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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels | Nebraska Brewing Company

124 Reviews
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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey BarrelsBlack Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black as night and every bit Imperial, this RIS was originally launched to tremendous accolades. Going further, this Stranahan’s Whiskey barrel aged version meshes the rich chocolates, the coffee-like aromatics with the sweet whiskey nose and drying character of the oak. Slightly behind on the palette are the hops – held in restraint by the wonderfully full mouthfeel and broad flavors brought on by the perfect blend of so many malted barley varieties. Ready to enjoy upon release and perfect for extended cellaring.

83 IBU

Added by RedHaze on 01-05-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 124 | Ratings: 432
Photo of swampoodle
2.1/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I have too say I was excited to get this, but man what a disappointment. No notes that everyone is getting, just tasted like a plain stout!! No chocolate or oak what so ever. Sorry just fellas, really disappointed.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Overall, a dinky beer. Doesn't have enough density or resilient flavor profile when it comes down to it. Tastes like a thin Old Rasputin clone with dry nutty whisky.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap. Pours a dark side of the moon black with tan lacing that settles into a thin blanket.
The aroma is chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, oak and vanilla with a hint of leather and booze.
Big bitter chocolate flavor as well as some notes of char, dark roast coffee, vanilla and oak. A bit of boozy warmth that is not all all overbearing. As it warms, a bit of prune and leather.
Mouthfeel is thick and viscous.
Outstanding imperial stout.

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Photo of JRed
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opaque in body with khaki head that stays. Aroma of vanilla, cocoa. Tastes of vanilla, cocoa, coffee, booze. Heavy body with little carbonation. Very smooth. Amazingly restrained. Quite perfect.

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Photo of stevoj
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampled at Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. This was one of the highlights of the evening (after the Dark Lord) and the chance to tick of Nebraska.

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Photo of stortore
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter.

Pours nearly black, opaque, with a one finger head, lots of soapy cling. Smells of roasted malts, oak, whiskey vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Taste leads with the malt- not as roasty as the aroma, chocolate, whiskey, oak, vanilla, coffee. Very nice. Smooth, creamy, taste lingers on the tongue, full bodied, appropriately carbonated.

This is one to try, well blended and flavorful. The whiskey barrel adds tons of flavor, without being over the top. Well worth a purchase.

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Photo of morimech
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I see no date on the bottle.

Black Betty is indeed very black. A massive head forms that slowly settles to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. A wonderful looking imperial stout. Aroma is more wet wood than I would of liked. There is whiskey with notes of vanilla, roasted malt, smoke, ash, and alcohol. The barrel also added an unfortunate wood flavor to the beer as well. Just raw wood. This beer is also lacking in the malt flavor. I get a little bit of roasted malt and a hint of smoke in the finish. Notes of whiskey and vanilla. The body is surprisingly thin for a beer of over 11% ABV. This was a disappointment. Just because it is barrel-aged doesn't mean it is automatically a good beer. A waste of money but did have some pleasant qualities.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thin but produces a monstrously frothy and foamy head. Khaki head. Pitch-black body. Sticky, scattered lacing. 4.5

Kind of wine-like on the nose, light whisky. Oaken. Dark chocolate. Light tobacco. Pleasant but lacking some depth and complexity. 3.75

Dark chocolate and earthy, grassy notes. Oaken, light bourbon and gentle dark fruit notes. 4

A bit thin, but there's a smooth, creamy, and chewy quality that offsets that and makes this pretty delightful. Bitter, spicy and chocolatey on the finish. 4

Pretty nice.

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Photo of Getalegup
4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

4.4ish! Great bourbon smell with some chocolate, coffee. Color is deep dark brown almost black with soft tan foam that covers the surface, tastes of bourbon, chocolate, and tasty light roast coffee (read just a little bitterness), Overall a very smooth bourbon aged stout. Recommended.

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Photo of Pencible
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured an opaque pitch black with lots of fluffy tan head.
S: It smelled like coffee grinds and oak and cocoa powder, with some raisin and toasted coconut.
T: It tasted like dry mocha and charred oak, with some fresh coconut and earthy dried fruit. It had a earthy bitter aftertaste.
M: It was oily with a little carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a good brew, but not top tier. The scent and taste weren't that rich, but the body was great. The finish was pretty hot, so it was better to sip. Age might help, fresh is good not great.

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Photo of beergoot
4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ink black body; very thick, immensely dense, rocky tan head. Roasted grains; chocolate; dark fruit, cherries; wood and booze in the aroma; coffee beans; anise. Burnt grains and boozy flavor from beginning through the middle of the taste; bitter chocolate. Heavy and dense with plenty of residual sugar body; smooth and velvety mouthfeel.

From the ebony depths to the craggy top of the head, this beer delivers with a rich, full-flavored punch. This is on par with some of the finest northern European dark ales with tons of robust character. This is a monster with depth and balance to make it very approachable for fans and the curious of huge dark ale treats...

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.12/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750ml bottle $18.99. Super huge head, odd for such a big barrel aged stout. Aroma is odd, off, boozy yet almost sour. Flavor had the slightest touch of sourness and I suspect it was infected. The body was very thin. Drainpour.

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Photo of L0ne
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From backlog. 750ml bottle, April 2015.

Pours black with a tan head that leaves decent lacing. Medium bodied, whiskey, barrel, chocolate, some dark fruits and cherry, roast, quite a bit of sweetness.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a black body with two finger head and left lace patches down the glass. Aroma is boozy and chocolaty with touches of dark fruit like figs. Full bodied and chewy with a great balance between chocolate sweetness, dark fruits (figs and possible black cherry), touches of vanilla sweetness and woodiness as well a dry finish thanks to booze (which is good, not bad) and roasted malts. A beer that is more sweet than dry that is typical of this style, with the coffee notes rather laid back, which is my personal preference, and holds everything together. A little pricey but worth having one.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very creamy head that has a medium tan color. The beer itself is a very dark brown that actually comes off as black. The texture is a bit watery but still appears to have enough weight to it to make it look drinkable. My guess is that the barrel aging has thinned out the beer a little, which is why it looks the way it does.

The beer smell is very nice and very tempting. The whiskey notes really come and give off a nice spice smell normally found in rye beers. The interaction with the oak notes also gives it a good and pleasing smell. Additionally, there is a slight vanilla note that softens the whiskey and oak; making the smell less harsh. Unfortunately, the chocolate and caramel notes are muted and overpowered by the former.

That taste is much better than the smell even though it has the same notes. The taste is a bit more organized and diverse as opposed to the smell where the whiskey is pretty strong. The whiskey and other notes are still there but the chocolate and roasted malt notes are stronger and more visible; leading to a more sweet and less spicey note than the smell. Pretty good. The taste also has a strong grassy hop note that you can't find in the smell and is pretty good.

The feel is good. The beer is heavy bodied but it doesn't feel like that since the biting carbonation and thin, slick body makes it feel much lighter. The body feels thin but that seems to be common with rum and whiskey aged beers. Surprisingly dry finish.

Overall, I'm starting to think I drank this beer to young and needs some time to age a little and develop a little more. However, it was still a pretty good RIS and recommend getting it.

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Photo of Jasonrm72
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells great, whiskey, chocolate.
Foam. Lots of foam. Took a while for it to settle down.
Rich, chocolate, solid whiskey.
Good body, ends with a good whiskey finish.
Very good beer, especially for the price, $18 for a 750ml

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Photo of teromous
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No date or batch markings on the label or bottle that I can see.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a HUGE light khaki head that stands forever in a massive billowy pillow. It bypasses "lacing" and leaves literal sheets of foam on the sides of the glass. Tipping the glass while drinking leaves an avalanche of foam on the side. It looks absolutely fantastic. What is exceptionally notable is how good the head formation is on a beer that is 11.3% ABV. Bravo!

Aroma: Right off the bat there is this woody and slightly nutty aroma (hazelnut specifically). There is a bit of a spicy touch at the end that is nondescript but present. As the beer sits a bit of alcohol starts to unfold from the envelope of aromas which is reabsorbed by the aroma of wood. It's not an overly complex scent but a nice one.

Taste: There's a lot going on here. Mostly it reminds me of the char that you get on a nice steak. Then I get this wood flavor that pops in that is very nice. I know that the label mentions that this beer is aged specifically in whiskey barrels but it isn't overwhelming with whiskey flavor. In fact the character from the barrels comes out more than the whiskey (which I don't personally notice). It really gives this beer a chance to showcase the malts without being a "barrel bomb" that hides everything. I'm really enjoying the flavor of this beer. The alcohol will show through in this beer the longer you drink it, especially as the beer warms up, but I don't find that a detractor given the fact that it is 11.3%. There is a nice dark chocolate flavor that becomes more apparent as the beer warms up as well. This is accompanied by a molasses flavor that develops more towards the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel: I actually had to bypass the flavor for a second to write about the mouthfeel. It is a very full bodied beer with lots of roasted bitterness with a nice smooth carbonation to wash over the palate. It is not a very heavy or thick beer but it has a fullness determined solely by its character. It is very well done.

Overall: It's awesome. This beer embodies exactly what I think of when I hear "Russian Imperial Stout." It is big, it is bold, and it is full of flavor. It manages to show restraint in the right places so that it feels like I'm drinking beer and not a bottle of whiskey. I want more of this. It is a very enjoyable beer to drink and I would be hard pressed to find a stout lover who wouldn't be in love with this. If you see this in the store you should pick it up.

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Photo of Prasm
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark appearance, pours a thick 2 finger head. Aroma's of cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee with a rich full mouth-feel. Nice dark chocolate and coffee up front flavor but flavors dissipate quickly leaving a hole thru the mid-palate. Comes back nicely in the back-end though and finishes with bitter dark chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, void of light. There is no doubt what style of beer this is by appearance alone. Head is a light tan which fades to a thin veil and lasts indefinitely. Color is a cola color at the very edge of the glass when held to light.

Aroma: bourbon and wood! Like Pavlov's dog, my mouth is watering. Damn this review, it is delaying my first sip!

Flavor: the aroma doesn't lie: bourbon and wood. However, I get flavors I can only describe as "windex." Little malt comes through, as the bourbon, although not overpowering, is unbalanced. Without the "windex" this beer would be amazing.

Mouthfeel: the body is near perfect. Not too thick to need a knife to cut through, but plenty of body to carry the abv.

Overall: very good! This is better than a lot of other imperial stouts with more hype. I would love to try this beer with a few years of cellaring. Beers like this one get me excited for cold weather.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - mocha colored head that sticks and leaves great lacing, dark brown/black beer that's opaque in color
s - roasty, espresso, creamy, whiskey, light vanilla, chocolate
t - big whiskey notes, like the bite of taking a shot of whiskey without the burn or the bad parts, distinctly different from a bourbon barrel aged stout. roasty, espresso, vanilla, caramel undertones, good base beer
m - thick, heavy beer. Alc covered, except for the whiskey notes. aftertaste is espresso, whiskey
o - pretty awesome beer. Would buy again, price point is kinda high but not too high to try again on occasion.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a moderate amount of carbonation. Big two finger tan head that slowly settles into a smaller creamy layer.

Smell: A rich, roasty, and boozy dark malt forward aroma with a big scent of chocolate, coffee, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, smoke, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Big barrel presence with bourbon whiskey hints of vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet hints of molasses. Subtle dark fruit hints of raisin and fig. Also some light earth hops. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like the nose hints at, a very rich, roasty, and boozy dark malt driven taste with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, burnt toast, smoke, grains, biscuit, and yeast. Good barrel presence with nicely boozy notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet taste of molasses sugar. Dark fruit undertones of fig, raisin, and dates. Subtle notes of earthy hops. A really good roasty taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and fairly syrupy. Some booze heat is felt as expected but it’s not too hot.

Overall: A very good take on a Barrel Aged Stout. Big rich chocolate, coffee, and whiskey flavors.

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Photo of galuskan
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smells good. Nice head on pour. Boozy up front. Whiskey is evident. Chocolate on the back end. Quality beer but not spectacular. There are other Russian Imperial Stouts that are better. And MUCH cheaper than this one.

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Photo of JustineSintek
5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is so good. It's pitch black in color. Smells like whiskey, fruit and chocolate mixed. Tastes like dark candied fruit, chocolate, coffee and a slight hint of whiskey. It is smooth, rich and very drinkable. I love this beer. It is one of my favorites now.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Well this was a nice surprise. Thickish black body. Big woody bourbon aroma. Nice chocolate bourbon taste. Best comparison I could give is it is very similar to Barrel Aged Plead the 5th. Had the BAPT5 earlier in the day and almost felt like I was drinking it again.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with “vigour” into my Lucifer snifter

Sight: Inky, dark black body with a dual-layer head, brown head. Yup- two layers. First, a small, thick top on which a host of big sudsy foam sits, plus a thick underpinning of extremely fine bubbles. This one sticks around, like a trusted friend.
Aroma: Lots of vanilla, and a hint of wood and booze. I don’t detect much else.

Taste: In the taster’s opinion, the barrel has not taken over the beer, but it is present. Lots of dry wood, vanilla, and booze greet the mouth. Chocolate, malt, and coffee says hello once the beer warms up a little bit. It’s the cleaner, slightly spicier burn that says “whiskey” not “bourbon.” The end finishes with a little bitterness and a little dash of hops.

Feel: Sugary syrupy sweet and oily. Tiny bubbles provide good carbonation, but the density of the beer- definitely chewy, and I hate using that word.

Overall: Fantastic high-end offering from Nebraska Brewing. I appreciate they went with the slightly less conventional whiskey barrels rather than bourbon.

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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.