Imperial Gold Malt Liquor | Hawks Brewing

Imperial Gold Malt LiquorImperial Gold Malt Liquor
5 Ratings
Imperial Gold Malt LiquorImperial Gold Malt Liquor

Brewed by:
Hawks Brewing
Oregon, United States

Style: American Malt Liquor

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 06-16-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 5
Reviews by beerguy101:
Photo of beerguy101
3.53/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light orange gold color, rather hazy. Medium white foamy head. Aroma is fruit, honey and a hint of corn. If it weren’t so sweet, I wouldn’t have known this beer was a malt liquor.. I would have thought it was a thinner bodied barley wine. Some corn and corn sugar in the taste, but this stuff is very smooth and nicely balanced. Sweet malts and slightly bitter hops. The alcohol is somewhat masked. It’s nice to know that someone CAN make a decent tasting malt liquor. Thumbs up Hawks. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and sweet. Aftertaste is sweet.

 565 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of freed
3.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This creature came in a 22 oz bottle with a label that looked like it had been placed on by hand - hot of the ink-jet printer. No nonsense.

Poured, the beer was bafflingly hazy, dull golden with an almost pink grapefruit light to it. There was a nice enough foam that wasn't staying around.

The aroma wasn't to abundant, but I hadn't let it warm to the full 55ºF the bottle recommended. Which was probably for the better. I have no idea if there is any corn in this, but the aroma was somewhat reminiscent of silage.

The taste started out quite pleasantly. It was a thick malty beer with just a hint of alcohol. But as it warmed, the pleasantries ended and the overwhelming sensation of baking soda and corn flower on my teeth started to count against the beer. The warming also brought an almost overly ripe raisin flavor that didn't quite match the beer.

I just hope my friend, which we last saw after drinking a pint of this, made it home (he was on foot, don't worry).

 985 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
2.34/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

In stark contrast to the rest of Hawks’ beers that are distributed in silk-screened bombers, the Imperial Gold has a peculiar label of plain yellow paper with black printing sloppily applied to the glass. Perhaps this crude, low-budget labeling is appropriate for the malt liquor style.

The brew is unexpectedly pale, ochre-yellow, and profusely clouded like a wheat beer. A full finger of white froth caps it off. It smells dangerous, and it tastes dangerous too – very raw, edgy, like it was brewed by a Belgian motorcycle gang. The taste is overtly vulgar, with ample evidence of corn. The nose is a pungent orange-citrus.

Personally, I see no reason to invest the energy in producing a malt liquor at all, though I suppose it might make sense to keep a few bottles around in the event that George Thorogood drops by. As for me, I found that Hawks Imperial Gold didn’t settle well in the stomach and, although it did mellow a bit as it warmed, was otherwise a chore to drink.

 990 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.79/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Earlier today, I spoke with Charlie Hawk, owner and head brewer of Hawks Brewing. The purpose of my call was to clear up the confusion about Imperial Gold Malt Liquor's true style (see previous review). I also took the opportunity to let him know how much I enjoyed his Russian Imperial Stout and to tell him that I hoped he would be able to reopen his brewery sooner rather than later.

Charlie informed me that the intended name for this beer was Sixpack In A Bottle Malt Liquor. For some reason though, the ATF wouldn't approve it, so it became Imperial Gold Malt Liquor instead. He describes it as 'a hybrid style' and 'an American Tripel', but seemed most settled on 'a Strong Golden Ale'. He kept shying away from Belgian-style Tripel or Quadrupel since it doesn't use a Belgian yeast strain.

He was also kind enough to pass on the ingredients: 100% Pils malt, 100% Goldings hops, an American ale yeast strain and an Americanized version of candi sugar that is a combination of cane sugar and dextrose.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Hazed, yeast-laden ochre topped by an impressive cap of ivory foam that has the slightest pale banana tint. I would have thought that the generous ABV would have killed the head in fairly short order, especially in a beer that is unlikely to be full of hop resins, but that isn't the case at all. The creamyfirm crown has that melted mesa look that indicates quality construction and is leaving an admirable amount of lace-like lace on the glass. Whatever the style, it looks fantastic.

Unfortunately, the nose is a major disappointment. First of all, it's too weak by half. It's neither very malty nor very hoppy and lacks personality as a result. I am able to appreciate alcohol, which, in the absence of much else, isn't all that compelling. It's also a tad fusel-like. Let's hope the beer doesn't taste like it smells.

It doesn't. Actually, I think Charlie nailed it with the Strong Golden Ale designation since it tastes exactly like what I would expect a beer of that description to taste like. The flavor profile is simple, but is appealing in its own way. Keep in mind that I'm one who likes (or at least doesn't mind) malt liquors more than the vast majority of craft beer lovers.

It helps if you prefer Big Beer and if you don't mind the flavor of well-integrated alcohol because this is definitely the former and it contains plenty of the latter. The pils malt doesn't provide a great deal of flavor, just some untoasted grain and some degree of sweetness. Given the additional sugar, Imperial Gold isn't as sweet as it could be. For that, I'll credit the hops.

I can't say that I'm able to appreciate the Goldingsness of the hops, but they certainly do provide a spicy herbalness and enough bitterness to bring the beer, kicking and screaming, into a grudging balance. I'm sure that the barely tamed alcohol is contributing a little spiciness of its own. I also pick up a hint of menthol that adds flavor interest.

It all works well together in a Stone Age, brute strength sort of way. Don't expect much complexity and you won't be disappointed. If there's one thing that becomes apparent after drinking this beer, it's the importance of a good yeast strain. I'm almost certain that the use of Belgian yeast would improve Imperial Gold in untold ways, ways that the neutral strain that was actually used can't even comprehend.

As might be expected in a beer that is packed to the gills with ingredients, the body is top-notch. I hestitate to say that it's the equal of the best Belgian Tripels, but it is full and heavily silky. It's more firm than it is creamy, which is a perfect match for its no-holds-barred flavor. This beer is a bit of an uncompromising bastard and doesn't give a shit if you like it or not. I respect it *and* I like it.

Imperial Gold Malt Liquor is a fascinating beast, especially now that I know a little of its backstory. If we call it an American Tripel, it falls woefully short of the Belgian originals, entirely due to the sorry ass yeast strain. If we call it an American Malt Liquor though, it's probably the best version of that style that I'll ever drink. Here's hoping that Charlie finds a way to keep doing what he loves.

 4,267 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.1/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I mean, that is to say, GOOD GODDAAAYYUUMMM!!!

And so:
Appearance: perfectly lagery clear, pale yellow, with a large, fluffy white head.
Aroma: nothing but booze, right up in the old snoot, and nothing else! Sweet, slightly cornish, but only alcohol stands on top in this nose.
As for flavor, ditto! Booze, booze, booze, and no other flavors at all! That taste of alcohol is nice, but that's not why I turn to beer for drinking, I go there for flavor and drinkability and taste, and so much that this wicked potion is missing.
The serving is a huge 22 ounces, and it's definitely going to be putting me to slumber!
Honestly, I've never heard of a microbrew malt liquor, and hope that I never do again. This was well done, but, just, not a good idea!
I would like to try their Imperial Stout, for it seems that they can do a high alcohol beer, yes, but, boy, do I want to try one with flavor and taste!
thanks to weefishheads

 960 characters

Imperial Gold Malt Liquor from Hawks Brewing
Beer rating: 3.17 out of 5 with 5 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.