As I mentioned last week, I was in Hood River, OR visiting Full Sail Brewing for Zwickelmania last Saturday, and while I was there I picked up a bottle of their Black Gold. Black Gold is an imperial stout that has been aged in bourbon barrels for a year. I first tried Black Gold on-tap at the Full Sail pub, and its taste is what spurred my purchase. So, let’s get into this Black Gold.
Full Sail has a rather extensive piece on Black Gold that you can find on their website here.
Black Gold comes in at an alc./vol. of 11.4%, which is to be expected considering the aging process. It poured without a head, which I’ve noticed to be something consistent with other stouts that have been aged in bourbon barrels. Whether or not that is an effect of the aging process, I don’t know, Black Gold poured without one. The look is black as abyss, as space, as any other comparison you want to make. This beer is black. Head - 8, Look - 14. G and I both had the same initial reaction to the smell, which was whiskey. There is a heavy aroma of bourbon. The smoky oak aroma resonates with hints of alcohol and chocolate. All in all there’s a lot going on with the smell, great complexity. Smell - 23.
The first sip left an explosion of flavors in my mouth, which was mostly of bourbon, dark malt, and chocolate. The bourbon, the smoky oak qualities, resonates heavily throughout the stout, but there’s still a smoothness that both G and I felt balanced some of the harshness out. The aftertaste for me was dry and smoky with heavy roasted malt and cocoa flavors; it was a little harsh for me. G, on the other hand, found it be very smooth. Palate - 8.5, Aftertaste - 8. The overall flavor of this beer is strong, there’s a lot of complexity, and it’s not afraid to be what it is. I love whiskey, as I’ve mention before it is one of my favorite liquors, and to have such a strong presence in a stout is something unique. I haven’t had a beer that has such strong whiskey characteristics as well as such strong stout characteristics. The only beer similar to this is the Ola Dubh that I review last Wednesday. The smoky flavor pairs perfectly with the strong chocolate presence, but there is still a creaminess to this ale that almost has hints of vanilla associated with it. Flavor - 27.
If you can find a bottle of Full Sail’s Black Gold, I strongly recommend buying it. This is a great aged stout from a great brewery. When I was there last weekend that mentioned that they are getting ready to, or have already began to age an imperial porter in some bourbon barrels. Do yourself a favor and get some Black Gold, and then keep an eye out for the aged imperial porter over the next year. With an Overall Flavor of 43.5/50 the Beer Fusion gives Full Sail’s Black Gold