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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.
very good

76 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.4%
Wants: 8
Gots: 5 | 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
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 silentjay
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

deep, viscous black with a small mocha head that quickly recedes to a thin film with average lacing.

aroma of charred malts, cocoa, toffee, molasses, coffee, with some piney/woody hops, like a toned down imperial stout, which seems about right.

flavor is not quite on point... some leafy, piney, and citrusy hops sit behind the charred malts and watery coffee.

watery finish on a medium bodied brew with some leafy hop flavors lingering for a while.

not bad, but not impressive either. I seem to be saying that about all the Full Sail beers I have been trying. Good value, but nothing I'd reach for on a special occasion.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

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 argock
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of mentor
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, aged in my cellar for probably 6 months. Pours a thin layer of brown head over a pitch liquid. Smells raw barrel, vanilla, cherry, empty dry roast, and strong clean alcohol.

In the mouth, dry and light body. A bit of creaminess. Tastes raw barrel, coffee roast, and a nearly subdued chocolate. The barrel is overbearing and comes across particularly strong due to the alcohol sting. Black strap molasses, rice hull, salt, and fall leaves.

Photo of Overlord
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark blackish brown. Two or three inches of brown foam head.

Smell is rich and robust with bitter espresso, some dark chocolate, and a waft of roasted malt. Surprising combination in an imperial porter, I know.

Taste, not quite up to par with aroma. A bit too much astringently dry and bitter coffee. Still, some nice dark chocolate blending in, though the roasted malt gets a bit charcoal-y.

Still, nice creamy mouthfeel ... overall, a solid porter.

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 barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Port Carlsbad.
Poured a deep brown with a small tannish head. Nose is roasty, woody and cocoa. Taste is roasted, cocoa, slight coffee and woody flavor. Mouthfeel is nice, balanced, very drinkable the ABV was just right for this brew. I picked up a nutty flavor on the end of this beer which left a nice taste in my mouth I finished a pint in no time. Really good porter all the way around.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber bottle, 2007 vintage. Out of the fridge and allowed to warm for half an hour. Poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a nearly opaque deep dark brown color with two full fingers of tight walnut tinted foam. The nose is greeted with notes of molasses, both brown and white sugars, sweet malts, licorice and alcohol. Tastes of bitter roasted coffee with a slightly sour flavor, followed by milk chocolate, burnt caramel, and prunes. A tad bit thin bodied with just about medium carbonation. I'm sure another year or two in the cellar wouldn't hurt this porter, but it's pretty tasty as it sits in my glass today.

Photo of chugalug06
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Beer is dark brown with poor head retention and next to no lacing left behind.

T- Chalky, with extreme malt under tones, it could use more hops to help kick it up a notch. but not to over hop. Also, it needs less chocolate malt

S- Rich, but ever stereotypical porter smell. nothing unique

M- Dry and easy down, cotes teeth a bit

D- You can easily put this beer down a forget about it, it dosent bring you back or not let you put it down.

Beer is average, but I love Imperial Porters so this is up there in my beer selection, I'll buy one or two more.

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 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 BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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 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 rowew
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, brown label. 2007 vintage.

Appearance: Completely black, just a hint of ruby in it when its looked at in the light. Tan colored head, good retention.

Smell: Roast, a bit of sour note.

Taste: GOod malt flavors, just a hint of alcohol. There is some coffee like bitterness, and a bit of roast in there.

Overall impression: Enjoyable flavors, this is a nice beer and relatively drinkable for the abv and style.

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

Photo of DIM
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
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!

Photo of Bitterbill
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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!

Photo of SargeC
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Photo of udubdawg
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of alexgash
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

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 Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour produces a frothy, tightly beaded, initially three-finger thick, brownish tinged, dark tan colored head that sits atop an opaque, basically black colored brew. The head leaves some delicate lacing as it slowly recedes. Distinctively fruity smelling (though not dominantly), aromas of concentrated raisin, fig, brandy like notes and perhaps a touch of cherry are all here, though they have all been slightly burnt. Concentrated malt aromatics contribute the noticed fruit notes, but it also produces notes of dark chocolate, black coffee and huge toasted malt aromatics. The aroma is so smooth and so rich and satiating; I am quite impressed how rich, yet not overly burnt this beer smells.

Slightly sweet, but not nearly as much as I had expected. The beer has a medium fullness to it that is not quite rich. Ample roasted malt flavors of black coffee, slightly acidic espresso, bitter dark chocolate, and a burnt grain husk character all play a big role. At times this reminds me of a coffee liquor (though one that is not all that sweet). Some dusty cocoa notes, warming, almost hot, alcohol that combines with that roast acidity in the finish contribute to some disjointed flavors. Not quite as rich and smooth as I was hoping it would be; at times a really good chocolate flavor & aroma are noticeable, but at other times it can be overwhelmed by slightly harsh / sharp notes.

The flavor is more roast / burnt dominated than the aroma and is not nearly as smooth. I have a hard time distinguishing this from a strong stout, at least based on the flavor. After my nose has acclimated a bit, even the aroma becomes a bit harsher. Still a tasty beer and it definitely hits the spot when looking for a big, darkly roasted malty beer.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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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.