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 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 alexhahn82
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First of all: 2011 Vintage = 11.4% ABV

Appearance: WOW. Black Gold, totally effin' nailed the name, I thought I was pouring oil into my glass that was thinned down with paint thinner!

Smell: Sweet and bourbony. Carmel and Bourbon. I don't like simple descriptions but it is what it is.

Taste: Baker's chocolate. Bitter yet pronounced. Has a hint of chocolate, but definitely unsweetened chocolate with a medium bourbon tone.

Mouthfeel: Medium with a little tang. Yes, tang. I hate that word but have no better use of it. Semi metalically, but not in a bad sort of way, finishes smooth and chocolatey.

Overall: Very nice beer, well worth the $12 per bottle price, well balanced but steers toward the complex choco/bourbon flavors. Definitely worth a try!!

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was one of my first 'wants' since joining BA and I forgot all about it, then found it at DeCicco's in Don Draper land Westchester county NY.

Pours into the tulip looking black and semi viscous, jet black really and the foam is an inch that fades to cap size looking mocha. Nice globs of stick on the way down, a good look.

Smells of stinky bourbon, full in scent with an apparent boozy scent. The Rizzz is kinda hard to find under all that yak but there is traces of roasted malt and hop scent. Pretty one sided at this point.

Taste is all about the bourbon and it shows. A nice hit of whatever barrel they used and as expected not a lot backing it up. Really it goes bourbon some oak, no anilla sweetness and heat in that order. I don't think the base is all the way there.

Feel is kinda lackluster, it feels thinner than most Imperials and the creamy esque is lost with no sweetness or vanilla backing. Medium bodied and really bordering on watery. Hot. Carbonation is there and it helps.

This one is hot. If I had another bottle I would lay it down but there really is nothing for the BB appeal to meld with a not up to par stout, plus i fear of possible infection, not in particular with this, just BB stouts in general. I give points to Full Sail going balls deep with this bourbon forward beer without all the bells and whistles, but it's not my turkey.

I think this might be a hit with the older crowd who like that hard stuff and some stouts. Irish people unite.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A bottle split with onix1agr and poured into a new belgium snifter.

A- a steady pour yields a small cap of dark tan head that settles rather quickly to leave a solid ring and a wisp or two on top. Black as a star less night in color with some nice legs to it.

S- loads of bourbon right out of the gate with a sweet vanilla and brown sugar flair. The nose is really dominated by the barrel and its tough to find anything else in there. Hints of chocolate and super dark roasted malts.

T- while the barrel still runs the show the flavor is way more balanced then the nose. Opens up with a good amount of bourbon vanilla, bitter chocolate, dark roasted malts, touches of anise and cocoa powder. As the brew warms the roast picks up a bit and makes the brew a bit more well rounded but at the same time an odd tart finish shows its head.

M- a few steps above medium in body, with a smooth creamyish lighter carb. Good bit of heat from this bad boy.

O- I must say this is way better then the rest of the full sail brews I've come across. I dig bourbon so this is right up my alley. Not for the faint of heart but with some time down I could see this becoming a stellar brew.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasted 2/12/2011, from notes:

Pronounced bourbon aroma and taste. Boozy with toffee and chocolate notes and some charred wood. A little herbal in the long finish. Further into the bottle I'm getting a mild, but unpleasant, sourness. Overall, this just doesn't excite me much compared to other beers in the category.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a deep black with a small dark tan head that fades to a ring leaving a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of vanilla, molasses, and roasted malt. Lovely.

T: The taste is dark fruit and chocolate with nice vanilla and molasses flavors on the finish. The tastes get much bigger as it warms.

M: The feel is thick and oily with a decent amount of carbonation. Somewhat creamy as well.

O: The aroma alone was enough for me to know I wanted to try this again in the future. Given the tasty flavors as well I have no problem recommending this one to anyone who loves big barrel aged beers.

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Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a small yet tight toasted khaki color that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of bourbon and vanilla with a roasty malt base. Very straight forward bourbon aged stout.

The flavor is of a smooth bourbon, with vanilla and caramel adding extra layers of smooth. The roasted malt flavor is there but serves as a base and an offset to the sweet bourbon flavors. Some milk chocolate notes pop through as well.

The feel is moderate, a bit light for the style, with prickly carbonation. Smooth flavor on the palate but does end with significant belly burn from the ABV.

An enjoyable and flavorful bourbon aged stout. It is a bit hot and could use some aging. Good pick up.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Often a Barrel Aged RIS becomes an Amer/Impy Stout. Apparently in this case, the opposite is true. The style characteristics seem to favor the former though the ABV is middle ground for both offerings. Just a bit of semantics perhaps.

This years release is poured into a wine glass from a 22 oz. capped bomber, showing nearly black in color and with a light mocha cap. Moderate retention and light lacing follow.

Potent notes of bourbon, oak, cherry and caramel on the nose. Roasted malt and chocolate notes contribute more with warming and exposure. Alcohol is present as this is surely a 'wet' barrel aged beer, though its presence does settle out after a few minutes.

Just a hint of bourbon on the taste, along with oak and vanilla and lesser hints of chocolate and cherry. Offers more of a toasted malt finish with enough texture and carbonation to balance the sweetness and ABV well on the tongue. Finish is reasonably full though somewhat more brief than expected given the bourbon influences, and with a bit of caramel and chocolate.

Initially overbearing with bourbon influence, this beer becomes a nice sipper as it warms; yet will always be an outsider to the 'family'. Apparently a different animal than prior releases I would gather.

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Photo of 619BeerLuvr
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2011 Brewmaster Reserve, 11.4%

a bourbon-bomb; over the top bourbon, but very drinkable. I had mine with orange chicken and veggies (a weird pairing, I know)

the bottle claims hint of vanilla, which I didnt get much of, at least not as much as other barrel aged stouts/porters I've had recently (karl strauss 22nd anniversary comes to mind)

gave it a 4 overall due to the fact its an 11%er for less that $5 ($3.99 at BevMo)

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Photo of Phelps
3.31/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2011 release.

Enjoyed during a tasting of bourbon-aged stouts, this was poured from the bottle into a small tasting glass. According to the bottle, this is the brewery's imperial stout, aged 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky.

Inky, opaque dark chocolate brown. A thin, graham cracker-colored head becomes a medium ring.

A bit of soy sauce and teriyaki in the nose. There's also molasses, espresso and a bit of dark chocolate, but the Asian flavors are definitely off-putting.

The flavor's better, though there's still a bit of soy tang. A small amount of butter, lots of molasses, a hint of licorice, some vinous oak, vanilla and smoky char, like a piece of processed beef jerky. It's smooth, but too tangy for me. I need more deep roast. Improves as it warms.

The creamy medium body is a bit oily on tongue. Very, very light and tingly carbonation. Alcohol numbs the tongue and flames through the nostrils.

Black Gold exhibits nice flavor integration, but lacks depth. I'm tired of it already, and I didn't finish more than a third of the bomber. Not great -- especially when compared with other top-tier stouts.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.54/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

a - Poured a silky almost watery black into my southampton RIS snifter. Head was minimal and didn't hang long but could be rebuilt with a few glass swirlsy. Nice bourbony shine.

s - Very rich in chocolatey bourbon. This is the exact smell I look for in a barrel aged stout. Pretty spot on to Black Ops.

t - Starts off chocolate, then goes bourbon, polishes off with roasted malts (almost porter-like) and then the bourbon comes back. The mid section is a bit odd, but the bourbon and chocolate flavors are spot on.

m - Hits heavy with the bourbon in the beginning and then end and leaves a nice chocolate coating bourbon tingle in my mouth.

o - Overall, this was a nice surprise. This beer is very reminiscent of Black Ops (one of my favorite barrel aged stouts). The bourbon mix is heavy in this beer and I LOVE this in my barrel aged brews. The chocolate is really nicely married in as well, but the malty middle is kind of porter-like in flavor and that's a bit different/odd. This is a nice sleeper...very much worth seeking out.

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Photo of biglite351
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage, so the beer itself was brewed in 2008 and then put in casks for 10 months. I am looking forward to trying the 3 year old brew.

A - hint of red around the edge, short off white creamy head.

S - very strong bourbon, vanilla. Only a hint of malt, oak and chocolate, heavily over shadowed by the cask aging.

T - better than the scent. The bourbon and vanilla are not overpowering. Raisins, cherry, chocolate and malt are all in the mix.

M - medium coating, tingle on back sides of tongue and throat, alcohol burn.

O - a little less bourbon in the scent and this would leap-frog many brews.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber. 2011 Edition.

Color lives up to its name. "Black as night". Very thin light mocha head dissipates to a ring.

Lots of wood in the aroma. That distinct dusty oaky vanilla is there, sweet roasted chocolate malt. Some booze too.

Taste features the sweet chocolate malt up front. Bourbon notes move in on the middle. At this point it gets a little too acidic and the alcohol becomes quite apparent. Finish stays mildly sweet with a lingering woody whiskey flavor.

Body is a bit thin, and the flavor drops out a little too quickly for me. Carbonation is OK for the style. I think if the stout that originally went into the barrels was a little richer, it would have done a better job of carrying the barrel flavor.

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Photo of imbibehour
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks kindly to colts9016 for the bottle! No foil cap presented, but it is Brewmaster Reserve 2009.

Out of the bottle she pours dark walnut. Give to thick legs with faint spotted lacing. Head is a light cocoa but doesn't stick aorund much. Body color is a very dark dark red cherry, it does appear to be somewhat clear but the color is incredibly dark that you can not.

First bouquet and smell is reminiscent of Barleywine style. Hints of cherries mixed with alcohol heat. Nice cherry fruit basket, almost kind of jammy.

Taste is a big surprise, slight fizz tingle then that cherry fruit comes through giving way to a dense malt. On the swallow it's dark chocolate smooth, almost nougat like. Great body and mouthfeel, lots at play here with the malt, then cherry bent and tastes of chocolate. Even a small hint of sour which just makes it like a tease. Top roof palate of my mouth leaves just a hint of dried tobacco leaves.

Overall this is like the composition of a great barleywine and a great Russian Imperial aged stout together it feels just flat out fantastic. Lots of win here.

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Photo of hopburster
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Fred's Rivertown Alehouse in Snohomish, WA.

A: Poured jet black with a thick two-finger mocha head. Little to no lacing and minimal head retention.

S: Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon in my nose. Also hints of dark fruits--dates, raisins, plums--slight vanilla and roasted malt. But mostly bourbon...and lots of it!

T: Extremely heavy bourbon taste with oak overtones. Slightly hot, but pleasant alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium body with relatively low carbonation.

D: An extremely tasty bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Couldn't drink it all night, but perfect way to begin an evening of imbibing.

In my opinion this is a vastly underrated Imperial stout. I have a couple in my cellar and will be interested to see how it tastes with a year or two on it.

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Photo of vissai
4.39/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage Poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.
Appearance is oil slick black with little to no head. looks less viscous then I had expected
Smell is Bourbon all the way. probably the most bourbon i have ever smelled in a BA beer. Hints of chocolate present as well
Taste follows the nost with straight of bourbon and chocolate wafer dry chocolate after taste. a little salty even in the aftertaste like chocolate covered pretzels. Very nice
Mouthfeel follows the appearance and is a little soupy and not as thick and rich as BCBS. The smell prepares you for a very chewy brew but the mouthfeel isnt so.
Drinkability is amazing. drinks like a 6-7 abv. the light mouthfeel definitely helps the case here. A very enjoyable brew to say the least. I loved it

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Photo of Glibber
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently bought a six pack of Russian Imperial Stout and it was a little heavy for me. The Black Gold on the otherhand was exceptional. The beer poured like black coffee, and had a thick bark brown head that dissipated after a little time. The smell was a powerful punch of coffee beans, and dark chocolate. Up front I tasted the sweetness of hazelnut with bitter chocolate. sucking in the beer, you could really feel the density of the beer. Not only am I much more a fan of Imperial Stout, I will be seeking out this beer.

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Photo of chicano4craft
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as night into my snifter. Small tan head that disappears fast. No lacing here.

Lots of bourbon in the nose. Not a bad thing! Barrel aging gives off a nice woody aroma. There's slight dark chocolate hiding in the background.

Nice combanation of flavors in the taste. Bourbon blends well with the roasted stout. Lots of vanilla, especially as it warms. Alcohol hides at first, but comes on strong towards the end. A bittersweet finish that's sort of dry.

Mouthfeel is deceptive. It starts thin but the strong flavors seem to beef it up quite a bit. Decent drinkability. Meant to be sipped and savored.

Pleasant surprise. Most of Full Sail's Reserve Series have been middle of the road. I really liked this one and will age my remaining bottle.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black, with a minimal light brown head. No lacing.

S - Smell is big with bourbon, and almost a chocolatey, coconut aroma. Very inviting.

T - Taste matches the aroma perfectly. Great roasty flavor, bourbon, and still a kinda coconut flavor. Hints of dark chocolate, and oak are evident as well.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not syrupy and thick, but not watery thin. Just right to keep you sippin.

D - Extremely drinkable. The bottle says 11.4% but it says 10.5% here. Either way I say I want another.

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Photo of GhettoFabulous
4.84/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I poured a bomber of this into a four ounce styrofoam cup procured from a nearby water tank during a wedding after-party at a cheap hotel. It is unfortunate to drink a beer this nice out of such a deplorable container, but if MacGyver was a beer advocate, I'm sure he'd approve of this improvisation given the limited options available.

These bottles are absolutely gorgeous, juxtaposing darkness against shimmering gold like the magical ticket Charlie lands to see the Chocolate factory. This beer pours with a head that rapidly disintegrates, proudly flaunting its dark black color in the fashion its name sake promises.

It smells of bitter chocolate and bourbon, which is exactly what I was hoping for. The first sip reveals more bitterness, but it smooths out pleasingly by the time this beer slides down your gullet. And it slides rather easily for a bourbon-barrel aged stout.

The viscosity of this beer is very much on the light side, which was at first off-putting, as it disassociated my pallet from the thick b.a. imperial stouts I've grown to love. After a few styrofoam cups of black gold, however, I learned that its relatively thin mouth feel is an asset, as you can drink a ton of this stuff without getting the icky-sticky mouth feel that many b.a. stouts leave with you with. This has the flavor of a sludgy bourbon-tinged stout, yet is practically thirst-quenching, which lends the beer a surprising asset that I've never experienced in this genre of brew.

The flavors are absolutely stellar. The bourbon plays off the chocolate bitters and patina of vanilla with soothing balance. There also seem to be some subtle notes of anise but this is really carried by the bourbon and the chocolate, which is just fine considering how triumphantly these flavors carry the beer.

This is an amazing bourbon barrel aged russian imperial stout that belongs in my belly as often as possible.

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Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that slowly died down and left lacy patterns of bubbles across the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose.
T: Moderately strong flavors of bourbon stand out, although these are well incorporated into the taste and are not overpowering. There are some hints of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There is some warming from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink for the style because the alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.54/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Full Sail Black Gold- Bourbon! 22-oz bottle bought at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan, New York, for $11.25, at the recomendation of Harry, the beer expert at that wonderful store.

"Aged for 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky"

Appearance: Pours very black and opaque and thick, with a luscious brown head of about one and one-half fingers and lots of bubbles on top. Good retention and carbonation. Classic Imperial Stout look.

Smell: Bourbon and more bourbon, wood, vanilla. Sweetness, sugars. Lovely hints of gourmet chocolate. The nose, as the taste forthcoming, are both very woodsy and bourbon-y. As good as Goose Island Bourbon County in my opinion, but perhaps a lil' too strong for some folks.

Taste: That bourbon barrel sure did something! Wood, vanilla and bourbon come through right away. Very woodsy, barrel-y. A bit too dry and astringent at the end, feels like plunging into the barrel and licking it! Delicious nonetheless. Very boozy as it warms up. Dark bitter chocolate at the end of the sip. Smoke around, reminds me of the fireplace of my winter home in Northern Spain.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, sadly, but still correct. Medium body, low carbonation, medium flavor. Dry and chocolaty and bitter at the end.

Drinkability: Sure, this is boozy, hot, bourbon-y, woodsy, maybe even a little unbalanced. And so what? If you like this kind of beer, you will love this. It is lovely and delicious. Aging it farther would do even more marvels to this already-marvelous brew.

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Photo of robbrandes
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, poured from 22oz bomber.

pours an inky black from the bottle. minimal, but impossibly durable head - present through the last drink, nice lacing in the glass. smell - bourbon and oak are still big, and some subtle smoky notes.
taste - huge smoky, alcohol on the front. nice undercurrent of chocolaty sweetness, oak and remnants of the bourbon linger in your mouth. as others have mentioned, mouthfeel is a bit thin, given the huge ABV, but not distractingly so.

the 2011 is still a little hot at this point, but i'm excited to cellar my other 5 bottles and revisit it down the road.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, opened 02/2011. Thought I'd try an aged version before I dropped some money on the 2011 release.

Poured a deep cola brown with no trace of head. Huge, immediate aroma with a bourbon character dominated by vanilla, licorice, hints of dark chocolate, and oak. Noticeable boozy warmth.

Moderate to slightly low carbonation and a somewhat thin mouthfeel, especially for the style. Oaky, spicy bourbon up front followed by dark chocolate, toasty malt, and a slightly chalky, bitter finish dominated by slowly emerging coffee character. Alcohol character is fairly prominent throughout.

Some nice things going on here, but I feel like this brew never really gels together into a sum greater than its parts.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to whomever opened this at Cincy Winter Beer Fest

Pours very dark with reddish tints. Very thick and viscous with a bit of brown head. Lots of dark fruit on the nose. Some great bourbon hints but fairly subtle. Mostly oak heavy. Thick and heavy on the tongue. Tastes very sweet and malty. The bourbon is fairly subtle. I wish it was stronger in all honesty! Decent mouthfeel and very drinkable for the percentage

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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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