Full Sail Brewing Co. has a series of brews called Brewmaster Reserve that continues to impress me. Last year's Keelhauler Scottish Ale had me running back to the store for a few extra bottles. Last fall, The Rhino had a keg of the Lupulin Fresh Hop Ale that was a fantastic showcase of hop aroma and bitterness. Last Friday, also at the Rhino, we ran across Full Sail's latest Brewmaster Reserve, Top Sail Bourbon Imperial Porter.
Truth be told, I didn't realize it was a bourbon porter until reading about it the next day, not that this is a bad thing. I've enjoyed the explosion of beer aged in bourbon and other oak barrels over the past year, but some have been a bit over the top on bourbon. Top Sail was aged for 10 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky, but this added character without stealing the show. Then again, I'll admit to having had a very nice dinner and a beer or two before trying this one, so that might explain a thing or two as well.
[Note: this is a corrected version which amends the % abv thanks to a kind note from Stephanie, one of the "ever-so lucky Full Sail employee owners."]
Name: Top Sail Bourbon Imperial Porter
Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR.
Style: Imperial Porter aged in oak.
Color: Dark brown to black; off white head.
Packaging: draft and 22oz bottles.
Stats: 9.85% abv, 65 IBU.
Bought: The Rhino, Missoula.
Ruling: Four out of Five Hops. Delicious imperial porter.