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
Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 112
Photo of broken22
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours out with just a skim of head on the surface. The smell is a sweet, a little hoppy, and a little bit of smoke. The flavor is well balanced. The hops and smoke are really working together and create some nice bitters on the finish. The mouthfeel has an excellent initial bite and is full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall I think this is a fantastic American Porter. I really like the flavor of this beer. The flavor profile kind of dances about your mouth from initial filling up your mouth all the way through until after you've swallowed. Full Sail did a great job with this beer.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an absolute pitch black color into a snifter from a 22 oz bomber. The label read that it was a 2011 brewmasters reserve, with 7.5% ABV.
Thin film of a head that was a nice dark tan color and dissipated fairly quickly.
Steady and continuous stream of bubbles appearing at the center of the liquid surface.
Aroma is a nice blend of dark chocolate, cocoa, with hints of dark roasted malts and some smokiness. There are hints of sweetness emanating from the alcohol that are noticeable intermittently.
This is an almost full bodied porter. The bitterness is evident upfront which is slowly taken over by a mild sweetness towards the finish (finish is almost dry), which is again replaced by mild lingering bitter aftertaste. The taste just gets better and better as the beer warms up.
Good mouthfeel and drinkability considering the somewhat higher ABV.
A very good imperial porter, and considering the price at which I bought it, I think I wouldn't getting another at a later time.
Definitely worth a try.

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

A: Poured from the bomber into a Sam Smith's nonic-type pint glass. Body is pure black with a 1-finger chocolate brown head. Settles fairly quickly.

S: Roasted barley, some charcoal. Not terribly strong in the nose, but what I'm smelling is perfectly appropriate for a porter.

T: Nice. Roasted barley malt, charcoal. Some fruitiness as it warms, and a touch of chocolately malt lingers on the aftertaste, along with a good roasty bitterness. Becomes more chocolatey as it warms up.

M: Smooth - smoother than expected for a porter, for some reason. Carbonation seems a bit light. Heft is medium in weight.

O: A nice porter. True to style with roasted characteristics and a touch of char.

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Photo of soze47
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice cheap bomber at the store around the corner from my house. $5.25 for this bomber is a good deal. Poured into a SA Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark, deep brown with almost no light getting through the body. Very pretty creamy head develops and sticks around.

Aroma: I get sweet chocolate, slight coffee bitterness, and some nutty roastiness. Very sweet, but enough bitterness holds it down well.

Taste: Not really all that sweet when compared to the nose. Chocolate tastes go towards the dark side. The coffee flavors in the nose also seem to get much darker. That nuttiness is only around at first. Pretty dark roast, almost burned bitterness lingers, which isn't all that great and begs for another drink to squelch the bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is pretty loose and easy drinking for such a thick beer. It achieves a creamy, easy drinking quality. The bitter linger does accumulate towards the end of the bomber, so after one, you are done with this beer.

Overall: Not bad for the price. Really better when cold and at temperatures where the sweetness can battle with the heavier bitter notes.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to rageagainst123 for this bottle!!

A - Pours black, with a nice viscosity. The head was a dark tan color, 2-3 fingers, very fluffy and creamy. Left nice creamy lacing and streaking.

S - A good bit of chocolate on the nose...dark, roasty chocolate and roasted malts. Hints of sweetness and brown sugar. Slightly toasty. Not a hugely potent aroma, but it's very nice.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, nice subtle coffee notes, and hefty bits of roastiness. Slight caramel and toffee.

M - Bit thinner mouthfeel than it seemed it would be. More medium bodied, with a decent carbonation. Lightly creamy.

O - Drinkability is pretty good; the bomber will be cake. It's a solid Imperial Porter, but 1's a good enough treat though.

Thanks for this Ryan!

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Brewmaster Reserve
Pours a dark chocolate color but black in the glass up to the light. Nice solid foamy khaki head with ok retention and nice lacing.

Notes of dark chocolate, a touch of caramel and a hint of bourbon on the nose. Standard.

Slightly sweet roasted malt up front transitioning to bitter chocolate. Not as much flavor depth as anticipated. And I don't really see there being much complexity with age.

Mouthfeel is full bodied yet very smooth and creamy. Nice, with good carbonation.

Overall I'd say I had slightly higher hopes for this beer, but that doesn't mean it's not good. I just expect a little more complexity from a "brewmaster reserve." Maybe the generous price tag of $3.79 is an indication? But at that price, and being a "good" beer it's a no brained to forget about a few in the cellar and try again in the future.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A - Thick, root beer style tan head, black as all get out. Head lingers.

S - Burnt malt and coffee.

T - Unfortunately, burnt malt and coffee. Very one dimensional beer. Thin in all other respects.

M - Burnt malt and coffee. Carbonation is good.

D - know the rest.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.74/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pitch black color with a 1 inch beige head that fades to a thin cap. Nice rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark roasted malt, cocoa nibs, and earth/dirt. Taste is very much the same. Burnt roasted malt, straight cocoa nibs, and an earthy dirt like taste. Not very good at all. There is a weird burnt/mineral aftertaste on the palate after each sip. This beer has low carbonation making for a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, the best things going for this beer are the appearance and mouthfeel. The smell and taste are not very pleasant in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend this one unless you like your porter with an emphasis on earthy tastes.

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

I just finished writing a long e-mail, it's time for a beer;

Black is the theme for the color. Towards the bottom of the glass shows a little ruby red hue. The foam is semi-creamy, leaving off some slightly tanned lacing that sticks to the glass. I'm not as huge on hopped porters as others may be, but I like it in the nose. The hops smell like whole cones with a little edge of metallic (in a good way) and hemp. Enough roastiness gives the impression of coffee, a kiss of sweetness here and around, and there's a small smokiness making its presence. Good start so far, let's keep it rolling.

This usually high hopped porter may have you thinking that it's really an India Dark Ale. To be fair, as the beer enters, you're thinking porter all the way with its roasty/sweet combination, then comes the invsaion of the hops; it acts more like hop juice as it sits in my mouth and covers up much of the traditional porter characteristics. Now I'm starting to think IDA. Body seems medium-full with a very smooth, thickish feeling. Ligering in the aftertaste are the hops and a smidge of roast.

I like hops, though I prefer less of them in my porter, thank you. Still an adequate beer overall, though if you like hops in all things, then this could be your beach.

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Photo of DrJay
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Basic black with a thin tan/brown cap. It looked pret thick during the pour. Lots of lacing, decent head retention. Moderate bitterness, lots of citrus. Nice roasty aroma, toffee and chocolate notes, light leafy/citrusy hops. The flavour had some caramel and nutty maltiness, mild roast, grapefruit, faint alcohol. Dry, malty texture, medium plus body with lowish carbonation. I liked it. Pretty tasty and quite drinkable.

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Photo of CapitalGains
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Refrigerated 2011 reserve series 22 oz. bomber poured into a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald pint glass.

A: Pours a very deep brown, almost entirely black mass of liquid, minimal lacing that fades quickly with a caramel color. Very little carbonation.

S: Mixture of sweet and roasty malts. Prominent hints of chocolate and perhaps a bit of coffee. Smell overall seemed lacking.

T: Toffee, bitter chocolate (not too bitter), and again a mix of sweet and roasty malts. Notes of coffee and brown sugar are present but not not eminent.

M: Thin mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. Goes down easier than anticipated.

O: A decent porter but there are better year-round porters on the market. To me nothing made this stand out to the point where I would buy it over something like Black Butte, Edmund Fitz, etc. Although at $4-5 for a bomber it's a good value. I think the pre-fix "Imperial" is a bit misleading in this beer.

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

2011 release. Poured a very dark cola brown into a tulip with a finger of dark khaki head. Very roasty aroma dominated by sweet cocoa and a little bit of coffee.

Moderate carbonation and a somewhat syrupy, slightly thin mouthfeel. Bitter chocolate flavor followed by mild caramel sweetness and a roasty (if slightly over-extracted) espresso quality on the finish.

Alcohol is well-masked and this porter drinks pretty easy. Good but not stellar, although the price was right. The bourbon barrel version of this porter from previous years was pretty top-notch, though, so I'm looking forward to that half of this year's batch.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.6/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

3.99 for a 22oz bomber in Las Vegas. Completely opaque in my highball glass, but not black and oily, forming a light tan head with good retention and adequate lacing. Moderate carbonation. The nose opens with fresh resinous herbal hops followed by nice fruity apple, pineapple and mango esters sitting on top of a burnt marshmallow, black walnut, and cocoa powder. Suggestion of coffee. Chalky mouthfeel with a medium body. Acidic and tart from the get go with very obvious yeast autolysis, fusel alcohols, and isopropyl bitterness. Bitterness is unbalanced, acrid, and unpleasant. The hops have a very strong vegetable/grassy grossness which is totally inappropriate.

I don't know how this is any different from a robust american stout, and it's a bad one at that. A drain pour of a beer. Very disappointed.

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

Now this is a good porter!

A: Black, tan head, some retention, incredible lace.

S: Smoky-roasted malt, dark bread, brown sugar, light spice.

T: Very bready with a light smoke, molasses, licorice and hints of cocoa, tobacco, balanced bitterness, alcohol is incredibly well-hidden. No cellaring necessary.

M: Moderate-to-full body is extremely smooth with a light acidity.

O: Well-crafted, easy drinking.

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

Light creamy darker head about 1/4 of a finger, light lacing, essentially midnight black color, doesn't seem pitch black but no real light coming through.

Nose has some nice roasty malts, dark malts, light coffee, nice dark and baker's chocolate, some dark oats, some light earthy hops, a bit of roasty malt bitter like aromas, touch of smoke, no booze.

Taste starts with coffee, roasted malts, oats, creamy, a touch of burnt coffee rinds, a bit sweet, just a touch of booze, light vanilla and caramel, nice dark malts, feels just a bit light on the overall malt bill and body, but otherwise tastes great. Finishes slightly sticky, still a bit sweet, plenty of dark malts, more coffee, a bit of chocolate, and caramel all lingering.

Mouth seems medium to heavier bodied, but still feels a bit flat and missing some overall malts, decent carbonation.

Overall it's pretty decent, a great flavor, touch of off flavors with some burnt coffee, and just light on the overall malts, but great nose and tasty.

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Photo of Rizalini
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured froma bomber into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours black, with a 1 finger brown head that leaves spotty lacing.

S - Chocolate, and hops hit the nose on first sniff. On the 2nd sniff, I pick up a nice roasty malt aroma.

T - Lighter on the pallete than the smell would lead on, but still has a decent character of hops, and roasty malts. Leaves a slight coffee aftertaste.

M - Medium mouthfeel, with average carbonation.

O - As a porter, this brew is good, but imperial? I mean it is a 7.5%, but you wouldn't know it from drinking it. It is very drinkable, and at the great value, I might buy another one, but I've definately had better imperial porters.

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Photo of philbertk
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full Sail Brewing Company--Imperial Porter--Seasonal--1997 12 oz. Bottle. 6.50% ABV. (4.25 / 5.0)

Full Sail Brewing Company--Imperial Porter--Seasonal--Reserve--1998 12 oz. Bottle. 7.00% ABV-- 60 IBU’s. (4.75 / 5.0) Clear ebony color. Rich roasted nut coffee flavor. True Imperial. Body balanced by 60 IBU’s of hops. Chocolate butter notes develop. Finishes dry. Sampled 1/15/1999.

Full Sail Brewing Company--Imperial Porter--Seasonal--Reserve 1999. 12 oz. Bottle. 7.00% ABV--60 IBU’s. (4.5 / 5.0) Porter--Imperial--Clear deep dark red color. Hoppy chocolate front. Creamy smooth toasted body. Big balanced chocolate IPA. Sampled 1/18/2000.

Full Sail Brewing Company--Imperial Porter-Brewer’s Reserve Series 2003 2003 22 oz. Yes 7.00% 4.75 / 5.0 Porter--Imperial Light espresso lacy head.Opaque dark deep black color.Burnt smoky floral hop front.Dry sweet burnt bisquit cherry caramel body with minor cocoa notes. Clean dry earthy balanced hot hop end. A favorite. Sampled 7/12/2003.

Full Sail Brewing Company--Top Sail Imperial Porter Brewmaster Reserve 2007. 22 oz. Bottle. 7.50% ABV--45 IBU’s? (3.25 / 5.0) Porter--Imperial. 4 @ $3.99 Each. Lacy tight brown head. Clear opaque obsidian red color. Toasted black cherry fruit hop front. Sweet mild creamy roasted fruity body. Clean mild hot hop spice fruit ester end. Rich Off Sweet Brew. Sampled 1/8/2008. Stored Poorly.

Full Sail Brewing Company--Top Sail Imperial Porter Brewmaster Reserve--2007 22 oz. Bottle. 7.50 ABV%--45 IBU’s? (4.5 / 5.0) Porter--Imperial. 2 @ $3.99. Refrigerated. Thin lacy espresso head. Clear obsidian red hint color. Rich chocolate hop front. Dry sweet crisp mild creamy rich chocolate biscuit body. Tangy malt hop spice balanced mild EtOH end. Tangy tasty Big Porter. Sampled 1/22/2008. Stored Correctly.

Full Sail Brewing Company--Imperial Porter-Brewmaster Reserve--"An Amplified Robust Porter With A Deep Black Color, A Roasty Malt Flavor And A Rich Malt Sweetness That's Smooth And Drinkable. A Hearty Cellar Beer"--2011 22 oz. Bottle. 7.50% ABV. 60 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Dark black pour. Lacy half inch dark espresso head. Opaque dark jet black color. Rich chocolate espresso hop front. No sediment. Mildly textured dry sweet rich roasted burnt earthy hint dry rich espresso body. Rich dry burnt roasted malt flavors. Very mild sweetness. Dry slightly cloying bitter roast mild hop clean smooth end. Rich dry Robust Porter. Big without being too thick or sweet. Sampled 4/15/2011. Purchased for $5.49 at The Ballard Market, Seattle on 4/15/2011.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

About five years ago I was able to tour this brewery in the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. I really liked the spirit of this employee owned brewery and their love for the craft. Their tasting bar overlooks the Columbia river.

I poured this reserve into a pint glass with a one finger head. It dissipated into a halo after about a minute.

The aroma had a freshness to it, some hoppiness, and the coffee really came through.

I was surprised how thin the body was. It was thinner than even Guinness.

On my first taste, all I could get out of it was coffee. It was a little burnt. On the back end the coffee stayed with a decent amount of bitterness. The hops didn't really come through in the flavor.

I bought this last fall and aged it for about seven months. The label said that this was good for cellaring, and I felt like a steak on the grill would be a good time.

After I finished this beer, I noticed some beautiful yellow lacing.

I wanted this beer to be so much more than it was. I hope my next Full Sail will be better.

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Photo of Spider889
4.39/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one of the bottles sent to me by JohnGalt1. What a great box of new beers for me.

Live review after a long night's work. 2011 bottling.

Pours a thick viscous ropey black. I had to extend my reach a couple feet above my Duvel tulip to coax a meager half finger of head. What did emerge was a dark truffle powder brown color. Small bubbles formed a dense wall of foam that didn't give way until I began to drink from my glass. Spotty lace, but it's there. Not bad at all.

The smell was fantastic. This is what porters ought to smell like. Very few come so close to full-blown porter perfection. For us in the Great Lakes region, Edmund Fitzgerald is the obvious benchmark for what a porter should be. Fitz is still the best, but this one is right up there in the aroma dept.

Lots of dark roast black coffee aroma drifts upward from my tulip. Then as I take a deep breath I can smell really heavy char - blackened wood, burnt toast, and an almost smokey ash-like attribute. I'm sure that such a strong roast will repel some, but for me a porter isn't done well unless you get those amazing coffee and roasted aromas.

The taste follows suit. The coffee flavors remind me of how coffee smells when you stick your nose into a bag of freshly ground dark beans. The char is present as well. My complaint here is that the flavor is too one-dimensional. A little chocolate or sweetness might really round out this beast.

Mouthfeel is pretty heavy as far as porters are concerned, exactly how I like it. The closer a porter is to a stout the more I tend to like them! Very dry, with bitter ashy flavors lingering long after each sip. The alcohol is very well masked, and I will happily finish off this bomber myself tonight.

Overall a wonderful porter. This is a porter worth seeking out.

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Photo of Japerrault
2.98/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Black, with a thin tan head which left nice lacing.

S: Malty, Roasted, Dark cocoa, and maybe a little raisin.

T: Tartness present at first, balanced with a little light sweetness. Flavors of unsweetened chocolate, and dark roasted grain. Medium bitterness in the finish.

M: Fairly light bodied, medium carbonation. Overall decent feel for the style.

O: Nice porter with flavors and aromas heavy on Roasted malt and the bitterness that goes with it. Not a beer to guzzle, definitely a sipper.

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Photo of bum732
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

S: Roasty dryness, slight dark fruit component.

L: DArk black, light tan head that dissipates, solid lacing.

T: Roasty dry malt, semi-sweet coffee leading to medium-high bitterness. Earthy bitterness, quite pungent. Roasty almost, ashy finish.

M: Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

Ok effort, very one noted, a lot of roastiness and that's about it.

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Photo of Buebie
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bomber into an oversized snifter. Produces about an inch of brown froth that settles somwhat quickly to leave a generous cap of retention. color is black, no light penetration. Aroma cold is lacking stregth. oats and chocolate grain are what come to mind for aroma.
bitter chocolate grain flavors, a small chalky flavor, which I guess to be hops, that turns a little aspirin like. oats again, and a very creamy thick texture with medium carbonation.
A solid contender for the style, but somthing I would seek out,

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

poured from 22oz 2011 reserve.

Pours very dark brown, almost black. Reasonable head with a pretty aggressive pour very nice lacing and good staying power for the thin head that remained.

Nice blend of chocolate, toasted malt, molasses, with a dry finish. Mouthfeel is similar to full sail's bourbon barrel-aged offshoot, but the lower ABV here makes the balance a little better.

A nice middle-of-road porter. Maybe not fully sessionable, but it'd be a fine couple of pints with some fish and chips!

I had to go back and check my review of the bourbon barrel aged for comparison. In some ways, I liked this beer better, but I suspect the bourbon barrel will age into a much superior product.

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Photo of oberon
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a imperial nonic a near jet black with a thinner but well sustained off white head,aromas were a bunsh of different things,bitter chocolate,dark fruit,and dark roast coffee dominate,all come together really well.The palate is even more complex in my mind than the aromas,heavy roast and dark fruit hit up front with big earthy tones wich is more like a left coast style porter,the finish has lingering tobacco and sweet alcohol.Complex and big,it was a joy to drink.

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

Pours a thin layer of caramel-brown head over a very dark liquid. Dark brown edgings when held to light. Smells clean alcohol, dark heavy oak, burnt marshmallow, mild vanilla, and mild chocolate. Later sniffs give fennel and a touch of caramel.

Tastes strong vanilla, smooth chocolate, mild cherry (nearly lacking the cherry sour), bourbon oak, and raspberry. Pretty dry, which allows the oak to stand out stronger than I would like. The alcohol is not as hot as I was expecting from the nose. It's there, but it isn't stingy and off-putting. Thick slick mouthfeel, even though the malt is dry. Hangs wet in the mouth in contrast to drying oak and alcohol flavor. Nice contrast that should develop over time. I'm glad I drank it fresh and hope I can find a couple more bottles to put away. Barrel-aged Full Sail offerings seems to stand up each time.

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