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

Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)
514 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: 514 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of Dburke
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of spoony
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of sneaks2210
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Danobold
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of gtermi
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.02/5  rDev -23.9%
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 rickyleepotts
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
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!

 3,644 characters

Photo of Kevin73
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I tried the older 9.6% ABV variety. Appearance wise it wasn't the most appetizing beer. A brisk pour produced a very thin head that disappeared quickly. The smell was typical of most bourbon barrel aged beers (and bourbon in general) with brown sugar, vanilla, oak and caramel, so nothing surprising there. You expect an imperial to have more of everything. Hops are in the flavor but are very weak. There are notes of roasted malts; coffee, chocolate, dried fruit, almost like a dark ale. The beer was unusually boozy for being 9.6%, which makes me wonder if it's not mislabeled. Very strong alcohol burn. Overall I didn't dislike the beer--it's hard to not enjoy a bourbon barrel beer--but it came on a bit too strong and wasn't as well balanced as it could be.

 763 characters

Photo of ZRBE
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Had me up until the aftertaste. A tad too bitter, a little burnt. A bit boozy, sure, but I don't see what the fuss is. Yeah, it's no tight rope walker, but the balance isn't terrible. Still, things do start in one direction and then move quickly towards another. Nice smooth, bourbon start, then a hard left towards booze and bitter. A little time would do this well. Not something I'm going to seek out often, but I'm not complaining.

 435 characters

Photo of switzer
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of DruRho
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of mttdls
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of st9647v3
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of dachp
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of johnnyboy76
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

 907 characters

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 jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 vintage, only 9.6% as opposed to 11.4. Also this is the first time i've seen this in NJ? Anyway, I've been loving everything full sail lately so I'm hoping this lives up to what I've been having. Pitch pitch black with a half inch of head even with a vigorous pour. Lots of bourbon and chocolate on the nose. Oak and vanilla under it all.

Big bourbon flavor. Vanilla sweetness up front followed by rich chocolate flavor. Spicy oak finish. Nice underlying bitterness on the finish balances the bourbon sweetness that you find throughout the beer. For such a big brash beer, the flavor are layered extremely well, and, typical full sail quality, extremely clean. Probably the cleanest bourbon barrell flavored imperial stout i've ever had (full sail trademark) As the beer opens up a bit you get a bit more malt. For such a big beer its also kind of simple but in a good way. Flavors are quick layered and concise and work well together. Bourbon is a little strong, but laying it down for a couple months might help it fade a bit. Seriously though, good, drinkable, flavorful, simple, and clean is the best way to describe this. Massive body. with thin but steady carbonation.

 1,180 characters

Photo of themind
3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bourbon bomb anyone? I had high hopes for this brew since it was aged for 12 months in Kentucky barrels. That said it's a bit unbalanced, the bourbon taste is dominant and the flavors don't seem to mesh well. Overall I would say it's an average BB stout. Kudos to the brew master for his efforts but they have fallen slightly short in this case.

Bottom Line: As the beer warmed it became more enjoyable, worth a try.

 417 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a black color with a short wispy head.

Smell: bourbon and vanilla are up front and pleasant.

Taste: roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, prunes, alcohol, and a moderate bitterness make the main flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Light crisp to start, smooth and velvety at the finish. Dryness arrives late. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Overall: a slow drinking beer that is a bit boozy. The bourbon flavors are pleasant but a bit more roasted malt tones are needed here. The stout qualities are a bit mild.

 554 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
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 joefc
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of flipdog0
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of GTB
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 514 ratings
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