Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter | Deschutes Brewery

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Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked PorterClass Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A quarter century ago a passion for craft brewing ignited across the country. Today, the founding breweries of 1988 have united to commemorate that seminal year with a special selection of beers. Every bottle is a portal to the renaissance of craft brewing. Each steeped in heritage and expert craftmanship. Enjoy this tribute to the class of '88.

From the brewers of the celebrated 'Black Butte Porter' and 'Edmund Fitzgerald Porter' comes this limited-run collaboration. Brewed with roasted and smoked malt for a rich chocolate aroma and subtle smoky flavor.

Added by John_M on 04-27-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 89 | Ratings: 399
Photo of travolta
2.18/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Mocha colored head with limited retention. Nice lacing.

Nose: Smoked salmon, licorice, and malty sweetness. Nota whole lot of smoke, more toast.

Taste: Well balanced, not overly carbonated, nice level of malt sweetness. Some caramel and smoky oak chips. Raisins. Some cinnamon and nutmeg at the end.

Notes: Not very different than their regular porter, especially for an imperial.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Oh boy. The two best brewers of American Porters come together for a collaboration; I'm definitely excited to try this one. 9.1% ABV confirmed. Best by: 04/29/14. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with straightforward label art and branded pry-off cap acquired at a local bottle shop for $7.99 and served into a Samuel Smith nonic glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the style and the two breweries involved.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger wide head of khaki colour. Decent creaminess. Low frothiness. Retention is fairly bad; maybe two minutes? Hrm. No lacing as the head recedes. Okay thickness. Not a great head by any means - especially in an ideal glass for the style.

Body colour is a dull dark cola amber-black. Opaque. Hm. This really isn't looking good. Looks like a crappy schwarzbier, to be honest.

No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Sweet caramalts and middling smoke; execution seems poor indeed. Dark malts. No hop profile is noticeable. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. It's just a thin weak aroma with no balls. I'm shocked at how underwhelming this beer is so far. Not getting any roasty or toasty character. The label describes a "rich chocolate aroma"; that's just nowhere to be found here. A light pathetic aroma for a porter. Hopefully it picks up in the flavour profile?

T: It does pick up a bit, but it's still fairly embarrassing. Weak smoke and some light bacon notes. What happened? No roast. Cola. Almond. Sasparilla. A light vague hint of chocolate malt, but no actual evocative chocolate. Some char. The finish is pretty garbage. The body is pathetic, comprised entirely of weak middling dark malts. I do get some sort of fruit or berry, which is unexpected - and out of place. Flavour duration and intensity are below average. Depth of flavour is poor. Not complex or subtle by any means. Wow, is this a disappointment. On the sweeter side.

Mf: Thin and weak. Doesn't support the flavour profile all that well. Lacks legs to stand on. I'd almost call it lightly watery. Undercarbonated. Not oily, harsh, or gushing, but not approachable either. Smooth and wet. Doesn't suit the style well at all. Really poor execution. Sticky.

Dr: Hugely disappointed given the breweries involved. Definitely not worth the price. I wouldn't buy this again if it were half the price. Quite a poor brew from Deschutes/Great Lakes. I never would have expected that. Some reviewers have compared this unfavorably to Alaskan Smoked Porter; I think drawing a comparison at all is an insult to Alaskan Smoked Porter. It's downable; there's just nothing going on here. And the execution of the smoke feels amateur. It seems like a homebrew smoked schwarzbier.

Swing and a miss from Deschutes.

High D+

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.53/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a very dark ruby brown with a medium off-white head with average retention, some spotty lace.

S: Smoke and soy sauce, a lot of molasses.

T: Smoke at the back end, but overall with a lot of cloying sweet malt. Has its good points, but just doesn't taste very good in the end.

M: Full-bodied, again cloyingly sweet sticking on the tongue for a long time.

O: The 2nd Class of '88 beer to disappoint me. I love Deschutes, but this series is not a winner so far.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
2.72/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a deep, near black ruby with an off-white finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of microbubbles across the surface. No lacing.

Smell - Smoky, with slightly sweet, slightly sour notes. Smoked green olives, anyone? Roasted malts come through sparse and faint.

Taste - Follows the nose. Predominant smoke flavor, with light sweetness, sourness and acidity. Honestly reminds me almost exclusively of smoked green olives, especially near the finish. Any roasted malt flavor is pretty well hidden behind the vast smokiness, and has very little impact on the overall flavor profile. Subtle anise and fragmented notes of chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Smooth. Easy drinking at a hefty 9.1%

Overall - A rare miss from Deschutes, in my opinion. That it comes in collaboration from a brewery that's also renowned for it's great porter makes this one a head scratcher. I dug deeply for the chocolate, but couldn't get the impression of smoked olives out of my mind and off my tongue. Subtle hints did pop in as the beer reached room temperature, but it was far too little to have any real impact on my overall perception. This wasn't undrinkable, but I didn't find it enjoyable. Based on the reputation of the two breweries here, I'd be willing to give this one another go, but I fear the result will be the same.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark brown with light brown highlights. Small head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma of smoke and wood. That's about all I could get out of it.

Taste is smokey, wood, somewhat acrid. Like drinking burnt wood. Not pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, taste is rather disappointing. One is plenty. Great brewery, sub-par beer.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, very minimal head, dissipates to nothing. Second pour from the bottle, straight down the middle produced a good finger, still dissipating quickly. Tip: don't be gently. Aroma is a bit of smokiness, roast and chocolate, with a touch of fruitiness. Nice smoke and chocolate taste with roast and plums. Hides alcohol well, full bodied, creamy. Drinks easy.

It's a bit disjointed, even bland at times and never really impressed me. Just seemed messy...

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Bottle opened on 8.12.13

A - Pours a dark to medium brown with a more tan head with good retention.

S - Smokey, almost fishy.

T - Smokey, mesquite. Not very tasty at all. Seems to fake.

D - Decent carbonation with a medium body.

O - Not my favorite style, but still very fakey and unappealing.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.08/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This beer was not what I expected considering the brewers make Black Butte and Edmund Fitz.

The beer was thin, lacked character, and really didn't have a lot of smokey character. I was also surprised that the color was so light (copper/brown) and the body was nothing to speak of. What happened?

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Photo of Rosanne
3.14/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

malt smokey ?bourbon alcohol aroma, mid to high carbonation, powerful taste, smoky undertones, sweet bitter well balanced, smoky a little overpowering.

Shared a taster on-tap as past of a flight at the brewery; Deschutes Brewery & Public House, Bend, USA. As part of a six-week West Coast beer tour. I rate to taste, not to style. See my blog for more details:

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Photo of mothman
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Color is a dark black. Tan head. Decent retention.

I am going to keep my review short to highlight on the important stuff. This beef is pure smoke. Sure it has your typical porter flavors, but the smoke dominates this beer. I could not drink a lot of it because of this.

Mouthfeel: Smokey and roasty. Ends very dry.

Overall, I didn't want more than a few ounces. Just not drinkable. Tone back the smoke a tad and this would be a great beer.

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Photo of hardy008
3.21/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights, and a one finger beige head, with nice retention and lacing. The aroma has caramel and smoke malt. The smoky aroma is nice, but it is too strong to pick up much of anything else. The bottle mentions roasted malt and chocolate, but I can't smell them at all.

I can taste the chocolate and roasted malt, along with the smoked malt and some caramel. I just don't think the flavors mesh very well. They seem to clash with each other. I like smoky beers in general. but thuis porter would have been better off without the smoke, or with the amount of smoke reduced.

Light to medium bodied with modest carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, and there is a sweet smoky aftertaste. I like the flavors in this beer, but do not like them blended together this way very much. A decent beer, but not one I would buy again if I saw it on the shelf.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle picked up when it was on shelves in Chicago.

a - brew pours a watery brown with a thin foamy off white beige head that fizzed away quick. Spotty oily lacing if any.

s - dat peat. Soft smoked malt over roasted chocolate coffee.

t - taste is way more peat forward. Behind the peat is that same roasted chocolate coffee.

m - light. Watery even. Smoke aftertaste.

o - overall I remember enjoying this one a lot more several months ago, fairly meh right now. Mostly just smoke on an a watery imperial porter. Nothing too special, but far from a drain pour.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.24/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into snifter. Best by 4/29/2014.

A: Pours a clear cola brown with a finger of light tan head that quickly faded into a faint collar.
S: Smoke and anise dominate with notes of burnt campfire wood, peat, char and licorice. Roasted malt, faint chocolate, and mild spice poke through as well.
T: Smoke dominates the taste as expected with a bit more chocolate than the nose, especially in the aftertaste. Anise and vanilla poke through the smoke, and I get notes of slight caramel, dark fruits, and toasted grains. Finishes sweet.
M: Medium body, tingly carbonation, mild alcohol warmth, lightly bitter mouthfeel.
O: Decent smoked beer but not the best. I felt the dark fruit, chocolate, and smoke hindered each other rather than worked together. Wasn't my favorite.

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Photo of TheSSG
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big, soapy, tan head chock-a-block with resin. Good persistence. Toasted malt aroma is dominated by smoke. Deep, deep burnt umber is mostly black. Starts acidic and tart with metallic and notes of smoke. Builds into a medium-high bitterness as the acidity builds and the smokiness becomes more dominant. Finish is smoke a top of notes of coffee.

Overall, this is okay. I think with some aging, it could be great. Right now it feels a bit raw and is too acidic.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Large flowing fluffy tan head, brew is thick and black. Missing much lacing...

Smoke, tons of smoke. Campfire, smoke, pork, salt, bacon. Mildly gross.

Thin, full bodied, smokey, roasty, deep, oily, tons of smoke... Mild sweetness, zero bitterness, low(er) carbonation.

A slight mess. Not sure If I can recommend... Deschutes and Great Lakes can do MUCH better!!!

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Photo of adamette
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber that I bought yesterday from Reider's in Painesville for $2.99 (normal price of $14.99) probably since the stamp on the side of the label says: "BEST BY: 04/29/14." I believe that it is just fine though, in part since it is 9.1 ABV. Poured into a clean, clear glass.

A Brief but light brown head over a dark but not completely black body (it glows a mahogany in front of direct light). Good look. 3.5

S Distant smell, more porter than anything smoked. Not earth shattering. 3.0

T Edmund Fitzgerald porter with a bit of smoke. That's it. Don't get me wrong. I love some good "Ed Fitz" as we Clevelanders call it. For that, the taste is really strong. I am just disappointed that it is pretty much that great beer with a bit of smoke as if it were laid on top. Not improving Ed Fitz in my opinion. 3.5

M Dark Roast malt from the Ed Fitz with a bit of a harsh kick from the "smoke" but the feel is just alright. 3.0

D/O Drinkability is really not that good. Overall this is a lateral move from an already great Porter, the Edmund Fitzgerald. If anything it makes me want to go to the brewery (Great Lakes) and have a fresh Ed Fitz on tap. 3.5

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Photo of popery
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark brown, just light enough to see the color. Medium beige head. Very little lacing. Moderate retention. The aroma is pretty well dominated by a meaty smoke flavor. Underneath that, there is a dark malt cola note. There's a little bit of roast and some soy sauce. Maybe, a touch of chocolate. The taste is rather sweet. It's a big cola sweetness. There's also some chocolate and more of that meaty smoke. The finish is all cola and smoke with some light bitterness. Carbonation is pretty average. A touch slick. Kinda light for the abv. This was fairly disappointing. It's just too simple and sweet. Good level of smoke, but there's just not much dark malt depth. It's almost all cola sweetness.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to beachstrength49 for the bottle.

Appearance: Straight brown. Looks darker in the glass than the pour. Head is light tan and drops to a tiny cap. Wispy with no lacing. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Beef jerky and raisins. Smoked malt coupled with a rich roasted sweetness. Dark fruit pushes some fig and raisins. Peat. Cocoa and some chocolate. Slightly meaty with some caramel. Touches of char. Sweeter than anticipated. Very lightly hopped with a clean yeast profile.

Taste: Solid smoked malt. Peat with some backing char. Nicely roasted with some caramelized malt sweetness. Some lingering raisin and dark fruit, but it's all very balanced. Warming pushes the sweetness up a bit high. Some earthy hop elements. Very minor pushes of cocoa and dark chocolate. Teriyaki beef jerky. Caramel and some bready elements.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate, on par, carbonation. Lingering smoke, but clean and smooth otherwise.

Overall: Two breweries known for balance created a balanced porter....LIES!

Nicely balanced, if a bit sweet. A solid intro to smoked beer. Not aggressive...big surprise.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Best by 4/29/14.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, smoked malt, smoked meat, campfire, and slight adhesive bandage aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt, smoke, and adhesive bandage flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer but the adhesive bandage quality in the flavor makes this beer hard to drink very much of.

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Photo of harrymel
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.25

Best by 29APR14 -doubt it.

Pours black with a central cap and rim of light tan foam. Smells of campfire, char, leather, some cocoa and a bit of soil. Flavor is nice and malty with cocoa, coffee grounds, raisin, leather, smoke and a sweet milk character. Body on this is really perfect in my opinion, full bodied with velvety carb makes the beer feel light and fluffy on the palate, finishes slightly dry. Really, really great mouthfeel to it. Overall, I'd just as soon stick with the standard black butte porter.

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Photo of Kenzie
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I was very excited to try this beer, but found there was just too much smoked packed into the beer. It was not very rich and dark like an imperial porter and most of the flavor came from the plasticy/liquid smoke taste. I have had some very good smoked beer before, but I didn't think this one was utilized well.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Black color. One finger of frothy/creamy tan head. Retention is lacing and just a few wisps of lacing are left.

3.5 S: Hmmm. This is interesting, but I can't decide if I like it or not. Sweet caramel is at odds with the smoke forming a "sweet smokiness" like smoked pork with sweet sauce. Chocolate, roasted malts, licorice, and a light nondescript fruitiness.

3.5 T: The taste is like the nose and again I'm not sure what to make of it. Sweet smokiness, chocolate, roasted malt, licorice.

3.5 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation and reasonably creamy. Good enough here.

3.25 D: This seems to have more Deschutes influence than Great Lakes and I think I'd like it more if it was the other way around. It's no bad, it's just not for me.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.49/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into a globed glass

A- Poured a very dark brown with some reddish hues shining through, big frothy off-white head with lots of big bubbles that left splashy lace

S- Very dominant meaty and smoky aroma, not much else.

T- Pretty big meaty and smoky taste like bacon, some sweet vanilla and caramel notes on the finish to cut the smokiness some. Lots of smokiness and sweetness, not much in the way of roastiness.

M- Medium body, the mouthfeel feels more substantial on the frontend and a little lighter on the finish, finished dry, soft carbonation

O- Deschutes and Great Lakes are probably my two favorite breweries. Edmund Fitzgerald and Black Butte are two of the best porters around. This beer does not quite live up to those porters for me, but it is pretty good. The smokiness is definitely up front in this beer, some of the traditional porter notes like chocolate and coffee are not really prominent. I would never guess this is as high as 9% ABV, it drinks lighter than that. Better than other the few other smoked beers I have had, but a full bomber of this was a bit much and I would have been ok with a 12 oz. bottle.

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Photo of draheim
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz (best by 4/29/2014) into a snifter. Pours a dark brown w/ a thin mocha head that settles to a narrow ring around the glass.

Aroma is equal parts bitter roast and semi-acrid wood smoke. It also has an almost medicinal, sweet quality I tend to pick up in rauchbiers.

Taste is less smoky than the nose. It's actually a little more fruity, of course along with the roasty character. Kind of a mess, really. It's just a little all over the place with no real focus.

Mouthfeel is moderately light with not much of an aftertaste. A little thin but still kind of sticky.

Overall this just isn't my kind of beer. The smoke gives it an interesting twist but it doesn't have enough going on to hold my interest. It's fine for what it is, but there just isn't anything great about this beer.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. (1 pint 6 fl oz.) bottle, with best by date of 04/29/2014. My fourth review of a collaboration beer on BeerAdvocate. Excited to try this out, commemorating the year of my birth. Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours a nice dark black looking color, but bright ruby when held to the light. Two fingers of frothy tan head on top.

S - Smell is of nice smokiness, bacon bits, roasted malts, & some chocolate. The campfire smoke aroma steals the show here, but it is not overdone.

T - Taste follows the nose: roasted smoked malt, chocolate, cream, & some alcohol. There's something here that doesn't quite do it for me, though. Some fruitiness present, almost banana-like, with some latex glove like aftertaste.

M - Feel is creamy and smooth, with somewhat of a dry finish. Heavy & full-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, this isn't a beer I would have again, but I'm glad to have gotten to try it. Smoked beers aren't really my thing, and even though this one takes the light and subtle route, it still doesn't sit well with me. The high 9.10% abv is hidden well, and the beer drinks smoothly, but this beer is really not doing it for me. I'll stick to the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, which was excellent, and I'm looking forward to trying out the Deschutes Black Butte Porter, which I anticipate liking more than this.

Deschutes / Great Lakes Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter ---3.5/5

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Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Deschutes Brewery
3.74 out of 5 based on 399 ratings.
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