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 Arbitrator
1.15/5  rDev -71%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. A gift from ramnuts. Thanks, Frank. Sort of.

A: Pours a pitch black in the glass with just the slightest translucence at the edges, revealing a maroon body. The head is a short-lived light tan cap that leaves a thin ring on the body and a swirl of bubbles on top of the brew. No lacing.

S: Bourbon... chocolate... soy. Maybe some raisin. Unlike other big beers where the soy complements a rich flavor, this one is dominated by it. So far, the barrels haven't treated this one well.

T: Yep... Not well, at all. Bourbon up front. I was told this beer was pretty hot when it came out, so I have to give it a nod for one thing: it has cooled off considerably in a year. Not much heat at all. Not much flavor, either; a raisiny soy flavor, some barrel character (tannins, vanilla) near the finish, and a pervasive roast. Wow, the base beer was OBLITERATED by the barrels. The flavors are poorly integrated and clashing, which is a pretty poor showing for a beer that has around a year on it at this point. Like it's already falling apart. Or maybe it was never together? Arne (alfrantzell) likened it to bourbon-barrel Coca Cola. I can't think of a more fitting description.

M: Very thin. There's practically no body to it. Swirling it in the mouth reveals no presence whatsoever; it has the viscosity of water. Low carbonation + thin body produce a very unsatisfying experience. The finish is tannic and roasty, but it still falls away fast. The body has no staying power, and the flavor clearly didn't stand up to the barrels.

D: Frank, I greatly appreciate that you sent this beer to me as a gift, but I suspect you were playing a prank on me. This is, hands-down, the worst barrel-aged imperial stout I've tried. It defines the bottom end. I had two sips and began scouring the internet for recipes to cook with the rest of it.

I'm not going to run around saying it burned down my house and all that. I honestly think this is a terrible beer and I'm trying to convey that without vitriol. They did not do a good job with this one.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.18/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brought two bottle of this back from my trip to Arizona. It already has a year on.

Black Gold poured barely any head, even on a vigorous pour. The minimal head that did form was caramel in color and then reduced to a creamy white around the edges. An even lacing forms on the glass as I dip it side to side and then it falls back to this liquid that is darker than used motor oil.

The smells has a huge sweet bourbon scent. I couldn't imagine what it must've smelled like last February. There's a smooth chocolate aroma intertwined with light soy sauce. I also find little hints of vanilla and oak beyond that.

The taste is sweet. There's a subtle roasted malt flavor in there that's a little tangy. The bourbon seems to have mellowed into the beer and isn't as pronounced as in the aroma. It's pretty boring right now. I would imagine this beer was much hotter when it first came out. A fairly nice roasted malt flavor lasts on your tongue after you swallow. The beer finishes with chocolate, oak, and a hint of soy sauce. There's not a big alcohol burn going down but you can feel it warm you up.

The mouth feel has some viscosity. Carbonation is low. I might have liked it a bit lower for this one.

This beer has some good things and some bad things. The flavors aren't really impressive and it's a little too sweet. This beer could either mellow out with more time or just end up worse. It's hard to say. I kind of don't want to finish my glass though.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.26/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours dark brown. Aroma is completely bourbon. Flavor is also bourbony with a faint background of roasted malt. Am I drinking bourbon or beer? Tastes exactly the same as the bourbon aged imperial bourbon.

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Photo of vkv822
2.33/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2011 release.

Pours black with a short lived tan head that dissipates fairly quickly.

I was a bit put off as the smell is of straight bourbon upfront when first poured. After being allowed to sit for a minute, some really vanilla and oak from the barrels and chocolate, lightly roasted malt comes through behind the bourbon.

The taste follows the nose, with bourbon upfront and followed by some cocoa and roasty malts. Finishes with a mouth-numbing alcohol heat.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, lightly viscous, with light carbonation.

A decent beer but the bourbon is just not integrated well-enough. I feel like this is was would be the result of mixing a shot of bourbon in a regular Imperial Stout.

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Photo of waltonc
2.46/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with a lot of light tan head that recedes to whisps in my Bruery tulip glass. Looks thin and overly carbonated.

S: oak bourbon barrels, vanilla, roasted malt, and toffee or brown sugar.

T: Considerable barrel and bourbon here. Lots and lots of vanilla too. Fairly sweet, but by no means a GI BCS or Black Tuesday.

M: A bit thin for 10.5% and lots of prickly carbonation. It's like this was brewed to be a "summer" bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. To be enjoyed with a wedge of lemon.

D: Enjoyable, but I don't feel compelled to get another bottle. On a more absolute scale, maybe I'd give this beer a higher score since I love barrel aged stouts. But compared to the competition, Black Gold is a bit lackluster.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
2.49/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This came highly recommended from the bearded fellow at Bottleworks, and it made its way into the last five beers from my trip down there - When you buy around 30-50 beers at a time and make them your stash for a month, you save the beers you're looking forward to the most for last.

The bottle is extremely handsome, with a black label and gold pinstriping, and is capped with a gold foill topper. It looks imposing and classy all at once, like a bodyguard in a tuxedo.

Black as the universe with a frothy, chunky three-finger dark brown head that attacks the walls of the glass and refuses to let go. It leaves delicate repeating patterns of lacing down the glass, and never fades thinner than a complete brown covering over the inky depths.

Smell... Okay, this is definitely bourbon barrel aged. It absolutely has to be. (Okay, yeah, the label says it is, but without reading that, it's still obvious). Sticking my nose in the glass, I'm overpowered by bourbon - that incredibly alcoholic roastiness that singes my sinuses and reminds me of the old days, before I began drinking beer exclusively. I hate to say it, but this loses major points because there's nothing to the smell except whiskey.

And... unfortunately... much of the flavor is whiskey, as well. I wonder if they even drained the bourbon barrels before they added the beer? It has all the characteristics of bourbon, even the unpleasant burn that follows its progress all the way down. The flavor is a little more rounded out than the smell, adding to the bourbon with slight lemon peel characteristics and a creamy aftertaste. Any hop bitterings or roasted maltiness is overpowered by the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: fluffy and creamy in the mouth - painful on the way down.

Final thoughts - I imagine this would be a better brew if it had been aged somewhere else. Leave the bourbon barrels for someone else.

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Photo of rpstevens
2.59/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle courtesy of Johngalt1, I have had this one for a long time and finally got around to drinking it tonight. Pours a pitch black with a thin bubbly white head-I would expect a thicker, mocha head on a big RIS....

The smell is straight bourbon and barrel. There isn't much going on here other than that. The bourbon is strong and boozy, what you'd expect from a bourbon barrel stout.

The taste is bourbon and wood. And that's it. There is a faint flavor of dark chocolate right before you get some more barrel.

The mouthfeel is thin, the bourbon and alcohol are overpowering and this is a disappointment overall.

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Photo of largadeer
2.73/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle from bgramer. Thanks, this was one hell of an extra.

Appearance: Dark brown with a bit of transparency, dark amber highlights and only a wisp of head.

Smell: Somewhat muted. Licorice, charred grain and oak. Not the most enormous bourbon barrel presence, this stuff only reveals a hint of that signature vanilla and caramel character.

Taste & mouthfeel: Up front spicy cola flavors (thanks Arne) and big, almost acrid roasted malt. Medium-bodied, a touch lighter than I'd like. More residual sugars would have been beneficial here, as it tastes a bit thin and flat on the whole. This was clearly put in a barrel, but the bourbon isn't dialed-in as well as it could be; it's somewhat lifeless. Bitter, semi-dry finish. Solid stuff but it fails to stand out in a very saturated style.

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Photo of mactrail
2.77/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown in the big globe. Modest head with nearly nonexistent lacing. Not a bad nose of vanilla and lots of wood. Fairly flat mouthfeel. Woody flavor, as in seriously barreled. Clearly 10 months is too long. The stuff seems to have lost aromatics and every trace of sweetness.

Certainly drier than nearly every Imperial Stout I've tried. Tastes like they used alcohol to leach out the malt flavors. 2011 version from Royal Liquor in Encinitas. Astoundingly overpriced at $14.99. There are so many booze and barrel flavored beers these days, and most of them are a lot better than this.

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Photo of SkeeterBoganski
2.77/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

2012 vintage at 9.6% abv

A - this beer pours a deep black with a khaki colored head that fades rapidly; very minimal carbonation present

S - bourbon, a touch of rubbing alcohol, peat, subtle hints of vanilla; how this beer is under 10 when all I can smell is booze is beyond me

T - the taste of this beer reflects the nose to a tee...the bourbon barrels used have apparently taken over the entire base; the rubbing alcohol notes are unpleasant; I'm happy with the ruffles chips flavors that are in my mouth

M - speaking of mouth, this beer is probably highlighted here: the feel is decent, reasonably carbonated, even drinkably smooth; however, the bitter alcohol flavors leave a sting on the tongue

O - this is a pretty disappointing beer; basically, I paid $11 for a bottle of rubbing alcohol stout; I will try and let it warm and hope for the ability to finish, but I see a drain pour in my future.

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Photo of Charlie_Hoss
2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

I figured I would write my first review on this beer to explain why I gave it such a low rating because I would like to think I like "most" craft brews.

2013 vintage poured into a DFH signature glass, Split between three people.

A: Poured into my glass moderately aggressive and poured a small, quickly diminishing, khaki head. Decent black color, probably one of the most appealing aspects of this beer. (great label, I can sometimes go for bling)

S: Upon initial smell I could smell bourbon,anise, and some fruit and I had high hopes it would be a tasty brew.

T: This is where everything went wrong. Maybe I was serving it too cold but my first sip tasted like fruity soy sauce. I waited for it to warm hoping this would change. It only moderately mellowed and I could not finish my glass (and I absolutely hate to pour beer). One of my friends felt the same, the other liked it, as taste is obviously one's opinion.

M:Very watery and thin, this was one of the biggest disappointments. I was hoping I would be pleasantly surprised but this just wasn't it.

O:Really disappointed in this one. I had high hopes for a barrel aged stout at $11 that was easily available. This was just not it. I will stick with Uinta Labyrinth as one of the best affordable barrel aged stouts that flies under the radar. Cheers

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Photo of DIM
2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a: This was black, completely opaque with no highlights. I couldn't coax much of a head out of this one.

s: Lots of bourbon here, plus some oak and vanilla. Just a little dark roasty malt manages to come through.

t: Vanilla and bourbon absolutely dominate. That normally isn't all bad to me, but there was something slightly off about them this time. Very sweet overall, the vanilla flavors in particular. At the end I got a little chocolatey malt along with some oak.

m: Decent body for a barrel aged beer and gentle carbonation.

d: I've enjoyed the other beers I've tried from Full Sail, the barrel aged porter especially. Thanks to JohnGalt1 for the chance to try this. Sorry Toby, this wasn't for me.

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Photo of atowle25
2.8/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint class, pitch black. Best thing about the beer is the look, not much of a head but looks thick and syrupy. The smell..the smell was nothing but bourbon and booze to me. Perhaps my nose is unrefined, but I didn't detect much else. Very astringent smell to it that I did not like at all. Taste was mostly bourbon upfront with some caramel and maybe even some dark fruits on the finish? Interesting. Slight chocolate taste in there too but everything is overwhelmed by the bourbon.

Too much barrel, not enough beer here. Not my kind of thing, but I'd be curious to try this after it had a few years on it. There are some interesting things going on in the beer that seem very muted by the bourbon. If you like harsh/boozy stouts, you'll probably like this fresh..otherwise I'd steer clear until this mellows out a bit. Has potential, but I would not buy this again unless I planned to sit on it for a while.

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Photo of Oxymoron
2.97/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

What color is black gold? Pours a back color with red and dark brown hues around the edges of the glass. There is a somewhat wispy appearance and the foam has a brown and sometimes reddish color. The retention was limited as was the lacing but did last through the whole tasting.

The smell is sweet with more of a fruit or more specific sugar plum aroma. A mix of malt and sweetness. Overall the smell is well represented. There is a phenolic edge to the beer as well giving notice to the bourbon essence.

The taste is similar. At first there is a roasted coffee malt taste, but quickly the sweet plums shows with an overly sweet taste. I would have liked more malt but the bourbon side really is noticeable. The beer finishes with a sharp phenolic taste that deters from the overall flaovr. It seems to become more pronounced as the beer warms.

The body is close to full then say a mid body feel. Carbonation is light but acceptable. Usually I like to have a fruity plum or raisin taste in my Imperial Stouts, but this one with the phenolic lip and lack of malt really is not good.

So why did they name the beer after two color (ie why not red blue imp stout, or purple green imp stout?).

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.97/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip. Thanks to readbaron for bringing this over.

Appearance: The pour is maroon mahogany color with ruby edges and a small cap that neither retains well nor leaves any real lace.

Smell: The aroma is nice. Bourbon, some alcohol, oak, chocolate malt, and roast coffee.

Taste: The flavor really differs from the aroma, in a bad way. Roasted and chocolate malt should be there, but hide behind a bourbon and ethyl alcohol front. Oak tannins come in later, but there is no real depth to this beer. Most of what I taste here is off flavors.

Mouthfeel: It is noticeably thin right away. The oak is overdone, leaving my mouth feeling astringent. The alcohol provides some bite on the tongue.

Overall: Not a lot of good things going right with this beer after I get past the aroma. It was tough to finish a glass.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I had to do some googling to make sure I was reviewing the correct beer. My bottle does NOT say "Black Gold"; it simply says "Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged" on a black and gold label. I've confirmed that this beer is indeed Black Gold - albeit an alias thereof. Brewmaster Reserve 2013. Price was $10.99 at a local SoCal beer store. 9.6% ABV. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded black pressure cap served into a flared tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are low; I'm not a fan of Full Sail - but then I've only had their Trader Joe's beers for the most part.

Served 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 half finger khaki colour head of decent cream, decent thickness, and poor (<1 minute) retention. No lacing on the sides of the glass. Body colour is a solid dark black. Nontransparent; opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Typical of the style, but nothing stands out. There's nothing unique or special here, but there are no overt or obvious flaws. Generally appealing.

Sm: Light vanilla and buried light oak - but they come off somewhat artificial; this is not good bourbon barrel aging. Cream. Dark malts. It's shockingly bland for a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. An average strength aroma. No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

T: I like the simple vanilla notes. Unobtrusive dark malt foundation. The bourbon aspect is nice, but it's rather one-dimensional and simple for a bourbon barrel stout. Where's the complexity and subtlety? Some cream. No real oak. It's balanced, but it's unbelievably simple. I like it, but it's wanting. No yeast or alcohol comes through, though my stomach does get a bit warm after consumption. Any hopping is minimal.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit of cream. Decent body. Decent carbonation. Good thickness.

Dr: Very drinkable for a barrel aged imperial stout, admittedly. But it has none of the complexity or subtlety I want from the style. It's as neutral, muted, and simple as an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels can be. This would make a great introduction to the style, but it's not for those of us who have had the greats. Overpriced for what it is. Comparatively, it may be Full Sail's best beer - but that isn't saying much. I might try it on-draught if there's no better option, but it's rather forgettable stuff. Still, it's better than I expected. ABV isn't well hidden. Overall, this is about as mundane a bourbon barrel imperial stout as you'll ever find.

Low C+

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had the 2006 vintage years ago and never reviewed it, whiskey bomb but it was only $4. This 2013 vintage cost me $12.49 and if I wasn't on a bourbon barrel kick lately I would never have paid it. I wish I hadn't. Typical black color with a nice off-white head that left a little cream at the top.Aroma is a complete whiskey bomb with a couple notes of wet wood. was hoping for vanilla and coconut like Firestone Walker but all I could detect was Crown Royal and Jack Daniels. Flavor was sort of thin but heavy on the alcohol. There really wasn't a good malt backbone and I feel like the barrel just destroyed the base beer. Disappointing.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasted 2/12/2011, from notes:

Pronounced bourbon aroma and taste. Boozy with toffee and chocolate notes and some charred wood. A little herbal in the long finish. Further into the bottle I'm getting a mild, but unpleasant, sourness. Overall, this just doesn't excite me much compared to other beers in the category.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. 2009 Vintage. Almost 9 months old.

A- Looks like black coffee sitting in a glass. Formed a very thin tan colored ring that disappeared rather quickly.

S- A lot of bourbon and a lot of barrel. I was pretty shocked because with this much bourbon I thought more vanilla aromas would have come through...not the case here. Just not very complex.

T- Much like the aroma. Bourbon on the front with a distinct barrel flavor that rides to the finish. The beer finishes a touch on the sweeter side. This was weird because while the bourbon flavor was robust, it wasn't that strong. The barrel was also way WAY too overpowering. The ingredients just were not meshing well.

M- Way too thin for a BA RIS. Definitely could have used more viscosity.

D- Somewhat of a chore to drink, not because of the bourbon, but because of the oak barrel taste.

Overall, not very impressed with the barrel aging in this one. This is a good example of how BA can ruin a beer.

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Photo of ebrauser
3.17/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as oil, of course, with the thinnest brown head left over after a minute. Seemed like it was tinted with a touch of red?

Aroma: Bourbon! Hints of vanilla and chocolate somehow force their way in past the strong alcohols.

Flavor: Strong bourbon again, with more oak, vanilla, and cherry flavors coming out. Malt base isn't huge, and I don't think it balances too well. I will really look forward to opening my second one in another year or two to see how it handles! Hopefully the bourbon will mellow a bit, letting the flavors develop.

MF: The beer body doesn't really stand up to the strength of taste, and is a little watery.

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Photo of Beerlover
3.18/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

the flavors in this beer are all there for a bourbon barrel aged stout it's a little on the light side for body but the thing that totally killed it for me with this beer is the mouthfeel, the carbonation is waaay tooo high, which time will take care of just fine but I needed a less quality bourbon stout for a good base line before my bourbon county stout sampling with rick... Rick my friend get ready to have your socks knocked off, bring on the bourbon county!

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Photo of readbaron
3.22/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage

Pours a dark brown, nearly black with a hint of off white tan foam - looks a bit thinner than I'd like.

Smell starts out beautiful, vanilla, bourbon, some chocolate and sweet malts, but the finish is a bit harsh - some bitter oak shows up to dampen the otherwise perfect bouquet of aromas.

Taste is a harsh - tons of bourbon and alcohol and oak - I'm not used to so much wood in my beer. I think the thin nature of the beer hurts this one - picks up a ton of oak.

Feel is decent - well carbed, but thin for a stout.

Overall - dissapointing.

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Photo of Bung
3.28/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

22 oz. Fairly dark pour, burgundy tones throughout. A ring of tan bubbles around the glass. Not much sticking to speak of though.
Aroma is pretty sweet, candied sugar, like a malted milk ball and milk chocolate along with some good bourbon tones.
Aroma leads me to believe this may be like a small beer made from Bourbon County 2nd runnings. Bourbon County is probably in my top 3 or 4, so expectations are high.
Comes up short. Nice barrel characteristics of molasses and oak, but weak malt, roast, hop presence of any sort, just too sweet and nothing to balance. A little soy and chocolate. Warms in the throat a bit, but no lingering flavors to go with.
Mouthfeel was ok at first but quickly progresses to being quite thin. The thinness I would guess leads to the weak finish as well. I didn't get the over carb that some others though.
Drinkability is fine, but with everything just not quite working together here I would want to drink too much of this.
A little disappointing since I thought I landed a nice harder to find stout and the other stuff I've had from Full Sail has been solid.
I've probably had many beers worse than this, ones that I've even rated higher, but when unfortunately this has to be compared with some stiff company in the style, you get the lower rating.

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Photo of Phelps
3.31/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2011 release.

Enjoyed during a tasting of bourbon-aged stouts, this was poured from the bottle into a small tasting glass. According to the bottle, this is the brewery's imperial stout, aged 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky.

Inky, opaque dark chocolate brown. A thin, graham cracker-colored head becomes a medium ring.

A bit of soy sauce and teriyaki in the nose. There's also molasses, espresso and a bit of dark chocolate, but the Asian flavors are definitely off-putting.

The flavor's better, though there's still a bit of soy tang. A small amount of butter, lots of molasses, a hint of licorice, some vinous oak, vanilla and smoky char, like a piece of processed beef jerky. It's smooth, but too tangy for me. I need more deep roast. Improves as it warms.

The creamy medium body is a bit oily on tongue. Very, very light and tingly carbonation. Alcohol numbs the tongue and flames through the nostrils.

Black Gold exhibits nice flavor integration, but lacks depth. I'm tired of it already, and I didn't finish more than a third of the bomber. Not great -- especially when compared with other top-tier stouts.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.32/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I am stoked to review this beer. Full Sail doesn't usually impress me, but they released a Doppelbock a few weeks ago that I just loved. I have also been reading this one is pretty impressive. They release this beer every two years, and age it for quite some time in the barrels. You know me and barrel aging… I am sick of the trend. However, I have realized that brewing companies are not going to stop, and I need to embrace it. So consider this my first barrel aged embraced brews! I hear that some brewing companies, Lost Abbey included, are going to start aging beers in tequila barrels. That sounds interesting.

This beer used to be called Black Gold, and said Black Gold on the label. The bottle that came out this year does not say that, but I have confirmed, with Full Sail on Twitter, that this is in fact the same beer. Not sure why they leave off the name… but I am excited to drink it. Today is a big day, too. We are leaving here and gong to the Skeptical Chymist for some Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary on draft, then over to Whole Foods for some special release beer from Mikkeller. Just a beer filled Friday night.

Let's try the Full Sail Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged. Black Gold sounds so much better!

In the Glass: The beer is pitch black and pours like mud. Well, not quite… but close! It is thick, produced a huge head, and just sits there begging to be consumed. There is an incredible lace, too. This is so pretty, I just want to look at it. Nah, forget that… let's drink!

Nose: I could smell this as I was pouring it. Not the beer… the bourbon. They are not hiding the fact this is barrel aged. That's for sure. The beer is malty and there is almost too much bourbon on the nose. As much as I don't want the beer to taste like that, I kind of hope that it does! For beer that is less than 10%, it sure doesn't smell like it. Let's drink!

Flavor: At first, I was asking myself, "Where is the bourbon?" Then, out of nowhere, it hits you. Then it's ALL bourbon and slides down smooth. It is WAY too cold, but I almost got a pint out of it. This will last me for a little bit. On my second sip, I swished it around in my mouth, and while it adds a little bit of flavor, but not much. To be honest, it tastes better without doing that. Each sip this beer does get better, and as it heats up, I am sure it will get better. The mouthfeel might be the best part of this beer.

Mouthfeel: At first, there isn't much going on. When the beer hits the back of the palate, it explodes with the bourbon flavor and slides down smooth. Now that I think of it, the nose might be the best part of this beer. The best part of the mouthfeel is the finish, as the bourbon really fills your mouth. There are no bubbles here, and unless you force them, it just slides down. (I just burped… and with the burp comes the bourbon. Not the best flavor I have seen in a barrel aged beer.)

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is nice, and has a nice smooth finish that begins to dry as you continue to swallow. But for a beer that is $11.99, I expect more flavor. I wonder if the barrel aged porter is any better… not sure I am willing to spend $11.99 to find out. Of course, I will have to wait until next year to even try that one. Like I said, this will probably get better as it heats up, but this is not a beer worth writing home about.

This is our last Full Sail beer on the list, and I am OK with that. Their beers never really impress me, and this one is no exception. It's good… but for the amount of time that this beer sits in a barrel, I had a higher expectation on the flavor. Oh well, on to the next bottle!

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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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