Bonfire - Imperial Porter | Napa Smith Brewery

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Bonfire - Imperial PorterBonfire - Imperial Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Napa Smith Brewery
California, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by clickpush on 12-05-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
56
Ratings:
109
Avg:
3.51
pDev:
20.8%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 109
Photo of Jayli
1.93/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Had at Toronado 12/5

A: This beer pours a a deep opaque black with a 1/4 inch of khaki head. Head recedes quickly leaving thick spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of toffee, caramel, and a hint of vanilla.

T: Taste is extremely, overbearingly sweet. Toffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate the taste. There may have been the just the slightest hint of roasted malts, but barely detectable.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, slick mouthfeel.

D: I could barely choke this one down. At home, it may have bordered on a drain pour.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.33/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a deep brown with good carbonation and a tannish head that seemed to stick around but the pour seemed thin foran Imperial brew. Uh oh. Nose is some grain, roastiness, malt, bakers powder cocoa. Taste is thin, flat, over carbonated warming alcohol with some funky sourness and cocoa hidig until the end. Mouthfeel is thin, effervescent, warm and roasty with small hints of cocoa. Drinkability is not good. With a beer that boasts Imperial and 8 ABv with not good taste or mouthfeel I would find it very hard to recommend or finish this bottle. Compared to other Imp Porters around such as Pugsely or Full Sail this falls way, way short. I found this brew hard to drink after a few sips. Avoid.

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Photo of CaptMaelstrom
2.45/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Jet black, no transparency or color. Very minimal head, no lacing.

S: Lots of alcohol, a little bit of the black patent malt comes through, licorice aroma, and a slight caramel smell.

T: I was expecting way more chocolate/caramel/toffee notes, as advertised. I got a lot of alcohol, char, licorice. The hop bitterness is there and helps to mitigate the alcohol/char flavor, but not enough.

M: Smooth and milky, but the bite from the unconcealed alcohol is a bit too jarring to really appreciate this aspect.

O: Despite really having wanted to enjoy this, I couldn't. Maybe I got a bad bottle from a bad batch? If it had more chocolate/toffee/coffee/caramel flavors, as advertised, I wouldn't give it such a low score.

 766 characters

Photo of GRG1313
2.47/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark copper/brown with a nice light tan head.

Nose is simple sweet candi sugar and citric cotton candy. Some ripe pear or plums in the nose.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery.

Flavors are sort of clumsy malt with a sour malt/sugar character. No real porter character; no distinguishing character or flavor profile. Not balanced and has a sour malt character to it.

Bit of a grapefruit/pine finish.

 400 characters

Photo of rangerred
2.67/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours an opaque black with barely a hint of a head. A very thin cap is apparent on top of the beer but carbonation is nearly nil.

Smell is kind of odd. Very metallic with some light hints of coffee and dark fruit.

The flavor has dark fruit up front but it is quickly overwhelmed by a strong hop bitterness which seems out of place. Some coffee and dark chocolate are present but dark fruit is the predominant flavor. I little bit of flowery hop bitterness is there but is very faint. Mouthfeel is a little thin with the lack of carbonation.

Overall, Not a great effort from Napa Smith. The bitterness seems out of place and the flavor a bit one dimensional. Glad I got to try it but will not seek out again.

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Photo of hackmann
2.75/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: black body with no head and a spot here or there on the lacing

Aroma: lightly boozy, some roasted malts, I was expecting some coffee or chocolate

Flavors: medium roast coffee with a touch of alcohol coming through and a bit of licorice

Mouthfeel: a little flat, not much on the carbonation, little medicinal like on the aftertaste,

To the Point: rather boring Porter, I am really disappointed I was looking forward to trying this Imperial Porter. I would never buy this again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
2.78/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, this beer is an opaque brown coloring with a one and a half inch dense, foamy, chunky head. Aromas of nut and toffee come off on first sniffing, with some coffee tones on further investigation. This is a good looking beer. The taste is a bit on the sugary caramel side, with none of the darker flavors that I love about Porters. The flavor is almost sweet enough, and the body light enough, to be an Amber or a Red. The body is very light, almost to the point of being watery. The caramel sweet flavors only have the slightest hint of bitter, and who knows if it is from hopping or coffee notes, although there is neither really present in the flavor. The aftertaste is super sweet, and the finish is clean, but lingering. I love Porters, but this one was leaning towards the disappointing side for me.

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Photo of HerdNo1
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Just a quickie review. Poured from a bottle into a tulip. An off white head fades quickly and leaves little lacing in the glass. The major problem with this brew hits you with the first deep sniff and that is the sniff of alcohol. Unfortunately, that is precisely what I get in taste as well. The alcohol simply overwhelms the beer. At 8.5%, it really shouldn't be all that noticeable but it is. I compare it to something like several good Imperial Stouts with a.b.v's in excess of 10% but the alcohol is almost completely hidden. Mouthfeel is fairly thin in this beer. Quite honestly, it's nearly impossible to assess the quality of the underlying porter because the alcohol is so noticeable.

I haven't had other imperial porters so I don't know how well other beers of the style stand up to the higher alcohol but this is a disappointment.

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Photo of coldriver
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber poured into a Sam Adams glass. Pours a near opaque cola-black, marginally acceptable head and lacing. Dark roasted sweet malt with slight coffee and molasses aroma. Slightly smokey malt, alcohol, and minimal coffee and chocolate taste. Has that nasty aftertaste that you can't seem to get off your tongue (I'm grimacing after every sip)- probably better paired with food than drinking alone. I may finish this one, but my initial reaction was drain pour. Considering this brewery is in close proximity to some of the finest in the country, I keep hoping they'll impress at some point. After this one I'm still hoping. At least they're cheap...

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Photo of kojevergas
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Nabbed this'n at Wine Expo in Santa Monica. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded pry-off cap acquired for $2.39 USD and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; Napa Smith has turned out some decent brews and it sounds appealing. Label identifies it as an "Imperial Porter" so I'm reviewing as such. 8.0% ABV confirmed per the label.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Nice creaminess. Decent frothiness. Soft smooth complexion. Retention is above average, about 3 minutes. Even consistent lacing as the head recedes.

Body colour is an opaque dark black; not quite a jet black but dark. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Overall, it's appealing, if standard fare for the style. No overt flaws are obvious. Not unique or special.

Sm: Caramel, vanilla, chocolate malt, marshmallow, sticky sweet dark malts. I also get some toffee and biscuit notes redolent more of an old ale or wee heavy than a porter. In any case, it's surprisingly appealing. Not getting any hops, yeast, or alcohol from the aroma. Slightly toasty. A pleasant aroma of mild strength.

T: Dark fruits, with some prune and maybe date. Raisin. Vague dark grape notes. Caramel, toffee. Some toasted malt. Sweet dark malts and chocolate malts form the simple body. No real hop profile is noticeable. Duration, intensity, and depth of flavour are all average for the style. Singed pecan. Caramelized walnut. Toffee. Biscuit. A bit of alcohol does creep in. I don't get any yeast character. Balance is okay. Average complexity and subtlety, though there's not much going on here compared to other Imperial Porters. I like it in a general sense, but it's nothing to write home about. I'd love a roasty character.

The nutty notes are a definite highlight.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Lightly creamy. A bit syrupy. Sticky. Chewy. Unrefreshing, but approachable. Decent presence on the palate. Strange thickness isn't uniform; inconsistent. Not oily, harsh, or gushed. Facilitates delivery of the flavours, but it's not custom-tailored to them. Pretty run of the mill. Not unique or special.

Dr: Drinkable but pedestrian. The aroma promised a lot more than the taste delivered. I wouldn't trifle with this again, especially at its high price point for the quality. A middling effort from Napa Smith. I wouldn't recommend it to friends or get another.

C

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Photo of emmasdad
3.01/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Saw this at Holiday Wine Cellar on my last trip to San Diego, and kind of assumed it was a smoked imperial porter by the name; sadly it isn't. Nothing really interesting going on here. Pours a very dark brown color, with hints of red along the edges and a big light brown head. I get some dark fruits on the nose, along with some dark candi sugar. More dark fruit on the palate (dates, plums) , along with chocolate and maybe, maybe a hint of smoke at the end (although that could be my imagination).

 500 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours deep, dark cordovan brown with a light tan, razor thin head. Poor retention, leads to a very thin, broken film of microbubbles on top. No lacing.

Smell - Metallic tones around hints of caramel. Slightly sour. Not a very aromatic brew.

Taste - Metallic, earthy and sour character upfront, gives way to moderate notes of caramel and stale coffee mid-taste and into the finish. Ghostly traces of chocolate picked up at the tail end before fading away.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sharp, bitey edge.

Overall - Not a very good porter, even less impressive considering the 'Imperial' moniker. Drinkable, but very forgettable. With so many other great porters out there, this is one I won't be buying again.

 749 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
3.17/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip; no freshness dating. Nearly black body with just a slight cap of a tan head. No retention and no lacing.

The prominent note in the aroma at first is dark chocolate. Roasted malt and toffee follow.

The flavor begins with roated malt, with an almost burnt flavor, but not offensive. The chocolate flavor tends toward a cocoa and toffee flavor mix. A little bit of coffee flavor in the background.

Light to medium texture in the mouthfeel but lighter than I would have expected from an Imperial brew. Average brew. Not too exciting for my first try from this brewery.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with some reddish highlights. Light tan head is a film with decent lacing.

Smell: Aroma of light florals and a bit of dark fruit or sugar.

Taste: Much too sweet. Almost candy flavored (in an odd way, a hint of grape candy), but with a hint of alcohol. Some bitterness like coffee or chocolate in the aftertaste, along with the alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied but has a certain weightlessness that feels a bit odd. Light carbonation.

Drinkability: The sweet alcohol flavor is a bit much, although the ABV isn't all too high (though high for a porter).

Hardly my favorite porter - sure, it is an Imperial, but it lacks the flavors and drinkability that I'd like.

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Photo of brentk56
3.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a translucent coffee color with ruby highlights; the two fingered head pancakes the liquid and leaves a smattering of lace behind

Smell: Vaguely aromatic, with a surprisingly vinous character; some fusel alcohol and peat adds to the overall impression

Taste: Fruity opening, with prune and black grape flavors that are joined by a peaty, licorice aspect that moves in a charcoal direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the char dominates, though the fruity elements return in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkable: In so many ways this beer appears to miss the mark - the mouthfeel is thin for an imperial and the flavor profile is missing the chocolate and dark bread elements; still drinkable and, I guess, a very different take on the style that is typical

 826 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep brown into a large wine glass. Half an inch of tan foam recedes to a thin film after a few minutes. Deep ruby highlights are offered from this unfamiliar offering from Leucadia Liquor.

Nose is somewhat fruity up front with a bit of milk chocolate, some roasted malts and light notes of dried fruits. Quite clean overall and with a somewhat shallow depth, though pleasant, and yet hoppy through the foam.

Fruit and malt forward on the palate and with a touch of spice. Rather thin in body yet without any notes of alcohol. Simple on the feel without any notable positive or negative factors, though somewhat thin overall for the style. Decent for its ABV but a bit light in character.

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Photo of endincolorado
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep, dark brown with a small tan head. Decent lacing.

Moderately toasty aroma. Dry hops balanced by decent, bready malt and some faint cocoa.

Initial sweetness, followed by some fruitiness. Kind of disappointing, especially for an imperial.

Light body- slightly overcarbonated.

A pretty disappointing experience, since I thought there pale ale was pretty darn good.

 370 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.29/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Napa Smith is showing up in SoCal...or I've never taken notice of this brewery. 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

Black like ink, whispy french vanilla colored head, thick, retaining itself well, yes. The nose gives me a little bit of clean hops, but where's my dark malt? I can smell molasses, and not much else from the malt. Call the nose okay.

The front half of my tongue doesn't get much, the back half gets very intense flavor. It's not the most well-made beer around, but it's doable. Black licorice, big hits of molasses, grape, and charred flavors. Plenty of hops as the beer dries. I'd say that this beer *just* hits the target. It feels fine in the mouth. Medium in volume.

Ummm, it's not bad. It's respectable.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this bottle for a while and decided it was time to give it a go...

The first thing I get out of the nose is hops... Hmmm... they are rather overpowering as well... I might get a hint of chocolate here or there but mostly I'm getting earthy floral hops... Not unpleasant, just....surprising...

Slight hints of dark roasted malts are quickly and powerfully overtaken by a burst of faded floral hoppiness that muddle everything up for me and leave me scratching my head... Both elements are pleasing but there's something about them together that I'm not getting...

Just an ok brew to me... I'm glad I tried this one but I don't think I will be going for this one again.

 681 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance> Tootsie roll brown, medium liveliness, absolutely not a trace of head, zero lacing. Not too exciting thus far, but with a name like Bonfire, I know it's got to be something I'll like.

Smell> There's the bonfire! Roasty toasty malts. A bit of a sweet nose that is unfortunately covered by alcohol. The smoky aroma FORTUNATELY masks this.

Taste>Immediately ashy. Almost like sour mash at the first sip. Big body malt comes in, but soon departs leaving behind a huge burnt hang.

Mouf> decent. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkable?> Average. I've had better porters, but I wouldn't throw this back in your face if you bought me a pint.

 665 characters

Photo of beergod1
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber, Pours brown/black with a frothy tan head. Rich chocolate over dark roast malt for aroma. Hmm, Imperial Porter?
I see many good ratings for this beer, But I'm not getting it. This tastes like a mild Brown Ale, Flavor is decent, but not an Imperial Porter in my opinion. Sweet flavor with light roasted malt, caramel and dark fruits. Very light body, Finished sweet. I don't know, maybe I got a flat bottle? With such a good rating (on all beer sites) I should try it again....$5.99, It would be worth it.

 511 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very dark with a reddish cast in the New Belgium snifter. Decent head and carbonation. Fairly heavy body but not viscous. Raisins and mince meat pie in the nose.

Distinct taste of milk chocolate. Quite rich and more on the sweet side. Reminds me of a milk stout with a deeper, darker, fruitier flavor. Dark caramel and pomegranate. A touch of something rusty and a hint the band-aid taste. Some bitterness in the aftertaste. Not especially drinkable

From the 22 oz bottle.

 474 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, caramel, and slight cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with a char flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp but almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smell and mouthfeel each leave something to be desired for the style.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tall glass at some restaurant in Oakland. Pretty sure it’s from a bottle. Reviewed from notes.

A: Served a near black color with a dense dark brown head that held great retention. Streaky lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get sweet notes of toffee and caramel. The nose is also very roasted and toasted smelling.
T: Flavors of marshmallows, toasted grains, and toasted oatmeal stick out with a touch of caramel, vinous grapes and a little bit of wood. The finish is sweet and I get notes of brown sugar and slight chocolate.
M: Full body, soft full carbonation, and a fullish mouthfeel that isn’t as thick as a stout.
O: A solid porter overall that went well with my meal. It lacks a bit of depth though, and I thought it was on the sweet side. A good drinking beer overall though.

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Photo of popery
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle, home. Not bad but fairly boring for a big porter. Deep ruby with a head that puffs up and fades relatively quickly, leaving no lacing. Aroma is plums, apricots, apples, chocolate, very mild roast and some alcohol - it's pretty good, leaning toward the fruity malt side of things without entirely leaving the chocolate/roast out. Flavor is sweet and fairly boring. There's none of the ashy flavors of most good porters or the rich fruitiness of others. It's just kind of a mild sweetness with a bit of hops in the finish. Feel is good enough. This is a fine beer and not a bad price, but it's just another relatively boring beer from Napa Smith.

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Bonfire - Imperial Porter from Napa Smith Brewery
3.51 out of 5 based on 109 ratings.
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