Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter | Deschutes Brewery

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

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Imperial 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.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 401
Photo of Offa
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this in 2014, from hand notes.

Black, small tan head steadily shrinks to foamy ring, wisps.

Aroma is smoked dried figs, chocolate, brown bread.

Taste, rich well-balanced roasty dried fig, chocolate, hints of tar, excellent full-bodied, not oily. Surprisingly easy to drink, wonderful. Slightly to sweet side.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a glass

Brown/purple liquid.

Khaki head; strong lace.

Smoked peat nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Smoked ham & peat flavor; like an easy drinking Islay scotch. Porter flavor is a bit understated but this is up my alley.

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Photo of dfillius
4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed 2013 vintage bottle on 1/19/14 - best by 4/14
A: Dark brown, nearly black liquid. Just a ring of light tan head.
S: Smoke, slight bacon. Chocolate and some sweetness.
T: Subtle smoke, nice chocolate.
M: Not thick and chewy, but not fully thin either.
O: Nicely balanced easy drinker for how strong it is. I like it a lot. Nicely smoky and sweet.

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Photo of bnes09
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wonderfully smokey aroma and flavor. Not overpowering but well blended with the complex roasted malt character. Dark fruits and molasses coupled with medium roast coffee and dark chocolate. A perfect marriage of sweet, roasted and smoked.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark, dark brown-black, but not completely opaque, this beer pours with almost no head. Just a subtle tan film bubbles up. No real lacing.

S - Mostly chocolate and roasted malt notes, with a subtle note of char. Some hints of wood, reminiscent of barrel aged beer. Alcohol is defined and sharp.

T - Opens with a big hit of molasses, toasted bread and chocolate, with a nice line of woody smoke flavor. On the negative is a slight rubber note, like band aids, that comes in on the back. Light hints of vanilla linger.

M - Brisk carbonation and a light feel, overall, make this easy enough to drink.

O - I'm torn on this one. I like the porter base, and the wood and smoke notes are actually quite pleasant, but the hint of rubber dampens my enthusiasm.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 4/30/14, poured into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown color with some ruby hue creeping through when held to the light, small foamy and sudsy light-tan head has good retention and leaves a bit of lace behind upon settling

S- big smoky aromas up front with notes of peat, cured meat, campfire and roasted chocolate malt. Smells similar to Edmund Fitz, but more smoke

T- lots of smoke up front with notes of peat, smoked wood, and roasted chocolate malt. The finish gives more peat, on a dry chocolaty smoked finish

M- medium-light body with low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a smooth finish. Only downside is the mouthfeel is a bit watery for a 9% abv beer, it does have high drinkability though

O- a good smoked porter, I think many people had higher expectations, given that is was a collar from the makers of two of the best porters out there. I enjoyed it, but I didn't like it as much as Edmund Fitz or Black Butte.

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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 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 superspak
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, best before 4/29/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear very dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toast, brown bread, wood smoke, peat, herbal, raisin, plum, light nuttiness, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with solid balance and complexity of dark/roasted/smoked malt and moderate yeast ester fruitiness; with solid strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toast, brown bread, wood smoke, peat, herbal, raisin, plum, light nuttiness, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toast, brown bread, roast, wood smoke, peat, herbal, light nuttiness, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice flavor robustness and solid complexity of dark/roast/smoked malt and light-moderate yeast ester fruitiness; with a nice smoke flavor balance and zero cloying after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice imperial smoked porter. Good balance/robustness and solid complexity of dark, roast, and smoked malt flavors with light-moderate yeast ester fruitiness; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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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 JohnnyHopps
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - The porter was a blackish brown color with a modest white head. Varying hues alternated in the glass making the overall color tough to label.

Smell - Obviously, it smelled like smoke. The smoke was not overwhelming, being balanced with a certain measure of malt.

Taste - In the beginning , I detect sweet dark fruits which are balance with the smoked malts. I have to admit that this was sweeter than I would have expected. The smoke is not overpowering, but somewhat understated. The acidity of the smoke comes through in the aftertaste with the sweetness fading.

Mouthfeel - I thought the mouthfeel was a little more emblematic of a stout. It was a little thick for the style, but that is not a big deal.

Overall - I think this was the winner at a recent bottle share since it was the only bottle to have been completely emptied. Personally, I thought it was pretty solid.

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Photo of alphagnome
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a red-tinted, incredibly brown body with a very disappointing brown head. Retention is poor, fading to nothing in minutes. No lacing (how could there be when no head is present?) but light streams of carbonation can be seen.

Makes me long for the campfires of summer. Smoked wood and cocoa are dominant, reminding me of s'mores. Vague notes of leather.

Right away, you can't miss the smokiness of this one; it's in your face and powerful. Smoked oak character plays host to heavy, bitter chocolates and light toffee. Sweet malts provide a bit of backbone and a hint of licorice and plenty of booze can be found on the tail end. Aftertaste is sweet with crystallized brown sugar.

Medium bodied but somewhat watery. Light carbonation. Clean, semi-sweet finish.

This is a very tasty smoked porter, but truth be told, I'd probably take a run-of-the-mill Black Butte over it. That's not to say I didn't enjoy this, I certainly did... HOWEVER, for the steep price of admission, I could have had 2 sixers of Black Butte and I would enjoyed it just the same.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle, best by 4/29/14, 9.1% ABV. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch light tan head that sticked around a little while. There's also a lot of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like smoked malt, chocolate, roasted malt, butterscotch and some peat. It tastes like smoked malt, peat, coffee, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit (plums). Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little creamy and has low/moderate carbonation. I think it's a tasty brew, and would buy it again. Definitely worth trying at $6.99 a bottle.

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Photo of 05Harley
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by 04/29/14
Estimated calories - 270/12oz

Purchased through Lets Pour
Price - $12.00/bomber

Pours a very dark amber color with a creamy lite tan head. Foam bergs decorate my Firestone Walker snifter glass and leave me with a milk mustache, wow. After several minutes just a soapy covering is all that remains from the head experience, yessaahh ;)

The aroma for me is the low point. I'm not getting a big nose of smoke like some reviewers have pointed out which is a shame. Certainly not Rauchbier status but pleasent never the less. Peat, roasted malt and vanilla dominate.

The flavor is dark chocolate, dried fruit and a boat load of roasted malt. The smokiness comes in late and is surprisingly light which again, is dissapointing. The beer finishes with a sweet vanila aftertaste.

The mouthfeel rocks and is the highlight for me at 9.1%, really?? Pretty damn smooth for the octane. Has a slight bitter start draped over a medium body and finishes moderately warm and dry as I tip the bottle upside down.

Overall pretty good but didn't blow my socks off. I anticipated much more of a smokey flavor and for this, I was a bit dissapointed. The beer did make up for it in mouthfeel which put a smile on my face.

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Photo of farrago
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Does not pour much of a head, an aggressive pour down the middle yields a half finger of more larger bubbles then woven foam, dark tan in color, bubbles off rapidly, the lacing is likewise close to nonexistent. The liquid is clean and surprisingly transparent, only a few visible bubbles, the hue changes to a more orange to yellow cast near the surface and rims. In the nose the smokiness is very direct and upfront, close to Rauchbier quality, but overlaid with caramel, butterscotch, molasses notes as well as chocolate, oats, charred game and peaty earth accents, perhaps some plum but not especially fruity, overall its presence is light of touch and tends more to lift and drift off and settle in. Light-bodied, the smokiness and general fire camp roast seems to mask the other elements rather than support them. Chocolate, vanilla bean, toffee and a light breadiness but one would be hard pressed to call it sweet. The shyly efficient carbonation does not give it pep, the mouth feel is smooth if unmemorable. Smattering of banana among the plum, cherry fruit base. You can’t call it understated due to the smokiness, so conversely it leaves you wished it had more desire to rock out with gusto.

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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 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 vfgccp
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep cranberry juice body with ruby highlights. Tall light tan head has nice retention and lace.

S - Hammy smoke front and center. Touch of cedar, chestnuts, and shiitake mushrooms.

T - Really nice flavor profile. Firm smoke blends seemlessly with sweet caramel, toasted bread, salt, cilantro bitters, and sweet sherri.

M - Creamy, smooth, medium body.

O - Stellar. Some of the best balance and integration I've seen in a smoked beer.

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Photo of Chaney
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Two of my favorite porter breweries in collaboration.

Served in an Elysian tulip.

A: Poured a dark, dark, brown that once collected in the glass, the brew was damn near black. Slight mocha head.

S: Bacon-laced, for sure. Sweet, but more like a fine dark chocolate or licorice.

T: Something was off with this brew. Sure, the roast and char was there in its very bacony context, but there was an undercurrent of plastic that I couldn't get over.

M: Nice carb bill….. nothing wrong on that front. Smooth on the finish.

O: While I was a bit disappointed, I still think this was worth the under $10 price I paid for it.

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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 Goosehunter75
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours almost black. Looks very similar to cola. It has a 2 finger tan head with average retention

S - Very malty aroma. Lots of chocolate with hints of smoke in the back

T - Wow. Very smoky tasting. Much more smoke in the taste than in the aroma. Hints of chocolate int he back as well as sweet malts

M - Very thick beer. It has a creamy mouthfeel. i would call this one full bodied!

O - Very different. The smoke is definately there! I cant decide if I am a fan of the smoke or not, but nonetheless they accomplished what they set out to do. Would definately give it another shot and see if I can develop a taste for the smokiness!

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Photo of MrBoz21
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark golden-brown-amber ... ribbons of light show through the center of pint glass. Not fully opaque. 1/2 inch tan head settled to thick cap, which quickly dissapates to spots. Lacing slides down side of glass. Very bubbly with floating particles.

Campire smokey aroma. Chocolate is in the background with sweet roast malt.

Taste is smoke and leather ... not overpowering. balanced with bitterness in the back.

Mouthfeel is heavy and slick. Leaves coat on tongue.

Overall: Complex and nuanced ... not overpowering. This is a beer that aficionados would like, but one pint per sitting would be my limit.

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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 CHADMC3
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque deep brown to black with dark ruby hues beneath the generous mocha head which slowly dissolves to leave a thin ring of lacing.

Lets tackle nth the aroma and flavor at once as they seem to mirror each other for the most part and it is the tale of two beers. As advertised this brew is both imperial and offers traditional smoked malts at the same time. Wen first poured the beer is much more smoke forward similar to that of a rauch bier. As it warms the chocolate notes really step forward. The smokiness remains throughout the beer on the palate.

A fairly robust brew with subtle carbonation, a full body and a pleasant smoky finish.

A great beer in my. Opinion and underrated to boot. Tons of character both style Ppropriate and innovative.

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Photo of JohnG190
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a quickly fading head. Some lacing. Interesting aroma, the best way to describe it is chocolatey smoke. Sweet maltiness on the front of the palate with lots of smokiness, like drinking a campfire. The sweetness tames the smokiness. Finishes bittersweet. Not subtle at all. Thin bodied with light carbonation. This beer is reminiscent of s'mores over a campfire. A well crafted beer.

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Class Of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 401 ratings