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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter - Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

347 Ratings

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Ratings: 347
Reviews: 282
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 55
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company visit their website
Connecticut, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2003

Full bodied and rich color, our imperial porter has hints of roasted coffee, cocoa with a generous hop finish. Dark roasted malts blended with the crispness of English hops, this beer is smooth yet complex.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 347 | Reviews: 282
Photo of LuckySevens82
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1L Bottle (2004) courtesy of Sulldaddy...thanks Sully!

Pours a very deep brown with a nice tan cap. Lacing is nice and retention is very very good.
Smell is caramel, roasted malts, coffee, a slight bit of hops and one heck of a lot of chocolate.
Taste is very similar to the aroma. Hops are much more pronounced. Coffee notes are slightly more faint than I would have expected from the smell. Dark or Bakers chocolate dominates this beer. I would think that this could easily have been called a chocolate porter with no complaints from me or anyone else. Hops balance out the rest of the brew and complement the other flavors quite well.
Overall, I'm impressed, yet again with Troutbrook. I don't think I've had a single bad beer from this brewery. I can't wait to try the Old Marley I have sitting in the cellar.
A very good beer. I would recommend anyone who can get their hands on it to try it

Photo of oxmasterscream
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Swingtop bottle courtesy of counselor, big up.

Bottled in 2004. Opaque, brown-black with chestnut highlights. Frothy, thick, tan head fades into just a creamy coating in a few minutes. Smells of dark roasted German malts, burnt coffee, sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate covered cherries. Smells are a bit more subdued than I would've liked. Tasts of dark roasted malt, chocolate (sometimes like milk chocolate, sometimes dark unsweetened), spicy German hops, and French roast coffee round into a solid bitter finish that parks itself in the back of your throat and dries your mouth entirely. Taste is on but a little too dry. Mouth is wonderfully thick, full and creamy. Bubbles are plenty but the space between them is not. Good stuff.

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.88/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not what I was expecting after all the hype and honestly I was a bit disappointed. Nice 2004 swing-top bottle. Served room temperature because that is how I prefer my porters. The appearance and aroma were overall quite good. Poured a chocolate brown with a finger deep head. The aroma is dark chocolate and very bitter coffee. The taste had a very strong alcohol bite and was not very smooth. The hop bitters also kicked in high gear, but I could not really find the malts to balance it out. I let it breathe for a while and came back, but the malts were still all lost. The mouthfeel is just all bitter hops, the blance is lacking. The drinkability for me is rather low because between the alcohol and the hops I am now enjoying this beer within the style. While I recognize it in and of itself as a singular beer, I still cannot find much that makes me go "Wow!"

Photo of shapudding
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2004. Dark and beautiful with a hugh amount of thick and frothy milkshakey head the color of Breyer's coffee ice cream. The head finally shot down to a heavy layer of creamy goodness with a few foamy bubbles. Nice vineous deep red wine, merlot scents... almost towards a bit of whiskey. Deeply chocolate and coffee, with the hops starting to yell at you more and more as it warms up. This just has such a great complex scent, there is so much going on! Nice carbination, tight and smooth, it rolls and swirls across your tongue. Almost a bit dry feeling. Cocoa powder and chocolate truffles followed by dark coffee and merlot flavors. Hoppy bitterness and great peppery bite. The hops become more pronounced as it warms. Smooth and silky, medium bodied. Slight heat of alcohol when it warms... very nice. Very lovely impy porter, highly enjoyable. Great feel and great flavor, would love to have hookers back in my place again!

-No thanks to "Deep Throat" who did not send this to me, and I am not thanking for this one!! ;)~

Photo of ManekiNeko
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big frickin' 1L bottle served lightly chilled in a Trois Pistoles chalice.

Appearance: Nearly impenetrable black liquid with dark brown highlights at the edges of the glass. Frothy medium tan head that evaporated to a tiny later of bubbles across the surface of the glass. Thick ring at the side. Specks and splotches in lieu of lacing.

Smell: Ashes and burnt sugars wallop the nose. Dark dried fruits and espresso. Dark chocolate/cocoas. Intense, but not necessarily complex.

Taste: Strongly bittersweet burnt barley. Take that bitter taste lurking in Guinness... distill it. Hand that liquid to Bela Karolyi and the dudes at Balco and you might get an idea. Notes of smoke and Italian roast coffee on the finish. A wee bit brash, overall.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but not overpowering. Substantial, this beer.

Drinkability: 1 Liter of this is almost a Herculean feat. Share it, for this is a deceptive brew. Very powerful.

Thanks to sulldaddy for the hookup.

Photo of Brent
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer #900 on my personal list, and an appropriate way to mark the milestone. With the Imperial Porter designation, I wasn't sure what to expect - probably something along the Baltic Porter style, I thought. My impression, however, was more of a very robust American porter. Black tinged with mocha. Aroma was dark roasted malt. A bit of creaminess in the mouthfeel, with a dense, dark roasted malt and espresso coffee flavor.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A one-liter bottle, swing-top cap, bottled in 2004. Purchased in December 2004, sampled tonight.

This was a dark brown, thick-looking, slightly oily beer with a four-finger tan head that left a lot of lacing. Beautiful.

The aroma was subtle, but complex, with dark roasted malts, raisins, coffee with cream, and a slight sweetness with a touch of hops. Not as strong as I would have expected though.

The taste was amazing... VERY bitter, with incredible roasted coffee notes. I didn't pick up any caramel, but I did get a bit of burnt sugar. Also, the alcohol let its presence be known in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, perfect for the taste. Great body. And the drinkability was also exceptional... one bottle was enough for me (it WAS a liter, though *LOL*) and I would gladly drink it again. The only thing that puts me off a bit is the price. But for a special occasion, if you want a dark beer, this is a wonderful choice.

Photo of mattcrill
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First of all, HUGE thanks go out to BA cmaruschak for allowing me to sample this fantastic beer. He was kind enough to split this bottle with me. It went down just fine over some good conversation, a cold Saturday afternoon, and some falling snow outside.

Presentation: very cool looking 1 liter swing top bottle with "bottle in 2004" across the top of the cap.

Appearance: stout-like with a pillowy tan head. Deep chocolate brown color fading to black throughout the body of the beer. Leaves fluffy lacings down the glass.

Smell: Not much going on here. I first detected a hop presence. Then I picked up some carmel, coffee with cream, and wheat notes as I agitated the beer.

Taste: Dark roasted coffee, cocoa powder, and a mild hop presence coat the palate perfectly. This definitely deserves to be sipped and savored. There is some warming alcohol notes that come to life as I get about half way through the beer. It's noticeable but not dominating. All of these tastes blend perfectly together.

Mouthfeel: Medium and creamy with a slight alcohol burn on the aftertaste (this isn't a bad thing but I just noticed it on the aftertaste).

Drinkability: Suffers a tad just because I can't imagine drinking the whole bomber let alone more than one. I can definitely see why this is an imperial porter.

Notes: I now know why this is the #1 rate American Porter. It deserves all the honors and titles that are bestowed upon it. I can only continue to thank cmaruschak for letting me experience this fantastic beer.

Photo of SheepNutz
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big shout out to Kevin (kmpitz2) for sharing this with me, and also a big thanks for Pete (ppoitras) for trading this to him! 1 Liter swingtop bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep jet black color with two fingers of dark tan head. There is just a little bit of lacing. The smell is very sweet, with lots of caramel and molasses. Not too shabby. The taste is damn fine. Lots of sweet and bitter hitting my tongue at the same time. Molasses sweetness and coffee bitterness reign supreme. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, and the drinkability is good for such a high gravity beer. One again, thanks to Kev and Pete for this beauty.

Photo of clvand0
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ppoitras and kmpitz2 for bringing this beer to my glass. Big liter flip-top bottle. I like the bottle. It pours a very dark color with a medium head that sticks around a little while and leaves a little lacing on the glass. Looks good. The aroma is of roasted malts and bitterness with a hint of fruits. The flavor is much the same. Lots of bitterness in there. Has a good taste from dark malts and coffee. The mouthfeel is very thick and heavy - nice. Drinkability is good, but I thought that the bitter bite was a bit too strong for my preference.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ppoitras for giving me the chance to try this fine beer. Pours a nice black color with a big fluffy thick tan head that falls slowly. The nose is coffee bitter with a touch of dark fruit in there as well. The flavor is nice, with a big blast of roasted coffee, that sticks around huge on the finish as a hoppy bitter. Wow. I really like it. The feel is thick as thick can be, somewhat creamy. A nice beer overall. The bitter is pretty strong, but I do like it still. It takes away from the drinkability, as I can't take it down quite as fast as I would like. I am very glad I had the chance to try this one, and I recommend finding it if you can.

Photo of trumick
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was planning on just sitting back on this cold snowy Mi night and enjoying this beer without writing a review or even taking notes. But, this is the most amazing beverage to have ever spilled over my lips, and I just had to sing its praises.

Pours a deep dark redish brown with a nice thick fluffy head and tons of lacing all around the glass. The lacing stuck to the glass the entire time I sipped all the way to the bottom.

Scent is of dark, bittersweet chocolate, slightly burnt coffee, a bit of spicey hops, dark fruits, slightly metalic and alcoholic.

The taste is where this beer really grabbed me. The chocolate hits first, bitter and sweet at the same time (not just bittersweet, hard for me to explain), then the burnt coffee takes over almost immediately. Oh, that bitterness, what in Gods name is that wonderful flavor? I can only come up with coffee-hops. I get some citrus-piney hints too. There is a spice that stays with the bitterness also. I haven't sipped it for a few minutes and the wonderfull bitterness is still there. Sip-mmm, dark sweet fruits there, oh even in the burp. Outstanding flavor!!

Mouthfeel gets very high marks too, full bodied, creamy, smooth The small, fine bubbles only increase my enjoyment of this beer. An absolutely brilliant brewer must have come up with this one.

Drinkability is all day long, and back for more (too bad I only have one). Slowly though, the abv will sneak up on a brutha. I want another one of these! Next time I won't wait so long to enjoy it, if I get a next time.

Thank you, unionmade. My life is now complete, *OK* being a bit dramatic, but this is an amazing beverage. One that I will seek out in trade whenever there is the chance. I wish I could get this around here. Boo hoo, it's almost gone... :-(

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.61/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First off what a cool f*^&ing swingtop bottle.. That will definetly be used to hold some kick ass homebrew when I start doing 5 gallon batches again.. Pours a deep dark brown almost black color with a robust head that simmers ever so slowly leaving a lingering lace. Aromas are a mix of faint cocoa and roast along with a slight vinous character. I don't know if its my nose or what but I just can't pick up too much on this one. Flavors are full and complex. There is an upfront sweetness and a chocolate like feel with a hint of roast that has no astringency with it. Following there is a slight vinous and molasses character with just a hint of caramel. The finish is slightly hoppy and nicely bitter with yet more roasty and cocoa characteristics. The body of this brew is simply beautiful and full and just completely well rounded flavorwise. For drinkability, I can put this simply: I'm drinking this bottle completely to myself and wishing I had another to savor right after I finished the last drop.. Simply superb..

Photo of xgrigorix
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown 1 liter swing top bottle. No dates.

Deep dark brown (almost black) with just the slightest ruby tinge at the edges. Dense & creamy tan coloured head is impressive.

Big aromas of coffee & chocolate mix readily with fruity notes, with intense American hops throughout the background.

Intense coffee & chocolate flavours, some subtle dark fruit notes lurk underneath. Big, bold hops with great notes of citrus & pine. Full bodied, smooth, prickly carbonation. Pick some up.

Photo of talkingpoints
2.56/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thomas hooker Imperial Porter 2004 is not quite my cup of beer. The packaging of the huge liter bottle is impressive but the taste I've come to love from winter porters wasn't quite here. The porter was on the bitter side which while not bad kind of masked the flavors a lot and the hops were just a tad too much for such a big offering. This beer is probably a favorite of the stout crowd because that is what it reminded me of. All said, it was a decent brew but I still don't know what the fuss is about. i'll probably try this again in a week to see if I still feel the same way but for now I'm moving on.

Photo of waughbrew
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2004. Most likely the new batch released 12/04.

Smooth is the first word that comes to my mind. Like a chocolate and coffee egg cream (for those of you in NY) with less fizz. A mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate shavings melting on my tongue. VERY assertive flavor. A blast of chlorophyll and slightly tingly bitterness surges in and joins the barrage of flavor half-way through. Each sip is a reminder of how good it is, as if you forget in the few seconds that pass between them. Looks perfect, from the bottle to the body to the head. Smell is deeeluxe earthy vegetation, m&ms, and a nuttiness not unlike what I find in Bell's beers. The only imperfection that show itself to me is the overly vegetal finish. It is still an amazingly focused beer with the flavors fitting together seamlessly. Wow.

Photo of Hibernator
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter
Packaged in 2004

Comes is a beautiful 1 QT, 1.8 FL. OZ brown bottle with a flip top. Instructions on the side of the label to "Store at cellar temperature".
Going into this review I have only had the Hooker Red and Blonde on tap. Something tells me this another speciality all together.

Pours an attractive black color with a nice off-white head on top.

Whiffs of chocolate, caramel and vanilla beans.

This is a smooth and very well balanced strong porter. Full body with a coffee meets toffee malt extravaganza. Sweet vanilla swirls blend with roasted malts perfectly. Very smooth and slick mouthfeel.

Awesome beer and a phenemenol winter beer release from this great Hartford, CT brewery. This is the best Thomas Hooker offering I have had yet. This beer is worth seeking out.

Photo of Rastacouere
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Opaque extremely dark brown. Sticky light brown head consisting of tiny bubbles stuck to each other. Gorgeous. Multi-faceted malt aroma. Pumpernickel bread, monstruous chocolate, well put lactic hints, caramel richness, woody vanilla, subtle roastiness, this has it all and well expressed at that. Extremely malty taste, much roastier than anticipated also far hoppier, there’s quite an honest bitter slice to cut the sweetness. Mild licorice flavor, vanilla, vegetal tones. Medium to full bodied, very low carbonation. Here I go again, this had the potential to be world-class, but there’s just something that feels wrong with Troutbrooks beers’ mouthfeel. They can be thick and rich, but they don’t seem to be living, they can’t seem to use any carbonation to transport their flavors and I think the beers suffer a lot from this. The just seem much more stable and stuck in their little universe, far less adaptative, creative and evolving. So in other words, this beer rocks, yet it could easily do better.

Photo of Crosling
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Ruby.

Welcoming aroma of blackberries, west coast hops (pine, resin) coffee, roasted malt and deep dark chocolate.

Delicious malty mixture (cocoa, chocolate, dark fruits, raisins) with a nice generous hoppiness. A tasty brew and much better than that other pitiful offering they call Liberator.

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter was served from a big 1 liter flip-top bottle that was sealed with a “bottled in 2003” label. In my Duvel tulip, the beer was shiny black with dark chestnut accents, and was topped by a beautiful reddish-brown head that left fine wavy sheets of lacing. The multi-faceted, luscious nose held rich n’ roasty, lightly smokey chocolatey malts, fresh out-of-the-oven apple-cherry fruit pie aromas, a subtle cutting lime undercurrent, and a perfect whisp of alcohol. The taste was decadent and delicious, with velvety-creamy roasty deep dark chocolate nutty almond malts that developed some cherry-plum esters and notes of subtle baked apple, cocoa liquor, vanilla, and sassafras, leading to a perfectly bittered, rich dark chocolate ganache spicy-hopped finish that left excellent residual estery chocolate liquor flavors. This impy porter was quite monsterous, but was amazingly balanced and drinkable with a overall dryness. The body was amazingly smooth and creamy, with a lovely oilyness that added much to the pleasure factor. I really loved everthing about this superbly-crafted imperial porter...one of the best you’ll ever find.

Photo of edchicma
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thnaks to wyllder for this offering. Poured black with an outstanding head. Smell was malty with a hint of the sweetness to follow in the taste. Taste was lightly sweet throughout and remained so from the front palalte to the back. Mouthfeel was smooth, with a lightly dry finish...very nice. Drinkability for abv was smooth and sippable.

Photo of proc
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent porter. Pours out of its way-cool, swing-top bottle as dark as night with a generous head and carbonation. The aroma is that roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel. One of the most fascinating aromas of any beer I've tried. It begs to be sniffed again and again...weird, but true. The taste is a flavor explosion with a good dose of roasted malt hitting your tastebudes, giving way to a nicely balanced mouthfeel as you start the swallow only to give way to a beautiful taste of coffee, caramel, malt and hops as it goes down.

One of, if not the best, porters I've tasted.

Thanks to pbrian for sending this my way many months ago. I wanted to wait for the cold chill of an autumn night, but I settled for an usually chilly mid-August evening.

Photo of wyllder
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque ruby brown with almost no head. Later in the bottle you do get head, along with some guiness-like settling effects. Look is viscous and syrupy.

Nose speaks of chocolate and black cherry. Others I sampled this with reported a strong scent of green olives, which I could not confirm as I tend to avoid olives.

First hit on the palate is bittersweet chocolate and espresso. Midsip backs out the espresso, leaving the bittersweet chocolate and a slightly, almost metallic, astringent tang just before the aftertaste sets in. Aftertaste is a mix of bitter coffee and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel goes along with the appearance in feeling syrupy and full-bodied.

Drinkability is solid, allowing me to easily get through 2 glasses.

Overall, another very good offering from Troutbrook. Perhaps not a personal favorite, but certainly a very good interpretation of the style.


Photo of Boilermaker88
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presented in a 1L swing-top bottle with a thin yellow tape over the top stating it was bottled in 2003. I poured out a healthy dose into an imperial pint glass and stood back to watch. What I saw was a beer of inky blackness with glints of ruby red around the edges and a mammoth firm biege head that slowly faded to a thin layer about 1/16" and depositing wispy lace.
The nose was heavenly, a mesmerizing blend of dark malts, hints of prune, molasses, coffee beans, and a whiff of alcohol fumes. I kept sniffing and sniffing, couldn't stop. Then, a taste. Mmmm... An expansive bounty of flavors, each consecutive taste peeling off another layer of a complex and delicious brew. First, roasted malt, slightly burnt. Second, rich espresso coffee and bitter chocolate. Then the sweetness of molasses, raisins, prunes and a hint of anise. Lastly, finishing with a slightly warming alcohol kick. Each flavor waxes and wanes seemlessly and provide a superb balance. The feel was full, creamy thanks to the abundant minute carbonation, and silky smooth.
By this point I think you can guess that I found this brew to be exquisitely drinkable. Troutbrook B.C.'s Imperial Porter easily meets the high expectations I had for it after having tried their Liberator doppelbock. This porter is simply amazing, a real achievement for the style.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What true genius envisioned this package, the one liter swing-top bottle? Simply brilliant! This one sat on my kitchen floor, near the DBF, often next to it's brother, the Liberator Doppelbock, waiting for the day I'd try it out. I finally got a few friends together to tackle this, with other worthy porters and stouts, and it was worth the wait!
Dark brown color, near opaque, with small red highlights shining through the cracks.
Enormous head, toasted tan, leaving lace.
Aroma: rich and roasty, small notes of espresso & cocoa.
Taste: unfolding expressively, soon filling the mouth with flavor, swarmsing the senses with a sweet caramel essence, swirling in and about.
Fruity character leaps into the fray, cherries, dark, lush, rich, luscious, interminably tasty.
So smooth, so flavorful, a magnificent blend of dark, rich, and rewarding flavors..nutty, cocoa, coffee, a bit of licorice, as well...this one has it all, a real knock-out porter, truly belongs among the elite!
So Connecticut makes good beer, huh? How would've known?

Big cheers to sulldaddy for this one!

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.