This is one of my favorite beers: the Full Sail Top Sail imperial porter. It just gets the balance between the malts and roasted flavors and the bourbon so right, and is tasty every year, that it’s hard to resist.
Plus, it has the advantage of not being overhyped to the point of scarcity, like Deschutes’ Abyss, which is a great beer but even more expensive and hard to find. Like the Abyss, the Top Sail is a seasonal so it can vary a bit from year to year, but I’m not the kind of person who stores beers up for a rainy day, so my ability to compare in this situation is limited.
What I can tell you is: This year’s batch is good.
As the porter warms up, it remains just as smooth but the bourbon flavors come out just a little more. It’s not overwhelming; I seem to be sensing it more in the nose than I was before but when combined with the chocolate and coffee notes, it’s really hard to object.
Man, it’s good; in part because it still drinks like a porter instead of a stout, which may be what gives this beer an edge over the bourbon barrel stouts, at least in terms of how drinkable it is. A pretty nice antidote to the sudden burst of cold weather we’ve had.