Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)
Full Sail Brewing Company

Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Porter - Imperial
Ranked #359
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
84
Ranked #42,121
Avg:
3.61 | pDev: 18.56%
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
149
From:
Full Sail Brewing Company
 
Oregon, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  9
Gots
  30
SCORE
84
Good
Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012)
Notes:
Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 149 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of 86sportster883
86sportster883 from Maryland

3.89/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After 7+ years of aging, I found this to be an excellent beer to sit down with on a chilly winter solstice. Aroma is predominantly bourbon on first whiff, but ripe dark raisin, fig and prune also show up with both vanilla and oak. The taste is somewhere between a bourbon spiked coffee, dark dark chocolate and roasted char bitterness. The alcohol and an underlying big malt base can barely constrain the assertive bitterness and lingering finish. If you still have a bottle of this that has been reasonably looked after, I’d most certainly recommend opening it on a brisk winter weekend evening, after a long day of chores.

Dec 21, 2019
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tucson_brewson from Arizona

3.09/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle (2018 version) poured into a pint glass since the stem of my tulip glass broke.

L - Pours a dark black color with a tinge of redness in the light, a good inch of tan-mocha foam that dissipates quick and leaves a thin lacing. Slightly sudsy, looks like a good porter.

S - This one hit off the bat with a strong red wine presence at first giving off notes of sour grape, cherry, oak, then bourbon, caramel, vanilla, coconut, roasted malt, slightly smokey, dark chocolate, but overall sugary sweet.

T - The balance is off as this tastes more like a whiskey aged in beer barrels. Very strong honey, vanilla, and roasted malt up front, some chocolate and cherry in the middle, oaky bourbon finish with a strong boozy punch.

F - Medium bodied, smooth, creamy, slightly watery toward the end, very little carbonation, astringent alcoholic bite toward the end.

O - Had this one in my fridge gifted by a friend, decided to try it out on my birthday. The alcohol packs a punch although you don't feel it up front, it gives a nice warming quality. The bourbon overpowers any and all of the beer qualities, and it's almost too heavy to finish.

Dec 17, 2019
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MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

3.49/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle, 2017 batch

Pours about a finger of light brown head into my snifter, fades relatively quickly, initial lacing looks good though. Body is pitch black, visibility is zero. Looks ok, has potential.

Nose is wood, molasses, port, soy sauce. Not trying to discredit this beer too much because the sweetness and soy sauce are not uncommon, but I don’t understand how people enjoy this, I’ll be lucky if I can finish a glass.

Flavor is certainly more approachable. Sweet malt and molasses up front, a little bit of sourness, though not infected. Definitely some woody undertones. Cocoa, maybe a hair of chocolate in the finish. It has the soy sauce essence, but not really coming through on the flavor, which will save this beer entirely. Overall the flavor is not bad, a little bit too sweet for me, and while I don’t mind it here - I dunno where this tartness comes from, but it’s another thing I have tasted before in the style.

Mouthfeel is quite nice. Carbonation is medium, body provides enough weight to it, not extremely thick though. Sweetness isn’t too cloying. Tartness actually adds a nice zest here. While not what I would expect out of the style, this mouthfeel keeps things interesting.

Drinkability isn’t terribly high all around, but it isn’t bad for 10%, and it’s a lot better than it could have been.

Appearance turned out nice. Lacing was a little patchy, but made for a somewhat good looking beer.

Overall I still don’t think dark beers should be aged, and I think this beer would be way better without it. No need to destroy the nose with oxidating soy sauce. Whatever, flavor hung in there. This is complex, and not too bad.

Oct 09, 2019
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stevoj from Idaho

3.99/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of bourbon barrel and alcohol right up front, definite winter warmer material, not as smooth as Boulevard Barrel aged quad tried in same session. Pours near black, minimal head, aroma of alcohol and peat. Taste is sharp and biting right from the get go, a true sipper....

Nov 03, 2016
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GreesyFizeek from New York

2.52/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Bottle received in a recent trade as an extra.

This one pours a "light" black, with a small head, and just a small amount of lacing.

This smells like cheap harsh bourbon, chocolate syrup, and booze.

This was not done with a deft hand at all. The base beer is so thin, and watery, so the bourbon just completely dominates here, and it's a kind of cheap bourbon flavor, which is hard to get thru. There's a bit of chocolate sweetness, but there's just honestly not a whole lot to this beer.

This is pretty thin bodied, with a lower level of carbonation.

Just a really bad effort in every major category you can rate a beer in. A categorical fail here.

Oct 25, 2015
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Hoptometrist from Ohio

3.21/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a snifter glass.

A- Poured black with fluffy mocha colored head that left splashy lace.

S- Big whiskey and alcohols, some chocolate, and coconut. Very boozy aroma.

T- Dominant whiskey and alcohol notes up front, some chocolate, light roasted malt, coconut, and sweetness on the finish.

M- Medium body, soft carbonation, dry, and light warming on the finish.

O- More of a middle of the road bourbon barrel porter than a special beer. The booziness and bourbon notes are not very nuanced or balanced in the beer. Still very easy to drink, but not in the same league as other barrel aged porters or stouts I have had.

Apr 15, 2014
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Gobigvt7 from Oregon

3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Opened Jan 26, 2014, so about 14-15 months on this puppy. Into tulip.

A - Deep brown-black pour with a tan head that dissipates into tight, thin bubbles almost immediately. Doesn't seem super carbed, not necessarily a bad thing.

S - Cocoa, light toffee, some whiffs of subtle pine. Smells slightly oxidized. Some bit-o-honey.

T - This beer seems very confused as it rolls across my palate. very mild acidity up front, into dry cocoa powder, cedar, smoke & ash, vanilla, and fakey-tasting bourbon. Wood not really speaking. Hmmm. There is something strange in there too I can't put my finger on. Sawdust?

M - Surprisingly thin. Adequate carbonation, a touch sweet. I keep coming back to the lack of body.

O - The thin-ness is the real killer here, as I think if it'd been a little bigger/rounder, it would have made up for some of the strangeness of the range of flavors. Not sure what this tasted like fresh. Meh. A fun experiment, but wouldn't age this again.

Jan 27, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.39/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

strange brew has maybe not aged as gracefully as it could have. nice dark brown color and rising inch or more of tan froth after the bottle opens like a shotgun. the nose is bourbon heavy, with the barrel effects crowding out the gain. as it warms the alcohol becomes more detectable, and a slight metallic property appears. the taste is quite nice when its cold, with the barrel being evident all the way through, not just in the finish. alcohol stays hidden until it hits room temperature, and it becomes hot, real hot. also, there isnt much body on this, not quite enough to support the flavors and strength. i like the bourbon forward flavor, but the beer underneath is underwhelming. the price isnt bad though, and if you like your beer barrel heavy, this may be a solid choice for you. full sail is totally hit or miss, and this one wasnt my favorite.

Jan 03, 2014
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lordofstarside from Nevada

2.63/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber to a snifter. On sale for $6 at a liquor store. Looks like these are about 20 months old?

Pours pitch black with half a finger of foam that's receded quickly into a frothy ring. No transparency, mild carbonation, good lacing

Smell is really pungent, caught some notes cracking the cap. Strong chocolate with sharp bourbon, oak, coffee, cherry, figs, and alcohol. The smell is almost too sharp, almost burns your nose a bit

Taste is overwhelming figs, some cherry and other dark fruits, alcohol, oak, and bourbon. None of this comes together at all, trainwreck on the palate

Feel is really hot given having so much age. Sharp, thick, hard to drink. Tough not to gag

Overall I understand a store shelf isn't the best place to age something, but my god. I'll be proud of myself to finish even half this

Nov 25, 2013
Photo of Flounder57
Flounder57 from Massachusetts

3.76/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle was poured into a large Duvel snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a two finger mocha head that reduced to a puffy layer and left nice lacing on the glass. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or bubbles seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, spices, and a little smoke too.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, spices, mocha, boozy alcohol, smoke, ash, and

Mouthfeel: Smooth, boozy, full bodied, medium carbonation, and a little campfire bitterness.

Overall: A nice imperial porter that is nice with the barrel aging, but the bourbon barrel can be a little overpowering of the beers natural characteristics.

Oct 09, 2013
Photo of Sarlacc83
Sarlacc83 from Oregon

3.17/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22oz bottle at the Beermongers

A: Thick, lightless black. A thin mocha ring for a head.

N: Caramel and an overdose of vanilla. Really nice bourbon in the nose. Chocolate expressed under espresso. Brown sugar.

T: In turns bitter and sweet, though neither one takes hold nor shows much power. Oak is well-integrated.

M: Watery and not nearly as heavy as I’d like.

O: A solid rendition of the style, but it lacks complexity and oomph.

Sep 13, 2013
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger and a half high dense mocha colored head that has good retention properties and consistently left a half finger high head covering the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon are present, although no beer is noticeable—it's almost like smelling a glass of whiskey.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has noticeable traces of the underlying beer in the form of hints of chocolate malts, the latter of which become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Some alcohol warming is also present.
O: Although this beer is rather drinkable considering its strength, it tastes too much like watered down whiskey and the underlying beer isn't all that noticeable.

Note: 2012 vintage

Apr 27, 2013
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ArrogantB from Colorado

2.12/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

22oz bottle, $10.49. I haven't has this one since the 2008 edition which I enjoyed, this sucked. Aroma was a hint of wet moldy wood and straight booze. Mouthfeel was thin. Flavor had a tinge of sour and a lot of booze, extremely poor. I love bourbon barrel aged beers but very few breweries know how to pull it off. This was garbage and I couldn't even finish one snifter. I'd say I ended up pouring 19.5 ounces down the drain. Stay away from this.

Apr 22, 2013
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StArnoldFan from Texas

2.01/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2012 Reserve

22oz bomber poured into a DC Brau tulip.

Pours a dark brown almost black color with a nice thick mocha head. As I take a second look at my glass in the light I see sediment floating around throughout the glass. All I get from the nose is strong bourbon scent. The taste is just foul, somewhat sour, and mostly bourbon. Very thin, makes me think the base beer couldn't handle the barrels, or they aged it too long (the bottle says 12 months). Quite simply the worst barrel aged beer I have ever had. This is defiantly going to be a drain pour. I bought the BA porter and BA stout from Full Sail at the same time, looks like I'm just going to tuck the BA stout way in the back of the cellar and forget about it, maybe time will help it.

Apr 13, 2013
Photo of russwbeck
russwbeck from Virginia

2.71/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours out decently dark with a full hand's worth of light brown head. The retention of the head is great, and it laces here and there on the way down. Exactly what I expected the beer to look like and more. 4.5

S: Bourbon, dark fruits, and vanilla greats the nose initially. Not a lot of roast or chocolate, which I was hoping to get more of, but I do really like the hints of alcohol I'm getting. The bourbon is assertive, and slightly intrusive. 3.5

T: The taste isn't really that great. The bourbon takes the forefront again, with vanilla and an ever so slight amount of roast in the middle. The end is offensive alcohol, with some roast trying to balance it out. The balance just isn't there, and the alcohol is weirdly assertive. This needs another aspect to be considered a good bourbon barrel aged porter. 2

MF: Thin body with a normal amount of carbonation. The alcohol makes it tough to say it's all that drinkable. The aftertaste isn't the most pleasant I've come across. 2

O: Overall, not much else to say. Not a great beer for its style, but if you've never had a bourbon barrel aged porter before it wouldn't be a bad starting place.

Mar 10, 2013
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Braz from Washington

2.95/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Purchased at Tacoma Boys cause it looked interesting and I love porters. Black to dark brown in color with a tan head that's not thick but sustains well. Tastes of chocolate and booze. The high alcohol tastes ruin this for me. Tastes like porter mixed with Jack Daniels. This tastes so much like Jack Daniels or bourbon in general that I'm suspicious of the given ABV. The feel and body are great but this is whiskey beer, that for all I know could become a new genre.

Jan 21, 2013
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beergoot from Colorado

3.22/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very dark, essentially solid black body with a rich, thick, tan head. Bittersweet chocolate and figs and dates in the aroma, all wrapped up in a noticeable but acceptable alcohol presence; some roasted grains, too. Bright, somewhat sour flavors overall with a strong, boozy character; bitterness and malt notes seem secondary. A somewhat weak and fizzy feel to the beer.

A rather disappointing offering from Full Sail with this year's imperial porter. Where I would have anticipated a more malt-centric character overall, this particular beer screams with its high ABV and notes of cherries and dark fruits. with little harmony with whatever hops and malts they may have used. Personally, I think it suffers because of this. It's not a bad beer per se, just wild mish mash of crazy, non-integrated tastes with poor balance and eccentric complexity. Eh, maybe next year for something better...

Jan 14, 2013
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negroobserver from New York

3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Chilled.

The beer pours beautifully. It's very dark and pours with about 1 inch of cappucino colored head, which lingers for a bit of time and then depreciates and recedes to the edge.

The alcohol is what dominates in the aroma here. There is a light scent of chocolate / cocoa in the back end hidden behind the alcohol.

Light banana notes in the back end. Mostly coffee/chocolate/malts. There is definitely some bitterness, but not dominant.

The mouthfeel is what is to be expected of a porter, but that is part of the problem.

OVERALL... i was looking forward to this one quite a bit, but I am now a little bit disaapointed. In hindsight, I would've rather spent a few extra bucks a gotten the Allagash Curieux instead or an imperial stout. Again, not bad, just not my taste.

Jan 01, 2013
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jbphoto88 from Texas

3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Top sail pours like molten chocolate. Deep and rich, not letting much light through except on the pour where theres the thinnest amount of liquid. The head is amazingly thick and the color of cappuccino.

The nose makes things very apparent that that is a bourbon barrel aged beer. Vanilla and boozy notes with a backbone of deeply roasted grains. A good nose but there is a hint of some fruity tartness.

Wow, talk about a slip in the experience. This beer drops the ball with a thin flavor for a dark beer and especially for an imperial porter. That tartness takes over from the nose and yields a tin-like apple flavor. The bourbon vanilla notes goes into the sidecar and unfortunately doesn't reappear until the finish. Follow all of this up with metallic grains and bitter coffee. Not great.

The mouthfeel comes redeems a little but not enough to get past the poor flavor. Soft carbonation gives a smooth, creamy feel and there is a decent bourbon and grain finish but it's a lot to go through to get there. I really wanted this one to work out because it looked and smelled so good. Maybe some aging will mellow it.

Dec 27, 2012
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Rizalini from Nevada

4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber bottle into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours virtually black, with a thick brown head 1 finger head.

S - The smell is dominated by bourbon, with a slight bittersweet chocolate aroma.

T/M - The taste is barrel forward, with a tobacco/bourbon finish. There are notes of chared and chocolate malts. Medium mouthfeel, maybe slightly over carbonated. Great aftertaste.

O - Another great barrel aged release from Full Sail. I like this because the bourbon barrel is not hidden. Big bold flavors, and very easy drinkability. I will be buying this one again to age,

Dec 06, 2012
Photo of facundoCNB
facundoCNB from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a beautiful dark brown almost black pour with 2 fingers of foamy brown head.. great retention and nice lacing too. smells of vanilla, wood, raisins, bourbon, coffee, chocolate. the sweet sugary taste of bourbon that comes off as vanilla/raisins hits you immediately.. hints of cocoa, coffee, caramel in the finish.. a lovely sweet delicious treat. medium body with a thick feeling, moderate carbonation.. rich and creamy.. sticky on the lips.

this is a great beer.. my only nitpick is that i wish it was stronger on the other flavors and not just mainly bourbon. honestly though, i think this is excellent and should probably be hyped up to the point of bcbs.

Dec 04, 2012
Photo of KajII
KajII from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky dark brown almost black with an average (1-2 finger) medium brown creamy head that had great retention, eventually reducing to a thick puddled film and large collar, which in turn created some really awesome full sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a roasted dark bread malt, mild resin hops and a bold leathery yeast along with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, a bit of oak cask and a decent hint of bourbon.

The taste was a roasty and malty with a nice chocolate sweetness from the beginning, slowly progressing with a slight coffee bitterness and a mild woody alcohol finish. The flavor lasted a decently long time following the swallow, with a nice roasty alcohol warming sensation lingering on.

Mouthfeel was quite a few steps beyond medium in body with a oily and slightly dry texture and a soft carbonation.

Overall this brew settled very nicely on the taste buds, allowing for a nice robust mocha coffee taste to take hold, which just left you wanting more while doing a great job of concealing the high ABV...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews

Nov 29, 2012
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jtd1969 from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with brown head, creamy, but light lacing

S - bourbon, oak and some coffee

T - oak, bourbon, some coffee and vanilla

M - heavy medium bodied(Probably full, but had a thin feel to me), fairly smooth

O - To me the oak and bourbon really overpowered this beer. I love bourbon barreled aged beers, but this one seemed to be a tad disappointing for me. I still recommend a try or I might even age one a year and try again. Not a bad beer, just was wanting more.

Nov 06, 2012
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whoneeds8 from Texas

3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an Imperial Pint glass black with a slow forming tan head, great retention and good lacing. Scent has a strong bourbon scent with not much else. Taste really is a disappointment. I can't come to the decision if the bourbon flavor or the porter flavor is awkward. But something strange is going wrong with this beer. The porter and bourbon just isn't coming together to make a great beer. I'm thinking that the baseline porter just isn't robust enough to balance out the bourbon. Label says it was aged for 12 months, maybe that was too long. The mouth feel is medium bodied and carbonation is right on for the style.

Oct 13, 2012
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beerdrifter from Germany

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up while on vacation in Denver. Deep black pour with creamy one and a half finger tan head with great retention and crazy lacing. Huge bourbon nose with loads of mocha and oak along with hints of vanilla, toffee, and a touch of coconut and booze. The taste follows suit with the bourbon being the star once again. It's nicely complemented with hints of coffee, tobacco, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and a bit of figs and coconut as well as a touch of black licorice. The mouthfeel is creamy and surprisingly bitter and has more body than most Porters, but did seem to thin out a bit on the finish. Overall, a very well done Porter that I will definitely revisit.

Oct 12, 2012
Top Sail Imperial Porter - Bourbon Barrel Aged (Brewmaster Reserve 2012) from Full Sail Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 149 ratings