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)
Very Good
515 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 515 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of Bralor
1/5  rDev -74.8%

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.

 2,070 characters

Photo of pjeezus
1.5/5  rDev -62.2%

Photo of towlea25
1.5/5  rDev -62.2%

Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.18/5  rDev -45.1%
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.

 1,482 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.26/5  rDev -43.1%
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.

 262 characters

Photo of vkv822
2.33/5  rDev -41.3%
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.

 739 characters

Photo of waltonc
2.46/5  rDev -38%
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 -37.3%
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.

 1,887 characters

Photo of rpstevens
2.59/5  rDev -34.8%
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 -31.2%
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.

 797 characters

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of mactrail
2.77/5  rDev -30.2%
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.

 590 characters

Photo of SkeeterBoganski
2.77/5  rDev -30.2%
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 -30%
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

 1,313 characters

Photo of DIM
2.78/5  rDev -30%
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 -29.5%
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 -25.2%
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?).

 1,202 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.97/5  rDev -25.2%
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.

 849 characters

Photo of switzer
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of MynamesRickJames
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of bccocx
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of Jparkanzky
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of ArdyExfor
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of supaadam
3/5  rDev -24.4%

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 515 ratings