Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged - New England Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
89
very good

271 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 271
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 13.03%
Wants: 261
Gots: 82 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co. visit their website
Connecticut, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2012 - 375ml bottle, label changed to hunched groucho barrel. 10% ABV

(Beer added by: caresville on 04-25-2010)
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Ratings: 271 | Reviews: 103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.05/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Barrel-Aged IST is, overall, a profound disappointment. All of the liabilities of the parent beer are still present: it is too light in appearance, too thin in mouthfeel and overcarbonated. Although some wood, vanilla and bourbon notes are present, the carbonation and thin body interfere with conveying those flavors to your tongue. Instead, you get a bit of the chocolate and burnt toast flavor of regular IST, a bit more sweetness and a bit of fruity tartness at the finish. This simply does not match up to the powerhouses of the category and ultimately fails to take advantage of the barrel aging process.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -37.3%

Photo of jsanford
2.58/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

500ml bottle poured into a Snifter. 2010 vintage maybe?

Pours dark, inky black with a slightly fizzy mocha head that settles to a very slight haze. Chocolate, molasses, and dark berry with a touch of coffee and charred oak. Nice, but nothing Earth-shattering. Taste is dominated by an acrid burnt wood character that's entirely unpleasant. More molasses and dark bitter chocolate and an "off" musty flavor. Perhaps this is past it's prime, but I'm not digging it at all. If the flavor put this is the "dislike" category, the mouthfeel pushes it into the "hate" category. Fairly thin and fizzy, with a medium-thin body and high carbonation. Overall this was an extreme disappointment, but it may be my fault for sitting on it for so long. Haven't had the regular version yet, here's hoping it's better (like everyone says it is).

Photo of chippo33
2.63/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

Disappointing. Stick with the original.

Photo of Gfunk720
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes, out of my Maudite tulip.

A- Crazy coffee colored foamy head. I couldn't even pour it for a while it was so foamy. Beer is pitch black, much like the base beer.

S- Smells of oak and malt, no bourbon really to speak of. There are some coffee/chocolate notes as well, and a wierd soury smell.

T- A odd combination of burnt malt and oak. Again, I am getting that bitter sourness. Also so cocoa and coffee notes.

D- Not bad, but wayyy too carbed. Not sure what is going on here...

M- Again, just tastes burnt and like it slighly turned. Not sure if the sourness is the beer or infection.

This beer did not take well to the barrel aging process. I really like IST, but would not go out of my way to find another one of these.

Photo of Thorpe429
2.78/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Quite the gushed as I remove the wax. Quite a bit of head and tan lacing. Dark, dark brown. Smell is bourbon and a good amount of oak. Hints of coconut. Taste is similar though quite muted. Surprisingly little taste for a barrel aged stout. Mouthfelel is fairly thin with a lot of carbonation. Drinkable, but not because I want to. Somewhat disappointing.

Photo of largadeer
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle generously shared by nickd717. Thanks for the chance to try this, Nick. We drank this at a tasting alongside a few other barrel-aged stouts and strong ales, including BCBCS, Firestone 13 and Parabola.

The beer is black with a frothy finger of brown head. Nice head retention and lacing, though it looks a little thin.

Pleasant chocolate-whiskey aroma, strongly roasty with a bit of anise and alcohol. It's very muted, surprisingly so, and side-by-side with Parabola it seems downright bland.

The taste opens with big black licorice flavor that borders on astringent. Medium in body, ashy, faintly burnt. The barrel didn't contribute a whole lot to this, a bit of whiskey flavor, light tannins and booze. Finishes with licorice, roasted/burnt malt and alcohol. Not a bad beer, but not great or overly interesting.

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle # 1195/1400.

Appearance - Dark black. Maybe not viscous, but a nice dark black. Big khaki head. Thick collar.

Smell - Wow, it's odd. And bad. Chocolate. Strange buttermilk-like aroma. Diacetyl? I don't often smell that in a stout.

Taste - Chocolate. Milk chocolate. Some bourbon, but not a lot. That buttermilk flavor is almost tangy. I think it's got diacetyl here too.

Mouthfeel - Thick and a little chalky. Bitter and boozy.

Overall - Funky and weird. And this is supposed to be the noninfected version.

Photo of Chaney
2.85/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I got to try this one at Sexual Chocolate Day 2011 courtesy of some very generous BAs. Awesome!

A: Dark, dark in color.... devoid of it even! The mocha head was completely out of control and filled up half of the glass.

S: Hmmm.... I got a dark roasted concoction laced with rotten coconut rum. Not pleasant.

T: Same thing on the taste only more intensified. As fruity as the original beer was in general, I just don't think it lent itself well to barrel-aging. There was also a good bit of nuttiness (hazelnuts?) mixed into the weirdness.

M: Thick enough for the style and judging by the head, this was very well carbonated. However, there were greater, fatal issues here than only mouthfeel.

D: Not very. I know this is a very sought after beer, but I just couldn't take any more than my share. That said.... I was totally stoked to get to try it!

Photo of nkersten
2.9/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Thanks to Alex for sharing this one! Poured from bottle into NB globe. Opaque black liquid, super foamy tan head that thins out very slowly. Smell is wet wood, chocolate, some sour infected notes. Taste is smokey oak, alcohol, chocolate cherries, a bit of dark roasted malt. It is hard to pick much taste out because the carbonation is out of control. Mouthfeel is medium, thin and watery for an imperial stout with an intense carbonation. I did not enjoy this beer but would give it another chance since this one was most likely infected.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.95/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared by Jeff (ipa247) at a recent tasting. Thanks buddy.

A: Pours a clear brown body, nearly opaque in large quantities but ultimately see-through as it recedes in my glass. The head is a milky beige color that dissipates quickly, leaving some scattered bubbles and a thin ring at the edge.

S: Very, very roasty, both in grain and coffee portions. Smoke, bourbon, oak, charred plums. I get a touch of vanilla.

T: Same: it's very roast-forward, and I'm not a huge fan of that (same reason I wasn't fond of the 09 Abyss). This is roasty enough that it crosses into char territory at times, giving up flavors of burnt plums, burnt caramel. This isn't a bourbon bomb, but it's obviously noticeable and comes with a supporting cast of oak, vanilla, and dark chocolate. Points for the balance, but we had the Jack Daniels Eclipse next to this, and it simply didn't hold up. Pretty middling in the spectrum of barrel-aged imperial stouts.

M: Medium+ bodied, with low carbonation. There's no heat to it. The flavor is pretty well delivered, with a roasty / coffee / soy aftertaste.

D: Eh. I like barrel-aged imperial stouts as much as the next guy, but this isn't top tier (BA Speedway, BA Blackout), or next tier (Abyss). It's pretty middling, without the complexity I'd expect from a well-done barrel experiment. I appreciate having tried this, but it was unanimously the disappointment of the night.

Photo of phattysbox
2.98/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kevin for cracking this brew!

Poured at cellar temps into a Unibroue tasting glass and whoa what a head. BIG 5-6 inches with only 1 inch of beer at the bottom of the glass. Way too much carbonation on this one as it takes forever for the chocolately tan head to reduce in size. Black as night.

Smell is the best part of this beer and is complex. Vanilla, bourbon, and lightly toasted wood carry through the nose. The roast comes in second and plays nicely with some caramel and burnt raisin malt.

Taste: Wha?? Hey! Where did my beer go? I could have sworn smelling this brew the taste profile would be more of the same from the nose but very opposite. Very one-dimensional with mild roasted malts and some sweet caramel notes. That's about it - no wood ageing and bourbon character is apparent. Unfortunately, the excessive carbonation on this beer takes away from the subtle nuances and I'm speculating the volatile aromatics that lend some taste are gone once the carbonation goes down. The mouthfeel is thin, and gets more thin when there is less carbonation... Hhhhmmm...

Overall: Not impressed. The carbonation and thin mouthfeel really killed this beer. I don't think its infected, but the brewers put WAY to much CO2 into this beer.

Photo of jpmclaug
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of KeefD
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown, almost black in the glass, with a HUGE head that doesn't seem to go away, becomes rocky and dense. I was warned by trading partner that it may or may not be a bottle bomb. I can understand the worries, as this was extremely carbonated. Not much in the way of aroma, but picking up some light chocolate, a touch of roast, and something that's a bit plastic-like. Taste is dry, roasty, herbal, a touch of anise, some medicinal qualities as well. Detecting some burnt plastic like qualities in the taste too. Not sure about this one. Not offensive, but not really all that great. And where in the world are the bourbon/barrel nuances?? Mouthfeel seems a bit thin, but I think that largely has to do with the mass carbonation. Had to swirl the shit out of this thing. Not bad, gets better as it warms up, and some of those off flavors start to fade. Really wish there was some more barrel qualities. Glad I got to try it!

Photo of HopHead84
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

7/6/2010

Thanks Jeff! I opened the bottle and foam shot out onto the floor. WTF. I gently pour the beer into the glass and observe a monstrous four finger head billow forth before my eyes. It fades in 3 minutes and leaves scattered lacing on the sides of my snifter. The beer is pretty dark; I'll just call it deep brownish black. The head is a toffee color.

The aroma is of oak, dark chocolate, roasted/charred malt, and dark fruits. There's only a whisper of bourbon, really, not much at all, and a faint vanilla presence. The roasted malt character subjugates all else.

The flavor is a bit muddled. Dark chocolate rests on a strongly roasted ashen astringency foundation. Bourbon is very light in the flavor. There's really not much else, maybe a little dark fruit. The finish is astringent and alcoholic, leaving a charred chocolate impression.

The beer is badly overcarbonated, leading to a slightly annoying prickly mouthfeel that does not compliment the rich flavors.

Overall, this beer was disappointing. Not terrible, not bad, just...mediocre. I love the base beer, but this is a step in the wrong direction. Not worth seeking out.

Photo of chadwicktorres
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was sadly unimpressed. I was hoping for more feel on the mouth, rounder balance. However as a Star Wars geek, I was happy to try it haha

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.03/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Been waiting to try this one. Poured from a 500ml. gold wax-top bottle into a Blue Point Snifter

A: Gentle pour yields a massive, unwavering, fluffy 4 finger mocha head. Beer is opaque black. Lacing is patchy and thick with great cling.

S: Booziness from the barrels is apparent along with hints of bitter chocolate, licquorice, and roasted coffee beans. Also a fair amount of charcoal and brown sugar in there. Aromas overall are a bit muted though.

T: Big booziness and ethanol upfront that covers up and dominates all the other flavors. This dissipates really slowly, only allowing the stouty chocolate and coffee flavors to appear towards the very end of the experience. Finish is a sticky, molasses with an aftertaste that is weirdly crisp and clean.

M: Light to medium bodied, highly carbonated, and rather rough and abrasive in the mouth. Not characteristic of the style at all and the liveliness prevents the complexities in this beer from melding together. Finish is sticky with a clean aftertaste.

D: This beer is a great example of the idea that barrel-aging doesn't make everything better. Not a bad beer by any means but Christ!!! is it over-carbonated. Maybe they should blend this with flat older viscosity and see what happens!?!? I'd give it another shot but its definitely not worth the hype.

Photo of champ103
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A big thanks to Dajtai007 for sharing this with me and some other BA's.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. Some ruby around the edges. A huge tan head forms, almost like a gusher. Though manageable to pour. Not much lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla are big and up front. Plenty of alcohol in the nose, and some lingering dry wood notes.
T: Fairly simple here. Light toasted malt and chocolate. Lots of prickly alcohol that really detracts for me.
M/D: A full body, but the carbonation is huge. Lots of bubbles, and really prickly on the tongue. Tons of alcohol. A very slow sipper.

I am glad I got the chance to try this, but it just does not hold up. There is not a lot going on. The huge prickly carbonation and alcohol makes this difficult to drink as well. Not something I would recommend.

Photo of AgentZero
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Great looking black stout with a nice, tan head that bubbled up two fingers and left some chunk lacing.

S - Nice sweetness, roasted malts, some great coffee and cocoa. Smells sweet with a nice malt backbone. Just a slight bit of wood.

T - Wow, what a letdown. Tastes like a carbonated light-coffee drink with some bitter roastedness. Little bit of cocoa bitterness, but this is bad. Nothing complex, and all the taste is kind of watered down.

M - Over carbonated, really kills this one along with the bad taste.

D - Can drink it, but it's so poor tasting you just have to let it go after a while.

Photo of Tomdee74
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

i think we got an infection here.. something happened and i say that because the beer is too damn carbonated!! i went to the release with smutty33 and seplo and we were able to pick up a good amount of this.. that evening we cracked a bottle... it was great.. very low carbonation.. tasted like an IST with a little bourbon kick to it... it was awesome...

fast forward to the other night.. cracked a bottle and it was very fizzy... we noticed it tasted different from the fresh bottle we cracked... then you come on here and read reviews and so many say it was too carbonated.. to fizzy... i'm telling you it was not like this when we brought it home that day... and i think the reviews show that something is up.. because this is just their IST with some bourbon aged in a damn barrel. and that is what it tasted like at first.. now read the reviews on the NEB IST..

anyway i hate to review this now because it is totally different than my review would've been when this was released... i think excellent but something happened..

Photo of andrewinski1
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally cracking this guy Poured into a tulip. This is a gusher. Only foam comes out into the glass. The body is all black. Nice sticky lacing, but too much is too much.

Nice burnt coffee aroma. Smells very bitter. No sweetness is really detected in the aroma.

The taste is dry and bitter. No sweetness at all on this one. The taste is actually relatively one dimensional. The finish is very dry and a little bland actually. Not bad, but definitely not in the top tier of barrel aged stouts.

The carbonation is a little aggressive, possibly concealing sweet flavors. This isn't terrible, and I enjoy drinking it; but it's much too middling to warrant special attention.

Photo of maximum12
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to hoppymcgee for shipping a bottle of this westerward. Hit up a number of BAs before I located the generous Mr. Gee. Popped open while watching "Burn Before Reading" which I hope gets better...would be a shame to waste this cast on a few mild chuckles.

Pours black with an untamed, unbridled, unstoppable head that quickly overflows my plus-sized Terrapin snifter. Pause, pour, repeat. I hate waiting for my beer, & I hope this is just annoying overcarbonation & not infection. Once I can sniffle without wetting the end of my nose, I get nice gentle bourbon, vanilla, oak, & the scantest inkling of dark fruit. Please, no!

Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper carries a heavy name & high expectations. The beer itself has char high on the list, good, burnt firewood in a quiet forest campground. The malts are all over this one: charred, toasted, burnt, slightly sweet, ashes. The barrel is a not-so-thoughtful-afterthought, apparent readily in the nose, but had to be sought out actively in the taste. On the bare bottom of the backside is a bit of plums mixed in with other dark fruit, but again, hardly noticeable.

The beer is significantly overcarbonated, which is distracting, & makes it hard to enjoy the beer & tease out whatever subtle winks lie in wait. Pummels the drinkability substantially, too. Error or lurking infection? I'll never know.

Decent enough beer. In the universe of barrel-aged stouts, this one brings the toasted malts hard, but these must have been fourteenth-use barrels, because they bring little to the party. Lots of barrel-aged beers I'd prefer before this one again.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks andrewinski for sharing his bottle with me! Poured into a tulip. Thankfully Andy was ready for the massive carbonation on this one when he poured it. Initially all head with just a bit of beer on the bottom of the glass. Once it's finally all poured a rocky tan head sits atop a black body in the glass. Doesn't look to bad. Has a burnt aroma to this one. Slightly burnt toasty malts with a hint of a cocoa aroma and kind of a vegetable finish that seems weird. Cucumber maybe. I know, it seems out of place. Not getting much bourbon out of this either. I feel like if I reach I can get it but if I didn't know it should be there it could easily be overseen. For a barrel aged beer, I feel like it should be a bit more present. Taste damn good though. The bourbon is a lot more present but still not overpowering. Nicely done. Hints of cocoa and bitter espresso round this one out with a slight caramel finish. The mouthfeel is intense. This is so carbonated that it explodes in your mouth when you drink it. The flavors are fair enough (aside from the out of place vegetable flavor I get) but the carbonation is thi killer on this. Overall a solid beer, but it loses a lot due to over carbonation.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to brez for opening this up at the latest tasting, really been wanting to try this for awhile now since I'm a huge fan of the regular IST.

Pours a dark brown color with a large sized head, not as thick or oily looking like the regular version is though, not much lacing, bubbles remain active through the entire sample.

Smell is primarily roasted malt and cocoa, slight bourbon aroma but isn't very predominate and more of an afterthought, dark fruit is a bit lacking which is rather odd.

Taste is fortunately not sour like others have experience, although there is quite the active carbonation, in fact way too much for the style and makes it almost cola like, the viscosity is missing from the regular version as well as the dark fruit presence, the chocolate isn't as strong either, the bourbon isn't too noticeable but does add at least a bit of complexity that would otherwise be lacking, not sure of the strength but no heat is evident.

Sadly, this was has to rank as a disappointment. While the bottle was infected like others, I have to agree about the carbonation. Although, I don't think that is the sole problem, it just seems to be missing that rich and thick mouthfeel, along with several key flavors, from the regular IST.

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Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from New England Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.