I just had my first bourbon barrel stout (an imperial stout, to be exact) from Oregon. This was courtesy of Oregone...........I sent him some Old Charter 12 YO bourbon and he sent me some Oregon beers. My friend George and I tried tha Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout. For those of you who don't know, Imperial Stout is a beer that was originally brewed by the English for the Imperial Russian family and was noticably higher in alcohol and had a unique estery (I wish I could describe the taste a bit better than estery........it is not malty sweet, yet it is sweet in its own way........a complex sweetness) taste that is attention getting in an organic sweet combination.
I waited (because the bottle Oregone sent was 22 ounces) until I could share it with my best drinking buddie. First of all, because I don't won't to take on 22 ozs of 10.5% beer myself and, secondly, because I want another trusted beer palate to help me put it in the proper beer context, and thirdly (and most importantly) I want to share a good thing.
Well, we drank the beer this afternoon and it was very, very, good. It was quite malty (as expected) and had the Imperial Stout estery complex that I like so much. There was the slightest hint of bourboness there that might have gone undetected if I had not known from the label that bourbon barrels were in the mix.
Many, if not most, 10.5% alcohol beers have an alcohol presence..........this had none. It was very smooth, robust in the stout sharpness and bitter qualities that offset the malt sweetness, but no alcohol. It was a bit chocolaty in its favor and my friend pointed out that it was also like good coffee in its bittersweet richness.
A great beer in our estimation. We went on to drink a few beers of various types afterward, but none compared to the taste of Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout..........rich, complex, tasty...................goood!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas