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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.

45 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 45
Hads: 140
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 35.78%
Wants: 8
Gots: 29 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 140
Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.3/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a beautiful dark brown almost black pour with 2 fingers of foamy brown head.. great retention and nice lacing too. smells of vanilla, wood, raisins, bourbon, coffee, chocolate. the sweet sugary taste of bourbon that comes off as vanilla/raisins hits you immediately.. hints of cocoa, coffee, caramel in the finish.. a lovely sweet delicious treat. medium body with a thick feeling, moderate carbonation.. rich and creamy.. sticky on the lips.

this is a great beer.. my only nitpick is that i wish it was stronger on the other flavors and not just mainly bourbon. honestly though, i think this is excellent and should probably be hyped up to the point of bcbs.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.22/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

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Photo of Rizalini
4.15/5  rDev +21.7%
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,

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Photo of GregSVT
4.15/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a tulip

A: Pours a dark brown, pretty black in the glass, with a nice light brown head that fades to a ring and leaves some nice lacing.

S: The nose is full of vanilla, cocoa, fudge, and molasses. Smells like chocolate fudge cake with white frosting in a glass.

T: The taste is very different though with roasty coffee on the front followed by vanilla, a bit of chocolate fudge, and some molasses on the finish. The coffee was a surprise after the nose but it tastes great. It would be nice if it was toned down just a touch to let the barrel shine.

M: The feel is nice and creamy with a medium, almost light body. The feel could be bumped up a bit more in body but the creaminess helps.

O: I didn't expect a lot from this one and it surprised me how good it was. I love that this is in TX now and hopefully we get their other barrel aged offerings.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.04/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a charcoal black with half a finger of tan head. Poor head retention.

S- rich dark chocolate and sweetness up front. Huge oaky nose on the finish with a hint of vanilla and serious sweet bourbon.

T- big dark chocolate with a note of molasses and burnt raisin. Slight char in the mid palate. Finishes with a huge punch of bourbon and aggressive oak with notes of vanilla and warm alcohol. Big flavor just a little one dimensional.

MF- slick mouthfeel with a medium body. Higher than average carbonation.

D- decent drinkability.

Overall it has big solid flavors but lacks the depth for it to be a truly phenomenal brew. Tastes like a chocolate with a bourbon center.

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Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

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Photo of KajII
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky dark brown almost black with an average (1-2 finger) medium brown creamy head that had great retention, eventually reducing to a thick puddled film and large collar, which in turn created some really awesome full sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a roasted dark bread malt, mild resin hops and a bold leathery yeast along with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, a bit of oak cask and a decent hint of bourbon.

The taste was a roasty and malty with a nice chocolate sweetness from the beginning, slowly progressing with a slight coffee bitterness and a mild woody alcohol finish. The flavor lasted a decently long time following the swallow, with a nice roasty alcohol warming sensation lingering on.

Mouthfeel was quite a few steps beyond medium in body with a oily and slightly dry texture and a soft carbonation.

Overall this brew settled very nicely on the taste buds, allowing for a nice robust mocha coffee taste to take hold, which just left you wanting more while doing a great job of concealing the high ABV...


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Photo of henrysunset
3.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from malt and vine, about 12$.

jet black with a fine head of dark tan.

scent is caramel, coffee, sweet malts, smoke. not discernibly bourbony.

taste brings the bourbon, but it is not as forward as some other examples. malty, alcoholic, a bit thin. Easy drinking for 9.5% abv.

drinkability / overall is pretty good. I enjoy it but might not seek out again given the price.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.86/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

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Photo of musicforairports
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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Photo of Sweasty
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Full Sail gives us another bourbon barrel beer. I'll try anything aged in bourbon at least once. Full Sails BBA Imperial Porter looks the part of a proper porter. A dark brown, near black body is topped off by a healthy finger or so of khaki head. Head settles to a thick ring, leaving plenty lace down the glass.

Initial whiff gives loads of sweet bourbon on the nose. Some dark roasted notes crack through the bourbon. Oak and vanilla come through as well. Some coffee and light chocolate notes round things out.

The bourbon in the nose takes on a boozier quality on the palate. Vanilla notes are much stronger. Drying tannic wood takes hold mid palate. Some caramel and milky chocolate notes hit next. Light roast coffee present as well. Bourbon reappears in the sweet yet tannic finish.

Top Sail Imperial porter has a nice medium body. Carbonation is adequate.

Full Sails BBA Imperial Porter is a nice enough brew. The bourbon barrel takes hold of this beer and never lets up. This porter has a too much bourbon character, preventing the porter qualites from shining. This brew might benefit from some aging, but fresh is a bit of a letdown.

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Photo of zander4dawin
3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark beer with a thin head. The taste and smell are high on soft vanilla notes. Robust and smooth, finishes with a slight tartness. Overall this is a solid imperial porter with an interesting finish to it. Worthy of a try, but at the price point there's probably better options.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.76/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle was poured into a large Duvel snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger mocha head that reduced to a puffy layer and left nice lacing on the glass. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, spices, and a little smoke too.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, spices, mocha, boozy alcohol, smoke, ash, and

Mouthfeel: Smooth, boozy, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a little campfire bitterness.

Overall: A nice imperial porter that is nice with the barrel aging, but the bourbon barrel can be a little overpowering of the beers natural characteristics.

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Photo of negroobserver
3.66/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.56/5  rDev +4.4%
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

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4


A: Opaque blacke as far as I can tell. Off white, light khaki spumy bubbled head.

S: Mildly tannic, whiskey, wood, melow raisonous fruit, wet mesquite, warm buttermilk, chocolate.

T: Smooth slick, yet thin, WHISKEY syrup, the bourbon qualities are seriously muted and this is more twangy a la whiskey than bourbon. Roasty qualities populate but are quieter than barrel commotion.

M: Quite drying and unpleasant much like a lager somehow.

O: Good, worth the price ($10.99), would try again but seem like a huge joke compared to midnight sun barrel aged stuff.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
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.


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Photo of jtd1969
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with brown head, creamy, but light lacing

S - bourbon, oak and some coffee

T - oak, bourbon, some coffee and vanilla

M - heavy medium bodied(Probably full, but had a thin feel to me), fairly smooth

O - To me the oak and bourbon really overpowered this beer. I love bourbon barreled aged beers, but this one seemed to be a tad disappointing for me. I still recommend a try or I might even age one a year and try again. Not a bad beer, just was wanting more.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.39/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

strange brew has maybe not aged as gracefully as it could have. nice dark brown color and rising inch or more of tan froth after the bottle opens like a shotgun. the nose is bourbon heavy, with the barrel effects crowding out the gain. as it warms the alcohol becomes more detectable, and a slight metallic property appears. the taste is quite nice when its cold, with the barrel being evident all the way through, not just in the finish. alcohol stays hidden until it hits room temperature, and it becomes hot, real hot. also, there isnt much body on this, not quite enough to support the flavors and strength. i like the bourbon forward flavor, but the beer underneath is underwhelming. the price isnt bad though, and if you like your beer barrel heavy, this may be a solid choice for you. full sail is totally hit or miss, and this one wasnt my favorite.

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Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
79 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.