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Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

135 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 135
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 19.1%
Wants: 7
Gots: 30 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Wasatch on 03-18-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 135 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by lordofstarside:
Photo of lordofstarside
2.63/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber to a snifter. On sale for $6 at a liquor store. Looks like these are about 20 months old?

Pours pitch black with half a finger of foam that's receded quickly into a frothy ring. No transparency, mild carbonation, good lacing

Smell is really pungent, caught some notes cracking the cap. Strong chocolate with sharp bourbon, oak, coffee, cherry, figs, and alcohol. The smell is almost too sharp, almost burns your nose a bit

Taste is overwhelming figs, some cherry and other dark fruits, alcohol, oak, and bourbon. None of this comes together at all, trainwreck on the palate

Feel is really hot given having so much age. Sharp, thick, hard to drink. Tough not to gag

Overall I understand a store shelf isn't the best place to age something, but my god. I'll be proud of myself to finish even half this

More User Reviews:
Photo of whoneeds8
3.08/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an Imperial Pint glass black with a slow forming tan head, great retention and good lacing. Scent has a strong bourbon scent with not much else. Taste really is a disappointment. I can't come to the decision if the bourbon flavor or the porter flavor is awkward. But something strange is going wrong with this beer. The porter and bourbon just isn't coming together to make a great beer. I'm thinking that the baseline porter just isn't robust enough to balance out the bourbon. Label says it was aged for 12 months, maybe that was too long. The mouth feel is medium bodied and carbonation is right on for the style.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Top sail pours like molten chocolate. Deep and rich, not letting much light through except on the pour where theres the thinnest amount of liquid. The head is amazingly thick and the color of cappuccino.

The nose makes things very apparent that that is a bourbon barrel aged beer. Vanilla and boozy notes with a backbone of deeply roasted grains. A good nose but there is a hint of some fruity tartness.

Wow, talk about a slip in the experience. This beer drops the ball with a thin flavor for a dark beer and especially for an imperial porter. That tartness takes over from the nose and yields a tin-like apple flavor. The bourbon vanilla notes goes into the sidecar and unfortunately doesn't reappear until the finish. Follow all of this up with metallic grains and bitter coffee. Not great.

The mouthfeel comes redeems a little but not enough to get past the poor flavor. Soft carbonation gives a smooth, creamy feel and there is a decent bourbon and grain finish but it's a lot to go through to get there. I really wanted this one to work out because it looked and smelled so good. Maybe some aging will mellow it.

Photo of negroobserver
3.66/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Chilled.

The beer pours beautifully. It's very dark and pours with about 1 inch of cappucino colored head, which lingers for a bit of time and then depreciates and recedes to the edge.

The alcohol is what dominates in the aroma here. There is a light scent of chocolate / cocoa in the back end hidden behind the alcohol.

Light banana notes in the back end. Mostly coffee/chocolate/malts. There is definitely some bitterness, but not dominant.

The mouthfeel is what is to be expected of a porter, but that is part of the problem.

OVERALL... i was looking forward to this one quite a bit, but I am now a little bit disaapointed. In hindsight, I would've rather spent a few extra bucks a gotten the Allagash Curieux instead or an imperial stout. Again, not bad, just not my taste.

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black color with some brown around the edges. The head is short but dense and creamy looking; settles into a thick ring.

The aroma is sweet and has a pronounced bourbon scent. The aroma is of vanilla and bourbon, not much balance from the malt. I like it but the bourbon dominates the malt.

The taste is of bourbon but not nearly as strong as in the aroma. Its a nice bourbon flavor without too much heat, with good notes of vanilla. The malt does provide a light roast flavor, dry. A light lemony twang.

The feel is moderate, almost light. The carbonation is fairly soft, not too much action. The porter starts off sweet but finishes quite dry with a light roasted bitterness. ABV well hidden.

A tasty bourbon porter, remarkably well balanced. Does not quite have the depth of flavors a stout would have but still good. Perhaps a touch too dry.

Photo of Gobigvt7
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Opened Jan 26, 2014, so about 14-15 months on this puppy. Into tulip.

A - Deep brown-black pour with a tan head that dissipates into tight, thin bubbles almost immediately. Doesn't seem super carbed, not necessarily a bad thing.

S - Cocoa, light toffee, some whiffs of subtle pine. Smells slightly oxidized. Some bit-o-honey.

T - This beer seems very confused as it rolls across my palate. very mild acidity up front, into dry cocoa powder, cedar, smoke & ash, vanilla, and fakey-tasting bourbon. Wood not really speaking. Hmmm. There is something strange in there too I can't put my finger on. Sawdust?

M - Surprisingly thin. Adequate carbonation, a touch sweet. I keep coming back to the lack of body.

O - The thin-ness is the real killer here, as I think if it'd been a little bigger/rounder, it would have made up for some of the strangeness of the range of flavors. Not sure what this tasted like fresh. Meh. A fun experiment, but wouldn't age this again.

Photo of musicforairports
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber dated 2012 poured into a mini-snifter.

Pretty much black. Nice brown head forms, but goes quickly. Very little lacing.

Smells of bourbon and coffee. Some metallic notes.

Flavor has nice oak and bourbon notes that don't overpower or carry a strong alcohol bite. Behind it is some coffee and strongly roasted, somewhat bitter malt notes. A bit thin, but enjoyable.

Appropriately carbonated and on the lighter side of medium for an imperial porter, but barrel-aging seems to do that.

Overall this one is worth trying. It's interesting to see these barrel notes in a beer with a lighter malt bill than a 10 percent-plus ABV imperial stout.

Photo of Greywulfken
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: black beer body, 1+ finger of dark foam head; modest lace

S: fairly light - some bourbon, chocolate malt, and espresso - but nothing really leaps out

T: wet espresso beans and bourbon, some dry cocoa and vanilla alcohol

M: roasted bitter on the tongue, sweeter vanilla notes on the aftertaste; medium-full bodied, low carbonation

O: I was expecting to be blown away by this, but it comes off like a weak Imperial stout - it doesn't have that refreshing drinkability I expect in a porter, but it also lacks the staunchness I want in an Imperial beer - especially a stout. I thought the flavor profile slightly reminiscent of an English porter, probably owing to the drying effect of the bourbon barrel-aging.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Dark brown, almost opaque. Fairly thick mocha head on the pour that mostly recedes. Not a stunner but handsome to be sure.
smell: The bourbon barrel aging is in your face, in a good way. Personally I like this, prefer it over the more subtle barrel aged brews. A standard porter with chocolate and a slight burnt whiff follows.
taste: Much like the nose though not quite as good as expected.
overall: A fine brew. Very easy drinker. Despite the 9.5%, it's a mellow fast drinkin muscle bound nice guy.

Photo of metter98
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger and a half high dense mocha colored head that has good retention properties and consistently left a half finger high head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon are present, although no beer is noticeable—it's almost like smelling a glass of whiskey.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has noticeable traces of the underlying beer in the form of hints of chocolate malts, the latter of which become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Some alcohol warming is also present.
O: Although this beer is rather drinkable considering its strength, it tastes too much like watered down whiskey and the underlying beer isn't all that noticeable.

Note: 2012 vintage

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of Libbey, one of the final few from an awesome box. Pours black with just a bit of brown showing around the edges. Shows a fair amount of tan head with some lacing and average retention.

Nose is very bourbon-laden with lots of wood as well. It really hides most of the malt, yeast or hops that lie beneath.

A bit more malt comes through in the taste...dark chocolate and a touch of licorice. Bourbon is still heavy, but not as overbearing as I had feared. Although the lines of a stout and porter can be blurred at times, this one feels much more like the latter than the former. Its a little more roasty with a thinner body. There is also the slightest sour twang that can be found in a good English Porter. Maybe this one needs some time in the cellar, but it was too bourbon-y and woody for me right now.

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.51/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter. 2012 vintage.

4.5 A: Black color. Two fingers of light brown, frothy/creamy head. Retention is pretty good given the ABV and a good sized ring of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Bourbon heavy to the point that I can't really smell the base beer aside from some roast and maybe some chocolate. Otherwise, the bourbon is leathery and earthy with plenty of vanilla. Light apple fruitiness. Smells good, I just wish I could get more of the base.

2.0 T: Like the nose, the bourbon rules the taste. Unfortunately, it doesn't taste all that great. It's pretty much just watered down bourbon. Roast from the porter, but not much else. Bourbon and barrel give leather, apple, earth, vanilla, and oak, but none of these flavors are satisfying given their intensity.

2.0 M: Medium body. Too thin for what this should be. Good moderate carbonation. Lacking creaminess big time.

2.0 D: Perhaps my scores are a bit harsh, but after you get past the nose, this beer is wholely unsatisfying. Very little upside to this.

Photo of beerdrifter
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up while on vacation in Denver. Deep black pour with creamy one and a half finger tan head with great retention and crazy lacing. Huge bourbon nose with loads of mocha and oak along with hints of vanilla, toffee, and a touch of coconut and booze. The taste follows suit with the bourbon being the star once again. It's nicely complemented with hints of coffee, tobacco, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a bit of figs and coconut as well as a touch of black licorice. The mouthfeel is creamy and surprisingly bitter and has more body than most Porters, but did seem to thin out a bit on the finish. Overall, a very well done Porter that I will definitely revisit.

Photo of Braz
2.95/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Purchased at Tacoma Boys cause it looked interesting and I love porters. Black to dark brown in color with a tan head that's not thick but sustains well. Tastes of chocolate and booze. The high alcohol tastes ruin this for me. Tastes like porter mixed with Jack Daniels. This tastes so much like Jack Daniels or bourbon in general that I'm suspicious of the given ABV. The feel and body are great but this is whiskey beer, that for all I know could become a new genre.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Sierra Nevada Snifter. As close to black as you can be while still being brown in color. Slight dark brown highlights. Strong foamy tan colored head. Little film of the froth stays through the whole session. Each time you take a sip there's a coating left on the glass, sort of a syrup effect but not quite as thick.

Smell is good, but not great. Large amount of roasted grain in the nose. The mix is fort of a oaty and fresh grain smell along with bitter chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Very woody and some bourbon aromas as well. Very weird there's a slight tang in the smell, it doesn't smell like infection but it's still a little funky and throws it off slightly.

Taste still has the nice roasty grain aspect which is good. Again some nice coffee and this time the chocolate is sweet. There's some of the base beer (I'm assuming, because I've never actually had it), then it's unbalanced out by the bourbon. However the bourbon provides some nice notes of vanilla. It seems like there's a slight funk again, but nothing overwhelming at all.

Mouthfeel is good. About full bodied, low carbonation, but it works well for this. Bourbon isn't hot at all which is nice, especially considering it's fresh. Not super, but pretty smooth with a luke-warm finish. Pretty drinkable but more of a sipper. Overall a pretty good beer.

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.86/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - an aggressive pour into a 22 ounce glass yielded a clear nearly black brew with a two finger head that recedes gently leaving behind ample lacing.
S - the smells are fairly subdued with malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and coffee coming to mind but nothing is outstanding except a woody resinous aroma but not in a good way.
T - the taste is significantly better than the smell with burnt chocolate malts and roasted coffee dominating. The middle of the palate reveals bourbon barrel aging with the woody resins taking over.
M - fairly thin with adequate carbonation and a long lingering astringent feel likely from the resins.
D - an enjoyable if not somewhat mixed up brew. The 9.5% abv is not as dominant as I expected it to be.
I don't regret the $6.50 I paid for it.

Photo of kojevergas
2.21/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed from notes taken while beeradvocate was down. Expectations are high given the style and label.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a half finger "head" of laughably bad retention (~ four second) and slight tan colour. The retention is too awful to gauge the thickness or cream. Colour is a solid black. Carbonation bubbles are abundant.

Sm: Chocolate and oak are prominent. Fig when I look for it. Rich and fruity but strange. A mild strength aroma.

T: Chocolate and oak are dominant to the exclusion of other flavours. What little fig there is is nice, but it gets drowned out by the oak - which isn't particularly refined here either. Dark malts form the foundation. It's pretty bland and boring considering the style. Quite simple. Not at all subtle. A poorly constructed imperial porter. Not worth the time spent aging methinks. Badly executed and poorly balanced. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Too thick. Overcarbonated. Somewhat syrupy. Poorly executed.

Dr: I really like the fig, but it's downplayed. This was a waste of oak aging and brewer's time. A very badly made imperial porter. Why brew this? I'd never get it again. Overpriced, especially considering its low quality. A major disappointment from Full Sail.

D

Photo of Rizalini
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours virtually black, with a thick brown head 1 finger head.

S - The smell is dominated by bourbon, with a slight bittersweet chocolate aroma.

T/M - The taste is barrel forward, with a tobacco/bourbon finish. There are notes of chared and chocolate malts. Medium mouthfeel, maybe slightly over carbonated. Great aftertaste.

O - Another great barrel aged release from Full Sail. I like this because the bourbon barrel is not hidden. Big bold flavors, and very easy drinkability. I will be buying this one again to age,

Photo of cosmicevan
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

consumed on 7/18, while I was "on Hiatus." picked up locally. enjoyed from my SH IRS snifter.

a - brew poured a watery black with a finger of spongy foamy greyish cream colored head that hung out for a while. a small mass of bubbles lay below the head seemingly holding it in place. as i swirled the oversized snifter, i could see streaky lacing of the same greyish cream color left on the glass.

s - when i poured the bottle a very pleasant balanced chocolate boozy smell started to fill the air, but upon closer inspection in the glass, the booze leads the way heavily. beneath the woody slap you in the face alcohol is a chocolate vanilla.

t - not as boozy as the nose suggested, but the barrels are definitely present. vanilla is much bigger in the flavor than the nose and is surrounded by a milk chocolate glaze. kind of milk stouty. not really any roast or char to speak of. certainly a malt beverage aged in oak bourbon barrels as promised.

m - fairly creamy, but still has a lot of porter char.

o - this one was good, but i had really high expectations after being blown away by black gold and this one doesn't hold a candle to black gold. much more milk stout than porter. the barrel adds a nice element to the beer, i'm glad i tried it, but if you've been looking at this one on the shelf like me, thinking that you needed to get it because black gold was so amazing, it is not black gold. it is not bad, but not a must try.

bottle

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.21/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a snifter glass.

A- Poured black with fluffy mocha colored head that left splashy lace.

S- Big whiskey and alcohols, some chocolate, and coconut. Very boozy aroma.

T- Dominant whiskey and alcohol notes up front, some chocolate, light roasted malt, coconut, and sweetness on the finish.

M- Medium body, soft carbonation, dry, and light warming on the finish.

O- More of a middle of the road bourbon barrel porter than a special beer. The booziness and bourbon notes are not very nuanced or balanced in the beer. Still very easy to drink, but not in the same league as other barrel aged porters or stouts I have had.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage
22oz. Bomber

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is big and malty, nice touch of bourbon, woody, nice touch of vanilla, some toffee/chocolate, with some nice tones of caramel. The taste if very nice, malty, very nice notes of vanilla, very nice touch of bourbon, slight woody taste, a very nice balance of toffee/chocolate. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well. Very drinkable, another great brew from FS that is here in Utah, highly recommended.

Photo of Dope
2.85/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours black with a big dense light brown head. Fades slowly, leaving fairly thick lines of lacing on the glass.

S: Loaded with strong bourbon. Huge oaky vanilla aroma with some big toffee and caramel notes. Biting alcohol. Just a hint of roasted malt behind it.

T: Overpowering bourbon notes. Harsh flavor and harsher alcohol kick. Super oaky, like licking a charred 2x4. There is just a hint of roasted malt from the porter and the rest is all bourbon. The worst part about all the bourbon flavor is that it doesn't even taste like good bourbon.

M: Medium-heavy bodied, a little thinner than you might expect. Carbonation a bit low.

O: Decent idea, poor execution. Probably spent way too much time in bourbon barrels. Maybe it's better with a year or three on it, hard to say. Doubt I'll buy any more to find out though.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is very much the same. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good porter with a nice barrel aged presence.

Photo of StArnoldFan
2.01/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2012 Reserve

22oz bomber poured into a DC Brau tulip.

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a nice thick mocha head. As I take a second look at my glass in the light I see sediment floating around throughout the glass. All I get from the nose is strong bourbon scent. The taste is just foul, somewhat sour, and mostly bourbon. Very thin, makes me think the base beer couldn't handle the barrels, or they aged it too long (the bottle says 12 months). Quite simply the worst barrel aged beer I have ever had. This is defiantly going to be a drain pour. I bought the BA porter and BA stout from Full Sail at the same time, looks like I'm just going to tuck the BA stout way in the back of the cellar and forget about it, maybe time will help it.

Photo of Georgiabeer
2.63/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A disappointing beer. Pours nice enough, almost pure black with a relatively nice head that sticks around. The aroma is somewhat light, but does have a nice undercurrent of Bourbon. Unfortunately the taste is much too thin and somewhat sour. Really very little to tell here- fairly uninspired and poorly executed for what it could have been.

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Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
81 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.