Monday, January 18, 2010

Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout review

Full Sail Black Gold Imperial StoutIt's been a while since I've visited a beer from Full Sail Brewing in Oregon but when I spotted a 22oz bottle of their Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout, a Bourbon Barrel-aged Brewmaster Reserve 2009, I couldn't resist picking it up. This style of beer is one of my favorites anyway and having it as an aged beer made it even more appealing.

Black Gold Imperial Stout was brewed back in February 2008 and then aged for 10 months in a Kentucky Bourbon barrel. This big 10.5% ABV / 65 IBU beer would certainly take on some characteristics of the oak with hints of bourbon and vanilla. I was anxious to try it out.

Appearance: As in most imperial stouts, Black Gold poured dark at night with just a slight reddish brown edge. The pour yielded a decent 2-finger tall light brown head that quickly evaporated. Swirling the beer in the glass didn't produce much lacing but there was some that stuck around on the glass.

Aroma: Oh man! This is where Full Sail Black Gold really shines. The moment I took my first whiff I was in love. The bourbon barrel characteristic is really dominant here. I could pick up on the bourbon, vanilla, dark rich malts and a bit of heat from the alcohol. The smell almost reminded me of a Samuel Adams Utopias from the vanilla. This beer smelled creamy (if you could imagine such a thing).

Mouthfeel: Full Sail Black Gold was every much as creamy as the smell would indicate. It was full bodied, low level of carbonation, almost chewy, and with a slight drying effect on the back end. I got a slight mouth watering effect at the end as well (oats?). It was just what I was hoping for in an imperial stout. Nothing weak about this brew.

Taste: Here again is where Full Sail Black Gold shines. This imperial stout is full of rich chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and caramel malts. There was some heat from the high ABV but not enough to distract me. It has a decent amount of bitterness to it but was blended well with the malts to make it a nice complex and satisfying drink.

Some oaked ales don't have the right characteristic but Black Gold seemed to have the right mix of oak, bourbon and malts. This beer is a real stand out in my book. I enjoyed this beer right from the start. I was hooked from the aroma up front. Put this beer in a snifter glass and just enjoy the full aroma.

Overall: I'm giving this beer a big thumbs up. It's already one of my most favorite beers of 2010 and likely would stand up to any imperial stout out there on the market. I certainly hope that I can find another bottle of this. Please Full Sail, make more of this beer in the future.

Did anyone else enjoy this beer as much as I did? What other oak-aged impy stout would you compare this to? Please add your comments below. Thanks.

Related articles:
- Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter review.
- Left Hand Oak-aged Imperial Stout 2009 review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review.

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