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Bonfire - Imperial Porter - Napa Smith Brewery

Not Rated.
Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter

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

96 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 4
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

1.8/5  rDev -49.6%

Had at Toronado 12/5

A: This beer pours a a deep opaque black with a 1/4 inch of khaki head. Head recedes quickly leaving thick spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of toffee, caramel, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Taste is extremely, overbearingly sweet. Toffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate the taste. There may have been the just the slightest hint of roasted malts, but barely detectable.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, slick mouthfeel.

D: I could barely choke this one down. At home, it may have bordered on a drain pour.

12-14-2009 21:04:53 | More by Jayli
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.28/5  rDev -36.1%

Poured a deep brown with good carbonation and a tannish head that seemed to stick around but the pour seemed thin foran Imperial brew. Uh oh. Nose is some grain, roastiness, malt, bakers powder cocoa. Taste is thin, flat, over carbonated warming alcohol with some funky sourness and cocoa hidig until the end. Mouthfeel is thin, effervescent, warm and roasty with small hints of cocoa. Drinkability is not good. With a beer that boasts Imperial and 8 ABv with not good taste or mouthfeel I would find it very hard to recommend or finish this bottle. Compared to other Imp Porters around such as Pugsely or Full Sail this falls way, way short. I found this brew hard to drink after a few sips. Avoid.

11-08-2009 02:51:12 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of CaptMaelstrom
CaptMaelstrom

Tennessee

2.43/5  rDev -31.9%

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.

02-27-2013 23:36:54 | More by CaptMaelstrom
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

2.45/5  rDev -31.4%

Dark copper/brown with a nice light tan head.

Nose is simple sweet candi sugar and citric cotton candy. Some ripe pear or plums in the nose.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery.

Flavors are sort of clumsy malt with a sour malt/sugar character. No real porter character; no distinguishing character or flavor profile. Not balanced and has a sour malt character to it.

Bit of a grapefruit/pine finish.

11-28-2009 06:58:01 | More by GRG1313
Photo of rangerred
rangerred

Tennessee

2.7/5  rDev -24.4%

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.

09-19-2012 01:33:28 | More by rangerred
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

2.73/5  rDev -23.5%

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, this beer is an opaque brown coloring with a one and a half inch dense, foamy, chunky head. Aromas of nut and toffee come off on first sniffing, with some coffee tones on further investigation. This is a good looking beer. The taste is a bit on the sugary caramel side, with none of the darker flavors that I love about Porters. The flavor is almost sweet enough, and the body light enough, to be an Amber or a Red. The body is very light, almost to the point of being watery. The caramel sweet flavors only have the slightest hint of bitter, and who knows if it is from hopping or coffee notes, although there is neither really present in the flavor. The aftertaste is super sweet, and the finish is clean, but lingering. I love Porters, but this one was leaning towards the disappointing side for me.

03-30-2011 03:03:45 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of ste5venla
ste5venla

California

2.75/5  rDev -23%

06-20-2013 19:01:26 | More by ste5venla
Photo of writingjesse
writingjesse

Maine

2.75/5  rDev -23%

06-01-2014 03:14:58 | More by writingjesse
Photo of hackmann
hackmann

Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -23%

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.

05-16-2013 03:15:42 | More by hackmann
Photo of hoffa0922
hoffa0922

West Virginia

2.75/5  rDev -23%

05-23-2013 00:40:49 | More by hoffa0922
Photo of HerdNo1
HerdNo1

West Virginia

2.8/5  rDev -21.6%

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.

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

Texas

2.96/5  rDev -17.1%

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

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

Texas

2.98/5  rDev -16.5%

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...

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

Michigan

3/5  rDev -16%

07-22-2012 01:29:57 | More by pandow
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3/5  rDev -16%

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).

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

Florida

3/5  rDev -16%

06-30-2013 19:22:34 | More by jmathis
Photo of 2neardead
2neardead

California

3/5  rDev -16%

12-03-2012 04:40:45 | More by 2neardead
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

3.13/5  rDev -12.3%

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.

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

California

3.18/5  rDev -10.9%

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.

07-20-2010 03:31:04 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -10.4%

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

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

Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -10.4%

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.

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

California

3.23/5  rDev -9.5%

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.

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

Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -9.5%

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.

03-24-2010 03:35:19 | More by endincolorado
Photo of KevMo84
KevMo84

California

3.25/5  rDev -9%

06-06-2014 06:20:28 | More by KevMo84
Photo of JMBSH
JMBSH

Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -9%

09-28-2013 22:23:22 | More by JMBSH
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Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.