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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter - Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter

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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 battlekow
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got the '04 and '05 versions of this in a trade with cooperrip, so thanks go out to him. I've been wanting to try the THIP for awhile.

This review is for the '05:

Beats the '04 on appearance by virtue of being more sensibly carbonated.

Whoa, smells way hoppier than the '04, now that's what I'm talking about. No traces of the mustiness, caramel, or dark fruits from the '04. Also tastes hoppier, and just bigger in general. The hops and roastedness are both more in your face, and the chocolate flavor is huge, beating away the boring caramel and dark fruit flavors.

Taste is really a 4.75, it's better than a 4.5 but just not quite all the way there. It could be just a tiny bit bigger.

The alcohol is still hidden remarkably well.

This is a hell of a beer.

Photo of jmz62565
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a jet black with a huge tan creamy head.The head lasts forever and leaves a nice lacing.The smell is a full aroma of roasted malt and coffee or expresso beans.The taste is very good. Your taste buds are bombarded with a strong coffee and a roasty flavor.This has a sweet aftertaste that mixes nicely with the bitter hops and coffee flavor.This is an outstanding beer that should not be missed.

Photo of andjusticeforale
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours out of a big bomber like greasy tar, and creates a plume-esque head that only recedes with terrible resistance; The color is big and black and the smell is like deep burned espresso.

Upon first taste you are greeted with a taste of coffee and burnt notes; but riding the carbonation is a tremendously medicinal almost cough syrupy flavor, a potential up front hoppy quality reminiscent of Nyquil or Vicks Formula 44D; this goes away and receded to a huge espresso taste with a surprisingly dry finish, having felt like you just spit out sweet coarsely ground coffee.

This is a really nice example of creating a huge beer that has separate phases; It takes you on a ride of extremes, alcohol and smooth coffee, biting carbonation and a smooth finish; Definitely an experience worth the price of admission for the small portion of the beer drinking world into sipping porters.

Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11/30/05- Received via trade with Connecticutpoet.

Presentation- 1 liter swingtop bottle with a 2004 strip over the cap. Poured into my Duvel tulip. THe bottle spewed huge amounts of beer upon opening :( Infected?

Appearance- Off black colored pour with a huge 2 inch head. Leaves decent lacing.

Smell- Hmmm, smells good enough. Has a nice bittersweet chocolate smell with espresso-like notes as well. Dark malt, but not super dark.

Taste- Very odd salty taste to go along with a hefty smokey malt flavor. I really can decent virtually no chocolate or coffee. Mostly burnt malt and smoke.

Mouthfeel- salt lick like feeling with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one in the future unless I got an infected bottle. Kinda bummed as I was really looking forward to this one.

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

On tap at Eli Cannon's. Big frothy tanish head poking over the top of the glass with a dark brownish to a black colored body sitting below.
Dark roasted coffee, a hint of dark chocolate, malty, big and heavy aromas come from this beer.
This beer is explosive tasting. Heavy roasted malts, burnt coffee, bitter hoppiness trailing each sip. Reminds me of burnt coffee beans wrapped in bitter sweet dark chocolate that runs and hides from the big hoppy finish that comes as it goes down. Alcohol character is definately present and leaves some warming.
The finish is fairly dry and leaves alot of flavor on your tongue. I enjoyed this brew very much and cant wait to go back for another.

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

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter (2003):

The damn thing got lost in my cellar somehow…all 33.8 ounces of it. Anyway, this is turning out to be damn good drinkin’. Not the head it had while young, but still with a little effort I got a nice creamy head with lacing to match. The taste is out of this world with chocolate, balanced by hops and a trace of oxidation that enhances by bringing an easy vinous quality in…nearly imperial stout-like. Very good lager here on this chilly October evening folks…very good.


Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Impenetrable mahogany with gold-flecked hazel edges reminiscent of the deep, soulful eyes of a gorgeous brunette. The cap is buttered wheat toast brown and has character to burn. It isn't what I'd call rocky, but every other indicator of quality that you'd care to name is present and accounted for. While there isn't as much lace as I'd hoped there would be, one can't have everything. I especially like the color contrast between beer and head.

The nose is magnificent. Words like deep, rich and bewitching come to mind as each inhale is more enticing than the one that preceded it. Imperial Porter may not have the thunderousness of a double stout, but then it isn't meant to. The nose is more Miles Davis than Muddy Waters. The dark fruitiness that all good porters possess is dominant. Plenty of accessory aromas are in play as well; mocha, chocolate and roasted nuts chief among them.

Holy Moly is this stuff ever delicious! There's such a three-dimensional, mouthfilling amount of flavor that it feels as though it can't possibly be contained in one mouth. A dizzying number of complementary flavors explode across my tongue like a chocolate-covered, espresso-filled Roman candle on the 4th of July. The 7.8% ABV is beginning to add to the dizziness. I'd better get this thing back under the speed limit.

Surprisingly, there's a considerable contribution from the hoppy side of the scale. An earthy peatiness and a Belgian yeasty funk are present as well. Unfortunately, the phenolic notes of the former and the barnyard notes of the latter are misplaced and keep the flavor out of the rarified air of a perfect score. Still though, I have rarely run across a porter, even an Imperial one, with a flavor profile that is as explosive and as complex.

The best lager mouthfeel ever? Quite possibly. It's medium-full, infinitely smooth, lightly lush and an absolute joy to drink. Of course I have to nitpick and point out that even more fullness would match the flavor with even more precision. Okay, this is *one* of the best lager mouthfeels ever.

Hooker Imperial Porter is a humdinger of a beer and is further evidence that the brewers at Troutbrook Brewing Company are geniuses. Of course I didn't need any further proof after drinking and being floored by a liter of their doppelbock. Rest assured, I'll continue to seek out as many hookers (uh... Hookers) as I can lay my hands on. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to far333 for this beauty.

Photo of AlexJ
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Happy birthday to me! I've been cellaring this since 03 and decided to open it with good friends to celebrate my 30th year.

It pours magestically into my waiting tulip, an ink black brew, thick as syrup, and inpenetratable by light. A thick head of whipped tan froth has great staying power and generously coats my glass in clingy lace.

The aroma fills the air with notions of dark chocolate mousse, crushed coffee beans, black molasses, and sappy pine. Bittersweet, spicey, and with enough depth to keep me sniffin' the whole time. Beers such as this are a treat for the nose as well as the tongue.

A sip reveals a dark medley of rich, dark chocolate, sweetened coffee, dark ripe fruits, butterscotch, toasted coconut, and enough sticky pine sap and earthy hop flavors to leave a long hoppy finish. The alcohol is well integrated, but definately tastes stronger than 7.8%, more like 9-10%. I'm surprised how hoppy it is after over two years on it. It's extremely complex and unmistakably American, I love it!

This has a big, full body to support all the massive flavor. It has the texture of melted silk on your tongue as it glides across your palate, coating it with layers of malt and hops. This beer is a masterpiece. Every bit as good as my beloved Old Marley, and a great way to celebrate a big birthday.

Photo of ybnorml
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very very dark brown beer with deep mahogony highlights. Has a big bubbly brown head. Deep coffee aroma with some chocolate notes and a hint of flowers in the background. Some chocolate sweetness dances on the tip of your tongue. Then the strong roasted coffee bitterness takes charge and slides easily into a smooth bittersweet chocolate finish. Has a great rich mouthfeel.

Photo of lostbearbrew
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 liter bottle with swing top cap - not sure that is anything to say but it is cool. 2004 vintage.

Poured into a snifter; color was almost an opaque black with some red coming through on the edges. There was very little head.

It smelled of lager yeast up front, and then hops and some roasted coffee beans and maybe some chocolate (bitter or perhaps pungent is the better word.)

Taste was remarkably different from what I'd expect out of an Imperial Porter...rush of hops, strong, (acrid almost) coffee, and some very strong lager yeast taste, more than I think I should have been able to taste. Despite trying to let both glasses I had warm up some, hoping for better results I was denied. The beer seemed to grow more bitter and slightly more single dimensional as it warmed. I can't say I'll be trying another of these big bad boys.

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

Big ass 1 Liter flip top brown bottle.

A- Thick tan frothiness, impressive retention. Dark chaotic brown hue.

S- Shades of burnt malt, mild sweetness and obvious dark berry. Suggestions of highly roasted coffee as well.

T- Flailing roasted and burnt malt, hop bitterness and the roasted malt character meld quick to become a hardy stamp on the palate. Salty? Massive roasted character ... its so big yet does not turn me off. Mellow warming alcohol. Mild burnt caramel / sugar on the palate. Finishes semi-dry with a lingering burnt ... faint acrid flavor.

M- Roughness on the mouth shows up on even the slightess crispness.

D- Its a sipping brew, a pretty damn tasty at that.

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

Poured a dark amber / brown color with a small light tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of roast, chocolate, and sweet caramel malts. Taste of roasted, and small caramel malts, smoke, and lots of chocolate. Very light alcohol in the taste.

Photo of rajendra82
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely 1 liter bottle with a convenient reclosable swing top cap, and a little paper strip indicating brewed in 2004. The beer was poured into a goblet, and looked nearly pitch black with slight red highlights and an off-white foamy head. The aroma was chocolate, coffee, and a rowdy hop presence. At first sip, I was a bit taken aback by a bitter hop flavor and a little bit of a plasticky taste possibly indicative of oxidation. But the beer continued to evolve as it breathed in the glass, with the chocolate, rum-raisin, and coffee flavors pulling themselves up, and the hops staying strong and bitter for the ride. Sweetness was also noticeable, and was tinged with a slight sourness.

Mouthfeel was dry and dusty, and alcohol was well in check. This little brewery can do no wrong it seems.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Lovely opaque black color with a medium thick and foamy tan head. Thin sheet of lacing. The aroma is a shocker - the first thing I thought of was a Christmas beer. Tons of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, etc erupt into the nasal passages. There is a bit of a roast character in the nose that comes through at times but it is overwhelmed by the spices. After the initial surprise this is pretty easy to enjoy. Medium body with lots of spice character, along with some roasted malt and bitter chocolate flavors. The finish is dry and somewhat bitter with coffee and hops. Whether this bottle was "off" or not, I liked it.

Photo of Billolick
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LARGE bottle, with swingtop, 2004 vintage, opens with a lot of energy and this one is full of fizz, seems initially to be quite actively carbonated. settles down after quite awhile, and pours black with an active and long lasting dark tan head. Lacing is fine and extensive. Nose is cafe au lait. This is a dense and rich brew. Mucho chocolate, roasted grains, dark coffee, vanilla evident. Luxorious and chewy, first class elixir. Mighty tasty creation from Hooker.

Photo of Sixpoint
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this one at the ABF 2005 in Boston.

My sample poured with a good head that remained standing for quite some time. In the aroma I detected hops, black malt, and a hint of fruity esters.

The taste was well-balanced, full-bodied and strong. The taste started out sweet but ended up with hops and burnt flavors dominating.

Overall, a decent sessioner, but not too quaffable. Nevertheless, a fantastic brew from one of the best breweries out here on the East Coast.

Photo of necoadam
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottle. Pours out a pure black color with some lighter brown highlights and a nice dark tan head. Smell consisted of big roasted malts along with cocoa. This baby doesn't have any sweetness to it, which is good to see. Some underlying chocolate aromas show through as well. Taste was great. Deep malt backbone begins with some chocolate and coffee which wasn't in the nose, start to blend in. Some dark fruit underlies it all. Mouthfeel was medium with a good check on carbonation. Finished with some alcohol kick but seemed to be right in place. I'm surprised that this bottle held up that much. I was expecting some strange flavors because it's 2 years old, but this bottle held up quite nicely. Great beer.

Photo of NEhophead
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light coffee colored head with very good retention; chunks of sediment throughout the head and the pint. Some condensed and spotted lace with good strength. Pours a very rich dark brown in color; almost opaque.

Big bursts of chocolate malt, espresso, mocha, bitter dark chocolate, a touch of maple syrup, and even a hint of chocolate covered cherries. The alcohol presence is easily detectable in the aroma, but it is matched nicely with the chocolate and earth tones.

Dark chocolate, mocha, a touch of sweetned cream, toffee, and a hint of dark cherry or plum. A very big roasted dark chocolate malt base with a coarse hop intensity, giving this porter a hefty bitterness at mid-sip. The aftertaste lingers of dark chocolate, a touch of caramel, coffee, and warming alcohol.

Full bodied; big, burnt, and full mouthfeel. Unobtrusive on the palate even for a heavy beer such as this.

This is a great treat if you come across it. Ideal for cooler months of the year, but it is so flavorful I won't be able to pass on it if it's 120 degrees outside. This is a great brew to be shared amongst friends due to its heaviness and bold flavors. Another phenomenal brew from the boys at Troutbrook!

Photo of tavernjef
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up at the Blue Nile by the monk and supplied by mentor as part of the homebrew bash happy tasting brigade during the Big Overdue MN Gathering.

Displayed in a 1 liter brown swing top, very cool; of the Thomas Hooker brews, this seems to be there thing with the cool bottles for bigger beers. Pours out dark brown and settles even darker with a matte black opaqueness. Thin densely held light tan foam sits atop. Lacing is mostly drippy with some smaller strings staying in a few areas across the glass.

What the hell? This smells like a chocolate saison! Kick ass! I could not stop wiffing this stuff in. Absolutely amazing. Not strong, mind you, but finely wafted to a perfect blend of farmhouse funk and chocolate. A detailed description will be hard pressed, but here's a stab at it. Solid chocolate base of blended milk and dark chocolate and is sustantially held in check and fused together by horse blanket dust funk bringing an interestingly, well balanced pitch of sour tart earth. Notes underneath of charred wood and marshmellow and tiny nuances of molasses tang and black licorice. Fantastic nose!

Flavors are just as good but absolutely no hinderences to the funk. Huh? Oddly strange and compelling, and didn't bother me one bit as this was one very complex and tasty little porter. Mostly a mainstay of mild chocolate tones mixed with some lighter slips of tangy dark fruitish malts where some dark cherry, fig, and plum kinda slip through the chocolate. Nice hints of cinnamon and black licorice spice up some of the middle towards the finish. Tangy and ghostly alcoholic esters appear. Ever present mild and easy chocolate tone always emerging when needed. Fades off simply to reveal an overall charred woody hop bitterness thats very tame and milding with some left over burnt grainyness and coffee bits. Way late return of dates and black licorice creep back onto the back of the palate.

Feel is quite smooth and bold, fairly close to full bodied. Warm, eager presense of malty tang under a solid chocolate base. Spicy middle, roastyish, hoppy, but never brash. Well balanced hold of firm flavors and body with just the right amount of alcoholic pep to it. A pleasing porter. Creatively different then any other American Porters. This could be in class all by itself. Uniquely awesome stuff.

Another big thanks to mentor for graciously sharing his stash of goodies!

Photo of meathookjones
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice big swing top with a bottled in 2004 sticker across the top. Body is a shade less than black in color with a healthy tan head. Nice chunky lacing as well. Interesting aroma with tart dark fruit notes as well as a big sweetness. Chocolate and a touch of roastiness. Solid flavor of chocolate, some caramel and roastiness. Sweet and tart notes from dark fruity esters. Ends on a lightly bitter roasty note. The tartness seemed not to mesh well at times but overall it worked. Medium slick body. Fairly easy drinking and tasty. I would pick this up again, good Imperial/Baltic Porter but not quite top of the food chain good. Thanks goes to Mr. ppoitras for the bottles of this brew.

Photo of mzwolinski
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a monster of a bottle. And me all by myself to drink it. This could be a very long night.

Pours black (surprise!) with a dark tan head that's mostly creamy but with some largeish bubbles.

Aroma is dominated by roasted malts, alcohol, and a decently spicy hop boquet.

Flavor starts with a lovely rich blend of chocolate and coffee, with hints of caramel in the mid-palate. The malts develop a slightly roasty character, but mostly at the back-end of the sip where they merge with a nicely understated hop bitterness to leave a very pleasant, lingering aftertaste.

Very full in mouthfeel and slightly coating, but with enough bitterness to keep it from cloying. Good, good stuff.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This review could just be on the bottle: period. 2004 Imp. Porter flip-top releases a buh-lack opaque onyx pour topped off with a tacky tan foamy sticky head cap. Recap: No light is escaping from this one, while leaving stratus lattice lace.

Robust aroma of roasted malt and mixed berry. Bready woody malt scents meet a caramely milky aroma. Quite interesting!

First swigs: Deep roasted coffee & cream flavors. Some black coffe aftertaste, however. Middle of charcoal notes. Molasses, sweet maple syrup sugary flavor dances on the edge of stout perimeter, but arguably maintains a porter-esque profile. Quick finishing, surprisingly clean aftertaste.

Smooth gentle feel, despite the thick syrupy full bodied aspects. Lip smacking tacky with sugar on the lips. Grainy chewy, almost chalky feel.

Last swigs: Pumpernickel molasses and coffee.

Thanks to Shapudding for sharing and to "deep throat."

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

Not a whole lot of good has come from Connect-I-Cut, but this brewery is something special. That was a joke, all those of you who can't decide whether to be from NY or NE...haha.

This doozie of a porter comes in a large, beautiful heavy swingtop bottle. Pours a healthy shade of black, with a crinkly head that dies into everlasting lace. Ripe, fruity nose that produces notes of chocolate and coffee, in addition to a sharp hop twang and a smattering of alcohol.

The flavor shows off even more complexity. Starts with rich, dark porter qualities of toasted malt and bitter dark chocolate, giving way to slightly sweeter plum and black cherry. Eases it's way into a bit more bitter, hoppy, warming finish. The alcohol is subtle, but noticeable. The mouthfeel was devilishly smooth from start to finish, of both glass and bottle. An exquisite, complex, belly warmer of a porter.

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

Super-huge thanks to Sulldaddy for sending me this one. What a f'ing unique beer. Bottled in 2004. Poured a lushious 2 finger brown head over a dark dark liquid. Held to light, the color is deep mohogeny ruby. Smells woody hoppy, roast/chocolatey, and alcoholic. Yeah, roasty/chocolatey...but also a bit of smokey. More than that...charred. Some cottony hop character (Fuggles?) and mechanic-shop hop character (Perle?) invite me in. As good as it smells, it tastes even better. Chocolate to start with a mild alcohol and noticable hop bitter. The bitter is strong and cotton-mouthy, but its rough character is tempered by an underlying wet sweet. Whoa, the middle is a hop bomb of flavor. Minty hops (plus some zing). It must be Perle, with perhaps some Fuggles (or Wmette). Onward into more flavors...imagine roasting a marshmallow and sticking it right into the fire. Let the outside burn black, then pull it off the stick and eat the char. The aromatic qualities of the hops, when combined with the roasted grains, have a similar character. But its woody, too (like you dapped the flaming marshmallow on one of the burning logs, you idiot...except it works really well). In the later part of the sip, sugar sweet rises before being overwhelmed by a faster rising alcohol burn and aromatic hop aftertaste. Yummy! Boy, there's alot at play here. Plus, a thin layer of brown head still hangs over the liquid with incredible lacing on the inside of the glass. Who can make a beer like this? Truely incredible. So, do I finish the liter or save half to split with my best buddy? Well, I'm quite lit now (I had two before this) and I think I'll be kind and save the second half. Thick body and mild carbonation (despite the amazing head). Interestingly, the carbonation continues to form on my tongue after the beer is down my throat. Now, *that's* a thick beer. Near perfection, I wish I had another that I could age in my cellar.

Photo of BrewMaster
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color with a thin head and slight amber tint on the edges when backlit.

Smell: Very sweet aroma with a caramel note to it but really very weak in the nose. Even in a tulip-shaped Duvel glass and even as it warmed up there was very little aroma to snack on.

Taste: Roasty chocolate and a very stout-like taste coming from the dark roasted malts. Some slight bitterness in the middle with a sweet, nutty (almond?) ending. Very impressive flavor for a beer with such a weak aroma.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, clean on the palate with a nice roastiness that lasts on the palate even after the beer is gone.

Drinkability: For a bigger bear with so much flavor it is wonderfully smooth and easy to drink. Aside from the weak smell I was very impressed with this beer.

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