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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
86
very good

57 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 76
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 76
Photo of jwc215
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
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! (600 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This is an opaque dark brown, no highlights. It pours with a smallish light tan head that is fairly short lived.

s: Roasty grains that smell of nutty dark chocolate and coffee dominate. Some faint cherry aromas and just a little alcohol peek through as well.

t: Starts off well enough with a some chocolate flavors that are very mildly sweet. The finish though, is spectacular. Bitter, nutty coffee flavors combine with a tart cherry flavor that lingers for quite a while. Overall, this has some smoked, woody qualities to it. As it warms, some very faint alcoholic heat emerges.

m: I don't claim to be an expert, but it seems to me that porters have a thinner body than the average beer. Maybe it's my imagination. The gentle carbonation serves this one well.

d: Thanks yet again to JohnGalt1, an extraordianry trader. This is one of the best porters I've tried, thanks Toby! (885 characters)

Photo of SargeC
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep black brew with a dense brown head that lingers and laces.

Smell: Molasses, toffee, coffee, vanilla, caramel and chocolate.

Taste: Solid malt character. Not overly bitter or sweet, they found a good balance with this brew. Slightly smoky with a touch of alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Semi-grainy and chewy with an oily quality that helps the flavor linger.

Drinkablity: Very tasty and bold porter. Its drinkability almost makes it sessionable, but it could catch up to you in a hurry. (531 characters)

Photo of udubdawg
4.36/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

finally getting my hands on some Alpha Klaus tomorrow, so figured I'd open this tonite in anticipation...woah, where'd my stash go? Multiple cases has turned into a few lonely bottles - I enjoy it that much.

22 oz bottle
Beautiful looking pour, very very dark brown, with an impressive cocoa-colored head. Lacing left everywhere as it slowly fades, stubbornly remaining as a ring even to the bottom of the glass. I can find no fault with this (the appearance that is - getting to the bottom of the glass of a great beer is obviously a problem!)

By now I've had this beer at least a couple dozen times, and the nose is disappointing in the lack of complexity, but not the overall aroma. Don't get me wrong - I like it. I like it a lot. But having had so many beers that smell like heaven over the last year, it is difficult to rate this any higher. Maybe I need to develop my nose, but I get mostly a lot of chocolate with a hint of spiciness and a decent amount of char.

Extremely tasty beverage right here. Call it a 4.75, leaving room for another soon-to-be-tasted beer to improve upon an already great taste.
Very robust. Roastiness is immediately evident, with chocolate and coffee refusing to take a back seat. I love the acidic charred edge, plus some citrus hoppy bitterness in the background. Goes doen easy but never approaches sweet. Long drying finish.

Obviously I can't rate this as a double stout, where the mouth would have to be considered thin, but I'm at a loss as to what should one expect from an "imperial porter." It's smooth, medium in body, and extremely enjoyable. Good enough for me. Drinkability is great, borderline dangerous at 7.5%, but is going to be limited by my supply soon. Can't recall what the price was, but hell I bought 3 cases, so it couldn't have been that bad.

This should absolutely be a year-round beer. Recommended. (1,866 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black, opaque. Tan head. Malty aroma with some sweentess resembling Whoppers malted candies.

Palate is a big malt whallop with some candied sugars and alcohol warmth. Very hearty beer. Finish is long and malty sweet with plenty of hops to balance it out.

Very syrupy, in a good way. (289 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black currant black with the slightest suggestion of medium brown at the edges. The head is a toffee colored beast that is immensely thick and rich and is beginning to coat the glass with an impressive blanket of moth-eaten lace. Any number of Russian Imperial stouts would kill to look this good.

The nose is the second indication that there's a very fine line between an Imperial porter and an American double stout. In fact, I'm not sure that Top Sail hasn't crossed that line. Roasted malt is front, center and back. More specifically, espresso and dark chocolate fill my nostrils with every sniff.

I already know how delicious this sucker is because I had to slurp the cap after an inattentive pour. The malt bill is a mystery, but some combination of roasted, black and chocolate has to be present. The flavors include coffee (now with a shot of cream), bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and black licorice.

I'm surprised, although not really disappointed, that the hops aren't more prominent. Most of the bitterness, I'm guessing, is due to charred malt. Having said that, citrus peel (grapefruit especially) is easily identified. I love hoppy stouts... er, Imperial porters... but I'm pleased that Full Sail didn't didn't go overboard with the little green cones and allowed the malt to remain at center stage.

The only letdown is a mouthfeel that falls short of Imperial status. No wait, that was my initial impression. My current impression, now that the beer has reached an estimated 60 degrees, is that it's full enough. A glassy smoothness and an ideal amount of carbonation (can't have one without the other) solidify the given score.

This Full Sail Brewmaster's Reserve offering is an unqualified success and deserves to be brewed year-round. It's bursting with black malt flavor and is sneakily hoppy enough to stay true to its Pacific Northwest roots. Recommended. (1,895 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks John!

A very dark brown pour with a 1 finger head of foam. It leaves some nice lacing and the head retention is ok.

The smell has notes of chocolate, roasted malt, toffee, and some fruitiness. Nice nose.

The taste is big! Lots of chocolate and roasted malt with some toffee and some hoppy goodness and I'm getting a nice sweet-bitter flavour that is very tasty. I notice a goodly amount of dark fruit as well that adds some of the sweet tones and yeah, the alcohol does give me some warming after the swallow but it's not *tht* noticeable so I'll sip on. ;^)

Medium mouthfeel here with medium light carbonation. It finishes slightly smokey with a good bitterish kick and maybe a touch of anise. Very tasty and very satisfying brew. I recommend it! (801 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.31/5  rDev +12.8%
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. (844 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.31/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous pour of dark brown, thick liquid. Huge capping of frothy, spongey dark tanned foam grows up quickly to keep its seat there for a great long while. Wow! It barely moves. Impressive. Eventually, some time passes and it becomes a large lump of styrofoam compactly drifting on top of a impenetrable black. Tons of lacing all over the place; thick and cob webby. I could look at this glass of porter all day, however...

The aroma enduces me into capturing the first sip with a wonderment of whats to come. Smells a little burntish with some cocoa and a bit of peppery spice to it. Green hops add a bit of zip as it warms and the pepper grows too.

The first sip turns quickly into a gulp as this is super subtle and easy going down to start. Oh, and yummy too. Nice tone gathers up a small cocoa tone over toasted, slightly burnt malts. Tiny charcoal hints ensue with a subtle undertow of sweet tanged dark fruity malt carrying molasses, cherry, and lots of dried pepper total tracks the finish along with a green hop zip of added spice. Great popping finish. The spice is just right, if not altogether, the main stage of palate twisting fun, once it hits.

Feel is slippery in the front, creamy centered, and spicy in the finish. Great tone and texture, very simple, yet fulfilling with a light fluffyness and very slight little tug of black malt burntness and dryness over the top. But the finish is what really pulls this through as it gains a wonderful peppery spice mixed with a green hopped oilyness and zip.

Solidly drinkable and wholey enjoyable as Imperial Porters go. This boat has sailed well and a big thanks goes out to cvschaller for the tie off! (1,675 characters)

Photo of ElGordo
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (566 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (431 characters)

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Simply fantastic.

Poured a dark chocolate milk brown. Head held up well and was slightly tanned brown Poured thick like chocolate milk. Nose was sulphuric with some subtle dark chocolate tones.

Solid American porter. Heavy malt flavor with a smokey cinder presence. Not overpowering but enough to remind me what I am drinking. There is also some touched of slightly green hops. Very much a Pacific NW beer. Dark chocolate. Coffee grinds. Caramel. Lots of flavors going on in this beer. Medium to full mouthfeel. I actually thought there was more flavor before the beer warmed up to room temperature. (601 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong aroma is oily and smoky with tones of roast coffee and molasses. It pours a nearly opaque sable with a thick, fine-bubbled, fairly persistent dark tan head. Smoky flavor fills the mouth with burnt wood, roast coffee, unsweet chocolate and a hint of licorice. Oily texture is fizzy and lively, leaving a smoky, tingly, woody finish. Recommended! (351 characters)

Photo of mudbug
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (656 characters)

Photo of argock
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.99.

A: Nearly black with generous 1-2 fingers of leather brown head with good retention and patchy lacing in thick band around the glass.

S: ROasted barley and citrus hops are most prominent but more caramel appears with warming and earthier, tobacco hops are poke through.

T: The raw roasted barley and heavy citrus hops work very well together, especially with the strong caramel and pale malt backbone which makes this brew a very pleasurable experience. The roasted barley is without harshness or acrid character -- it is just good, down and dirty robust porter rawness that tastes very fresh. The heavy hand with Cascade hops is apparent, and this one treads the line of CDA territory.

M: Very smooth with good heft and low carbonation make for dangerous ease of drinking.

O: I wish all of Full Sail brews were as good as this one. Their CDA Bump in the Night is a mess, Sanctuary was so-so, but others like Wrech the Halls, Hop Pursuit and Spotless are real winners. This imperial porter definitely lands in the winner group, particularly if you like robust roasted barley flavors. Highly recommended. (1,238 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
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. (1,357 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
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! (1,170 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (255 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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 (701 characters)

Photo of BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark color, nice and black, with a heavy trail of tanned lacing. Really nice look. The nose is pretty strong, although a little muddy in terms of what comes forth. I mean, there's a lot of coffee here. Chocolate comes next.

Definitely heavily roasted, with black patent and chocolate malts picking up the bulk of the load. A little licorice towards the back end. Astringency is present from the malts, but the hops aren't very prominent.

Quite smooth, not overly full, but nicely attenuated to allow a certain amount of drinkability. Another handful of hops and I might accuse this one of being a full-blown stout! Solid ale. (629 characters)

Photo of TheBungyo
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't know why but I didn't expect much out of this. From the moment I poured it, I had a feeling I might be wrong. The pour was blacker than a million midnights with a soft brown head. Lace abounds for days.

Nose is big on baking chocolate and chocolate syrup sweetness. .

Yep, chocolate dominates the taste. It leaps out and demands to be noticed. I get a bit of dark plums ... something about this seems more stoutlike than porter ... I think it might be the fact that the chocolate is so gigantic.

As I said, I'm really surprised by this. A solid brew all the way around. (587 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Dark chocolate brown body with a thick, lacy, dark khaki head. Chocolate aromas mix with coffee, vanilla, light smoke, and roasted malt bitterness. Dark chocolate bitterness up front. Smoother, sweeter chocolate and dark fruits follow. Strong roasted malt character turns more coffee-like. Hop and coffee bitterness blend with woody astringency in the finish. Lingering chocolate. A very hoppy porter. Medium-full body with a creamy feel. Not bad, especially if you like lots of hops in your porter! (515 characters)

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (672 characters)

Photo of Dubbercody
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle picked up at New Seasons today. Blackish brown with a medium brown head. Nice nose of chocolate and hops. Tasty brew Really chocolaty and malty. I agree that this will do well with a bit of age on it. Damn fine local beer that I enjoyed. I have to say that it does fall into the Imperial category for me as Porter, particularly as it warms the flavors thicken up even if the beer isn’t thick like I would put on a Impy Stout, but for a porter, it works for me. (474 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-Update 09/07/07

22oz bottle poured into a 10oz Samuel Smith nonic glass. The taste was really good with coffee and roast flavors coming out. Not sure why it is so much better four months later, aging perhaps? I plan on aging the other three bottles to see what happens. Yum.

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter. The color was black with a tan head that was quite fluffy. The taste was a little like milk chocolate but faint. The alcohol was undetectable. The body was a little thin. Overall I did not care much for this beer. I will still give the Full Sail Brewmaster's Reserve a fair shake since Wreck The Halls was so good. (628 characters)

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Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
86 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.