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

Not Rated.
Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey BarrelsBlack Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

259 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 259
Reviews: 92
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 14.82%
Wants: 95
Gots: 82 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company visit their website
Nebraska, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.30% ABV

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

(Beer added by: RedHaze on 01-05-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 259 | Reviews: 92 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by number1bum:
Photo of number1bum
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Part of the NEPA BC split from back in November. Pours a pretty dark brown, darker in the glass than on the pour but certainly not the "black as night" noted on the label. Head is more bubbly than dense and produces about a finger and a half of foam, which settles to a bubbly, uneven lace without much stick on the sides.

Smell has a pleasing whiskey aroma up front, with notes of vanilla and wood. Behind it is some sweet malt, chocolate and caramel with some roasted notes and a hint of coffee as well. The malt base is pretty light, however, and lacks much depth. It smells thin, which for a barrel aged imperial stout does not seem to portend good things...

Taste is, as the nose predicted it might be, pretty thin. It just lacks the depth of flavor that an imperial stout, barrel aged or not, should deliver. It has some roasted and coffee notes, with a bit of sweetness, but those then wash almost completely away as the whiskey flavor asserts itself. It's not that the whiskey is overpowering, because it's not - it's actually pretty nice - it's just that the stout itself is very weak. The whiskey is pleasant and has some vanilla flavor as well, plus there is a woody quality in the finish. Just a touch of alcohol heat. The whiskey actually saves this from scoring even lower.

Mouthfeel is woefully thin for an imperial stout. It's a medium body, but barely, and lacks a creaminess to make it feel fuller. Carbonation is fine and it's pretty smooth, but I like my impys with more meat on their bones. This just does not cut it.

The whiskey qualities here are pretty nice, aggressive without being overdone, but the stout itself falls flat. It's too thin and lacks much character, making the final product pretty subpar, particularly in a category with so many outstanding beers. The whiskey saves it from being a complete disappointment in fact. Once I finish a sip and the palate is clean, it feels as though I'm drinking a highball of whiskey rather than a beer; that being the case, I'd rather just drink the whiskey.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of DWolf
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Jason
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
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
4.22/5  rDev +6%
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 olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Mantooth
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of beerexplorer1973
5/5  rDev +25.6%
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 brooklynbrews
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of RDW
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of nkersten
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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 +13.1%
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 fiedler84
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of woodchip
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Crass3000
4.22/5  rDev +6%
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
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
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
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 Seaba
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of beergorrilla
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of IKR
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 nickhiller
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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%
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.

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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 259 ratings.