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:
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Ratings: 515 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of paco1029384756
3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small off white head.

Scent of chocolate, toasted malts, some coffee, oak, spices, some dark fruits, molasses, and alcohol.

Taste of oak, whiskey, earth, coffee, roasted malts, and chocolate. Good, but seems a bit weak after the barrel aging.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

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Photo of DIM
2.78/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a: This was black, completely opaque with no highlights. I couldn't coax much of a head out of this one.

s: Lots of bourbon here, plus some oak and vanilla. Just a little dark roasty malt manages to come through.

t: Vanilla and bourbon absolutely dominate. That normally isn't all bad to me, but there was something slightly off about them this time. Very sweet overall, the vanilla flavors in particular. At the end I got a little chocolatey malt along with some oak.

m: Decent body for a barrel aged beer and gentle carbonation.

d: I've enjoyed the other beers I've tried from Full Sail, the barrel aged porter especially. Thanks to JohnGalt1 for the chance to try this. Sorry Toby, this wasn't for me.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass, shared with two friends

Pours an almost near black with a fluffy, brown head that stuck around for quite some time and left loads of lacing down the glass.

Very robust aroma of dark fruits (cherries and plums), molasses, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, and a heavy dose of bourbon. This is a big, full nose. Everything seems to complement each other and enhance the overall aroma rather than dominating or taking a back seat.

Rich bourbon tones throughout with a nearly perfect finish of vanilla. Flavors are a little bashful or maybe it is because they are so well intertwined with each other that they form a perfect complement. After a few sips, I really think it is the latter. The flavors are in such harmony that they make this beer very easy to drink. Dark cherries and bittersweet chocolate with deep roasted malt, oak, and bourbon with a boozy kick towards the end.

On the lighter side of full, but definitely full-bodied and bold. Carbonation is nearly perfect and it leaves an oily coating over the mouth.

The drinkability of this bad ass beer is pretty good. Considering the bourbon influence, everything is in near perfect harmony and the finish is lightly sweet vanilla.

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with a sticky bubbly tan head that fades to a sheet after a bit. There are a few microbubbles that can be seen through the dense body of this beer.

S- The dark sweet malt aroma has notes of raisins and graphite with fresh sweet oak and a slight vanilla note to it coming through. There is a peaty bourbon note that comes through as the beer warms a bit. The notes of sesame seeds becomes part of the malt aroma and Kleenex tissue becomes part of the oak aroma as the beer warms.

T- The black sweetness has some sweet oaky flavors to follow with prune and dried fruit flavors underneath. There is a soft roasted flavor without any bitterness in the finish that turns inky as the beer warms. There is a soft alcohol flavor that combines with it but is not fusel.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slightly slippery texture and a very mild alcohol warmth on the exhale.

D- This is a big smooth great sipping beer that is not really heavy and doesn't have much bitterness to balance the sweeter flavors, but that is ok as the inky flavors come through and the malt isn't overly sweet in itself. This beer starts of with big complex flavors but as the beer warms the flavors and aromas tend to get a bit washed out.

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Photo of dfitch81
4.87/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As a rule I only write reviews while I drink the beer being reviewed but I'm going to make an exception this time because I need to let you, dear reader, know how awesome Black Gold is. I had two bottles of this hiding away for a special occasion, and the night before my wedding, weekend before last, fit the bill just fine. What did I find? Complexities are wonderfully abundant: you can, for example, taste the bourbon, which has its own distinct nuances, but it remains harmoniously integrated within the palate. Oozing evidence of master craftsmanship from every figurative pore, Black Gold is a great masterpiece. I had a bottle of Abyss a few days later, and it was excellent too, but I'd actually give the nod to Black Gold. If you think that sounds like blasphemy, then try both before you start throwing stones. Black Gold is certainly hard to get a hold of; if you see some grab it immediately because it sprints off store shelves like a cheetah with its ass on fire. And the cheetah - flaming ass and all - would never entertain you as much as Black Gold will. Cheers.

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Photo of klewis
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with a small bubbly head that subsides to a thick halo. No lacing.

S: Plenty of bourbon with a light oak smell. Lacking the aromas typically expected from a stout.

T: Strong bourbon taste with oak and vanilla up front. Flavors of anise and semi-sweet chocolate creep into the mix as the heat subsides. An interesting and complex flavor that takes several seconds to fully experience.

M: Full-bodied and thick with light carbonation. Sticky and viscous.

D: The bourbon is a bit over the top and makes this one a bit rough to drink, but otherwise, a damn fine beer.

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

2006 bottle, poured in a big wine glass at 57 F/ 14 C.

Dark brown, golden brown at edges, some tan froth, archipelagos of fine lace.

Aroma of bourbon barrel, and plenty of it. Sweet bourbon, wood, vanilla, caramel, with some chocolate. Quite pleasant.

Bourbon barrel flavors dominate, but the barrel and malt are very well integrated and make a cohesive and tasty combo. Great balance between medium sweetness and smooth roastiness. Sweet bourbon and chocolate up front, with good complex caramel developing. Long finish, caramel, oaky and drying out a bit, but never dry.

Smooth and silky, tiny soft bubbles. Great balance makes this very drinkable.

Textbook aged bourbon barrel stout, very enjoyable.

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

22oz. bomber with a single half-wrap black, gold and white label and thin gold foil over the cap. It pours into my Duvel tulip a very dark brown with a solid two-finger ivory-brown head. Good carbonation is visible, head retention is fair and some nice sticky web lace clings to the glass initially.

The aroma is dynamite, with sweet barrel-aged goodness. Lots of sweet caramel malt, molasses, vanilla, oak, charcoal and of course, bourbon. Could sit and smell this stuff all day long.

The flavor is just as it smells with big malty sweetness and rich tones pulled from the bourbon barrels. Good depth with sweetness, oakiness and a very mild booziness. A beautiful balance with the charcoal adding to the bitter, mildly warming finish. Very well done here.

On the lighter side of full bodied, pretty smooth all around mouthfeel and a barrel-aged licorice like aftertaste that satisfies. A solid brew for this style, not the biggest but certainly up there with the best. Oh so drinkable, really wish I had more of this tasty it. Thanks to travisd13 for sending me this gem!

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

Pours a viscous black with very little head. A swirl of off white foam forms shapes for me to laugh at.

Hints of bourbon and oak with a slight toasted quality. Dark bready aromas with chocolate and caramel. Very soft and round in the aroma. Ripe dark fruits.

Not huge or overly complex but quite tasty. Very hot in the mouth and chest. A chocolatey rich beginning, middle, and finish. Bourbon and oak show through with a wood tannin on the finish and hints of earthy hop bitterness. Vanilla, burnt caramel, roasted malts, cocolate frosting, hints of black fruits. Vanilla digs deep on the finish. Mouth is a little thin for my liking.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet creamy barley without too much alcohol ester. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet roasted malt with creamy barley notes and some dominating bourbon with light vanilla touch. Bourbon is very present but without any alcohol ester. Which I very much appreciated. Full body with good carbonation. Very well done and something I would have more often.

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Photo of pwoods
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shane(beachbum1975) for sharing this.

A: Pours nearly pitch black with basically no light. Nice sized head with some retention and decent lacing.

S: Plenty of chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and a bunch of hefty alcohol. Some dark fruits in the back and more as it warms, definitely some grapey flavor and maybe some black currants.

T/M: Very nice flavor complexity. Same as the nose with enhanced coconut and great alcohol. Alcohol is great, very hot but very enjoyable. The wood comes through even past the bourbon and adds so much depth. Body is medium to medium full and extremely smooth.

D: It's pretty damn hot but very tasty. Right now the drinkability isn't so great but it'll age beautifully.

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one on a recent trade with Dajtai007... Thanks, Daniel!

Pours as a RIS should. Heavy and dark with a medium tan head leaving a minimal halo of foam around the edges of my glass.

The nose on this one is great! At first, it smelled hot of vanilla and hot bourbon. After allowing 10 minutes to settle in my glass, it took on a VERY sweet cherry presence - like a bourbon dipped cherry Bob bon - wow. Much like a choclate delicacy.

Medium to full bodied with medium to full flavor. Vanilla, molasses, super sweet malts, chocolate and cherries. The woodiness comes in on the finish, along with some warmth... Very nice example with warming alcohol in the finish.

IMO, this beer will improve greatly with a years age on it... VERY nice, nonetheless....

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an impenetrable black with a light tan head that lingers quite well and leaves nice lacing.

Nose is full of chocolate and vanilla with some oaky notes, and a hint of bourbon.

Hooah! Taste is still quite raw on this one. Some roasted malt kicks its way through, but mostly huge chocolate, vanilla, and BOURBON flavors. Now, normally this is a good thing, and what one looks for in a BBA stout, but this is quite raw, and has a certain hairspray quality too it. The finish is quite hot. Aftertaste is...bourbon, as well as oak.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side for the largeness of this one. Carbonation is right on. A bit dry.

Drinkability is ok, but really nothing special about it.

Bottom line is this one NEEDS TIME. I am going to lay the rest of these down for at least a year before i try another one. Really needs some more time to mellow and smooth. Still quite raw, and turbulent. Definitely has some promise though. A good beer.

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Photo of Onslow
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

April 2nd 2009 .. 8pm .. . "stop the girly chitchat and get off the phone" ... ..

.. .

very nice aroma, from fresh tar, maduro tobacco, light high quality bourbon, light vanilla...all the fun dark stuff!!

coats the mouth wonderfully, the abv is worked in beautifully.. Also amazingly easy to drink, the aging has added almost the perfect amount of bourbon flavour.. .

..and say, what the hell happened?!?!

..that guy showed up. ..

A super smooth brew, nice blend of flavours.. an absolute winner!!! Ukulele

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed by the original three wisemen (Nick, Justin, and Peter) courtesy of prospective wiseman Will. Wisewoman Natalia also partook in this tasting, though chose not to review. Poured into 5 snifters.

Appearance: Pours out dark and oily. Not much head, probably due to the barrel aging. What is there is a thin brown halo. No lacing. Body is very dark but shows shades around the outermost edges. Looks like another delicious barrel-aged imperial stout. N: 3.75; J: 4.0; P: 4.0; W: 3.5

Smell: Vanilla bean, blackberries/sour cherries/black cherries/vanilla cherries (we couldn't decide), rich smooth bourbon, dark chocolate. Justin gets astringent (rubbing) alcohol, and is not too thrilled. Peter gets black licorice as well, and Nick and Justin totally agree. Will agrees with Justin that it's quite boozy. N: 4.0; J: 3.5; P: 4.0; W: 4.0

Taste: Lots of vanilla, bourbon, and oak again. Chocolate covered (mushy, sour) cherries in the front and some coffee in the finish. Bourbon comes through big in the end with a nice boozy burn. Also some smoke and ash in the aftertaste. N: 4.0; J: 4.0; P: 4.0; W: 4.0

Mouthfeel: Nick says wine-like, and the other wisemen concur. Much lighter than other imperial stouts we've come across. Mouth coating not that great, especially for a barrel-aged stout. Dry and slick. Good, but a little lacking. N: 3.0; J: 3.33; P: 3.5; W: 3.0

Drinkability: This one did not blow us away, but it was definitely worthwhile and pretty easy to drink for a bourbon-barrel aged RIS. Not really addictive or mouth-watering but good. For 10.5%, damn pretty damn easy. N: 4.0; J: 3.5; P: 4.5; W: 4.0

Wiseman Nick: B+ (3.85)
Wiseman Justin: B+ (3.78)
Wiseman Peter: B+ (4.00)
Prospective Wiseman Will: B+ (3.80)

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

Thanks to Bgramer for the trade.

Pours a dark brownish black. Not much of a head, just some brown foam. Surprisingly translucent with a swirl.

Smells like bourbon and vanilla. Almost nothing else in the head. Maybe a hint of roasted chocolate.

Taste is a bit more complex, but this is primarly bourbon and vanilla. As it warms, you'll notice notes of chocolate and coffee. A beer for those who like bourbon. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin ... or maybe it shouldn't be considering the appearance.

For a bourbon barrel beer, very drinkable.

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

Though I don't drink much hard alcohol, Bourbon is my favorite, and what I keep around for when the mood strikes me. So, the rage of Bourbon aged beers is right up my alley of liking big, intense aged brews. Let's see how Full Sail's effort adds up.

I like the classy, black and gold bottle appearance continuity. The color of the beer in my wine glass is actually not quite black, but a nearly black brown with a brown, minimal, quickly fading head.

Mmm, great aromas that are dominated by the Bourbon, but has lots of nutty/chocolate/roasty malt aromas that especially open up as the beer warms. Both intensity and complexity are good.

Flavors are also bookended by the Bourbon, with lots of roasty malts in the middle. Not as sweet as some of the other similar beers I have tried, but more accents flavors of toasted nuts, charred malts, and 80% plus cocoa chocolate. Finish is long and complex, with some definite earthy, bittering hops at the end that mingles with just a bit of alcohol heat. Body is medium-full; it's perhaps a bit thinner than the RIS average, especially for beers in this price and ABV range. Nonetheless, it isn't much of a drawback, as it coats my mouth well and lingers for a good amount of time.

Overall, not quite the world class efforts I've had recently from Goose Island and Deschutes. However, a very solid RIS, and one of the best, most interesting brews I've had from Full Sail. I took a tour of the brewery about a year ago and saw their basement full of casks this stuff aging. I wonder what's down there now? Most likely, I'll try it too.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to colts9016 for this one! 2009 vintage. 22oz. bomber served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with less than a finger of tan head that quickly dissipated. Great aroma of chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. Also a bit of alcohol. Full bodied with a nice rich, creamy mouthfeel. Flavor has lots of chocolate with more bourbon and a little roasted malt. Great flavors from the bourbon barrel. Long finish of chocolate and vanilla. Got a little boozier as it warmed. This is a great beer. I've been a little burned out on Imperial Stouts lately, but this is top notch.

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Photo of Beernoisseur
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always wanted to give a bourbon barrel aged stout a try. Thanks, obscure liquor store at point of the mountain, for granting me this opportunity. I should hit them up more often, they full shelves of some great beers.

By the way, It's 3:00 in the pm. Perfect time to start drinking a bomber weighing in at 10.5% ;-)

Cool bottle. I like the black and gold label. The pour is gorgeous into my oversized snifter, a deep walnut, *Almost* black, with a dense head the color of peeled almonds. Little retention, little lacing. Slight "legs" from the higher than average ABV.

The smell is very oaky, with lots of toasted coffee/toffee/carmel. Chocolate's in the crowd along with some fruity tones (cherry? berries?). Very appealing. It's drawing me in...

Not to wax poetic, but when the flower of this beer's flavor buds in my mouth, I get vanilla. This is followed by a full on bloom of multi-tonal depth and complexity. Being a big proponent of bourbon, I pick up on that distinct flavor immediately, as well as chocolate, espresso, toffee, with tart citrus and berries toward the finish. A fairly sweet beer, this one warms as it goes down, but hides the high alcohol content very well. Delicious. a sipping beer. I'm glad I poured it into my snifter.

This is on the higher end of what I would consider medium bodied, and feels wonderful in my mouth. The drinkability is high.

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

Pours opaque, near black, with virtually no head. Nose has soft aromas of cocoa & nougat, milkshake malt aroma too. Palate offers a sizeable dose of bourbon flavors upon entry but then climbs into big, roasty rich flavors, including a dark chocolate component. Finish is very chocolatey. Easy to drink for the heaviness of the beer, and alcohol is masked well.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Black as night. Dark tan head that dissipates quickly.

S- Alcohol aroma with a hint of dark chocolate.

T- Big alcohol flavor right off the bat. I also taste vanilla and dark chocolate. There is a coffee flavor after the alcohol taste is completely gone. Little lacing left behind in the glass.

M- Mouthfeel is great! I love a beer that is thick and coats your mouth as you drink it. This is one of those beers.

D- I am still having trouble getting into the "bourbon-barreled" anything. I don't drink hard alcohol so anything that has a big alcohol flavor kind of turns me away. I keep trying them though.

I hope to look back on this review and have a different opinion of this beer.I have two more of these in my cellar. Maybe some time will make these even better.

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

Given a bottle of the magnificently exciting Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged beer. Acquired 22oz. bottle for $9.49 at QFC in Portland.

Appearance is similar to other black gold experiences - a very dark stout!

My goodness, a total licorice bomb! The first, second and third whiff was like opening a box black licorice and shoving your nose in it!

And the taste is equally reminiscent! A highly complex, multi-layered experience with an initial hint of licorice and then a wave of strong, coffee enlivened stout! A real treat!

The mouthfeel is good but a bit too heavy for me; even for a stout. I suppose that is a biproduct of all of the loaded goodies inside.

As for drinkability, I found it to be more work than other stouts I would prefer. This is a great treat, but like many great deserts, a little goes a long way!

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Photo of aeminter
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Colt9016

The appearance in jet black with low light brown head.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of largadeer
2.73/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 oz bottle from bgramer. Thanks, this was one hell of an extra.

Appearance: Dark brown with a bit of transparency, dark amber highlights and only a wisp of head.

Smell: Somewhat muted. Licorice, charred grain and oak. Not the most enormous bourbon barrel presence, this stuff only reveals a hint of that signature vanilla and caramel character.

Taste & mouthfeel: Up front spicy cola flavors (thanks Arne) and big, almost acrid roasted malt. Medium-bodied, a touch lighter than I'd like. More residual sugars would have been beneficial here, as it tastes a bit thin and flat on the whole. This was clearly put in a barrel, but the bourbon isn't dialed-in as well as it could be; it's somewhat lifeless. Bitter, semi-dry finish. Solid stuff but it fails to stand out in a very saturated style.

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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