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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 ISmith87
ISmith87

Arizona

3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer itself is brown-black colored with no real head at all. The smell is red wine , dark fruits, roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, alcohol. Taste is roasty malts,dark fruits, red wine, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel. mouthfeel - alc present a little too much, aftertaste is alcohol. Body too thin for a porter. Woudnt buy again.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 03:02:39 | More by ISmith87
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 MarvinSnyder
MarvinSnyder

West Virginia

4.06/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 fl.oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a small head that stays strong throughout. Lacing is sporadic at best.

Smell: On the nose expect roasted malt, coffee, molasses, caramel, and chocolate. There is also a distinct, albeit subtle hop presence.

Taste: The same as the nose. The hop presence really helps provide a good balance in this beer. The alcohol comes forward, but for me is never a nuisance.

Mouthfeel: Smooth over the palate with a sweet finish. Medium-bodied.

Overall: I liked this beer. A beer of the month selection. The first beer I have tried from this California brewery.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2013 17:24:13 | More by MarvinSnyder
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 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
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 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 CaptMaelstrom
CaptMaelstrom

Tennessee

2.43/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Jet black, no transparency or color. Very minimal head, no lacing.

S: Lots of alcohol, a little bit of the black patent malt comes through, licorice aroma, and a slight caramel smell.

T: I was expecting way more chocolate/caramel/toffee notes, as advertised. I got a lot of alcohol, char, licorice. The hop bitterness is there and helps to mitigate the alcohol/char flavor, but not enough.

M: Smooth and milky, but the bite from the unconcealed alcohol is a bit too jarring to really appreciate this aspect.

O: Despite really having wanted to enjoy this, I couldn't. Maybe I got a bad bottle from a bad batch? If it had more chocolate/toffee/coffee/caramel flavors, as advertised, I wouldn't give it such a low score.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 23:36:54 | More by CaptMaelstrom
Photo of Huffs
Huffs

New York

3.99/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass, developed a short dark tan head which held a short time and had little lacing. Appearance was dark brown to black with the aroma complex and consisting of strong notes of smoke, coffee and chocolate with lesser notes of bread and malt. Taste was very chocolate with toffee and smoke hints and slight dry hop on the back. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 03:21:09 | More by Huffs
Photo of MaltAndHopsFC
MaltAndHopsFC


4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

Appearance: pours like a porter, super dark brown/almost black with a beige finger of head, looks pretty good.

Aroma: smells very malty, I get sweet notes of caramel, dark fruit, licorice, cocoa, and roasted malts. Smells like a porter with attitude.

Taste: much like the nose but a tad sweeter. I get a taste of caramel, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, and subtle hints of alcohol burn. Finishes roasty and culminates with a return of the bittersweet chocolate but this time it lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouth Feel: smooth and medium bodied

Overall: Not a bad porter, certainly more assertive than what I am used to. A little too sweet for my liking but the presence of bittersweet chocolate in the taste was enjoyable. At 8% it makes for a good sipping beer on a cold night in front of the television. I wouldn’t seek this out again, but I would enjoy it if I found it on tap somewhere.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 05:22:15 | More by MaltAndHopsFC
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 cyclonece09
cyclonece09

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours a pitch black with a nice brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves lacing. Smells of coffee, nuts and light fruit aroma. Tastes of bitter coffee with slight nutty and fruity overtones. Beer has a good level of carbonation for its light/medium body and finishes well. Overall, a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2012 02:32:20 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of rangerred
rangerred

Tennessee

2.7/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours an opaque black with barely a hint of a head. A very thin cap is apparent on top of the beer but carbonation is nearly nil.

Smell is kind of odd. Very metallic with some light hints of coffee and dark fruit.

The flavor has dark fruit up front but it is quickly overwhelmed by a strong hop bitterness which seems out of place. Some coffee and dark chocolate are present but dark fruit is the predominant flavor. I little bit of flowery hop bitterness is there but is very faint. Mouthfeel is a little thin with the lack of carbonation.

Overall, Not a great effort from Napa Smith. The bitterness seems out of place and the flavor a bit one dimensional. Glad I got to try it but will not seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 01:33:28 | More by rangerred
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 DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fall release so it's aged over 6 months.

A - Color looks good for a porter yet the head depletes rather quickly giving me no lace and calm waters.

S - Smell is of mild faded citrus hops, tough of ashy malts and a filler of cocoa like chocolate malts.

T - Quite good actually and still good warm. Like others said at this point is roast then some sweet chocolate malts and a finish of citrus hops. It works rather well providing little chalky yeast yet I kind of wanted more smoke from this "bonfire"

M - Medium to thick and quick slick on the tongue.

Overall - I like this beer. It provides a sweet malt body with a slightly drying finish and a good bit of hops. If I see it again I might buy it since the price was good at just over 2 bucks.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 05:13:00 | More by DrDemento456
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 JupiterJesus
JupiterJesus

California

3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Porter seems like a misnomer - this is like a slightly roastier American Barleywine. Sweet, dark fruit flavors, sweet, a bit hoppy, sweet, slight chocolate and sweet. Also, sweet.

This is a unique take on porter (slash barleywine?) that could be improved with less sweetness, more roast, more body and lower carbonation. Still good, but it tries to tow the line between drinkable & light and heavy & complex, and doesn't quite achieve either.

Serving type: growler

04-13-2012 23:58:35 | More by JupiterJesus
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, smoky aroma has a sweet overtone and notes of honey, caramel and molasses. It pours an opaque sable just a flea’s eyebrow above black with a thick and somewhat persistent light tan head that leaves generous lacing. Flavor has smoky, earthy, nutty and coffee notes with hints of unsweet chocolate and licorice. Smooth texture has firm, if not robust, body and a goodly amount of fizz. Let this bonfire warm the cockles of your beer-o-phile heart!

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 20:18:26 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler filled at Top Hops in NYC (great new place, even if it was a tad over priced at $20 for the growler)

Pours darkest of browns, darker tan/mocha head, lasting and lasting, then a thicker film, and heavier blobs and bits of lace.

Nose of darker malts, darker toast and honey goodness. Notes of dark and milk chocolate, some vanilla, some - no make that a lot of chocolate milk shake feel.

Nice stuff - well done and well worth trying

Serving type: growler

02-25-2012 02:50:12 | More by Billolick
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 chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

served from a 12 oz bottle

A: very dark brown pour capped with a medium size tan head.

S: clean, not earthy; dark malty aroma with some chocolate and toffee.

Taste: chocolate malt with hints of toffee, roasted nuts and dark fruits. Rather mellow and drinkable for style compared to, for instance, a Thomas Hooker.

M: very nicely smooth; semi-creamy; medium body.

Overall: a bit less aggressive/extreme than some others in this class. This means more drinkable and session-able even thought both the feel and flavor are a tad too boozy.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 00:25:37 | More by chinchill
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 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 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
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Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.