ditmier (1508) - Boise, Idaho, USA - MAR 14, 2008
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
2008 Bottle 22oz - Viscous pour, very little head. Chocolate and caramel aroma. Dominated by chocolate malt, and tastes more like a scotch barrel age than a bourbon. Very bitter on the end. Definitely more dry than most barrel aged brews, but necessarily in a good way. Drinkable, but for an enjoyable imperial dark, spend the extra dollar and ge yourself an Abyss (if you still can find it).
kramer (5691) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 14, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
22 oz bottle, via thooper41. Pours a black body under a 1cm fizzy mocha brown head that slowly subsided to a thin covering. The nose is equal parts bourbon, oak, and Porter. A little vanilla and char, and minimal alcohol for 10%. The flavor is a little more bourbon forward, but also alot more of the vanilla too. Some burnt notes, coffee, tar, moderate alcohol, a little sweet on the finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied and a little oily and clingy. Moderate fizzy soft carbonation. Long lingering bourbon finish. Overall, pretty nice, very on par with their Bourbon Barrel Black Gold. You know that itís a BA beer, but itís more than a one trick pony.
OldMrCrow (2309) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 13, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tap at Uber.
Pours deep black with a nice fine tan head. Nose is dominated by the characteristic bourbon vanillas that mark the BA Black Gold; flavor as well, with powerful bourbon character this comes through dry and almost chalky, serious mouth-drying woodiness on top of some high ABV head. Fairly mellow roastiness considering the style, not a burnt-coffee porter or anything of the sort, just an adequate dark-malt backdrop to show off the BA character.
Itís very drinkable, certainly enjoyable, but somehow lacks the depth that would be required to put it into the top echelon of BA imperial stouts and porters.
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - MAR 13, 2008
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nice pour with a nearly black color with a tan, average, creamy, pillowy head; it settles to a very small, frothy bit and leaves little lace. Nose is nice with lots of milk chocolate and bourbon and lighter notes of caramel, burnt oak, vanilla, and whisps of alcohol. Flavor is similar with dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, light oak, and only hints at some roast. Palate is medium, soft, and silky. Finishes with lots of chocolate and vanilla bean with some bourbon, oak, and some lingering dry hop and roast notes. Itís hard for me to believe that this is even the same beer as the Top Sail from a year ago. The bourbon barrels have smoothed out all the dryness but the complexity has diminished. The bourbon and vanilla notes would have been a nice addition to an imperial stout but it almost took out the the flavors of the porter. Nice but too simple to be great.
Ernest (7125) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 12, 2008
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
Head is initially small, frothy, brown, mostly diminishing.
Body is black (non-opaque, flashlight tested).
Aroma is moderately malty (roasted grain, dark chocolate, caramel), with notes of bourbon, alcohol, raw wood, vanilla, peanut butter.
Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter.
Finish is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter.
Medium to full body, syrupy/creamy texture, lively carbonation, moderately to heavily alcoholic, lightly to moderately astringent.
Very boozy/burning...seems stronger than it is, which is odd considering the viscosity and sweetness is pretty high. Usually that hides the alcohol, but not so much here. Astringency is rough too, another mark against the mouthfeel. A bit too much bourbon/alcohol and raw wood in the nose for my tastes, but itís pleasant otherwise. Kind of simple and rough, but if youíve got a bourbon fetish I could see you liking it well enough.
theisti (3711) - Kansas, USA - MAR 8, 2008
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
22 oz. bottle courtesy of mreusch who gave the KC crew this bottle to sample, even though he was unable to make the csbosox tasting on 3/7/08. Very cool of you Matt, thanks. Pour is black with some brown on the edges. Head is khaki and fades fast. Aroma of oak barrel and burnt roastiness. Some heat comes through on the nose. Taste is soft, the wood, and roasted coffee porter elements soften and meld in a nice mix / blend. The wood was a nice complement to this beer. Really nice one. The heat only appeared slightly in the after taste.
ryan (3186) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - MAR 7, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Black body with a small tan head, fading. The nose is sweet chocolate, buttery bourbon, ash and molasses. The flavor is moderately sweet, lightly bitter with chocolate, vanilla and bourbon. Medium/full body is round and a bit chalky with moderate carbonation and a rough, warming finish.
kmweaver (3207) - Petaluma, California, USA - MAR 7, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
22oz bottle, courtesy of acrdz. Thanks, Mike! Pours a murky, dark chocolate color; thin khaki head with patchy lacing. Strong bourbon presence in the aroma: burnt / charred wood character, some toasty vanilla, and plenty of dark chocolate; generous and pleasant, if slightly overly ashy and charred. Medium-to-full mouthfeel: strongly roasted / burnt malts, bitter chocolate, warming bourbon-infused wood; the bourbon character is somewhat subdued, and certainly doesnít have the depth of some of the best barrel-aged beers (BA Alesmiths, Older Viscosity, etc.). Lengthy finish shows toasty malts, cardboard and cereal, with some lingering bourbony/wood warmth.
ajm (1072) - Los Angeles, California, USA - MAR 7, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2009 EBF 2008 and a year old bottle from Duck Island in Seattle. This is very nice. It actually tastes like an even more drinkable BCS. Nice smooth oak-whiskey quality added to a very dark and coffee heavy porter.
3fourths (8962) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 6, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark brown body with some lighter brown hues at the edges, and a dark tan/brown head. Nose is ashy and buttery bourbon and chocolate, while the flavor is bright bourbon at first (when cold), before turning more towards the ashy, bitter bakerís chocolate and light bourbon with some fudge thrown in for kicks. Flavor is ashy chocolate (thereís a lot of that), light buttered bourbon, a bit chalky as well, and overall itís really good but not stellar - rich, decadent, and savory, but maybe a bit too ashy and chalky overall. Not a bad beer by any means - really tasty.