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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

455 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 455
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: 455 | Reviews: 262 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Reino
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- One finger of mochaccino (yeah, I said it) head rises to the top of my Duvel tulip and recedes to a creamy film atop this pitch black monster. There are only a few spatterings of lacing. Body=great, head and lacing=meh.

Smell- Chocolate, black cherry bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, oak, brown sugar... pretty much everything you'd expect from a good bourbon aged stout. The more I smell it, the more the bourbon vanilla and caramel notes dominate.

Taste- Am I crazy or does this taste quite a bit like Cherry Adam from the Wood? I think the reason I'm getting that is the tannins running wild through the rest of the flavors. There are some beautiful bourbon flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel coming through, but the fruits are more sharp than sweet. Some bitter baker's chocolate is mingling, as well. This needs time to come together.

MF- Full bodied on the lowest end of medium carbonation. The full body doesn't hold up to it's competition, however. I actually think their imperial porter has a fuller body. It's still quite pleasing on the tongue except for those damn tannins clinging where they don't belong. The heat isn't much of a problem for me, but I'm starting to become numb to it after all of these big beers this winter.

Drinkability- It goes down very easy considering the abv, tastes good, but a bomber is enough for me. Time will definitely improve the flavor, but I'm still quite disappointed with this beer. It's a good beer for the style, but I think their Top Sail Imperial Porter is better in every way, and almost more of an Imperial Stout than this is. I'm not an Abyss whore like a lot of people, but when I drop over $10 on an impy stout that's brewed in OR, there are certain expectations, and this didn't live up to them.

Reino, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of Magpie14
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold foil-top bomber, very excited about this one

A: a tempting deep brown bourbon pour with intense reds making an appearance. Overall very dark and luscious looking in the glass. I gave it a rather vigorous pour and a thin ghostly head appeared and vanished. Just a small ring of light mocha colored fizz remains. Just a few random dabs of lace

S: nice whiff of freshly shredded and flaked vanilla sweetened coconuts, mild sweet aged bourbon, dark bitter chocolates, and dark roasted malts. So far so good, shaping up real nice

T: man, this has a great profile. Roasted malts maintain a good footing and make things robust and tidy. I also pick up on more chocolate in the mix...reminiscent of fudge brownies with a dash of vanilla beans in the back after the swallow. The bourbon flavors evoke vanilla, charred wood, and dry flavors. This is a good after dinner desert drink, you might be able to conjure of soft dark fruits in the mix as well. Another interesting feature is the slight astringency that is showing up at the back of my tongue. It says that this brews IBU is 65, I would concur. I happen to like this one, bourbon notes have a mildly driving push throughout

M: i could tell from the pour that it was going to be a light imperial stout body. It is not the creamiest, thickest, or darkest imperial stout I have ever had. However, it is slick, smooth, easily drinkable with a more-than-husky medium body. I find it fits well

D: a wonderful experience is right. I found myself enjoying this bottle immensely. If you see it, buy it and enjoy

Magpie14, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of HairOfTh3Dog
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer Pours a dark dark black with just the remnants of a head. Swirling the beer achieves syrupy lines down the sides of the glass but not as much as I had expected out of a beer this dark and thick.

The first characteristic of the smell is bourbon, plain and simple. The smell finishes with a bit of vanilla and spice.

The First thing i noticed about the taste of this beer was that it had a bit of a spice flavor to it. It definitely has a sweet bourbon taste to it as well. The vanilla that came through in the smell is present but not overwhelming.

This beer is fairly mellow for such a newly bottled brew which makes it very drinkable. The alcohol is not too hot but is definitely present.

HairOfTh3Dog, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of cswhitehorse
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Black Gold Imperial poured a viscous oil color with a single finger foam head that dissipated pretty quickly. Not much in the way of lacing. The bottle came in a cool black and gold label with gold foil on the top.

The smell initially was all oak and bourbon. As it warmed and went on I could pull out some molasses and vanilla. The taste was nice but to me but less complex than what i was expecting. You got the burn of the 10.5 abv, the slight coffee bitterness and oak and bourbon. It was thin to me in relation to other imperial stouts I have tried. It was almost an imperial porter with its thin-ness. Overall not a bad brew but has a little way to go to get to the top of the class.

cswhitehorse, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of Chelsea1905
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber

Poured almlost lifeless untill an agressive pour produced some head. The head was minimal, and gave-way quite quick;y before leaving a small brown-tinged head that left minimal lacing.

Smelled of bourbon barresl, with dark roasted malts dominating that background. Whiskey, bourbon, and wood of an almost Cedar quality.

Taste is somewhat dominated by the alcohol, but leaves a little warmth of black fruit before giving way to the chocolate/burned malt flavourings, then the alcohols whooshes over almost like a revival adding to the complexity of the beer

Medium to light mouth feel for a Stout, and I very much doubt you'd be drinking too many of these

Overall, a great beer, not as good as the Abyss, but for a little less spondulla it's certainly worth a shot!

Chelsea1905, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of unclederby
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured as vigorously as i could into my miniature Old Raspy nonic (about 8 oz.?) Smallish caramel color cap sits atop this black beer, but it quickly fades to nothingness. No lacing as i drink. Aromas of bourbon and caramel predominate, with a touch of vanilla to lend an overall creme brulee-like bouquet. Smells scrumptious. Flavors are much the same, with obvious roasted malt and caramelized sugar nuances. The bourbon is mellower and smoother than last years porter and I appreciate this... there is also enough of a hop presence to keep the richness from becoming too cloying. I'd have to agree with others that the mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but this does have the effect of increasing it's drinkability. Carbonation is there somewhere i'm sure... Overall, a nice beer if not exactly a world-beater, and i'll shell out the bucks for one more to cellar for a bit.

unclederby, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 picked up at the Coop over the weekend enjoyed from my Chimay goblet while boxing up some brews... Paid about $9..

Head dies back immediately despite a fairly aggressive pour.. no lace and not much of a cap.. the brew poured a little thin for the style.. it's black.

Aroma is thick dark dried fruits.. lite coffee with quite a bit of chocolate.. the bourbon is there and strong throughout.. sorta spicy.. reminds me of cinnamon and vanilla bean.

Flavor is also spicy EtOH.. bittersweet chocolate with vanilla from the bourbon.. dark fruitiness reminds me of raisin and dried sweet cherries.. tannic throughout.. body is on the lite side especially given the ABV.. could use a little more malt.. carbonation is on the lite side lending toward a fairly smooth mouthfeel.. balanced heavily across the board toward the bourbon side..

It's been years since I've had an '06... but I never liked that one because of the overly heavy bourbon component.. this one seems more mild.. at least in memory.. but it is pretty damn good.. not world class... but pretty damn good.. I could see it getting significantly better with some age.. but age is not really gonna help the body... sorry... I was really hoping I was gonna appreciate this one more... surprisingly.. the drinkability is actually fairly high given my above negatives..

Thanks to Matt and Ashton for fighting to get this one in.. now I just need to figure out how to stock up so I have some more for down the road.

JohnGalt1, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of reinheitsgematt
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter at cellar temp (~50 F)

Pours a deep mahogany, nearly opaque with a quickly dissipating tan head and fine carbonation.

Aroma offers loads of bourbon vanilla and some molasses

Surprisingly light for 10.5%ABV... odd to say that, but it's quite striking and wholly unexpected. That said, flavors follow nose with ample bourbon influence (vanilla bean), some char, more molasses, and a persistent dry-ish chocolate malt finish. Alcohol heat shows on the re-breathe in the back of the throat, but never overwhelms.

Overall, stunningly drinkable, even light for the style, no element outshines any other, creating a big, balanced beer. Curious to see how it ages, wish I had an older vintage to compare.

reinheitsgematt, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of BarleyMine
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a snifter:

L- BLACK! With a thick tan head and sticky lacing.

S- Molassas, brown sugar, bourbon, roasted grains and wood.

T- Bourbon, roasted malts, alcohol and a slight toasted coconut finish.

B- full, thick body with nice smooth carbonation.

Extremely drinkable.

BarleyMine, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- This looks as if it poured a little thin. The beer pours very dark brown, yet when it settles in the glass it looks black. The head was very thin and eventually disappeared to just a ring around the edge.

S- Other then the obvious bourbon, there is a great buttery caramel smell. The bourbon smell is great, starts off strong and potent and reminds me of a bad night in college, then smooths out to something more refined. It would be interesting to know what brand of bourbon barrels they used. For those who have had GIBCS this smells just like that with more bourbon smell.

T- The taste is great, nice blend of buttery caramel taste and bourbon. I'm getting a slight woody taste, and no not a tongue boner, although this is pretty tasty. A coffee taste seems to start to come in the more you drink this beer. The star of this beer is the bourbon taste, and I know some people don't like the overwhelming taste but I like it.

M- I think this is a bit thin at first, at least compared to what I was expecting. Yet the more I drink it the more I like the thin feel.

D- I think this is easy to drink. Smooth, but there is a slight drying out the palate effect, but only just a little.

This reminds me very much of GIBCS only thinner and more bourbon taste.

Wetpaperbag, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of erikm25
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black and viscous. No hints of any other colors. A dark, one inch, caramel hued head makes an appearance yet quickly vanishes. Hold this up to the sun and you'd think you were in a new moon lunar phase with the total eclipse this creates. Spotty lacing clings around the glass. Solid looking.

S: Aromas are sharply and sweetly complex. Vanilla and some roasted oak hit the nose to round things out. Hints of dark cherry candies, caramel, and black licorice. Warms the nose with subtle bourbon and brown sugar smells.

T: Nice cocoa, toffee, and roasted coffee tastes. Dark fruits (like figs and raisins) with a splash of grape and cherry. Much like the nose there is a lingering and powerful sweetness to each taste. Hints of molasses without being to heavy or syrupy. Little bit of a hops finish which adds nicely. As this warms up the bourbon tastes are more pronounced and helps make this a real treat, IMO. It's hard to comment on whether this was balanced. Though I did enjoy its intensity.

M: Medium body (almost bordering on full). I was expecting just a little more roundness.

D: This was actually very drinkable considering the hard hitting ABV. Has all the staple RIS flavors without feeling too weighty (which I can see either being a plus or minus). I picked this up for $11.99 a bottle. While I couldn't afford to indulge that often it is still absolutely worth a try. Considering you can pick up quality Full Sail offerings at very reasonable prices it is well worth shelling out a few extra bucks for this fine brewery. Play list for this massive beer included Black Cobra, High on Fire, Metallica, and some Buddy Holly (RIP).

erikm25, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of midaszero
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque body with one finger of coffee head that doesn't stick around to long. A small bit of lacing as well.

S - Smells awesome even from a distant. Sweet sweet bourbon smell.

T - Chocolate bourbon goodness. A little hot but not nearly as bad you might expect from a 10.5 ABV

M - Medium thick body with light medium carbonation. Coats the gums some as well.

D - Very easy to drink for the high ABV and almost sessionable. Very enjoyable especially if you like bourbon aged beers.

midaszero, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of badbeer
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with an off-white head, quickly recedes to a ring around the glass. Sweet bourbon and caramel aromas; bourbon is pretty dominant. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, and roastiness in the taste. Light body with a dry finish; higher end of carbonation. Thanks to cokebottle, or whatever his current name may be.

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A now 2 year old bottle...thanks to akorsak for sharing.

A-Deep black with no highlights thinnest of thin ring of tan foam, no lace.

S-Dark and foreboding roasted malt, chocolate and a VERY healthy smack of bourbon and alcohol burn.

T-Dark malt flavours mingle with chocolate and a bit of coffee. Upon warming the bourbon character comes on full force. The longer it sit the bigger and bolder it seems to get. I am impressed considering this has 2 years of aging ubder it's belt. I couldn't imagine drinking this fresh...Ouch! Even now I felt like the full frontal bourbon attack was a bit too much after a while.

M-Medium-heavy body, thick and viscous. Bourbon flavours linger a LONG time.

D-This one is for the true bourbon lover only. If you don't appreciate bourbon this one will leave you scrubbing your tongue! Lucky for me bourbon is a good thing. Maybe a bit too strong on the bourbon but I would rather have too much than not enough! At least Full Sail isn't holding back!

Deuane, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A foil-wrapped 650 mL bottle courtesy of a Fall 2006 trade with liverletdie.

A: The stout is midnight, dark as a night without the moon. The lack of head further accentuates the darkness of the stout.

S: The nose is stout initially, dark and foreboding with a strong boozy warmth. Chocolate and dark breads lead the way. As the stout warms, bourbon emerges with an impressive strength. Vanilla and alcohol round out the nose.

T: Initially, the stout is just that. Dark flavors, chocolate and nuttiness, emerge with no indication of the strength of the barrel. In warming, the stout takes on a whole new dimension. Vanilla, pepper and corn booze emerge, complimenting the chocolate stout elements. When the stout reaches room temperatute, it's full potential is reached. The bourbon is firing on all cylinders, overpowering the stout in an alcoholicd delirium. For a stout with two years under its belt, wow!

M: This one goes neck and neck with Dark Hollow. The bourbon is slow to emerge but when it does, make sure that you aren't in the way.

D: The alcohol is hidden (if that is possible in a bourbon stout) until the temperature increases. Near room temperature, this one'll knock your socks off.

akorsak, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of rkuhnel
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

23 oz bottle dated 2008. This category says 2006 but I am not going to create a new category just for a new year. I served this at my 55 degree cellar temperature. Very black color with a small foamy brown head. Good lacing. Mouthfeel is silky smooth. Nose is like whiskey and chocolate, with other odors of oak, ripe fruit, and vanilla. Flavor is remarkable, with lots of chocolate and alcohol. The finish is bourbon and alcohol. A very unique brew, and one I really liked.

rkuhnel, May 26, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a khaki-colored head.

Smell: Do you like bourbon? If the answer's yes, just wink at me.

Yes, it's bourbony, baby. Full, redolent notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and toasted oak eclipse the lesser hints of dark malts and chocolate.

Taste: Dark malts, chocolate, and a simple syrup sweetness expertly integrated with the bourbon characteristics. Chocolate syrup and a few flecks of coconut on a finish that is very warming, but never hot.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Quite warming.

Drinkability: Very nice. So nice, in fact, that it has a noticeable calming effect. Personally, I put on some relaxing music, sat quietly, hands clasped together on my lap. I'll finish the rest of my glass before retiring to the den to read for a spell before going to bed.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a small brownish head, smells of bourbon and vanilla..it tastes like heaven. The oak, bourbon and vanila is prominent, chewy and it will kick you in the balls. Mouthfeel is plenty of kick. The vanilla and bourbon is just down right great! Best Imperial I have ever had..second is oak aged yeti

barleywinefiend, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from notes:

22oz bomber bottle with gold foil on the top.

Super dark black with a nice espresso coloured head of foam that initially dies, but is revivable to a certain degree. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, fig, and other dark fruit variants. Taste is silky smooth with non boozy bourbon and vanilla in the foreground, slight herbal hop, fresh baked doughboy rolls and raisins in the back palate. Mouthfeel is think, but not over the top which keeps the drinkability high. The bourbon aging really wakes this formerly boring impy stout up and gets him going right. Pretty nice. As a side note, I wish I could still get this now!


francisweizen, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of brewandbbq
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a modest, beige head of a quarter-inch.
What head did arise, quickly faded to a few whisps of bubble trails.
Aromatics are heavily bourbonized.
Bitter chocolate, charred malt, and dark roasted coffee beans are well integrated and support the prevolent whiskey.
The mouthfeel is thick, chewy, sticky, and lightly syrupy. Low carbonation adds some sophistication. On the thinnish side of body by todays American RIS standards.
The pallet is, as promised, a blast of bourbon.
Plenty of Imperial stout character, but the whiskey overwhelmes it. Not a bad thing, eh?
Dark, bitter chocolate, espresso grinds, acrid black malt, and charred oak follow through the searing alcohol.
The finish builds with plenty of numbing heat, lingering bakers chocolate drizzled with Kahlua, and vanilla.

At 2 years old, this beer could still use some additional cellaring to help round out the booze.
Luv's me barrel-aged Imperial stouts, at any age tho!

brewandbbq, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of franksnbeans
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh baby, this glugs out thick like sludge opaque black with a minimal ring of tan head. Moreso has legs than lace, what a beauty. Smell the bourbon laced vanilla notes along with chocolate. You get a rainbow of taste with a start of big sweet chocolate malt, then non boozy bourbon washes it away, then a little dark fruit covered by vanilla chocolate bourbon if such an animal exists. A warming full mouthfeel that commands you enjoy a delectable sip at a time. An apartif beer for the connoiseur.

franksnbeans, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of genog
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle.
Pours a rich black color with a creamy tan head. Great amount of lacing as well as head comes back with every swirl of your glass. Smell is of chocolate, a little mild coffee smell and some toffee as well. All of this is paired beautifully with the vanilla bourbon notes creating a great mixture. Taste is sweet followed by a lingering bitterness. Not very boozy from the bourbon making this a delicious sipper with a creamy mouth feel.

genog, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with skyhand. Thanks for the opportunity... Gold foiled cap.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a tight 1/8" tan head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head is down to a swirl of bubbles in scant moments, with minimal lace, tending more towards legs. Aroma is dark malt with vanilla-tinged bourbon. Taste starts with a sweet darkness, goes with a peek of fruit and some wisps of vanilla in the middle, and then closes with bourbon and lots of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is amazing, and drinkability is dangerous. Worth the trouble to find and experience.

ppoitras, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of hoppymeal
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small caramel head that fades quickly. Aroma is nice and bourbony over top of dark roasted malts, mellow sweet chocolate, nice woodiness, leather and a bit of soy sauce. Taste is big vanilla sweetness up front, the bourbon mixes in, at first in the background but grows to a nice bite of alcohol with some roasty tanginess in the finish. Body is medium, not as heavy as I expected based on the aroma, soft and slightly creamy before an alcohol bite and drying finish. An outstanding beer, I'd love to try the non ba version for a comparison.

hoppymeal, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting for this one for a while and my patience just gave out. Pours a clear black, just a little garnet around the edge of the glass and a slight dark head.
Smells like chocolate candy. Yeah, that's it.
Taste is phenomenal. It's like chocolate cake batter in a glass. Maybe you think that's bad but in this case it is wonderful. I honestly don't know how they get that much sweet chocolate taste out of 4 basic ingredients. It's thick, lush and creamy. Sweet in other ways than chocolate, caramel, slight fruit notes. The bourbon comes through in a rich aftertaste that warms beautifully. There is no way I could think of to improve the taste so it got a 5.
Easy enough to drink but the chocolate might make it hard to drink too much of it.
Simply wonderful. Why can't I brew beer like this?

kirok1999, Aug 31, 2007
Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 455 ratings.