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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

88 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.42%
Wants: 7
Gots: 20 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 66
Photo of cougarbait
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of EricCioe
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Photo of johnnyboy76
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Photo of RuckusDu
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Photo of CoryR
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Birdlegs
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of djaeon
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of MBrausen
2.31/5  rDev -39.2%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage two year old cellared bottle poured into an Ommegang flute. Pours black with only a hint of reddish brown at the edges. Thin medium tan head dissipates to a ring around the glass and lacing. Aroma is dominated by bourbon with light hints of oak and dark malt. Flavor is also dominated by bourbon. Moderate dark and roasted malt, oak, dark fruit. Rather dry finish with a hint of hops. Medium bodied; perhaps a bit light for an imperial porter. The astringency noted in the fresh bottle has attenuated. This porter is now much more integrated and mellow, however the flavors are also attenuated. The flavor is good, but somewhat underwhelming. Definitely redeemed by the bourbon barrel aging, Better than a standard porter, but not quite up to imperial porter flavor density. I cellared a few of these and they will probably be pleasant to drink, but I do not see this improving much with age. A decent, but somewhat lightly flavored imperial porter.

Photo of bespin15
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of kevwcamp
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of velosuds
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of matttttYCE
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Fairly high rate of pour into my Stone IRS snifter glass yields a nice 2 finger smooth and creamy looking head. Head diminishes somewhat quickly, but not immediately. Leaves quite a nice amount of lace on the glass. Carbonation seems medium. Looks nice. Color is a very deep, dark that even when held to the light only barely shows hues of dark fig.

Smell - Immediately after pouring I can smell this beer. I should say, I can smell bourbon. Those Kentucky Bourbon casks are no joke apparently. This things been out since 2010, so aged about a year, and the smell is still pretty heavy Bourbon. Also in the smell are hints of dark fruit like figs, lots of vanilla extract, brown sugar, wood/oak, and maybe some dark cherry. Hiding somewhere in the back there are hints of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate, but they are overpowered by the intense barrel aging. Smell is nice, but I wish the Bourbon notes would have been a little less overbearing. I really do prefer subtler Bourbon aromas (and flavors).

Taste - As strong as the Bourbon aromas are still, I expected to get more overpowering notes in the taste. The Bourbon flavors are apparent, but not in your face. The year of aging seems to have done this one pretty well, but I think I might prefer it if it had another 1-2 years. So, the initial taste is of lighter Bourbon notes, lots of wonderful vanilla, figs, some sweetness, and cocoa. Afterwards I get some of those porter coffee flavors, lighter roasted malts, and some caramel, then some oak on the finish. Again, for as much as I was expecting overpowing Bourbon, I was pleasantly surprised. That and all the nice complexities of this one lead me to think it's deserving of a 4.0.

Mouthfeel - Consistency is actually smooth, body and carbonation are both light like a number of regular Porters. For having a lighter drinkability like a regular Porter (i.e. non oak Bourbon barrel aged Porters) the finish is sticky, wet, and lingering. It's not a bad aftertaste though, so that doesn't get it marked down at all in my book, just interesting really. With the ABV at 9.85%, this is a very drinkable beer. The alcohol (after a year of aging granted) is pretty well hidden with only a slight burn on the way down. Quite drinkable overall.

Overall - Overall I think this beer is nice. So is Full Sail Black Gold. With a year on this one, I think it was quite nice. Could it have used another year or two? In my opinion, yes. I'm sort of torn between a 3.5 and a 4.0 because I enjoyed this in that the Bourbon wasn't TOO much after a year, but it wasn't spectacular really. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to go with a 4.0 overall. I'd love to have this again (especially with a little more age on it).

Photo of rapidsequence
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of meatyard
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque brown with a short, brown head that dissipates quickly to a ring with a partial cover.

The smell is only a light bourbon aroma, some roasted malt and a dab of vanilla.

The taste is dark roasted/burnt malt up front with a muted bourbon flavor at the finish. In between, as it warms, is some molasses, licorice and vanilla.

Mouthfeel is thin with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This isn't quite what I expected/hoped for. Everything seems to be just too muted. It really does open up as it warms. I found it much more flavorfull when warm though it never quite strikes enough notes to make me want to try it again. It's not bad/pretty good/I can't complain, just make sure it's not consumed too cold.

Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very thing ring of tan head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Tons of cocoa and chocolate. Bourbon shows decently with some oak and vanilla. A light roast here. This is definitely smelling like a desert beer.

Taste: Wow, the cocoa flavors are unlike any other. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts. Some caramel. Bourbon kick with some vanilla. Oaky.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, and a bit warming. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a really big surprise from full sail. This beer was actually enjoyable. Granted the price is a bit high, this beer has a lot of flavor. Gotta give em props for this one.

Photo of emmasdad
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle a deep, opaque jet black, with maybe an inch of medium-dark brown foam. Nice aromas of bourbon, cocoa, vanilla and oak. Some good roasted malt flavors, along with strong dark coffee, bourbon, chocolate and roasted malt. A nicely composed beer.

Photo of maximum12
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a whim one day when nothing else looked appealed & heck, always nice to have another barrel-aged something or other on local shelves. Being a relative unknown, this one lingered for quite a while; I bet I could still find it in some random corner of the Cities. Split with my wife, hoping our depressing beer night gets a little better.

Pour is imperial black, only the ring-around-the-rosie head shows any sign of color, & that's a dark tan. Nose offers up a harsh shot of charred wood & a bit of vanilla. The base beer isn't in evidence.

Top Sail BA Porter is a toasted-loving beer guy's wet dream; there's enough char here to start a grill (you know, the old ones, not the ones you press a button to start). Harsh, violent char gives a shiv to the tongue & buries the other, more forgiving characteristics of the brew; even the bourbon takes a back seat. The Kentucky-sippin' adds another layer of harsh; man, I can feel the rough edges getting sand-blasted off my cheek & gums. There are hints of earthiness, chocolate cake, nougat nuttiness. A healthy breath of alcohol sweeps into the back-end & actually smooths out the smouldering forest. I'm going to be sipping this one for a while.

Good beer. Doesn't reach up & shake my world, but the extreme char of this porter appeals to me, & I like the jolt-on-jolt that the bourbon adds. Not for the faint of heart.

Photo of robbrandes
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 reserve.

Pours very dark brown, almost black. Relatively thin head w/an aggressive pour. Aroma is a nice mingling of molasses, smokiness and alcohol. The bourbon barrel aging almost comes off as a pleasant, faintly red-wine-ish aroma.

Nice toasted malt assertiveness and molasses. The alcohol is a bit astringent, I'm curious to see how it ages with another year or two. Mouthfeel is good, not great, a bit thin for a porter.

Overall, a nice, big beer. Certainly worth a try or two.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of ehammond1
2.39/5  rDev -37.1%
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.

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It was short-lived and left little lacing.

S - Strong vanilla aroma. Bourbon and oak is present but not as strong as the vanilla.

T - This is a vanilla-forward bourbon barrel aged beer. Some chocolate, roasted malt and some mild oak flavors.

M - It was a little light bodied for the stye, but still smooth and crisp.

D - This is a nice bourbon barrel aged brew. Again, it was vanilla dominant.

Photo of sqquuee
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled mine to 55 degrees.

Cracked the top and even before i poured it the bourbon and toffee where apparent.

Appearance- Color is a great deep dark black with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass. Almost completely opaque. Not much foam on this. Pours a sort of cream colored / slightly tan color.

Aroma- Toffee, vanilla/oak, malt, bourbon. Fantastic!

Taste- At just shy of 10% alc the boozy warmth is apparent. But not over done. Firm malt flavor on the front of the tasting. Roasted notes followed by vanilla and then the bourbon lets you know its there on the finish. I can only think what the flavors will do in 6months with age.

Mouthfeel- Full, low carbonation. But by no means flat. Silky.

Over all a very rich beer. Fantastic winter warmer.
I can only have a 22oz bomber at a go. Full sail has done a great job with this beer.

Photo of leedorham
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Super dark brown with light tan head. Surprisingly good lacing.

S - Boozy and alcoholic with sweetness in the background.

T - Some caramel character with the bourbon definitely noticeable. Not much in the way of hops.

M - feels a bit hotter than 10%. Thin bodied for an imperial offering.

D - I found it to be a definite sipper. A bit too alcohol-forward. Cellaring the other that I bought for a year.

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
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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Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
85 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.