malt and toffee follow.

The flavor begins with roated malt, with an almost burnt flavor, but not offensive. The chocolate flavor tends toward a cocoa and toffee flavor mix. A little bit of coffee flavor in the background.

Light to medium texture in the mouthfeel but lighter than I would have expected from an Imperial brew. Average brew. Not too exciting for my first try from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 02:13:47 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with some reddish highlights. Light tan head is a film with decent lacing.

Smell: Aroma of light florals and a bit of dark fruit or sugar.

Taste: Much too sweet. Almost candy flavored (in an odd way, a hint of grape candy), but with a hint of alcohol. Some bitterness like coffee or chocolate in the aftertaste, along with the alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied but has a certain weightlessness that feels a bit odd. Light carbonation.

Drinkability: The sweet alcohol flavor is a bit much, although the ABV isn't all too high (though high for a porter).

Hardly my favorite porter - sure, it is an Imperial, but it lacks the flavors and drinkability that I'd like.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 03:31:04 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours deep, dark cordovan brown with a light tan, razor thin head. Poor retention, leads to a very thin, broken film of microbubbles on top. No lacing.

Smell - Metallic tones around hints of caramel. Slightly sour. Not a very aromatic brew.

Taste - Metallic, earthy and sour character upfront, gives way to moderate notes of caramel and stale coffee mid-taste and into the finish. Ghostly traces of chocolate picked up at the tail end before fading away.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sharp, bitey edge.

Overall - Not a very good porter, even less impressive considering the 'Imperial' moniker. Drinkable, but very forgettable. With so many other great porters out there, this is one I won't be buying again.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 02:41:31 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Saw this at Holiday Wine Cellar on my last trip to San Diego, and kind of assumed it was a smoked imperial porter by the name; sadly it isn't. Nothing really interesting going on here. Pours a very dark brown color, with hints of red along the edges and a big light brown head. I get some dark fruits on the nose, along with some dark candi sugar. More dark fruit on the palate (dates, plums) , along with chocolate and maybe, maybe a hint of smoke at the end (although that could be my imagination).

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 03:59:49 | More by emmasdad
Photo of coldriver
coldriver

Texas

2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber poured into a Sam Adams glass. Pours a near opaque cola-black, marginally acceptable head and lacing. Dark roasted sweet malt with slight coffee and molasses aroma. Slightly smokey malt, alcohol, and minimal coffee and chocolate taste. Has that nasty aftertaste that you can't seem to get off your tongue (I'm grimacing after every sip)- probably better paired with food than drinking alone. I may finish this one, but my initial reaction was drain pour. Considering this brewery is in close proximity to some of the finest in the country, I keep hoping they'll impress at some point. After this one I'm still hoping. At least they're cheap...

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 01:03:40 | More by coldriver
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.96/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Nabbed this'n at Wine Expo in Santa Monica. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded pry-off cap acquired for $2.39 USD and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; Napa Smith has turned out some decent brews and it sounds appealing. Label identifies it as an "Imperial Porter" so I'm reviewing as such. 8.0% ABV confirmed per the label.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Nice creaminess. Decent frothiness. Soft smooth complexion. Retention is above average, about 3 minutes. Even consistent lacing as the head recedes.

Body colour is an opaque dark black; not quite a jet black but dark. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's appealing, if standard fare for the style. No overt flaws are obvious. Not unique or special.

Sm: Caramel, vanilla, chocolate malt, marshmallow, sticky sweet dark malts. I also get some toffee and biscuit notes redolent more of an old ale or wee heavy than a porter. In any case, it's surprisingly appealing. Not getting any hops, yeast, or alcohol from the aroma. Slightly toasty. A pleasant aroma of mild strength.

T: Dark fruits, with some prune and maybe date. Raisin. Vague dark grape notes. Caramel, toffee. Some toasted malt. Sweet dark malts and chocolate malts form the simple body. No real hop profile is noticeable. Duration, intensity, and depth of flavour are all average for the style. Singed pecan. Caramelized walnut. Toffee. Biscuit. A bit of alcohol does creep in. I don't get any yeast character. Balance is okay. Average complexity and subtlety, though there's not much going on here compared to other Imperial Porters. I like it in a general sense, but it's nothing to write home about. I'd love a roasty character.

The nutty notes are a definite highlight.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Lightly creamy. A bit syrupy. Sticky. Chewy. Unrefreshing, but approachable. Decent presence on the palate. Strange thickness isn't uniform; inconsistent. Not oily, harsh, or gushed. Facilitates delivery of the flavours, but it's not custom-tailored to them. Pretty run of the mill. Not unique or special.

Dr: Drinkable but pedestrian. The aroma promised a lot more than the taste delivered. I wouldn't trifle with this again, especially at its high price point for the quality. A middling effort from Napa Smith. I wouldn't recommend it to friends or get another.

C

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 23:54:14 | More by kojevergas
Photo of HerdNo1
HerdNo1

West Virginia

2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Just a quickie review. Poured from a bottle into a tulip. An off white head fades quickly and leaves little lacing in the glass. The major problem with this brew hits you with the first deep sniff and that is the sniff of alcohol. Unfortunately, that is precisely what I get in taste as well. The alcohol simply overwhelms the beer. At 8.5%, it really shouldn't be all that noticeable but it is. I compare it to something like several good Imperial Stouts with a.b.v's in excess of 10% but the alcohol is almost completely hidden. Mouthfeel is fairly thin in this beer. Quite honestly, it's nearly impossible to assess the quality of the underlying porter because the alcohol is so noticeable.

I haven't had other imperial porters so I don't know how well other beers of the style stand up to the higher alcohol but this is a disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 01:17:49 | More by HerdNo1
Photo of hackmann
hackmann

Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: black body with no head and a spot here or there on the lacing

Aroma: lightly boozy, some roasted malts, I was expecting some coffee or chocolate

Flavors: medium roast coffee with a touch of alcohol coming through and a bit of licorice

Mouthfeel: a little flat, not much on the carbonation, little medicinal like on the aftertaste,

To the Point: rather boring Porter, I am really disappointed I was looking forward to trying this Imperial Porter. I would never buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2013 03:15:42 | More by hackmann
Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.