Bonfire - Imperial Porter - Napa Smith Brewery

Not Rated.
Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter

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BA SCORE
81
good

102 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 102
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 4
Gots: 5 | 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)
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Ratings: 102 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DruC4
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of kojevergas
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

Photo of jmathis
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of ste5venla
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

Photo of hoffa0922
2.75/5  rDev -22.8%

Photo of hackmann
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.

Photo of golf4collet
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of WallingBrew
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

Photo of GTB
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of TheSixthRing
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.

Photo of CaptMaelstrom
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.

Photo of Huffs
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.

Photo of Snodman
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of ksimons
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of TaylorK
4.5/5  rDev +26.4%

Photo of 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.

Photo of 2neardead
3/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of metter98
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.

Photo of cyclonece09
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.

Photo of rangerred
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.

Photo of GMan
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of jmbraxton
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of jduprey007
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.