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Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010)Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

66 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 66
Hads: 89
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 7
Gots: 19 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.85% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beertunes on 02-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

After its initial release in February 2009, Top Sail was aged for about 10 months in Bourbon casks from Kentucky.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 66 | Hads: 89
Photo of MBrausen
2.31/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bomber into a Town Hall Snifter

A. Pours a pitch black pour, 1 mm thick head, dissipates very quickly to a thin mocha ring.

S. Smells like light chocolate and TONS of bourbon. Almost only bourbon. All Bourbon...

T. Tastes of toffee, some light chocolate, some oak, but pretty much all bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon with a hint of beer.

M. Medium-thin body, dry and somewhat coarse

O. This beer is just overbearing. Far too much bourbon. It's just one flavor, no other angles to be viewed from. This was a drain pour for me.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.39/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

Liquor Stop
San Marcos, CA

A vigorous pour leaves little hint of carbonation. There's some bubbling and an extremely thin head but this beer has a distinct lack of carbonation. The beer is beautiful and menacing all at the same time; it has a shimming black as night body. Very little lacing. Other than the color, very disappointing.

The aroma is an interesting combination. The strong punch of bourbon is here initially, melting away into strong scents of chocolate and raisins. There's some wood in here as well and an earthy sweetness. (When I smell this, I kind of wish this was a dessert cake/ breakfast pastry instead of a beer (blasphemous?). I wish there was significantly less bourbon and even more malt character in the nose, as the bourbon is clearly front and center.

The barrels as opposed to the beer take center stage here. The initial flavors are of Kentucky bourbon and oak and then the warm alcohol. The porter is lost underneath. There's some malt character of chocolate and toffee, but I really have to search for it.

Perhaps if it were better carbonated I'd have experienced a better taste and mouthfeel, but it is what it is, and this one doesn't score particularly well with me.

Not particularly drinkable or enjoyable. Unfortunately, in this beer's case, I think a decent porter was actually made significantly worse by aging it in bourbon barrels.

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Photo of beertunes
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured black, like a stout, not the opaque dark brown of a Porter. The beer had a dark tan head, which had almost no retention or lacing.

The aroma is dominated by bourbon, so much so that it takes significant effort to even detect that there is beer in the aroma. No definable beer scents. The taste was also dominated by the bourbon, but you could at least taste some of the roasty malt characteristics of a Porter on the tongue.

The body was well on the side for such a solid style. Drinkability is going to depend on you taste for bourbon. I like bourbon, but I want those flavors to complement the flavors of the base beer, not lord over them.

Overall, not a completely bad beer. I think it could have used less time in the barrels and have a stronger backbone to stand up to the bourbon. It's worth a try if you see it, but probably not worth a big effort to try.

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Photo of PerHops
2.8/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 bottle to highball glass in hotel (no more room in suitcase).

A- Jet black. Half inch head dissipates into a pencil thin layer that hangs around just fine. Sporadic lacing.

S- BOURBON. A little hot at first, but then other flavors emerge. Vanilla, chocolate, toffee, toasty malts, more bourbon. I have a feeling this one is gonna be boozy. I probably should have aged it, but have no choice because I have a lot of other great ones to bring home.

T- Well, let's just say I'm glad I didn't open some of my other ones to save this. It tastes like bourbon with a splash of coke that has sat on ice for a long conversation at the bar. I could get into the nuances, but really it's not worth my time.

M- Medium to high carbonation makes this even lighter than it already is.

O-Not sure if it's the brewery, or the style, but I will not revisit this one, even with age on it. Dissapointed, but not shocked.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Imagine pouring out engine oil. This is not like that. It's much lighter. It pours a dark black color with a half finger mocha khaki head (this was with a viscious pour). Appearance: 4.0

Smell: It smells good. All the normal porter components are there; chocolate and roasted malts. Aging it in Bourbon barrels was a great idea, it fully compliments and almost dominates the smell. I get a strong smell of alcohol even on top of everything else. This one might need to age a little longer. Smell 4.0

Taste: I'm not a big fan of this. The bourbon dominates the palate. I wanted it in the smell, I got it in the taste. It's strong and overpowering. I get a very burnt aftertaste. Taste: 2.5

Mouthfeel: This beer is hot. The alcohol needs to calm down. I'm not a fan. Mouthfeel: 2.5

Drinkability: I dunno, there are many many more drinkable porter's than this. Drinnkability: 2.0

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Photo of thedindaniel
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Second time I've drank this beer.

Beer pours a dark brown, not quite black. Light tan head fades within a minute and very little lacing.

Smells of bourbon and wood. I can also pick up a bit on sweet smelling malt.

The taste is one note, all bourbon but not hints of vanilla! I can't taste anything as far as the grain bill is concerned. This could've been any style as it's been dominated by the bourbon.

Mouthfeel leaves the drinker wanting for a lot more as well. Very thin. Is this really an Imperial porter? Could've fooled me.

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Photo of pastradul
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had never had this one before, it was recommended to from a friend of at K&B wine cellars. It pours a very dark brown, even in a taster glass it is hard to see through. The aroma is of roasted malt with mild coffee notes hitting the nose and a trace of alcohol. the initial mouth feel is very smooth and creamy. This is very similar to the John John Ale in the sense that it isn't a very "big" beer. Not a lot of bourbon taste to speak of but just enough. Not bad in my book but nothing to get excited about.... give it a 3.5

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Photo of biglite351
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Strong bourbon, vanilla, malt and dried fruit. Hint of candy.

S - Sliver of red around the edges, nearly non-exhistant dark tan head.

T - Mostly a weak bourbon. Vanilla and raisin. Hint of a dirty water type taste in the finish.

M - Meduim coating with fleeting tingle on sides of tongue.

O - It had a ton of potential, but fell very flat.

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Photo of davey101
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewmaster Reserve 2012. This vintage was aged for about 12 months in KY bourbon casks and clocks in at 9.5% abv. 22 oz. bomber into a DFH signature glass.

A - Pitch black body that allows the slightest bit of light to shine through. Light khaki head dies down quickly to some edging and a small cap. Moderate lacing and retention with some lasting alcoholic legs.

S - A really great blend of vanilla and oak notes from the barrels, and some roasty malts, sweet milk chocolate, and coffee beans.

T - A real letdown. This seems watered down almost. Some light coffee bean, chocolate, and oak notes with a roasty finish. This is beyond boring. Its drinkable with a light to medium body, higher carbonation, and undetectable alcohol.

O - Great nose with a boring taste. Perhaps I was hoping for a thick and hearty stout, but the porter notes seem rather tame and the barrel aging hasn't helped all that much.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 picked up at the COOP.. Poured into my Delerium goblet... Dark tan head.. black brew... nice lacing.

dark malts... and a bunch of smoke.. bourbon is there, but only with a bit of vanilla and bunches of booze... meaty.

I like the bourbon, but the smokey notes seem way out of place.. dark malts.. heavy cocoa... some sweet cherries.. I'm having a hard time pulling beer from this one.. the bourbon is huge... and the smoke seems like a smoked porter or maybe a scotch barrel brew...

Body and carbonation are nice.. but really the drinkability is pretty bad.

Man... wow.. I loved the last BBTop Sail... Had one recently and was still amazed... but this is a smokey boozey mess.


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Photo of FishPondManager
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep black with a one finger head. A soapy consistency that fades to a thin layer.
S - Raisins, dark cherry. Bourbon is prevalent, along with the booze. Not the best.
T - Bourbon right off the bat. Sweet, oakey notes follow next. The malt and slight bitterness don't show up well.
M - Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. It coats well. Too bad the flavor is a miss
O - One I'm glad I didn't have to pay for. Received it as an extra when I bought a bunch of bottles. Probably won't try again. Plenty of better options at the price.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 bottling pours an opaque black with tan head that recedes to a thin layer after a few minutes. Nose is boozy bourbony with roasty aromas taking backseat. On the palate there's a real bitchslap of bourbon flavors, with a pathetically weak roasty stout component in the background that cannot overcome the whallop of bourbon. Alcohol warmth is evident, and well before it warmed to room temperature.

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Photo of BDJake
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- black as night, with a tan finger of lingering head

S- obvious booze/bourbon, with fig, raisin, oak, and dark chocolate malts

T- an overload of boozy bourbon and oak, with the malts and dark chocolate taking a back seat

M- chewy, boozy, with a strong aftertaste

D- don't let the bottle fool you into thinking this is a porter, it's clearly an imperial stout- i had to mix a teaspoon of chocolate syrup into it to make it palatable

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Photo of iD9
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a straight pint.

Appearance: Opaque. Black. You know the drill. Sufficed to say its dark. A light ring of hazel brown is visible around the edges. The head pours thick and tan but dissipates quickly. As I review this beer with Wiseman Justin his glass, once again, looks much better.

Smell: I definitely get the strong notes of bourbon off this guy. It does remind me a bit of Full Sail's Black Gold in the respect that the warm, malty, boozy smell of the bourbon seems to overwhelm all the other aspects of the beer.

Taste: Malty, it has a slight syrupy taste to it possibly the influence of sugary molasses. The boozy bourbon makes itself known for sure and warms up the chocolaty finish on the end. Again, much like Full Sail's offering of Black Gold last year this beer is sweet and thick. This is not a brew for everyone.

Mouthfeel: Rich, smooth and thick. You can feel the sugary molasses on this beer for sure. Not my favorite porter but not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Drinkabliity: Eh, a decent beer but nothing makes me want to come back for more. I'll be interested to see how it holds up with time. This beer is certainly drinkable and not too bad by any stretch of the imagination but not terribly remarkable either.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a deep black color with a solid chocolate colored head on top.

S: The bourbon is evident in the nose along with some mild chocolate, vanilla, and quite a bit of char.

T: Very heavy char and roast flavors to the beer which are underlain by a bit of sweet vanilla. A pronounced bourbon and alcohol flavor provide more barrel characteristics. The chocolate flavor is smooth and slightly sweet.

M: The body seems a bit thin to me, for an "imperial porter", anyway. The carbonation is subtle, which seems appropriate.

D: I had very little in the way of expectations when I opened this beer, and it's a good thing. This one just wasn't really all that great, and the charred oak flavor is just a bit much.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid black with a thin brown head that took a vigorous pour and then disappeared immediately.

S - Dark chocolate with some roasted malts. A big whiff of bourbon, oak and vanilla.

T - Heavy bourbon and oak with a slight alcohol sting. I once tried to make a bourbon beer by dumping half a shot of bourbon in a pint of porter and this is pretty close to what it tasted like. Chocolate and roasted malts are slightly noticeable but overwhelmed by bourbon and alcohol.

M - On the light side of medium with low carbonation making it almost seem flat.

D - Big and boozy. Somewhat of a bourbon mess.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very deep brown with a little head rising and falling with a bit of lace. On the nose there is an immediate but not overpowering bourbon note with some oak and vanilla in there too. I wonder what the base beer smells like. In the mouth the bourbon is dominant with acetone, some roasted malt, and oak behind it. The body is thin, much too thin for the style, with a long, slightly hot finish.

Overall, this is an example of a brewery not being able to balance the beer with the barrels. The thin body makes me think maybe this beer wasn't such a great target for barrel aging in the first place.

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Photo of velosuds
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewmaster Reserve 2010 - 9.85% ABV per label.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a clear pint glass. Paid $9.95 at Corvallis Brewing Supply.

A-Pours a very dark brown almost black hue with a scant 1/2 finger tan head that dissipates too quickly leaving virtually no lace.

S-Bourbon from the oak barrels is foremost. Also sweet caramel notes, charred marshmallow (like when happens over an open fire before embers appear), some coffee, and faint licorice. The smell is this beer's best attribute.

T-Bourbon again is the strongest taste attribute, like the nose. Bitter and astringent (from over mashing the malts?). I don't get the impression it is from the hops. These attributes mask the malt sweetness, which improves as it warms. Nowhere near the rich malt texture and flavor expected in an imperial porter. Taste definitely improves as it warms, but not enough to alter my score. Maybe enough to run to the liquor store for some fine bourbon, though. Not the best outcome for a beer advocate, eh?

M-Adequately carbonated but a tad thin mouthfeel; not luxuriant enough.

O-This is a disappointment and overpriced compared to the Full Sail barleywine at $4.29 a bomber.

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Photo of boralyl
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark tan head with decent retention that leaves a little lacing. The beer is a dark brown-black with just a bit of light coming through near the top.

S - The aroma is very bourbon forward, along with some vanilla and oak. There is a little bit of roast present as well.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. It's a little thin for the style.

T - A little bit of roasted and chocolate malt are up front. It's quickly followed by bourbon, a bit of oak and vanilla. The alcohol and roasted malts intertwine into the finish.

A good beer, but the barrel character is a bit too strong for the base beer.

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 6fl.oz bottle into chalice. A nice tan head on an impenetrable black brew. The head quickly recedes to leave some light lacing.

Smell of strong bourbon, some malty notes and heavy booze.

Taste is of nice dark upfront malt then a huge taste of bourbon. The bourbon is all encompassing. The aftertaste is very boozy, a light sweetness can be perceived in the finish.

A medium mouthfeel, something I would expect from a porter.

It's definitely a sipper, I just drank the bottle and it's gone straight to my head.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased for $10.79 for a 22 oz. bottle.

A: black, opaque, poured with thin head that quickly dissipated
S: very strong Bourbon nose with noticeable malt backbone
T: strong (but not overpowering) Bourbon taste upfront with a good roasted malt base, nice hop finish that was not overly bitter like a lot of American beers of this ABV tend to be
M: surprisingly thinner mouthfeel, not at all bad but expected a bit more roundedness
D: this one is drinkable know and probably will age OK but not for an extended period

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very porter like in color. Deep black. Poured about a finger head of fairly dark cappuccino head. Head sticks around for a while and produces some good lacing.

S - Very bourbon. A lot of vanilla as well. Is there cocoa there? I think so, but very faint.

T - Starts off a little sour. Bourbon and vanilla show up as well as some chocolate. The hops are a bit much right now, I would like to see them cool off a bit. Just a little alcohol burn on the back-end.

M - I try to keep in mind this is a porter, but the barrel aging makes me want something thicker. Too thin. Carbonation is pretty average.

O - A little one dimensional, but not bad. I like bourbon flavoring so this is good. Can't see why we need a thinner barrel aged beer, but its not bad by any means. Could see this as a nice dessert beer without the bitterness on the end.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Black as night. Only the smallest tan head formed.

S - There is a lot going on in here: toffee, coffee, brown sugar and rich malt. Overall a rich scent that can get too much for me, but still impressive.

T - Sweet malt, toffee and alcohol, . Long lasting aftertaste of alcohol. Unfortunately the alcohol dominates the taste.

M - Heavy body, almost syrupy and silky smooth. Low carbonation. For awhile after, my mouth had that hot alcohol feel in it.

D - Share it with friends. 22 oz is a lot in one sitting. This is perfect for sipping over a couple hours in front of the fireplace on a cold day. I could go without the heavy aftertaste, but that seems to be par for this style.

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Photo of arizcards
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber from Bevmo in mid June for $8.99.

Beer poured black as night with a smallish brown head. Nose is heavy bourbon, with mocha and vanilla notes there. Taste is dominated by bourbon up front, with sweet chocolate and vanilla in the background. Northwest hops balance the malts pretty well. Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped, medium bodied and not overly smooth given the length of time spent aging in the bourbon barrels. Drinkability is pretty good. This brew is somewhat hot from the bourbon and could stand some more aging. Bourbon is the dominate flavor so do not go here if you are not a bourbon fan. Otherwise it is fun to try, not a bad experiment that could be improved upon.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle, a gift from Mike.

Appearance: Its black, opaque with a tiny rim of red light passing through the surface when the head fades. The head was a good looking dark brown, but faded quickly and left scant lacing.

Smell: It really smells great. Chocolate and vanilla with cake like notes. Lots of bourbon too- the booze and oak in addition to the vanilla notes. Some dark fruit.

Taste: Decent, but a big let down after the smell was so inviting. Bourbony and roasty. Very little of the nice chocolate cake. Some fruit in the finish, which is bitter with alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Finishes very dry. Not what I want or expect.

Overall: This is OK. Not really interested in having it again, but wouldnt turn it down. Taste is all bourbon with little complexity, and the mouthfeel is thin and dry. I think the problem is that its not malty/sweet enough. Its like they took a regular porter and just added enough bourbon to make it 10% abv.

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Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
85 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.