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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 mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 04:46:32 | More by mentor
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 16:15:34 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +11%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 23:13:12 | More by tavernjef
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

2.73/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

3.73/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 19:25:30 | More by Seanibus
Photo of JamnesCameron
JamnesCameron

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 04:01:02 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 23:16:49 | More by brentk56
Photo of thrash420
thrash420

California

4.78/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Napa Smith Brewery - Bonfire - Imperial Porter

smell - smells heavily of dark roasted malts with hints of fruit and spices

taste - mild taste, you can taste the malts more than the hops, would go very well with a european chocolate bar I presume. i expected a stronger taste at 8%, but im not complaining it makes it easier to drink more! my wife considered it having a taste similar to wine and mild fruit tastes were brought out. i think its one of the best porters ive experienced, but I still prefer IPA's.

appearance - kept this in the bottle but i can still see a good amount of lacing and head inside the bottle and can tell it is of dark and slight reddish color

mouthfeel - medium carbonation, medium body but sticks to the mouth a bit, quite refreshing

drinkability - goes down easy, would love to enjoy another :)

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 20:54:24 | More by thrash420
Photo of beergod1
beergod1

Ohio

3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2010 00:18:54 | More by beergod1
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2010 06:17:42 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

3.18/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Colorado

3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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).

Serving type: bottle

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

California

4.97/5  rDev +39.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Third time I have had this wonderful brew. I have traveled all over the world and when I run across a Napa Smith all is good. I rated this beer a few weeks ago with all 5's. This still stands except someone dosen't believe in a perfect score. (then whey score?) somehow the write up got lost. Here's #2

Every time I taste a Bonfire, I go back to England with the local pubs magnificent beer and wonderful food. The total experience from beginning to end is wonderful. Smooth flavors that vary with the atmosphere and the foods one is also tasting. Smoky nutty fragrances with a smooth finish that sweetens rather than drys the pallet.

The flavors, texture, and appearance bring an undeniable pleasure that everyone should experience at least three times in their life time!

Serving type: cask

04-14-2010 05:21:05 | More by Heffy
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, home. Not bad but fairly boring for a big porter. Deep ruby with a head that puffs up and fades relatively quickly, leaving no lacing. Aroma is plums, apricots, apples, chocolate, very mild roast and some alcohol - it's pretty good, leaning toward the fruity malt side of things without entirely leaving the chocolate/roast out. Flavor is sweet and fairly boring. There's none of the ashy flavors of most good porters or the rich fruitiness of others. It's just kind of a mild sweetness with a bit of hops in the finish. Feel is good enough. This is a fine beer and not a bad price, but it's just another relatively boring beer from Napa Smith.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 07:32:46 | More by popery
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Napa Smith is showing up in SoCal...or I've never taken notice of this brewery. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Black like ink, whispy french vanilla colored head, thick, retaining itself well, yes. The nose gives me a little bit of clean hops, but where's my dark malt? I can smell molasses, and not much else from the malt. Call the nose okay.

The front half of my tongue doesn't get much, the back half gets very intense flavor. It's not the most well-made beer around, but it's doable. Black licorice, big hits of molasses, grape, and charred flavors. Plenty of hops as the beer dries. I'd say that this beer *just* hits the target. It feels fine in the mouth. Medium in volume.

Ummm, it's not bad. It's respectable.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 04:53:33 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of endincolorado
endincolorado

Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 03:35:19 | More by endincolorado
Photo of 1759Girl
1759Girl

California

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2010 03:03:54 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of sweetbrew82
sweetbrew82

California

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2010 20:09:06 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

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

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 13:54:00 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

1.8/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2009 21:04:53 | More by Jayli
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

2.45/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

4/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 23:49:18 | More by Zorro
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.28/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Georgia

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2009 17:47:09 | More by Georgiabeer
Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.