Imperial Nut Brown Ale | Tommyknocker Brewery

351 Reviews
Imperial Nut Brown AleImperial Nut Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Tommyknocker Brewery
Colorado, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of Tommyknocker Brewery, this special brew is meticulously crafted with pure maple syrup, the highest quality chocolate and crystal malts and is accented with the finest blend of European and American hops. Imperial Nut Brown Ale, at 9.8% alcohol by volume, is a bigger, bolder version of their Maple Nut Brown.

Added by Bierman9 on 12-17-2004

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Reviews: 351 | Ratings: 638
Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good mouthfeel and a nutty sweetness. Dark brown, alcohol is warming but otherwise hidden. A drinkable and passable brew.Too much sweetness there to be of continued interest, with caramel, a tad chocolate malt, honey.Understated carbonation.A unique spotting of style, but otherwise so what.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a 10oz chalice at the brewery. looks brown like chocolate and has almost no head. smells sharp like alcohol and has maple essence, but isnt sweet. taste is mildly bitter from the hops with a belgian candy sugar sort of feel. not yeasty in the same complimentary way, and not sweet, just the same flavor profile. got really boozy as it warmed and was stiff to finish. overall not the best imperial but a good effort.

edit: this does really well with some age on it. the maple aspect really develops, the alcohol mellows, and the whole thing just gets better integrated. very tasty now.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a pretty looking brown color with a nice tan head on it. The smell of roasted nuts and an ample amount of maple syrup. The taste is a nice combo of sweet and nutty that fades into a dry toasted aftertaste. Not too bad tasting but pretty sweet up front. The mouthfeel is a little thicker than some brown ales but I like how it adds some depth to the brew. This was pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, a Nut Brown with some serious body and kick. A heavy and viscous dark brown-black pour with a light brown head that stubbornly remained. Deep roasted malt with chocolate undertones and a mellow souring pronounced throughout. Tastes richly of molassas, roasted grain, and chocolate. Little in the way of alcohol flavor, but warm throughout. Hop detection in the bittering, flavor, and dryness. Fermented sour notes added to complexity without detracting. Finishes nutty and chocolatey sweet with slight dryness. Worth a try for Nut Brown and Porter fans.

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy ice tea brown color with a surprisingly sturdy head that splashes a bunch of lace around

Smell: Rich aroma of brown sugar and caramel with a backdrop of wood and nuts

Taste: Opens very malty with a developing milk chocolate presence to blend in with the nutty bread flavors; by mid-palate, there is some balancing nutskin bitterness that offsets the sweet flavors but, after the swallow, the flavor profile is all about caramel, nuts, chocolate and a hint of maple syrup

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: With the sweetness and ABV in this beer, it would be difficult to consume in quantity, but I was impressed by the flavor profile and think it would go well with a dessert

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Photo of zeff80
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark amber like maple syrup with a very foamy, tan, one-finger head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of maple syrup and caramel. A very sweet nose with some subtle earthy aromas.

T - It tasted sweet and caramely with a grassy bitterness. Also, an oak-like taste. It had oatmeal stout qualities but much sweeter with maple flavor.

M - It was smooth and crisp. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a great brown ale. The maple syrup flavor is a nice touch.

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Photo of mothman
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well here is a sticker shock. A 9% abv beer for under $2.

Poured into Bruery snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of khaki tan head. Fades to a thick ring. Color is a dark brown with a very appealing ruby hue to it.

Aroma: Licorice, molasses, and maple syrup. Lots of roasted malts and nuts. Can't really smell the abv here. Very sweet. Not to complex for the high abv.

Taste: Very much like the aroma. Lots of licorice, molasses, and maple syrup. Big roasted taste with a sweet feel to it. Some nuts.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, and crisp. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very roasted and dry.

Overall, this beer did not impress me. For how high the abv is, I expected more of a complex beer. I guess the price tag should have made me think otherwise. Nothing to special. I'd maybe drink it again.

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Photo of oberon
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham.Poured into a standard pint glass a deep ruddy brown with a thinner off white head,aromas are a mix of brown sugar/molasses and and as others have noted some maple syrup.Flavors are quite sweet upfront that molasses and brown sugar is big along with maple syrup not really any hop drying here.Its ok but a little to sweet for my taste,would likey be a good beer paired with a chocolate dessert.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best by 9/17/2012. Pours fairly crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a good 1-2 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some pretty good lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of caramel, biscuit, molasses, maple syrup, roasted nut, toast, toffee, raisin, and light herbal; some alcohol appears as it warms. Some pretty nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of caramel, toffee, molasses, toast, biscuit, raisin, roasted nut, earth, herbal, and light maple syrup. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, raisin, toast, and nuttiness on the finish for a short bit. Flavors are pretty good, but they aren’t as robust or balanced as I was hoping; hardly any maple flavor in the taste. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Feels a bit thin for a 9% beer, but it is good enough. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a pretty good imperial brown ale. Some nice flavors with decent balance; and quite smooth to drink for the alcohol level.

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

Imperial Nut Brown? Who ever heard of such a thing? Obviously I didn't know what to expect, but what I got at least looked like a nut brown ale. It poured with a deep chestnut body and raised a short but creamy ivory cap. The retention was a bit limited, but I chalked that up to the 9.8% abv. The nose was cocoaish and very lightly hoppy with a bit of mint, grass, and leaves. Some alcohol was present, but not obtrusive, and the maple syrup mentioned on the label made an appearance every now and then. The mouthfeel was medium-full, following in the "Imperial" designation, and creamy smooth. The first sip set off a light-bulb in my brain, "Oh", I thought, "an Imperial Nut Brown Ale is kind of like a barleywine"... and that was kind of true, but not really. Subsequent sips proved it to be much less malt or hoppy, and generally less caramelish. So an Imperial Nut Brown, after having taken a very, very long way round in explaining it, is exactly what it says it is... It's just a big brown ale. Nicely malty, cocoaish, subtly toasty, sublimely chocolatey, mildly bitter, gently hopped with grassy and lightly floral English hops, somewhat alcoholic, and in this case, drizzled with maple syrup flavor. And on that note, it finishes a slight touch syrupy (well, at least not dry), with some lingering sticky malt and maple character. As you progress through the glass some alcohol starts to build. I found it interesting at first, but by the end of the glass it had lost it's charm without enough depth to hold my attention.

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Photo of chinchill
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a Unibroue snifter.

A: Dark brown and hazy. Some sediment at the bottom of the bottle was included (intentionally) in the pour. Only enough head to cover the top despite a rather vigorous pour. The tiny head does have decent retention and leaves some lacing.

S: Sweet and rich with a hint of maple. Roasted malt with a bit of spiciness, dates and other dark fruits.

T: Fruitier than the aroma suggests, and with a stronger flavor. Hints of raisins, dates and toffee. Excellent sweet/bitter balance for this flavor profile.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Somewhat lively. Higher ABV evident on the tongue.

O: Very nice, and rather fruity, maple brown. High ABV is well hidden, although it did produce warming on the way down. I was too impatient and didn't let this warm up properly before starting to imbibe -- don't make the same mistake: this beer really opens up above ~ 45F.
{revised July 2013}

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.52/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from northertimber, so a big “thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a medium-sized foamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves a heavy lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is rich, malty and nutty with notes of maple syrup and caramel.

T: The taste is robust with caramelized malt, roasted coffee, maple syrup and chocolate. It’s sweet but not too sweet. There’s a little bit of hops character, but the maltiness over-powers it quite a bit. The sweetness lingers in the after-taste, which makes you crave another swig.

M: Very smooth, crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, clean and dry finish especially for the style.

D: This style wasn’t one of my favorites a first, but it has started to grow on me and this is the best that I’ve had in this style. This beer is tasty, has a damn good kick to it and it’s very easy to drink for a beer with 9.80% ABV. It’s slightly filling, but I can still drink a heck of a lot of this beer and enjoy every sip of it. I know "Imperial" gets thrown around rather loosely and I've never seen it used for a Nut Brown before, but this beer certainly seems worthy of the term.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Poured a dark brown color, moderately hazy, with a decent cap of off-white head that left a bit of lacing. Woody aroma, nutty, and a little soapy, some booze. Taste of roasted malts, nuts, a little much on the boozy side, with just a hint of maple sweetness and brown sugar. A bit on the harsh side, and somewhat watery. Might have been better if, well, it wasn't a brown ale. Medium mouthfeel, and overall just a bit lacking in flavor, due to the general blandness I usually experience with brown ales, and with the alcohol thinning it out too much. I probably wouldn't want to drink this again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body, clear, and with a short-lived, light beige head.

Smell: Moderately sweet-scented and, with just a bit of warmth, adds a noted fusel tone to tickle the nostrils beyond the modest notes of maple, store-brand cola, unsweetened chocolate powder.

Taste: Sweet tastes of brown sugar, molasses, and alcohol-soaked toasted bread crumbs as well as the aforementioned maple syrup. Dark fruits. Faint, bland chocolate hint. Very low hop character. It just doesn't seem particularly complex, folks. Growing sweetness as well as an alcoholic bite culminating in a sweet, warm finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's been a good, long while since I last tried INBA. About 6 (six) years by my guess. I fully recall not digging it then, and I'm just not really digging it now.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark walnut with abundant orange highlights. As so often happens when I hold a beer of this color up to my sunlit front window, it's actually a beautiful shade of orangish crimson. The dense, creamy head of golden sandstone looks like it'll stay at two fingers forever. Lace is on the thin side, but the sheets cover nearly the entirety of the available surface area. This is the best looking Imperial Nut Brown Ale that I've ever seen (and the only one).

The nose is brown malty and brown sugary. It smells more like brown sugar and caramel than it does of 'brewed with pure maple syrup'. But no matter, it's aromatic, different and characterful. There's some fruit nectar aromas in there as well, and just a touch of alcohol. All Imperials have to have some alcohol in their noses, don't they? The trick is to successfully integrate it into the aroma and the flavor and Tommyknocker seems to have done just that. On the first count at least.

The first sip tells me that this is damn fine beer. I was more than skeptical, but I'll be hanged if these guys haven't pulled off an Imperial nut brown ale. The flavor profile consists of rich, chocolate-covered caramels with a little liquor surprise in the center. It's more dark caramel-like and brown sugar-like than chocolatey, which is exactly the way it should be. Wait, let's sprinkle a generous quantity of toasted, sugared pecans on top of the chocolate-caramel candy.

I'm still having a hard time appreciating the maple syrup. It comes across as brown sugar, or even molasses, which are flavors that I like a little more than maple. It's tough to mask a 9.8% ABV and the brewers haven't completely succeeded. That's okay though, I don't mind a wee bit of alcohol in my big beers if it's complementary to the flavor profile as a whole, as it is here.

The mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth, slick character that is perfectly in keeping with the rest of the beer and with the Imperial moniker. I'd like the CO2 to be a bit more restrained, but it keeps the mouthfeel from being too thick and heavy. A long, sweet, mouthcoating finish is the perfect coda to a well-crafted beer.

After tasting Tommyknocker's Ornery Amber, I wasn't expecting much from this bomber. I couldn't resist buying it, though, since I was curious about an Imperial Nut Brown made with maple syrup and since the price was right. Imperial Nut Brown Ale is a wonderful beer that I heartily recommend to lovers of all things Imperial and lovers of good beer in general.

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Photo of russpowell
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown/mahogony with alight an head that dropped of quickly. Bubbles continously rose from the bottom as if coming from natural spring. Head retention and lacing were poor

Smell: Malt seetness and maple syrup, no pancakes or bacon though

Taste: Maple sweetness, dryness, maltiness, alcohol the bourbon-like notes with more dryness in the finish

MF: Actually felt a little thin and prickly

Drinkable enough, I had previous bottles that tasted better, but maybe buds were altered from drinking other beers prior on those occasions. Somewhere between this imperial nut brown and their regular brown is a very good beer (Say something between 6.5-7.5 ABV?)

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown, with a touch of a ruby tone filled up the glass rather quickly. A smallish head was lifted up onto the top, but this was quickly replaced by a thin layer of film across the top. Carbonation was visible in the very clear brew.

The smell was rich and sweet. Predominant aroma was a caramel with a touch of an earthy malt. A light feeling was released by this, so you really did not think you were going into anything too terribly heavy. As it warmed you could pick up a roasted or burnt smell coming though as well as a touch of a hop note rounding out the back. caramel that you caught right up front along with a burnt or roasted wood flavor. Almost had a touch of oaked flavor in it. Some hoppiness in the finish, but nothing distracting from the primary notes. A good solid brown ale flavor as best as I can describe it. Finish was a little nutty and dry

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Photo of Slatetank
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Thirsty's in East York, Pa. The beer was poured from a 12oz brown bottle w/ a freshness date of 1/08

Poured at 45degrees into a snifter.

A - A deep brown mocha w/ a copper tinge, the cap is beige w/ 2 fingers stature that settles to a band of about a millimeter w/ an ultra fine bead

S - Slightly boozy, nutty w/ a maple hint and creamy odors w/ subtle cereal note w/ a dark grain aroma

M- Thick full feel - sweet on the cheeks and warm on the throat w/ moderate carbonation. There is a slight drying effect w/ a bit of residual sweetness

T - Sweet caramel malt flavors w low roastiness and booziness upfront w/ the slightest maple syrup flavor, more sweetness of maple nature and a creamy syrupy malt flavor w/ toasty aspects and subtle woody hops under the layers of pecan pie like sweetness. The roasted nut taste like a payday is full and has a toffee creamy sweet taste w/ a boozy finish

D - A very good Imperial Brown ale - the maple seems to boost the abv and gives it a healthy dose of warmth, but still retains an above average brown ale flavor w/ a fuller feel and nice balance for such a big beer. The booziness is relatively low overall w/ minimal fusel alcohol and I consider this a very tasty American strong ale

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Photo of smcolw
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Solid brown color and clear. Moderate three-finger head that leaves good lace on the glass.

Aroma: Hazelnut and some soured milk

Sweet flavor, almost like maple syrup. Too sweet for my tastes, seems like a double bock. No hop taste until well after the swallow where it is still faint. Very rich beer with nice corresponding carbonation.

Overall, this is a pleasant beer although I find it to be too sugary for me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.71/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

So, apparently, Tommyknocker and their new labels have entered the Chicagoland market. Okay. This stuff pours a clear russet-garnet topped by a half-finger of ashen khaki foam. The nose comprises rich caramel, sweet coffee (imagine sniffing the air at the mall right at the edge of the food court where there's a coffee "store" and a candy store right next to each other), mild cashew, and a hint of cocoa. The taste holds notes of fusel alcohol (up front and in-my-face), burnt nuts, toasted malts, and bitter coffee. Things took a turn from the pleasant and sweet to the unexpectedly crass and bitter. Shame, really. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, what could have been a solid beer (judging by the smell) instead allowed itself to succumb to the Dark Side, with a flavor combination that made me harshly grimace with every sip.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured with a thin, wispy, light-brown head. The color was a slightly cloudy, deep brown. The nose was very malty and sweet, especially from the maple syrup. The mouthfeel was medium, bordering on creamy. It had a great sweetness on the tongue and the finish really lingered with the maple syrup aftertaste. My only concern is that this beer would be more suited for dessert or a cold evening by the fireplace.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clocks in at 9.8% abv, appears a deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light big tan head after a vigorous pour, leaves behind even streaks of lacing down my pint glass. Aroma has some vinous layers in addition to sweet maple syrup I'm also getting some sweet ginger bread presence and some tart dark fruits soaked in some alcohol. Also some milk chocolate creamy malt layers are present with minimal pine notes with some oak aging like tones. Flavor has some overtly sweet cloying moments, like the whole maple syrup addition to a brown ale in the first place. After sweetness dissipates a tobacco leaf pine layer of hops moves in with dark chocolate bitterness and some alcohol presence. I'm also getting some of that soy sauce salty quality in there as well Mouthfeel is a bit thin compared to what I was expecting the syrup additions doesn't add any cloying properties and the beer is actually medium bodied with some soft carbonation. Easy to drink but as whole I'm no sold, this brew just doesn't do it for me too many competing flavors without cohesion. A bit of a mess and you'll realize that fact in a couple sips something I will never really crave again, although they managed to get some hop presence into an imperial Brown Ale with maple syrup seems impressive enough to me.

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this several months ago - reviewed from notes:

Pours dark brown with a thin off-white head that slowly becomes wispy. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of maple syrup, brown sugar and roasted nuts.

The tase is of maple syrup, brown sugar and nuts. Sweet, though a mild roast keeps it from being cloying.

It just hits full-bodied, though for an "imperial" it could have more body to it.

This is an enjoyable sweet, maple-y sipper!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.46/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown. Big, Complex and Malty-big, complex, and malty. High malt, low hops, Colorado, 9% ALC/VOL. IBU 57, Ale brewed with pure maple syrup. Colorado Mountain Town Craft Beer.

Too many words, not enough drinking. Let's start.

Dark brown coloring, slim, dotted head.

Aroma: deep, rich and malty. Big caramel, vast maple, brown sugar aplenty. low hops (but not that low, it is 57 IBU…got to be big to keep this malt in check.).

Taste: rich malt, all that vast complexity and sweetness, caramel and toffee, with maple, too, in tow. I get some nuts, too, in this brown. And the hops are just enough to keep the big sweetness from this preponderance of malt in check.

I wonder what else is on the label? The Tommy knocker legend, which I will skip, and these words: "Flavored beer." Imperial nut brown ale, flavored with maple syrup, I suppose.

I bit too big for me, I think. Nut browns shouldn't be imperial, I've always said.

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Photo of Billolick
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like strong beer and this is strong stuff, Bomber bottle, w/o freshness indication, gold foil covers the cap, pours dark brown with a tan frothy head. Nose is of sweetness, this is a fairly sweet brew, maple notes obvious, also some vanilla, honey and minimal hopping noted. Not my favorite type of brew, but this would be nice for after dinner sipping or with a nutty desert.

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Imperial Nut Brown Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 638 ratings.
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