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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

481 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 481
Reviews: 263
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 13.38%
Wants: 82
Gots: 131 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 02-02-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 481 | Reviews: 263
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet creamy barley without too much alcohol ester. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet roasted malt with creamy barley notes and some dominating bourbon with light vanilla touch. Bourbon is very present but without any alcohol ester. Which I very much appreciated. Full body with good carbonation. Very well done and something I would have more often.

Photo of pwoods
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shane(beachbum1975) for sharing this.

A: Pours nearly pitch black with basically no light. Nice sized head with some retention and decent lacing.

S: Plenty of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and a bunch of hefty alcohol. Some dark fruits in the back and more as it warms, definitely some grapey flavor and maybe some black currants.

T/M: Very nice flavor complexity. Same as the nose with enhanced coconut and great alcohol. Alcohol is great, very hot but very enjoyable. The wood comes through even past the bourbon and adds so much depth. Body is medium to medium full and extremely smooth.

D: It's pretty damn hot but very tasty. Right now the drinkability isn't so great but it'll age beautifully.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one on a recent trade with Dajtai007... Thanks, Daniel!

Pours as a RIS should. Heavy and dark with a medium tan head leaving a minimal halo of foam around the edges of my glass.

The nose on this one is great! At first, it smelled hot of vanilla and hot bourbon. After allowing 10 minutes to settle in my glass, it took on a VERY sweet cherry presence - like a bourbon dipped cherry Bob bon - wow. Much like a choclate delicacy.

Medium to full bodied with medium to full flavor. Vanilla, molasses, super sweet malts, chocolate and cherries. The woodiness comes in on the finish, along with some warmth... Very nice example with warming alcohol in the finish.

IMO, this beer will improve greatly with a years age on it... VERY nice, nonetheless....

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an impenetrable black with a light tan head that lingers quite well and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is full of chocolate and vanilla with some oaky notes, and a hint of bourbon.

Hooah! Taste is still quite raw on this one. Some roasted malt kicks its way through, but mostly huge chocolate, vanilla, and BOURBON flavors. Now, normally this is a good thing, and what one looks for in a BBA stout, but this is quite raw, and has a certain hairspray quality too it. The finish is quite hot. Aftertaste is...bourbon, as well as oak.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side for the largeness of this one. Carbonation is right on. A bit dry.

Drinkability is ok, but really nothing special about it.

Bottom line is this one NEEDS TIME. I am going to lay the rest of these down for at least a year before i try another one. Really needs some more time to mellow and smooth. Still quite raw, and turbulent. Definitely has some promise though. A good beer.

Photo of Onslow
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

April 2nd 2009 .. 8pm .. . "stop the girly chitchat and get off the phone" ... ..

.. .

very nice aroma, from fresh tar, maduro tobacco, light high quality bourbon, light vanilla...all the fun dark stuff!!

coats the mouth wonderfully, the abv is worked in beautifully.. Also amazingly easy to drink, the aging has added almost the perfect amount of bourbon flavour.. .

..and say, what the hell happened?!?!

..that guy showed up. ..

A super smooth brew, nice blend of flavours.. an absolute winner!!! Ukulele

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed by the original three wisemen (Nick, Justin, and Peter) courtesy of prospective wiseman Will. Wisewoman Natalia also partook in this tasting, though chose not to review. Poured into 5 snifters.

Appearance: Pours out dark and oily. Not much head, probably due to the barrel aging. What is there is a thin brown halo. No lacing. Body is very dark but shows shades around the outermost edges. Looks like another delicious barrel-aged imperial stout. N: 3.75; J: 4.0; P: 4.0; W: 3.5

Smell: Vanilla bean, blackberries/sour cherries/black cherries/vanilla cherries (we couldn't decide), rich smooth bourbon, dark chocolate. Justin gets astringent (rubbing) alcohol, and is not too thrilled. Peter gets black licorice as well, and Nick and Justin totally agree. Will agrees with Justin that it's quite boozy. N: 4.0; J: 3.5; P: 4.0; W: 4.0

Taste: Lots of vanilla, bourbon, and oak again. Chocolate covered (mushy, sour) cherries in the front and some coffee in the finish. Bourbon comes through big in the end with a nice boozy burn. Also some smoke and ash in the aftertaste. N: 4.0; J: 4.0; P: 4.0; W: 4.0

Mouthfeel: Nick says wine-like, and the other wisemen concur. Much lighter than other imperial stouts we've come across. Mouth coating not that great, especially for a barrel-aged stout. Dry and slick. Good, but a little lacking. N: 3.0; J: 3.33; P: 3.5; W: 3.0

Drinkability: This one did not blow us away, but it was definitely worthwhile and pretty easy to drink for a bourbon-barrel aged RIS. Not really addictive or mouth-watering but good. For 10.5%, damn pretty damn easy. N: 4.0; J: 3.5; P: 4.5; W: 4.0

Wiseman Nick: B+ (3.85)
Wiseman Justin: B+ (3.78)
Wiseman Peter: B+ (4.00)
Prospective Wiseman Will: B+ (3.80)

Photo of Overlord
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bgramer for the trade.

Pours a dark brownish black. Not much of a head, just some brown foam. Surprisingly translucent with a swirl.

Smells like bourbon and vanilla. Almost nothing else in the head. Maybe a hint of roasted chocolate.

Taste is a bit more complex, but this is primarly bourbon and vanilla. As it warms, you'll notice notes of chocolate and coffee. A beer for those who like bourbon. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin ... or maybe it shouldn't be considering the appearance.

For a bourbon barrel beer, very drinkable.

Photo of josiahschlender
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Though I don't drink much hard alcohol, Bourbon is my favorite, and what I keep around for when the mood strikes me. So, the rage of Bourbon aged beers is right up my alley of liking big, intense aged brews. Let's see how Full Sail's effort adds up.

I like the classy, black and gold bottle appearance continuity. The color of the beer in my wine glass is actually not quite black, but a nearly black brown with a brown, minimal, quickly fading head.

Mmm, great aromas that are dominated by the Bourbon, but has lots of nutty/chocolate/roasty malt aromas that especially open up as the beer warms. Both intensity and complexity are good.

Flavors are also bookended by the Bourbon, with lots of roasty malts in the middle. Not as sweet as some of the other similar beers I have tried, but more accents flavors of toasted nuts, charred malts, and 80% plus cocoa chocolate. Finish is long and complex, with some definite earthy, bittering hops at the end that mingles with just a bit of alcohol heat. Body is medium-full; it's perhaps a bit thinner than the RIS average, especially for beers in this price and ABV range. Nonetheless, it isn't much of a drawback, as it coats my mouth well and lingers for a good amount of time.

Overall, not quite the world class efforts I've had recently from Goose Island and Deschutes. However, a very solid RIS, and one of the best, most interesting brews I've had from Full Sail. I took a tour of the brewery about a year ago and saw their basement full of casks this stuff aging. I wonder what's down there now? Most likely, I'll try it too.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to colts9016 for this one! 2009 vintage. 22oz. bomber served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with less than a finger of tan head that quickly dissipated. Great aroma of chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. Also a bit of alcohol. Full bodied with a nice rich, creamy mouthfeel. Flavor has lots of chocolate with more bourbon and a little roasted malt. Great flavors from the bourbon barrel. Long finish of chocolate and vanilla. Got a little boozier as it warmed. This is a great beer. I've been a little burned out on Imperial Stouts lately, but this is top notch.

Photo of Beernoisseur
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always wanted to give a bourbon barrel aged stout a try. Thanks, obscure liquor store at point of the mountain, for granting me this opportunity. I should hit them up more often, they full shelves of some great beers.

By the way, It's 3:00 in the pm. Perfect time to start drinking a bomber weighing in at 10.5% ;-)

Cool bottle. I like the black and gold label. The pour is gorgeous into my oversized snifter, a deep walnut, *Almost* black, with a dense head the color of peeled almonds. Little retention, little lacing. Slight "legs" from the higher than average ABV.

The smell is very oaky, with lots of toasted coffee/toffee/carmel. Chocolate's in the crowd along with some fruity tones (cherry? berries?). Very appealing. It's drawing me in...

Not to wax poetic, but when the flower of this beer's flavor buds in my mouth, I get vanilla. This is followed by a full on bloom of multi-tonal depth and complexity. Being a big proponent of bourbon, I pick up on that distinct flavor immediately, as well as chocolate, espresso, toffee, with tart citrus and berries toward the finish. A fairly sweet beer, this one warms as it goes down, but hides the high alcohol content very well. Delicious. a sipping beer. I'm glad I poured it into my snifter.

This is on the higher end of what I would consider medium bodied, and feels wonderful in my mouth. The drinkability is high.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque, near black, with virtually no head. Nose has soft aromas of cocoa & nougat, milkshake malt aroma too. Palate offers a sizeable dose of bourbon flavors upon entry but then climbs into big, roasty rich flavors, including a dark chocolate component. Finish is very chocolatey. Easy to drink for the heaviness of the beer, and alcohol is masked well.

Photo of MADhombrewer
3.66/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Black as night. Dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

S- Alcohol aroma with a hint of dark chocolate.

T- Big alcohol flavor right off the bat. I also taste vanilla and dark chocolate. There is a coffee flavor after the alcohol taste is completely gone. Little lacing left behind in the glass.

M- Mouthfeel is great! I love a beer that is thick and coats your mouth as you drink it. This is one of those beers.

D- I am still having trouble getting into the "bourbon-barreled" anything. I don't drink hard alcohol so anything that has a big alcohol flavor kind of turns me away. I keep trying them though.

I hope to look back on this review and have a different opinion of this beer.I have two more of these in my cellar. Maybe some time will make these even better.

Photo of Bartian
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Given a bottle of the magnificently exciting Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged beer. Acquired 22oz. bottle for $9.49 at QFC in Portland.

Appearance is similar to other black gold experiences - a very dark stout!

My goodness, a total licorice bomb! The first, second and third whiff was like opening a box black licorice and shoving your nose in it!

And the taste is equally reminiscent! A highly complex, multi-layered experience with an initial hint of licorice and then a wave of strong, coffee enlivened stout! A real treat!

The mouthfeel is good but a bit too heavy for me; even for a stout. I suppose that is a biproduct of all of the loaded goodies inside.

As for drinkability, I found it to be more work than other stouts I would prefer. This is a great treat, but like many great deserts, a little goes a long way!

Photo of aeminter
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Colt9016

The appearance in jet black with low light brown head.

The smell is initially of bourbon, go figure, there are some light esters; mostly of dried fruit.

Hmm, tastes very rich, complex, bourbon, malty, light esters... maybe plum or fig. The bitterness is minimal and only really expresses itself in the finish.

The mouthfeel is damn near perfect; velvety, full bodied and just a little on the chewy side. The carbonation is moderate to low. It just plays on the front of the tongue and then disappears. The alcohol isn't really all that noticeable until you take a few pulls and then the warming starts. Very nice.

note: I'm generally not a huge fan of stouts, but like anything else if you look hard enough you can find exceptions to the rule. This is one of those exception, and I'm very happy to have had the chance to have this beer.

Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby brown with a silky espresso head. Lots of bourbon in the nose along with chocolate, oats, oak, dark fruits, vanilla, bitter hops and roasty malts. The taste also has a nice whiskey presence with big dark malts, piney hops, molasses, coffee, figs and anise. Body a bit thin for the style, but still drinks well. Probably the best brew I've had from Full Sail. Should improve for many years to come.

Photo of largadeer
2.73/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle from bgramer. Thanks, this was one hell of an extra.

Appearance: Dark brown with a bit of transparency, dark amber highlights and only a wisp of head.

Smell: Somewhat muted. Licorice, charred grain and oak. Not the most enormous bourbon barrel presence, this stuff only reveals a hint of that signature vanilla and caramel character.

Taste & mouthfeel: Up front spicy cola flavors (thanks Arne) and big, almost acrid roasted malt. Medium-bodied, a touch lighter than I'd like. More residual sugars would have been beneficial here, as it tastes a bit thin and flat on the whole. This was clearly put in a barrel, but the bourbon isn't dialed-in as well as it could be; it's somewhat lifeless. Bitter, semi-dry finish. Solid stuff but it fails to stand out in a very saturated style.

Photo of Meandmymonkey
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

licorice black with virtually no head. Smells bourbony upon going in for the first waft. The bourbon barrel shines right through also with vanilla and chocolate notes. Tastes like a sweet, vanilla, roasted malt stout with a huge bourbon aftertaste. I'm a instant fan and can't wait to get more to age. Given some years, this beer will rock somebody's world down the road. Full sail comes through yet again.

Photo of dukew456
3.47/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into my Duvel tulip.

Jet black, with a small, light brown head that quickly dissipates. Spotty lacing leaves something to be desired, but still respectable.

The aroma is nearly overpoweringly boozy to me. A sweet bourbon aroma jumps out initially, then moves aside just barely enough to let some roasted malt through.

Wow, the taste directly follows suit, being overwhelmingly boozy, with just a small amount of roasted malt and chocolate. The bourbon aspect adds a kind of fruitiness to this stout that I didn't expect.

I was a little bit disappointed in this beer, but maybe it would benefit from aging. This is pretty damn boozy, but it does say on the label that it's 10+% ABV. I just wish that maybe Full Sail had done a better job smoothing out this one's alcohol a bit.

Photo of olmatty
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Strange, quite frankly. Pours a nearly nonexistent brown head which dissappears faster than a soda head. Leaves no lacing at all. Beer is jet black.

Smell- Sour, oakey, port-like aroma eclipses all else.

Taste- Bourbon oak barrel aging seems to transform the normal stout characteristics into an initial flavor of port, roasty and sweet to be sure, and finishing with a clear flavor of bourbon.

Mouthfeel- Not heavily carbonated, yet the bubbles are unpleasantly large, and brisk. Like soda bubbles. Also, a surprisingly thin and slippery body for imperial bourbon barrel aged beer.

Drinkability- Lighter than its 10.5% ABV would suggest.

I find this wholly disappointing. Perhaps I should have aged this more.

Photo of edmedina
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black. This is one of the darkest beers I've seen. The head even comes off brown but full

Aroma: Vanilla and bourbon, nothing else. I tried to see if I could get hints of roast malt or anything else, but I got nothing.

Taste: I get tastes of the roasted malt. Almost chocolate like but that is immediately replaced with vanilla and the oak from the barrels.

Mouthfeel: Starts off very creamy and ends with a bourbon after taste. It's subtle but there.

Overall Impression: OK when I first took my smell I thought, Wow this is going to be full on bourbon but the taste was nothing like that. The beer behaves like a Russian Imperial Stout but ends with a bourbon bite. I like how balanced Full Sail made this beer. You can definitely tell this is a big beer for the big boys.

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Brewmaster Reserve
22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil/Capped

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, very nice oak/bourbon notes, chocolate/toffee, vanilla. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, lots of bourbon/oak/chocolate/toffee, and a nice touch of vanilla. Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended.

2009 Brewmaster Reserve
22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil/Capped

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, very nice oak/bourbon notes, chocolate/toffee, vanilla. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, lots of bourbon/oak/chocolate/toffee, and a nice touch of vanilla. Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As is often the case with these barrel-aged types, not much head is elicited even from a very vigorous pour. Black color, what's there is lightly tanned.

Nose is strongly oaky, with some dry fruit and chocolate. Mostly just wood and booze.

The flavor is two-headed; on one hand there is the vanilla flavor of the oak, which is really prominent. On the other is the chocolate, which takes over midway and really carries the flavor. As the brew warms closer to room temp, I would say that vanilla-oak-booze wins out.

Other flavor notes include fig and prune, coffee lightly roasted, and cocoa powder, along with a prick of peppery alcohol. The mouthfeel is no better than medium, but it's not too bad. I could go for a little more on the malt end in order to firm up the mouthfeel and bring a little dynamism to the taste, but it's not a half bad stout.

Oh, and I've seen this one running up tabs over $10 here in Phoenix. Not worth that - I believe mine was a $7 brew with tax. Still not great, but for barrel aging, limited ed., etc. etc. yada yada....

Photo of mnapier
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Temperature, 55 degrees. Serving Glassware, 12 ounce tulip.

During a strong overcast with scattered shower evening, I witnessed a strong foamy salt and pepper head that recedes quickly leaving little to no lace inside the glass.
The nose is interesting with strong alcohol, cocoa, bourbon, and oak.
The mouth is soft with light vanilla, some phenalic, cocoa, black cherries (almost raisin like), and oak.

Needs some work.


Photo of Spikester
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a modest tan head that becomes a long lasting ring. The lacings are few and come and go rather quickly. The aroma is woody, boozy, some cocoa, and vanilla notes. Taste is a dark chocolate then a bit of vanilla bourbon on the sides of the tongue. Further sips find molasses, black cherries, oak tannins, and a hint of charcoal. Mouthfeel was fine and the carbonation was just enough. Drinkability was bordering on exceptional and very enjoyable. I have another bottle that will be tasted next year.

Photo of PDXHops
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, in my Duvel tulip.

Black body with about 1/2 finger of dark tan head. The head quickly disappears, becoming a scattered skim of bubbles that I keep swirling to revive. Minimal lacing.

The bourbon is overpowering in the first ssniff, but as my nose acclimates, there's a really nice blend of cherry, oak, dark chocolate, and dark roasted malt. Mouth-watering.

Taste is good, but the bourbon is pretty powerful (to be expected in a bourbon barrel-aged youngster). Lots of bittersweet chocolate, cherry and other dark fruits. Plenty of sweet and dark roasted malt.

Mouthfeel's a little disappointing. The general feel is smooth, but the body's medium- body with not a lot of carbonation.

Overall impression: Solid barrel-aged RIS, and probably a good candidate for aging (I wonder how long it will take for the carbonation to disappear altogether, though).

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 481 ratings.