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Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter - Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked PorterGreat Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

195 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 195
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 14
Gots: 13 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MikeCactusGordon on 05-20-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by FedgE_The_Beer_Baron:
More User Reviews:
Photo of CloudStrife
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11 oz pour into a goblet. From last nights notes.

A: Pours a clear dark brown appearing almost black in the glass. White head on top that is somewhat quick to dissipate. Leaves spots of lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Smokiness comes through well dominating the aroma. Bit of dark fruits and roastiness from the malt.

T: As with the aroma, there is a strong smokiness to this beer. Roasted malts really compliment the smoke. Chocolate malts are in there too and come out nicely as it warms.

M: Medium body with a bit more creaminess than your average porter. Finish is smooth and alcohol well hidden.

Overall I'm glad I've been able to have this porter a couple times now. Two of the best porter brewers collaborated on an excellent beer here. With the added complexity of the smoke flavor, this is a great blend.

Photo of spacecake9
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Very tasting porter. Not as smoky as I would have liked.

Photo of prototypic
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

The Class of ‘88 Imperial Smoked Porter pours a darker mahogany brown color. It’s not opaque. Burgundy highlights are noted throughout when held to light. It’s capped with a tan head that rises to nearly a finger in height. It quickly falls back to a surface covering. Lacing was rather light and spotty. Not bad.

The nose kicks off with a fairly strong smoky scent. It blends nicely with the chocolate and roasted malts that follow. The malt varieties seem to be present in roughly equal proportions. Smells like there’s a healthy amount of coffee present. I like that a lot. There might be some light dark fruit notes buried in there. Tough to tell. Alcohol is noted, but doesn’t seem too strong. Doesn’t smell like 9%. It’s rather straight forward, but it smells good. Everything works together nicely.

The flavor is very consistent with the nose. This one isn’t incredibly deep or complex, but it is tasty. Roasted and chocolate malts are the base. Bittersweet dark chocolate and cocoa flavors are noted. Roasted coffee is definitely in the mix and complements the malts well. The smoky flavor is really nice and works extremely well. It really drives the flavor. There is a touch of tangy dark fruit on the tail. Alcohol doesn’t seem to be much of a factor. I am surprised it’s 9%. Doesn’t seem that strong at all. Finishes malty and smoky.

The body feels light and a bit watery. It’s too thin. Needs more body. Carbonation is active, but doesn’t seem buzzy or overbearing. For what it’s worth, it’s easy drinking. It’s tasty and disappearing fast.

Rogue and Great Lakes Brewing Company did a nice job with this one. It’s an interesting release for a 25th Anniversary collaboration, but I like the left of center approach. The fact that it’s good beer is even better. My only complaint is that the body is too thin. Good stuff otherwise. Certainly worth checking out.

Photo of KYGunner
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This porter poured a deep brown to one shade off black. The head was strangely off white an collared to a froth.

The scent was relatively mild with with roasted coffee notes, smoke or char and a toasted malt.

The taste was quite subtle at first but delving deeper in, the smoke appears at the forefront. I began to catch glimpses of chocolate malt, caramel and coffee roast. Nothing overwhelming but a nice smooth tasteful ride through a lightly carbonated drink.

Overall, this is good and worthy of another try but could use the Imperial treatment.

Photo of Bung
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Tap at Duckworths. Just a darkish brown pour, not as dark as one might expect, with a frothy layer of cream head. Laced quite well.

Aroma, some smoke and toasted malt. Light milk chocolate.

Taste, kind of sweeter malt up front, caramel, with some dark chocolate and honey roast peanut. Beechwood barbeque takes over from there, heavy smoke.

Creamy and not real heavy. Coats well enough though. A nice drinker if you are ready for it. This is the best part of this brew for sure. No alcohol.

If you're going to advertise smoke it better be there and it is with this one. The porter behind it is fairly average, which is Extreamely surprising considering the porters these two brewers put out.

Worth trying once for sure.

Photo of BrewUSA
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great Lakes Smoked Porter

Look 8/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 29/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 15/20

Overall 77/100

Wasn't a big fan of this... While it had a perfect amount of smoke taste, there's was an unusual 'band aid smell' type taste' like old rubber was used to brew it. Drinkable and all... However, I may keep a bottle unopened just cause I would almost rather have the keepsake than the sub par taste~

Photo of MarkJBurch
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a growler yesterday which has remained unopened until the time of review. Aggressive pour into a nonic pint glass produced a modest head that quickly dissipated into a thin layer of tan bubbles, lacing present. Dark and rusty in color with hints of ruby where light strikes the glass.

Burnt molasses, caramelized sugars are prominent in the nose. The stale smell that a campfire leaves on your clothing. Leather? Mesquite-esque.

Bitter char is heavy on the palate, distracting. Bittersweet chocolate. Faint booze in the background. Dark fruit and tobacco.

Not as full bodied as I'd like, adequate carbonation. After two glasses my mouth feels fatigued.

This would be great in a marinade. I'm not crazy about it, perhaps I should shy away from smoked beers. If you can't find this in your area, eat some BBQ Lays, smoke a cigarette and wash it all down with an Edmund Fitzgerald.

Photo of wedge
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

@ Tasty Beverage

Served in a small snifter, appears a dark brown color - nearly black in fact, until about half way through, when a deep chestnut comes through. A slim, creamy covering settles on top. Mellow, pleasant smoky aromas greet the nose along with roasty grain, chocolate, and fruity wood notes...clean overall. Meaty, smoky malt flavor, though not as nearly intense as some smoked beers. Lightly sweet raisin bread, roasted malts, with a little finishing bite. Comes across simple, but quite tasty and satisfying. Medium bodied, solid carbonation and some dryness. There's a little heat, but otherwise this is super easy to drink for 9%. A great job, coming from two of America's most respected porter brewers.

Photo of buschbeer
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

1 PINT, 6 FLUID OUNCE bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It pours like used motor oil. It is thick and black. I got less than an inch of mocha head.

S - The aroma consists of chocolate and smoke.

T - The initial taste was loaded with smoke, but it gave way to the chocolate flavor. Subsequent tastes where more on the chocolate side. The smoke was still there but more subtle than that initial blast.

M - Velvety smooth

O - I had this fresh on tap at the brewery when I bought it. After a few months the bottle has less smoke than the fresh draft had. I like this more subtle bottled version better. This is a delicious porter from some guys who know how to make porters.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Really excited about this as I rarely get Deschutes and don't get great lakes in the nyc area. Poured from tap at tap and mallet in Rochester ny into snifter. Dark black pour with thin tan head and large bubble carbonation. Smell is chocolatey smokeyness...very crisp though. Smells sweet but a bit of soy sauce. ..lots of leather.
Taste is roasted chocolate and smoke. Bacony...sweet...roasted...smokey...leathery....weird. its easy to drink. .you don't notice the abv at all.
Its good...not as good as I hoped. The leather aroma is just too powerful.
Warming helps...Maybe some age would also help..
A bit disappointed.

Photo of Etan
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz into a cervoise.

A: Pours black with brownish tinges with an (oddly) off-white head.

S: Meaty smoked grain dominates the nose, with hints of cherry and coffee roast and soft cocoa.

T: The smoke is prevalent but more restrained in the taste. Pleasant woodfire smoke, mild roasted grain, residual malty sweetness, chocolate.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Could be a bit thicker.

O: A nice smoked porter, with the smoke being assertive yet pleasant. Mouthfeel could be a bit better but overall very enjoyable.

Photo of ludachris
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cherry wood highlights are clearly visible when its root beer brown body is held to the light. Judging by the highlights, this looks like it would be quite clear if it wasn't for its deep brown hue. A small cap of off-white fizzy head doesn't waste much time lessening itself to a ring. Some alcohol film is left behind after a few swirls.

Immediately you get a dose of meaty and woody smoke. Bamberg's famous beechwood smoked malt must be used in this. its usual boldness is dampened by its hefty and sweet nutty core made up of boozy hazelnuts and chestnuts. Cocoa and dry dark chocolate are in the mix as well. Its smokiness and nuttiness however are really what define the nose.

The smoked malt is made much more prominent in the taste. Sweet meaty goodness and campfire make for a stern base. Like the smoke, the chocolate also comes through in a more decisive fashion. It has a cake like richness with dark chocolate and some fudgey nuances. There's a hint of nuttiness as well but its presence is largely replaced by its chocolate character, which I enjoy more and more with each sip. And in the end, chocolate cake with plenty of depth is what we're left with without the smoke.

This is medium bodied and clean with a sticky dry finish. Its alcohol content is well hidden throughout.

From the makers of Black Butte and Edmund Fitzgerald, I wanted more. I found the nose to be a bit weak for the style and its alcohol content. It wasn't until the taste where it picked up the slack, amping up both the smokiness and chocolate. This is a very drinkable and flavourful Porter and one that I'm glad I was able to get my hands on.

Photo of neenerzig
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 22 oz bomber bottle into one of my pint glasses. This beer pours a clear medium to dark brown color with lots of ruby highlights when held to the light. Has a slightly tan/off white head that is initially a good solid 1/2-2/3 inch thick when first poured, but settles way too quickly to a nice foam layer covering the beer's surface along with a medium sized ring lining the inside of the glass and some nice lacing. Needs better head retention. Aromas of some smokey caramel malt along with cocoa and vanilla and perhaps a bit of clove and dark fruit. Also a bit meaty. Has a nice roasted caramel malt sweetness upfront flavor wise that gives way to vanilla and cocoa flavors, bacon-esque meatyness, and some bitter coffee notes rounding it out. Don't really taste any hints of clove of dark fruits, even though I think I can smell them. A bit of a strange mix of flavors for a porter with that meatyness going on. I didn't detect any hop presence at all. Needs a bit of hop bitterness to balance out all the sweetness from the chocolate and caramel. Tasty though. Has a slightly crisp, sort of sticky, chewy, maple syrupy, creamy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation, as evidenced by the burping that ensued for me. A good beer, but not a great beer, and I didn't feel it lived up to the hype to be honest. Glad I picked up a bottle to try, but I won't feel deprived if I never drink this again. I am a bit disappointed though. Not one of the better smoked porters I have had in my day. I am a fan of smoked beers. This one just didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Eric

Photo of WelshBrewer
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is for the Deshutes version since there is not a beer review set up for it yet and it would not let me unless I have reviewed 20 beers.

A- Pours dark brown, almost non existent head.

S- Chocolate, A little heavy on the smokiness (may subside with aging).

T- Chocolate, lightly roasted malts, and balanced on the front. On the finish the smokiness comes through. Overall well balanced, tasty.

M- Medium bodied, slightly silky, very drinkable, decent carbonation on the mouth not in the visual.

O- This was a pretty nice beer from Deschutes and definitely did not disappoint. It had the qualities of a decently solid porter with a unique twist with the addition smokiness. Overall this was a very drinkable Porter, I did buy (8) 22's for the Cellar.

Serving type: Tap (Deschutes (Portland) Brew Pub)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.01/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: a deep brown/ black. opaque and a thin tan head that leaves a side lacing

Smell: smoked maple bacon. not much works its way around that

Taste: some notes of roasted malts and chocolate but i am mostly getting bacon in liquid form. not very drinkable to me

Mouthfeel: leaves a smoky taste behind. other wise of good body

Overall: loved black butte and edmund fitzgerald but this bordered on the wrong side of undrinkable for me. smoked beers just aren't me i guess

Photo of mikeg67
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Growler from Joe Canal. Pours dark brown with a long lasting, foamy, beige head. Aroma is of smoked malt with hints of chocolate and dark fruit. Body is full and smooth. Taste is of smoked malt, chocolate, vanilla, wood and some dry fruit. Finish is long, bitter-sweet. Delicious brew.

Photo of Vixie
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep ruby red with a thin tan head. The head lingers, taking its time dissipating.

Smell is mainly chocolate and coffee, and a little bit of roasted malt.

Starts out with some chocolate notes, there's hints of fruit, maybe raisin. Has a very light smoke flavor at the end, as well as a bit of a hop bite. The flavor is a bit like a dark chocolate bar with raisins, in liquid form.

Very nice smooth feel to it, with just a little tingle from the carbonation.

I am a big fan of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and this is a nice variation on it. Very drinkable, and flavorful. The alcohol is well hidden, so treat it with respect. Glad I took a chance on this one, I enjoyed it.

Photo of WesMantooth
2.92/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

With all due respect, not good. Someone else mentioned something about being brewed with old rubber. That is spot on. Smells like a ball of rubber bands. I admit, my expectations were high given that these 2 breweries make some of the best porters in existence, but this is a big miss in my opinion. It does taste better than it smells (thank God) but nothing that would make me buy it again. In fact, I would probably turn it down for free. I am being objective when I say that it is a stretch to rate this as "OK", which is shocking. Looks like I am being harder on it than everyone else maybe? Just baffled. Maybe I had a bad bottle...

Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Bell's snifter from growler filled at Weiland's Gourmet Market in Columbus, OH. This was the last growler-fill of the keg.

A - Pours a lighter brown in color, small, .5 finger, off white head.

S - Certainly a good amount of smoke up front. Note of coffee, bready malt, a faint hint of chocolate.

T - Very good blend present of that burnt, smoke taste, coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and even some vanilla. A little sweet in the beginning before fading to that smokiness. Good blend here.

M - Very smooth, a little light, but still a full taste. Amazing this is 9%

Overall - A solid brew here. I can't say it's better than either of their standout porters on their own, but they did a good job here with blend and adding a rich smokiness. Glad I got to try it.

Photo of TheBrewo
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This brew was served from the tap at MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room in Canandaigua, NY. It arrived in a generic goblet glowing a deep brown coloring, letting up cherry wood hues around the edges. It held a one finger head of creamy café au lait colored bubbles, showing nice retention. A thin sheet of lacing was left around the glass, but it fully covering. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared to be moderate. The aroma gave chocolate malt roast, bread pudding sweetness, tobacco leafiness, and huge ashtray smokiness right from the start. Mixing in were notes of coppery metallics, soured yeast bite, chlorine chemicals, bacon meatiness, and big Band Aid phenols. With warmth came clovey spice, wax, and booze. Our first impression was that the flavoring showed huge, huge smoke and pork meatiness, both floating across a silky smooth and dark malt base. As we sipped, syrupy caramel and chocolate porter malts, white sugar, light maple woodiness, charred barley, massive campfire smokiness, and green grass bite started things off. Pushing to the peak were almond oils, coffee and chocolate malt roast, mossy bark, vanilla frosting, pumpernickel breadiness, chalked chocolates, and drying cocoa powder bitterness. The end came washing through with continued grit of smoke, maple sugars, sesame and fennel seed, black pepper, booze, ham meatiness, and light spruce freshness. The aftertaste breathed of continued onslaught of sweating hickory woodiness and smoke, bitterly charred chocolate malts, oily leathers, surprisingly raw barley, graphite, chalk, and rumbles of licorice. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium. Each sip showed silky smooth slurp, smack, cream, and froth, with nice finishing pop. The mouth was left coated and slicked, with eventually very light crisp dryness to the tip of the tongue. The abv was appropriate, and the beer drank decently.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its overt smoky flavoring, of course. This rode high over a nice base porter, helping to mix things up a bit, but to also help keep things drinking interestingly. The sweetness was there, and so was the roast, with syrupy smack to the lips to round out the feel and balance. Otherwise the smoke was a bit of a novelty in its bigness, but it certainly gives the beer credibility and earns it the prefix of “imperial”. We are very glad to have finally been able to track this one down, and for those who are on the fence, it tastes pretty much like you would expect from the description, but just expect a big, bold beer.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LOOK: Dark brown with a white head and plenty of lace. Perfect clarity, and has amber hues in the right shade of light.

SMELL: Roast, dirty smoke, meat, coal.

TASTE: Roasted malt, good bit of smoke, then some malty sugars and coffee notes emerge from the smoke making for a fine, smooth drinking stout. Fire roasted marshmallow notes. Like drinking a campfire for sure, this has a little of everything roasted.

FEEL: Full bodied, well carbonated, thick feel.

OVERALL: A great beer. Smokey and delicious, worth getting a chance to try. Great collaboration.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.64/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Class of '88 has become a tremendous way to re-introduce new flavors, new friendships and new flavors from these world-class brewers- in case you have forgotten about them. Its also a tremendous opportunity to crash the new-wave brewing scene with an old school approach and tenancy. But how much is too much.

Upon the pour, the Porter delivers a lighter-than-expected brown hue. Soft coffee in its appearance, there's a lot of gold, chestnut, and amber colors that suggest something lighter. Its murky haze also seems elevated and causes the beer to look a tad unappealing. But when it comes to its head character, the ale is solid! Ivory in color, the ale retains with a creamy mid-statured head and laces with classic Belgian rings.

Strong smoke aromas set the stage and never lets go. Pure smoke takes the mind directly to campfires, mesquite, and barbecue joints. Its dry and toasted character reveals the scents of kona coffees, dry cocoa, burnt wood and pecans.

When tasting smoke beers, the element of "smoke" usually takes a back seat to the aromas. Not so much here. The early sweetness of burnt caramel and toast is quickly layered upon by the taste of burnt embers, mesquite-smoked meat, and ash. With all those coffee, nutty and savory tastes setting in, that dry smoke character is equally as distracting as it is rewarding.

Medium in body, the beer should feel fuller, but its dry sense delivers a lighter tone. After early toasted sweetness fades, the beer nose dives into a feel of powdery ash, roast-derived roughness and coffee ground astringency. Mild warmth greets the finish and then fades with echoes of ash and more ash.

While celebrating the "smoke" character of their Imperial Smoke Porter, I was hoping for a better recipe for introducing our Kentucky market to the Deschutes brand. Where I applaud their experimental nature, I was hoping for better recipe formulations.

Photo of dakotaben
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Does not appear very carbonated and a thick tan head shows on pour. A hazy, chocolaty brown look.

S - It has the nice aroma of a malty smoked chocolate. Smoke is evident in the scent.

F - A sweet, malty flavor for sure and once again the smoke is apparent, but not overbearing. There is a faint chocolate taste and low hops. Light alcohol burn finishes off my pull

M - Medium to medium heavy mouth feel. Low carbonation

O - This is a nice heavy beer and I really liked that I could taste the smoke, but it was not overpowering. The twinges of chocolaty sweetness marry the punch of alcohol and heavy malt quite nicely. I am somewhat new to porters and I really like this beer.

Photo of unclejazz
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at J. Ryan's in Syracuse.

I passed over Founders Breakfast Stout, Ithaca Flower Power, Stillwater Cellar Door, an Weyerbacher Heresy to try this one for the first time. This is me stepping out of my comfort zone.

Looks solid, brown/black with a 2 finger mocha head, good lacing. Smell is heavy on roasted malt and smoke. Taste Is more of the same, but a nice balance. Tastes like campfire smells. Mouthfeel is above average, the hops which play a supporting roll in taste definitely help to add a crisp undertone that leave my mouth watering for another sip. Glad I tried it, but solidified the fact that I don't like smoked porters.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black pour with a rich, thick, creamy light toffee colored head...very, very thick in appearance.

S - Smoke, dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, light leather.

T - Smokey dark roasted chocolate malt, tobacco, and ends with a bitter coffee bean-like lingering bitter finish.

M - Medium body with a creamy finish on the tongue.

O - Worth a try.

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Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.