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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

331 Ratings

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Ratings: 331
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 13.97%
Wants: 101
Gots: 114 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company visit their website
Nebraska, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RedHaze on 01-05-2010

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
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 331 | Reviews: 103
Reviews by mdcrouser:
Photo of mdcrouser
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Moved from a previously incorrect version of the Black Betty, which was never publicly released.

This version is with the black/tan label and black script, "Aged in Whiskey Barrels."

This bomber bottle has been resting in the basement fridge since I picked it up at the brewery a couple of months ago - a rainy night is right to break it out.

Dark chocolate brown, pours thick from the bottle, with two full fingers of head mounting initially, leaving behind a thick canvas of fractured sandy brown lace.

Intensely deep on the nose, with obvious chocolate, alcohol, some floral notes, hints of smoke.

A good char is most present, like the deep smoke you get from a winter's fire. Dark yet somewhat tart fruits, sitting heavily on the outside of the tongue. A strong bitterness is underneath, holding a floral hoppiness and a touch of greenery.

Velvety smooth, wrapping itself around the tongue, wholly consuming. Just a bit syrupy to close.

Outstandingly good beer - I could drink it morning, noon and night.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
4.54/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a vintage date of 2009.

Tight tan lacing, pitch black. Yeah, the whiskey says hello with oak and alcohol with some vanilla burnt sugar in the nose as well. Smoothness takes it time moving through this heavy liquid. Creamy and slightly viscous. Booze flavor is right up front but never becomes hot even with the beers higher alcohol level in play. Big roasty flavor in the middle unfolds as the beer warms up, unsweetened dark chocolate and espresso comes to mind. Burnt currants, vanilla, more chocolate and a whiskey note wrap up the finish which lands bitter sweet coming from all aspects of the beer and its barrel aging.

Bulls-eye! While the craft beer movement is still maturing there are times like these that is pure proof that the movement is advancing quicker that the beer industry has a whole would ever think. Keep it up Paul, I love what you do!!

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown to black with a tan head. The aroma is coffee with roasted malt. The flavor is more of the same with some oaked character as well. Not a real strong whiskey character in the beer but still a very good imperial stout. Medium, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of pat61
4.88/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Brilliant black under a pillowy 1” dark tan foam collar that paints the glass with a thin sheet of lace.
S: Cocoa, dark dried fruit, faint whiskey.
T: Creamy with more chocolate than coffee supported by dark dried fruit, vanilla and grain. Long chocolate aftertastes and a big creamy dark unsweetened chocolate bitter on the finish.
M: Fine soft carbonation produces a rich creamy texture with a medium full body. Slightly warming. The alcohol is big but not hot or solventy.
O: This beer stands out for its rich, creamy texture and the incredible balance between the different elements.

Photo of beerexplorer1973
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: brown, thin head; long legs; rich dark color, almost black

Smell: mild whiskey but sweet nose

taste: Very mellow on the pallet. Character improves as it should with a quality stout as it airs and warms. The whiskey surprisingly subsides as it warms. Hard to believe its 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel: medium body

Overall: I was very hesitant to buy this at $20 for the bottle. I, as well as my beer exploring friend, was very glad that I did. If my income would support it, I would buy a case next time I had access!

Photo of JMS1512
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of nkersten
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, finally. Thanks to the Chicago crew for sharing this one with me. Pours black into a stone glass with brown hues and a bubbly tan head that sits in the center. Smell is of oak, lots of bourbon, caramel and chocolate malts. Lots of oak and bourbon dominate the flavor, dark malt, roasted coffee, some bitter bakers chocolate, and alcohol taste. The mouthfeel is coating and sweet with a light carbonation. A bit hot but drinkable for a barrel aged stout. This one is a "boozer" as I put in my notes. I would happily drink this again, but I dont think i would go out of my way to get a bottle

Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extraordinary, rich and complex malt, chocolate malt, some roast, huge head. Big black body.Roasty and whiskey aromas. Whiskey was so boozy for mid-day, but hey it beats bourbon. Thick and tasty.The 83 IBU hops is in the finish and builds up for quite a hopfix as I finish the bomber.The 9% seems like 13%. Points for not being overally coffee.

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - black with a thin brown head that has decent retention

S - earthy, roasted malts, anise, chocolate

T - chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malts, licorice, sugar, woody, faint whiskey

M - full bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated

This is a fantasticly balanced, drinkable stout. It will warm you up on a cold day, and has enough complexity that you could drink the 750mL by yourself without getting fatigued. This was very enjoyable.

Photo of Roguer
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super dark, thin brew, topped with a dark beige head. Firm, good size, great retention, and nice lacing.

Fairly subdued aroma; the whiskey and oak are present, alongside some chocolate, coffee, and cream from the malt. Smells good, but not amazing.

Beautifully smooth and rich flavor. Lots of chocolatey malt up front, with lots of bitter roast and oak following around mid-palate and lasting through the finish. Whiskey notes come in most strongly the back third (with a brief kiss up front), and are well-blended and complementary vice overwhelming. Creamy.

Very nice growing heat on the back-end, but otherwise this drinks like a 9% imperial stout. Surprisingly lively. Nice roasty bitterness. A little thin for my preferences.

This is an excellent BA stout. It isn't the most complex, but the whiskey imparts a lovely flavor to what is clearly a thick, smooth base beer.

Photo of Crass3000
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out dark as night with a little brown head with little retention.

Smell is chocolate, vanilla, a little bourbon, and roasted malt. Taste is every bit of the smell with chocolate, vanilla, and a really nice bourbon flavor. Really good!!! Mouthfeel is nice. Great beer if you love bourbon!!!

Photo of mdvatab
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage
Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Fruity fig, toasted oak, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, and dark chocolate syrup.

Appearance: Nice looking 1 finger tan head sticks around for a while, and leaves decent lacing for the style. Pours coffee brown from the bottle, but is dark dark brown to black in the glass. Body appears a little bit thinner than anticipated.

Flavor: Lots of coconut up front, dry, powdery dark chocolate, some molasses, bourbon, and some prominent bitterness lingering at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full mouthfeel is, again, a bit thinner than expected. Medium carbonation serves to kick-up the nice collar. Bourbon provides a bit of warming heat in the mouth and throat.

Overall: For $15, this would have been a decent barrel aged RIS. After determining it was a bit on the hot/bitter side after holding onto it for 6 months, I could buy another one and see how it tastes in a couple of years. At $28 a bottle, though, I can get 2 bottles of RIS that are good now, or that show even greater promise of being remarkable in 2 years than this one. Pardon the pun, but for the price tag, this one leaves me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. If you're curious, and can split a bottle w/ someone, give it a try. Otherwise, my recommendation would be to move on to the plethora of other better RIS's out there.

Photo of Kegatron
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into several glasses. Thanks to sholland119 and vickster529 for breaking this one out during a tasting.

Pours black in the glass, with a thin head of foamy froth. This stay rich around the edges, with a nice flare-up to it that leaves back thick sticky lacing that rings the sides of the glass. The bourbon stands out in the aroma fairly prominently, smelling of charred stickiness and wood. Chocolate sweetness burnt malt, and roasted coffee notes show themselves as well, but the barrel really controls this as the oak is really starting to show a green tannic character to it as this warms up more and more.

The taste is heavy with char and roast up front, as a flush of cocoa, caramel, and brown sugar comes out from behind the darkness. The bourbon has a nice mellowness to it and feels much more integrated in with the Stout flavors than it did in the nose. Burnt wood green tannic dryness lingers past the finish on this. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a carbonation that is initially slick feeling on the tongue but then gathers up a creamy foaminess to it that flares up and spreads out into the mouth. This is pretty darn smooth for the size overall, as most of the warmth here is coming from the bourbon flavors.

This was a little strong with the barrel in the aroma but it rebounded nicely in the taste and combined with the base RIS to form a complex and powerful but still smooth mix of flavors. Good effort here from the NBC.

Photo of IKR
3.76/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown color with which in the dark almost appears black but appears as dark brown when held up to the light. Fairly generous head for an IS.

Smell: Slight whiskey notes, mild roast malts, and some traces of alcohol. The nose is fairly subdued.

Taste: Mild whiskey notes reminiscent of Abyss, mild roasted malts and some hops creep through in the finish.

Mouth-feel: Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: A good beer but here is my problem with it. I paid over twice what I paid for Abyss and basically the same that I paid for Black Tuesday and Older Viscosity. The taste is somewhat comparable to Abyss, though I prefer the Abyss and to me it's not playing in the same league as Black Tuesday and Older Viscosity.

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a frothy tan head that settles down to a airy cap with some lacing on the glass. The aroma is a good play between the whiskey and the oak. The sour funkiness of the oak seems to stick out more. There is also some vanilla and a solid roasted malt aroma as well. The taste is of a mellow roasted malt with some chocolate and coffee. There is a distinct sourness from the oak; has a sour berry flavor. I don't get too much from the whiskey barrel; perhaps some touches of sweetness and there is a nice vanilla undertone. The feel is moderate to full with tingly caronbation; finishes balanced between the roasty bitterness, sour oak, and sweet whiskey and malt. Not a super aggressive barrel aged brew. Solid RIS base with good oak flavors but the whiskey it a bit too subtle. The NBC brews still are quite pricey.

Photo of richj1970
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into tulip glass. Bottle dated 06/29/13.

A: Pitch black with a little brown tint and a gigantic 3-4 finger deep tan head that seemed to take forever to settle to a thin film on top. Some spotty lacing.

S: Big time whiskey aroma hits you right off the bat, but some oak, vanilla, and burnt sugar also promient. After it warmed up, a little coffee and chocolate makes an appearance,

T: Again the whiskey dominates the flavors, but also some bitter chocolate, vanilla, and espresso. A little hint of oak.

M: Suprisingly a little thin for a stout of this ABV, but still fairly full bodied. Finish is a little dry, and a touch bitter.

O: Nice stout. I wish the coffee and chocolate notes were more promient and the whiskey a little more subdued. It's a tad pricey, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it.

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

750ml. Black/brown pour with a light tan head. Not all that thick looking to be honest.

Aroma, Nice chocolate, roast malt, some vanilla and earth/oak.

Taste, Roasty malt, coffee dark chocolate. Oaky bourbon, vanilla comes later, especially as it warms a bit. Finishes with a woody cocoa and vanilla coffee.

As the appearance led me to believe, the body is a little thinner than I'd expect. Carbonation is present making it slightly more than creamy. Coats just fine. Alcohol warmth is there, certainly a sipper.
Solid, but wouldn't pay another $22 for it.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice thick dark brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of bourbon and vanilla is quite powerful with some light coffee notes. Taste is also a slightly unbalanced mix of bourbon with clear vanilla notes with some roasted malt notes and a dry finish. Body is quite full with good carbonation and light warming alcohol notes. Unfortunately this one was not as balanced as I would have hoped for but still very good nonetheless.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at 50F in to CBS Snifter. No bottle date apparent.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with 2 fingers of thick, foamy espresso coloured head. Good lacing.

S - Big whiskey aroma up front that is the most notable aroma but doesn't dominate. Roasted malts, oak, vanilla and chocolate are also evident. A complex nose.

T - Whiskey up front, as the nose indicated. The middle had a complex array of flavours including charred malts, cocoa and vanilla. The whiskey returns in the finish and lingers on the tongue. My only complaint is the slightly over charred malts flavour. Otherwise a near perfect barrel aged imperial stout.

M - Medium body, slightly creamy. Carbonation is light to moderate. A touch watery for the style.

O - A nice change of pace from bourbon barrel aged stouts. We done.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to JM03 for this! I've held onto this for probably a year I'd say. Pretty stressful work day, time for something big!

Pours stout dark, with a nice creamy medium tan head leaving lots of foamy lace trails. Aroma has a nice vanilla and oak smell, with a plenty of chocolate, a little booze and toasted malts. Plenty oak, vanilla, toasted wood, bourbon, chocolate, and hop bitterness in the taste. It's balanced, with no note over-powering another. Quite pleasantly surprised by this! Feel was good, and full bodied. I've heard this can be a hot mess, but I think the age as done good things to this, I enjoyed it thoroughly! Thanks John!

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

therealnomayo hooked this one up.. shared with my normal few friends... Thanks Jason, I would have opened this up at the RIS tasting, but there were too many bottles and it would have gotten lost.

This is an example of a great BA RIS that needs no aging.. the brewery did it for you... fantastic right out of the gate.

Nice dark tan head.. the brew pours not thick or thin.. just about perfect... okay retention and decent of lacing.

Nose shows everything good about a Bourbon aged RIS.. bunches of roasty qualities and nice chocolate combine with vanilla and hints of dried cherries.. well mixed..

Bittersweet chocolate and a tad dry roasty malts emerge out front with some well integrated barrel notes mid palate.. I like the fact that this bottle is a bit on the dry side... what malty sweetness that is present only pushes the RIS flavors up to the front... the bourbon meshes well with some minor cherry essence.. vanilla and dark chocolate without the sweeness is very nice.

Body may be on the light side with the hyped brothers, but I believe this is very nice right now.... almost awesome.. I don't think it will age well, as there isn't a lot of room for movement.. but this is imminently drinkable and not the most palate bombing brew ever, it is damn good right now.

Thanks again Jason... I truly appreciate it.


Photo of mindspin315
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge shimmering light brown head. Massive and fluffy. Body is very dark brown to black. No light getting through but not pitch black. Lacing all over.

The first aroma coming through is whiskey. Smells like whiskey in a glass. Notes of brown sugar, chocolate, oak, and burnt sugar. In the back of the nose a faint roasted malt aroma comes through.

Smooth whiskey flavor covers the palate. Roasted espresso, vanilla, molasses, and light bitter sweet chocolate flavors counter balance the wash of whiskey. Middle of the mouth the roasted quality comes up strong, but blends back in as a sweet whiskey perks up in the finish. Light hop bitterness on the tongue at the finish. Highly carbonated makes this pretty drinkable being such a big beer. Medium to full bodied, slightly sticky and syrupy, and alcohol is barely noticeable.

This beer is big but really drinkable. The overall qualities keep you coming back for more to enjoy with each sip. Very well crafted beer indeed. A great whiskey and stout marriage!


Photo of jmarsh123
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Split a few ways with some friends. Pours pitch black with a sludgy consistency. Two fingers of dark brown head sit on top with some nice retention and excellent lacing.

Aroma is dark roasted chocolate/coffee malts with a slight smoky undertone. Sweet whiskey, vanilla and oak are present from the barrel.

Similar flavor with only some subtle variations. A lot of the dark roast coffee and chocolate are noted along with the barrel characteristics. A little dark fruit not evident in the aroma makes an appearance. Barrel doesn't exert quite as much influence as I'd like and the whiskey seems to be a big on the sweeter side of things. Not my preference, but the roast malts prevents this from getting too sweet.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. *Note* Had this right after BCBCS so probably not fair to compare. Low carbonation with alcohol present, but not overpowering.

Pretty solid although way overpriced for what it is. Enjoyable, but a little more viscocity would really enhance all the other good stuff going on and raise the grades considerably.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

This one was shared by Mark last night, thanks man!

This one pours a dark black, typical imperial stout look here, with a very small head, and no lacing.

This one smells super hot and whiskey forward.

It also tastes way too hot and whiskey forward. There's a pretty unpleasant heat, with an astringent alcohol bitterness. If you strain, you can taste the base stout, with some decent chocolate and caramel, but the barrel has kinda overwhelmed this one, unfortunately.

This one is way too thin for the style, too, which is disappointing. There's a lower level of carbonation.

Not all that impressed with this one.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: tar pitch black, creamy head

S: drying whiskey among dark malts

T: nicely bittered and roasty with vapors of oaky whiskey wood; subdued sweetness and chocolate notes

M: smooth and creamy, some bite from the alcohol

O: a really good stout, very classy - somehow avoided a lot of the espresso/coffee and anise/licorice flavors that typify many RISs, which was interesting. Of Nebraska's Reserve series, it was actually my least favorite, so simply because of the price (~$25 in my neck of the woods), I would probably not re-buy, whereas their barleywine and Belgian IPA are a constant source of temptation.

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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 331 ratings.