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

466 Ratings
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: 135 | Ratings: 466
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extraordinary, rich and complex malt, chocolate malt, some roast, huge head. Big black body.Roasty and whiskey aromas. Whiskey was so boozy for mid-day, but hey it beats bourbon. Thick and tasty.The 83 IBU hops is in the finish and builds up for quite a hopfix as I finish the bomber.The 9% seems like 13%. Points for not being overally coffee.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Plenum for sending me this one!

2010 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. Thick foamy rings line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of rich chocolate, coffee beans, cinnamon, vanilla, wood, and the whiskey alcohol scent. A very nice set of smells on this one. Taste is surprisingly sour on the first sip. I am getting roasted coffee beans, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a very woody flavor on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly flat and thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good RIS but the sour flavor in this one is somewhat off-putting. I am not so sure this was intended by the brewer.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So I don't mind paying a lot of money for a beer thats really going to knock my socks off. What I really don't like is when I spend a good chunk of money on something like this brew... I want to start off by saying that it's a good beer, there's no doubt about that. However, I feel there are beers out there, of this style, that are far cheaper and are possibly better tasting all around. Now that I got to vent I'll begin my review.

Black Betty pours out as a nice deep looking black color. Oily thick looking body to this brew with a dark brown colored head on top. The smell of the beer is heavily roasted and has some burnt chocolaty aromas to it. The taste of the beer is also pretty good also, plenty of chocolate flavors with some coffee and wood notes to it. The mouthfeel was smooth but could have been a little thicker I think. Overall this beer is good, but it's just too freakin' expensive in my opinion.

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Photo of brentk56
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a relatively thin beige cap that doesn't hang around for long but leaves a nice swath of lace behind

Smell: The barrel is most prominent in the aroma, leaving a strong whiskey element with vanilla in the background; overwhelms the expected imperial stout aromas

Taste: Rather boozy, up front, with burnt brown sugar and roasted malt flavors joining the whiskey and vanilla; the booziness continues, after the swallow, overwhelming the other elements

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth; lacks the full-bodied mouthfeel for the style

Overall: This is a decent beer but just doesn't measure up to great examples of the style; in and of itself, that is not necessarily bad but the beer is priced as if it belonged in the top echelon

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Photo of kojevergas
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an Antwerp beer passion weekend in me friend Bo's gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high as I usually love the style - though this is me first beer from this brewery. I was raised in Denver and quie fancy Stranahan's whiskey for what it is.

Allowed to warm after removal from the refrigerator - and considerably moreso thereafter. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

9.0%. I believe I acquired this at Wally's Wine in Westwood California.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki-light tan colour head of very good thickness, good cream, and excellent retention considering the high ABV. Colour is a predictable solid nontransparent opaque black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Decent lacing.

Sm: Coffee, delightful roast, dark malts, whiskey, biscuity yeast, light woods, chocolate, vague complementary floral hops, cream, and light subtle caramelization. A mild strength aroma.

T: Subtle coffee and subtle chocolate over top an unobtrusive dark malt foundation. Hints of warm whiskey (themselves featuring light hints of peat). Not as much roast as I'd like, but some is there - and that's more than I can say about most imperial stouts. It's got body, but isn't as bold and overbearing as most beers in the style. I wouldn't refer to it as complex, but it has a reserved subtlety that I like. Very tasty. Hardly any heat or alcohol at all. The balance is pretty well-executed, but no note is dominant - a feature I find off-putting. The flavour profile lacks direction and focus as a result. You have to commit to a direction; you can't amble around with many of the components of a good imperial stout without choosing which to emphasize.

Mf: Nowhere near as thick as most beers in the style, which is a good thing. Nicely coarse, but nowhere near dry enough. This is wrong for a stout.

Dr: Quite pricey relative to the quality - which is still high but not so much as to justify the expense. Hides its ABV quite well. I look forward to trying more (hopefully more affordable) brews from Nebraska. Quite drinkable in any case.

High B-

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice thick dark brown foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of bourbon and vanilla is quite powerful with some light coffee notes. Taste is also a slightly unbalanced mix of bourbon with clear vanilla notes with some roasted malt notes and a dry finish. Body is quite full with good carbonation and light warming alcohol notes. Unfortunately this one was not as balanced as I would have hoped for but still very good nonetheless.

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Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet black color with a one-finger, light brown head of bubbly foam. It left streaky trails of lace on the glass.

S - Good aroma of chocolate, whiskey, vanilla and oak.

T - Delicious balance of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla and an oaky/woody flavors.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This is a really tasty aged RIS. Nebraska does some good stuff.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into several glasses. Thanks to sholland119 and vickster529 for breaking this one out during a tasting.

Pours black in the glass, with a thin head of foamy froth. This stay rich around the edges, with a nice flare-up to it that leaves back thick sticky lacing that rings the sides of the glass. The bourbon stands out in the aroma fairly prominently, smelling of charred stickiness and wood. Chocolate sweetness burnt malt, and roasted coffee notes show themselves as well, but the barrel really controls this as the oak is really starting to show a green tannic character to it as this warms up more and more.

The taste is heavy with char and roast up front, as a flush of cocoa, caramel, and brown sugar comes out from behind the darkness. The bourbon has a nice mellowness to it and feels much more integrated in with the Stout flavors than it did in the nose. Burnt wood green tannic dryness lingers past the finish on this. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a carbonation that is initially slick feeling on the tongue but then gathers up a creamy foaminess to it that flares up and spreads out into the mouth. This is pretty darn smooth for the size overall, as most of the warmth here is coming from the bourbon flavors.

This was a little strong with the barrel in the aroma but it rebounded nicely in the taste and combined with the base RIS to form a complex and powerful but still smooth mix of flavors. Good effort here from the NBC.

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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 womencantsail
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is black in color with a small tan head. Smells strongly of roasted malt, licorice, and char. There is definitely some booze/heat to it, too. A little bit of dark chocolate and coffee. The flavor is no more impressive. Intense roast and booze flavor with a bit of molasses and licorice. Maybe some dark chocolate and astringent coffee. Meh.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/25/11 notes. Shared by nimbleprop; thanks Mac.

a - Pours an almost black brown color, with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak, chocolate, and roasted malts.

t - Tasted of bourbon, oak, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, and caramel malts.

m - Med body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Great mouthfeel.

o - A very nice RIS I enjoyed a lot. Lots of nice, balanced things in the smell and taste. Would like to have again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Paul. Enjoyed while sitting on the dock of the bay.
The beer is black with a giant, foamy tan head that completely costs the snifter in lacing. The aroma brings a healthy whiskey presence, followed by roast, vanilla, and oak. The flavor is very whiskey forward, though not hot. Smooth and well balanced. Good stuff. The price is a bit steep at $25 per bottle. I would have this again.

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Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken on 1/21/11. 750ml split with a bunch of inactive BA's (wishuwerebeer, smoked and hoser81.)

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears black in color with no light shining through. More than a finger of dark tan head swells up and slowly recedes leaving spotty lace about the glass.

The aroma is oaky with a tangy alcohol character that is accented by whiskey and a touch of fruity hops. Chocolate malt is evident throughout the body smelling like baker's powder. A very pleasant roastiness. As it warms there is a touch of sulfur and some minor vanilla notes.

The taste is oaky with a dry tannic quality. A pleasant tangy character of whiskey infused alcohol is right upfront but not bold, it blends well with a flavor of bitter chocolate malt. The bitterness seemingly comes from the roast of the grain which lingers with a taste of coffee and light vanilla.

Medium bodied with a modest amount of carbonation. Very well balanced and enjoyable. A lingering dry grain roast quality is pleasantly mixed with the whiskey. The tangy alcohol provides a solid warmth in the back of the throat with every sip. Not the best barrel aged stout but decent. For the big price tag I probably wouldn't purchase this again.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the darkest shade of brown bordering on black but still lets a faint bit of light through. Thinnish Khaki head shows a moderate desire to hold its place at the top but is inevitably sucked back into the abyss. Smells of bourbon and chocolate right off the bat. Vanilla, licorice and molasses are mixed with hints of burnt sugar. Some harsher alcohol comes out as she warms up, but I could smell this thing all night if you let me. The taste leans towards the sweet end of the spectrum. Creamy rich dark chocolate covered espresso beans dipped in bourbon then dredged into dark brown sugar just about sums up the flavor here. Lingering roast and bourbon on the finish. Creamy smooth mouthfeel, thick body, and a light level of carbonation. I really enjoyed this one, although it is certainly a sipper and maybe a touch too sweet. I'm glad I got to try this but at north of 20 dollars for the 750 this is one and done for me.

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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 RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the more interesting barrel aged stouts I can recall enjoying. There are no harsh and obnoxious tones that I get from so many other barrel aged beers. Very faint vanilla tones hit me. There is a booze tone to it, but it seems to chill out fairly quickly and translates to a minor burn. Something about it seems appealing and proper to me. I think this beer's reception will mostly depend on the drinker. You like really flavor forward in your face kinda beers? This may not be one of your favorites.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the third time I am trying to type this damn review - stupid interwebs. Thanks to pantanap for sharing - my first tick from Nebraska. Served in a Lost Abbey Rastal Teku glass.

A - Poured with a small tan foam that settled to some film, a thin ring, and left behind spotty lace. Dark brown body that is transparent at the fringes.

S - Oaky, tannic, whiskey, fusel alcohol, notes of burnt malt and smoke - pretty intense and slightly harsh nose here. There's a bit of sweetness in the form of coconut and vanilla, but they are well in the periphery.

T - The taste is better, but doesn't do much to differentiate itself from a increasingly crowded field. Thankfully there is less harsh alcohol and more sweetness in the form of chocolate, as well as some nuttiness. Finish is bitter and roasty.

M - Medium body, mild carbonation, sticky finish. There's some heat that seems out of place for an Imperial Stout on the low end of the ABV spectrum.

D - This was merely decent, but it's probably amongst the best offerings from a much-maligned beer state. If you're looking to tick the states there are probably far worse ways to knock off the Cornhusker state. I'd try it again if offered to see if it mellows out some, but I wouldn't go out of my way to obtain this one.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

This one was shared by Mark last night, thanks man!

This one pours a dark black, typical imperial stout look here, with a very small head, and no lacing.

This one smells super hot and whiskey forward.

It also tastes way too hot and whiskey forward. There's a pretty unpleasant heat, with an astringent alcohol bitterness. If you strain, you can taste the base stout, with some decent chocolate and caramel, but the barrel has kinda overwhelmed this one, unfortunately.

This one is way too thin for the style, too, which is disappointing. There's a lower level of carbonation.

Not all that impressed with this one.

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Photo of stevoj
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampled at Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. This was one of the highlights of the evening (after the Dark Lord) and the chance to tick of Nebraska.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown in color with maroonish highlights when held up to the light that had a finger of brown head and left a little frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: I definitely was able to detect whiskey character with vanlla, molasses, some roastiness from the chocolate malts and hints of coffee.

T: the taste was even better than the aroma first the chocolate roastiness leads the way alongside vanilla, molasses, and oaky whiskey notes but with coffee accents; delicious.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, oaky, slight astringent, roasty, mild boozy, and chunky finish.

O: it was a very solid brew all around which was very tasty, drinking good, and was a highlight of the day.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Hojaminbag for this brew.

750ml Capped
Bottle Conditioned

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice two-finger creamy light tan head, which leaves some very nice thick sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, very slight hop note, lots of chocolate, very nice whiskey note, vanilla. The taste is very nice, malty, very nice whiskey barrel notes, lots of chocolate. Full/Medium Body, ABV is hidden very very well with this one, creamy. This one is very enjoyable to drink. Thanks Ben!

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at 50F in to CBS Snifter. No bottle date apparent.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with 2 fingers of thick, foamy espresso coloured head. Good lacing.

S - Big whiskey aroma up front that is the most notable aroma but doesn't dominate. Roasted malts, oak, vanilla and chocolate are also evident. A complex nose.

T - Whiskey up front, as the nose indicated. The middle had a complex array of flavours including charred malts, cocoa and vanilla. The whiskey returns in the finish and lingers on the tongue. My only complaint is the slightly over charred malts flavour. Otherwise a near perfect barrel aged imperial stout.

M - Medium body, slightly creamy. Carbonation is light to moderate. A touch watery for the style.

O - A nice change of pace from bourbon barrel aged stouts. We done.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown to black with a tan head. The aroma is coffee with roasted malt. The flavor is more of the same with some oaked character as well. Not a real strong whiskey character in the beer but still a very good imperial stout. Medium, creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nebraska Brewing : Black Betty

LOOK: Dark brown bordering black with an off white head. Leaves an impressive amount of lace.

SMELL: Oaky whiskey, booze laced chocolate, a touch of sharp, spicy whiskey rounding out the finish.

TASTE/FEEL: Robust roasted malt, possibly a hint of booze soaked dark fruits. Chocolate, coffee and getting a rye like spice. Well balanced and heavy on the barrel notes. Dry tannins round out the finish. Finishes dry as hell. Lots of rye whiskey influence.

OVERALL: A tasty and decently complex sipper. Lets the barrel come shining through. Not huge on smoking cigars but this would be an obvious choice to pair with an oily robust stogie from far away lands.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

therealnomayo hooked this one up.. shared with my normal few friends... Thanks Jason, I would have opened this up at the RIS tasting, but there were too many bottles and it would have gotten lost.

This is an example of a great BA RIS that needs no aging.. the brewery did it for you... fantastic right out of the gate.

Nice dark tan head.. the brew pours not thick or thin.. just about perfect... okay retention and decent of lacing.

Nose shows everything good about a Bourbon aged RIS.. bunches of roasty qualities and nice chocolate combine with vanilla and hints of dried cherries.. well mixed..

Bittersweet chocolate and a tad dry roasty malts emerge out front with some well integrated barrel notes mid palate.. I like the fact that this bottle is a bit on the dry side... what malty sweetness that is present only pushes the RIS flavors up to the front... the bourbon meshes well with some minor cherry essence.. vanilla and dark chocolate without the sweeness is very nice.

Body may be on the light side with the hyped brothers, but I believe this is very nice right now.... almost awesome.. I don't think it will age well, as there isn't a lot of room for movement.. but this is imminently drinkable and not the most palate bombing brew ever, it is damn good right now.

Thanks again Jason... I truly appreciate it.


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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 466 ratings.
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