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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

454 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 454
Reviews: 262
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 78
Gots: 123 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
3rd Release - 2013 (9.6% ABV)
2nd Release - 2011 (11.4% ABV)
1st Release - February 2009 (10.5% ABV).

After its initial release in February 2008, this Imperial Stout was aged for about 10 months in Bourbon casks from Kentucky.

(Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 02-02-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 454 | Reviews: 262 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

22oz into pint glass. Thanks to a generous trader for this kick-ass extra.

A- Dark dark brown pours almost still; slowly a 1m head builds and remains pretty active until it settles into a tan pancake on top. Pretty dense head.

S- A lot of bourbon coming off this one.

T- Again, total bourbon delivery vehicle. A bit one-sided and heavy-handed... still, nice vanilla flavors, some good brown sugar, and lots of oak.

M- Hot, base beer isn't as bold/robust as I'd like.

O- For all my nit-picking, it is a damn tasty beer. I think some tweaking of the base could bring about a fuller product, but this is really tasty as is. Kind of like dropping a shot of bourbon into a stout, though.

ShogoKawada, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer, small brown head. Looks appropriate for a stout.

S - Bourbon is nice, has some vanilla, oak and chocolate.

T - Bourbon is pretty strong, and there is the chocolate, vanilla, and barrel you would expect from a BA stout. It's not bad, but needs some more time.

M - Full, lower carbonation.

O - This beer is alright, but not particularly exceptional in any respect, but wasn't a bad beer.

AgentZero, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage, yes 2006. Shout-out to HimerMan for cellaring this for so long and then offering it for trade. Let's see how it has aged...

Poured extremely dark and foreboding with a lighter tan head which quickly recedes. Some lacing, but not substantial.

Aromas are initially dark and foreboding with strong bourbon and complementary dark chocolate and complex roasted malts. As the stout warms, the booziness subsides with the vanilla and milk chocolate and lesser sweet toffee malts emerging.

The tastes begin dry and roasted with bitter baker's cocoa and some dark roasted coffee bean flavors. Some nice nuttiness emerges are you further sample. As it warms the caramels and toffee emerge but there is an ever present roast and chocolate combined with vanilla and some more nuttiness. You never taste the wood/barrel but their flavors have been imparted to quite nicely.

Mouthfeel is expectantly full with enough carbonation to balance. Not syrupy, which is always a big + for me. Finishes dry despite the full body and complex flavors. I credit this to the bourbon and ample roasted malts.

Overall I enjoyed this beer and I am pleased at how the flavors have developed in this beer. I especially enjoy how the bourbon complements the overall flavor profile and I really enjoy the delicious nuttiness which was more predominant than any barrel aged beer I have ever had. I imagine this must have been crazy boozy initially but after 5 years, quite good.

claspada, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of SpdKilz
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Enjoyed well over a month ago. 2011 Vintage.

Appearance – Pours a dark chocolate color into my Bell’s Tulip. About a finger of dark mocha head is achieved with a moderate pour. The head sticks around for a while, leaving slightly chunky lacing.

Smell – Lots of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, and slight oak.h

Taste – Up front bourbon that melds nicely with the cocoa. The vanilla shows more in the middle (more so as the beer warms) and the roasted malts offer a slight bitter ending. As the beer warms the flavors (and nose) emerge a bit more, and it becomes more chocolaty in my opinion.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, quite creamy, nice carbonation, slight dryness at the end.

Overall – From the reviews this seems to be a love/hate beer (noticing how polarizing they are). I thought this was a pretty darn good stout (not it's not the best, but it held its own) and wished I would have gotten at least one more to age.

SpdKilz, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release, 11.4%.

A: Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention, nice lace.

S: Boozy bourbon aroma, plenty of molasses, licorice, esspresso & bakers chocolate.

T: The bourbon is great and really melds with this aged stout. Slightly woody, molasses, licorice, dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, solid bitterness, warming alcohol (though with all this flavour, I wouldn't have thought it was quite as strong as it is).

M: Fairly full body, light carbonation, slight roasted acidty, slightly drying alcohol finish.

D/O: Incredibly drinkable for its weight, very well-crafted, great brew. This is how bourbon barrel aging should be done.

Derek, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of arizcards
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Da Boss picked me up a bottle earlier this week; she is the best!

Beer poured black as night with a small tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is wonderful, big bourbon with hints of vanilla and cocoa.

Taste is good, lots of flavors going on. Bourbon not as strong as indicated with the nose, but present; cocoa is very prevelant, hints of vanilla in the background, somewhat sweet. Flavors are nice but slightly off balance.

Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped, between light and medium bodied. Finish is smooth.

Overall this is a very tasty beer. Glad i had the opportunity to try!

arizcards, May 28, 2011
Photo of daveytheformer
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thick oily black with a thin tiny tan head that immediately fades to a few spots.

Smells like vanilla, caramel, oak and sweet beautiful bourbon.

Taste a little chocolate and a lot like the aroma. Lots of bourbon and dark malt.

Mouthfeel is honestly little thin for what I'm used to for the style.

Overall is good and probably the best Full Sail beer I've had.

daveytheformer, May 27, 2011
Photo of ebrauser
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as oil, of course, with the thinnest brown head left over after a minute. Seemed like it was tinted with a touch of red?

Aroma: Bourbon! Hints of vanilla and chocolate somehow force their way in past the strong alcohols.

Flavor: Strong bourbon again, with more oak, vanilla, and cherry flavors coming out. Malt base isn't huge, and I don't think it balances too well. I will really look forward to opening my second one in another year or two to see how it handles! Hopefully the bourbon will mellow a bit, letting the flavors develop.

MF: The beer body doesn't really stand up to the strength of taste, and is a little watery.

ebrauser, May 24, 2011
Photo of Bfarr
4.83/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark brown with thin umber head, no retention or lacing and a little bubbly. Bourbon booze, chocolate mint, and oak aromas. Boozy malt sweetness with substantial oak. Bourbon, chocolate mint, licorice, vanilla, and light coffee. A little syrupy, semi dry finish. Slick mouthcoating and good fuzziness.

Good warming but low alcohol taste. Sublimely alcoholic and flavorful that is easy to drink. The vanilla oak flavor really shines through with a ton of extra flavors. I tried to get every last drop and was sad to see it go and really wish I hadn’t missed the opportunity to get it on tap at the Porterhouse. It was a superb “dark passenger” to accompany the fourth season of Dexter.

Bfarr, May 21, 2011
Photo of DefenCorps
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed in quantity alongside some heavyweights (Vanilla BCS, '11 Cherry Adam, Cuvee Delphine and Black Albert Batch 0) last weekend.

Brownish black with reddish brown highlights and a dense, brown head that shows great retention. The nose is roasty with vanilla, some chocolate and chocolate syrup. Quite nice. Bourbon is moderate here. The palate opens thin, roasty and with some espresso, along with some chocolate and vanilla syrup. This syrupy sweet character is actually nice, in some way. A little bit of licorice bitterness is present as well. Dry, roasty on the finish with some vanilla, this is decent. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation , the finish is decent. Solid stuff, just not the best of the bunch

DefenCorps, May 15, 2011
Photo of davesway10
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this beer in a trade with podunkparte. Excellent acquisition. For me the only better BBA Is BCBS. Smells of bourbon and vqnilla, tastes of bourbon and vanilla. Heavenly. I want more of this brew. For the record my bottle has an ABV of 11.4%. World class IMO

davesway10, May 13, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paired last night with the bourbon county vanilla stout from GI. This is a fine beer, but it really was out of its league when compared to the beer from GI. Also, this beer improved appreciably as it warmed up a bit.

The Black Gold pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, showing noticeable bourbon, vanilla, coffee and light chocolate. The flavor profile generally replciates the nose in this moderately sweet beer, except I'm picking up some licorice as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly long, smooth finish. Drinkability is pretty good, especially considering the abv. in this beer.

As the bourbon county vanilla stout made clear, this is not a world class RIS. Nevertheless, it's a solid, enjoyable beer, and at least for me, a lot more accessible than the beer from GI.

John_M, May 08, 2011
Photo of marqoid
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz into a tulip.
Can't review for specifics, had this ~2 weeks ago on my last homebrew day.

Pours very dark with minimal brown head.
Smells of straight bourbon with a slight backbone of chocolate and roasted malt.
Taste is of bourbon with Imerpial Stout as an after though. This tastes like bourbon first and beer second.
Mouthfeel was nice, medium+ body that coats the tounge.
Overall it is an interesting brew that so much bourbon can be infused into a big beer like this, but in my opinion it is over done. I did enjoy it and would be happy to drink it again, but it is not top tier.

marqoid, May 08, 2011
Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to my brother for leaving this one in the fridge. Thanks again bro!

Poured from a bomber into an Inland Empire Brewing pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent at best, and there is no lacing to be had here...

S - Chocolate, vanilla, and a good dose of bourbon. Very inviting...

T - Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a good amount of dark roasted malts. Ends on an astringent bourbon note with some bitter coffee lingering in the aftertaste. This one has alot of heat, and it only gets stronger as the beer warms. Am usually a fan of a good dose of bourbon, but it doesn't work for me here...

M - A little watered down for my likings. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

O - Glad I got a chance to try this, but I won't likely be seeking it out in the near future. If you have one of these around, you might want to park it in the celler for a few years. Full Sail brewed another average brew here imho...


comfortablynumb1, May 06, 2011
Photo of peacebone116
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a current review of an cellared beer from 2011--11.4%ABV--reviewed 11.04.2013

A: Black beer with nearly no head despite a straight pour. Tan lace rims the glass.

N: Aroma of licorice and chocolate with a light touch of vanilla and oak.

T/M: The mouthfeel on this is a bit light, but not terrible, just lighter than what you might expect from a big, bold stout. The taste follows the nose but with more chocolate and vanilla, finishing with oak and booze and a touch of raisin as it warms.

Age does not seem to have done too much to this beer. It was good in early 2011 & still good in 2013. This one was a surprise for me when I found it and this time, knowing what to expect, it is still a bit of a surprise. I honestly expected the body to thin out a bit more than this, but it has stood up very well. The booze seems a less overpowering, but that could be due to my exposer to stronger beers of this irk more than anything.


Poured from gold foil capped bomber to tulip--in late April of 2011.

A: Black as night! Light tan, almost brown, head fades rather quickly leaving lace at the leg of the glass.

N: Vanilla and chocolate. A slight hint of raisins.

T/M: Vanilla and chocolate. Rummy, bourbon boozyness in the middle accompanied by a bit of sweet plum, which tries to hide behind the booze. This is followed by notes of coffee on the finish. Hot alcoholic feel, but the beer remains creamy and smooth. Vanilla notes sit and stay on the back of my tongue leaving a great flavor. Excellent! A little lighter body than expected but it feels appropriate.

Full Sail beers, while good, have never left me super impressed. I have been really happy with this offering and it stands out amongst some of the other barrel-aged beers I have had the pleasure of trying.

peacebone116, May 04, 2011
Photo of atowle25
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint class, pitch black. Best thing about the beer is the look, not much of a head but looks thick and syrupy. The smell..the smell was nothing but bourbon and booze to me. Perhaps my nose is unrefined, but I didn't detect much else. Very astringent smell to it that I did not like at all. Taste was mostly bourbon upfront with some caramel and maybe even some dark fruits on the finish? Interesting. Slight chocolate taste in there too but everything is overwhelmed by the bourbon.

Too much barrel, not enough beer here. Not my kind of thing, but I'd be curious to try this after it had a few years on it. There are some interesting things going on in the beer that seem very muted by the bourbon. If you like harsh/boozy stouts, you'll probably like this fresh..otherwise I'd steer clear until this mellows out a bit. Has potential, but I would not buy this again unless I planned to sit on it for a while.

atowle25, May 02, 2011
Photo of alexhahn82
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First of all: 2011 Vintage = 11.4% ABV

Appearance: WOW. Black Gold, totally effin' nailed the name, I thought I was pouring oil into my glass that was thinned down with paint thinner!

Smell: Sweet and bourbony. Carmel and Bourbon. I don't like simple descriptions but it is what it is.

Taste: Baker's chocolate. Bitter yet pronounced. Has a hint of chocolate, but definitely unsweetened chocolate with a medium bourbon tone.

Mouthfeel: Medium with a little tang. Yes, tang. I hate that word but have no better use of it. Semi metalically, but not in a bad sort of way, finishes smooth and chocolatey.

Overall: Very nice beer, well worth the $12 per bottle price, well balanced but steers toward the complex choco/bourbon flavors. Definitely worth a try!!

alexhahn82, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was one of my first 'wants' since joining BA and I forgot all about it, then found it at DeCicco's in Don Draper land Westchester county NY.

Pours into the tulip looking black and semi viscous, jet black really and the foam is an inch that fades to cap size looking mocha. Nice globs of stick on the way down, a good look.

Smells of stinky bourbon, full in scent with an apparent boozy scent. The Rizzz is kinda hard to find under all that yak but there is traces of roasted malt and hop scent. Pretty one sided at this point.

Taste is all about the bourbon and it shows. A nice hit of whatever barrel they used and as expected not a lot backing it up. Really it goes bourbon some oak, no anilla sweetness and heat in that order. I don't think the base is all the way there.

Feel is kinda lackluster, it feels thinner than most Imperials and the creamy esque is lost with no sweetness or vanilla backing. Medium bodied and really bordering on watery. Hot. Carbonation is there and it helps.

This one is hot. If I had another bottle I would lay it down but there really is nothing for the BB appeal to meld with a not up to par stout, plus i fear of possible infection, not in particular with this, just BB stouts in general. I give points to Full Sail going balls deep with this bourbon forward beer without all the bells and whistles, but it's not my turkey.

I think this might be a hit with the older crowd who like that hard stuff and some stouts. Irish people unite.

BARFLYB, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of oglmcdgl
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A bottle split with onix1agr and poured into a new belgium snifter.

A- a steady pour yields a small cap of dark tan head that settles rather quickly to leave a solid ring and a wisp or two on top. Black as a star less night in color with some nice legs to it.

S- loads of bourbon right out of the gate with a sweet vanilla and brown sugar flair. The nose is really dominated by the barrel and its tough to find anything else in there. Hints of chocolate and super dark roasted malts.

T- while the barrel still runs the show the flavor is way more balanced then the nose. Opens up with a good amount of bourbon vanilla, bitter chocolate, dark roasted malts, touches of anise and cocoa powder. As the brew warms the roast picks up a bit and makes the brew a bit more well rounded but at the same time an odd tart finish shows its head.

M- a few steps above medium in body, with a smooth creamyish lighter carb. Good bit of heat from this bad boy.

O- I must say this is way better then the rest of the full sail brews I've come across. I dig bourbon so this is right up my alley. Not for the faint of heart but with some time down I could see this becoming a stellar brew.

oglmcdgl, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of kscaldef
3.08/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasted 2/12/2011, from notes:

Pronounced bourbon aroma and taste. Boozy with toffee and chocolate notes and some charred wood. A little herbal in the long finish. Further into the bottle I'm getting a mild, but unpleasant, sourness. Overall, this just doesn't excite me much compared to other beers in the category.

kscaldef, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of GregSVT
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep black with a small dark tan head that fades to a ring leaving a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of vanilla, molasses, and roasted malt. Lovely.

T: The taste is dark fruit and chocolate with nice vanilla and molasses flavors on the finish. The tastes get much bigger as it warms.

M: The feel is thick and oily with a decent amount of carbonation. Somewhat creamy as well.

O: The aroma alone was enough for me to know I wanted to try this again in the future. Given the tasty flavors as well I have no problem recommending this one to anyone who loves big barrel aged beers.

GregSVT, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of Gmann
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a small yet tight toasted khaki color that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of bourbon and vanilla with a roasty malt base. Very straight forward bourbon aged stout.

The flavor is of a smooth bourbon, with vanilla and caramel adding extra layers of smooth. The roasted malt flavor is there but serves as a base and an offset to the sweet bourbon flavors. Some milk chocolate notes pop through as well.

The feel is moderate, a bit light for the style, with prickly carbonation. Smooth flavor on the palate but does end with significant belly burn from the ABV.

An enjoyable and flavorful bourbon aged stout. It is a bit hot and could use some aging. Good pick up.

Gmann, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of HalfFull
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Often a Barrel Aged RIS becomes an Amer/Impy Stout. Apparently in this case, the opposite is true. The style characteristics seem to favor the former though the ABV is middle ground for both offerings. Just a bit of semantics perhaps.

This years release is poured into a wine glass from a 22 oz. capped bomber, showing nearly black in color and with a light mocha cap. Moderate retention and light lacing follow.

Potent notes of bourbon, oak, cherry and caramel on the nose. Roasted malt and chocolate notes contribute more with warming and exposure. Alcohol is present as this is surely a 'wet' barrel aged beer, though its presence does settle out after a few minutes.

Just a hint of bourbon on the taste, along with oak and vanilla and lesser hints of chocolate and cherry. Offers more of a toasted malt finish with enough texture and carbonation to balance the sweetness and ABV well on the tongue. Finish is reasonably full though somewhat more brief than expected given the bourbon influences, and with a bit of caramel and chocolate.

Initially overbearing with bourbon influence, this beer becomes a nice sipper as it warms; yet will always be an outsider to the 'family'. Apparently a different animal than prior releases I would gather.

HalfFull, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of 619BeerLuvr
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2011 Brewmaster Reserve, 11.4%

a bourbon-bomb; over the top bourbon, but very drinkable. I had mine with orange chicken and veggies (a weird pairing, I know)

the bottle claims hint of vanilla, which I didnt get much of, at least not as much as other barrel aged stouts/porters I've had recently (karl strauss 22nd anniversary comes to mind)

gave it a 4 overall due to the fact its an 11%er for less that $5 ($3.99 at BevMo)

619BeerLuvr, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of Phelps
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2011 release.

Enjoyed during a tasting of bourbon-aged stouts, this was poured from the bottle into a small tasting glass. According to the bottle, this is the brewery's imperial stout, aged 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky.

Inky, opaque dark chocolate brown. A thin, graham cracker-colored head becomes a medium ring.

A bit of soy sauce and teriyaki in the nose. There's also molasses, espresso and a bit of dark chocolate, but the Asian flavors are definitely off-putting.

The flavor's better, though there's still a bit of soy tang. A small amount of butter, lots of molasses, a hint of licorice, some vinous oak, vanilla and smoky char, like a piece of processed beef jerky. It's smooth, but too tangy for me. I need more deep roast. Improves as it warms.

The creamy medium body is a bit oily on tongue. Very, very light and tingly carbonation. Alcohol numbs the tongue and flames through the nostrils.

Black Gold exhibits nice flavor integration, but lacks depth. I'm tired of it already, and I didn't finish more than a third of the bomber. Not great -- especially when compared with other top-tier stouts.

Phelps, Apr 06, 2011
Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 454 ratings.