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

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Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked PorterGreat Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

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BA SCORE
86
very good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 38
Hads: 196
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 4.7%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 196
Photo of maximum12
2.2/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to fiver29 for this bottle, which has been hanging around in my cellar for quite some time in a (I've not found) vain attempt to calm the smoke taste enough for my campfire hating wife. 22 oz. bottle that I (tried to) split with my wife.

Poured expertly by my youngest daughter, the pour is black like butte; I'm waiting for someone to make a clear porter (anyone remember Pepsi Clear?). Nose is heavy on the chocolate & smoke with an eau de toilette of sweet malts. Hershey Campfire.

Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter is indeed a 'bacon beer', as my wife would say. Smoke remains overwhelming even after a year in the bottle, like sticking your face into a smoker that's smoking smoke. Chocolate that's prominent in the nose retreats to virtual irrelevance, sitting right next to the malts. Light cream & an echo of bitterness barely show. Thick. Half of a bomber is going to be too much.

All smoke, all the time, there no subtlety, no complexity, nothing but a faceful of musty smoke. On the positive side, you could wave this beer around & frighten away mosquitoes for a good ten feet around. Too great breweries: one drain pour. Not good. (1,157 characters)

Photo of WesMantooth
2.92/5  rDev -23.8%
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... (638 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.01/5  rDev -21.4%
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 (479 characters)

Photo of MrBoz21
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Poured brown-amber with ribbons of amber showing through – not opaque. Tan head quickly settled and dissipated. Very bubbly with loads of sediment floating.
Aroma: Campfire and leather.
Taste: more smoke, more leather. Balanced and bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Slick and heavy.
Overall: While many brewers would appreciate nuance and complexity, I feel it would be the half full pitcher at the end of the pizza party. (428 characters)

Photo of BrewUSA
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
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~ (404 characters)

Photo of MarkJBurch
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (892 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appears a dark black and opaque. Collar of head retains nicely. Smell strongly of campfire with chocolate and roasted barley. Smoke is front and center and nearly leans towards the overwhelming side. Taste feature heavy smoke with a slight astringency. Mouthfeel is thin and well carbonated. Overall, very heavy smoke almost bordering on artificial. (349 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.64/5  rDev -5%
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. (1,902 characters)

Photo of lighthabit
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

deep garnet red. weak head quickly dies to very minimal layer. no lacing to speak of.
smoke smell evokes sense of old world, hints of peat, malt, leather. taste mirrors nose, a bit thin. smoke is strong, yet fleeting. smoked beers aren't my thing, but this one is at least interesting. for someone wanting to sample a smoked brew, i think this would be a nice one to try before leaping into the crazy strong types. i would've liked to have a bit more complexity, some other flavors to work with the smoke. i tried to grade it based on what i think they were going for.

recommended and appreciated, even if it isn't necessarily one of my preferred styles. (656 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
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. (552 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (725 characters)

Photo of dakotaben
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (686 characters)

Photo of unclejazz
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (646 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On draft at Whole Foods in Alexandria a while back. Review from notes.

The beer is black and opaque with a small head. The aroma brings chocolates, smoke, campfire essences. Some caramel malts in the flavor with a touch of vanilla. Fairly sweet, though this is countered to some degree by the smokiness. I enjoyed this beer, but not nearly as much as Black Butte or Edmund Fitzgerald. Collaborations are an interesting thing. It often seems as though the magic of two breweries doesn't immediately translate into great beer, like two All-Stars being put on the same team. looks great on paper, but doesn't always work out. Anyway...this was pretty good. (654 characters)

Photo of ludachris
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
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. (1,638 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass, just past its best by date of 4/29/14
A: Very dark brown with a one-finger head
S: Smoky, chocolate, grilled meats
T: Again smoke up front, definitely reminds me of smoked pork/turkey, along with some cocoa. The finish takes a somewhat burnt turn
M: Medium-bodied but an astringent finish
O: This has a lot going for it and it's definitely unique compared to anything else I've had from these two breweries. Worth a try though a bit pricey... that being said I think a higher hop profile with the hops' associated flavors and bitterness would add quite a bit to what's there as is (618 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured this from a growler, it has a very nice dark color body with a small tan head on it. The aroma has a smokey, malty aroma. The taste has a very smokey taste and a roasted malt flavor. It leaves a smokey flavor on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is smooth, and has a medium body. Overall this is a good version of the beer. (336 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (1,913 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (356 characters)

Photo of Etan
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of neenerzig
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
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 (1,617 characters)

Photo of Vixie
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
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. (687 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red-black beer in color. Quarter-inch of bubbles. Looks unlike many porters.

Chewy smoke, chocolate-covered bacon, smoked salt, hefty roast, toffee, barley, and a sweeter earthiness. Nice aroma.

Smokiness has the booty, but there's a nice chocolate and toffee flavor going on here, too. Burnt sugars, some coffee, and more unmistakable saltiness and minerality. Alcohol is a little imperialistic. Not as sweet as I expected. Pretty delicious stuff, especially for the smoke lover in me.

Carbonation has a little peck as it goes down. Opening mouth is smooth enough for an imperial porter. Alcohol has nice bite; almost a positive. Body is a little sluggish.

Nice porter. Taste really repped for the style. Smoky, but not hugely so. Has great umami. (752 characters)

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

Another Class of '88 beer.

Pours out a very dark brown with a little bit of light coming through and 2 fingers of a slightly roasted/tan head.

The aroma has some nice campfire smoke as well as roasted meats. There are some light chocolate notes, roast and a bit of caramel.

The taste is also decently smoky; campfire and like a bacon, roasted meats type of smoke. This leads into a blend of bitter dark chocolate and a bit of sweeter milk chocolate. There is a decent amount of roast and it finishes with a bit of caramel/toffee notes.

The body is medium and the mouthfeel is rich and creamy. The ABV is hidden very well with only a bit of warmth as it goes down.

This is a pretty tasty Smoked Porter, but it's not overly complex. A nice example if you like smoked beers, but if you don't then don't bother with this one. (827 characters)

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Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.