Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)
Full Sail Brewing Company

Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)
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American Imperial Porter
3.87 | pDev: 9.82%
Full Sail Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve)
Notes: Brewed & released every other year

First Release - March 2009
Second Release - March 2011
Third Release - 2012
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 112
Photo of Scotchboy
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, 2011 release, poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Deep, dark brown pour yields an opaque body with tan head lacing. Nice look.

S: Initially there is some dark fruit which almost immediately melts into creamy chocolate, some darker caramel and brown sugar, smoke, char and espresso. Some faint, sweet alcohol notes in there as well.

T: More chocolate, char, and espresso here, joined by some licorice and earthy hops. Hops aren't very strong but I'm still surprised by them in this older bottle. Suggestions of fainter caramel and the sweetness of mellowed alcohol. Licorice and coffee notes are the two mainstays here, to me. Substantial char and bitterness, but pleasant.

MF: Medium bodied with a dry finish.

O: Overall there is nothing wrong with this beer, and I drank down the bottle pretty easily. Its pleasant, though the smoky licorice, herbal hops, and faint heat don't blend perfectly for my palate.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a whole case of this at the brewery in Hood River.
This is part of the “Brewmaster Reserve Series;” Deep black pour, with big tan head and good lacing .Nose is roasted malts with chocolate and hint of coffee. Bold in body and very creamy in mouthfeel. Flavor is very rich and tasty, and the finish is dry and lightly bitter. Really good. he folks out on the Hood River in Oregon - and now, happily available to us beer geeks in the East.

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Photo of Dope
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

March 2011 batch, so almost 2 years old.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a reddish tint when held up to the light. Good sized dense light/medium brown head. Fades slowly with excellent head retention. Nice thick waves of lacing on the glass.

S: Lots of creamy milk chocolate. Touch of smoke and char (even charred meat). Bits of dark fruit here and there, especially when swirled.

T: Dark fruits up front with some char and smoke. A bit of chocolate too. Then the sweetness falls away, leaving an odd acrid char and smoke in the middle and into the finish. Finish is more super bitter char with more smoke, like licking an ashtray. Long lingering charcoal between sips. Blegh.

M: Medium bodied. Pretty standard fare.

O: Smell had a bit of promise, and so did the initial flavor, after that it was like eating ash and chasing it with BBQ pit runoff. Rough to drink and I poured it out.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from somewhere localish.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a skim of a dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. What head there was is quickly gone, with leggy sticky lacing. Aroma is deep rich sweetness.

Taste with same maltiness seen in the nose, then powdered chocolate in the middle, and comes on with a slight bitter to close. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Nice brew.

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Photo of rebelthrower
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark, almost 100% black, but has a slight hint of red along the edges. Very small head, mocha/tan in color. Disapears quickly with little to no lacing.

S - Scent of chocolate and roasted malts.

T - Start with chocolate and dark roasted malts. finishes with a hint of coffee

M - Smooth with medium carbonation and medium body. A bit creamy and chewy.

D - Pretty good beer and very good price.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is part of the “Brewmaster Reserve Series;” it is a dark beauty that pours a deep black body beneath a moderate beige-colored head, which soon subsides. While the nose receives a heavy blast of cocoa powder, molasses and coffee grounds, the palate is layered with a semi-sweet coating of toasted malt. All this with a 60 IBU makes for a substantial quaff with nice balance and moderate body. This is another well-crafted beer from the folks out on the Hood River in Oregon - and now, happily available to us beer geeks in the East.

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Photo of KajII
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[Best served in a Snifter]

The pour was a very dark brown, almost black with a large (2-3 finger) dark beige rocky head that lasted a good amount of time, leaving behind a large frothy collar and a bit of puddling creating some excellent sticky lacing.

The aroma was screaming of milk chocolate along with a strong dark roasted malt and a sweet doughy yeast and had notes of roasted coffee, molasses, and a bit of vanilla.

The taste was bitter sweet and quite malty with notes of molasses and a good bit of coffee early on. Then it became a slight bitterer and really smooth and creamy with notes of milk chocolate and a very distinct vanilla presence at the end. The flavor lasted a decent duration with a nice mocha coffee flavor left lying on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was just a bit under full in body with a smooth creamy texture and a soft carbonation.

Overall an exceptional Imperial Porter that is so well put together you can hardly notice the high alcohol content.

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Photo of RollBounce
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured think black like oil, brown colored head, robust nose,with dark chocolate, figs newtons,and burnt molasses (as my girlfriend pointed out),not as heavy as it looks, more flavor on the finish then the rest, with a bitterness that is bold at the end.

Overall; Not the most complex beer in this style that i have had, still i liked the lower abv on it.

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Photo of stakem
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Joe for gifting me with a bottle of this as an extra care of one of our last trades. Poured into a snifter from a bomber, this is the 2011 reserve. The brew pours black in color with a rich 2 finger cap of tan froth. It leaves a full wall of webby lacing effect on the glassware.

The smell of this brew is quite roasted with a hint of licorice, bitter dark chocolate and citrus/earthy coffee. A hint of fruity alcohol is present but plays a minor role compared to the rest of the aromatics. Towards the backend are some hints of tobacco and leather. A swirl releases some sweeter smelling cocoa notes.

The taste is bitter and acrid. Lots of roasted grain bitterness fills the mouth with a flavor of strong coffee mixed with earth, 80% cacao, leather and tobacco just like the aroma hints towards. A bit of citrus, sulfur and mineral notes fill out the void. Anise/black licorice are a faint afterthought mixed with a mild fusel hint of alcohol.

This is a medium to lighter bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall it is complex and enjoyable but the 7.5% abv really jumps out and isn't quite integrated in this. The mineral feel to this was a bit distracting as well. However, the earthy tobacco and expected coffee/chocolate made up for the flavors that were not so enjoyable. This is worth a try but not something I would revisit time and time again unless the recipe was switched up a bit from one batch to the next.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Consumed blind.

A: Pours a dark brown color with about a finger of mocha colored head made up of rather fine bubbles. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Some bitter and dark chocolate, a little bit of vanilla, and some slightly roasted malt.

T: More chocolate as well as some caramel. A little bit of roast/coffee in the middle, but overall not a ton going on.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: An average porter, nothing wrong with it, but doesn't stand out.

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Photo of warnerry
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 release.

A - Pours black with one finger of off-white head. Head doesn't last long and leaves very little lacing.

S - Big chocolate aroma with some burnt grain, roasted malt, faint caramel aroma.

T - Taste starts off with bitter chocolate and deep roasted malts. A slight tart taste. Some faint milk chocolate and some coffee on the finish. Some lingering bitterness.

M - Mouthfeel is too thin, but has a nice dry bitter finish.

O - A good porter, but probably not something I would get again given the other available options.

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Photo of beergoot
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid black body with a thin but thick brownish head.

The aroma is sweet chocolate and what smells like a hint of mint (something with the bourbon barrel aging?).

Smooth, sweet (and bitter) chocolate and subtle mint undertones (very much like the aroma) with a soothing bitterness leveling out the finish. Medium to heavy body; smooth and creamy. A touch of alcohol warmth.

Well, I like this one! It's different enough to stand out while delivering a nice, rich, robust porter taste. Well worth checking out...

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Photo of draheim
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle (2011) into a snifter. Pours a deep brown w/ a fizzy mocha head the settles quickly.

Aroma is rich and chocolatey; cocoa nibs and dark roasted malt, some fruit notes as it warms.

Taste is roasted bitter malt up front, a lot less chocolate than the nose suggests. Sharply bitter all the way through, some sweet fruit also evident.

Mouthfeel is a little thin but never watery.

Overall a decent porter but probably not one I'd go out of my way for again.

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

Pours a dark brown, ultra dark, pretty damn close to black, tan head, 1" in depth, stuck around awhile. Major roastiness comes through in the aroma.

Substantial malt presence, good amount of chocolate malt, heavy roast on the 2 row, burnt caramel and toffee, average bitterness, average metallic mouthfeel to a decently bitter, hoppy porter that doesn't have lots of chocolate or coffee to cover it up. Even a little nutty.

I like the price of these, glad they started making it again, it was always good.

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Photo of vande
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle.

a - a hard, deep, dark brown to the point of it being black. Thick, somewhat dirty looking head that quickly recedes.

s - lots of roasted, dark malt...some coffee.. bit a chocolate.

t - the roasted malt and coffee flavors seem to take control. Tasty porter. Opens up as it warms up.

m - the warmer it became, the softer and smoother it was.

o - pretty good porter. I'd drink it again!

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Photo of colts9016
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Adams pint glass at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A two finger foamy frothy head that has good retention. The head is medium brown color and has some lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark mahogany to a dark brown. The clarity of the beer is opaque with some bubbles.

Nose: A dark roasted malt with caramel toasty, bready aroma. The alcohol is there but not overpowering. There is oak, pine, subtle fruity esters and lastly there is some solvent and phenol compounds.

Taste: A very deep dark roasted flavor. The flavors are toasty, caramel, biscuit, bread, hint of vanilla, pine, and floral notes. Other flavors are solvents, a burnt character, phenols, and a slight molasses note.

Mouth-feel: The mouthfeel is dry, carbonated, coating, and astringent.

Overall: the body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. The beer has very complex roasted notes. It is a very good example of a porter with several different flavor profiles. It is a really good porter. It had good head and is easy to drink.

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Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark chocolate color with a 1" tan colored head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam. Some big bubbles line the glass edge.

Smell: roasted malt and a definite piney hop presence are most noticeable.

Taste: roasted malts, dark bitter chocolates, some prunes, a bit of pine, some grapefruit, and a decent bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit dry at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a very enjoyable big porter that is loaded with flavor and a nice balancing bitterness. Great beer on a cool evening.

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Photo of asabreed
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second Release. March 2011. Bomber into a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic.

Appearance: Pretty damn black and opaque, with a nice mocha-colored head of darkness shrouding the top of the glass, and decent lacing and drops of retention.

Smell: Big chocolate malt and acrid coffee aromas, along with some sweet chocolate, and heavily charred wood and malt.

Taste: This is charred and hopped pretty heavily, seemingly, so don't expect a bomb of sweetness. Balance is nice with everything, but this has, thankfully, more bite than I thought it would. Finishes on the dry side, with lingering char, some smoke, and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel: A nice balanced consistency, with a little creaminess, but it's not overly thick or cloying.

Drinkability: I was pretty happy with this brew. I wonder if cellaring would take some of the char and hop edge off, but to me that's what kind of makes it to a certain degree. And the QPR, at around $4 or $5, is pretty damn good also. Wish I would've snagged another one, so hopefully I'll have the opportunity to do so.

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Photo of sommersb
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 11-09-2011
Freshness: 2011 vintage
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Nonic pint
Purchased: Received in a trade

Pours a deep black and opaque beer, showing a frothy, 2 finger tan head. A good amount of lacing stays around as the beer goes down.

Aromas are of dark bread and roasted malts. Other aromas include slightly sweet chocolates.

Taste features toasted bread and smoked malt. A fair amount of bitterness is present from the hops and darkly roasted grain. The flavors also include coffee, bittersweet chocolate and alcohol warmth.

Rich and creamy mouthfeel with a medium amount of carbonation. The beer finishes dry with a lingering bitterness. A bit too astringent for my taste.

Overall, a good example of an American porter.

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Photo of kagent777
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber from the Utah system poured into my beer goblet.

Appearance: A black or at least dark brown beer capped with a thin tan head that settled rather quickly but leaves a little lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and roasted malts. A dark dried fruit note. Maybe a little earthy hops.

Taste: This beer has an odd bitter metallic taste to it. The chocolate and roasty malts are also present. The overall effect is bittersweet chocolate. I am not sure this one suits me at all. Has a long slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: The body is viscous, very nice. The carbonation lower, as it should be.

Overall: I am not sure I would get this one again, the taste was too strange for me.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this bottle in Buffalo during GABER 2011. Had a great time gents!

From a bomber into a snifter
Brewmaster Reserve 2011

APPEARANCE: Pours out dark brown and yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, fluffy, light brown or tan head with very good retention. Black body with some carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp and ring, clinging to the sides of the glass. A ring and splotchy wisp remain until the end of the serving and leaves some decent lacing.

SMELL: Medium nose of roasted and dark malts, smoky notes and cocoa powder. Some caramel malt notes and touches of coffee in there as well. Good nose, but a little mild.

TASTE: Much bigger than the nose had indicated, especially after the swallow. Roasted and dark malts up front with some caramel sweetness and cocoa notes through the middle into the finish. Big and very persistent aftertaste of sweet caramel malt and lots of bitterness. Coffee, chocolate, and lots of bitter pine flavors linger on the palate. Very hoppy porter for sure.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Could be creamier, but fine.

OVERALL: Quite a good brew. Lots of flavor on this one, with plenty of stout-like roasted, coffee and chocolate qualities lingering on the palate. A huge hop profile as well, which definitely works with the rest of the flavors. The nose could be bolder and the palate a little creamier for the style, but those are minor critiques. If you like roasted, hoppy brews, this is your beer. Recommended.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep dark black with dark brown edges. Thin tan head that leaves a ton of lacing all along the glass. Not much in the way of carbonation, but loving the sticky lacing.

S- Black coffee mostly. A touch of resinous pine and citrus comes thru as well. Not a whole lot of depth in this Porter... even as it warms it never opens up and blossoms...

T- Dark roasted (almost burnt) coffee, milk chocolate, roasted malts and a surprising bit of bitter hops. Smokey, a touch sweet, rich with a bitterness thats neither citrusy or piney.

M- A bit thicker than the nose would lead you to believe, but way thinner than the taste would lend itself to. No carbonation, unexpected bitterness and less creamy, sweetness than alot of Imperial Porters. Nice smokiness, bitterness and coffee taste.

O- Nothing fantastic or ground breaking. Wishing it was thicker. For a reserve series Imperial Porter... it was a bit underwhelming. I think my money would've been better spent elsewhere.

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Photo of jdense
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle from Fred Meyer Hollywood PDX, shared with neighborhood beer buddy, 9.16.11.

One finger brown head small bubbles, fairly quick dissipation with some lacing evident. Dark brown opaque body with some carbonation visible rising up sides of glass. Nose is an amalgam of coffee and chocolate, the first whiff I took featured the former, then they blended seamlessly to create an alluring aroma, along with some floral hops pushed well into background. Taste was a bit more chocolate than coffee, cocoa nib-like, not much hop presence. Mouthfeel is well on the heavy-side, good effervescence. A nice sipper for a chillly autumn evening, good with artisan chocolate, though I believe I'd have a hard time finishing a full bottle of this, even with the ABV well hidden.

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Photo of cmq103
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Duvel Belgian Tulip glass. My first Imperial Porter rating so here it goes...

Appearance: Thicker syrupy dark, dark, pour. 1/4" medium brown head, which reduced to thin clingy ring with moderate sticky lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate and coffee aroma with a bit of light boozy molasses sweetness in the finish. I was expecting more going on in the nose for an Imperial Porter.

Taste: This is where it takes a back seat to the appearance and smell. Dark chocolate bitterness that lingers on the tongue long after the swallow. Lighter in flavor than I expected with a bland, weak, but bitter chocolate and coffee finish. Not overly sweet, but I found it overly bitter. I also sense a burnt cigar on my tongue, with a bitterness that takes a long time to go away.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, somewhat creamy with a higher carbonation level than I expected for the style.

Overall: To be honest, I'm not overly impressed. This beer had high hopes beginning with the appearance and smell, then went downhill from there. I probably won't buy again. This was a little bit of a let down for my first Full Sail beer.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Consumer Beverages in Buffalo. Shared with my wife on a cool sunny late-summer's day.

Poured into a Duvel goblet. Pitch black, with only the slightest caramel round the edges. Tan head, survives as a thick ring. Some spots of lacing.

The nose is far sweeter than the taste, boasting notes of dark coffee, chocolate, caramel, smoke, burned marshmallow (my favorite), and a touch of earthy-woodsyness.

A bitter brew, this porter certainly leans on the roasted malt and smoke end of the porter spectrum. Dry coffee bitterness up front (pushing in to espresso territory), a mild sweetness reprieve, before finishing long and smoky once again. No chance to find any alcohol here - the bitterness as seen to that...

Holy lingering bitterness, Batman! (I see it, Robin.)

Medium bodied, needs a bit more body to really shine, but the amount of carbonation is just right.

Robust, hearty, bitter and smoky, Full Sail Imperial Porter is a fine brew for a fall afternoon. Would pair really well with a slightly sweeter chocolate dessert, allowing the coffee-smokiness to cleanse the palate.

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Imperial Porter (Brewmaster Reserve) from Full Sail Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 112 ratings