814: Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout

814 - Black Gold Bourbon Imperial StoutName: Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout
Brewery: Full Sail Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Hood River, Oregon
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 9.6%
First Brewed: 2006
Price: $11.99

Tasting Notes
Bourbon and vanilla hit the nose with a touch of toasted coconut and almond. This beer does not hide the fact that it has spent some time in bourbon barrels, but the influence is nicely rounded. A hearty beer intended for slow sipping.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I am stoked to review this beer. Full Sail doesn’t usually impress me, but they released a Doppelbock a few weeks ago that I just loved. I have also been reading that this one is pretty impressive. They release this beer every two years, and age it for quite some time in the barrels. You know me and barrel aging… I am sick of the trend. However, I have realized that brewing companies are not going to stop, and I need to embrace it. So consider this my first barrel aged embraced brews! I hear that some brewing companies, Lost Abbey included, are going to start aging beers in tequila barrels. That sounds interesting.

This beer used to be called Black Gold, and said Black Gold on the label. The bottle that came out this year does not say that, but I have confirmed, with Full Sail on Twitter, that this is in fact the same beer. Not sure why they leave off the name… but I am excited to drink it. Today is a big day, too. We are leaving here and gong to the Skeptical Chymist for some Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary on draft, then over to Whole Foods for some special release beer from Mikkeller. Just a beer filled Friday night.

Let’s try the Full Sail Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged. Black Gold sounds so much better!

In the Glass: The beer is pitch black and pours like mud. Well, not quite… but close! It is thick, produced a huge head, and just sits there begging to be consumed. There is an incredible lace, too. This is so pretty, I just want to look at it. Nah, forget that… let’s drink!

Nose: I could smell this as I was pouring it. Not the beer… the bourbon. They are not hiding the fact this is barrel aged. That’s for sure. The beer is malty and there is almost too much bourbon on the nose. As much as I don’t want the beer to taste like that, I kind of hope that it does! For beer that is less than 10%, it sure doesn’t smell like it. Let’s drink!

Flavor: At first, I was asking myself, “Where is the bourbon?” Then, out of nowhere, it hits you. Then it’s ALL bourbon and slides down smooth. It is WAY too cold, but I almost got a pint out of it. This will last me for a little bit. On my second sip, I swished it around in my mouth, and while it adds a little bit of flavor, but not much. To be honest, it tastes better without doing that. Each sip this beer does get better, and as it heats up, I am sure it will get better. The mouthfeel might be the best part of this beer.

Mouthfeel: At first, there isn’t much going on. When the beer hits the back of the palate, it explodes with the bourbon flavor and slides down smooth. Now that I think of it, the nose might be the best part of this beer. The best part of the mouthfeel is the finish, as the bourbon really fills your mouth. There are no bubbles here, and unless you force them, it just slides down. (I just burped… and with the burp comes the bourbon. Not the best flavor I have seen in a barrel aged beer.)

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is nice, and has a nice smooth finish that begins to dry as you continue to swallow. But for a beer that is $11.99, I expect more flavor. I wonder if the barrel aged porter is any better… not sure I am willing to spend $11.99 to find out. Of course, I will have to wait until next year to even try that one. Like I said, this will probably get better as it heats up, but this is not a beer worth writing home about.

This is our last Full Sail beer on the list, and I am OK with that. Their beers never really impress me, and this one is no exception. It’s good… but for the amount of time that this beer sits in a barrel, I had a higher expectation on the flavor. Oh well, on to the next bottle!

Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout – The bottle says: “A deep and complex brew that is black as night with a strong roasted malt character and full body. Brewed in December of 2011, this stout was aged for 12 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky. This extended aging presents hints of vanilla and oak. Enjoy!”

Rating: 3/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Today we are drinking a dark beer, very dark – an imperial stout.  It smells pretty good, like dark chocolate in the glass.  It had a lot of frothy head, and almost looked like dessert in the glasses that we poured it into.  Ricky was scooping some of the head out with a spoon, and it really could’ve been ice cream or a milkshake in the glass.  The beer itself is very dark black and thick in the glass.  As I said earlier, the smell reminds me of dark chocolate.  Let’s hope it tastes that good too!

Well, the taste does kind of remind me of a dark chocolate milkshake.  While most of the head on top is gone, there’s still a very frothy taste to it.  What is left of the head sticks to the glass as you take a drink.  It’s very good, and thick, and very much a solid imperial stout.  I think I’m biased, though, as I really like the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout we had recently, and not much can live up to that.

This is a good stout.  It’s definitely got lots of dark chocolate taste, and the thickness and frothiness really do make you feel like you are drinking a milkshake instead of a beer.  But I think it’s missing some sweetness, which I liked from the Bourbon County Stout.  That’s the only reason I’m not giving it the highest rating, but it is one I would definitely buy again.

Rating: 4/5

813 bottles of beer on the wall…

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