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: 464
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 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 Prasm
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark appearance, pours a thick 2 finger head. Aroma's of cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee with a rich full mouth-feel. Nice dark chocolate and coffee up front flavor but flavors dissipate quickly leaving a hole thru the mid-palate. Comes back nicely in the back-end though and finishes with bitter dark chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, void of light. There is no doubt what style of beer this is by appearance alone. Head is a light tan which fades to a thin veil and lasts indefinitely. Color is a cola color at the very edge of the glass when held to light.

Aroma: bourbon and wood! Like Pavlov's dog, my mouth is watering. Damn this review, it is delaying my first sip!

Flavor: the aroma doesn't lie: bourbon and wood. However, I get flavors I can only describe as "windex." Little malt comes through, as the bourbon, although not overpowering, is unbalanced. Without the "windex" this beer would be amazing.

Mouthfeel: the body is near perfect. Not too thick to need a knife to cut through, but plenty of body to carry the abv.

Overall: very good! This is better than a lot of other imperial stouts with more hype. I would love to try this beer with a few years of cellaring. Beers like this one get me excited for cold weather.

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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 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 galuskan
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smells good. Nice head on pour. Boozy up front. Whiskey is evident. Chocolate on the back end. Quality beer but not spectacular. There are other Russian Imperial Stouts that are better. And MUCH cheaper than this one.

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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 kkleu357
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Well this was a nice surprise. Thickish black body. Big woody bourbon aroma. Nice chocolate bourbon taste. Best comparison I could give is it is very similar to Barrel Aged Plead the 5th. Had the BAPT5 earlier in the day and almost felt like I was drinking it again.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with “vigour” into my Lucifer snifter

Sight: Inky, dark black body with a dual-layer head, brown head. Yup- two layers. First, a small, thick top on which a host of big sudsy foam sits, plus a thick underpinning of extremely fine bubbles. This one sticks around, like a trusted friend.
Aroma: Lots of vanilla, and a hint of wood and booze. I don’t detect much else.

Taste: In the taster’s opinion, the barrel has not taken over the beer, but it is present. Lots of dry wood, vanilla, and booze greet the mouth. Chocolate, malt, and coffee says hello once the beer warms up a little bit. It’s the cleaner, slightly spicier burn that says “whiskey” not “bourbon.” The end finishes with a little bitterness and a little dash of hops.

Feel: Sugary syrupy sweet and oily. Tiny bubbles provide good carbonation, but the density of the beer- definitely chewy, and I hate using that word.

Overall: Fantastic high-end offering from Nebraska Brewing. I appreciate they went with the slightly less conventional whiskey barrels rather than bourbon.

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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 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 Roguer
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super dark, thin brew, topped with a dark beige head. Firm, good size, great retention, and nice lacing.

Fairly subdued aroma; the whiskey and oak are present, alongside some chocolate, coffee, and cream from the malt. Smells good, but not amazing.

Beautifully smooth and rich flavor. Lots of chocolatey malt up front, with lots of bitter roast and oak following around mid-palate and lasting through the finish. Whiskey notes come in most strongly the back third (with a brief kiss up front), and are well-blended and complementary vice overwhelming. Creamy.

Very nice growing heat on the back-end, but otherwise this drinks like a 9% imperial stout. Surprisingly lively. Nice roasty bitterness. A little thin for my preferences.

This is an excellent BA stout. It isn't the most complex, but the whiskey imparts a lovely flavor to what is clearly a thick, smooth base beer.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at The Hay Merchant, served in a 5 oz snifter. Deep brown black with restrained tan head. Intense and rich roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, barrel wood and whiskey (without heat), and some sweeter fruit notes (pineapple?). Velvety smooth and full bodied. A complex but well integrated sipper.

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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 MattSweatshirt
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black body and a thin brown head off a draught pour.

Lots of chocolate and roasty coffee on the nose which is enticing. Some whiskey and vanilla flesh it out nicely.

Seems a little thin on the palate unfortunately. Follows the aroma profile.

I heard the bottles cost a pretty penny so I opted for a draft pour. Really good but not anything special I would rush out for.

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pitch black.

Smell - Chocolate, coffee and a hint of the whiskey barrel.

Taste - Smooth chocolate, dark fruit, coffee slight hint of booze. WOW!

Mouthfeel - Low attenuation. Thick. Incredible.

Overall - One of the better BA Stouts out there. Definitely one of the top 3 Barrel Aged Stouts in Nebraska!!

Grade (B+)

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Photo of richj1970
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into tulip glass. Bottle dated 06/29/13.

A: Pitch black with a little brown tint and a gigantic 3-4 finger deep tan head that seemed to take forever to settle to a thin film on top. Some spotty lacing.

S: Big time whiskey aroma hits you right off the bat, but some oak, vanilla, and burnt sugar also promient. After it warmed up, a little coffee and chocolate makes an appearance,

T: Again the whiskey dominates the flavors, but also some bitter chocolate, vanilla, and espresso. A little hint of oak.

M: Suprisingly a little thin for a stout of this ABV, but still fairly full bodied. Finish is a little dry, and a touch bitter.

O: Nice stout. I wish the coffee and chocolate notes were more promient and the whiskey a little more subdued. It's a tad pricey, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours with two dense fingers of khaki, light brown head. The head looked like foam on top of an overpriced coffee concoction. Active carbonation is as bright and active as I've seen in a BA stout, continually regenerating the head.

Smell: bright oak, rye bread, and surprisingly bright fruits. Fruit accents of pears, white grapes, and apricots. Has a chardonnay type fruit profile. Touch of vanilla and caramel mesh on the body, almost too much so, with some slight booze. Fruits and oak are certainly the biggest standout.

Taste: Oak and dark fruits hit first. Vanilla and some toffee opens up on the body. A light touch of roasted malts with a sting of boozy bourbon. The huge carbonation I really feels hides many of the flavors and what flavors come through are slightly undistinguished.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is huge in this one, too much so IMHO.

Overall: This is certainly a unique stout, nothing like any other BA stouts I've had. The bright fruits are welcome but I would use more barrel character and a richer body. Glad I tried it, but wouldn't revisit it in the future.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Notes from flight tasting

Fairly typical nose bit of a dark beige head. Nose alludes to caraway or actual rye bread in a way that I've never noticed from an Imperial stout. Very thin mouthfeel and rather lacking in the whole presence department as well. I'm glad I didn't spend 9 bucks on a glass. Some fruit sweetness that matches well with the chocolate sweetness but pretty much craps out on the finish.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown approaching black color with a good sized light brown head, fades quickly but leaves some patchy lacing on the glass as it depletes.

Smell has a surprisingly strong dark fruit aroma, plenty of raisins, roasted malt backing, not much hop presence but this bottle has been in the cellar for some time so it's not surprising.

Taste is not your typical RIS, the dark fruit is similar to the aroma meaning it has a strong presence, very raisin-y, not overly roasted or bitter, carbonation is way too high with the body being on the thin side, hops have faded but would likely show up quite well since this isn't a heavy stout at all, decent wood character without being overbearing, strength was quite hidden and mellow.

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Photo of sethcroisant
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- even with a slow pour, it has a beautiful cascading effect. colossal brown head with lacing that cannot be rivaled. very impressive start.

S- very spicy, mostly from the hops and booze, but partly from the roasted malts.

T/M- creamy, almost sludgy feel with low carbonation. whiskey flavors are immediate and provide a bit of sweetness that lingers. the spiciness is very present and is pretty powerful. good amount of hops combat the sugary flavors well. bready characteristics are in the aftertaste.

O- an impressive and surprisingly balanced beer. hopefully brews like this will start to get Nebraska Brewing Co. noticed a little more.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a jet black color. A large beige fluffy and somewhat spongey 3 cm of head foaming up, fades very slowly. Large windowpane lattice develops as the head recedes.
Aroma is some dry wood and raisins with black licorice or anice notes mixed in. I actually dont get any booze on the nose, nor much of, if any hop presence. Texture is very smooth and gentle rolling carbonation makes this beer amazingly easy to drink considering the umph it is packing in calories and alcohol.
The flavor is similar to the nose with big dark malt, roasted grain and a hint of dark fruit. Moves to some dark chocolate and dark fruit, again raisins fit. Finishes with just a little heat and I find this to be an enjoyable beer for a cold winter day.

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Photo of jpro
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle into a snifter...

A: Pitch black with a massive head of tight, khaki foam; leaves a few strands of lace.

S: Roasted malt and bourbon / oaky notes; the whiskey aroma isn't overpowering at all.

T: Follows the nose; crisp, roasted malt and dry oak notes; not much chocolate malt - more dry than sweet.

M: Very lively carbonation which makes it feel a little light.

O: A nice barrel aged imperial stout; the slightly lower abv enhance drinkability along with it not being a bourbon / barrel bomb.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a large snifter. Consumed with about a year and a half of age on it.

A: Deep, impenetrable black on the pour with a one-inch brown head. Retention is reasonably good given the time in the barrel. Spotty lacing.

S: Chocolate syrup, black cocoa powder, chocolate cookies. Faint whiff of black licorice. Complex estery aromas of dried fig, black currant, and baked apples. Well hidden spike of alcohol. Barrel is subtly integrated with a slight charred oak and whiskey scent.

T: Black cocoa powder, brownies, dark chocolate truffles, fudge. Hints of smoke and barrel char. Whiskey flattens things out a bit on the mid-palate. A subtle caramel backing begins to emerge with time. Spicy alcohol. Estery black currant and dried fig climb to the forefront as the whiskey taste dies. Things pick back up again as it finishes strong with long, lingering fudge, chocolate covered black raspberry, blackstrap molasses, and slight char.

M: Thick and slightly sludgy with a very chewy mouthfeel. No carbonation whatsoever. It isn't missed too sorely, but it could help to add that last extra bit of dimension that would make it perfect. Ghost-like trace of whiskey heat and spiciness.

O: This is my second go around with the Reserve series Black Betty, and I enjoyed it more this time. The base beer is exceptional in its own right, but the whiskey barrel still flattens things out a little bit rather than having the seamless integration that the elite barrel-aged beers flaunt. That still isn't enough to derail this beer though. It really takes its time opening up on the palate, on both the nose and in the taste, but once it does reach its crescendo it never falls and finishes on a very high note. In this case it's the strong finish that leaves a lasting impression and ultimately saves this beer.

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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 464 ratings.
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