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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)

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very good

470 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 470
Reviews: 263
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 81
Gots: 127 | FT: 6
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: 470 | Reviews: 263 | Display Reviews Only:
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

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

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.

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.

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...


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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

a - Poured a silky almost watery black into my southampton RIS snifter. Head was minimal and didn't hang long but could be rebuilt with a few glass swirlsy. Nice bourbony shine.

s - Very rich in chocolatey bourbon. This is the exact smell I look for in a barrel aged stout. Pretty spot on to Black Ops.

t - Starts off chocolate, then goes bourbon, polishes off with roasted malts (almost porter-like) and then the bourbon comes back. The mid section is a bit odd, but the bourbon and chocolate flavors are spot on.

m - Hits heavy with the bourbon in the beginning and then end and leaves a nice chocolate coating bourbon tingle in my mouth.

o - Overall, this was a nice surprise. This beer is very reminiscent of Black Ops (one of my favorite barrel aged stouts). The bourbon mix is heavy in this beer and I LOVE this in my barrel aged brews. The chocolate is really nicely married in as well, but the malty middle is kind of porter-like in flavor and that's a bit different/odd. This is a nice sleeper...very much worth seeking out.

Photo of biglite351
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage, so the beer itself was brewed in 2008 and then put in casks for 10 months. I am looking forward to trying the 3 year old brew.

A - hint of red around the edge, short off white creamy head.

S - very strong bourbon, vanilla. Only a hint of malt, oak and chocolate, heavily over shadowed by the cask aging.

T - better than the scent. The bourbon and vanilla are not overpowering. Raisins, cherry, chocolate and malt are all in the mix.

M - medium coating, tingle on back sides of tongue and throat, alcohol burn.

O - a little less bourbon in the scent and this would leap-frog many brews.

Photo of brotherloco
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. 2011 Edition.

Color lives up to its name. "Black as night". Very thin light mocha head dissipates to a ring.

Lots of wood in the aroma. That distinct dusty oaky vanilla is there, sweet roasted chocolate malt. Some booze too.

Taste features the sweet chocolate malt up front. Bourbon notes move in on the middle. At this point it gets a little too acidic and the alcohol becomes quite apparent. Finish stays mildly sweet with a lingering woody whiskey flavor.

Body is a bit thin, and the flavor drops out a little too quickly for me. Carbonation is OK for the style. I think if the stout that originally went into the barrels was a little richer, it would have done a better job of carrying the barrel flavor.

Photo of smakawhat
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks kindly to colts9016 for the bottle! No foil cap presented, but it is Brewmaster Reserve 2009.

Out of the bottle she pours dark walnut. Give to thick legs with faint spotted lacing. Head is a light cocoa but doesn't stick aorund much. Body color is a very dark dark red cherry, it does appear to be somewhat clear but the color is incredibly dark that you can not.

First bouquet and smell is reminiscent of Barleywine style. Hints of cherries mixed with alcohol heat. Nice cherry fruit basket, almost kind of jammy.

Taste is a big surprise, slight fizz tingle then that cherry fruit comes through giving way to a dense malt. On the swallow it's dark chocolate smooth, almost nougat like. Great body and mouthfeel, lots at play here with the malt, then cherry bent and tastes of chocolate. Even a small hint of sour which just makes it like a tease. Top roof palate of my mouth leaves just a hint of dried tobacco leaves.

Overall this is like the composition of a great barleywine and a great Russian Imperial aged stout together it feels just flat out fantastic. Lots of win here.

Photo of hopburster
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Fred's Rivertown Alehouse in Snohomish, WA.

A: Poured jet black with a thick two-finger mocha head. Little to no lacing and minimal head retention.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon in my nose. Also hints of dark fruits--dates, raisins, plums--slight vanilla and roasted malt. But mostly bourbon...and lots of it!

T: Extremely heavy bourbon taste with oak overtones. Slightly hot, but pleasant alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium body with relatively low carbonation.

D: An extremely tasty bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Couldn't drink it all night, but perfect way to begin an evening of imbibing.

In my opinion this is a vastly underrated Imperial stout. I have a couple in my cellar and will be interested to see how it tastes with a year or two on it.

Photo of vissai
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage Poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.
Appearance is oil slick black with little to no head. looks less viscous then I had expected
Smell is Bourbon all the way. probably the most bourbon i have ever smelled in a BA beer. Hints of chocolate present as well
Taste follows the nost with straight of bourbon and chocolate wafer dry chocolate after taste. a little salty even in the aftertaste like chocolate covered pretzels. Very nice
Mouthfeel follows the appearance and is a little soupy and not as thick and rich as BCBS. The smell prepares you for a very chewy brew but the mouthfeel isnt so.
Drinkability is amazing. drinks like a 6-7 abv. the light mouthfeel definitely helps the case here. A very enjoyable brew to say the least. I loved it

Photo of Glibber
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently bought a six pack of Russian Imperial Stout and it was a little heavy for me. The Black Gold on the otherhand was exceptional. The beer poured like black coffee, and had a thick bark brown head that dissipated after a little time. The smell was a powerful punch of coffee beans, and dark chocolate. Up front I tasted the sweetness of hazelnut with bitter chocolate. sucking in the beer, you could really feel the density of the beer. Not only am I much more a fan of Imperial Stout, I will be seeking out this beer.

Photo of chicano4craft
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night into my snifter. Small tan head that disappears fast. No lacing here.

Lots of bourbon in the nose. Not a bad thing! Barrel aging gives off a nice woody aroma. There's slight dark chocolate hiding in the background.

Nice combanation of flavors in the taste. Bourbon blends well with the roasted stout. Lots of vanilla, especially as it warms. Alcohol hides at first, but comes on strong towards the end. A bittersweet finish that's sort of dry.

Mouthfeel is deceptive. It starts thin but the strong flavors seem to beef it up quite a bit. Decent drinkability. Meant to be sipped and savored.

Pleasant surprise. Most of Full Sail's Reserve Series have been middle of the road. I really liked this one and will age my remaining bottle.

Photo of Rizalini
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black, with a minimal light brown head. No lacing.

S - Smell is big with bourbon, and almost a chocolatey, coconut aroma. Very inviting.

T - Taste matches the aroma perfectly. Great roasty flavor, bourbon, and still a kinda coconut flavor. Hints of dark chocolate, and oak are evident as well.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not syrupy and thick, but not watery thin. Just right to keep you sippin.

D - Extremely drinkable. The bottle says 11.4% but it says 10.5% here. Either way I say I want another.

Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 470 ratings.