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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.

44 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 139
Avg: 3.42
pDev: 35.67%
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: 44 | Hads: 139
Photo of Bfarr
1.81/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Deep brown with foamy brown head, poor retention, and little lacing. Stale oak, alcohol and notes of vanilla. Very hot alcohol, chocolate up front and thin bourbon vanilla. Very dry sharp oak finish and linger. Thin sticky feel in the end and dry.

Very dominating wood flavor and dryness makes this taste like licking the inside of a bourbon barrel. I really loved Black Gold but this beer didn’t seem strong enough to support aging or was aged in very young barrels.

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Photo of StArnoldFan
2.01/5  rDev -41.2%
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 ArrogantB
2.12/5  rDev -38%
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 kojevergas
2.21/5  rDev -35.4%
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.


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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.51/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

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Photo of SawDog505
2.59/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured aggressively into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Pours a slick almost completely black with a massive 3 inch head, that leaves lots lacing. Smell is bourbon, smoke, tobacco, vanilla, and diet coke. Taste is a big miss for me. A Jack and diet coke with a hint of licorice and vanilla. Body is thin, enough carbonation, not dry, and not very drinkable do to it being blended poorly. The beer and the barrel just don't mesh for me. Going to be a struggle to finish.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
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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Photo of lordofstarside
2.63/5  rDev -23.1%
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

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Photo of russwbeck
2.71/5  rDev -20.8%
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 beerandcycling88
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
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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Photo of Dope
2.85/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Photo of Braz
2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
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 Gobigvt7
3/5  rDev -12.3%
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 whoneeds8
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
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 jbphoto88
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
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 Sarlacc83
3.17/5  rDev -7.3%
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 Hoptometrist
3.21/5  rDev -6.1%
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 gford217
3.21/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle.

Pours black with a big tan head that recedes slowly to a thick cap and leaves some decent lacing.

Aroma is heavy on the bourbon and oak with some vanilla and dark chocolate sweetness. Roasted malts in the background.

The taste is a little unbalanced with the bourbon dominating with less base beer coming through. The base beer I do get is heavily roasted malts and bakers chocolate. The finish isn't so great with the oak barrel and alcohol burn standing out.

The feel is light to medium bodied with the barrel thinning things out a bit too much for me.

This isn't a terrible beer but I just don't think the base beer stands up to the barrel and the resulting beer is unbalanced and less than drinkable. Not as good as Black Gold.

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Photo of beergoot
3.22/5  rDev -5.8%
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 StonedTrippin
3.39/5  rDev -0.9%
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 cosmicevan
3.5/5  rDev +2.3%
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 +2.3%
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 Greywulfken
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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 +3.2%
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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Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
79 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.