Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
3rd Release - 2013 (9.6% ABV)
2nd Release - 2011 (11.4% ABV)
1st Release - February 2009 (10.5% ABV).

After its initial release in February 2008, this Imperial Stout was aged for about 10 months in Bourbon casks from Kentucky.

Added by msubulldog25 on 02-02-2009

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 513
Photo of russpowell
4.97/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours mahogany/black witha 3 fingers+ mocha colored head. Very good lacing and head retention

Smell: Oaky, vanilla, & bourbon notes

Taste: Bourbon notes, vanilla, slight nutiness, slight grainy bitterness witha dry fruitty finish.

MF: Rich & creamy woth perfect carbonation levels

Super drinkable for the strength. I love this style & this easily one of the best I've tried. Enjoy

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Photo of dfitch81
4.87/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As a rule I only write reviews while I drink the beer being reviewed but I'm going to make an exception this time because I need to let you, dear reader, know how awesome Black Gold is. I had two bottles of this hiding away for a special occasion, and the night before my wedding, weekend before last, fit the bill just fine. What did I find? Complexities are wonderfully abundant: you can, for example, taste the bourbon, which has its own distinct nuances, but it remains harmoniously integrated within the palate. Oozing evidence of master craftsmanship from every figurative pore, Black Gold is a great masterpiece. I had a bottle of Abyss a few days later, and it was excellent too, but I'd actually give the nod to Black Gold. If you think that sounds like blasphemy, then try both before you start throwing stones. Black Gold is certainly hard to get a hold of; if you see some grab it immediately because it sprints off store shelves like a cheetah with its ass on fire. And the cheetah - flaming ass and all - would never entertain you as much as Black Gold will. Cheers.

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Photo of GhettoFabulous
4.84/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I poured a bomber of this into a four ounce styrofoam cup procured from a nearby water tank during a wedding after-party at a cheap hotel. It is unfortunate to drink a beer this nice out of such a deplorable container, but if MacGyver was a beer advocate, I'm sure he'd approve of this improvisation given the limited options available.

These bottles are absolutely gorgeous, juxtaposing darkness against shimmering gold like the magical ticket Charlie lands to see the Chocolate factory. This beer pours with a head that rapidly disintegrates, proudly flaunting its dark black color in the fashion its name sake promises.

It smells of bitter chocolate and bourbon, which is exactly what I was hoping for. The first sip reveals more bitterness, but it smooths out pleasingly by the time this beer slides down your gullet. And it slides rather easily for a bourbon-barrel aged stout.

The viscosity of this beer is very much on the light side, which was at first off-putting, as it disassociated my pallet from the thick b.a. imperial stouts I've grown to love. After a few styrofoam cups of black gold, however, I learned that its relatively thin mouth feel is an asset, as you can drink a ton of this stuff without getting the icky-sticky mouth feel that many b.a. stouts leave with you with. This has the flavor of a sludgy bourbon-tinged stout, yet is practically thirst-quenching, which lends the beer a surprising asset that I've never experienced in this genre of brew.

The flavors are absolutely stellar. The bourbon plays off the chocolate bitters and patina of vanilla with soothing balance. There also seem to be some subtle notes of anise but this is really carried by the bourbon and the chocolate, which is just fine considering how triumphantly these flavors carry the beer.

This is an amazing bourbon barrel aged russian imperial stout that belongs in my belly as often as possible.

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Photo of kolbe
4.82/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet jesus.

I picked up a bottle of this along with a whole bunch of other stouts one day when I was feeling in the mood. I am not sure why I do that, as there is no way I will make it through 6 bombers of motor oil stout before I want to try something else, but alas...

I got around to popping this open the other day. Wow.

The aroma: incredible. Vanilla, oak, all that. Smells like something I'd like to spray around my house.

The pour: awesome. Black as night, little bit of a head to it, but not for long. Carbonation is perfect.

The taste: what! This is insane. This beer is delicious, and I couldn't slow myself down despite wanting to keep drinking it forever. It's like some sort of physically improbable coincidence whereby a tastebud's most ridiculous fantasies have been converted into a sludge that made its way into my goblet.

I mark down your drinkability, Black Gold, because I ought not want to drink you so fast.

I have actually had trouble concentrating for the last few days because I've been thinking about this beer. I just got a couple more bottles from the store today and I think their supply is getting low. Better to have loved and lost... but I hope Full Sail keeps this one coming around year after year, and I hope it turns out at least this well next year.

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Photo of Briken
4.81/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark brown with thin umber head, no retention or lacing and a little bubbly. Bourbon booze, chocolate mint, and oak aromas. Boozy malt sweetness with substantial oak. Bourbon, chocolate mint, licorice, vanilla, and light coffee. A little syrupy, semi dry finish. Slick mouthcoating and good fuzziness.

Good warming but low alcohol taste. Sublimely alcoholic and flavorful that is easy to drink. The vanilla oak flavor really shines through with a ton of extra flavors. I tried to get every last drop and was sad to see it go and really wish I hadn’t missed the opportunity to get it on tap at the Porterhouse. It was a superb “dark passenger” to accompany the fourth season of Dexter.

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Photo of SeanDonahue
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewmaster's Reserve 2013:

The color of this beer is an ominous black with very little light getting through it. There was about a finger of a head after the initial pour that dissipated quickly. Big alcohol legs on this beer as well being at 9.6% ABV.

The smell hits you pretty hard. First, off, there are big bourbon notes in this one. Most of the aroma in this one is of bourbon but you get a mix of malts and even some raisin notes similar to Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etre.

As for the taste, this beer's consistency compares to that of Guiness, light but with big flavors. There is that hit of bourbon right in the beginning. Following that, there is a bit of a coffee aftertaste.

Overall, this is a solid beer that would be perfect for any imperial stout lover.

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Photo of franksnbeans
4.7/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh baby, this glugs out thick like sludge opaque black with a minimal ring of tan head. Moreso has legs than lace, what a beauty. Smell the bourbon laced vanilla notes along with chocolate. You get a rainbow of taste with a start of big sweet chocolate malt, then non boozy bourbon washes it away, then a little dark fruit covered by vanilla chocolate bourbon if such an animal exists. A warming full mouthfeel that commands you enjoy a delectable sip at a time. An apartif beer for the connoiseur.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.7/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

23 oz bottle dated 2008. This category says 2006 but I am not going to create a new category just for a new year. I served this at my 55 degree cellar temperature. Very black color with a small foamy brown head. Good lacing. Mouthfeel is silky smooth. Nose is like whiskey and chocolate, with other odors of oak, ripe fruit, and vanilla. Flavor is remarkable, with lots of chocolate and alcohol. The finish is bourbon and alcohol. A very unique brew, and one I really liked.

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Photo of imrichbeeeatch
4.67/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at tasting room. Pours thick, tan head on top of dark, black beer. Held up to light and could see slight shades of ruby gleaming through. Personally, I like to not see through my stouts. Aroma is unmistakably bourbon. I love it! Wow! Flavor is full bourbon also. Quickly shifts to wood, then chocolate, then quickly back to bourbon. Looking deeply into the glass, I was able to find almond/amaretto flavors, as well as what I could only identify as toasted coconut. Slight alcoholic burn at the end, that's o.k. This is a nice beer. Taste's a little young, could benifit from aging for a short while (three months or so). Well done!

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the wind surfing capital of the world comes this handsomely fancy, gold foil bejeweled vessel containing two and three quarter cups of fine American-brewed bourbon barrel-aged wonder.

Bourbon barrel volatiles explode from the bottle upon opening. I could smell musty bourbon oak even before uncapping the bottle as I peeled the foil wrapping from its neck. In the glass the bourbon scents, while still prominent, share the stage with nutmeg, potent vanilla and warm toast.

The beer is an inky black with a gold tinged dark brown sugar head. Cola-like carbonation bubbles can be seen near the sides of the glass lending the beer a slightly ethereal appearance.

The beauty of this beer only grows greater as it graces the tongue. This complex tapestry woven by the brewers of Full Sail is built from threads of dark roast malt, robust vanilla beans, mighty alcohol flavors, and earthy hop spices reminiscent of a Renaissance-era thatch-roofed herb shoppe. This entire piece of art is then coated in a layer of subtle oak fire smokiness. This is an exuberant stout with a rough-hewn edge of American whiskey and a soul-warming finish.

This is an absolute gem of a beer, my first from Full Sail and I cannot wait to get more.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a small brownish head, smells of bourbon and tastes like heaven. The oak, bourbon and vanila is prominent, chewy and it will kick you in the balls. Mouthfeel is plenty of kick. The vanilla and bourbon is just down right great! Best Imperial I have ever had..second is oak aged yeti

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.61/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mocha aroma has a strong bourbon overtone - no surprise there! It pours midnight black with a thick dark tan head that leaves some substantial lacing. Flavor is - WOW! Just wow! Quality coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, licorice, bourbon, molasses, hops nuts - each sip seems just a little different. Thick, smooth texture is quite tingly and leaves a slightly sweet and fizzy finish. A must!

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22ounce bomber, from Liquor Max, Loveland, CO. Recommended by Nick, 'cause he knows I love malt.

Served at 50 degrees. Vigorous pour produces a huge creamy light brown head, like meringue, over a black black red body that is almost completely opaque -- a tiny bit of light comes through around the edges when you hold it directly in front of a light bulb. Lots of thick sticky lacing. Chocolate, vanilla bean, malted milk balls, cherry cheesecake on the nose, with a light backnote of piney hops.

Oh my gosh, this is like chocolate bourbon-balls! Wow. So much creamy and thickly toasted malty vanilla bourbony sweetness. Extreme malt darkness. Great alcohol warmth. It gets better with each sip. This is really enormously huge!

The mouthfeel is like a melted dark chocolate malt. Perfectly soft carbonation. Great depth.

The 10.5% is completely masked in the flavor, but it is certainly there. Is this a good as Yeti? Maybe.

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Photo of pwoods
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shane(beachbum1975) for sharing this.

A: Pours nearly pitch black with basically no light. Nice sized head with some retention and decent lacing.

S: Plenty of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and a bunch of hefty alcohol. Some dark fruits in the back and more as it warms, definitely some grapey flavor and maybe some black currants.

T/M: Very nice flavor complexity. Same as the nose with enhanced coconut and great alcohol. Alcohol is great, very hot but very enjoyable. The wood comes through even past the bourbon and adds so much depth. Body is medium to medium full and extremely smooth.

D: It's pretty damn hot but very tasty. Right now the drinkability isn't so great but it'll age beautifully.

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Photo of Meandmymonkey
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

licorice black with virtually no head. Smells bourbony upon going in for the first waft. The bourbon barrel shines right through also with vanilla and chocolate notes. Tastes like a sweet, vanilla, roasted malt stout with a huge bourbon aftertaste. I'm a instant fan and can't wait to get more to age. Given some years, this beer will rock somebody's world down the road. Full sail comes through yet again.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting for this one for a while and my patience just gave out. Pours a clear black, just a little garnet around the edge of the glass and a slight dark head.
Smells like chocolate candy. Yeah, that's it.
Taste is phenomenal. It's like chocolate cake batter in a glass. Maybe you think that's bad but in this case it is wonderful. I honestly don't know how they get that much sweet chocolate taste out of 4 basic ingredients. It's thick, lush and creamy. Sweet in other ways than chocolate, caramel, slight fruit notes. The bourbon comes through in a rich aftertaste that warms beautifully. There is no way I could think of to improve the taste so it got a 5.
Easy enough to drink but the chocolate might make it hard to drink too much of it.
Simply wonderful. Why can't I brew beer like this?

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full Sail released this mighty stout while I was distracted from Portland’s beer scene. To hear tell of it, Black Gold flew off the shelves and quickly disappeared from the usual outlets. Thankfully DrunkenMaster had put one aside for me and I was able to enjoy it before leaving Portland.

This is an uncommonly elegant beer. The taste begins with the sensation of chocolate-covered cherries soaked in brandy. Caramel flavor pushes forward early before yielding to a refined finish with a tempered bourbon bite. The bourbon element is gracefully integrated, not overplayed. Likewise, the alcohol, even just a few months after bottling, is well integrated and makes a greater showing in the belly than on the palate. The aroma speaks of white chocolate.

Black Gold is impenetrably black and forms a dense beige head from an abundance of tiny bubbles. It articulates a skillful balance of mellow refinement and gutsy edge. Lets hope Full Sail makes a habit of brewing this annually.

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Photo of pkalix
4.56/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark, black, as it should be.
boozy bourbon, vanilla, roasty malt aroma. very nice aroma.
a bit thicker than I prefer. boozy bourbon sweetness, roasted malts, hard espresso lingers behind, as if I had just chewed an espresso bean....
overall,, it's very good. I keep chasing the dragon here, though. i'm looking for that ECLIPSE clone. and hoping maybe it's half the price of the Eclipse. maybe that's why the eclipse is so expensive and hard to find. it's just the perfect brew. this one isn't bad; it's very good, in fact. I was hoping much on this one because it is stored in the same Four Roses barrels, along with the Makers Mark and Evans(?). anyway, cheers nonetheless . . . . i'm quite happy I wiped out Total Wine's entire 4 bottle inventory....

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full Sail Black Gold- Bourbon! 22-oz bottle bought at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan, New York, for $11.25, at the recomendation of Harry, the beer expert at that wonderful store.

"Aged for 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky"

Appearance: Pours very black and opaque and thick, with a luscious brown head of about one and one-half fingers and lots of bubbles on top. Good retention and carbonation. Classic Imperial Stout look.

Smell: Bourbon and more bourbon, wood, vanilla. Sweetness, sugars. Lovely hints of gourmet chocolate. The nose, as the taste forthcoming, are both very woodsy and bourbon-y. As good as Goose Island Bourbon County in my opinion, but perhaps a lil' too strong for some folks.

Taste: That bourbon barrel sure did something! Wood, vanilla and bourbon come through right away. Very woodsy, barrel-y. A bit too dry and astringent at the end, feels like plunging into the barrel and licking it! Delicious nonetheless. Very boozy as it warms up. Dark bitter chocolate at the end of the sip. Smoke around, reminds me of the fireplace of my winter home in Northern Spain.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, sadly, but still correct. Medium body, low carbonation, medium flavor. Dry and chocolaty and bitter at the end.

Drinkability: Sure, this is boozy, hot, bourbon-y, woodsy, maybe even a little unbalanced. And so what? If you like this kind of beer, you will love this. It is lovely and delicious. Aging it farther would do even more marvels to this already-marvelous brew.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

a - Poured a silky almost watery black into my southampton RIS snifter. Head was minimal and didn't hang long but could be rebuilt with a few glass swirlsy. Nice bourbony shine.

s - Very rich in chocolatey bourbon. This is the exact smell I look for in a barrel aged stout. Pretty spot on to Black Ops.

t - Starts off chocolate, then goes bourbon, polishes off with roasted malts (almost porter-like) and then the bourbon comes back. The mid section is a bit odd, but the bourbon and chocolate flavors are spot on.

m - Hits heavy with the bourbon in the beginning and then end and leaves a nice chocolate coating bourbon tingle in my mouth.

o - Overall, this was a nice surprise. This beer is very reminiscent of Black Ops (one of my favorite barrel aged stouts). The bourbon mix is heavy in this beer and I LOVE this in my barrel aged brews. The chocolate is really nicely married in as well, but the malty middle is kind of porter-like in flavor and that's a bit different/odd. This is a nice sleeper...very much worth seeking out.

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Photo of genog
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle.
Pours a rich black color with a creamy tan head. Great amount of lacing as well as head comes back with every swirl of your glass. Smell is of chocolate, a little mild coffee smell and some toffee as well. All of this is paired beautifully with the vanilla bourbon notes creating a great mixture. Taste is sweet followed by a lingering bitterness. Not very boozy from the bourbon making this a delicious sipper with a creamy mouth feel.

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Photo of mattmaples
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now this is one BIG brew. It pouts thick and inky black. The aroma is big vanilla and substantial bourbon. The flavor is roasty, coffee and licorice with bourbon, vanilla and oak. This is a stupendous stout with a big wood component. It is a massive heady brew now and should mellow and age well over the next 3 to 5 years.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with skyhand. Thanks for the opportunity... Gold foiled cap.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a tight 1/8" tan head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head is down to a swirl of bubbles in scant moments, with minimal lace, tending more towards legs. Aroma is dark malt with vanilla-tinged bourbon. Taste starts with a sweet darkness, goes with a peek of fruit and some wisps of vanilla in the middle, and then closes with bourbon and lots of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is amazing, and drinkability is dangerous. Worth the trouble to find and experience.

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Photo of edmedina
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black. This is one of the darkest beers I've seen. The head even comes off brown but full

Aroma: Vanilla and bourbon, nothing else. I tried to see if I could get hints of roast malt or anything else, but I got nothing.

Taste: I get tastes of the roasted malt. Almost chocolate like but that is immediately replaced with vanilla and the oak from the barrels.

Mouthfeel: Starts off very creamy and ends with a bourbon after taste. It's subtle but there.

Overall Impression: OK when I first took my smell I thought, Wow this is going to be full on bourbon but the taste was nothing like that. The beer behaves like a Russian Imperial Stout but ends with a bourbon bite. I like how balanced Full Sail made this beer. You can definitely tell this is a big beer for the big boys.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet creamy barley without too much alcohol ester. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet roasted malt with creamy barley notes and some dominating bourbon with light vanilla touch. Bourbon is very present but without any alcohol ester. Which I very much appreciated. Full body with good carbonation. Very well done and something I would have more often.

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.96 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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