Part of the fun I have with beverages is trying things that expand my palate. I never really used to be a fan of beer, but lately I have been noticing that I am starting to enjoy a wider variety of the fermented libations. Stout in particular was a class of beer that seemed to turn me off. I’m not sure if it was the color, or maybe I just never had any good stouts, but I am proud to say that I love stouts now. Recently, at the Copper Hog (one of my favorite Bellingham bars) I had the chance to try the Full Sail Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout. It is amazing!

This 11.4% abv Imperial Stout, is just one beer in a long line of brewmaster reserves released by Full Sail on 10 week rotation. It is essentially their Imperial Stout, which is then aged for a full year in bourbon casks, which adds some great vanilla, caramel, and oak flavors.

Like most imperial stouts, the Black Gold pours inky black with a reddish brown head that dissipates fairly quickly. This is a beer with some great aromas. There are the typical dark malts, some vanilla, and a fair amount of the caramel and bourbon oak aromas from the barrel aging. The Black Gold has thicker, more creamy mouthfeel than most other american stouts. A slightly drying finish with little hop aromas. The taste is very full. Dark chocolates, coffee, caramel malts are the predominant flavors, with some vanilla and hoppy bitterness rounding it out. All in all, I would have to say that this is probably one of the best stouts I have ever tasted. If you can get a bottle, don’t hesitate to try it out. Cheers!