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Imperial Nut Brown Ale | Tommyknocker Brewery

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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 351 | Ratings: 637
Photo of silver0rlead
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Not really sure what to expect from a lackluster brewery with an "imperial nut brown": pours an opaque dark brown with a descent tan head that retains well for a nearly 10% brew. The aroma comes out swinging with a big maple syrup sweetness, with some almond and hazelnut notes in the background, along with some fruits (cherry, raspberry and strawberry), slight floral hops, some toasted bread and alcohol. The flavor starts out with some brown sugar and molasses sweetness, along with some nuttiness (hazelnut and walnut), some light fruits (cherry and strawberry), tobacco, chocolate, toasted bread, floral hops and alcohol. The mouthfeel is a bit light (even for just a plain brown ale), with light carbonation and drinkability is good for the abv. An interesting beer, but the finish was a bit watery and the flavor didnt really deliver like i hoped...but drinkable and tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.67/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light black leather hue, thin, ringy/bubblish tan head. The nose is loaded with caramel, raisins, traces of alcohol and roasted malts. Loads of flavorings and a definite treat. The initial feelings are a chocolate candy loaded with cherries, brown sugar, figs and sticky molasses. Full bodied; warming reveals some mild carbonation and near-chewy qualities. Tender hop bitterness, alcohol is noted, sticky raisins and some woody notes. Very rich and fulfilling; an aftertaste of a freshly baked caramel roll and the smile of enjoying it. This is incredible stuff.

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Photo of aleyeast
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured in standard pint glass

color is fairly brown, little bit of light passing, probably some red hue if in a narrower serving glass

aroma is caramel, but not too overpowering or distinct

taste is not as cloying as I feared, carmael and light chocolate flavors, probably maple in there as well, definitely sweet, but not too hard to get through

Probably wouldn't search this one out again, I was drawn to the Imperial on the label, but a decent quaff. Also, one is probably enough in a session.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - brownish amber pour, it doesn't look like it wants to build up a head, so I lift the bottle up to make some noise. I get maybe a finger, no more, of light creamy head, quick-lived and light in the lacing. About right for the style but lots of room for improvement.

Aroma - brown sugar aroma, caramel malt, and a bit of metal. Nothing's really jumping out at me, but I am having a Froot Loops flashback moment from the sweetness, sugary and slight fruity background scents. Not a bad way to go but it has me wondering...

Taste - big and chocolatey, turning into a mix of crystal malt and maple syrup. A slight buzz of bitterness shows up about the same time as a warm wave of alcohol. The alcohol wins, leaving the balance well to the sweet side, but I'm not complaining. Bottled 10/18/04, best by date would be 2/18/05, so I'm 5 months late, that may explain a bit of metal in the taste as well. (So enjoy promptly I suppose...) The aftertaste is warm, roasty and pleasant, like Kahlua.

Mouthfeel - if my tardiness to drink this cost the taste some points, they make it up here. The smoothness is nice, medium body and carbonation are on target, and the alcohol is tempered well, blending in instead of coming across hot and raw.

Drinkability - if I see this again, I'll try it within 4 months. I enjoyed this beer, if you prefer the maltier, sweeter side of beer, this one'll do you proper.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was an alright brew. I wasn't really expecting much from a beer that calls itself an Imperial Nut Brown Ale, but nonetheless I had to try it. I suppose it lived up to its low expectations at the least.

Pours to a dark brown with a slight ruby hue. Very opaque, but not completely impenetrable to light. The head is off-white and rises to a good inch and a half but recedes to a centimeter in minutes leaving a spotty lacing in its wake. Looks good enough.

The smell is a bit sweet with caramel and toffee. Even a light hop. Not too particularly aromatic, as you have to really try to coax any smell out of it.

The taste is a bit roasty and dry with some chocolate and caramel malty notes. Nutty and earthy. Only lightly sweet up front, then dries out quickly.

Fairly light bodied. A decent beer, but not something I'll buy again.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin head that doesn't last. It did have some beautiful spiderweb lacing though. Smell was sweet with some nuttiness. The maple syrup that was mentioned on the bottle did make it in the smell, but only faintly. This is a very tasty brown ale. The taste is dominated by sweet malts. There is some nice nutty, and syrupy taste to balance it out. My favorite part is the warm alcohol finish. The alcohol is not overpowering as Tommyknocker hides it well, but there is just enough to give it a very nice finish. The mouthfeel is good as well as the drinkability. This certainly isn't a session brew because of the sweetness and 9.8%, but it is very drinkable. One of the most drinkable high abv beers I'v had.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.24/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had the bottled version of this beer in a beer tasting event. It pours a nutty brown murky color with a fair amount of carbonation but little head that quickly disappears. It a neat beer with an unusual flavor and feel. It has a smooth maple flavor that has a zestyness to it due to the carbonation. It’s unusual and drinkable but a little sweet to drink all the time. I would try other beers from this brewery to see if they are as intriguing.

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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 UnionMade
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased in Boulder, CO.

Clear walnut brown, a rich woodstain color, shining blood red through light. A short head forms on the pour, dying out quickly into a thin collar. No head retention, a swirl of the glass gathering a weak mist that disappears immediately. Almost no aroma. Pretty much a normal brown ale, with caramel and chocolate maltiness, a bit of maple and nuttiness, no hint that it might be "imperialized". The flavor is another story. Big, sweet malt seats itself on the palate, a portly body not moving anywhere. Modest carbonation, enough to keep things moving along. Sluggish caramel, drizzled with molten chocolate, and a not-so-subtle hint of maple syrup. A bit of maraschino cherry, sugary white raisin and prune. No real hops in the finish, maybe a dab of herbal english hop flavor, some bitterness keeps this from being cloying. Dryish and nutty in the finish, chocolatey, walnutty, with a hint of doughy yeast. A touch of alcohol way in the back. Very sweet overall. Leaves the edge of the glass sticky.

Very interesting. I can't say I'd ever heard of a brown ale being imperialized before. I'm not exactly sure this is the kind of style that should be imperialized. Decent, definitely drinkable, but I'm not sure I'd want another. Glad I got to try it.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I heard a friend raving about this beer when he lived in Boulder. Odd that both he and the beer have made it back to Indiana.

This evacuates the bottle deeply, like oversteeped iced-tea. Suspended globules of yeast hang like snowflakes. A decent head is forced into life with a vigorous pour. Wispy, receding lines of lace.

Interesting intertwining of maple syrup, molasses, corn syrup, Fuggles, butterscotch, fudgey malts on the nose. The alcohol burn and s'mores like malt profile remind me slightly of a White Russian. Gumminess. Well-cured tobacco.

Palate follows the nose with a little more hop-bite than I was expecting. Earthy. Fallen leaves, tree nuts, fudge, faint whisp of smoke/peat, heat, with great silky slick mouthfeel.

Quite drinkable, and unexpectedly good...especially that I picked this beer up for less than $2.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.38/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very hesitant of this brew as most of my Tommyknocker experiences haven't been very positive and this is certainly a strange style to attempt. I gotta say, they really pulled it off!

The pour is very deep mahogany with burnt sienna highlights. The light brown head is thick, rich and surprisingly lasting considering the strength of this beer. Looks great in my glass.

Aroma is everything you love about a brown ale times 100. It smells chocolatey and rich, with plenty of dark malts, brown sugar, and molasses with a great toasted nuttiness.

Flavor is even better. Tons of chewy fudgey chocolate, toasted almonds, molasses, black bread, dark fruit, raisin, and mocha. It had a mildly bitter, yet uber-smooth hop finish that balances it wonderfully. Not even a trace of it's strength, it's so drinkable, very impressive.

Body is huge, thick, chewy, and sticky, making me want to lick my chops after every sip. I truly savor every drop of this delicious, and rather under-rated ale. Yes this ale crosses many boundaries. At times it reminds you of a porter or stout, then barleywine, then old ale. In the end, you are assured. This IS an Imperial Nut Brown Ale. A new animal? Yes, and a damn tastey one at that!

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Photo of ppoitras
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single somewhere in NoVA, either WF/Vienna, WF/Annadale, Norm's, or Rick's. Says to enjoy within 4 months of date notched, which is Nov04. Hmph. It was "out of date" when I bought it in July, apparently. Oh well, probably no big deal. Gold foiled cap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light brown head above the clear burgundy brown brew. Head fades, but some still hangs around, with lacing present and accounted for. Aroma is dark fruits, alcohol, with some grains lying underneath. Taste is upfront with heavy sweetness, the maple syrup, I assume, then kicking in with the kind of tart dark fruits and alcohol, and that's about it. And grains seem to have lost the shouting match here. Mouthfeel is just "too" everything for me, and drinkability is reasonably limited due to the loudness of it all. I keep trying, but I'm thinking I certainly don't get these Imperial Browns. They seem to lose everything I like in a brown this way.

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Photo of Fugazme
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. This bottle looks better than the normal cartoonish bottles Tommyknocker usually puts out. That's good.

This beer pours very nicely. A moderately thick and creamy head with some good staying power. The off-white head gently calmed down to about 1/8 of an inch with excellent stickage. Looks like a great beer!

The nose is sweet and malty. I can't detect much maple on the first whiff. It is there, but very slight. Some faint alchol and brown sugar.

Taste is wonderfully malty and sweet. Mouthfeel is very nice, as well. The maple is much more detectable on the palate than on the nose. Some slight coffee and caramel hints... pecan, maple, brown sugar. As I drink more, the alcohol appears more in the forefront.

Overall a very good beer. I would order again.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 22 oz bomber from Riley's here in Madison. The maple nut brown was pretty decent, let's see how its big brother stacks up.

Pours a dark brown, almost porter-ish, with some amber highlights and a short khaki head that fades quickly. Smell is strong on the caramel sugars, some spiceyness, and alcohol. Taste is similar to the Maple Nut Brown, heavy on the Maple, light on the Nut, but this time also heavy on the alcohol, which warms to the point of a hearburn-like effect. Whooo, this stuff catches up to you, especially in bomber proportions. Mouthfeel is bubbly and not as thin as other Tommyknocker brews tend to be. Overall, a pretty good dark imperial brown here, not a whole lot of complexity, but enough to keep you interested. Worth a try if you can find it, but beware that 9.8%.

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Photo of Skidz
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out amber brown and sits deep crimson-brown with a small, creamy tan head. Fades to a light skim, few lacings.

Smells rich and roasty, with hunks of gooey caramel. Raisins, figs and apples lie over a charred blanked of oak. Mild fusels push through, light, spicy hops nearby.

Tastes sweet up front, caramel and chocolate up front. Wooden tones throughout with rich raisiny tones. Alcoholic warmth and spice hits on all levels. Finish is moderately bitter, lingering sweetness and the ever gaining alcoholic glow.

Smooth, rich and creamy in the mouth with ultra-fine carbonation in a full body. Bountiously full body, a dream to pass through.

It is fine, fine fine. Maybe a bit one sided, but a strong hit.

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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 goodbyeohio
3.47/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

thanks be to unionmade and his lass for this treat..

22oz bottle

pours crystal clear mahogany into a pint glass, sudsy small head that disappears quickly. interesting nose, nutty and creamy like a brown with touches of a more barleywinish complex roasted malt and some chocolate. also, some overripe apple mush and the slightest hints of brown sugar and maple. very slight maple. starts smooth.. crisp and fresh with a nutty profile and lactose burst. hops and alcohol catch up adding a distracting bitter quality to this otherwise velvety ale. worried about this until i saw it was pushing 10%.. for such a big beer, the alcohol presence is below average. aftertaste worries me a bit too, lots of bitter anise and cough syrup sweetness. pure alcohol wafts in the end as well..

yeah, this is something that all brown ale fans should try for its gravity and elevation of style.. however i can't say its a totally successful experiment. makes sense that i haven't seen too many 10% brown ales before, the flavor i love in a brown cannot be preserved when subjected to mr. hyde-style cubing.

glad i tried it, wont go out of my way to try it again.

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Photo of MichaelMeister
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My wife bought this from Green's thinking it was the Maple Nut Brown Ale, since it specifically mentions maple syrup on the label. We've recently made a clonebrew of the Maple Nut and were anxious to compare it to the original since we've never tried it.

This Imperial smelled robust with a definite chocolaty nose. Poured very dark brown more like a robust porter or stout rather than a brown ale with not much of a head unless poured from a height. The head lasted several minutes and produced some good lacing on the glass. First taste revealed a heavier alcohol content, but not overpowering. Not much carbonation and tasted malty, somewhat chocolaty with a rather flat finish. As the beer warmed, the beer seemed to become even milder and smoother. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase more, I would definitely not turn another one down if offered.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I consider myself a Tommyknocker virgin, since I had never heard of this brewery until their beers suddenly appeared on the shelves in Georgia. After today I guess I am no longer a virgin, since I have been Tommyknockered up with the Imperial Nut Brown Ale 22 oz. bomber.

Poured into an oversized wine glass posing as a Goblet, this beer looked very dark. Luscious velvetty dark brown and black color was more akin to a Porter than a Brown Ale. There was no head to speak of anc the carbonation was low as well.

The smell was nutty and mild with notes of toffee, coffee, and choclate, and molasses like sweetness. The taste was similar as well, with an easy to drink mix of sweet flavors, followed by oaky dryness with a tinge of vanilla, and a faint hint of smoke. At times the sweetness felt a little over the top, but didn't quite get to the point of being cloying.

Rather easy to drink, with very little hint of the hidden alcoholic strength at first, except some fuminess near room temperature. After a while, a good deal of warming in the belly. If I was asked to sum it all up, I would chalk this up as an interesting but slightly flawed experiment.

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Photo of carln26
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown color with mahogany highlights. It was topped with a decent sized tan head. It has a very sweet aroma with caramel toffee and dates. There is just a touch o orange citrus in the nose. The taste has the same sweetness up front toffee/caramel with a chocolaty character delivered by the roast malt. It finishes with the citrus orange delivered by the hops and a mild alcohol warming. The mouth feel is very smooth and rich. The drinakbility is hurt by the intense sweetness, but this is still an good beer.

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Photo of maxpower
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle pours a clear brown with some floating particles, has a small light brown head that doesn't last long, leaves some lacing in my glass. Chocolate and caramel aromas, chocolate, coffee, nutty , brown sugar and maple flavors. Full bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, finishes on the sweet side, alcohol is very well hidden as this is dangerously drinkable.

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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 battlekow
2.93/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Having just tried the regular Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown, I decided to give their Imperial Nut Brown a shot. The label says it's a "bigger, bolder version of our wildly popular Maple Nut Brown."

Appearance: Cloudier and darker than the regular Maple Nut Brown. Same thin, weak head.

Smell: Smells a bit spicier. I still get the same hint of cooked carrots though.

Taste: Honestly, it tastes like they just added some alcohol. Still doesn't taste like much, only now the nuttiness has been traded for an alcoholic bite. Maple aftertaste seems less pronounced, and that's what I liked most about the original.

Mouthfeel: Still thin, and the added alcohol makes it sting a bit.

Drinkability: Overall, less pleasurable than the "regular" version. The extra bite was a little offensive and detracted from the already less-than-outstanding original. Only exceeds its predecessor in appearance.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown maroon color, almost light impenetrable, but shows a very dark maple syrup color. head is very small, just a ring around the glass, with an off-white island in the middle of the beer. Smell is sweet and full, with alcohol and brown sugar. This is very much like a great winter warmer, maybe even a dopple bock, even though it is June. Taste is extremely malty and full, lots of sweetness, rich and delicous. For $2.50 a bomber this stuff is a steal, very good, unique, and a welcome surprise from a brewery that just entered the Twin Cities market. My first Imperial Nut Brown, and I like the style.

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

Dark brown with a medium sized light brown head. Nice dark syrupy malty aroma with touches of maple. Rich and robust malty syrupy flavors without being overly sweet. Full bodied, creamy and smooth with a light alcohol finish.

Per label: "1994-2004" & "Brewed with Pure Maple Syrup" & "Chocolate and Crystal malts"

Per TB website: 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 our wildly popular Maple Nut Brown.

Enjoy within 4 mos. of: Nov '04 (notched)
Tasted: 05/23/05

(22 oz. capped and wrapped with gold foil)

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Imperial Nut Brown Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery
3.71 out of 5 based on 637 ratings.
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