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
88
very good

196 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 196
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: 196 | Reviews: 39
Photo of beergoot
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany red, almost brownish body color coupled with a thick, foamy off-white head. Good smokey aroma infused with hints of cocoa and vanilla. Powerful smoke taste, very barbeque-like, swirling about with strong touches of alcohol and dark, dry-roasted malt grains. Relatively light body, clean and semi-sweet finish.

A well-done smoked beer collaboration from two of my favorite breweries. This should delight fans of both rauchbiers/smoked beers and porters though the smoked beer lovers will probably get the best satisfaction out of this offering. I will be hunting for some more bottles of this one...!!!

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 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.

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 Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of JohnnyMc
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 MikeCactusGordon
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle
snifter
$9.88 at the GLBC Gift Shop
Hand bottled and labeled

Well balanced with what you would expect from an Imp Porter...vanilla/coff/choc with a nice toasty/nutty thing going on. Dangerously drinkable. Smoke flavor was just a tad strong for what I like, but it wasn't overly abusive or anything. I would put this up there with Ballast Point's Victory at Sea in terms of quality, but that beer really is more "stout-ish"...this guy was lighter and easier to drink. I would probably recommend letting it sit for a couple months.

Very well done. I would seek this one out. I'm going to buy a few more and really give this a few tries over the next year.

Cheers! And a big thank you to two of my favorite breweries for putting this collaboration beer out there. Thank you!

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Great Lakes / Deschutes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.