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

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
131 Reviews
Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey BarrelsBlack Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
131
Ratings:
448
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
24.5%
 
 
Wants:
103
Gots:
154
For Trade:
11
User Reviews
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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 448
Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No vintage listed. 9.0% ABV. I believe this to be a 2010 bottle, possibly a 2011.

A: Pours a very dark brown but believe it or not, not pure black. Big, huge, super dense light brown head. Head fades away very very slowly with top notch retention. Just little splotches of fluffy lacing left behind.

S: Really nice whiskey aroma with burnt caramel and oaky vanilla. Roasted malt pokes through with some char and chocolate. Boozy.

T: Big whiskey up front. Caramel again. Less vanilla but still a touch. Lots of charred oak is heavy up front and continues through the rest of the taste. Dark chocolate in the middle with more char. In the finish, the rest of the flavors fade away and you get a little coffee but mainly charred wood, becoming a touch acrid and charry. Boozy bourbon, hints of dark fruit and chalky char lingers in the aftertaste. Belly warming.

M: A little thinner than you might expect from a 9% RIS. I think the bourbon is fairly strong in this and cuts the roasted malt a bit. A little chalky and drying in the aftertaste.

O: An good example of a whiskey barrel RIS. Whiskey barrel character is quite strong, this may have benefited from another year or two in the cellar. Charred oak is prominent, almost more than the whiskey itself. Would have preferred more of the roasted malt character but it's still quite good.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2012-01-04 in Columbia, PA. This is a 2011 vintage.

A - Very dark and opaque brown with a 2-finger tan head and good lacing. Very inviting.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, oak, medium-dark roasted malt, touch of chocolate.

T - Bourbon, dark roasted malt, oak, some char, dark chocolate, dark coffee, dark, dark, dark. Alcohol. Prune. Astringent. A bit of caramel sweetness in the finish, which somewhat remains as the increasing roasted and hop bitterness makes itself well known for more than a minute.

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Creamy yet prickly. Dries out a bit. Not an oatmeal stout thickness but very nice.

O - Gotta say this is a well-done Imperial Stout. I like the dominant dark flavors with a hint of sweetness and bitterness to somewhat balance it out. This is the best beer I've had from this brewer and would seek it out again.

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Photo of Stoutfan23DJ
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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 tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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 Kendo
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased late December, 2011 in MA. It sat in my cellar for about 6 months, then it made its way to my DBF. Consumed October 6, 2012.

A: Poured from the 750 ml into a Duvel tulip. It pours black with a small tan head that settles quickly.

S: Bourbon/whiskey over roasted barley malt and roasted coffee beans. Booze dominates, but it's not harsh.

T: Follows the nose, more or less: roasted coffee, coffee beans and whiskey. Lots of whiskey. Some notes of vanilla on the back end of the palate, and the alcohol heat is noted both on the palate and on the way down. Still, it's not "hot" in a harsh way; I could drink the whole bottle as a sipper (I split this one with a friend) and be OK with that. I can't say that about many overly boozy -bal-aged RISes.

M: First impression overall was with the mouthfeel - it seemed thinner than expected for this style. Call it medium in heft, with a slightly harsh feel to it.

O: Decent stuff. The whiskey is definitely noticeable, but it plays nice with the Stout characteristics and adds a layer of complexity to the beer without overwhelming it entirely. Not the greatest I've ever had in this style, and not worth what I paid for it (about $25), but solid.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
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 RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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 birchstick
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a billowing chocolate colored head. Nose is dark baker's chocolate with some nice bourbony spicy vanilla flavors hovering. On the palate, it starts off with sweet chocolates, and moves onto a bit of sweet vanilla flavors. Some dark chocolates then come in with a thunderous entrance and envelopes the tongue. Spicy bourbon replaces it toward the back, but the dark chocolates still stand strong...ends with some bourbony spiciness. Pretty solid palate. The mouth is full and coats the tongue as a beer like this should. Overall, I don't know if this is worth the price point it commands, however it is a pretty damned good barrel aged beer. Might be the first I have had aged in Stranahan's taboot. Recommended if you are flush with cash and don't mind dropping some coin on a good barrel aged RIS.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as night with a one finger khaki head that settles to about 1/4 inch. Leaves tons of speckled lacing down the glass.

S: Freshly ground medium roast coffee, chocolate syrup, roasted malt, licorice and some faint sweet whiskey notes.

T: Opens on the sweet end with some chocolate cake, dark chocolate covered espresso beans and molasses. Then progresses towards a drying finish of charred wood, whiskey and some burnt brownies. It definitely warms but it's far from what I would consider "hot." Mouthfeel is slightly heavy without weighing down the flavors too much. I don't know if I can justify the price, but this is tasty business.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: tar pitch black, creamy head

S: drying whiskey among dark malts

T: nicely bittered and roasty with vapors of oaky whiskey wood; subdued sweetness and chocolate notes

M: smooth and creamy, some bite from the alcohol

O: a really good stout, very classy - somehow avoided a lot of the espresso/coffee and anise/licorice flavors that typify many RISs, which was interesting. Of Nebraska's Reserve series, it was actually my least favorite, so simply because of the price (~$25 in my neck of the woods), I would probably not re-buy, whereas their barleywine and Belgian IPA are a constant source of temptation.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A gift from my Russian Stout Queen

It certainly is black: mean, thick and indubitably black. Fluffly beige head gives off lots of lacey fireworks. Hearty collar of retention.

Oak jumps out at the nose first. Vanilla, coffee and chocolate with whiskey as an afterthought.

Roasty and refined and full of complexity. Vanilla dominates but has a healthy supporting cast of coffee, dark chocolate syrup and whiskey sweetness. The flavors do a great job of complimenting each other rather than fighting with one another as in many big beers. Fluffy, tongue caressing body. Warm without being hot.

My first beer from the Cornhusker state.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black! A mountainous, blooming chestnut head transitions from a foam to creamy mousse as it slowly settles leaving a thick coating of lace on the glass. But wait, the carbonation also clings to the Dogfish Head snifter below the head.

Opens with rich chocolate syrup immediately followed by aromatic bourbon. Espresso is here too, though delegated to the background.

Initially strong roasted espresso beans followed by a lesser dose of bourbon than the nose had suggested. Chocolate is akin to the high cocoa variety with malt bitterness ever present. Subtle sweetness is brought out with warmth as are dried dark fruits. The finish is long and perfumed with alcohol.

The alcohol is a major player, but as expected in this full bodied beer with a velvety texture, has modest carbonation and a long dry finish.

This is a true sipping coiffure, well suited to a book or deep contemplation. It would also do well with a cigar, especially during the cold months. Black Betty does the style proud. I’m currently reading about Theodore Roosevelt and thinking he might well have enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.97/5  rDev +23%
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 mindspin315
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge shimmering light brown head. Massive and fluffy. Body is very dark brown to black. No light getting through but not pitch black. Lacing all over.

The first aroma coming through is whiskey. Smells like whiskey in a glass. Notes of brown sugar, chocolate, oak, and burnt sugar. In the back of the nose a faint roasted malt aroma comes through.

Smooth whiskey flavor covers the palate. Roasted espresso, vanilla, molasses, and light bitter sweet chocolate flavors counter balance the wash of whiskey. Middle of the mouth the roasted quality comes up strong, but blends back in as a sweet whiskey perks up in the finish. Light hop bitterness on the tongue at the finish. Highly carbonated makes this pretty drinkable being such a big beer. Medium to full bodied, slightly sticky and syrupy, and alcohol is barely noticeable.

This beer is big but really drinkable. The overall qualities keep you coming back for more to enjoy with each sip. Very well crafted beer indeed. A great whiskey and stout marriage!

[95/100]

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a snifter; split with a couple of friends

Pours a deep, dark brown with a fluffy mocha colored cap. Some mild lacing, decent retention. Head fade to form a thin layer of bubbles. Slick coating on the inside of the glass.

The nose is full of dark chocolate, oak, piney hops, bourbon, vanilla and a little bit of smoke/char. Robust and bold.

Rich dark chocolate, almost like Hershey's syrup, is the most prominent. Oak, bourbon, pine, and vanilla all come through in equal doses. I would like to see a little more of the bourbon come through. The char/smoke comes through more-so on the palate and serves as a foundation for all of the other flavors.

Velvety smooth medium to full body with low carbonation. Extremely smooth considering the thickness. Not as thick as some in the class, but it's toeing the line.

This was a pleasant surprise at the tasting and my first Nebraska offering. I enjoyed this beer. Solid RIS on all fronts.

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Photo of Crass3000
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out dark as night with a little brown head with little retention.

Smell is chocolate, vanilla, a little bourbon, and roasted malt. Taste is every bit of the smell with chocolate, vanilla, and a really nice bourbon flavor. Really good!!! Mouthfeel is nice. Great beer if you love bourbon!!!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.26/5  rDev -19.3%
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 adman08
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
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 rowingbrewer
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice blackish brown color with a decent sized light tan head. I usually look for a darker colored head on a barreled aged imperial stout. The smell is slightly toasty and whiskey with a hint of sweetness. The taste is a fairly light whiskey flavor in the beginning followed by the roasted malt character and light sweetness. The mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I would have expected as well as being low carbonation. Overall this is not a bad beer just not one I would go and buy especially considering the price.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
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 hardy008
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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 illidurit
3.15/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared at the December iteration of the Santa Cruz tasting series. Pours dark brown with an ecru froth. Chocolatey aroma, light roastiness, slight booziness. Piney hops atop dark chocolate in the flavor, plus a whole lot of whiskey. Right now I’m not interested in beers that need a hundred years of aging just to become approachable.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This gem was aging in my cellar for close to a year before I popped it open last night. The pleasant aroma leaps from the bottle at the moment it is opened. Scents of whiskey and bitter chocolate temp the nose before the first sip. The initial taste is an intense assault of whiskey, chocolate, and coffee. Like a good cup of joe in the morning, it hits all sides of the tongue before melting into an aftertaste. The aftertaste is warming, almost like a winter warmer. While the maltiness is strong, the hops promised on the bottle were not detectable.

This is an ideal beer for a cold day, yet it has the potential to be very drinkable. It is smooth with a moderately thick texture that shouts reminders to the drinker that this is a great Russian Imperial Stout. A hint of sweetness would make this pretty close to perfect.

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Photo of gford217
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle though it's not completely black. It settles in under a huge mocha head, very thick, with good lacing and retention.

Aroma has heavily roasted black malts, bakers chocolate and a ton of whiskey sweetness. Maybe some molasses and licorice as well, but the barrel is domninant.

The whiskey also dominates the taste with lors of oak and vanilla alongside molasses. There is an underlying roasted malt backbone with some cocoa powder. Big boozy finish.

The mouthfeel is slick and a tad light for the style though at 9% it's not so surprising. Low carbonation.

This is a solid BA stout but is pretty hot right now. The barrel is the dominant character with only faint impy stout notes underneath.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to JM03 for this! I've held onto this for probably a year I'd say. Pretty stressful work day, time for something big!

Pours stout dark, with a nice creamy medium tan head leaving lots of foamy lace trails. Aroma has a nice vanilla and oak smell, with a plenty of chocolate, a little booze and toasted malts. Plenty oak, vanilla, toasted wood, bourbon, chocolate, and hop bitterness in the taste. It's balanced, with no note over-powering another. Quite pleasantly surprised by this! Feel was good, and full bodied. I've heard this can be a hot mess, but I think the age as done good things to this, I enjoyed it thoroughly! Thanks John!

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Black Betty Imperial Stout - Reserve Series Aged In Whiskey Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.
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