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
Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 401
Photo of hopsputin
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

drank 11/23/13

a: dark mirky brown with some ruby red notes. 2 finger fizzy white head that fades pretty quick

s: notice the smoke right away - a little hint of meaty bacon. chocolate, toasted malts. there are some figs, and plums. ends with smoke and toasted malt

t: not as much smoke as i would have thought. toasted malts and milk chocolate are the dominant flavors here, the smoke is more of an afterthought. picking up some plums and raisins as well

m: medium

o: honestly, not as good as i was hoping for. i would have like the smoke to be featured more. other than that its a tad thin in the toasted malts department. its smooth though, and theres nothing offensive in here

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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 BWED
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bomber bought in Philly, excited that Deschutes put us in their distribution area. Poured into a snifter.

A- Dark brown, chestnut body, with a nice one finger tan head. Retention isn't great, but lacing is.

S- I have to admit that I glanced at the latest review, and read the "olive" note, and noticed that myself, but this smell isn't a negative thing. Subtle smoke aroma, maybe more of a roast smell. An even more subtle sweetened cocoa aroma as well.

T- The smoke comes out more in the flavor. Still fairly subtle, however. Bit of a cocoa semisweetness. Overall great malt character.

M- Nice creamy thick body. The smoke adds some bite to the feel, but overall nice and smooth.

O- Subtle smoke characters are really nice. Usually smoke is the centerpiece of the beer. A great sipping beer, so I should have shared this bomber!

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Photo of TCMike
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color, and produced a finger, and a half of beige head.

The aroma is of , smoke, kalmata olives, and an earthy note.

The taste is similar, but with a light coffee, and alcohol. No real hop bitterness. Heavy body, and lowish carbonation.

Good sipping beer.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

/bomber into small tulip. concentrated rim is great for a beer with this smokey aspect to it. best by: 4/29/14.

A: pours a solid brown hue. opaque. head is slightly brown and has good retention. spotted lacing.

S: a toasted, young smoke smell. slightly acrid. a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of roast. both very dry.

T: dry chocolate, dry roast, even dry smoke. not nearly as smokey as I hoped (importatnt to note that I am a smoked beer junkie). similar to the nose, the smoke is slightly Band-Aid/acrid.

M: average carb on a medium body. definitely not full imo.

D: really doesn't drink like a porter of this size, abv wise. really dry, smoke character is unique. not my favorite smoked porter, but not a bad beer. sort of at a loss regarding a real opinionated feeling on this brew one way or the other.

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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 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 AmishLightning
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was my first smoked beer that I am reviewing. Quite an interesting flavor profile with a common porter disguise.

Appearance: The pour was thick, but didn't leave much of any lacing on the sides of the glass. Little carbonation gave this beer almost nothing of a foam topping. Head surface was smooth and flat due to the small height. Black coloring , but you could see some brownish light through the edges if head up to the light.

Smell: Roasted Malts and a bit of hops. Very typical porter smell. Very plain.

Taste: The brew starts with a bit of strong roasted malts to follow the nose. Than SMOKE!!! wow, I don't know if it hit me harder because this was the first of its kind that I had tried, but I sure as hell noticed the intensity of the smoke. The smoke also added a strange sensation. After that taste you feel that you should be thirsty, but you are not because you are drinking a beer. It was very odd getting used to this beer for that reason. Also, there was a bit of chocolate taste on the finish if you let the beer hit the back of your mouth. Overall, a very dynamic beverage.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than a swamp after a hurricane. Pretty smooth, partially resembling a oatmeal stout with the way it sits on your tongue: low carbonation, smooth, and thick.

Overall: Definitely, a beer that you should try out. I don;t know if this will be a class of beers that I will go into. I see this as a beer that is good for the masses to experience and for the few to continuously enjoy.

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Photo of Gavage
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" head.

Smell: light roasted malt aroma with a hint of smoke and chocolate.

Taste: roasted malt, chocolate, raisins, mild smokiness, moderate bitterness, and a hint of alcohol warming are the main flavors.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste as the mild smokiness lingers on the tongue.

Overall: an easy drinking porter that goes well with BBQ. Very enjoyable as the smoked flavor is complimentary, not overwhelming.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deschutes Brewery & Great Lakes Brewing collaboration brew 'Class of '88 Imperial Smoked Porter' @ 9.1% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $11

A-pour is a dark brown from the bottle to glass with a medium size tan head leaving a streaky lace along the pint glass

S-hint of smoke and Black Butte Porter

T-smooth mellow and creamy , easy drinkin , not too much smoke

MF-medium carbonation , full bodied , carefull easy drinking/sipping beer

Ov-good beer , yes I'd buy again and I did , looking forward to try Great Lakes half of this fine collaboration brew

prost LampertLand

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle split into tulips with the bros.

A: Dark brown with transparent edges and thin wispy off-white lace.

S: Smoke; charred, smoldering wood & earth, brown sugar, a bit of salt which pushes this beer towards 'fishy', some dark fruitiness. Faint dark chocolate maltiness.

T: More of the same, moderate strong smokiness, well-executed smoked malt, reminiscent of alder-wood smoked. Damp earth with a touch of saltiness and some fruity sweetness, hints of brown sugar again.

MF: Medium-full bodied but thinner. Smoke lingers a bit.

O: Decent for a smoked porter, not overwhelming or off-putting but certainly not a great offering for bombers...split this 3 ways and had plenty left.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle best by 4/29/14. Pours dark brown with a medium creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roasted chocolate malts and some leathery smoke and a little dark fruit.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malt with some roast and peaty liquid smoke. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a little sweet but nice roast and peaty liquid smoke.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a collaboration with great lakes I think, this is a really unique beer. it pours a dark brown with a faint rust color in light, a fading cream head slowly relaxes. the nose on this is real intense, every bit as smoky as the rauchbiers of Germany, heavy heavy smoke is obvious. tobacco too, and there is a pronounced meat character, like curing bacon or something, not gross, but strange in a beer. flavor is bitter from the real dark barley malts, and there is a coffee hint as well. the smoke is most dominant, really permeating my taste buds and distracting me from any more subtle flavors. I love a good smoke beer now and then, especially in the fall, and this really hit the spot, but may perhaps be overdone in that regard. peat in the finish gives it some richness, and the alcohol is real well disguised, I would have guessed 6% abv in a blind tasting. thin body for the style makes it more approachable, and I can taste this long after the swallow. not a great beer to stuff into the middle of a session, as it sort of ruins the palate for awhile, but a bold and delicious beer I am glad to have been able to enjoy. Deschutes can do no wrong in my eyes.

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Photo of Brenden
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's quite dark brown, though with a surprisingly opaque quality in the edges. Considering that both of these brewers know porters so well, and can brew huge beers, this looks lighter than I'd expect given the status. A tan head is bubbly, about one finger high, with good retention and lacing.
Smoke! This beer's got it, and in such a way that it's strong enough wiothout subverting the maltier base, the roast, or the light sweetness. It's almost meaty but not too much, with a woody sort of campfire essence to it. There's a nice char that doesn't go astringent, which I've found key to this sort of beer.
It's got the body of a porter, about medium, but it's just shy of the depth and richness I'd expect from a porter brewed by either of these two.

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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 cvm4
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours cola brown, about what I'd expect from a porter body wise. Has a creamy one finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - The smoke is there. Not peat bog smoke, but a gentle mix of charred wood &/or smoldering wood. Behind that is some bakers chocolate along with dark fruits.

T - Smoked malt comes through on the taste in spades. Has a sweeter side with raisins and plums. It settles in with cocoa powder and a bready taste.

M - Medium bodied/carbonation. Very smooth and the smoke is not cloying to me at all.

O - Very drinkable and it pretty much delivers on the style it claims to be. Can't knock it for what it was all along.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer, I had such high hopes for, let me down.
This beer pours a ruby brown and with a smallish mocha head.
The aroma is dominated by a robust roasted malt aroma. The smoke is quite lean and sutle. Hints of chocolate can be smell with a deep inhale.
The taste is dominated by a big and aggressive alcohol burn which bullies all the other flavors aside. The smokiness is different then I was expecting too. I was expecting something like a rauchbier with beech smoked malts.. this smoke was like clean and lacking of character.
I didn't like the smoke flavor but could adjust to it but the alcohol was just to bold and agressive for me.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed 8/29/13

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this beer

Appearance: Dark brown, with some medium brown around the edges, some clarity - creamy off-white head, fades to a wispy cap, leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: Dark malts with some really noticeable smoke - cooked and chocolate malts - roasty and notably smoky - roasty coffee and some nuts - more smoke and charcoal - some dark chocolate and baker's chocolate - some malty sweetness

Taste: Chocolate and smoke - nice malt profile, with some caramel malts, caramelized malts, chocolate malts, and roasted malts - nicely roasty, very smoky - some sweetness akin to semisweet chocolate - touch of coffee, some nuts - some herbal malts - lingering smoke in the finish, which works well

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, nice carbonation

Overall: Not particularly imperial, but definitely smoked

I was two years old in '88. I'm not sure if I could have appreciated this beer then. But definitely do now. The smoke is is very well done here, not too much, but not too subtle, either. Definitely try this if you can.

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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 barnzy78
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Best By 04/30/14
A - deep mahogany, thinner creamy khaki colored head slowly fades to a foam
S - smoked malt, chocolate, caramel
T - sweet & smoky, roasty, milk chocolate, caramel, cocoa, faint pepper
M - exceptionally creamy, alcohol tingles the tongue and is warming but not hot
O - Very drinkable with a nice amount of smoke; very well done from two of my favorite breweries!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bomber courtesy of Dana pours a medium brown color with a fine-bubbled tan head. Moderate retention and lace.

Nose is more porter than smoke, but it does have a few licks of heavenly campfire smoke. Sweeter than I thought it would be and has a faint black licorice aroma.

Has a fair amount of smoke, but its not a salty smoke...if that makes any sense. Not like a BBQ type of my chagrin actually. The black licorice flavors are still there and not really all that welcome to be honest. Its refined, and pretty good to boot...I just wish it was a little more robust. The closest comparison I can think of is Alaskan Smoked Porter and this is not on the same plane as that, unfortunately. Good beer, but could be better.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle poured into tulip 21/8/13

A dark cola with two fingers of loose mocha foam that has hangs around for a few sips and leaves two partial tings before completely vanishing

S smokey chocolate and I can't shake banana bread and it seems out of place but works, a little booze, raisins, molasses and burnt wood with a faint nutty aspect

T more of the same with some fruity notes of bruised plum, still lots of chocolate and smoking wood, booze is well hidden

M could use some more body but not thin, bubbles are there but just give it some life, a little sticky on the lips and smokey chocolate on the finish

O tastes and smells good so that's most important but there's room for improvement in other areas, easy to drink for over 9%

when I saw a big dark colab between Great Lakes and Deschutes I grabbed a few bottles on instinct, decent beer but I had higher expectations

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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 rlee1390
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Clear amber/brown when pouring, deep ruby in the glass, one finger off white head.

S-Rather smoky, beef jerky, roasted malt, very slight chocolate.

T-Smoke is present, maybe too much, roasted malt and some chocolate, tad bit of vanilla and mild bitterness.

M-Medium bodied and creamy.

O-Both the regular Black Butte and Edmund Fitzgerald are better on their own. This combo-smoked version was a nice idea but nothing special.

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Photo of powerss13
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

ST: Bottle poured into a glass

A: Dark brown pour; decent head, and lacing

S: Nutty and aroma of raisins; little hints of smoke (as in if you burned your marshmallow a little too much

T: Well balanced; definitely has a good smoky flavor; hints of roasted malt

MF: Light body on the palate; Little bit of hops on the sides of the tongue; mostly get the roasted malt; flavor sticks to the mouth

O: This is a great smoked porter to have; kind of curious to may splurge on a couple bottles to use for cooking.

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