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

very good
57 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 77
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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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Photo of Osirus
1.87/5  rDev -51.6%
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 Kendo
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note: My 2012 bottle says the ABV is 9.5%, not the 7.5% that's listed here.

A: Poured from the bomber into a Sam Smith's nonic-style pint glass. The body is black - even when backlit, it's black - with a 1-finger bubbly, chocolate milkshake-colored head that settles to a tight film of a head. Leaves good lacing.

S: Bourbon, a hint of vanilla and malt.

T: First impression on the flavor is the bourbon. Second impression is really one of feel - it seems a bit thin to stand up to the bourbon-barrel-aging. Heat is felt on the way down and in the belly before I take the second sip. There's some chocolatey malt going on (which becomes more prominent as it warms), but other than the mouthfeel telling me this isn't quite a stout, I'm not getting that roasted malt or charcoal taste that I expect in a Porter. It may have just been overwhelmed by the bourbon.

M: Like I said, a bit thin in heft detracts from the effort at bourbon-barrel-aging this one. Carbonation, however, is gentle and a modestly creamy feel saves the overall mouthfeel score from dropping any lower.

O: A decent sipper.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from about an inch above the glass gave this clear dark black colored beer a big light brown head that slowly settled into a pretty nice lacing.

The bourbon overwhelms everything else that the aroma might have.

The bourbon is still overwhelming but the taste also has some dark rich roasted malts coming through.

A dry aftertaste on this full bodied beer that harbors some of the roasted malts and bourbon from the taste.

A rich full taste but just to much of the bourbon for me also, I'm not a drinker of hard alcohol but if I were this beer would definitely rate much higher with me.

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Photo of biegaman
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Full Sail Imperial Porter is an essentially black beer with a dirt-covered wild mushroom coloured head. I say 'essentially black' because while it is opaque, and virtually without highlights, it showed a softer, more brown-ish side coming out the bottle and even in the glass doesn't look quite as inky as an imperial stout. Interspersed lacing is a nice touch.

The roast coffee and caramelly malts you were looking to smell are in there somewhere, but you have to hunt for them. Swirling helps, but it also agitates some of the alcohol esters and even then still doesn't give off the air of a top-notch, full character porter. There is, however, enough zestful hoppiness to at least positively identify it as an *American* porter.

The best American porters have a smooth, rich, espresso level (and espresso-like) flavour that is so immensely gratifying it allures you into quicker and quicker and bigger and bigger sips, constantly chasing that perfect apex of dark chocolaty, black licorice and coffee taste as they scintillate on the tongue mid swallow. This one has that and it's wonderful (although I don't care much for that droplet of alcohol that disconnects us from a proper finish).

And the accompanying mouthfeel, furthermore, is a little out of whack. The silky dark flavours and gentle roast seem to disintegrate a little on the finish, largely because of an over zealous carbonation that pricks little holes in the tongue through which all the gooey chocolate and medium-sweet maltiness slip through. The beer's leafy bitterness (and the 60 IBUs) could be better integrated, it too seems out of step with the profile.

Full Sail brews a great variety of styles and, while they do them all reasonably well, they've yet to really "win" at any of them. This porter (American or Imperial or whatever) is lovely stuff, but more deserving of a participant's ribbon than hardware. Still, it's a beer I'd be happy to have available locally and one that was definitely worth what I paid for it.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
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 mudbug
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bomber into a standard pint glass results in a black as carbon paper body with a one inch brown head, some lacing apparent but not much, seems too black for a porter.
Smells like a stout, looks like a stout.
Tastes like a light stout, roasted malt with charcoal bitterness, there is a slight floral hop ghost in there too. Surprisingly light body convinces me that this is possibly a porter, but It is in all other aspects a good stout.
Not sure about what they wanted to do here, a solid stout, but not what I want in a porter.
Edit,had another bottle later, compared quite favorably to Black Butte 23 style be damned it's a fine beer.

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Photo of silentjay
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
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 Cyberkedi
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong aroma is oily and smoky with tones of roast coffee and molasses. It pours a nearly opaque sable with a thick, fine-bubbled, fairly persistent dark tan head. Smoky flavor fills the mouth with burnt wood, roast coffee, unsweet chocolate and a hint of licorice. Oily texture is fizzy and lively, leaving a smoky, tingly, woody finish. Recommended!

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Photo of arktos
2.73/5  rDev -29.3%
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 argock
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.99.

A: Nearly black with generous 1-2 fingers of leather brown head with good retention and patchy lacing in thick band around the glass.

S: ROasted barley and citrus hops are most prominent but more caramel appears with warming and earthier, tobacco hops are poke through.

T: The raw roasted barley and heavy citrus hops work very well together, especially with the strong caramel and pale malt backbone which makes this brew a very pleasurable experience. The roasted barley is without harshness or acrid character -- it is just good, down and dirty robust porter rawness that tastes very fresh. The heavy hand with Cascade hops is apparent, and this one treads the line of CDA territory.

M: Very smooth with good heft and low carbonation make for dangerous ease of drinking.

O: I wish all of Full Sail brews were as good as this one. Their CDA Bump in the Night is a mess, Sanctuary was so-so, but others like Wrech the Halls, Hop Pursuit and Spotless are real winners. This imperial porter definitely lands in the winner group, particularly if you like robust roasted barley flavors. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mentor
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
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 Overlord
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark blackish brown. Two or three inches of brown foam head.

Smell is rich and robust with bitter espresso, some dark chocolate, and a waft of roasted malt. Surprising combination in an imperial porter, I know.

Taste, not quite up to par with aroma. A bit too much astringently dry and bitter coffee. Still, some nice dark chocolate blending in, though the roasted malt gets a bit charcoal-y.

Still, nice creamy mouthfeel ... overall, a solid porter.

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Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and slick porter looks great and thick black, with a significant white head. Some mollasses aroma. Taste is full of mollasses, and it is a full mouthfeel and a bit sweet in the finish. Good with food. Thanks ccrida. Rich though not overally complex.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Port Carlsbad.
Poured a deep brown with a small tannish head. Nose is roasty, woody and cocoa. Taste is roasted, cocoa, slight coffee and woody flavor. Mouthfeel is nice, balanced, very drinkable the ABV was just right for this brew. I picked up a nutty flavor on the end of this beer which left a nice taste in my mouth I finished a pint in no time. Really good porter all the way around.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
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 chugalug06
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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 bunnyhustle
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright, interesting beer so here I go. Pours dark as can be (dark, dark brown or black, I cant decide) with nice mocha head. Good retention and lacing. Smell was great I thought given the style. Generally I'm not a fan of the Porter smell but this was nice. Complex blend of expresso, dark chocolate, burnt grain, and some dark malt. Taste was good as well. Plenty of the dark chocolate, toasted grain, and hints of coffee and a light touch of hops. Mouthfeel was fine. Slightly thinner as many porters are, at least compared to a RIS, but not watery by any means. Drinkability suffered a little. It was a very filling beer and the higher ABV made it a slow, slow sipper.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another amazing extra from JohnGalt1! Thanks Toby!
22oz Single, 2009 Edition.

A: Extremely dark brown, right up there on the verge of black, with a light tan head, about half an inch thick or so. Completely opaque. Really dark and ominous looking. I'm diggin it so far!

S: Big time on the roasted coffee, brown sugar, roasted malts, and milk chocolate. Really strong on all of the roasted flavors. Those really stand out in my mind. A little light though, really have to dig for them.

T: Big time coffee and chocolate, definite smokiness as well, an interesting bit of cinnamon in there too, which is really a neat addition, big time bitterness both from the more coffee aspect and from a clean piney hop presence. Chocolate is a little subdued. Slight alcohol bite too. Really nice balance of booze, sweet, and bitter. I really dig this.

M: Medium to medium thick in the mouth, pretty sticky really, lots of lingering flavors in the mouth, after I swallow it all sticks around.

D: One bomber is good enough for me, but I would probably pour this back all night on tap. I'd really be interested in seeing how well this ages. Really a tasty beer.

Thanks Toby!

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark color, nice and black, with a heavy trail of tanned lacing. Really nice look. The nose is pretty strong, although a little muddy in terms of what comes forth. I mean, there's a lot of coffee here. Chocolate comes next.

Definitely heavily roasted, with black patent and chocolate malts picking up the bulk of the load. A little licorice towards the back end. Astringency is present from the malts, but the hops aren't very prominent.

Quite smooth, not overly full, but nicely attenuated to allow a certain amount of drinkability. Another handful of hops and I might accuse this one of being a full-blown stout! Solid ale.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
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 srandycarter
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, almost black. Not much head, ring left. Sticky lacing/

S - Burnt malt, roasted coffee, hint chocolate.

T - Thinner than smell. Elements of each smell attribute present.

M - Nice, fat, coating, good carb, BIG. Like it.

D - Weird. Not my favorite smell or taste, but the mouthfeel keeps me coming back.

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Photo of rowew
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
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 brentk56
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Version

Appearance: Pours a dark obsidian with just the vaguest of ruby highlights peeking through; head formation looks great, at first, but becomes very rocky and fades quickly while leaving some splashy lace

Smell: The best part of this beer, with gobs of chocolate, coffee and char

Taste: Opens with a chocolate and coffee flavor that moves in a strong char direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the char elements dominate to the detriment of the other flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a bit thinner than I would have expected

Drinkability: Perhaps it is the effect of age, but the beer was unbalanced and almost sour from the char

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Photo of DIM
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This is an opaque dark brown, no highlights. It pours with a smallish light tan head that is fairly short lived.

s: Roasty grains that smell of nutty dark chocolate and coffee dominate. Some faint cherry aromas and just a little alcohol peek through as well.

t: Starts off well enough with a some chocolate flavors that are very mildly sweet. The finish though, is spectacular. Bitter, nutty coffee flavors combine with a tart cherry flavor that lingers for quite a while. Overall, this has some smoked, woody qualities to it. As it warms, some very faint alcoholic heat emerges.

m: I don't claim to be an expert, but it seems to me that porters have a thinner body than the average beer. Maybe it's my imagination. The gentle carbonation serves this one well.

d: Thanks yet again to JohnGalt1, an extraordianry trader. This is one of the best porters I've tried, thanks Toby!

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Top Sail Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.86 out of 5 based on 77 ratings.
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