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

very good
268 Reviews
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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 | website

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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 268 | Ratings: 507
Photo of aeminter
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Colt9016

The appearance in jet black with low light brown head.

The smell is initially of bourbon, go figure, there are some light esters; mostly of dried fruit.

Hmm, tastes very rich, complex, bourbon, malty, light esters... maybe plum or fig. The bitterness is minimal and only really expresses itself in the finish.

The mouthfeel is damn near perfect; velvety, full bodied and just a little on the chewy side. The carbonation is moderate to low. It just plays on the front of the tongue and then disappears. The alcohol isn't really all that noticeable until you take a few pulls and then the warming starts. Very nice.

note: I'm generally not a huge fan of stouts, but like anything else if you look hard enough you can find exceptions to the rule. This is one of those exception, and I'm very happy to have had the chance to have this beer.

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Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby brown with a silky espresso head. Lots of bourbon in the nose along with chocolate, oats, oak, dark fruits, vanilla, bitter hops and roasty malts. The taste also has a nice whiskey presence with big dark malts, piney hops, molasses, coffee, figs and anise. Body a bit thin for the style, but still drinks well. Probably the best brew I've had from Full Sail. Should improve for many years to come.

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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 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 dukew456
3.47/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into my Duvel tulip.

Jet black, with a small, light brown head that quickly dissipates. Spotty lacing leaves something to be desired, but still respectable.

The aroma is nearly overpoweringly boozy to me. A sweet bourbon aroma jumps out initially, then moves aside just barely enough to let some roasted malt through.

Wow, the taste directly follows suit, being overwhelmingly boozy, with just a small amount of roasted malt and chocolate. The bourbon aspect adds a kind of fruitiness to this stout that I didn't expect.

I was a little bit disappointed in this beer, but maybe it would benefit from aging. This is pretty damn boozy, but it does say on the label that it's 10+% ABV. I just wish that maybe Full Sail had done a better job smoothing out this one's alcohol a bit.

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Photo of olmatty
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Strange, quite frankly. Pours a nearly nonexistent brown head which dissappears faster than a soda head. Leaves no lacing at all. Beer is jet black.

Smell- Sour, oakey, port-like aroma eclipses all else.

Taste- Bourbon oak barrel aging seems to transform the normal stout characteristics into an initial flavor of port, roasty and sweet to be sure, and finishing with a clear flavor of bourbon.

Mouthfeel- Not heavily carbonated, yet the bubbles are unpleasantly large, and brisk. Like soda bubbles. Also, a surprisingly thin and slippery body for imperial bourbon barrel aged beer.

Drinkability- Lighter than its 10.5% ABV would suggest.

I find this wholly disappointing. Perhaps I should have aged this more.

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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 Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Brewmaster Reserve
22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil/Capped

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, very nice oak/bourbon notes, chocolate/toffee, vanilla. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, lots of bourbon/oak/chocolate/toffee, and a nice touch of vanilla. Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended.

2009 Brewmaster Reserve
22oz. Bomber
Gold Foil/Capped

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, little fizzy tan head, with some oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, very nice oak/bourbon notes, chocolate/toffee, vanilla. The taste is very nice, sweet, malty, lots of bourbon/oak/chocolate/toffee, and a nice touch of vanilla. Medium body, the ABV is hidden very well. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As is often the case with these barrel-aged types, not much head is elicited even from a very vigorous pour. Black color, what's there is lightly tanned.

Nose is strongly oaky, with some dry fruit and chocolate. Mostly just wood and booze.

The flavor is two-headed; on one hand there is the vanilla flavor of the oak, which is really prominent. On the other is the chocolate, which takes over midway and really carries the flavor. As the brew warms closer to room temp, I would say that vanilla-oak-booze wins out.

Other flavor notes include fig and prune, coffee lightly roasted, and cocoa powder, along with a prick of peppery alcohol. The mouthfeel is no better than medium, but it's not too bad. I could go for a little more on the malt end in order to firm up the mouthfeel and bring a little dynamism to the taste, but it's not a half bad stout.

Oh, and I've seen this one running up tabs over $10 here in Phoenix. Not worth that - I believe mine was a $7 brew with tax. Still not great, but for barrel aging, limited ed., etc. etc. yada yada....

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Photo of mnapier
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Temperature, 55 degrees. Serving Glassware, 12 ounce tulip.

During a strong overcast with scattered shower evening, I witnessed a strong foamy salt and pepper head that recedes quickly leaving little to no lace inside the glass.
The nose is interesting with strong alcohol, cocoa, bourbon, and oak.
The mouth is soft with light vanilla, some phenalic, cocoa, black cherries (almost raisin like), and oak.

Needs some work.


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Photo of Spikester
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with a modest tan head that becomes a long lasting ring. The lacings are few and come and go rather quickly. The aroma is woody, boozy, some cocoa, and vanilla notes. Taste is a dark chocolate then a bit of vanilla bourbon on the sides of the tongue. Further sips find molasses, black cherries, oak tannins, and a hint of charcoal. Mouthfeel was fine and the carbonation was just enough. Drinkability was bordering on exceptional and very enjoyable. I have another bottle that will be tasted next year.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, in my Duvel tulip.

Black body with about 1/2 finger of dark tan head. The head quickly disappears, becoming a scattered skim of bubbles that I keep swirling to revive. Minimal lacing.

The bourbon is overpowering in the first ssniff, but as my nose acclimates, there's a really nice blend of cherry, oak, dark chocolate, and dark roasted malt. Mouth-watering.

Taste is good, but the bourbon is pretty powerful (to be expected in a bourbon barrel-aged youngster). Lots of bittersweet chocolate, cherry and other dark fruits. Plenty of sweet and dark roasted malt.

Mouthfeel's a little disappointing. The general feel is smooth, but the body's medium- body with not a lot of carbonation.

Overall impression: Solid barrel-aged RIS, and probably a good candidate for aging (I wonder how long it will take for the carbonation to disappear altogether, though).

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Photo of ccrida
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into my Deschutes snifter, Black Gold is pitch black with a large tan head that pretty quickly disappears leaving no lace, leaving a still beer.

Smell is all bourbon barrel, oaky and boozy.

Taste is a big blast of vanilla, which I really like, but really not much else. There's a pretty strong, but clean bite of alcohol, some deep caramel, but really it's all about the vanilla. I haven't had their bourbon barrel porter in a good 6 months, but from what I remember this tastes exactly the same, there's really no roast or anything that reminds me of the base stout (which I really don't care for much anyway).

Mouthfeel medium light bodied, but there's a sharp crispness that seems unusual in light of the fact that it's not particularly carbonated, which kind of reminded me of Dr. Pepper.

Drinkability is pretty good, I really dig the flavor, even if it is one-dimensional. The high ABV is pretty well hidden, and it was overall quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Reino
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- One finger of mochaccino (yeah, I said it) head rises to the top of my Duvel tulip and recedes to a creamy film atop this pitch black monster. There are only a few spatterings of lacing. Body=great, head and lacing=meh.

Smell- Chocolate, black cherry bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, oak, brown sugar... pretty much everything you'd expect from a good bourbon aged stout. The more I smell it, the more the bourbon vanilla and caramel notes dominate.

Taste- Am I crazy or does this taste quite a bit like Cherry Adam from the Wood? I think the reason I'm getting that is the tannins running wild through the rest of the flavors. There are some beautiful bourbon flavors of oak, vanilla, and caramel coming through, but the fruits are more sharp than sweet. Some bitter baker's chocolate is mingling, as well. This needs time to come together.

MF- Full bodied on the lowest end of medium carbonation. The full body doesn't hold up to it's competition, however. I actually think their imperial porter has a fuller body. It's still quite pleasing on the tongue except for those damn tannins clinging where they don't belong. The heat isn't much of a problem for me, but I'm starting to become numb to it after all of these big beers this winter.

Drinkability- It goes down very easy considering the abv, tastes good, but a bomber is enough for me. Time will definitely improve the flavor, but I'm still quite disappointed with this beer. It's a good beer for the style, but I think their Top Sail Imperial Porter is better in every way, and almost more of an Imperial Stout than this is. I'm not an Abyss whore like a lot of people, but when I drop over $10 on an impy stout that's brewed in OR, there are certain expectations, and this didn't live up to them.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold foil-top bomber, very excited about this one

A: a tempting deep brown bourbon pour with intense reds making an appearance. Overall very dark and luscious looking in the glass. I gave it a rather vigorous pour and a thin ghostly head appeared and vanished. Just a small ring of light mocha colored fizz remains. Just a few random dabs of lace

S: nice whiff of freshly shredded and flaked vanilla sweetened coconuts, mild sweet aged bourbon, dark bitter chocolates, and dark roasted malts. So far so good, shaping up real nice

T: man, this has a great profile. Roasted malts maintain a good footing and make things robust and tidy. I also pick up on more chocolate in the mix...reminiscent of fudge brownies with a dash of vanilla beans in the back after the swallow. The bourbon flavors evoke vanilla, charred wood, and dry flavors. This is a good after dinner desert drink, you might be able to conjure of soft dark fruits in the mix as well. Another interesting feature is the slight astringency that is showing up at the back of my tongue. It says that this brews IBU is 65, I would concur. I happen to like this one, bourbon notes have a mildly driving push throughout

M: i could tell from the pour that it was going to be a light imperial stout body. It is not the creamiest, thickest, or darkest imperial stout I have ever had. However, it is slick, smooth, easily drinkable with a more-than-husky medium body. I find it fits well

D: a wonderful experience is right. I found myself enjoying this bottle immensely. If you see it, buy it and enjoy

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Photo of HairOfTh3Dog
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer Pours a dark dark black with just the remnants of a head. Swirling the beer achieves syrupy lines down the sides of the glass but not as much as I had expected out of a beer this dark and thick.

The first characteristic of the smell is bourbon, plain and simple. The smell finishes with a bit of vanilla and spice.

The First thing i noticed about the taste of this beer was that it had a bit of a spice flavor to it. It definitely has a sweet bourbon taste to it as well. The vanilla that came through in the smell is present but not overwhelming.

This beer is fairly mellow for such a newly bottled brew which makes it very drinkable. The alcohol is not too hot but is definitely present.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Black Gold Imperial poured a viscous oil color with a single finger foam head that dissipated pretty quickly. Not much in the way of lacing. The bottle came in a cool black and gold label with gold foil on the top.

The smell initially was all oak and bourbon. As it warmed and went on I could pull out some molasses and vanilla. The taste was nice but to me but less complex than what i was expecting. You got the burn of the 10.5 abv, the slight coffee bitterness and oak and bourbon. It was thin to me in relation to other imperial stouts I have tried. It was almost an imperial porter with its thin-ness. Overall not a bad brew but has a little way to go to get to the top of the class.

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Photo of Chelsea1905
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber

Poured almlost lifeless untill an agressive pour produced some head. The head was minimal, and gave-way quite quick;y before leaving a small brown-tinged head that left minimal lacing.

Smelled of bourbon barresl, with dark roasted malts dominating that background. Whiskey, bourbon, and wood of an almost Cedar quality.

Taste is somewhat dominated by the alcohol, but leaves a little warmth of black fruit before giving way to the chocolate/burned malt flavourings, then the alcohols whooshes over almost like a revival adding to the complexity of the beer

Medium to light mouth feel for a Stout, and I very much doubt you'd be drinking too many of these

Overall, a great beer, not as good as the Abyss, but for a little less spondulla it's certainly worth a shot!

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Photo of unclederby
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured as vigorously as i could into my miniature Old Raspy nonic (about 8 oz.?) Smallish caramel color cap sits atop this black beer, but it quickly fades to nothingness. No lacing as i drink. Aromas of bourbon and caramel predominate, with a touch of vanilla to lend an overall creme brulee-like bouquet. Smells scrumptious. Flavors are much the same, with obvious roasted malt and caramelized sugar nuances. The bourbon is mellower and smoother than last years porter and I appreciate this... there is also enough of a hop presence to keep the richness from becoming too cloying. I'd have to agree with others that the mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but this does have the effect of increasing it's drinkability. Carbonation is there somewhere i'm sure... Overall, a nice beer if not exactly a world-beater, and i'll shell out the bucks for one more to cellar for a bit.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 picked up at the Coop over the weekend enjoyed from my Chimay goblet while boxing up some brews... Paid about $9..

Head dies back immediately despite a fairly aggressive pour.. no lace and not much of a cap.. the brew poured a little thin for the style.. it's black.

Aroma is thick dark dried fruits.. lite coffee with quite a bit of chocolate.. the bourbon is there and strong throughout.. sorta spicy.. reminds me of cinnamon and vanilla bean.

Flavor is also spicy EtOH.. bittersweet chocolate with vanilla from the bourbon.. dark fruitiness reminds me of raisin and dried sweet cherries.. tannic throughout.. body is on the lite side especially given the ABV.. could use a little more malt.. carbonation is on the lite side lending toward a fairly smooth mouthfeel.. balanced heavily across the board toward the bourbon side..

It's been years since I've had an '06... but I never liked that one because of the overly heavy bourbon component.. this one seems more mild.. at least in memory.. but it is pretty damn good.. not world class... but pretty damn good.. I could see it getting significantly better with some age.. but age is not really gonna help the body... sorry... I was really hoping I was gonna appreciate this one more... surprisingly.. the drinkability is actually fairly high given my above negatives..

Thanks to Matt and Ashton for fighting to get this one in.. now I just need to figure out how to stock up so I have some more for down the road.

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Photo of reinheitsgematt
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter at cellar temp (~50 F)

Pours a deep mahogany, nearly opaque with a quickly dissipating tan head and fine carbonation.

Aroma offers loads of bourbon vanilla and some molasses

Surprisingly light for 10.5%ABV... odd to say that, but it's quite striking and wholly unexpected. That said, flavors follow nose with ample bourbon influence (vanilla bean), some char, more molasses, and a persistent dry-ish chocolate malt finish. Alcohol heat shows on the re-breathe in the back of the throat, but never overwhelms.

Overall, stunningly drinkable, even light for the style, no element outshines any other, creating a big, balanced beer. Curious to see how it ages, wish I had an older vintage to compare.

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

Poured this into a snifter:

L- BLACK! With a thick tan head and sticky lacing.

S- Molassas, brown sugar, bourbon, roasted grains and wood.

T- Bourbon, roasted malts, alcohol and a slight toasted coconut finish.

B- full, thick body with nice smooth carbonation.

Extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- This looks as if it poured a little thin. The beer pours very dark brown, yet when it settles in the glass it looks black. The head was very thin and eventually disappeared to just a ring around the edge.

S- Other then the obvious bourbon, there is a great buttery caramel smell. The bourbon smell is great, starts off strong and potent and reminds me of a bad night in college, then smooths out to something more refined. It would be interesting to know what brand of bourbon barrels they used. For those who have had GIBCS this smells just like that with more bourbon smell.

T- The taste is great, nice blend of buttery caramel taste and bourbon. I'm getting a slight woody taste, and no not a tongue boner, although this is pretty tasty. A coffee taste seems to start to come in the more you drink this beer. The star of this beer is the bourbon taste, and I know some people don't like the overwhelming taste but I like it.

M- I think this is a bit thin at first, at least compared to what I was expecting. Yet the more I drink it the more I like the thin feel.

D- I think this is easy to drink. Smooth, but there is a slight drying out the palate effect, but only just a little.

This reminds me very much of GIBCS only thinner and more bourbon taste.

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Photo of erikm25
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black and viscous. No hints of any other colors. A dark, one inch, caramel hued head makes an appearance yet quickly vanishes. Hold this up to the sun and you'd think you were in a new moon lunar phase with the total eclipse this creates. Spotty lacing clings around the glass. Solid looking.

S: Aromas are sharply and sweetly complex. Vanilla and some roasted oak hit the nose to round things out. Hints of dark cherry candies, caramel, and black licorice. Warms the nose with subtle bourbon and brown sugar smells.

T: Nice cocoa, toffee, and roasted coffee tastes. Dark fruits (like figs and raisins) with a splash of grape and cherry. Much like the nose there is a lingering and powerful sweetness to each taste. Hints of molasses without being to heavy or syrupy. Little bit of a hops finish which adds nicely. As this warms up the bourbon tastes are more pronounced and helps make this a real treat, IMO. It's hard to comment on whether this was balanced. Though I did enjoy its intensity.

M: Medium body (almost bordering on full). I was expecting just a little more roundness.

D: This was actually very drinkable considering the hard hitting ABV. Has all the staple RIS flavors without feeling too weighty (which I can see either being a plus or minus). I picked this up for $11.99 a bottle. While I couldn't afford to indulge that often it is still absolutely worth a try. Considering you can pick up quality Full Sail offerings at very reasonable prices it is well worth shelling out a few extra bucks for this fine brewery. Play list for this massive beer included Black Cobra, High on Fire, Metallica, and some Buddy Holly (RIP).

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Photo of midaszero
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque body with one finger of coffee head that doesn't stick around to long. A small bit of lacing as well.

S - Smells awesome even from a distant. Sweet sweet bourbon smell.

T - Chocolate bourbon goodness. A little hot but not nearly as bad you might expect from a 10.5 ABV

M - Medium thick body with light medium carbonation. Coats the gums some as well.

D - Very easy to drink for the high ABV and almost sessionable. Very enjoyable especially if you like bourbon aged beers.

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
89 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.
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