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Bonfire - Imperial Porter - Napa Smith Brewery

Not Rated.
Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

56 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 56
Hads: 106
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 4
Gots: 7 | 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:
Beer added by: clickpush on 12-05-2008

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 56 | Hads: 106
Photo of BigPlay1824
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
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 (672 characters)

Photo of bbothen
3.52/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (499 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev 0%
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. (888 characters)

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (1,271 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.65/5  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. (956 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (694 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Toronado in San Francisco. Pours pitch black with a very tan head. Smells slightly vinous with a touch of dark fruit, roastiness, and a touch of bitter espresso. Tastes smooth, a little sweet up front, followed by tangy dark fruit, some sherry-like notes, and a light touch of bitter chocolate. Very smooth in the mouth. Not bad, but the sherry note is a little overdone and distracts a bi from the rest of the flavors. (438 characters)

Photo of mentor
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle left over after GABF judging and given to me as a reward for my volunteer efforts. Pours a finger and a half of fizzy light-brown head, held a bit more than a soda pop would. Pitch liquid without edging when held to light. Smells of cardboard oxidation, which is an aroma that I actually don't find particularly offensive. Black malt, chocolate malt, clean alcohol, vanilla, and blackberry.

Tastes robustly of dark malts and fruity esters layered on strong malt sweet. Malt flavors are cocoa nibs, scorch, and tame coffee. Fig, molasses, and earthy blackberry from something like Northern Brewer hops. The hop flavor works well to blend the other independent flavors together. Moderate hop bitterness and medium-chewy in the mouth. Roast rises slowly and works with scorch to dry the aftertaste while leaving a molasses sweet along the edge of the tongue. After less than a pint, the scorch is wearing; I will have a difficult time finishing the bomber. (963 characters)

Photo of Seanibus
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep purplish black with a slight head. The aroma is roasted but fairly slight, with a rye-ish tang. The flavor is sweet and dark, with wood and dark caramel, a little cherry smoke, and a whiff of booze. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a very dry finish and a woody bitterness on the back end. (309 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one our of the cellar last night. It had come in while I was away and my wife opened up everything and put it there, so I really don't know where it came from, but it was looking good so I grabbed it. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/21/2009.
 
Nice pour here with a deep, dark brown color and a nice tan head of maybe two inches on the top. Settled down quickly though and only left behind moderate lacing. Aroma was interesting. Lots of molasses like aromas, hints of caramel, and a boat load of peat and roasted malts. Warming brings out a ton of chocolate now as well. Rich with a hint of a light booziness as well. First sip was rich and warm with roasted malts and chocolate making the most of it. Hints of smoke dotted the finish and a nice, but light vanilla flavor could be picked up as well. My only gripe is that it seemed a bit thin to me. I know it's a porter but I was still a bit underwhelmed with it as it felt a little bit thin to me. Still though decent warming after the first few sips and a nice, but even flavor leaves the tongue as the last drops filter out and the deep smoke and sweet flavors come to the front.
 
Overall this was pretty good I have to admit, nothing earth shattering, but solid and really nicely done. I would not mind trying it again and can only imagine it would translate over well in a barrel. (1,395 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

03/26/09- Purchased at Mollie Stones in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my 20oz Pizza Port glass.

Appearance- Deep brown color with some dark cherry-ruby highlights around the edges. 1/2 inch head upon pour...fades after about a minute. Leaves some light watery lace markings behind.

Smell- Detected a light metallic scent in the nose upon first smell. A tiny bit of this remains throughout the entire consumption of the beer, though the end is less noticeable. Dark roasted malt and watery chocolate nose. A touch of alcohol as well.

Taste- Metalic notes are present in the first few sips and then they pretty much disappear. Malt is mid range to darker roasted. Chocolate comes out and pairs nicely. As do the hops which assert themselves nicely. Well rounded flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level...a bit less as the beer breathes. A somewhat lasting hoppy and malt aftertaste. About a medium thickness per the abv level.

Drikability- Minus the metallic notes in the beginning; you have a perfectly good baltic porter here. Not really too many flaws. Holds togther nicely. (1,134 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
3.87/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (348 characters)

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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 (442 characters)

Photo of cyclonece09
3.91/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (357 characters)

Photo of JupiterJesus
3.92/5  rDev +11%
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. (444 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Typical porter brown pour capped with a modest tan foam about a pinky finger high not lasting long before tending to a thin collar ring and the lacing is etched about the glass with some ink blot sheeting.

Nice clean and darkly malty aroma with some tootsie roll chocolate and toffee breezed with a bit of smokey maple. It's not a huge nose, but what's there is clean and appetizing.

Taste is a near mirror display of the nose with a clean, smooth tone of chocolate malt over the top while some slight touches of toffee, maple, dates, raisin, and smokey puffs about it in the finish. Which has a subtle little finish of the smokey stuff dancing lightly with a leftover tangy smooth dark malt tone.

Smooth, semi creamy and firm, lighter medium body. For being labaled as an Imperial porter, the body doesn't come close to that which it is labeled. A bit to quick and thin where it needs to be lengthy and thicker. "That's what she said."

Overall, a smooth little subtle porter with some nice things going for it. And for the price per the bomber,$5.69 Cellars Roseville, its worth getting. (1,092 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of Huffs
3.99/5  rDev +13%
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. (400 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown colored beer with a small brown colored head. This beer has ruby highlights when held up to the light and is one of the lighter colored examples of the style.

Smells very malty indeed. Malt syrup, vanilla and toffee are the strong scents. Slighter berry and chocolate smell with a faint coffee and smoke scent. But there can be no doubt this is a malty smelling beer.

Starts out mildly sweet with a strong bitter coca powder flavor and subtle bitter bite. The taste pretty much stays the same all the way through bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium not a thick porter.

Not a bad beer at all. What you are getting here is basically a semi-bitter chocolate beer. (683 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fortified Porter with deep focus on burnt woods, bittersweet cocoa, and malt richness. Though the beer rivals the strength of stronger stouts, it falls short of it's "imperial" advertising.

Aromas of burnt molasses, dark nuts, French press coffee, cocoa, heavy toast, and mild roast all fill the nose with greater than expected intensity. A very masucline scent with a barley-rich backbone.

Flavors closely follow with a bold blend of black strap molasses and burnt sugar sweetness to start the session. The burnt flavor transitions to synged woods, roasted walnuts, and heavy toast before finishing with a mild ashy taste. Bold roast coffee flavors stop shy of espresso and add to the roasty overlay. Hop bitterness weave into the woody flavors and provide the bitterness to accompany the roast taste in balance.

Rich and lushly textured, the beer retains its structure until very deep in the taste before warming alcohol lightly irritate the throat for a malty-dry finish and light ashy/powdery feel late.

The beer exhibits all of the proportions and flavor of Porters while borrowing some roasty elements from Stouts. Still, the beer is big for a Porter, but not enough to be considered an imperial anything. (1,218 characters)

Photo of mj001jk
4.02/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Toronado, SF.

My notes for this beer are a little thin so I apologize, but the main characteristics that stood out for me was:

A very fresh feeling with nice fruity esters such as pear and quince with light and crisp malts. Hints of coffee, chocolate and tobacco.

I really liked this beer and almost thought it was a schwartz lager before I knew it was an imperial porter. The alcohol is well hidden and it is waaay too easy to drink.

Kudos for another great beer. (488 characters)

Photo of MaltAndHopsFC
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (957 characters)

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (652 characters)

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an English pint glass.

Pours a deep ruby with a thin wisp of a head. Leaves a thin layer of "almost" foam.

Aromas of a light roasty sourness. Winey, with a slight woodiness. Light chocolate and coffee notes.

First sip is chocolatey, slight woody sourness, and a tannic bitterness. Short finish is roasty and chocolatey with a hint of drying bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium, dry and resiny.

Overall very drinkable, nice complex mixture of flavors. Hides alcohol very well. Could easily mistake this for a session beer. (534 characters)

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Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.