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)

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

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 513
Photo of Kopfschuss
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brewmaster Reserve 2009 10.5%, bottle poured into a Westmalle chalice.

Appearance: Pours a near opaque black with a brown crown. Thin mocha head that dissipates quickly as this is a BA beer. Looks delicious.

Smell: Chocolate stikes first and strongly. Dark fruit, leather, slight sherry notes accompanied by black licorice.

Taste: Again, chocolate is strong in the beginning and is quickly transformed into the aforementioned aromas with the addition of the bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, and a slight soy sauce taste.

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth with a more than average viscosity and lingers on the palate well. Carbonation is good for the style.

Overall: I was excited to give this a try when I found it off the shelf at a local bottle shop with trusted storage conditions. This beer has more redeeming qualities that flaws, however, for me this beer is past its' prime. Most likely will not seek again unless from a different vintage.

Other notes: I don't enjoy the taste of soy sauce in beer.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, 2011 release. Thanks for sharing Justin. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours near black with dark brown edges beneath a finger of dark tan head that faded to spotty lace.
S: Boozy nose. I get notes of bourbon vapors, coconut, and caramel, with light notes of oak and vanilla.
T: Very warm alcoholic notes of caramel, roasted coconut and raisins. I get some chocolate in the finish, but the aftertaste reminds me of an ashtray.
M: Full but could be fuller. Medium carbonation and a fairly smooth mouthfeel, although the alcohol is still a bit warm.
O: A solid stout but it’s still a bit young. If this was a tad thicker too it was be perfect. Thanks again QuadrantThree.

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

22oz bottle, 2011 vintage. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours black with a small brown head that quickly recedes to a wispy cap, leaves nice spotty lacing behind.

Aroma is a bourbon bomb, tons of bourbon, a lot of vanilla and oak, and I reckon there is a stout under there too, featuring dark fruits, anise, roasted malts, and a bit of chocolate and coffee, a lot of sinus-clearing alcohol as well. Very good strength.

Flavor generally mirrors the aroma. Big-time bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, coffee, anise, dark fruits, some caramel, molasses and toffee, moderately sweet, minimal bitterness, noticeable alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied, but a tad thin for the style, very creamy, smooth, light carbonation.

If you like bourbon-heavy stouts, this is a must-try. Huge beer. I love me a barrel-aged stout, but this one could almost use some toning down as it ends up overpowering the rest of the beer. Still, really, really good stuff. Glad to have had a chance to try it. Probably should have sat on it a bit longer, but I got impatient. I’m sure this would age like a champ.

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Photo of Durge
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pitch black, thick as tar brew with a fair light brown film on top and good lacing. The aroma is super serious with whiskey and malty licorice with a nearly mentholated overtone that let’s you know there is some high octane beer involved. Almost smells more like whiskey than beer, but no complaints. Classy and big! The flavor offers a more boozy whiskey malt with a velvetty feel and plenty of licorice sweetness. It’s only a medium bodied brew which was a bit of a surprise, if not disappointing, but the feel is still nice and this offers pleasant carbonation and solid flavor. Nice.

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Photo of GlassHalfFull
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic and underrated. Great color with nice lacing. Very slightly boozy, but with nice carmel, chocolate tones. Everything you would expect from a quality bourbon aged stout, but a lot less hype than some of the others.

Bang for the buck, this one is exceptional!

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Photo of mactrail
2.77/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown in the big globe. Modest head with nearly nonexistent lacing. Not a bad nose of vanilla and lots of wood. Fairly flat mouthfeel. Woody flavor, as in seriously barreled. Clearly 10 months is too long. The stuff seems to have lost aromatics and every trace of sweetness.

Certainly drier than nearly every Imperial Stout I've tried. Tastes like they used alcohol to leach out the malt flavors. 2011 version from Royal Liquor in Encinitas. Astoundingly overpriced at $14.99. There are so many booze and barrel flavored beers these days, and most of them are a lot better than this.

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Photo of TheCrowsNest
3.52/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, this high-ABV beer forms a thin tan head that fades quickly to a very, very dark brown. A solid oak aroma is immediately present along with a decent amount of vanilla and a little warmth right before the first sip. Most of the roasted bitterness has probably faded in the barrel leaving mostly chocolate and oak. Still some coffee, but it’s hiding behind some vanilla. Finishes with just a little twang. There’s more carbonation in this than it shows in the pour but the finish is a little too quick.

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

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours jet black, with a moderate light brown head and nice lacing. Mild aroma of dark fruit and roasted malts, strong bourbon. Taste follows. Bourbon and dark, roasted malts and some dark fruit. Nicely made, but a bit lighter and not as well balanced as some. I'll age one, but might not be complex enough to improve. Certainly worth trying this series each year.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 23 Nov 2011. 2011 version. Served in the 0.4 L Ulmer Munster snifter.

Small dark brown head. Well carbonated. Very dark brown to black in color. Aromas of roasted burnt malts, bourbon, licorice, chocolate. Flavor is dominated by chocolate upfront. Licorice slowly becomes noticeable, then ethanol warmth from throat to gut. Lingering burnt dark cocoa malts. Full bodied, very warming ethanol.

Decent but a little rough around the edges. Still, reasonably priced for a barrel aged RIS.

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Photo of draheim
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was one of the first barrel-aged imperial stouts I tried, about a year ago - and I remember thinking it was surprisingly good. Now that I've had KBS, Parabola, Abyss... curious what my impressions will be.

22oz bottle (2011) into a snifter. Pours a deep brown/black w/ minimal head that dissipates almost instantly.

Aroma is heavy bourbon, vanilla, hint of chocolate. Some molasses, dark fruit, and earthy nuts as the glass warms up. Mostly bourbon though.

Taste is bourbon, dark roasted malt, vanilla, oak. Warming boozy heat.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily, sticky.

Overall I can't say I'm not enjoying this, but I like bourbon. I feel like the barrel aging was used with less finesse than with some other beers. Bourbon aroma/taste is just overwhelming. Seems like it was used to mask weaknesses/flaws in the beer rather than to enhance what's already there.

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Photo of portia99
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz (2011 Brewmaster Reserve) gold foiled bottle courtesy of Wasatch - Thanks John!...poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours an almost pitch black color with a thin film of dark tan, slightly fizzy foam that falls quickly to leave behind a thin collar.

S - Thick, sweet vanilla and caramelized sugar up front, bourbon, buttery. The barrel treatment covers much of the base beer's aroma. Really don't pick up much of anything for roasty or otherwise "stout-y" aromas...more or less bourbon and barrel.

T - Roast does come out in the flavor, thankfully. Some coffee, dark roasted grains, a bit of burnt bitterness. Bourbon comes in on top of the roast, a bit boozy tho I wouldn't call this hot. Lots of oak, vanilla and caramelized, burnt sugar - creme brulee topping-like. Really rich barrel flavors here - the vanilla is most dominant, but sweet and sugary flavors abound as well.

M - Quite thick and full bodied. Carbonation is rather low, not quite still, but barely kicking. Feel is soft, creamy and a bit syrupy. Alcohol adds some warmth in the swallow. Vanilla lingers past the swallow to the point that every exhale gives another taste of vanilla. The mouthfeel might be the highlight of this, so smooth.

O - Wish there was a bit more balance between the stout and the barrel. The bourbon adds a lot to this beer, but really overpowers the base. Seems more like drinking a bourbon that's been cut to reduce its alcohol, but doesn't add anything to it. Enjoyable, but would be so much better if a higher level of roasty, coffee, chocolatey, dark fruit existed...any or all of these would make this much more well rounded.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to MexicanSkittles!!!

Wow I LOVED this one!
Serving: Bottle
I shared this one at the Bruery Clusterfork in February. Actually liked this one better than the Baller's Stout I brought along.

A: Poured a deep dark brown, very little head, with only a trace left after 10 seconds or so.
N: I got some molasses, roast, and maybe a hint of coconut or vanilla. But the nose was a bit understated.
T: Wow, I really love this beer! Did I already say that? The barrel comes through with a slight alcohol, and bourbon. The flavors that I got up front with the bourbon & barrel were molasses, rich brown bread, and hints of vanilla. But I must state that with each sip I got a different experience of these flavors melding together in a constantly evolving melange. Great beer.
M: Full enough for my palate. I really enjoyed this, almost chewy. Felt good, almost a oily lingering-in a good flavor staying coating your mouth kind of way.

I'll definitely try to get hold of another one these.

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Photo of stakem
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Most recent release (batch 2) big thanks to Joe for sending this bomber unexpectedly my way. Poured into a snifter, it appears black in color with a brown cap about a finger strong. The cap fades to a thin film across the top and leaves spotty lacework on the glass. A light swirl revives a finger back to the surface.

The aroma of this brew includes a strong scent of sweet vanilla and toasty coconut from the barrel aging. A bit of caramel and more of a raw oak character towards the backend. A hint of herbal hops is present as well as a touch of sulfur. It has a light grassy aspect before returning to a dark roasted grain scent that is somewhat of a blend between coffee and chocolate. As it warms up, the sweetness of the vanilla mixes with the roast of the grain and imparts almost a feel of brownie batter scent inside the nose.

The taste is roasty and bold with the alcohol inclusion not hiding at all. The barrel presence starts off soft and smooth with hints of vanilla, coconut and caramel that blends into a bit more harsh character of raw wood and tannic nature that is prickly on the palate. Coffee and chocolate flavors blend into a roasted bitterness that fills out the profile before finishing with a solvent alcohol inclusion. This isn't a bad brew by any stretch, just a little rough around the edges.

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of this brew is how light bodied it is. Perhaps that is from the high alcohol level but a bit more body would go a long way. With the moderate carbonation seemingly swirling out fairly quick, this brew gets light and watery after only a couple sips. Overall not a bad offering, im glad I got a chance to try it.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased 2-13-2011. Poured from black bottle to pint glass.

A - The beer pours a deep dark brown nearly black color with a huge 2 finger dark brown head. As the beer sits the head slowly fades and turns more of a beige color.

S - The bourbon aroma dominates the nose. A nice roasted chocolate malt is noticeable behind the bourbon with a noticeable heat.

T - Similar to the nose the bourbon flavor strikes first. I found it to be a bit sharp and wonder if I cellared this beer for a while to let it mellow how it'd turn out. My guess is it would be great. The middle of the brew brings a nice roasted malt character with hints of chocolate, vanilla, coffee and alcohol warmth. The beer finishes strong but clean.

M - Full bodied with mild carbonation.

D - It's easy to put down for such a strong beer but again I think it'd be better with a little age.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer. Not my favorite Russian Imperial but it would good. I would buy again, in fact I plan on heading back and picking up another bottle or two to put away. Recommended.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-15-2011 02:45:25

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Big thanks to swillbur for this one! (I've wanted it for awhile.)

This pours up a deep, dark, brown color that, for all intents and purposes, may as well be black. The chocolate brown head of foam is somewhat thin and dissipates quickly, but that's to be expected with a high-octane beer like this one. The lacing is in thin strands and tiny specks, which slide/drag down the oily residue, back to the liquid.

The first scent to hit me is of big chocolate roasted malts. Very nice hints of bourbon. Good vanilla and light oak. Cherries and some other dark fruit sweetness notes. Light traces of espresso beans.

Follows the nose, quite well. Adds a bit of smoke and a good dose of peppery spice.
All of the rest of the scent factors show up again, in the taste.
The bourbon is actually somewhat mild. At least more mild then expected, anyway.

This is barely full-bodied and has an almost medium level of carbonation. As a result it's just barely smooth and has no creaminess to it....a shame, really.

It's good for what it is. Is it representive of it's style? Yes. Are there others out there that are better? Yes. Are there worse? Yes. Would I drink it again? Sure. Would I put effort into seeking it out, next time? Probably not.

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

First had: on tap at Full Sail, Hood River, OR

Whew, loved this one. Had this during a visit in 2011, but the board listed the ABV as 10.5%, so I'm taking that to mean that this was a vintage keg. Either way, it was great, and one of the better beers I sampled during my week in OR.

Poured a dark black with brownish tints, and a ring of delicate bubbles on top. Aroma thick with bourbon and toffee. My eyes bugged out...I knew this was going to be good. And it was. Taste loaded with toffee, bourbon-drenched oak, and big time vanilla, especially from mid-palate onward. Dark malts and baker's chocolate as a subtle afterthought. Just under full-bodied, alcohol warmth, and quite simply a highly savorable brew that I could sip on all night.

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Photo of brentk56
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Brewmaster's Reserve 2011

Appearance: A somewhat disappointing appearance, with very little head to cap the dark chocolate colored liquid; rather leggy, however, with dripping dots of foam speckling the side of the chalice

Smell: Bourbon and dark chocolate, with woody overtones

Taste: Dark chocolate and bourbon, up front, with a woody, vanilla character developing by mid-palate; some sourness developing after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation with some warmth in the gullet; the mouthfeel is really thin for the style

Overall: Rather one-dimensional and, with the thin body and hint of sourness developing after the swallow, I have some concerns about how well this will age

Thanks, chumba526, for the opportunity

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Photo of jdense
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bailey's PDX, $6 for 12 oz., 8.27.11.

Full pour resulted in zero fingers broken brown head, very dark brown opaque body no visible carbonation. Nose is chocolatey goodness, some vanilla, decent hop bill to offset the cocoa nibbish nose. Taste reflects the extensive barrel aging process, vanilla and oak up front, healthy dose of bittersweet chocolate, some citrus and floral hops. Mouthfeel well on the full side of medium, not a lot of effervescence, good lacing. Yummy, but could benefit from a bit of cellaring to cut down the booziness.

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Photo of Rutager
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours deep brown, nearly black with almost no head.

Smell. Boubon, molasses, vanilla, with a little chocolate, smoke and wood.

Taste. Chocolate, bourbon, oak, molasses and vanilla. Alcohol is there, but pretty mellow.

Mouthfeel. Full body, fairly low carbonation.

Overall. Nice big beer. Pretty mellow all around and nice to sip.

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

2011 vintage poured into a tulip glass.

A - A small dark tan head fades away fairly quickly. Nearly opaque, black with just a smidgen of dark brown near the top.

S - The nose has a very strong bourbon aroma. There is also notes of vanilla and wood present. The vanilla really shines as it warms.

M - Medium to full in body with light carbonation.

T - The bourbon is flavor is strong in this one as expected from the nose. There is also soft vanilla notes and a nice amount of oak near the finish. It finishes hot with some more bourbon presence. When it warms up some chocolate flavors show up.

A pretty nice barrel aged imperial stout. The bourbon is very strong, I feel like this would be a great candidate for aging for a year or two.

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Photo of bashiba
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep black with an inch of dark tan head, some light lacing.

The smell was a nice mixture of light vanilla and bourbon notes with a decent amount of smokey and burnt roasted barley.

The flavor followed the smell perfectly. A nicely balanced mix of big imperial stout flavors - Roasted Barley, chocolate, and a hint of anise - along with solid touches of bourbon barrel ageing - a bit of oak, light vanilla, and some honey.

The mouthfeel was nice and thick with that smooth dry quality that barrel ageing tends to lend.

Very nicely done, great balance with the right amount of time spent in the barrel.

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

Appearance: black as an imp stout should be. Head is a tad thin but nice lacing.
Smell: Oh man. Bourbon and wood. That nice creamy oak smell of a barrel ageing done right.
Taste: more of the same goodness. Not that complex, but smooth bourbon stout.
Overall: snagged this when I couldn't get a whole case of abyss. Glad I did.

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Photo of harrymel
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled Feb 2011

A: black with little head production. There was a substantial amount of rust around cap (probably from the tin wrapper on the top). No lace. Near mirror surface.
S: Bourbon, vanilla, sweet and dark malts with some cream tones I relate to a cuvee that has sat on lees for a long time.
T: Follows the nose and adds some nice depth with hints of dark stone fruits and some bakers cocoa. Really nice.
M: Viscous and low carb, semi dry finish.
O: Really showing well right now. Wouldn't hesitate to grab a few more of these. Full Sail is not my favorite brewery, but when they are on, they are spot on.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark coffee-black that lets barely any light in through the edges; no head, no lacing

S: Strong notes of bourbon-infused wood, sweet malt, chocolate, and more sweet bourbon

T: Starts off with a woody milk chocolate flavor; opens up as it hits the middle of the tongue to reveal more notes of wood, bourbon, and chocolate; finishes with a sweet bourbon/wood flavor that mellows nicely on the back of the palate. Surprisingly there is barely any hint of booze at all, a wonder considering this thing is packing a whopping 11.4%.

M: Medium viscosity, barely any carbonation, super smooth; this stuff just melts ever so softly over the tongue

O: This is one of the best barrel-aged beers I've ever had, and it's also one of the best Imperial Stouts I've ever had as well. If you're a fan of big dark beers then you should not miss this one.

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Photo of Centennial
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle split with some local ba's into tasting glass

A.Dark black to tan with virtually no head or head retention

S. cocoa powder, lightly roasted malts, some charred bitterness.

T. Roasted flavors and bitterness followed by a jack daniels like barrel flavor, not the kind of bourbon flavor I look for in a BAIS

M. Thin, low carbonation, rubbing alcohol like burn follows

O. Sounds good on paper but wish this one brought more to the table in just about every aspect.

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Black Gold Imperial Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.96 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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