Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels | Nebraska Brewing Company

134 Reviews
Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey BarrelsBlack Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black as night and every bit Imperial, this RIS was originally launched to tremendous accolades. Going further, this Stranahan’s Whiskey barrel aged version meshes the rich chocolates, the coffee-like aromatics with the sweet whiskey nose and drying character of the oak. Slightly behind on the palette are the hops – held in restraint by the wonderfully full mouthfeel and broad flavors brought on by the perfect blend of so many malted barley varieties. Ready to enjoy upon release and perfect for extended cellaring.

83 IBU

Added by RedHaze on 01-05-2010

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Reviews: 134 | Ratings: 465
Photo of beerexplorer1973
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: brown, thin head; long legs; rich dark color, almost black

Smell: mild whiskey but sweet nose

taste: Very mellow on the pallet. Character improves as it should with a quality stout as it airs and warms. The whiskey surprisingly subsides as it warms. Hard to believe its 9% ABV.

Mouthfeel: medium body

Overall: I was very hesitant to buy this at $20 for the bottle. I, as well as my beer exploring friend, was very glad that I did. If my income would support it, I would buy a case next time I had access!

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Photo of JustineSintek
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is so good. It's pitch black in color. Smells like whiskey, fruit and chocolate mixed. Tastes like dark candied fruit, chocolate, coffee and a slight hint of whiskey. It is smooth, rich and very drinkable. I love this beer. It is one of my favorites now.

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a 750ml bottle.

A- Dark, real dark. In the range of TenFidy used motor oil dark. Light tan head average lacing.

S-Boozy in all the right ways, Vanilla, smokey oak, beautiful bourbon intertwined with licorice, roasted chocolate and burnt marshmallow. Wow, it smells like Pappy Van Winkle and Dark Lord, NICE.

T-Lots of the nose carries over to beautiful bourbon barrel vanilla and leather. Chocolate, roasted marshmallow and caramel with a slight, desirable boozyness. I honestly don't think the booze comes from the beer so much as the barrel which works, well.

M-Light CO2 so the beer stays rich and creamy with a coating viscosity. Awesome

O-I am not sure if there is a consistency issue here or what but the low reviews could not be for the batch I tried. I have had Dark Lord, Darkness, Kate, CBS, Parabola and Hunaphu's and Black Betty is close, real close to being in the same league of the aforementioned RIS's. BABB flexes the bourbon barrel so well, it reminds me of Parabola (15 to a lesser obvious extent). Well done, seriously well done.

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Photo of pat61
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Brilliant black under a pillowy 1” dark tan foam collar that paints the glass with a thin sheet of lace.
S: Cocoa, dark dried fruit, faint whiskey.
T: Creamy with more chocolate than coffee supported by dark dried fruit, vanilla and grain. Long chocolate aftertastes and a big creamy dark unsweetened chocolate bitter on the finish.
M: Fine soft carbonation produces a rich creamy texture with a medium full body. Slightly warming. The alcohol is big but not hot or solventy.
O: This beer stands out for its rich, creamy texture and the incredible balance between the different elements.

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Photo of Whadawookie
4.78/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First time trying this! Picked up from the local brewery and chilled slightly at home. This beer smells great, looks great, tastes great, is great. I'm quite proud such a great brew is made so close to home. I smell whiskey and yeast up front, then banana. Taste is just ridiculously good. Roasted grains linger while the carbonation bubbles on the tongue, then the whiskey kicks in... real hard. You are left with a caramel/bourbon coating in your mouth that is incredibly warming and pleasing for this Platte at least (couldn't resist the geographical pun, sorry)

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Photo of mwilbur
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a thick, dark black with 1+ inch dark mocha head with decent retention eventually settling down to a thin, persisting skim. Small amount of thick lacing.
S: Potent. Sweet dark chocolate, whiskey, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, and smooth coffee.
T: Sweet dark chocolate and whiskey hit first, followed closely by brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, oak, smooth medium roast coffee, and a hint of cream. In the aftertaste, there is a sharp up tick in the whiskey alcohol burn that lasts for several seconds which is a nice twist. With warming, dark dried fruit (e.g. prune) and leather emerge.
M: Amazingly smooth for such a behemoth. Medium-heavy body. Delectably and velvety sweet. Luscious. There is still an alcohol burn, but it is phenomenally well restrained. Lovely lingering and maturing on the palate.
D: This one started strong and only got stronger. Well done, NBC! The whiskey barrel aging perfectly complements the already solid base brew. I've got a couple more cellared for aging and I'm already looking forward to them!

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Photo of adman08
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours deep brown, almost black, with very little creamy, off-white head that does leave a small amount of lacing.
S-The most obvious aroma is the whiskey. It comes through strong but not overly boozy, more subdued with hints of vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and a hint of coffee.
T-Slightly boozy, a strong whiskey flavor with some oak, coffee, vanilla and bitter dark chocolate. There's also a slight sweetness in the middle.
M-Full bodied but not super thick and syrup-like. Slightly sweet with fairly low carbonation.
Overall, a very delicious and well done barrel aged imperial stout. I feel like most barrel aged imperial stouts end up too boozy, like they just added straight bourbon to the beer rather than aging it in used barrels. The flavor profile is very complex and again unlike some imperial stouts this beer is nicely balanced and not overly sweet. Pricey but worth a try at least once.

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Photo of JRed
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opaque in body with khaki head that stays. Aroma of vanilla, cocoa. Tastes of vanilla, cocoa, coffee, booze. Heavy body with little carbonation. Very smooth. Amazingly restrained. Quite perfect.

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Photo of Agbeereng
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Well - balanced, complex malted barleys, some nice suttle Chocolate & coffee notes. Bourbon barrel notes add to overall profile. Sl dry clean finish. Drinks well to the point of being dangerous. Strongly recommend.

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Photo of Jason
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a vintage date of 2009.

Tight tan lacing, pitch black. Yeah, the whiskey says hello with oak and alcohol with some vanilla burnt sugar in the nose as well. Smoothness takes it time moving through this heavy liquid. Creamy and slightly viscous. Booze flavor is right up front but never becomes hot even with the beers higher alcohol level in play. Big roasty flavor in the middle unfolds as the beer warms up, unsweetened dark chocolate and espresso comes to mind. Burnt currants, vanilla, more chocolate and a whiskey note wrap up the finish which lands bitter sweet coming from all aspects of the beer and its barrel aging.

Bulls-eye! While the craft beer movement is still maturing there are times like these that is pure proof that the movement is advancing quicker that the beer industry has a whole would ever think. Keep it up Paul, I love what you do!!

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Photo of MattyG85
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a moderate amount of carbonation. Big two finger tan head that slowly settles into a smaller creamy layer.

Smell: A rich, roasty, and boozy dark malt forward aroma with a big scent of chocolate, coffee, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with big hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, smoke, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Big barrel presence with bourbon whiskey hints of vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet hints of molasses. Subtle dark fruit hints of raisin and fig. Also some light earth hops. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like the nose hints at, a very rich, roasty, and boozy dark malt driven taste with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, burnt toast, smoke, grains, biscuit, and yeast. Good barrel presence with nicely boozy notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Sweet taste of molasses sugar. Dark fruit undertones of fig, raisin, and dates. Subtle notes of earthy hops. A really good roasty taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and fairly syrupy. Some booze heat is felt as expected but it’s not too hot.

Overall: A very good take on a Barrel Aged Stout. Big rich chocolate, coffee, and whiskey flavors.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - mocha colored head that sticks and leaves great lacing, dark brown/black beer that's opaque in color
s - roasty, espresso, creamy, whiskey, light vanilla, chocolate, wholesome, caramel
t - big whiskey notes, like the bite of taking a shot of whiskey without the burn or the bad parts, distinctly different from a bourbon barrel aged stout. roasty, oak, dark chocolate, coffee, espresso, vanilla, caramel undertones, good base beer
m - thick, heavy beer. Alc present but appropriate, except for the whiskey notes. aftertaste is espresso, whiskey
o - pretty awesome beer. Would buy again, price point is kinda high but not too high to try again on occasion.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Pitch black with a thick and creamy tan head.
S- Burnt oak and whiskey with sweet chocolate.
T- Chocolatey Roasty malts. Booze, oak, whiskey.
M- Creamy and slick. Oily and slightly heavy.
D- This surpassed my expectations. A rich heavy Barrel aged stout that was worth the money in my opinion.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap. Pours a dark side of the moon black with tan lacing that settles into a thin blanket.
The aroma is chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, oak and vanilla with a hint of leather and booze.
Big bitter chocolate flavor as well as some notes of char, dark roast coffee, vanilla and oak. A bit of boozy warmth that is not all all overbearing. As it warms, a bit of prune and leather.
Mouthfeel is thick and viscous.
Outstanding imperial stout.

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Photo of beergoot
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ink black body; very thick, immensely dense, rocky tan head. Roasted grains; chocolate; dark fruit, cherries; wood and booze in the aroma; coffee beans; anise. Burnt grains and boozy flavor from beginning through the middle of the taste; bitter chocolate. Heavy and dense with plenty of residual sugar body; smooth and velvety mouthfeel.

From the ebony depths to the craggy top of the head, this beer delivers with a rich, full-flavored punch. This is on par with some of the finest northern European dark ales with tons of robust character. This is a monster with depth and balance to make it very approachable for fans and the curious of huge dark ale treats...

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Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - black with a thin brown head that has decent retention

S - earthy, roasted malts, anise, chocolate

T - chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malts, licorice, sugar, woody, faint whiskey

M - full bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated

This is a fantasticly balanced, drinkable stout. It will warm you up on a cold day, and has enough complexity that you could drink the 750mL by yourself without getting fatigued. This was very enjoyable.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL capped bottle. This was a splurge from the local Total Wine store, $18.99 for the bottle, but definitely worth it. Poured into a stemmed, tulip style glass. Nice jet black color, a off-white foamy head on the beer. You get a little bit of everything in this one, some whiskey barrel notes up front, some booziness, dark roasted malts, and a relatively smooth finish for the abv. Top notch beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Stoutfan23DJ
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lost Abbey Stemware glass at 55 Degrees.
2011 Vintage - 750ml bottle - 9% ABV - Imperial Stout Aged in Whiskey Barrels for 6 Months

Appearance: Poured a jet black along with a small tan head that disappears down to lacing in less than a minute. Looks beautiful and intimidates me to start drinking immediately!

Aroma: A presence of spicy whiskey, bourbon and oak, coffee beans, roasted barley and malts, rye, chocolate, touch of smoke, new leather, and a slight fruit sweetness on the nose.

Taste: I immediately get the big rye whiskey and bold bourbon, charred oak, and a nice vanilla also from the barrels. The most present of all the elements in this is the bourbon/whiskey barrel characteristics but it doesn’t cover up or overpower anything else at all. Mixed with the barrel characteristics, I also receive the rich mélange of cocoa, caramel and roasted barley and malts together, the smooth bittersweet chocolate, sweet molasses, espresso coffee beans, anise, dark fruit, bitter hops on the back end and a very slight alcohol burn on the finish when it starts to warm up. The barrel characteristics and the base beer come together very well and really complement each other.

Mouth feel: In-between a medium/thick body, carbonation is minimal but is where it should be. This is another great big complex beer that persuades you to slow down, sip on this for an hour or two and just simply appreciate it.

Overall: Overall, this is right on-par with the other top-shelf barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stouts on the market and the best beer I’ve ever had from the state of Nebraska. This is the second whiskey barrel stout that I’ve had and is right on-par with the Flying Dog barrel-aged Gonzo Porter. In the end, this was an impressive RIS with really great barrel characteristics integrated with a really solid, robust yet smooth base beer. Big complexity, well-balanced, and well-crafted!

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Black with thick mocha colored head that lasts forever!

S-Smooth oak, chocolate, oranges, a little bourbon, vanilla.

T-A big oak flavor, vanilla, oranges, some alcohol warmth and a little chocolate and roasted malts.

M-Medium bodied, smooth, lightly carbonated.

D-Great flavor, nice mouthfeel. I like alot of Bourbon and a little more would have been nice.

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Photo of Getalegup
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

4.4ish! Great bourbon smell with some chocolate, coffee. Color is deep dark brown almost black with soft tan foam that covers the surface, tastes of bourbon, chocolate, and tasty light roast coffee (read just a little bitterness), Overall a very smooth bourbon aged stout. Recommended.

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Photo of teromous
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No date or batch markings on the label or bottle that I can see.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a HUGE light khaki head that stands forever in a massive billowy pillow. It bypasses "lacing" and leaves literal sheets of foam on the sides of the glass. Tipping the glass while drinking leaves an avalanche of foam on the side. It looks absolutely fantastic. What is exceptionally notable is how good the head formation is on a beer that is 11.3% ABV. Bravo!

Aroma: Right off the bat there is this woody and slightly nutty aroma (hazelnut specifically). There is a bit of a spicy touch at the end that is nondescript but present. As the beer sits a bit of alcohol starts to unfold from the envelope of aromas which is reabsorbed by the aroma of wood. It's not an overly complex scent but a nice one.

Taste: There's a lot going on here. Mostly it reminds me of the char that you get on a nice steak. Then I get this wood flavor that pops in that is very nice. I know that the label mentions that this beer is aged specifically in whiskey barrels but it isn't overwhelming with whiskey flavor. In fact the character from the barrels comes out more than the whiskey (which I don't personally notice). It really gives this beer a chance to showcase the malts without being a "barrel bomb" that hides everything. I'm really enjoying the flavor of this beer. The alcohol will show through in this beer the longer you drink it, especially as the beer warms up, but I don't find that a detractor given the fact that it is 11.3%. There is a nice dark chocolate flavor that becomes more apparent as the beer warms up as well. This is accompanied by a molasses flavor that develops more towards the end of the glass.

Mouthfeel: I actually had to bypass the flavor for a second to write about the mouthfeel. It is a very full bodied beer with lots of roasted bitterness with a nice smooth carbonation to wash over the palate. It is not a very heavy or thick beer but it has a fullness determined solely by its character. It is very well done.

Overall: It's awesome. This beer embodies exactly what I think of when I hear "Russian Imperial Stout." It is big, it is bold, and it is full of flavor. It manages to show restraint in the right places so that it feels like I'm drinking beer and not a bottle of whiskey. I want more of this. It is a very enjoyable beer to drink and I would be hard pressed to find a stout lover who wouldn't be in love with this. If you see this in the store you should pick it up.

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Photo of Jasonrm72
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells great, whiskey, chocolate.
Foam. Lots of foam. Took a while for it to settle down.
Rich, chocolate, solid whiskey.
Good body, ends with a good whiskey finish.
Very good beer, especially for the price, $18 for a 750ml

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Photo of Klym
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

yet another with Cavery. Poured into an oversize wine glass.

A: Pours an obsidian black with a surprisingly white one finger head. Lacing is very attractive.

S: Getting unusual smells from this one. Almond milk , chocolate, sourdough bread and roses all come through. Smells a little hot for 9%.

T: Smores and M&Ms through and through tapered down by the hotness of alcohol and mild bite of coffee/smoke. Chocoalte, marshmellow and graham crackers all distinct and present in this (a thanks to cavery for picking out the graham cracker in the taste).

M: Mouthfeel is really solid with a pumpkin like creaminess backing it up. A great beer to have in your mouth.

O: This is one underrated beer. The creamiest and sweetest RIS I've ever had, and perhaps the sheer tastiest at that. This is a must for RIS enthusiasts. Its hotness at 9% though forces me to knock my overall evaluation down a notch.

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Photo of hardy008
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark black, letting no light pass through. Has a two finger creamy medium tan head with good retention and lacing. The aroma has chocolate, dark roasted malt, whiskey, oak, and vanilla. The smell of whiskey is pretty strong.

The taste consists of chocolate, dark roasted malt, whiskey, oak, vanilla, and raisins. The whiskey taste is not as strong as the aroma suggested, but is still noticeable. Not hot with booze like I thought it might be, which is a plus.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth, creamy, with a bittersweet aftertaste. This is a very nice beer from Nebraska brewing, and makes me curious to find out what they will come up with next.

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Photo of DCon
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a bottle at the Microfest in Forest Park (St. Louis), MO. Was able to get two 10oz+ pours into my 16oz Microfest Pilsner glass. No B.O.D. available (didn't see on the bottle or label).

Appearance- A very deep brown color but clear body with 2 fingers of light brown head that forms after a minute after the pour. Nice attribute! Great retention follows this up and has a small amount of lace.

Aroma- Great amount of coffee/roasted malts from the start and then the smokey/oaked smell comes around.

Taste- A decent amount of malt and dark chocolate taste upfront and then a roasty taste at the finish. Has hints of garlic and vanilla combined in here. So much to taste, had to have another pour!

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Medium viscosity, Good Carbonation, and a strong coffee/oaked barrel ending on the palate.

Overall- Never had anything from Nebraska Brewing Company, until this brew. Almost could be called a Imperial Coffee Stout (if possible). Drinkability was very nice even though the style usually doesn't allow this. I would like to try more from Nebreska Brewing, just like I'd like to try EVERY beer from EVERY brewery :)

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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 465 ratings.
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