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Bonfire - Imperial Porter - Napa Smith Brewery

Not Rated.
Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter

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BA SCORE
81
good

56 Reviews
THE BROS
-
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 HalfFull
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (703 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 rangerred
2.67/5  rDev -24.4%
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. (743 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.08/5  rDev -12.7%
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. (749 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (681 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 aforbes10
4.3/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Woodstock's, which was exciting because i'd only seen the pale ale, amber and wheat in bottles so this must be a current draft-only offering. Poured a dark brown with reddish notes, and a nice soft light brown head. Smelled of mildly roasted malts, vague dark fruits and dark chocolate. Flavor was a nice full roasted malt punch, a little touch of charcoal, dark chocolate, and then a nice grassy hop tang, followed by an encore of the roasty flavors. Very clean and easy to drink. All of the Napa Smith brews are well-crafted to the style, which i like. This one was very, very good and i look forward to seeing it in bottles. (637 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 mithrascruor
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (753 characters)

Photo of MisterClean
4.24/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Nugget in Roseville.

A - Pours a deep mahogany hew, with 1 finger of chocolate head, dissipates moderately.

S - Chocolate, smoke, roast coffee, plums, and bitter hops.

T - See above, not much difference.

M - IMO, beer may be over-hopped as the bitterness slightly dominates the malts. Slightly dry too.

D - Good overall. No smell or taste from alcohol. (372 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
3.17/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (602 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)

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 beergod1
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (511 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 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 coldriver
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
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... (656 characters)

Photo of clickpush
4.13/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at City Beer Store in SF for $4.99. Great price for a bomber these days, though two years ago it was much easier to find big beers for that price.

Poured into a pint glass with a dark brown, ruby hued body like the exterior of a horse-chestnut. Plenty of big bubbles throughout the beer and about one finger's worth of head that recedes slowly to nice lacing. Definitely an appetizing looking beer. The aroma is rich with caramel and dark fruits, along with the expected roasty notes of coffee & toast. Flavor is much the same, though not at all sweet. The 8% is masked very nicely and this drinks like a much lighter beer. Flavors of roasted grains, coffee, and chocolate all in a very drinkable beer. Mouth feel is slightly less crisp than I would have liked, being creamy instead, but it is well suited for this beer. I look forward to finding this one on a nitro pour somewhere for something really special. (921 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 endincolorado
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (370 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 1759Girl
3.32/5  rDev -5.9%
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. (665 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 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 hackmann
2.75/5  rDev -22.1%
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. (494 characters)

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