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

471 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 471
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: 471 | Reviews: 263 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of GhettoFabulous
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I poured a bomber of this into a four ounce styrofoam cup procured from a nearby water tank during a wedding after-party at a cheap hotel. It is unfortunate to drink a beer this nice out of such a deplorable container, but if MacGyver was a beer advocate, I'm sure he'd approve of this improvisation given the limited options available.

These bottles are absolutely gorgeous, juxtaposing darkness against shimmering gold like the magical ticket Charlie lands to see the Chocolate factory. This beer pours with a head that rapidly disintegrates, proudly flaunting its dark black color in the fashion its name sake promises.

It smells of bitter chocolate and bourbon, which is exactly what I was hoping for. The first sip reveals more bitterness, but it smooths out pleasingly by the time this beer slides down your gullet. And it slides rather easily for a bourbon-barrel aged stout.

The viscosity of this beer is very much on the light side, which was at first off-putting, as it disassociated my pallet from the thick b.a. imperial stouts I've grown to love. After a few styrofoam cups of black gold, however, I learned that its relatively thin mouth feel is an asset, as you can drink a ton of this stuff without getting the icky-sticky mouth feel that many b.a. stouts leave with you with. This has the flavor of a sludgy bourbon-tinged stout, yet is practically thirst-quenching, which lends the beer a surprising asset that I've never experienced in this genre of brew.

The flavors are absolutely stellar. The bourbon plays off the chocolate bitters and patina of vanilla with soothing balance. There also seem to be some subtle notes of anise but this is really carried by the bourbon and the chocolate, which is just fine considering how triumphantly these flavors carry the beer.

This is an amazing bourbon barrel aged russian imperial stout that belongs in my belly as often as possible.

Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that slowly died down and left lacy patterns of bubbles across the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: Moderately strong flavors of bourbon stand out, although these are well incorporated into the taste and are not overpowering. There are some hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink for the style because the alcohol is well hidden.

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

Full Sail Black Gold- Bourbon! 22-oz bottle bought at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan, New York, for $11.25, at the recomendation of Harry, the beer expert at that wonderful store.

"Aged for 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky"

Appearance: Pours very black and opaque and thick, with a luscious brown head of about one and one-half fingers and lots of bubbles on top. Good retention and carbonation. Classic Imperial Stout look.

Smell: Bourbon and more bourbon, wood, vanilla. Sweetness, sugars. Lovely hints of gourmet chocolate. The nose, as the taste forthcoming, are both very woodsy and bourbon-y. As good as Goose Island Bourbon County in my opinion, but perhaps a lil' too strong for some folks.

Taste: That bourbon barrel sure did something! Wood, vanilla and bourbon come through right away. Very woodsy, barrel-y. A bit too dry and astringent at the end, feels like plunging into the barrel and licking it! Delicious nonetheless. Very boozy as it warms up. Dark bitter chocolate at the end of the sip. Smoke around, reminds me of the fireplace of my winter home in Northern Spain.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, sadly, but still correct. Medium body, low carbonation, medium flavor. Dry and chocolaty and bitter at the end.

Drinkability: Sure, this is boozy, hot, bourbon-y, woodsy, maybe even a little unbalanced. And so what? If you like this kind of beer, you will love this. It is lovely and delicious. Aging it farther would do even more marvels to this already-marvelous brew.

Photo of robbrandes
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, poured from 22oz bomber.

pours an inky black from the bottle. minimal, but impossibly durable head - present through the last drink, nice lacing in the glass. smell - bourbon and oak are still big, and some subtle smoky notes.
taste - huge smoky, alcohol on the front. nice undercurrent of chocolaty sweetness, oak and remnants of the bourbon linger in your mouth. as others have mentioned, mouthfeel is a bit thin, given the huge ABV, but not distractingly so.

the 2011 is still a little hot at this point, but i'm excited to cellar my other 5 bottles and revisit it down the road.

Photo of grittybrews
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, opened 02/2011. Thought I'd try an aged version before I dropped some money on the 2011 release.

Poured a deep cola brown with no trace of head. Huge, immediate aroma with a bourbon character dominated by vanilla, licorice, hints of dark chocolate, and oak. Noticeable boozy warmth.

Moderate to slightly low carbonation and a somewhat thin mouthfeel, especially for the style. Oaky, spicy bourbon up front followed by dark chocolate, toasty malt, and a slightly chalky, bitter finish dominated by slowly emerging coffee character. Alcohol character is fairly prominent throughout.

Some nice things going on here, but I feel like this brew never really gels together into a sum greater than its parts.

Photo of Urbancaver
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to whomever opened this at Cincy Winter Beer Fest

Pours very dark with reddish tints. Very thick and viscous with a bit of brown head. Lots of dark fruit on the nose. Some great bourbon hints but fairly subtle. Mostly oak heavy. Thick and heavy on the tongue. Tastes very sweet and malty. The bourbon is fairly subtle. I wish it was stronger in all honesty! Decent mouthfeel and very drinkable for the percentage

Photo of julian
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: viscous dark brown, near black pour that yields a modest tan head. Little to no lacing.

S: huge bourbon notes on the nose. boozy. fig, dates, raisins, bourbon, but mostly bourbon.

T: A lot more in the taste than on the nose. Roast flavor, with some mild coffee, but mostly heavy boozy bourbon. Not much else going on other than roasty bourbon flavors.

M: Considering the amount of booze in this, the carbonation level is more than acceptable, but body is slightly watery mid way through.

D: The alcohol will limit drinkability but this is definitely a tasty bourbon aged beer.

I remember this as being a better beer last time i had it. Perhaps some time on it will do it some good. Good thing I bought another 2 for aging.

Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, and dark fruits. A tiny bit hot.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation.

d - I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a bit hot but the taste smelt great. Would definitely have again.

Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Doodler for the bottle! Pours a rich black, nice dark cocoa head that settles down to a ring around the edge. Oh man, if you like bourbon this beer is for you, aroma is big rich bourbon with a little bit of roast and mild alcohol heat. Taste follows with waves of bold boubon flavor but nicely hides the alcohol. Reminiscent of BCS with about a year on it. Nice dark chocolate flavors meld with the bourbon and a little heat is left of the back of the pallet in the finish. Moderate mouthfeel for the style, all in all pretty damn tasty but might be even better with a year on it.

Photo of waltonc
2.45/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with a lot of light tan head that recedes to whisps in my Bruery tulip glass. Looks thin and overly carbonated.

S: oak bourbon barrels, vanilla, roasted malt, and toffee or brown sugar.

T: Considerable barrel and bourbon here. Lots and lots of vanilla too. Fairly sweet, but by no means a GI BCS or Black Tuesday.

M: A bit thin for 10.5% and lots of prickly carbonation. It's like this was brewed to be a "summer" bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. To be enjoyed with a wedge of lemon.

D: Enjoyable, but I don't feel compelled to get another bottle. On a more absolute scale, maybe I'd give this beer a higher score since I love barrel aged stouts. But compared to the competition, Black Gold is a bit lackluster.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a viscous black liquid with a dense and creamy light tan colored head.

S-the nose is strong but seemingly balanced, a fair amount of bourbon up front, rich chocolate malt with notes of a roasted maltiness, hint of cardboard in the nose with some dark fruit sweetness in the back of plums and berries.

T-some rich chocolate and lots of roasted malts up front, notes of oak with a moderate amount of bourbon, less than in the nose, a fair amount of sweetness to balance, ripe plums and maybe a hint of black cherry, light touch of paper to show some signs of oxidation.

M-full bodied, smooth and creamy, coats the mouth slightly with a low carbonation, body falls off a little in the back.

D-well balanced beer with a nice barrel presence. it seems to be slightly oxidized and might be going down hill. minus the oxidation the flavors meld together well and this was probably a darn good beer a year or so ago.

Photo of srandycarter
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pretty darned black. Off white head, leaves fast. Lots of spotty cling lace.

S - Smell is nice. Blend of chocolate, coffee, soy, chocolate chip cookies and anise.

T - Not as good as smell. Whiskey and wood more apparent. Tastes are not as deep and a bit sour at the finish. More watery than expected.

M - Fair balance, but disappointing body.

D - Not a bad beer, just expected more.

Photo of farrago
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Close to zero head, thin layer of deep brown foam gone in a second, with some remainder around the rims, minimal lacing. The usual pitch black liquid, no variance throughout nor hint at color. Punishing nose of dark roasted coffee, toasted coconut, bitter dark chocolate, hard caramel candy, quite boozy to the point of smokiness and pork rinds, the plum, cherry fruit close to prune and raisin, the oak stiffens its posture enough that hops really aren't needed nor that noticeable. Full-bodied, sort of glues itself to your palate, not only heavy but immobile. Replicates the bourbon vanilla, caramel, coconut oil, chocolate, charred wood, butterscotch stuff, overwrought to the point of sacrificing some balance. Unprocessed grains, hay and some mixed citrus zest suggest the hops are doing something underneath it all. More fig, date here, the plum, cherry flavors have a concentrated stewed quality. This is relentless beer here, zero subtlety or nuance, just wants to give you the big smackdown. And you get it.

Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

My first attempt to review this beer failed when I realized I'd bought Full Sail's Imperial Porter instead. However that beer turned out to be astonishingly tasty. Hopefully this one won't disappoint either. A heavy gold foil covers the crown, but it peels away easily, allowing me to begin enjoyment.

A: The beer pours jet black into my snifter, thick but surprisingly shy in the head. The cap is about a half-a-finger, and a rich brown. The head falls fast, leaving brown splotches on the surface of the black brew.

S: The nose is an explosion of whiskey; I guess I should have aged this one more. Another year and a half and it would have been perfect. The barrel flavors completely dominate the scent. Bourbon, vanilla, and roasted oak hide a tarry citrus background. Phenolic, hot smells also linger, and a faint hint of toffee or espresso.

T: Again, plenty of whiskey, and it's burnt, sour character. Charred caramel, coffee, and a quick but sharp bite from the hops near the finish. A sweet clove base slides behind strong, sticky bourbon vanilla.

M: Thick and chewy, although more creaminess would make this beer perfect. Maybe it's not creaminess, but something is definitely lacking from the body. The carbonation wasn't particularly high, but I don't think that is what's missing. It might be that the bourbon has broken down the proteins in the beer, leaving a thinner-bodied brew.

D: Medium. The beer is very good overall, but the barrel character is overwhelming. If you like a massive oakiness to beer, this is delightful, but again, I think it would be much better with age.

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

Pours a deep, dark midnight black color, with only a wisp of rapidly disappearing dark brown foam. Huge nose with lots of bourbon, along with dark chocolate, licorice, roasted malt and oak. The bourbon is nicely integrated with the flavors of chocolate, molasses, roasted malt, vanilla and booze. A solid example of the style.

Photo of chumba526
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From Notes. The stout pours thickly; it has a death black color and sizable two inch brownish head. The appearance shows signs of moderate carbonation. Slight sour Smokey smell but the main element of the smell was obviously rich bourbon flavor. The taste starts off with a caramel flavor but moves on to quickly to a nice sweet rich vanilla and bourbon flavor. Though you could taste the bourbon, it is smooth and has strong hints of vanilla attached to it. The flavor of the beer ends with a slight smokiness. It's very rich and would be perfect as an after dinner drink; it took me around an hour and a half to drink. The low carbonation helped the flavor blend. Overall a nice example of bourbon aged stout.

Photo of Flashsp2
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full Sail Black Gold Barrel Aged Stout into snifter (2009 reserve, served August 2009)

Deep, black, dense body with no visible highlights and a one finger creamy tan head which drops down to a thin topping.

Aroma is bourbon. Sweet, sweet bourbon. Sweet malty heaviness and some roasted malt aroma, some oak, caramel, a touch of vanilla, charred wood, and smoke.

Oh. My. God. This is a very bourbon heavy beer, with toasted coconut, vanilla, oak, toasted whole wheat bread, caramel, roasted malt, faint lightly roasted coffee and milk chocolate. And more bourbon. And some pine resin hoppiness which keeps a touch of bitterness on the finish.

The mouthfeel is heavy with a very light carbonation, and it is incredibly good with this beer. It's not too heavy, but it's heavy enough that it truly is imperial stout accurate.

Nice to drink, but rich enough you want to savor. It's a rare treat, and one that I am slowly finishing over the course of an hour or so. So good I want to put it down quick, but so complex I want to take every sip in a slow stride.

Photo of alcstradamus
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

Black pour with a finger of head. Aroma is some nice toffee and oak from the barrel aging on top of a hoppy, sweet base.

The flavor is huge on vanilla from start to finish. Surely a byproduct of the barrel aging. Underneath is a bit of dry cocoa and some citrus hoppiness. Fairly sweet but not cloying.

The body is medium and carbonation has a bit of a sting. Overall, I am definitely impressed by this beer. The vanilla aspect is especially noteworthy.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

after a meeting with one of the brewers at the main facility, we thought, hell, no, impossible. but nate spoke well of this gentleman. and so, the future.
a lovely and angy darkness, inspeakbly roasted and chocolately. the aroma is close to imperceptible. unfortunate, because the flavor is choice. roastiness, a little bit of bourbon flavor, and a sweet smoove that iis not available elsewhere. i wish that nate were around to school us on the flavors of an abyss-attempted stout but, alas, not quite what we needed. still, lovely.

Photo of tpd975
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark black hue with a small mocha head. Fairly leggy in the glass with some lace noted.

S: Simple but good. Loads of chocolate, coffee, and oak from the barrel.

T: Bold deep flavors. Lots of rich chocolate, espresso, and molasses sweetness. The barrel is there with lots of oak along with light vanilla and a touch of booze.

M: Fairly full in body, smooth.

D: Damn drinkable, Really really solid stout.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one that I can cross off the bucket list, was nice to be able to finally try this one.

The pour was about what I would expect from a year old barrel aged stout. Dark as night, and abyss in a glass with a short lived dark brown head that sat on top for just a few moments before settling down into a thin lace around the edges of the glass. Aroma of vanilla, chocolate, hints of molasses and a touch of booze. Warming through opened it up and some nice notes of oak start rumbling through the air as well as a nice touch of coffee that really complimented it quite well. Smooth, well layered body was not too thick, but enough viscosity was there to allow the palate to absorb the rich flavor. Smooth, decadent chocolate notes were layered with tons of vanilla and oak, nicely done I have to admit. As is coats the mouth hints of brown sugar and coffee and a touch of an earthy, oakey flavor start to come through for me. Rich, warming and full of life the final sips leave a coating of vanilla on the tongue.

Overall this was not the best ba stout I have had but left an impression. Very glad I was able to try it.

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wasatch for this!

22 oz. bottle - Brewmaster Reserve 2009 - poured into a tulip glass:

Pours opaque black. A thin tan head forms and holds up reasonably well for abv/style before slowly vanishing. Spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of bourbon and vanilla/oak over a roasty coffee/chocolate stout character.

The taste is sweet and boozy. Oak and bourbon/vanilla dominate, with very noticeable alcohol. It has a roasted dark malt undertone with dark fruit and licorice. There is an alcohol dryness in the finish.

It hits full-bodied, with laid-back carbonation.

A nice sipper. Strong alcohol and strong oak/bourbon characteristics dominate.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blacker than black with burnt orange along the edges of the glass. Barrel-aged beer with a double digit ABV doesn't usually have such a thick and creamy crown. Two fingers of caramel nougat colored foam is melting extremely slowly. More than a token amount of lace is a definite positive.

The aroma is pretty much as expected given the ingredients and the aging parameters. The combination of roasted malty stout and bourbon whiskey is right on the money and is impressively powerful to boot. If the flavor is anywhere near as good, this will be another winner from Full Sail.

Black Gold doesn't taste or feel as good as it smells. Maybe not even as good as it looks. For starters, it doesn't have enough malty guts for the RIS style. Then again, extended barrel aging tends to break down body. In the end, my love for big stouts and bourbon will probably be enough to earn it some good scores.

What barley is present (think 7.0% porter) is nicely roasted-charred and is bittersweet chocolate-like. There's also a ripe fig fruitiness that one doesn't often run across in a big stout. Other flavors contributed by the barrels include caramelized sugar and a good bit of vanilla. Hints of molasses and black licorice are noted as well. Boldness is not an issue. Lack of depth is.

Although the mouthfeel firms up a little with warming, it could still be more burly. There are certain expectations that come with the 10.5% RIS territory, after all. Well-buried bubbles add to ease of drinkability. Here's hoping the final quarter of the bottle isn't borderline flat.

It has been too long since I reviewed Full Sail Imperial Stout (Brewmaster Reserve 2008) for any valid comparisons to be made, but it looks like Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout has received shockingly similar scores. Bourbon barrel aging may have helped the nose, though that's about it. Despite all the grousing, this really isn't a bad bourbon-soaked brew. Drink it soon if there are any bottles in your cellar.

Photo of DaveJanssen
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a 22 2 ways, poured into snifters. Reviewed 9/4/2009.

Ar: Strong whiskey, woody, coffee, chocolate, dark and complex, burnt malt, light dark fruit, earthy, smoke

Ap: Jet Black, very light tan head fair retention, light lace

F: Woody, roast, whiskey, strong complex dark malt, strong coffee, mellower whiskey flavor than smell, licorice, dry burn end, can taste charred barrel, dark chocolate aftertaste, nice melding of whiskey and dark malt, very dry, not much mid malt/caramel, good tasty malt (Brown malt), long aftertaste, whiskey dominates a bit, alcohol

M: creamy medium mouthfeel, light carb, hot alcohol (but pleasant)

O: strong whiskey presence, nice and dry, complex with good balance, whiskey could be less

Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 471 ratings.