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 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.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.37/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to AleWatcher for sharing this one at a recent tasting.

A: appearance is very dark black, but not quite opaque, minimal head, no lacing

S: vanilla from the Bourbon is huge up front, chocolate comes through next with sweet dark fruits and molasses coming through at the end

T: very sweet with lots of vanilla to begin, slightly sour in the middle, syrupy sweet finish. This one leans a little heavily towards the sweet side for my liking.

MF: body doesn't seem to match the flavors... a little on the thin side

O: among many other delicious brews we cracked at this tasting, this one did not really standout. It's a bit on the sweet side and it is a bit thin for the style.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice. Picked up while on a trip to Tucson. Exactly the style of beer I like ... a robust stout with bourbon barrel overtones, hints of vanilla, and most importantly lacking the overpowering hop flavor present in so many beers. There is a subtle hint of hops, but it's a delicate, controlled level of bitterness. My only criticism is it seems slightly watery. Almost like it begs for a few additional flavors to make it feel more full ... and ingredients to make it feel thicker. Oh, and I wish it were available in Ohio!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to black13 for sending me this one!

2009 vintage. 10.5% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch puffy dark khaki head that settles to a thin film. Small thin streaks of lace form on the sides of the glass on the drink down. Smell is very nice with bourbon, wood, and vanilla up front and dark roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate if I search for it. Taste is of dark malts, cocoa powder, vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors. There is a very slight sour flavor to this one as well. There is a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat. This beer has a bubbly level of carbonation with a smooth but slightly watery mouthfeel. There is something in this beer that dries the palate as well. Overall, this is a a good RIS with a better smell than taste and the drying effect this has on my palate is weird.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing this at the May Freetail bottle release.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a brown head. The aroma is heavy on the roasted malt with a lot of bourbon whiskey notes. I get some oak, as well as some alcohol and maple.

The flavor is more complex. In addition to the oak and bourbon notes, I get a lot of chocolate, brown sugar and a little bit of dark fruit. The roasted malt is also present but takes a back seat to the chocolate.

Thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A very nice barrel-aged beer.

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Photo of marvin213
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black like it's supposed to be, it looks good. The smell is sweet, but it's Kentucky. Beer aroma analysis has also taught me about bourbon: this beer is aged in Kentucky (not Tennessee) bourbon barrels. It doesn't smell overly sweet, but it does smell like bourbon.

The taste is dark goodness with the flavor of good (but not great) bourbon. This can't be Perry Van Winkle! I'd even prefer Beam. Is it Kentucky Gentleman? The beer and the beer work well together, as it's a legitimate, big-boi RIS aged in bourbonized wood. It can't really compete with the southern (more local? better??) bourbon-aged brews, but it'd be too harsh to say it ain't good.

It seems to me that barrel-aging really thins the mouthfeel. Other than perhaps the BA Old Rasputins, I don't come across chewy bourbon beers. With craft brews what they are today, it's tough for me to rate this one higher than a coffee + infused RIS. Maybe that's unfair, but don't blame me...blame the game. ;^)

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Photo of mudbug
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bomber into a standard pint glass results in a heart of darkness black body with a half inch head of tan foam with good retention, nice.
Yow, this one is pungent! Bourbon up front with lots of dark chocolate and espresso and booze, complex and in your face the aroma is outstanding.
Taste is bold, strong chocolate with a bourbon backbone And at the end there is a clean bittering of hops, not as sensational as the smell, but darn good with a nice alcohol warming.
Not as thick as some RIS, not overly chewy, medium bodied for the style.
Overall, this is one very nice Bourbon Barreled RIS all the correct parts are there and I think a few years ageing will put it up another notch. BRAVO!

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.61/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mocha aroma has a strong bourbon overtone - no surprise there! It pours midnight black with a thick dark tan head that leaves some substantial lacing. Flavor is - WOW! Just wow! Quality coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, licorice, bourbon, molasses, hops nuts - each sip seems just a little different. Thick, smooth texture is quite tingly and leaves a slightly sweet and fizzy finish. A must!

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Big thanks to AleWatcher for sharking this bottle!

We apparently did not have enough beer already on deck, so we cracked this bottle as well. Fair enough. It pours a straight obsidian topped by a finger of rather light tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, chocolate syrup, bourbon, light oak, vanilla, and caramel. The taste holds notes of light roasted malts, chocolate syrup, light mandarin orange syrup, bitter dark chocolate, light lemon zest, very light vanilla, and very light coconut. The fruity notes really don't do it for me, and things are exacerbated by the cloying sweet notes from the chocolate and whatnot. Not my cup o' meat. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly watery feel. Overall, a pretty disappointing impy stout, one that goes too far into sweetness and fruitiness and doesn't try to bulk itself up for me. I've had worse, I just am not too big a fan of this.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black, nothing getting through. One finger mocha colored head. Good lacing.

S: Chocolate covered cherries. Other dark fruits. Big bourbon aroma. Nice smell.

T: Lots of dark fruits. Cherries, figs, raisins. Big bourbon. Very hot. Needs some age for sure. Light chocolate and coffee aftertaste.

M: Way to thin for a stout. No creaminess.

O: Would be much better with a year or two on it. Although that won't do much for the mouthfeel.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.47/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

22oz into pint glass. Thanks to a generous trader for this kick-ass extra.

A- Dark dark brown pours almost still; slowly a 1m head builds and remains pretty active until it settles into a tan pancake on top. Pretty dense head.

S- A lot of bourbon coming off this one.

T- Again, total bourbon delivery vehicle. A bit one-sided and heavy-handed... still, nice vanilla flavors, some good brown sugar, and lots of oak.

M- Hot, base beer isn't as bold/robust as I'd like.

O- For all my nit-picking, it is a damn tasty beer. I think some tweaking of the base could bring about a fuller product, but this is really tasty as is. Kind of like dropping a shot of bourbon into a stout, though.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Black beer, small brown head. Looks appropriate for a stout.

S - Bourbon is nice, has some vanilla, oak and chocolate.

T - Bourbon is pretty strong, and there is the chocolate, vanilla, and barrel you would expect from a BA stout. It's not bad, but needs some more time.

M - Full, lower carbonation.

O - This beer is alright, but not particularly exceptional in any respect, but wasn't a bad beer.

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Photo of claspada
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage, yes 2006. Shout-out to HimerMan for cellaring this for so long and then offering it for trade. Let's see how it has aged...

Poured extremely dark and foreboding with a lighter tan head which quickly recedes. Some lacing, but not substantial.

Aromas are initially dark and foreboding with strong bourbon and complementary dark chocolate and complex roasted malts. As the stout warms, the booziness subsides with the vanilla and milk chocolate and lesser sweet toffee malts emerging.

The tastes begin dry and roasted with bitter baker's cocoa and some dark roasted coffee bean flavors. Some nice nuttiness emerges are you further sample. As it warms the caramels and toffee emerge but there is an ever present roast and chocolate combined with vanilla and some more nuttiness. You never taste the wood/barrel but their flavors have been imparted to quite nicely.

Mouthfeel is expectantly full with enough carbonation to balance. Not syrupy, which is always a big + for me. Finishes dry despite the full body and complex flavors. I credit this to the bourbon and ample roasted malts.

Overall I enjoyed this beer and I am pleased at how the flavors have developed in this beer. I especially enjoy how the bourbon complements the overall flavor profile and I really enjoy the delicious nuttiness which was more predominant than any barrel aged beer I have ever had. I imagine this must have been crazy boozy initially but after 5 years, quite good.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Enjoyed well over a month ago. 2011 Vintage.

Appearance – Pours a dark chocolate color into my Bell’s Tulip. About a finger of dark mocha head is achieved with a moderate pour. The head sticks around for a while, leaving slightly chunky lacing.

Smell – Lots of bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, and slight oak.h

Taste – Up front bourbon that melds nicely with the cocoa. The vanilla shows more in the middle (more so as the beer warms) and the roasted malts offer a slight bitter ending. As the beer warms the flavors (and nose) emerge a bit more, and it becomes more chocolaty in my opinion.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, quite creamy, nice carbonation, slight dryness at the end.

Overall – From the reviews this seems to be a love/hate beer (noticing how polarizing they are). I thought this was a pretty darn good stout (not it's not the best, but it held its own) and wished I would have gotten at least one more to age.

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Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release, 11.4%.

A: Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention, nice lace.

S: Boozy bourbon aroma, plenty of molasses, licorice, esspresso & bakers chocolate.

T: The bourbon is great and really melds with this aged stout. Slightly woody, molasses, licorice, dark roasted coffee, burnt caramel, solid bitterness, warming alcohol (though with all this flavour, I wouldn't have thought it was quite as strong as it is).

M: Fairly full body, light carbonation, slight roasted acidty, slightly drying alcohol finish.

D/O: Incredibly drinkable for its weight, very well-crafted, great brew. This is how bourbon barrel aging should be done.

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Photo of arizcards
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Da Boss picked me up a bottle earlier this week; she is the best!

Beer poured black as night with a small tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is wonderful, big bourbon with hints of vanilla and cocoa.

Taste is good, lots of flavors going on. Bourbon not as strong as indicated with the nose, but present; cocoa is very prevelant, hints of vanilla in the background, somewhat sweet. Flavors are nice but slightly off balance.

Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped, between light and medium bodied. Finish is smooth.

Overall this is a very tasty beer. Glad i had the opportunity to try!

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Photo of daveytheformer
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a thick oily black with a thin tiny tan head that immediately fades to a few spots.

Smells like vanilla, caramel, oak and sweet beautiful bourbon.

Taste a little chocolate and a lot like the aroma. Lots of bourbon and dark malt.

Mouthfeel is honestly little thin for what I'm used to for the style.

Overall is good and probably the best Full Sail beer I've had.

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Photo of ebrauser
3.17/5  rDev -20.2%
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 Briken
4.81/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark brown with thin umber head, no retention or lacing and a little bubbly. Bourbon booze, chocolate mint, and oak aromas. Boozy malt sweetness with substantial oak. Bourbon, chocolate mint, licorice, vanilla, and light coffee. A little syrupy, semi dry finish. Slick mouthcoating and good fuzziness.

Good warming but low alcohol taste. Sublimely alcoholic and flavorful that is easy to drink. The vanilla oak flavor really shines through with a ton of extra flavors. I tried to get every last drop and was sad to see it go and really wish I hadn’t missed the opportunity to get it on tap at the Porterhouse. It was a superb “dark passenger” to accompany the fourth season of Dexter.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed in quantity alongside some heavyweights (Vanilla BCS, '11 Cherry Adam, Cuvee Delphine and Black Albert Batch 0) last weekend.

Brownish black with reddish brown highlights and a dense, brown head that shows great retention. The nose is roasty with vanilla, some chocolate and chocolate syrup. Quite nice. Bourbon is moderate here. The palate opens thin, roasty and with some espresso, along with some chocolate and vanilla syrup. This syrupy sweet character is actually nice, in some way. A little bit of licorice bitterness is present as well. Dry, roasty on the finish with some vanilla, this is decent. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation , the finish is decent. Solid stuff, just not the best of the bunch

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Photo of davesway10
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this beer in a trade with podunkparte. Excellent acquisition. For me the only better BBA Is BCBS. Smells of bourbon and vqnilla, tastes of bourbon and vanilla. Heavenly. I want more of this brew. For the record my bottle has an ABV of 11.4%. World class IMO

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Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paired last night with the bourbon county vanilla stout from GI. This is a fine beer, but it really was out of its league when compared to the beer from GI. Also, this beer improved appreciably as it warmed up a bit.

The Black Gold pours a blackish brown color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, showing noticeable bourbon, vanilla, coffee and light chocolate. The flavor profile generally replciates the nose in this moderately sweet beer, except I'm picking up some licorice as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly long, smooth finish. Drinkability is pretty good, especially considering the abv. in this beer.

As the bourbon county vanilla stout made clear, this is not a world class RIS. Nevertheless, it's a solid, enjoyable beer, and at least for me, a lot more accessible than the beer from GI.

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Photo of marqoid
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz into a tulip.
Can't review for specifics, had this ~2 weeks ago on my last homebrew day.

Pours very dark with minimal brown head.
Smells of straight bourbon with a slight backbone of chocolate and roasted malt.
Taste is of bourbon with Imerpial Stout as an after though. This tastes like bourbon first and beer second.
Mouthfeel was nice, medium+ body that coats the tounge.
Overall it is an interesting brew that so much bourbon can be infused into a big beer like this, but in my opinion it is over done. I did enjoy it and would be happy to drink it again, but it is not top tier.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to my brother for leaving this one in the fridge. Thanks again bro!

Poured from a bomber into an Inland Empire Brewing pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head. Head retention is decent at best, and there is no lacing to be had here...

S - Chocolate, vanilla, and a good dose of bourbon. Very inviting...

T - Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a good amount of dark roasted malts. Ends on an astringent bourbon note with some bitter coffee lingering in the aftertaste. This one has alot of heat, and it only gets stronger as the beer warms. Am usually a fan of a good dose of bourbon, but it doesn't work for me here...

M - A little watered down for my likings. Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

O - Glad I got a chance to try this, but I won't likely be seeking it out in the near future. If you have one of these around, you might want to park it in the celler for a few years. Full Sail brewed another average brew here imho...


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Photo of peacebone116
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a current review of an cellared beer from 2011--11.4%ABV--reviewed 11.04.2013

A: Black beer with nearly no head despite a straight pour. Tan lace rims the glass.

N: Aroma of licorice and chocolate with a light touch of vanilla and oak.

T/M: The mouthfeel on this is a bit light, but not terrible, just lighter than what you might expect from a big, bold stout. The taste follows the nose but with more chocolate and vanilla, finishing with oak and booze and a touch of raisin as it warms.

Age does not seem to have done too much to this beer. It was good in early 2011 & still good in 2013. This one was a surprise for me when I found it and this time, knowing what to expect, it is still a bit of a surprise. I honestly expected the body to thin out a bit more than this, but it has stood up very well. The booze seems a less overpowering, but that could be due to my exposer to stronger beers of this irk more than anything.


Poured from gold foil capped bomber to tulip--in late April of 2011.

A: Black as night! Light tan, almost brown, head fades rather quickly leaving lace at the leg of the glass.

N: Vanilla and chocolate. A slight hint of raisins.

T/M: Vanilla and chocolate. Rummy, bourbon boozyness in the middle accompanied by a bit of sweet plum, which tries to hide behind the booze. This is followed by notes of coffee on the finish. Hot alcoholic feel, but the beer remains creamy and smooth. Vanilla notes sit and stay on the back of my tongue leaving a great flavor. Excellent! A little lighter body than expected but it feels appropriate.

Full Sail beers, while good, have never left me super impressed. I have been really happy with this offering and it stands out amongst some of the other barrel-aged beers I have had the pleasure of trying.

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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 514 ratings
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