Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)
Very Good
77 Ratings
Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ElGordo on 03-30-2007

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 77 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of Osirus
1.87/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Appearance: Black. No head to speak of but at 9.5% ABV that's understandable.

Smell: Raisins, oak, chocolate, booze....a lot of booze. It smells like a chocolately bourbon to me.

Taste: Simply put, it tastes like a shot of bourbon with some porter added. The chocolate comes out along with the dark fruit, raisin that I smelled.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation. Medium/full mouthfeel.

Overall: Maybe I am not a bourbon fan but to each his own. I will not be having it again. The predominant feature of this beer is the bourbon taste and smell. A touch may be ok but it goes beyond that and I think this is a flaw.

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Photo of arktos
2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

03/23/11 - 2011 Brewmaster Reserve - no specific bottle date

22oz to tulip pint

A: Dark walnut, approaching black, with deep ruby highlights. Foamy 1" tan colored head recedes to leave an initial slick layered coating of lace.

S: Roasty, dark/black malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and molasses.

T: Roasted and black malt, burnt toast, dark chocolate, black coffee and good bit of molasses - interrupted midway thru by a citrus/grapefruit juiciness. The black coffee comes back shortly after and what's left is an odd clash of citrus/coffee. hmmm.

M: Medium, slick/oily, slightly bitter in the end... fairly unispiring.

O: Not really impressed. I don't know what an "Imperial" porter is supposed to taste like (Robust/Baltic?), either way, this one didn't seem to pay the bills. It's not terrible, but there are much better non "imperial" porters out there.

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Photo of loren01
2.85/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours pitch black, good sized tan head, lots of lacing down the glass
S: Smell is very stong chocolate and coffee.
T: Taste is of dark chocolate, like the darkest most bitter dark chocolate you have ever tasted. Almost astringent/asprin bitterness.
M: Thick, full oily mouthfeel.
D: Everything about this beer is pretty good except the taste, way too bitter and astringent.

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Photo of waiting4lunch
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of ccrida
3.03/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a tulip glass, the Top Sail Imperial Porter is a dark, inky black, purple tinged when held to a light, with a dense, creamy, dark tan head that leaves thick bubbly lace. A little rockier and it would be a 5, gorgeous!

The smell is fairly strong, sweet malt and chocolate, classic porter, but richer, almost reminicent of a milk stout. Nice.

Whoa - the taste is very roasty and bitter, more in RIS territory then porter. Theres some chocolate malty sweetness in the middle, but its lost in the astringency, finish dry and generally lacking depth. Or appeal.

The mouthfeel is rather viscous, although somewhat tempered by creamy carbonation.

Not very drinkable, to rough and roasty for a porter and just not very good.

Here's another one from Full Sail that looks and smells great, and then falls flat for a big let down. Not recommended.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours a dark brown, almost black. It has a thin brown head that quickly dissipates.

The aroma is sweet lactic chocolate, grains and some coffee and a little alcohol.

The flavor is chocolate and coffee. It starts out a little sweet and finishes with a pretty big charred bitterness and lots of anise. The mouthfeel is medium to full with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, a decent imperial porter. The charred anise is a bit too much for me to enjoy though.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fairly dark and smooth. More than a decent amount of hops on the back end. Too much for my liking. Still a decent porter. Plenty of chocolatey smoothness to carry it. Your typical "west coast" take on the style. I'm starting to warm up to the west coast hoppy everything. Especially in my porters. Would have again, but not my favorite.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Thick mocha head on a pretty black body.
S- Big alcohol, coffee, and chocolate all in the nose. Some roasted aromas too, along with a little grass.
T- Follows the aroma. Kind of a big coffee flavor to it. Chocolate does come in to but coffee dominates the flavor. Grass hops come out just a bit to help balance things out a little bit. Not much alcohol that can be detected.
M- Medium body with low smooth carbonation.
D- It is a decent porter. Nothing to go on about. It is drinkable and that's all I care about right now but I wouldn't get another.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Beer is dark brown with poor head retention and next to no lacing left behind.

T- Chalky, with extreme malt under tones, it could use more hops to help kick it up a notch. but not to over hop. Also, it needs less chocolate malt

S- Rich, but ever stereotypical porter smell. nothing unique

M- Dry and easy down, cotes teeth a bit

D- You can easily put this beer down a forget about it, it dosent bring you back or not let you put it down.

Beer is average, but I love Imperial Porters so this is up there in my beer selection, I'll buy one or two more.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a large tumbler. This is a new release from Full Sail's BrewMaster Reserve Series (2007).

A: Crackling mocha-tan head, about 1-1/2 fingers, atop the blackest of black porters. Good head retention - an ever-present creamy cap that offers up some good sticky rings of lace. Great-looking porter!

S: Coffee grounds, oak, light vanilla, cocoa powder, light cherry juice.

T: Big flavor of charred malt, espresso beans, dark chocolate and tannic wood. Substantial sour oxidation...flavorful but overly bitter in my opinion.

M: Enough carbonation to support a medium/full mouthfeel. Velvety, almost creamy at times, then developing a sharper, more acrid finishing bite. Long lingering bitterness straight down the tongue.

D: Good enough to have again. Pretty easy to sip on, but heavy at 7.5%. I'd like to try a mellowed-out version of this in a few more months. Good now, maybe great later.

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Photo of rowew
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, brown label. 2007 vintage.

Appearance: Completely black, just a hint of ruby in it when its looked at in the light. Tan colored head, good retention.

Smell: Roast, a bit of sour note.

Taste: GOod malt flavors, just a hint of alcohol. There is some coffee like bitterness, and a bit of roast in there.

Overall impression: Enjoyable flavors, this is a nice beer and relatively drinkable for the abv and style.

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Photo of mentor
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, aged in my cellar for probably 6 months. Pours a thin layer of brown head over a pitch liquid. Smells raw barrel, vanilla, cherry, empty dry roast, and strong clean alcohol.

In the mouth, dry and light body. A bit of creaminess. Tastes raw barrel, coffee roast, and a nearly subdued chocolate. The barrel is overbearing and comes across particularly strong due to the alcohol sting. Black strap molasses, rice hull, salt, and fall leaves.

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Photo of silentjay
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

deep, viscous black with a small mocha head that quickly recedes to a thin film with average lacing.

aroma of charred malts, cocoa, toffee, molasses, coffee, with some piney/woody hops, like a toned down imperial stout, which seems about right.

flavor is not quite on point... some leafy, piney, and citrusy hops sit behind the charred malts and watery coffee.

watery finish on a medium bodied brew with some leafy hop flavors lingering for a while.

not bad, but not impressive either. I seem to be saying that about all the Full Sail beers I have been trying. Good value, but nothing I'd reach for on a special occasion.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Duckboy!

A: Pours a chewy dark brown with a frothy dark beige head. This head doesn’t look like it will be dropping any time soon.

S: Oily chocolate, coffee grounds, vinous woods with a chalky aspect to it.

T: Begins with some creamy lactose like flavors at the tip of the tongue. Gives way to chocolate milk with just a touch of sweetness. My imagination is giving me banana and peanut butter for some reason. Definitely some nutty aspects to it though. As the beer continues, I get a homebrew-like alcohol flavor that pops up which isn’t too flattering. Roasted bitterness raises awareness to its position and lingers for a while around the center of the tongue.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: Very quaffable porter, easy going on the palate. Nothing overly special though.

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Photo of GOMECK
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

mike is tha bomb

dark pour, light-proof. tan topper crown of airy foam and hazy spritz. smells like a chocolate-crusted pumpkin cheesecake. sweet with additional vegetal sweetness. cocoa lingers in the nose, although sweetness can do nothing to evade the senses here.

first sip is mad earthy, dry with hop oils bittering out my tongue.. just none of the traditional hop flavor. malt husks and dry bakers' chocolate fight what hops exist for the title of king bitterness of full sail.. the choco-beast wins with a strange, sour yeasty aftertaste. reminds me of mcneills with its yeast-dominated profile which rides a fine line between luxurious richness and the tartness of raw fermentation.

at 7.5%, this beer maintains an adequate drinkability.. however, it doesn't pull the punches that a porter should at this imperial level. it fails to deliver on hops, and brings no complexity to its malt bill. there is plenty going on, it just falls short of the greatness that i am used to.. but then again, i am from the land of hooker.

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Photo of Domingo
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky black that actually reminds me of something much more potent, although it forms a decent size 1" head with no aggressive pouring needed.
Smells like chocolate, coffee, and maybe a little bit of molasses.
Taste is really where this beer falls flat. There's a big up-front chocolate flavor and coffee on the back end, but that's it. The flavor is way too dry and there isn't enough depth beyond that. I tried 3-4 sips in a row and kept waiting for something else.
Mouthfeel's just right for drinking without being forced to sip. Because the alcohol is well hidden, if you do like this beer, you could likely have a few.
I'm a big Full Sail fan, but this one didn't do it for me. The look, texture, and make-up of the beer are to notch. The problem was that the taste is just too dry and simple. Every other aspect of it is fine. I'd love to see this re-worked into something with a little sweeter Baltic-style profile.

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Photo of zekeman17
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of dlello2
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of emmasdad
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this one yesterday because of the relatively low bomber price. Pours jet black with a medium tan head. Aromas of chocolate, smoke, roasted malt, and cocoa. On the palate, medium bodied, with flavors of roasted malt, chocolate and faint char.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour produces a frothy, tightly beaded, initially three-finger thick, brownish tinged, dark tan colored head that sits atop an opaque, basically black colored brew. The head leaves some delicate lacing as it slowly recedes. Distinctively fruity smelling (though not dominantly), aromas of concentrated raisin, fig, brandy like notes and perhaps a touch of cherry are all here, though they have all been slightly burnt. Concentrated malt aromatics contribute the noticed fruit notes, but it also produces notes of dark chocolate, black coffee and huge toasted malt aromatics. The aroma is so smooth and so rich and satiating; I am quite impressed how rich, yet not overly burnt this beer smells.

Slightly sweet, but not nearly as much as I had expected. The beer has a medium fullness to it that is not quite rich. Ample roasted malt flavors of black coffee, slightly acidic espresso, bitter dark chocolate, and a burnt grain husk character all play a big role. At times this reminds me of a coffee liquor (though one that is not all that sweet). Some dusty cocoa notes, warming, almost hot, alcohol that combines with that roast acidity in the finish contribute to some disjointed flavors. Not quite as rich and smooth as I was hoping it would be; at times a really good chocolate flavor & aroma are noticeable, but at other times it can be overwhelmed by slightly harsh / sharp notes.

The flavor is more roast / burnt dominated than the aroma and is not nearly as smooth. I have a hard time distinguishing this from a strong stout, at least based on the flavor. After my nose has acclimated a bit, even the aroma becomes a bit harsher. Still a tasty beer and it definitely hits the spot when looking for a big, darkly roasted malty beer.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big-ass bomber purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $3.49. No freshness date.

Poured a dark brown color with a big, mocha colored head. The color of the beer does not lighten when held up to light - yep, it’s a dark one, alright. Sheets of mocha colored foam cling to the sides of my pint glass.

The scent is of roasty maltiness, with tones of coffee and chocolate.

The taste starts out with a bitter, coffee flavor. Then a sweet chocolaty taste jumps alongside. At the fadeout is a dry, hoppy note. All of this is fairly muted. It could have a little more oomph.

Mouthfeel is creamy and slightly oily. Medium bodied. Could use a little more thickness.

This is a halfway decent porter. It could be better with a little more body and a little more oomph. Drinking this beer has done nothing to make me reach for it in the future when a Black Butte is also available.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Top Sail Imperial Porter late last spring, and have been saving it for more a "porter like" season. Finally a cold gray late fall day presents an opportunity... poured in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a coal black color and is opaque. A firm foamy tan head caps the beer and is remarkably resilient. From above the glass it looks a bit like a chocolate shake.

Smell is a curious perfume like aroma, with a hint of coffee and chocolate. It doesn't have the smoke scent I expected.

Taste is a lot like the smell, there is an acerbic flavor up front, a little heat, and then some dark roasted coffee and chocolate flavors on the finish. Bitter aftertaste, that lingers.

Mouthfeel is good. The beer is fairly full bodied but not cloying.

A fairly drinkable porter. The flavor is not overpowering, nor is the alcohol. Not nearly as stiff as the "imperial" tag implies. I would have this again, but there are a lot of porters that are as good.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber bottle, 2007 vintage. Out of the fridge and allowed to warm for half an hour. Poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a nearly opaque deep dark brown color with two full fingers of tight walnut tinted foam. The nose is greeted with notes of molasses, both brown and white sugars, sweet malts, licorice and alcohol. Tastes of bitter roasted coffee with a slightly sour flavor, followed by milk chocolate, burnt caramel, and prunes. A tad bit thin bodied with just about medium carbonation. I'm sure another year or two in the cellar wouldn't hurt this porter, but it's pretty tasty as it sits in my glass today.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Sludgy black pour. A quarter inch of beige head settles into a thin slip. A thin web of lacing remains.

S: Thick, heavy fudge. Brownie batter and tootsie rolls. Brown sugar. Strong bourbon presence. Spicy, toasty oak. Nothing subtle about it, this is a direct assault on the nose, and the charge is lead by bourbon barrel and roasted malt.

T: Fudge, Hershey's chocolate, brownies. Rich and chocolatey. Strong pull of bourbon brings a slight peppery taste with it. Fading green, spicy hop profile. Drying charred oak on the back end and into the finish.

M: Heavy and sludgy. Full. Tingling carbonation provides just enough lift.

O: A thinking man's beer this is not. That's OK though, I was in the mood for something blatant tonight, and boy did I get it. A huge beer from top to bottom, very bold and straightforward. Full Sail also has a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout? God help us, that must be an endeavor to drink. Looking forward to the challenge . . .

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Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 77 ratings