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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

101 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 101
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 56 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mactrail
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark with a reddish cast in the New Belgium snifter. Decent head and carbonation. Fairly heavy body but not viscous. Raisins and mince meat pie in the nose.

Distinct taste of milk chocolate. Quite rich and more on the sweet side. Reminds me of a milk stout with a deeper, darker, fruitier flavor. Dark caramel and pomegranate. A touch of something rusty and a hint the band-aid taste. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Not especially drinkable

From the 22 oz bottle.

mactrail, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of DrDemento456
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

DrDemento456, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of Tilley4
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Tilley4, May 25, 2012
Photo of JupiterJesus
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

JupiterJesus, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of dominic4beer
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

dominic4beer, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of damngoode
3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

damngoode, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong, smoky aroma has a sweet overtone and notes of honey, caramel and molasses. It pours an opaque sable just a flea’s eyebrow above black with a thick and somewhat persistent light tan head that leaves generous lacing. Flavor has smoky, earthy, nutty and coffee notes with hints of unsweet chocolate and licorice. Smooth texture has firm, if not robust, body and a goodly amount of fizz. Let this bonfire warm the cockles of your beer-o-phile heart!

Cyberkedi, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of Billolick
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
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

Billolick, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of johnhenryconway
4/5  rDev +12.4%

johnhenryconway, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of BigPlay1824
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
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

BigPlay1824, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of scottfrie
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tall glass at some restaurant in Oakland. Pretty sure it’s from a bottle. Reviewed from notes.

A: Served a near black color with a dense dark brown head that held great retention. Streaky lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get sweet notes of toffee and caramel. The nose is also very roasted and toasted smelling.
T: Flavors of marshmallows, toasted grains, and toasted oatmeal stick out with a touch of caramel, vinous grapes and a little bit of wood. The finish is sweet and I get notes of brown sugar and slight chocolate.
M: Full body, soft full carbonation, and a fullish mouthfeel that isn’t as thick as a stout.
O: A solid porter overall that went well with my meal. It lacks a bit of depth though, and I thought it was on the sweet side. A good drinking beer overall though.

scottfrie, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

chinchill, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of mattyrubes
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

mattyrubes, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Jdub983
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Jdub983, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of FanofHefe
3.2/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

FanofHefe, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of hannaho
5/5  rDev +40.4%

hannaho, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of coldriver
2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
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...

coldriver, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of RyanDouglasWhite
4/5  rDev +12.4%

RyanDouglasWhite, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.68/5  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.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of dtx00
4/5  rDev +12.4%

dtx00, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of mentor
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.

mentor, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
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.

BEERchitect, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of tavernjef
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.

tavernjef, Sep 24, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
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.

GarthDanielson, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of Seanibus
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.

Seanibus, Feb 24, 2011
Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.