Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

76 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.4%
Wants: 8
Gots: 4 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ElGordo on 03-30-2007

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 57
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Beaver13
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a dark brown, almost black. It has a thin brown head that quickly dissipates.

The aroma is sweet lactic chocolate, grains and some coffee and a little alcohol.

The flavor is chocolate and coffee. It starts out a little sweet and finishes with a pretty big charred bitterness and lots of anise. The mouthfeel is medium to full with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, a decent imperial porter. The charred anise is a bit too much for me to enjoy though.

Photo of LXIXME
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from about an inch above the glass gave this clear dark black colored beer a big light brown head that slowly settled into a pretty nice lacing.

The bourbon overwhelms everything else that the aroma might have.

The bourbon is still overwhelming but the taste also has some dark rich roasted malts coming through.

A dry aftertaste on this full bodied beer that harbors some of the roasted malts and bourbon from the taste.

A rich full taste but just to much of the bourbon for me also, I'm not a drinker of hard alcohol but if I were this beer would definitely rate much higher with me.

Photo of mudbug
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bomber into a standard pint glass results in a black as carbon paper body with a one inch brown head, some lacing apparent but not much, seems too black for a porter.
Smells like a stout, looks like a stout.
Tastes like a light stout, roasted malt with charcoal bitterness, there is a slight floral hop ghost in there too. Surprisingly light body convinces me that this is possibly a porter, but It is in all other aspects a good stout.
Not sure about what they wanted to do here, a solid stout, but not what I want in a porter.
Edit,had another bottle later, compared quite favorably to Black Butte 23 style be damned it's a fine beer.

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and slick porter looks great and thick black, with a significant white head. Some mollasses aroma. Taste is full of mollasses, and it is a full mouthfeel and a bit sweet in the finish. Good with food. Thanks ccrida. Rich though not overally complex.

Photo of ElGordo
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The spring 2007 release from Full Sail's Brewmaster's Reserve series. Pours a rich chocolate brown with a thick, two-finger tan head that hangs out on top for the duration. Pleasant aroma of roasted dark and chocolate malts (maybe some caramel, too), floral hops, and notes of light biscuit and brown sugar. Palate is sublime - rich, slightly roasted malt blends with assertively spicy hops, with chocolate and mocha notes underneath. Mouthfeel is rich and velvety, just superb. I haven't had a porter like this in a long time - rich and roasty, a pleasure to savor.

Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewmaster's Reserve 2007 pours mahogany with 3+ fingers of pillowy/chunky mocha colored head. Excellent head retention & lava lamp-type lacing

S: Chocolate, roasty malts, treacle, licorice,& a bit of iron

T: Chocolate, roasted grain, & hint of molasses up front. Dryness, a little bit of boozeyness, & bitter chocolate as this warms. Slight coffee hints, along with oaky dryness, some fruity notes ( dates & plums), vanilla, & roasty grains, plus a bit of booze hotness

MF: Oily, some viscous character, medium bodied, with low carbonation & slight astringency. that vanishes as this warms

Drinks pretty good, a bit too hot for my liking. I remember loving this stuff on draft about 10 years ago

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz pulled out of the cellar to wash down and cleanse out palates after a bunch of less than stellar APA's. Shared with my brother.. my half poured into my New Belgium balloon. Still listening to the RIS iPod party mix... Primus, John the Fisherman, live.

Poured at warmer than cellar temp... nice lite brown head.. lacing lasts the entire glass.... dark dark brown... ruby highlites.

Roasted grains and yeasty fruitiness. Nuts and dried fruits.. Aroma is bigger than expected. coffee/cappucino creaminess. A little ruby port comes around as Top Sail warms up.

Flavor packs a punch.. same as the aroma but with some Western hops.. floral hops mix well with the blackness that envelopes the palate. Hop bitterness hard to pick out from the dark malts.. dark chocolate mixes nicely with the fruits.. think milk chocolate covered dried cherries. Palate is smoooth... creamy satiny velvet. Carbonation sneaks in with rich boozy chocolate burps. Good body for a porter, but this brew blurs the line with lesser Imperial Stouts.

Top Sail is fantastic... I traded a ton of these away... now I wish I had planned to save more for the cellar. Full Sail's brewer's reserve series is almost always a great bet... and there are alot more coming up in '08. Reviewing this beer made me really appreciate it's merits. Yummy, now I just need to quit drinking my stash.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fairly dark and smooth. More than a decent amount of hops on the back end. Too much for my liking. Still a decent porter. Plenty of chocolatey smoothness to carry it. Your typical "west coast" take on the style. I'm starting to warm up to the west coast hoppy everything. Especially in my porters. Would have again, but not my favorite.

Photo of Zorro
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn dark colored ale here, everything but light proof black. Good brown colored head.

Smell is lots of chocolate and toasted bread aroma. A little boozy Kahlua scent is in this but it really smells like a chocolate biscuit.

The taste starts out a little sweet and a little raw fuggles hop flavor in the mouth. For the beer style this does an excellent job of tasting like an English Dark Ale. Good chocolate flavor from the patent malt but coffee is very subdued. Flavors of leather and tobacco that I wouldn't expect in an ale of this type. Alcohol level is completely hidden here, seem more like 4%

Mouthfeel is OK.

Pretty drinkable ale that has more than a few milk stout and English Dark Ale elements in it. Imperial Porter with extra flavor levels, this really deserves slightly more than a four in the taste department. Super easy to drink and something I will buy again.

Photo of Osirus
1.87/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Appearance: Black. No head to speak of but at 9.5% ABV that's understandable.

Smell: Raisins, oak, chocolate, booze....a lot of booze. It smells like a chocolately bourbon to me.

Taste: Simply put, it tastes like a shot of bourbon with some porter added. The chocolate comes out along with the dark fruit, raisin that I smelled.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation. Medium/full mouthfeel.

Overall: Maybe I am not a bourbon fan but to each his own. I will not be having it again. The predominant feature of this beer is the bourbon taste and smell. A touch may be ok but it goes beyond that and I think this is a flaw.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 release, acquired via trade from Wasatch, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him, poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a medium-sized brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, dark fruit and roasted malts with a mild background of hops and alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with and is dominated by the two flavors of dark chocolate and cherries. Once you get past that though, this beer has all of the flavors indicative of the American Porter style like coffee & roasted malts. The after-taste is smoky and slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky & dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, there are some that are better within the style but this one actually seems like it pushes strongly toward the Baltic Porter style border if not over it. This is a good beer drink slowly, but if you're in the right mood you could take one down pretty quickly.

Photo of jwc215
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head that is well-retained for abv level. Some trailing lace slides down glass.

The smell is of anise, chocolate and coffee notes. Earthy background. Some berry-like fruitiness.

The taste is of chocolate, anise, coffee and caramel/molasses. A touch of oak blends in. Sweetness balanced for style by a subtle berry-like dark fruitiness and earthy notes. Ends appropriately sweet and rich.

Full-bodied. Creamy.

This is awesome. Alcohol well-covered. Complex but not over-bearing. Have this sipper as a rich dessert.

Thanks to Wasatch for this wonderful treat!

Photo of Reidrover
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber "Brewmasters Reserve 2007" Very very dark beer, but not quite black, hints of mahogany round the edges, a colossal thick,bubbly brown head tops it off. Very roasty malt nose, some lactic hints but its all esspresso coffee and 70% cocoa chocolate. Very much a malt driven porter, very dark maltings. Toasted , with great flavours of black coffee, dark chocolate ,raisins and liquorice. Some hints of hop but noit much. Though the taste is good i felt the palate left a lot to be desired, its rather thin and low carbonated enough to be limp. Weird. The limp palate sort of lets down the drinkabliity a bit. I think this is one of those very rare beers were a bit more carbonation would work wonders. My opinion only!

Photo of arktos
2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

03/23/11 - 2011 Brewmaster Reserve - no specific bottle date

22oz to tulip pint

A: Dark walnut, approaching black, with deep ruby highlights. Foamy 1" tan colored head recedes to leave an initial slick layered coating of lace.

S: Roasty, dark/black malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and molasses.

T: Roasted and black malt, burnt toast, dark chocolate, black coffee and good bit of molasses - interrupted midway thru by a citrus/grapefruit juiciness. The black coffee comes back shortly after and what's left is an odd clash of citrus/coffee. hmmm.

M: Medium, slick/oily, slightly bitter in the end... fairly unispiring.

O: Not really impressed. I don't know what an "Imperial" porter is supposed to taste like (Robust/Baltic?), either way, this one didn't seem to pay the bills. It's not terrible, but there are much better non "imperial" porters out there.

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright, interesting beer so here I go. Pours dark as can be (dark, dark brown or black, I cant decide) with nice mocha head. Good retention and lacing. Smell was great I thought given the style. Generally I'm not a fan of the Porter smell but this was nice. Complex blend of expresso, dark chocolate, burnt grain, and some dark malt. Taste was good as well. Plenty of the dark chocolate, toasted grain, and hints of coffee and a light touch of hops. Mouthfeel was fine. Slightly thinner as many porters are, at least compared to a RIS, but not watery by any means. Drinkability suffered a little. It was a very filling beer and the higher ABV made it a slow, slow sipper.

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

mike is tha bomb

dark pour, light-proof. tan topper crown of airy foam and hazy spritz. smells like a chocolate-crusted pumpkin cheesecake. sweet with additional vegetal sweetness. cocoa lingers in the nose, although sweetness can do nothing to evade the senses here.

first sip is mad earthy, dry with hop oils bittering out my tongue.. just none of the traditional hop flavor. malt husks and dry bakers' chocolate fight what hops exist for the title of king bitterness of full sail.. the choco-beast wins with a strange, sour yeasty aftertaste. reminds me of mcneills with its yeast-dominated profile which rides a fine line between luxurious richness and the tartness of raw fermentation.

at 7.5%, this beer maintains an adequate drinkability.. however, it doesn't pull the punches that a porter should at this imperial level. it fails to deliver on hops, and brings no complexity to its malt bill. there is plenty going on, it just falls short of the greatness that i am used to.. but then again, i am from the land of hooker.

Photo of nlmartin
4.31/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to UncleJedi for sending this beer my way. The beer was served in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The appearance is exactly as I like Porters. The beer has an impenetrable blackness to the body. The head is the color of lightly creamed coffee. The head has great retention and leaves a ton of lacing behind on my glass.

Smell: This beer is loaded with the aroma of well roasted coffee with a nip of cocoa. A bitof oakey vanilla and dark fruit play in the aroma.

Taste: The beer gives up a slightly burnt coffee flavor with a dash of cocoa. A wee nip of smoke combines with an earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The body is very creamy and on the plus side. The carbonation seems to be on the low end of medium. This is a dam fine Porter and I wish I had a few more to follow this one. Thanks again UncleJedi.

Photo of emmasdad
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this one yesterday because of the relatively low bomber price. Pours jet black with a medium tan head. Aromas of chocolate, smoke, roasted malt, and cocoa. On the palate, medium bodied, with flavors of roasted malt, chocolate and faint char.

Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

08/07/07- Purchased at John's Marketplace, in Portland, OR.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info on the bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark brown to light balck in color. 3/4 inch chocolate brown head with streaks and small patches of lace left.

Smell- Deep roasted malt notes with a smoky burnt aspect. Some bitter hop aroma and maybe some burnt coffee beans.

Taste- Malt is intermixed with coffee and chocolate, both which are lightly smoked and roasted very deeply. Hop bitterness intermixes well with the both. Flavors get much sweeter as the bottle warms. Much more drinkable at room temp than cool.

Mouthfeel- Very creamy with a mid level carbonation rate. Light bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Seems like a mix of Baltic and regular porter. I'd still push it to the imperial side though. Perfectly fine beer worth trying out. Solid effort from Full Sail as usual.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another amazing extra from JohnGalt1! Thanks Toby!
22oz Single, 2009 Edition.

A: Extremely dark brown, right up there on the verge of black, with a light tan head, about half an inch thick or so. Completely opaque. Really dark and ominous looking. I'm diggin it so far!

S: Big time on the roasted coffee, brown sugar, roasted malts, and milk chocolate. Really strong on all of the roasted flavors. Those really stand out in my mind. A little light though, really have to dig for them.

T: Big time coffee and chocolate, definite smokiness as well, an interesting bit of cinnamon in there too, which is really a neat addition, big time bitterness both from the more coffee aspect and from a clean piney hop presence. Chocolate is a little subdued. Slight alcohol bite too. Really nice balance of booze, sweet, and bitter. I really dig this.

M: Medium to medium thick in the mouth, pretty sticky really, lots of lingering flavors in the mouth, after I swallow it all sticks around.

D: One bomber is good enough for me, but I would probably pour this back all night on tap. I'd really be interested in seeing how well this ages. Really a tasty beer.

Thanks Toby!

Photo of srandycarter
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, almost black. Not much head, ring left. Sticky lacing/

S - Burnt malt, roasted coffee, hint chocolate.

T - Thinner than smell. Elements of each smell attribute present.

M - Nice, fat, coating, good carb, BIG. Like it.

D - Weird. Not my favorite smell or taste, but the mouthfeel keeps me coming back.

Photo of Domingo
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky black that actually reminds me of something much more potent, although it forms a decent size 1" head with no aggressive pouring needed.
Smells like chocolate, coffee, and maybe a little bit of molasses.
Taste is really where this beer falls flat. There's a big up-front chocolate flavor and coffee on the back end, but that's it. The flavor is way too dry and there isn't enough depth beyond that. I tried 3-4 sips in a row and kept waiting for something else.
Mouthfeel's just right for drinking without being forced to sip. Because the alcohol is well hidden, if you do like this beer, you could likely have a few.
I'm a big Full Sail fan, but this one didn't do it for me. The look, texture, and make-up of the beer are to notch. The problem was that the taste is just too dry and simple. Every other aspect of it is fine. I'd love to see this re-worked into something with a little sweeter Baltic-style profile.

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy tannish head, which then leaves some nice islands and sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is malty, slightly roasted, big on the toffee/coffee/caramel. The taste is malty, roasty, nice touch of toffee/coffee/caramel. There's a nice slightly bitter/dry finish. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very nice porter from Full Sail, glad that I can get this locally.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Sludgy black pour. A quarter inch of beige head settles into a thin slip. A thin web of lacing remains.

S: Thick, heavy fudge. Brownie batter and tootsie rolls. Brown sugar. Strong bourbon presence. Spicy, toasty oak. Nothing subtle about it, this is a direct assault on the nose, and the charge is lead by bourbon barrel and roasted malt.

T: Fudge, Hershey's chocolate, brownies. Rich and chocolatey. Strong pull of bourbon brings a slight peppery taste with it. Fading green, spicy hop profile. Drying charred oak on the back end and into the finish.

M: Heavy and sludgy. Full. Tingling carbonation provides just enough lift.

O: A thinking man's beer this is not. That's OK though, I was in the mood for something blatant tonight, and boy did I get it. A huge beer from top to bottom, very bold and straightforward. Full Sail also has a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout? God help us, that must be an endeavor to drink. Looking forward to the challenge . . .

Photo of brentk56
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Version

Appearance: Pours a dark obsidian with just the vaguest of ruby highlights peeking through; head formation looks great, at first, but becomes very rocky and fades quickly while leaving some splashy lace

Smell: The best part of this beer, with gobs of chocolate, coffee and char

Taste: Opens with a chocolate and coffee flavor that moves in a strong char direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the char elements dominate to the detriment of the other flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit thinner than I would have expected

Drinkability: Perhaps it is the effect of age, but the beer was unbalanced and almost sour from the char

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Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
87 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.