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Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter - Deschutes Brewery

Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked PorterClass Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

320 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 320
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.83%

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
A quarter century ago a passion for craft brewing ignited across the country. Today, the founding breweries of 1988 have united to commemorate that seminal year with a special selection of beers. Every bottle is a portal to the renaissance of craft brewing. Each steeped in heritage and expert craftmanship. Enjoy this tribute to the class of '88.

From the brewers of the celebrated 'Black Butte Porter' and 'Edmund Fitzgerald Porter' comes this limited-run collaboration. Brewed with roasted and smoked malt for a rich chocolate aroma and subtle smoky flavor.

(Beer added by: johnmichaelsen on 04-27-2013)
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Ratings: 320 | Reviews: 80 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JohnnyHopps


3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - The porter was a blackish brown color with a modest white head. Varying hues alternated in the glass making the overall color tough to label.

Smell - Obviously, it smelled like smoke. The smoke was not overwhelming, being balanced with a certain measure of malt.

Taste - In the beginning , I detect sweet dark fruits which are balance with the smoked malts. I have to admit that this was sweeter than I would have expected. The smoke is not overpowering, but somewhat understated. The acidity of the smoke comes through in the aftertaste with the sweetness fading.

Mouthfeel - I thought the mouthfeel was a little more emblematic of a stout. It was a little thick for the style, but that is not a big deal.

Overall - I think this was the winner at a recent bottle share since it was the only bottle to have been completely emptied. Personally, I thought it was pretty solid.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 16:04:43 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of alphagnome


3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a red-tinted, incredibly brown body with a very disappointing brown head. Retention is poor, fading to nothing in minutes. No lacing (how could there be when no head is present?) but light streams of carbonation can be seen.

Makes me long for the campfires of summer. Smoked wood and cocoa are dominant, reminding me of s'mores. Vague notes of leather.

Right away, you can't miss the smokiness of this one; it's in your face and powerful. Smoked oak character plays host to heavy, bitter chocolates and light toffee. Sweet malts provide a bit of backbone and a hint of licorice and plenty of booze can be found on the tail end. Aftertaste is sweet with crystallized brown sugar.

Medium bodied but somewhat watery. Light carbonation. Clean, semi-sweet finish.

This is a very tasty smoked porter, but truth be told, I'd probably take a run-of-the-mill Black Butte over it. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this, I certainly did... HOWEVER, for the steep price of admission, I could have had 2 sixers of Black Butte and I would enjoyed it just the same.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 23:50:42 | More by alphagnome
Photo of bluejacket74


4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, best by 4/29/14, 9.1% ABV. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch light tan head that sticked around a little while. There's also a lot of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like smoked malt, chocolate, roasted malt, butterscotch and some peat. It tastes like smoked malt, peat, coffee, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit (plums). Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little creamy and has low/moderate carbonation. I think it's a tasty brew, and would buy it again. Definitely worth trying at $6.99 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 01:30:22 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of 05Harley

New Hampshire

3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by 04/29/14
Estimated calories - 270/12oz

Purchased through Lets Pour
Price - $12.00/bomber

Pours a very dark amber color with a creamy lite tan head. Foam bergs decorate my Firestone Walker snifter glass and leave me with a milk mustache, wow. After several minutes just a soapy covering is all that remains from the head experience, yessaahh ;)

The aroma for me is the low point. I'm not getting a big nose of smoke like some reviewers have pointed out which is a shame. Certainly not Rauchbier status but pleasent never the less. Peat, roasted malt and vanilla dominate.

The flavor is dark chocolate, dried fruit and a boat load of roasted malt. The smokiness comes in late and is surprisingly light which again, is dissapointing. The beer finishes with a sweet vanila aftertaste.

The mouthfeel rocks and is the highlight for me at 9.1%, really?? Pretty damn smooth for the octane. Has a slight bitter start draped over a medium body and finishes moderately warm and dry as I tip the bottle upside down.

Overall pretty good but didn't blow my socks off. I anticipated much more of a smokey flavor and for this, I was a bit dissapointed. The beer did make up for it in mouthfeel which put a smile on my face.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 21:46:09 | More by 05Harley
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Does not pour much of a head, an aggressive pour down the middle yields a half finger of more larger bubbles then woven foam, dark tan in color, bubbles off rapidly, the lacing is likewise close to nonexistent. The liquid is clean and surprisingly transparent, only a few visible bubbles, the hue changes to a more orange to yellow cast near the surface and rims. In the nose the smokiness is very direct and upfront, close to Rauchbier quality, but overlaid with caramel, butterscotch, molasses notes as well as chocolate, oats, charred game and peaty earth accents, perhaps some plum but not especially fruity, overall its presence is light of touch and tends more to lift and drift off and settle in. Light-bodied, the smokiness and general fire camp roast seems to mask the other elements rather than support them. Chocolate, vanilla bean, toffee and a light breadiness but one would be hard pressed to call it sweet. The shyly efficient carbonation does not give it pep, the mouth feel is smooth if unmemorable. Smattering of banana among the plum, cherry fruit base. You can’t call it understated due to the smokiness, so conversely it leaves you wished it had more desire to rock out with gusto.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2014 02:47:12 | More by farrago
Photo of scottfrie


3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into snifter. Best by 4/29/2014.

A: Pours a clear cola brown with a finger of light tan head that quickly faded into a faint collar.
S: Smoke and anise dominate with notes of burnt campfire wood, peat, char and licorice. Roasted malt, faint chocolate, and mild spice poke through as well.
T: Smoke dominates the taste as expected with a bit more chocolate than the nose, especially in the aftertaste. Anise and vanilla poke through the smoke, and I get notes of slight caramel, dark fruits, and toasted grains. Finishes sweet.
M: Medium body, tingly carbonation, mild alcohol warmth, lightly bitter mouthfeel.
O: Decent smoked beer but not the best. I felt the dark fruit, chocolate, and smoke hindered each other rather than worked together. Wasn't my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 18:34:41 | More by scottfrie
Photo of travolta


2.18/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Mocha colored head with limited retention. Nice lacing.

Nose: Smoked salmon, licorice, and malty sweetness. Nota whole lot of smoke, more toast.

Taste: Well balanced, not overly carbonated, nice level of malt sweetness. Some caramel and smoky oak chips. Raisins. Some cinnamon and nutmeg at the end.

Notes: Not very different than their regular porter, especially for an imperial.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 02:36:13 | More by travolta
Photo of vfgccp

New York

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep cranberry juice body with ruby highlights. Tall light tan head has nice retention and lace.

S - Hammy smoke front and center. Touch of cedar, chestnuts, and shiitake mushrooms.

T - Really nice flavor profile. Firm smoke blends seemlessly with sweet caramel, toasted bread, salt, cilantro bitters, and sweet sherri.

M - Creamy, smooth, medium body.

O - Stellar. Some of the best balance and integration I've seen in a smoked beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 00:51:44 | More by vfgccp
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Two of my favorite porter breweries in collaboration.

Served in an Elysian tulip.

A: Poured a dark, dark, brown that once collected in the glass, the brew was damn near black. Slight mocha head.

S: Bacon-laced, for sure. Sweet, but more like a fine dark chocolate or licorice.

T: Something was off with this brew. Sure, the roast and char was there in its very bacony context, but there was an undercurrent of plastic that I couldn't get over.

M: Nice carb bill….. nothing wrong on that front. Smooth on the finish.

O: While I was a bit disappointed, I still think this was worth the under $10 price I paid for it.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 03:36:52 | More by Chaney
Photo of atigerlife


2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Small head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma of smoke and wood. That's about all I could get out of it.

Taste is smokey, wood, somewhat acrid. Like drinking burnt wood. Not pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, taste is rather disappointing. One is plenty. Great brewery, sub-par beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 02:36:32 | More by atigerlife
Photo of Goosehunter75


3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours almost black. Looks very similar to cola. It has a 2 finger tan head with average retention

S - Very malty aroma. Lots of chocolate with hints of smoke in the back

T - Wow. Very smoky tasting. Much more smoke in the taste than in the aroma. Hints of chocolate int he back as well as sweet malts

M - Very thick beer. It has a creamy mouthfeel. i would call this one full bodied!

O - Very different. The smoke is definately there! I cant decide if I am a fan of the smoke or not, but nonetheless they accomplished what they set out to do. Would definately give it another shot and see if I can develop a taste for the smokiness!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 16:21:47 | More by Goosehunter75
Photo of MrBoz21


3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark golden-brown-amber ... ribbons of light show through the center of pint glass. Not fully opaque. 1/2 inch tan head settled to thick cap, which quickly dissapates to spots. Lacing slides down side of glass. Very bubbly with floating particles.

Campire smokey aroma. Chocolate is in the background with sweet roast malt.

Taste is smoke and leather ... not overpowering. balanced with bitterness in the back.

Mouthfeel is heavy and slick. Leaves coat on tongue.

Overall: Complex and nuanced ... not overpowering. This is a beer that aficionados would like, but one pint per sitting would be my limit.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 00:49:07 | More by MrBoz21
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Best by 4/29/14.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, smoked malt, smoked meat, campfire, and slight adhesive bandage aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt, smoke, and adhesive bandage flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer but the adhesive bandage quality in the flavor makes this beer hard to drink very much of.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 04:26:55 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of CHADMC3


4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque deep brown to black with dark ruby hues beneath the generous mocha head which slowly dissolves to leave a thin ring of lacing.

Lets tackle nth the aroma and flavor at once as they seem to mirror each other for the most part and it is the tale of two beers. As advertised this brew is both imperial and offers traditional smoked malts at the same time. Wen first poured the beer is much more smoke forward similar to that of a rauch bier. As it warms the chocolate notes really step forward. The smokiness remains throughout the beer on the palate.

A fairly robust brew with subtle carbonation, a full body and a pleasant smoky finish.

A great beer in my. Opinion and underrated to boot. Tons of character both style Ppropriate and innovative.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 01:51:44 | More by CHADMC3
Photo of JohnG190

New York

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a quickly fading head. Some lacing. Interesting aroma, the best way to describe it is chocolatey smoke. Sweet maltiness on the front of the palate with lots of smokiness, like drinking a campfire. The sweetness tames the smokiness. Finishes bittersweet. Not subtle at all. Thin bodied with light carbonation. This beer is reminiscent of s'mores over a campfire. A well crafted beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 03:06:58 | More by JohnG190
Photo of hopsputin


4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

drank 11/23/13

a: dark mirky brown with some ruby red notes. 2 finger fizzy white head that fades pretty quick

s: notice the smoke right away - a little hint of meaty bacon. chocolate, toasted malts. there are some figs, and plums. ends with smoke and toasted malt

t: not as much smoke as i would have thought. toasted malts and milk chocolate are the dominant flavors here, the smoke is more of an afterthought. picking up some plums and raisins as well

m: medium

o: honestly, not as good as i was hoping for. i would have like the smoke to be featured more. other than that its a tad thin in the toasted malts department. its smooth though, and theres nothing offensive in here

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 02:29:38 | More by hopsputin
Photo of wisrarebeer


3.09/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This beer was not what I expected considering the brewers make Black Butte and Edmund Fitz.

The beer was thin, lacked character, and really didn't have a lot of smokey character. I was also surprised that the color was so light (copper/brown) and the body was nothing to speak of. What happened?

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2013 04:40:43 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of BWED


3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bomber bought in Philly, excited that Deschutes put us in their distribution area. Poured into a snifter.

A- Dark brown, chestnut body, with a nice one finger tan head. Retention isn't great, but lacing is.

S- I have to admit that I glanced at the latest review, and read the "olive" note, and noticed that myself, but this smell isn't a negative thing. Subtle smoke aroma, maybe more of a roast smell. An even more subtle sweetened cocoa aroma as well.

T- The smoke comes out more in the flavor. Still fairly subtle, however. Bit of a cocoa semisweetness. Overall great malt character.

M- Nice creamy thick body. The smoke adds some bite to the feel, but overall nice and smooth.

O- Subtle smoke characters are really nice. Usually smoke is the centerpiece of the beer. A great sipping beer, so I should have shared this bomber!

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2013 03:35:32 | More by BWED
Photo of TCMike


4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color, and produced a finger, and a half of beige head.

The aroma is of , smoke, kalmata olives, and an earthy note.

The taste is similar, but with a light coffee, and alcohol. No real hop bitterness. Heavy body, and lowish carbonation.

Good sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2013 00:47:50 | More by TCMike
Photo of Jimmys


3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

/bomber into small tulip. concentrated rim is great for a beer with this smokey aspect to it. best by: 4/29/14.

A: pours a solid brown hue. opaque. head is slightly brown and has good retention. spotted lacing.

S: a toasted, young smoke smell. slightly acrid. a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of roast. both very dry.

T: dry chocolate, dry roast, even dry smoke. not nearly as smokey as I hoped (importatnt to note that I am a smoked beer junkie). similar to the nose, the smoke is slightly Band-Aid/acrid.

M: average carb on a medium body. definitely not full imo.

D: really doesn't drink like a porter of this size, abv wise. really dry, smoke character is unique. not my favorite smoked porter, but not a bad beer. sort of at a loss regarding a real opinionated feeling on this brew one way or the other.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 19:47:29 | More by Jimmys
Photo of Kenzie


3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I was very excited to try this beer, but found there was just too much smoked packed into the beer. It was not very rich and dark like an imperial porter and most of the flavor came from the plasticy/liquid smoke taste. I have had some very good smoked beer before, but I didn't think this one was utilized well.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 04:40:27 | More by Kenzie
Photo of hardy008


3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights, and a one finger beige head, with nice retention and lacing. The aroma has caramel and smoke malt. The smoky aroma is nice, but it is too strong to pick up much of anything else. The bottle mentions roasted malt and chocolate, but I can't smell them at all.

I can taste the chocolate and roasted malt, along with the smoked malt and some caramel. I just don't think the flavors mesh very well. They seem to clash with each other. I like smoky beers in general. but thuis porter would have been better off without the smoke, or with the amount of smoke reduced.

Light to medium bodied with modest carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, and there is a sweet smoky aftertaste. I like the flavors in this beer, but do not like them blended together this way very much. A decent beer, but not one I would buy again if I saw it on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2013 00:27:46 | More by hardy008
Photo of AmishLightning


4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was my first smoked beer that I am reviewing. Quite an interesting flavor profile with a common porter disguise.

Appearance: The pour was thick, but didn't leave much of any lacing on the sides of the glass. Little carbonation gave this beer almost nothing of a foam topping. Head surface was smooth and flat due to the small height. Black coloring , but you could see some brownish light through the edges if head up to the light.

Smell: Roasted Malts and a bit of hops. Very typical porter smell. Very plain.

Taste: The brew starts with a bit of strong roasted malts to follow the nose. Than SMOKE!!! wow, I don't know if it hit me harder because this was the first of its kind that I had tried, but I sure as hell noticed the intensity of the smoke. The smoke also added a strange sensation. After that taste you feel that you should be thirsty, but you are not because you are drinking a beer. It was very odd getting used to this beer for that reason. Also, there was a bit of chocolate taste on the finish if you let the beer hit the back of your mouth. Overall, a very dynamic beverage.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than a swamp after a hurricane. Pretty smooth, partially resembling a oatmeal stout with the way it sits on your tongue: low carbonation, smooth, and thick.

Overall: Definitely, a beer that you should try out. I don;t know if this will be a class of beers that I will go into. I see this as a beer that is good for the masses to experience and for the few to continuously enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 23:54:06 | More by AmishLightning
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" head.

Smell: light roasted malt aroma with a hint of smoke and chocolate.

Taste: roasted malt, chocolate, raisins, mild smokiness, moderate bitterness, and a hint of alcohol warming are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste as the mild smokiness lingers on the tongue.

Overall: an easy drinking porter that goes well with BBQ. Very enjoyable as the smoked flavor is complimentary, not overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 17:01:33 | More by Gavage
Photo of LampertLand

British Columbia (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deschutes Brewery & Great Lakes Brewing collaboration brew 'Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter' @ 9.1% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $11

A-pour is a dark brown from the bottle to glass with a medium size tan head leaving a streaky lace along the pint glass

S-hint of smoke and Black Butte Porter

T-smooth mellow and creamy , easy drinkin , not too much smoke

MF-medium carbonation , full bodied , carefull easy drinking/sipping beer

Ov-good beer , yes I'd buy again and I did , looking forward to try Great Lakes half of this fine collaboration brew

prost LampertLand

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2013 18:13:06 | More by LampertLand
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Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Deschutes Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.