Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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
78
okay

44 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 138
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 19.35%
Wants: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Reviews: 44 | Hads: 138
Photo of Greywulfken
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (714 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
2.63/5  rDev -21.7%
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. (341 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.83/5  rDev +14%
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. (1,352 characters)

Photo of beerandcycling88
2.83/5  rDev -15.8%
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. (565 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
2.51/5  rDev -25.3%
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. (1,022 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
3.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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 (1,448 characters)

Photo of henrysunset
3.92/5  rDev +16.7%
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. (387 characters)

Photo of zander4dawin
3.8/5  rDev +13.1%
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. (278 characters)

Photo of Sweasty
3.8/5  rDev +13.1%
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. (1,149 characters)

Photo of Dope
2.85/5  rDev -15.2%
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. (830 characters)

Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

'12

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. (571 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (832 characters)

Photo of Bfarr
1.81/5  rDev -46.1%
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. (470 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
4.15/5  rDev +23.5%
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. (871 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
2.59/5  rDev -22.9%
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. (459 characters)

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.86/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (773 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.21/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (749 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.21/5  rDev -34.2%
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.

(1,573 characters)

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +19%
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. (862 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.22/5  rDev +25.6%
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. (512 characters)

Photo of Viciousknishs
4.04/5  rDev +20.2%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of musicforairports
3.8/5  rDev +13.1%
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. (647 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +15.8%
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. (340 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +29.5%
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. (565 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
78 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.