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

very good
91 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 91 |  Reviews: 68
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.

 851 characters

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.

 410 characters

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

 517 characters

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.

 757 characters

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.

 714 characters

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.

 671 characters

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.

 338 characters

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.

 727 characters

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.

 763 characters

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.

 663 characters

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!

 1,145 characters

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.

 793 characters

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!

 785 characters

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.

 602 characters

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.

 697 characters

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!

 849 characters

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.

 528 characters

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.

 535 characters

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.

 612 characters

Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a syrupy black into a tulip with a finger of light mocha head.

Strong aroma of oaky bourbon and vanilla along with a hint of sweet cherry, cocoa, and alcohol. Moderately high carbonation helps balance the syrupy consistency and provides a lively if somewhat thin mouthfeel.

Strong rush of bourbon flavor up front, balanced with dry cocoa, a bit of creamy caramel sweetness, and slightly bitter roasted malts. Nice oaky finish with a bit of the dark fruit hinted at in the initial aroma.

Bold, complex, and extremely tasty -- I love the flavors imparted by the bourbon barrel aging. Well done, Full Sail!

 613 characters

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

A: Pours an effervescent dark brown, capped by a half finger brown head. Head dissipates fairly quickly but some light lacing is left behind.

S: Bourbon heavy up front, with vanilla and oak making themselves known. Sweet chocolate and dark fruits - figs and cherries - follow behind, along with some oats and booziness in the background.

T: Bourbon and oak lead the charge again but it clears out mid-sip, allowing a host of other flavors to come through. Chocolate makes itself known right away along with vanilla, backed up by the aforementioned dark fruits and some caramel/toffee tastes. Finish is a bit roasty with coffee notes, along with light bourbon.

M: Solid body with moderate carbonation, very smooth.

D: Alcohol is pretty evident, which combines with the strong bourbon flavors to make it a definite sipper.

 824 characters

Photo of vkv822
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with a thin dark toffee colored head that dissipates quite quickly.
The smell is of dark roasty, almost astringent, malts and oak, but is covered by a strong boozy aroma, that quite frankly leaves me a bit apprehensive for the first drink.
The flavor is a very nice mixture of oak, dark fruits, dark chocolate and roasted malts but is very quickly over-powered by a very boozy, bourbon flavor.
The mouthfeel is a bit thin for such a rich and robust beer.
While the complex flavors are quite enjoyable, the overbearing bourbon aroma and flavor drop the drinkability for me quite a bit, as well as the thin mouthfeel. Although I must say that as this warms, the boozy flavor does mellow out a little bit, allowing for the other flavors to come through.

 832 characters

Photo of dwilson01
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, this brew is midnight black in color, it's more dark and dense looking than the black writing on my glass. The head was small and dissipated quickly, a dark chocolate mocha color.

In the smell I pick up an initial alcohol and wood scents combined for a nice burn to the nostrils. Small amount of coffee, and almost a nutty smell (freshly crushed walnuts).

The flavor profile of this brew is fricken extensive, the aging process definitely imparted some amazing qualities to it. The initial part is a smooth thick expresso and dark milk chocolate. The estery oak flavor comes out in full force and gives you an awesome bite which I love. The woodiness and the alcohol give way in the very end to a molasses and black cherry flavor which leaves you with a great aftertaste. They say figs on the bottle which I think is what I'm picking up in the end but to be honest I don't know what figs taste like so from my experiences it imparts that darker fruity cherry/currant flavor.

The mouthfeel is awesome, it's thick and molassesy, a dense malty cherry alcohol bomb of a beer. So smooth and yet so aggressive from the alcohol at the same time it makes the drinkability quite a dilemma to rate. I love it for sure but there is no way you could chug this beer, small sips, savor it while it lasts

 1,352 characters

Photo of Mdog
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Big oaky bourbon aroma, boozy.

Taste: Dark chocolate, then plenty of vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrel.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected.

Drinkability: The somewhat light body and good taste along with Full Sail's low price ($4.99 for this bomber) is a good combination.

This barrel-aged beer is a tasty one and probably the lowest-priced barrel-aged beer I've seen. It gives all the bourbon flavor you would expect, with a good dark chocolate base from the porter. Recommended!

 526 characters

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

A: The pour is a deep black color with a solid chocolate colored head on top.

S: The bourbon is evident in the nose along with some mild chocolate, vanilla, and quite a bit of char.

T: Very heavy char and roast flavors to the beer which are underlain by a bit of sweet vanilla. A pronounced bourbon and alcohol flavor provide more barrel characteristics. The chocolate flavor is smooth and slightly sweet.

M: The body seems a bit thin to me, for an "imperial porter", anyway. The carbonation is subtle, which seems appropriate.

D: I had very little in the way of expectations when I opened this beer, and it's a good thing. This one just wasn't really all that great, and the charred oak flavor is just a bit much.

 718 characters

Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter (Brewmaster Reserve 2010) from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
3.77 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More