Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
269 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 269 | Ratings: 510
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.

 1,477 characters

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.

 720 characters

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.

 286 characters

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.

 1,264 characters

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).

 1,653 characters

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.

 487 characters

Photo of badbeer
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with an off-white head, quickly recedes to a ring around the glass. Sweet bourbon and caramel aromas; bourbon is pretty dominant. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, and roastiness in the taste. Light body with a dry finish; higher end of carbonation. Thanks to cokebottle, or whatever his current name may be.

 303 characters

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

A now 2 year old bottle...thanks to akorsak for sharing.

A-Deep black with no highlights thinnest of thin ring of tan foam, no lace.

S-Dark and foreboding roasted malt, chocolate and a VERY healthy smack of bourbon and alcohol burn.

T-Dark malt flavours mingle with chocolate and a bit of coffee. Upon warming the bourbon character comes on full force. The longer it sit the bigger and bolder it seems to get. I am impressed considering this has 2 years of aging ubder it's belt. I couldn't imagine drinking this fresh...Ouch! Even now I felt like the full frontal bourbon attack was a bit too much after a while.

M-Medium-heavy body, thick and viscous. Bourbon flavours linger a LONG time.

D-This one is for the true bourbon lover only. If you don't appreciate bourbon this one will leave you scrubbing your tongue! Lucky for me bourbon is a good thing. Maybe a bit too strong on the bourbon but I would rather have too much than not enough! At least Full Sail isn't holding back!

 986 characters

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

A foil-wrapped 650 mL bottle courtesy of a Fall 2006 trade with liverletdie.

A: The stout is midnight, dark as a night without the moon. The lack of head further accentuates the darkness of the stout.

S: The nose is stout initially, dark and foreboding with a strong boozy warmth. Chocolate and dark breads lead the way. As the stout warms, bourbon emerges with an impressive strength. Vanilla and alcohol round out the nose.

T: Initially, the stout is just that. Dark flavors, chocolate and nuttiness, emerge with no indication of the strength of the barrel. In warming, the stout takes on a whole new dimension. Vanilla, pepper and corn booze emerge, complimenting the chocolate stout elements. When the stout reaches room temperatute, it's full potential is reached. The bourbon is firing on all cylinders, overpowering the stout in an alcoholicd delirium. For a stout with two years under its belt, wow!

M: This one goes neck and neck with Dark Hollow. The bourbon is slow to emerge but when it does, make sure that you aren't in the way.

D: The alcohol is hidden (if that is possible in a bourbon stout) until the temperature increases. Near room temperature, this one'll knock your socks off.

 1,203 characters

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

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

 474 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a khaki-colored head.

Smell: Do you like bourbon? If the answer's yes, just wink at me.

Yes, it's bourbony, baby. Full, redolent notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and toasted oak eclipse the lesser hints of dark malts and chocolate.

Taste: Dark malts, chocolate, and a simple syrup sweetness expertly integrated with the bourbon characteristics. Chocolate syrup and a few flecks of coconut on a finish that is very warming, but never hot.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Mild carbonation. Quite warming.

Drinkability: Very nice. So nice, in fact, that it has a noticeable calming effect. Personally, I put on some relaxing music, sat quietly, hands clasped together on my lap. I'll finish the rest of my glass before retiring to the den to read for a spell before going to bed.

 829 characters

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

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

 314 characters

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

from notes:

22oz bomber bottle with gold foil on the top.

Super dark black with a nice espresso coloured head of foam that initially dies, but is revivable to a certain degree. Aromas of vanilla, chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, fig, and other dark fruit variants. Taste is silky smooth with non boozy bourbon and vanilla in the foreground, slight herbal hop, fresh baked doughboy rolls and raisins in the back palate. Mouthfeel is think, but not over the top which keeps the drinkability high. The bourbon aging really wakes this formerly boring impy stout up and gets him going right. Pretty nice. As a side note, I wish I could still get this now!


 660 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a modest, beige head of a quarter-inch.
What head did arise, quickly faded to a few whisps of bubble trails.
Aromatics are heavily bourbonized.
Bitter chocolate, charred malt, and dark roasted coffee beans are well integrated and support the prevolent whiskey.
The mouthfeel is thick, chewy, sticky, and lightly syrupy. Low carbonation adds some sophistication. On the thinnish side of body by todays American RIS standards.
The pallet is, as promised, a blast of bourbon.
Plenty of Imperial stout character, but the whiskey overwhelmes it. Not a bad thing, eh?
Dark, bitter chocolate, espresso grinds, acrid black malt, and charred oak follow through the searing alcohol.
The finish builds with plenty of numbing heat, lingering bakers chocolate drizzled with Kahlua, and vanilla.

At 2 years old, this beer could still use some additional cellaring to help round out the booze.
Luv's me barrel-aged Imperial stouts, at any age tho!

 959 characters

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

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

 498 characters

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

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

 450 characters

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

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

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

 598 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small caramel head that fades quickly. Aroma is nice and bourbony over top of dark roasted malts, mellow sweet chocolate, nice woodiness, leather and a bit of soy sauce. Taste is big vanilla sweetness up front, the bourbon mixes in, at first in the background but grows to a nice bite of alcohol with some roasty tanginess in the finish. Body is medium, not as heavy as I expected based on the aroma, soft and slightly creamy before an alcohol bite and drying finish. An outstanding beer, I'd love to try the non ba version for a comparison.

 560 characters

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

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

 800 characters

Photo of woemad
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big-ass 22oz bottle which I think was purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane nearly a year ago.

Poured a dark black that only took on a cloudy garnett look when held up to direct light. Big, tan head that dropped after a few minutes. Not a lot of lace, and what there is appeared in small spots.

Massive, rather uncompromising bourbon scent in the nose of this beer. I gave it ample time to warm up, and it still stayed the king of the hill. That's not to say it was the only game in town - there was definitely a scent of vanilla that became apparent as the beer warmed up, but it stayed huddled in the background while the bourbon overlorded things like an arrogant general that's just staged a successful coup.

The flavor was a little more nuanced than the nose. It was still dominated by the bourbon. Nevertheless, there are elements of vanilla, dark chocolate, oakiness and even hoppiness (most noticeable at the moderately dry swallow) that come out to play. Make no mistake, however, the bourbon flavor imparted by the bourbon cask aging is definitely the star of this show.

While not as thin as some truly flawed stouts I've experienced, I think this could benefit from being more heavy-bodied than it is. As it is, I'd best describe this as a medium bodied beer that nevertheless has a somewhat oily, sticky mouthfeel.

Not a particularly sessionable beer. Even with by and large enjoying this beer, it took me about an hour to finish this bomber. Therefore, I sincerely doubt I could sit in a bar and drain pint after pint of this beer. It would probably function well as an after-meal sipper, though.

 1,628 characters

Photo of RedHaze
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased in Spokane, WA.

Pours a dark black with some red tinged highlights around the edges, and a one finger head. The foam fades very slowly to a thin cap that leaves behind a very nice webbing of lace.

Smell; the bourbon is very evident at first, but when this starts to warm a bit the oak and vanilla aromas emerge. There's some dark roasted malt aromas, as well as some chocolate floating around underneath the bourbon and oak.

Taste; as with the smell the bourbon is the first noticeable flavor followed by the oak barrel and vanilla, but there's also some faint hints of coconut in there. The roasted malts are present, but they take a backseat to the bourbon and oak, with a bit of chocolate and a touch of sourness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and quite a bit thinner than I would have expected for a big Imperial Stout, but the drinkability is really damn good, especialy since the alcohol is barely detectable at all.

 968 characters

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

brewmaster reserve 2006

pitch black, no light passes through, the head quickly fades into an Oring, good looking

got bourbon? under the bourbon bomb lies some heavy cocoa, a little coffee, the bourbon really dominates.

taste etc...
the alcohol is warming to be sure, like the nose the bourbon is pretty pronounced, at times you think you are drinking jack or something of that ilk. The bourbon is actually a touch distracting and overpowering. The Goose Island Bourbon Porter is a bit more balanced (at least the initial brewing, I don't know about the new batch). Under the bourbon is the deep cocoa and it is a pretty rich tasting undertone. Mouthfeel is close to right, something about it just isn't 100%. Drinkability is hard to gauge as this is like sipping on bourbon laced with chocolate.. for what it is it is easy enough to drink but one bomber is far too much for one person, I am going to cap this and have the rest tomorrow.

verdict ?
if available locally worth a try. Not the best bourbon-ized stout I have had but not bad in any category.
music : Dismember - let the napalm rain

 1,125 characters

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

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting on 8/16/06 (2005 Bottle): Jet black color with a thick light brown head with good retention. Nice rings of lacing. Big roasted malt aroma, with caramel and dark fruit in the background. Full body with a pleasant roasted character. Malt, caramel and chocolate flavors are balanced by an underlying coffee bitterness. The finish is dry and mildly bitter coffee and hops. I would definitely like to try this again.

 448 characters

Photo of Dubbercody
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, Portland International Beer Festival.

Pours dark brown, almost black, good latte colored head. Not thick like motor oil, but an easier pour that simply explodes with smells.

The burbon is very upfront and almost overpowering, but subsides to reveal chocolate/coffee and hops as well.

The burbon also plays a strong hand in the taste, but just as in the nose opens up to reveal layers of flavor.

Great brew, even on a warm summer day.

 463 characters

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

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

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

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

 991 characters

Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.96 out of 5 based on 510 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!