Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

very good
67 Reviews
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Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010)Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010)

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

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.85%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
After its initial release in February 2009, Top Sail was aged for about 10 months in Bourbon casks from Kentucky.

Added by beertunes on 02-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 90
Photo of mothman
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very thing ring of tan head. Color is pretty much black.

Aroma: Tons of cocoa and chocolate. Bourbon shows decently with some oak and vanilla. A light roast here. This is definitely smelling like a desert beer.

Taste: Wow, the cocoa flavors are unlike any other. Cocoa and chocolate. Roasted malts. Some caramel. Bourbon kick with some vanilla. Oaky.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, and a bit warming. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a really big surprise from full sail. This beer was actually enjoyable. Granted the price is a bit high, this beer has a lot of flavor. Gotta give em props for this one.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the bottle a deep, opaque jet black, with maybe an inch of medium-dark brown foam. Nice aromas of bourbon, cocoa, vanilla and oak. Some good roasted malt flavors, along with strong dark coffee, bourbon, chocolate and roasted malt. A nicely composed beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a whim one day when nothing else looked appealed & heck, always nice to have another barrel-aged something or other on local shelves. Being a relative unknown, this one lingered for quite a while; I bet I could still find it in some random corner of the Cities. Split with my wife, hoping our depressing beer night gets a little better.

Pour is imperial black, only the ring-around-the-rosie head shows any sign of color, & that's a dark tan. Nose offers up a harsh shot of charred wood & a bit of vanilla. The base beer isn't in evidence.

Top Sail BA Porter is a toasted-loving beer guy's wet dream; there's enough char here to start a grill (you know, the old ones, not the ones you press a button to start). Harsh, violent char gives a shiv to the tongue & buries the other, more forgiving characteristics of the brew; even the bourbon takes a back seat. The Kentucky-sippin' adds another layer of harsh; man, I can feel the rough edges getting sand-blasted off my cheek & gums. There are hints of earthiness, chocolate cake, nougat nuttiness. A healthy breath of alcohol sweeps into the back-end & actually smooths out the smouldering forest. I'm going to be sipping this one for a while.

Good beer. Doesn't reach up & shake my world, but the extreme char of this porter appeals to me, & I like the jolt-on-jolt that the bourbon adds. Not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of robbrandes
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 reserve.

Pours very dark brown, almost black. Relatively thin head w/an aggressive pour. Aroma is a nice mingling of molasses, smokiness and alcohol. The bourbon barrel aging almost comes off as a pleasant, faintly red-wine-ish aroma.

Nice toasted malt assertiveness and molasses. The alcohol is a bit astringent, I'm curious to see how it ages with another year or two. Mouthfeel is good, not great, a bit thin for a porter.

Overall, a nice, big beer. Certainly worth a try or two.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of ehammond1
2.39/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

Liquor Stop
San Marcos, CA

A vigorous pour leaves little hint of carbonation. There's some bubbling and an extremely thin head but this beer has a distinct lack of carbonation. The beer is beautiful and menacing all at the same time; it has a shimming black as night body. Very little lacing. Other than the color, very disappointing.

The aroma is an interesting combination. The strong punch of bourbon is here initially, melting away into strong scents of chocolate and raisins. There's some wood in here as well and an earthy sweetness. (When I smell this, I kind of wish this was a dessert cake/ breakfast pastry instead of a beer (blasphemous?). I wish there was significantly less bourbon and even more malt character in the nose, as the bourbon is clearly front and center.

The barrels as opposed to the beer take center stage here. The initial flavors are of Kentucky bourbon and oak and then the warm alcohol. The porter is lost underneath. There's some malt character of chocolate and toffee, but I really have to search for it.

Perhaps if it were better carbonated I'd have experienced a better taste and mouthfeel, but it is what it is, and this one doesn't score particularly well with me.

Not particularly drinkable or enjoyable. Unfortunately, in this beer's case, I think a decent porter was actually made significantly worse by aging it in bourbon barrels.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It was short-lived and left little lacing.

S - Strong vanilla aroma. Bourbon and oak is present but not as strong as the vanilla.

T - This is a vanilla-forward bourbon barrel aged beer. Some chocolate, roasted malt and some mild oak flavors.

M - It was a little light bodied for the stye, but still smooth and crisp.

D - This is a nice bourbon barrel aged brew. Again, it was vanilla dominant.

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Photo of sqquuee
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled mine to 55 degrees.

Cracked the top and even before i poured it the bourbon and toffee where apparent.

Appearance- Color is a great deep dark black with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass. Almost completely opaque. Not much foam on this. Pours a sort of cream colored / slightly tan color.

Aroma- Toffee, vanilla/oak, malt, bourbon. Fantastic!

Taste- At just shy of 10% alc the boozy warmth is apparent. But not over done. Firm malt flavor on the front of the tasting. Roasted notes followed by vanilla and then the bourbon lets you know its there on the finish. I can only think what the flavors will do in 6months with age.

Mouthfeel- Full, low carbonation. But by no means flat. Silky.

Over all a very rich beer. Fantastic winter warmer.
I can only have a 22oz bomber at a go. Full sail has done a great job with this beer.

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Photo of leedorham
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Super dark brown with light tan head. Surprisingly good lacing.

S - Boozy and alcoholic with sweetness in the background.

T - Some caramel character with the bourbon definitely noticeable. Not much in the way of hops.

M - feels a bit hotter than 10%. Thin bodied for an imperial offering.

D - I found it to be a definite sipper. A bit too alcohol-forward. Cellaring the other that I bought for a year.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased for $10.79 for a 22 oz. bottle.

A: black, opaque, poured with thin head that quickly dissipated
S: very strong Bourbon nose with noticeable malt backbone
T: strong (but not overpowering) Bourbon taste upfront with a good roasted malt base, nice hop finish that was not overly bitter like a lot of American beers of this ABV tend to be
M: surprisingly thinner mouthfeel, not at all bad but expected a bit more roundedness
D: this one is drinkable know and probably will age OK but not for an extended period

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Photo of ZAP
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep brown bordering on black with reddish hues..

S-Very boozy...alcohol laden aroma...dark chocolate bourbon balls...malt reminds of molasses....hints of oak, vanilla, black cherries, figs, and raisins..

T-Smoother than the aroma leads you on....more of a milk chocolate Easter Bunny base with some very enjoyable oak, vanilla and nougat. Also lighter notes of molasses, and bourbon...

M-Mildly disappointing...medium bodied (I expected more)very flat which gives it an even thinner impression.. Smooth though with just a little boozy bite on the finish which is much appreciated.

D-Very nice, enjoyable beer that really grew on me as I sipped it. Really a nice flavor. Which it had a little more heft to the body but that's about hte only complaint.

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Photo of jera1350
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid brownish black in color with a mocha brown colored head that is creamy but small. A little lacing.

Tons of milk chocolate in the nose with a a solid oaky bourbon presence as well. Good dose of sweetness.

Big time flavors going on. Lots of chocolate, espresso and bourbon with a big hit of vanilla. Deep roasted malts, charred oak and burnt caramel round out the flavor profile. Not short on taste with a strong complexity.

The body is just too thin and a touch watery. Undercarbonated as well, but it's not enough to take away much from the overall beer.

Drinks as well as a nearly 10% beer can. This is a really nice barrel aged porter. Tons of flavor, especially the bourbon. Well done and recommended.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a Globe glass. From Notes.

A-- Poured black. Very late erupting dark brown head that quickly dropped to film. A bit of retention but not a lot. No carbonation.

S-- Bourbon, oak, vanilla, stewed figs. Sweet nose with the bourbon and figs being most dominant smell. Quite sweet smell.

T-- Bourbon and vanilla with some figs.

M-- Chocolate, oak, roasted fig, and mocha. Medium low carbonation and very heavy feel. Bourbon and vanilla finish. Alcohol is very obvious in the mouth.

D-- A little harsh with the bourbon. A bit boozy. Smells sweet but actually not sweet tasting. Very much a sipper and worth cellaring to see what happens. Not bad at all.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown color with a light mocha head. The nose brings forth a good dose of bourbon along with some light oak, roasted malt, and hints of coffee. The taste is dominated by the bourbon, but it's pretty smooth overall. Good semi-hot mouthfeel with a nice body. Drinks very well; glad they put this out.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Black as night. Only the smallest tan head formed.

S - There is a lot going on in here: toffee, coffee, brown sugar and rich malt. Overall a rich scent that can get too much for me, but still impressive.

T - Sweet malt, toffee and alcohol, . Long lasting aftertaste of alcohol. Unfortunately the alcohol dominates the taste.

M - Heavy body, almost syrupy and silky smooth. Low carbonation. For awhile after, my mouth had that hot alcohol feel in it.

D - Share it with friends. 22 oz is a lot in one sitting. This is perfect for sipping over a couple hours in front of the fireplace on a cold day. I could go without the heavy aftertaste, but that seems to be par for this style.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to foofaa for sharing this at the epic stout tasting - poured chilled in a tulip.

A big brown shade of ale with an opaque clarity, lace clings well and the bead is fine. The smell has a lot of dried fruit and light bourbon w/ subtle notes of oak and dark malt. The feel is strong and moderately bitter w/ a mildly astringent woodiness on the palate.

The flavor has a nice cohesion of bourbon barrel and a slight malt toastiness with slight berry and gentle raisin from the yeast. The blend of the wood and malt is terrific and the wood actually stands out slightly over the base beer in this. A good Imperial Porter and the barrel aging adds to the overall beer, the strength is not too over the top for the style and I found this to be very drinkable.

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Photo of msmezher
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had Top Sail's Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter the other afternoon and was pretty impressed. I'm a sucker for barrel aged beers, I'm a big fan of whiskey and scotch and love a good oaky finish.
This aged porter pours black with dark reddish hues around the edges when held to light. Fairly carbonated for a strong aged beer, and a finger or so of head appeared as I poured.
In terms of flavor this beer presents strong roasted malts and coffee tastes. Very full flavored, without feeling too heavy and the 22oz bottle went down easily, and I wouldn't have noticed how alcoholic the beer was but for reading the label.

This is one to try and save, a very solid choice.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing this bomber on 9/27/10.

A - Poured a black liquid with deep burgundy trim and a thin burnt tan cap that reduced to a patchy veil and deposited a bit of stringy lace around the glass.

S - Like Jim Lahey, I swear I could hear the contents of my glass utter the phrase: "I am the liquor." The sucker's got a huge bourbon presence, while faint hints of vanilla, wood and coconut are relegated to the background. Dare I say this is perhaps too bourbon forward?

T - Strong and boozy with a domineering bourbon character. Although some vanilla sweetness creeps in, the warm sting of alcohol is everpresent. Finishes with a hint of wood and a pleasant toasted coconut character that was unexpected. Did I mention bourbon too?

M - Medium bodied with a silky texture, perhaps a tad thin for such a hefty brew. Carbonation offers a hint of bristle on the tongue. Finishes with a warm alcohol burn and a splash of residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Easily one of the strongest bourbon beers I've had, although it was still fairly drinkable considering. Tone down the bourbon just a notch or two, and you've got a winner!

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Photo of jdense
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle obtained from Bella's in The Big, shared with buddy 9.22.2010.

A bit over a finger of dark tan/brown head, medium dissipation, average lacing over dark brown opaque body, some rising carbonation visible when held close to light. Huge-*ss chocolate hit in the nose, more of a cocoa nibs than bittersweet aroma, some vanilla from barrel aging and a bit of alcohol burn in the nose. Taste mirrors nose, chocolate goodness, a wee bit of oak from barrels but more vanilla and alcohol burn in finish. Medium-full mouthfeel with decent effervescence. Pretty drinkable despite high ABV. I think this needs a bit more time to cure the alcohol burn, and glad I'm sitting on another bottle until the holidays. I'd like to see what food Sean Paxton would pair this with for a yummy dessert.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A - pitch black with a dark toffee-colored head, which looks very inviting.

S - immediate bourbon aroma, which is exciting to me, with some faint traces of vanilla and espresso.

T - as the smell indicated, strong bourbon is the first to hit the pallet. Then a blast of strong coffee, followed by some vanilla, a touch of chocolate, some oak and walnuts on the back.

M - carbonation is nice and the beer is delicious, but a bit thinner than expected.

D - as stated above, the bourbon is strong and dominant, which can be good to some but not so good to others. I enjoy it, along with the warmth provided by it and the ABV. However, I probably won't crack another for a year or so, but when that time comes, I'm sure this is going to be one hell of a beer!

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.28/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid black with a thin brown head that took a vigorous pour and then disappeared immediately.

S - Dark chocolate with some roasted malts. A big whiff of bourbon, oak and vanilla.

T - Heavy bourbon and oak with a slight alcohol sting. I once tried to make a bourbon beer by dumping half a shot of bourbon in a pint of porter and this is pretty close to what it tasted like. Chocolate and roasted malts are slightly noticeable but overwhelmed by bourbon and alcohol.

M - On the light side of medium with low carbonation making it almost seem flat.

D - Big and boozy. Somewhat of a bourbon mess.

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

Picked up a bomber from Bevmo in mid June for $8.99.

Beer poured black as night with a smallish brown head. Nose is heavy bourbon, with mocha and vanilla notes there. Taste is dominated by bourbon up front, with sweet chocolate and vanilla in the background. Northwest hops balance the malts pretty well. Mouthfeel is thinner than hoped, medium bodied and not overly smooth given the length of time spent aging in the bourbon barrels. Drinkability is pretty good. This brew is somewhat hot from the bourbon and could stand some more aging. Bourbon is the dominate flavor so do not go here if you are not a bourbon fan. Otherwise it is fun to try, not a bad experiment that could be improved upon.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to hopsbreath and the Support Your Team! BIF for this bottle!

Man, my man VDubb can really pick some tasty beers from my deep fridge. This selection pours a straight jet black topped by a finger of dark-ish tan foam. As the Three Degrees' "When Will I See You Again" starts up, I sniff: bourbon, oak, caramel, roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of Coca-Cola. Definitely smells like a bourbon-aged impy porter. I'd say the taste is identical were it not for the addition of cinnamon. The bourbon melds nicely with the dark elements: not too strong, but decidedly there. "Johnny B. Goode" has flared. The body is a heavy medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly grainy feel. Overall, a very tasty brew, one that I wish was more available 'round these parts. Thanks again, Jason!

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Photo of alpineclimber
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 6fl.oz bottle into chalice. A nice tan head on an impenetrable black brew. The head quickly recedes to leave some light lacing.

Smell of strong bourbon, some malty notes and heavy booze.

Taste is of nice dark upfront malt then a huge taste of bourbon. The bourbon is all encompassing. The aftertaste is very boozy, a light sweetness can be perceived in the finish.

A medium mouthfeel, something I would expect from a porter.

It's definitely a sipper, I just drank the bottle and it's gone straight to my head.

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Photo of thedindaniel
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Second time I've drank this beer.

Beer pours a dark brown, not quite black. Light tan head fades within a minute and very little lacing.

Smells of bourbon and wood. I can also pick up a bit on sweet smelling malt.

The taste is one note, all bourbon but not hints of vanilla! I can't taste anything as far as the grain bill is concerned. This could've been any style as it's been dominated by the bourbon.

Mouthfeel leaves the drinker wanting for a lot more as well. Very thin. Is this really an Imperial porter? Could've fooled me.

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Photo of Vaylaus
4.57/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Not quite opaque like an imperial porter, but dark, with a tan foamy head

S: Bourbon, with an unusual fruity smell not normally associated with a barrel aged beer

T: Hints of bourbon, with the aforementioned figs from the label on the bottle, a light chocolate sweetness. Different, but quite pleasant

M: Lighter than expected, coming across the tongue like a normal porter. Enjoyable.

D: Smooth as can be, although after an hour or so, the alcohol moves from the background to the foreground. But otherwise dangerously drinkable.

An underrated beer IMHO. A very good price for what you get. Recommended.

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Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.77 out of 5 based on 90 ratings.
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