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

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve)
Very Good
515 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: 515 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of crossovert
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Today me and my friend did a side by side of this an BCS.

Pours pitch black with hints of brownish reddish edges. Has a pretty active caramel colored head that rises to the top of my Duvel glass.

Has a good bourbon oak scent, not as intese as the BCS but good nonetheless. There are also hints of molasses and vanilla.

The mouthfeel isn't as thick as others but the flavors are the standard, nice oak and bourbon flavors mix with layers of malt and chocolate bitterness. I have a cut on my lip and it is burning from this alcohol, though the alcohol doesn't make a huge presence in the flavor.

This is a great ass barrel aged stout, may not be the pinnacle of the style but it is worthy if you can get ahold of it.

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

From notes. Pours black, modest mocha head, good retention, active, patchy lacing.

SMELL is boozy, bourbon and oak are strong up front. Less prominent vanilla, with light roasty and malty layers. Mellows and balances as it breathes.

TASTE Rich complex blend of roasty, boozy, bourbon, oak, sweet malty and vanilla flavors, with some lingering bitterness. Pretty smooth and balanced for such a big beer.

FEEL fiarly sharp bite and strong alc warming overpower an otherwise rich, viscous texture.

OVERALL Taste and smell are seductive and rich. But this one deserves to be sipped and savored. Very good. Stacks up well with the standards of the style.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a great nightcap, we decided to share a bottle of Black Gold at "The Bayou" While I was initially disappointed that they were out of Stock on Deschutes Black Butte XXI, this provided me with the opportunity to try this excellent beer. Don't believe it was on the menu. If it was, the description had not mentioned bourbon barrel aging. Only through discussions with our waitress, did she realize this is what we were looking for. Kudos for her for grabbing this gem for us.

Enjoyed this out of a chalice.. No head at all formed atop this black gem. The beer is a shiny deep black color without any brown highlights on the edges. No lacing either..

Aroma was fantastic and a combination of vanilla, bourbon and black licorice.

As expected the flavors continued to grow more complex as the beer approached room temperature. Black licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla and the warming sense of bourbon are all present in the complex flavor. A touch of dark fruit in the background and a small sense of dark roasted malt. Fairly complex and very nice. The bourbon flavor provides a nice warming sense but is not "hot" at all.

Mouth feel is slick, carbonation is slight and spot on. The body is medium thickness and a touch too thin for this to be perfect.

Excellent beer, in the end, I am quite excited that they were out of the Butte XXI and that I had the opportunity to try this. Sometimes we just get lucky. Excellent beer.

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Photo of gford217
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of Wetpaperbag poured into a tulip.

Pours dark brown out of the bottle and sits almost completely black in the glass though there is a bit of light showing through the edges. There is a small creamy mocha head that recedes to a collar fairly quickly.

The aroma is straight bourbon barrel with a little bit of vanilla coming through. The underlying stout is pretty tough to make out and there are some dark roasted malts in the nose but not much else. I imagine this is what the inside of a bourbon barrel would smell like.

The taste is slightly better with the sweetness of the vanilla coming out more and the bourbon backing down a little. The dark chocolate and roasted malts are more evident as well. The finish is interesting as there seems to be a slightly smoky character to it.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very slick, almost thin, with a very soft carbonation.

This is a decent beer, but the bourbon barrel is too dominant for my tastes. Or maybe the underlying beer isn't big enough to shine through. Either way, if you like big bourbon and wood character in your stouts, this one's for you.

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Photo of rpstevens
2.59/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle courtesy of Johngalt1, I have had this one for a long time and finally got around to drinking it tonight. Pours a pitch black with a thin bubbly white head-I would expect a thicker, mocha head on a big RIS....

The smell is straight bourbon and barrel. There isn't much going on here other than that. The bourbon is strong and boozy, what you'd expect from a bourbon barrel stout.

The taste is bourbon and wood. And that's it. There is a faint flavor of dark chocolate right before you get some more barrel.

The mouthfeel is thin, the bourbon and alcohol are overpowering and this is a disappointment overall.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. 2009 Vintage. Almost 9 months old.

A- Looks like black coffee sitting in a glass. Formed a very thin tan colored ring that disappeared rather quickly.

S- A lot of bourbon and a lot of barrel. I was pretty shocked because with this much bourbon I thought more vanilla aromas would have come through...not the case here. Just not very complex.

T- Much like the aroma. Bourbon on the front with a distinct barrel flavor that rides to the finish. The beer finishes a touch on the sweeter side. This was weird because while the bourbon flavor was robust, it wasn't that strong. The barrel was also way WAY too overpowering. The ingredients just were not meshing well.

M- Way too thin for a BA RIS. Definitely could have used more viscosity.

D- Somewhat of a chore to drink, not because of the bourbon, but because of the oak barrel taste.

Overall, not very impressed with the barrel aging in this one. This is a good example of how BA can ruin a beer.

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Photo of beertunes
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2006 bottle. Shared with a couple friends, thanks Justin!

Poured a typical black color expected of the style, if there hadn't been just a touch of translucence it would have been scored a bit higher, with a nice deep tan head that hed good retention.

Very sweet scent, with the bourbon very noticeable. The other aromas were the expected roasted malt of the big stouts. The taste was similar, just fuller and more satisfying. The malt was a good foundation for the boozy flavors.

The body was very good, solid and smooth. Drinkabilty is very good for one glass, but i wouldn't want more than a pint at a sitting.

Overall, a very good beer. Try it if you see it.

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Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque even when held to a light source and a two finger creamy dark beige head. Very good retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring and cap.

Very oaky bourbon aroma with a lot of roasted chocolate malts. Hints of toffee, roasted coffee bean, toast, licorice, alcohol, dark chocolate, lactic cream and lots of bourbon. Also, a good bit of vanilla from the oak.

Chewy viscous mouthfeel with a prominent bourbon alcohol heat up front that is quickly countered by a deep roasted chocolate maltiness. Hints of silky dark chocolate, roasted coffee, toffee, slight lactic cream, licorice, burnt toast, and some earthy oak notes with a good bit of vanilla. Alcohol warmth and bitter hops in the finish. The bourbon is very prominent but doesn't overpower the other flavors, allowing the complexity of the roasted maltiness to shine through. Delicious and very quaffable. Highly recommended!

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Photo of snaotheus
3.36/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a 22oz mug

Looks fine -- but how do you screw up the look of an imperial stout? They didn't make it too light, and they didn't make it too flat. Looks black with medium head.

Smell -- alcohol is very noticeable, which detracts. Very smokey, pretty molassesy. Maybe a little chocolate.

Taste is astringent -- alcohol is right on the forefront, but it has a very strong smokey flavor with a light molasses aftertaste, and fades into alcohol again.

Mouthfeel is pretty good -- it's not too heavy, but it's very substantial. Not a particularly drinkable beer, even for an imperial stout, but not too bad.

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Photo of aewinte1
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours pitch black with ample carbonation. Approximately 1.5" head from semi-vigorous pour
S- Smells of caramel and chocolate malts, bourbon booziness, and coffee.
T- I was somewhat surprised when I tasted this beer because I expected to love it. This beer is good, but the bourbon was too over-the-top for me. Bourbon really masked a lot of the other flavors which was somewhat disappointing. I love a good bourbon, but in a bourbon beer I want a bit of complexity. Tiny bit of coffee attempts to balance out the bourbon, but it doesn't do a good job
M- Carbonation and viscosity were good, but nothing terribly memorable
D- Drinkability is average at best because its so boozy. I'm not saying the ABV is too high, but the bourbon is just too overpowering to want another.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brew came to me from Wasatch in our last trade. Thanks John.

Opaque, dark brown-to-black with a small brown head that disappears rather quickly, leaving no lacing.

The aroma has a ton of bourbon in it. As soon as I popped the cap the aroma of bourbon came to me. When I keep sniffing I pick up a bit of other barrel characteristics including a woody aroma and a vanilla aroma. Underneath there seems to be a bit of dark fruit also.

Surprisingly, the first thing that I taste in Black Gold is a dark fruit flavor that tastes distinctly of dates and figs. A little bit of caramel is in there also. I'm surprised because I expected bourbon to be the first and the strongest flavor in this beer. The surprise I feel initially is lessened a little bit when the next thing I taste is a ton of bourbon, which is definitely the strongest flavor in the beer. The finish tastes a little bit of alcohol and bourbon lingers through the aftertaste.

The body is medium to light with moderate carbonation.

This Is a pretty drinkable beer, and overall I like it. Having tasted an aged version of this at the EBF, I can say that it is a beer that definitely gets better with age. The next bottle of this I get my hands on will be sent directly to my cellar.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin light tan head. Nose is bourbon vanilla tones and wood. Flavor is bringing more bourbon than anything. Boozy tones with touches of vanilla. I mean this is like drinking a rough Bourbon County Stout. Feel is thicker on liquid abd carbonation is lower. Overall nice. You'll need to appreciate bourbon to appreciate this one. But overall it's nice enough.

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

Serving type- A 2009 bottle poured into a Duck Rabbit snifter.

A- Pours a pitch black with little to no tan head after the pour. There is no cling and no activity.

S- There is a strong Bourbon presence (go figure) and nothing else.

T- The Bourbon from the smell goes into the taste. A strong alcohol flavor comes at you in the begining with a malty somewhat smooth finish. There is also a coffee note present in the taste as well.

I got this beer in a trade with madhombrewer and it is about what I expected. A solid brew but nothing that is mind blowing. A strong overall brew that lends itself to be more of a bourbon drink than a beer. The beer could dial back the bourbon a bit.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.26/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed on 06/04/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. Pours dark brown. Aroma is completely bourbon. Flavor is also bourbony with a faint background of roasted malt. Am I drinking bourbon or beer? Tastes exactly the same as the bourbon aged imperial bourbon.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this as an extra in a recent trade! Been wanting to try this one for awhile.
Pours a dark, viscous brown in color. A very nice inch and a half of dark tan head forms on the pour.
Very nice bourbon barrel notes in the smell. Soft bourbon, some vanilla, as well as a good amount of cocoa.
This tastes very good. Well rounded, soft bourbon flavor. Absolutely velvetty and decadent. Everything is put together so well in this beer. A little bit of roast and some chocolate to round out the flavor profile. Solid mouthfeel, with hardly any hint of the ABV. Very sad to get to the end of the bottle. I will definitely seek out more of this.

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Photo of vacax
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottling I brought back to California after a trip to Washington.

Pours black with a very dark and expansive head that had some real nice retention. Aroma was heavy on bourbon, red wine, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. Taste was equally heavy on the bourbon, alcoholic, tart dark fruits, oak, biscuity. Bourbon finish. Medium to full body with high carbonation for the style that did not mesh well with the intensity of the beer. The barrel really comes through on this one, in fact there is really little left going on this brew, which seems thin in comparison. In the world of barrel aged imperial stouts this one is on the low end.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Jet black... completely opaque, with a lighter brown or tan coloured head that doesn't retain as well as some. A nice collar remains, though, so it evens it out a bit.

S: Very robust... a definite oak aroma with a good note of bourbon left behind. Some vanilla in there, unsweetened chocolate, and a bit of black currant.

T: Wow, this one has a big flavour... it's a shame that I had not tried the regular release previously to have something to compare against, but the barrel aging seems to have made a big difference in the overall flavour. Huge boubon flavour, without being overly hot... it's quite smooth. Some rich vanilla, a big oak flavour and a lot of anise flavours. Massive taste that sticks around for quite a while after it goes down.

M + D: Smooth and big bodied, yet it has a shimmer of carbonation to add just a touch of bite. It comes across as a bit 'bigger' than others, and though I enjoy a good RIS any time of the year, this is one that I would think of as being more appropriate during the cooler months. Good stuff.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.44/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Bottling; Sampled May 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three finger thick, nicely brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite black in color, though it has a touch of a brown tint to it if you look closely. The beer remains quite opaque if held up to the light, though it might pick up just a touch more brown. The nose leads with notes of toasted coconut and vanillin, lightly spicy bourbon and roast malt back this up quite nicely, but the first two are definitely the dominant note. After digging a bit deeper some notes akin to a burnt nuttiness, others that distinctly remind me of a chocolate liquor and a sharp, slightly acrid, dark roast coffee in the finish. There is perhaps a touch of burnt vegetal notes in the aroma as well. Not a bad aroma, though it can be a touch harsh at times.

The beer hits my tongue with a touch of a lush texture, not quite creamy, but definitely with a substantial heft. The beer has a light sweetness to it, much of the sugars here seem to be well roasted such that they don't contribute to a simple sweetness. The roast character adds a sharpness to this beer in the middle and moves towards a roast bitterness and a touch of acrid roast character in the lingering finish. After a bit some burn acidity is also noticed in the finish.. The Bourbon barrel induced flavors are not nearly as ripe and inviting as the aroma was. Here the barrel influence adds a spicy, slightly hot note to the finish, though there is a touch of buttery oak and maybe a hint of vanillin, but the lush coconut character seems to be entirely lacking. The roast, burnt malt character does have a touch of nuttiness to it in the finish, but it is mostly dominated by the sharp roast notes.

This beer ends up being a bit too harsh, I wish it maintained the richness and balance of the nose in the flavor, but it just gets a bit too harsh in the end; there is just too much of a dominating, sharp, roast character in the flavor.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold-foiled bomber shared at JDV's birthday tasting. Thanks to stopbarking for supplying this gem!

Pours a nearly opaque, deep brown core into the snifter, topped by a thin, tan head that recedes quickly. Whole lotta' bourbon going on in the aroma, alongside hints of sour wood, toffee, and crumbled dark chocolate nibs.

Flavor mirrors the aroma well, with bourbon booze at the forefront of the palate that takes on some vanilla characteristics from the barrel-aging. Creamy dark chocolate notes follow suit and drop a nice bitterness on the back of the tongue along with some earthy hops. Mouthfeel is creamy and somewhat hot with booze, but quite thick and decadent nevertheless. Overall, this was a solid BA RIS, a bit hot n' heavy for my liking, but I'm sure a year or so in the cellar would easily smooth out some of those rough edges.

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Photo of sonicdescent
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is close to greatness.

Received this one in a trade, cheers Ryan!

Pours a nice all black liquid with an inch of frothy mocha head. Lacing is poor, but I blame the not exactly beer clean glass.

Scent is a nice bourbon but if there is anything else, it is masked by the all too powerful bourbon. One dimensional.

Taste at first got a 4.0. A little more complex but make no mistake this is a bourbon forward stout. Roasted malt comes up bit in the aftertaste. Letting it warm up a little added a few more complexities and brought this to a 4.5

Medium high in body and low-med carbonation. Close.

I have a feeling some age would do wonders here, otherwise a few small tweaks and we would have legendary status.

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

Thanks to franksnbeans for sending me this beer about 2 years ago! Finally decided to pop this one open. I shared this beer with a few friends at the Bruery's 1st Anniversary party (5-16-09).

Pours like any other imperial stout, dark with and with a very small head, just a few bubbles.

Toasted almonds (I love this in BA beers!), soft milk chocolate, vanilla, toast, and with a medium-low bourbon aroma in the background. This beer seems to have mellowed very well, not very intense or boozy but well integrated. A touch of multi-grain bread and vanilla wafers. Now I'm getting more of a dark chocolate aroma with oak and some wet grains.

Taste is very similar to the aroma, nuts, toasted oak and almonds, dark chocolate and toast in the finish. Alcohol kind of numbs the gums at first. Some vanilla in the aftertaste. Even just a step above from the aroma, very tasty. Medium-low carbonation and good body on the palate.

I hope the 09 release ages this well.

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Photo of Docer
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never knew this was even out until I found a large stash of bombers at a local Whole Foods here.. so I grabbed many. Now I need to grab more :-)

- Thick, can't see a thing through it... but on the edges where i can... a bourbon color even... minimal head as I pour at an angle slowly.. minimal dusting of lace as well...

- Smelled it as i poured it.. a sweet bourbon scent.. amazing from a distance... up close: Very noticeable bourbon scent with some sweet caramel and light bitter chocolate notes... but more caramelized bourbon than anything.... This stuff smells good, and very unique..

- This is truly a bourbon barrel masterpiece... it is very present all throughout.. and blended well with a mild porter stout flair.. Sweet candy presence as well.. slight clove/licorice.. hides its strength very well.

- Not so chewy.. only very slightly dry.. warm..

- Amazing drinkability... as I am no liquor fan... this brings out the best in a bourbon as I have had my fair share of some of the best... only slightly warm in the gut.. but goes down very well and smooth. Watch this one and have only one! I am finishing the night early with this after a bomber of mild oatmeal stout.

Overall Full Sail has amazed me with many of their Big Bottle Brewmaster Reserve series... always an "A" brew!

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

05/12/09- Purchased at a state liquor store in Park City, UT.

Presentation- 2009 release. 22 oz bottle, poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance- Super black in color. Pours with a full one inch head and leaves some light lace patches and streaks behind.

Smell- Scents of roasted malts, licorice, dark chocolate and a touch of bourbon barrel.

Taste- Pretty much all sumerized in the smell. The malt is nice because it's not super roasted or burnt. Hops play a very minor role. Chocolate could be a bit more outgoing while the bourbon flavor is just about right.

Mouthfeel- Silky smooth with a creamy feel as well. Minor dark chocolate aftertaste.

Drinkability- Seems like the flavors could be a touch more outgoing. Overall a real good bourbon stout, but lacking that little bit of oomph to put it over the edge to be world class.

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Photo of colts9016
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour this into a pint glass at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A dark jet black color in the body of the beer. There was a one finger head that last all but a second. There is effervescence in the beer but only visible by it bubbling on the top of the beer. The clarity of the beer is a black as the black hole.

Nose: The first initial aroma was a bourbon glass. There is a very nice dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, and phenols. There are hints of alcohol, raisins and a port like aroma.

Taste: A very rich dark roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, alcohol, and a burnt character. There are hints of phenols, floral, raisins and sap.

Overall: The mouth feel is carbonated, rich and creamy. The body of the beer is thick and chewy. The finish lingers for a long while on the palate. This is a refreshing wonderful tasting and easy drinking beer. When I was pouring this beer I could smell the bourbon on the beer like you have been drinking it on the rocks. For it being a RIS, I am a little down on the fact there are not some hops competing with the flavor of the beer. The beer is well rounded, the aged in wood barrels gives this beer some depth. I really like this beer but slightly disappointed in the fact that I was expecting a great RIS aged in a wood barrel; nonetheless it is a very tasty brew.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.49/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks to breity for this beer in a recent trade. Saved this one to consume on my birthday, which I did, last night.

Poured into my snifter a deep molasses black with very little tan head on top. Just a sheet coated this one. No retention, no lacing, no sticky globs. Disappointing. Smell is of big bourbon and vanilla notes. Some almond, butterscotch, and dark chocolate in there as well. This smells like a dessert. Very sweet smelling.

Mouthfeel was a tad slick, but had a nice crisp pop to it that was pleasant on the mouth. Flavor was of definitive bourbon, vanilla, nuts, cocoa, and finished slightly bitter. I must not be into the bourbon too much, as this was hard to get through. Per Andrew's recommendation, I waited until this warmed enough to "kill off" some of the bourbon notes, but it was there in full force. Still, this was a great beer. I wish now, I would have aged it a bit more before consuming. Ah well. Thanks, Andrew, for the opportunity to give this one a try, but I gotta give the nod to the original Stout, pre-aged.

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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 515 ratings