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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

98 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 56
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.45%
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergod1
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%

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.

beergod1, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of Gobzilla
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

Gobzilla, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of mithrascruor
3.18/5  rDev -10.7%

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.

mithrascruor, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
3/5  rDev -15.7%

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).

emmasdad, May 24, 2010
Photo of Heffy
4.97/5  rDev +39.6%

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!

Heffy, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of popery
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

popery, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

DoubleJ, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of endincolorado
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%

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.

endincolorado, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of 1759Girl
3.33/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

1759Girl, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of sweetbrew82
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%

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.

sweetbrew82, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of HalfFull
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%

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.

HalfFull, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

mikesgroove, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of Jayli
1.8/5  rDev -49.4%

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.

Jayli, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of GRG1313
2.45/5  rDev -31.2%

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.

GRG1313, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +12.4%

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.

Zorro, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
2.28/5  rDev -36%

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.

barleywinefiend, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

Georgiabeer, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
3.88/5  rDev +9%

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.

GClarkage, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of bbothen
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

bbothen, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of mj001jk
4/5  rDev +12.4%

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.

mj001jk, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

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.

MisterClean, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of clickpush
4.13/5  rDev +16%

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.

clickpush, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of aforbes10
4.33/5  rDev +21.6%

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.

aforbes10, Dec 05, 2008
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Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.