Monday, October 29, 2012

Napa Smith Bonfire - Gus #11

In light of the cold weather we have had the past few days, I decided to pull something out of the cellar.  I looked around to find something to warm me up. Then I noticed I still had this one.  This is a 2011 vintage bottle.   I picked it up one weekend in Memphis.  It's described as a winter warmer, so I figured it would do the trick.  This is the second beer I've reviewed from this brewery.  This one is Napa Smith's Bonfire.  It is a winter seasonal for them and should be coming out for 2012 very soon if it hasn't already started showing up in places.  I'll be grabbing a fresh bottle to have this year too.

How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from Napa Smith's website:
About the Beer:
Imperial Porter
An obscenely dry-hopped ale
Available:  Winter
Alcohol by Volume:  8.0%
Color:  Dark Chocolate
Bitterness:  30 IBUs
Pairs with:  Stews, short ribs and chocolate
Available in:  12oz, 22oz, 1/6 bbl kegs, 1/2 bbl kegs

"Each year we produce a limited amount of Bonfire Imperial Porter to complement the winter season.  Bonfire has a medium-full body, with complex coffee, chocolate and dark caramel flavors.  The spicy character given by additions of Mt. Hood, Cluster and Perle hops balance the generous malt presence, which finishes with a subtle sweetness.  Bonfire will please lovers of big, smooth dark beers.  Try our winter warmer - and set the night on fire."

I poured this brew into a 10oz snifter glass.

Appearance:  It pours very dark in color, but it is relatively clear.  Holding it up to the light it has a reddish, brown body with lighter hues around the edges of the glass.  Poured with a fingers worth of a tan head that dissipated quickly.  It really reminded me of a cola with it's appearance and head.  Pretty good head lacing and minimal alcohol legs.  Overall a very good looking porter.

Aroma:  Right at the front of the nose there are big dark fruit notes.  Black cherries mixed in with some raisins.  Then some of the dark chocolate bitterness shows up.  Not a whole lot of malt sweetness in there.  Maybe a slight bit of alcohol sweetness.  This being a 2011 vintage bottle any of the big noticeable alcohol flavors have probably subsided or turned into the sweetness.  Not a bad aroma at all but I do wish there were more roasted notes.  There is a slight smokiness in there but nothing just jumping out at you.

Taste:  Again the dark friends are right up front.  Some black cherry, hints of raisins or some type of pitted fruit.  Maybe some fig or prune.  Actually a slight hint of dried cranberry as well.  Pretty light on the mouthfeel with good carbonation.  Back of the throat has some of the roasted coffee and smokiness I was looking for but the big players are still the dark fruits.  Not much bitterness in there on the taste.  A lot sweeter than I expected.  This was probably due to the bottle being a year old.  

Verdict:  This is a nice porter.  And it did just what the brewery describes.  It gave me just the right amount to warm me up a bit.  I really enjoyed the dark fruit flavors.  It was lacking in some of the roasted notes but the age of the bottle probably had an effect on that.  I'm going to give this one a B.  A pretty good porter overall.

So if you are looking for something to warm you up on a chilly night, look for a porter, stout or winter warmer give this one a shot if you can find it.  I'd love to have this around a fire with a nice cigar or maybe try it with the roast as they suggest.  It would definitely pair well with heavier deserts with the lighter mouthfeel.  Until next time comment, subscribe or follow my blog using the tab on the right.