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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 GreesyFizeek
2.52/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Bottle received in a recent trade as an extra.

This one pours a "light" black, with a small head, and just a small amount of lacing.

This smells like cheap harsh bourbon, chocolate syrup, and booze.

This was not done with a deft hand at all. The base beer is so thin, and water, so the bourbon just completely dominates here, and it's a kind of cheap bourbon flavor, which is hard to get thru. There's a bit of chocolate sweetness, but there's just honestly not a whole lot to this beer.

This is pretty thin bodied, with a lower level of carbonation.

Just a really bad effort in every major category you can rate a beer in. A categorical fail here.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.21/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of Gobigvt7
3/5  rDev -12%
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.

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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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Photo of lordofstarside
2.63/5  rDev -22.9%
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

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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 Sarlacc83
3.17/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22oz bottle at the Beermongers

A: Thick, lightless black. A thin mocha ring for a head.

N: Caramel and an overdose of vanilla. Really nice bourbon in the nose. Chocolate expressed under espresso. Brown sugar.

T: In turns bitter and sweet, though neither one takes hold nor shows much power. Oak is well-integrated.

M: Watery and not nearly as heavy as I’d like.

O: A solid rendition of the style, but it lacks complexity and oomph.

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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 ArrogantB
2.12/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22oz bottle, $10.49. I haven't has this one since the 2008 edition which I enjoyed, this sucked. Aroma was a hint of wet moldy wood and straight booze. Mouthfeel was thin. Flavor had a tinge of sour and a lot of booze, extremely poor. I love bourbon barrel aged beers but very few breweries know how to pull it off. This was garbage and I couldn't even finish one snifter. I'd say I ended up pouring 19.5 ounces down the drain. Stay away from this.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
2.01/5  rDev -41.1%
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.

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Photo of russwbeck
2.71/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours out decently dark with a full hand's worth of light brown head. The retention of the head is great, and it laces here and there on the way down. Exactly what I expected the beer to look like and more. 4.5

S: Bourbon, dark fruits, and vanilla greats the nose initially. Not a lot of roast or chocolate, which I was hoping to get more of, but I do really like the hints of alcohol I'm getting. The bourbon is assertive, and slightly intrusive. 3.5

T: The taste isn't really that great. The bourbon takes the forefront again, with vanilla and an ever so slight amount of roast in the middle. The end is offensive alcohol, with some roast trying to balance it out. The balance just isn't there, and the alcohol is weirdly assertive. This needs another aspect to be considered a good bourbon barrel aged porter. 2

MF: Thin body with a normal amount of carbonation. The alcohol makes it tough to say it's all that drinkable. The aftertaste isn't the most pleasant I've come across. 2

O: Overall, not much else to say. Not a great beer for its style, but if you've never had a bourbon barrel aged porter before it wouldn't be a bad starting place.

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Photo of Braz
2.95/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of beergoot
3.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very dark, essentially solid black body with a rich, thick, tan head. Bittersweet chocolate and figs and dates in the aroma, all wrapped up in a noticeable but acceptable alcohol presence; some roasted grains, too. Bright, somewhat sour flavors overall with a strong, boozy character; bitterness and malt notes seem secondary. A somewhat weak and fizzy feel to the beer.

A rather disappointing offering from Full Sail with this year's imperial porter. Where I would have anticipated a more malt-centric character overall, this particular beer screams with its high ABV and notes of cherries and dark fruits. with little harmony with whatever hops and malts they may have used. Personally, I think it suffers because of this. It's not a bad beer per se, just wild mish mash of crazy, non-integrated tastes with poor balance and eccentric complexity. Eh, maybe next year for something better...

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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 jbphoto88
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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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 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 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 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 whoneeds8
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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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 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 Georgiabeer
2.63/5  rDev -22.9%
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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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 beerandcycling88
2.83/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A Pours a dark brown with a thick off white head that leaves pretty good lacing.

S Some light bourbon, alcohol and what I think might have been some caramel.

T Lots of alcohol and bourbon with a hint of chocolate. Very harsh.

M Slightly thin with a bit of a warming feeling going down.

Overall this is a bit of a disappointment and another mediocre beer from Full Sail. The bourbon overpowers what ever base beer is there making this a boozy alcohol flavored mess. The only saving grace was the fact that it was 5 bucks.

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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.