Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged | New England Brewing Co.

very good
375 Ratings
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Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
An American Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of roasted malts producing chocolate, dark fruit and coffee notes then aged in bourbon barrels adding notes of oak and vanilla. Brewed every year in the early winter.
ABV - 9.5% IBU’s – 40 Kettle Hops - Columbus, Cascade
Malts - Maris Otter, Pale, Vienna, Biscuit, Flaked, Oats, Torrified Wheat, Medium Crystal, Special B, Chocolate, variety of Roasted malts Yeast – American Ale OG - 24.5

2012 - 375ml bottle, label changed to hunched groucho barrel. 10% ABV

Added by caresville on 04-25-2010

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Ratings: 375 |  Reviews: 109
Photo of muttyd
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black pour with a huge thick tan head that persists throughout. Amazing lacing and super viscus.

S - Roasted malt, smooth sweet vanilla, oak, and leather. Some bitter hop aromas going on to balance the huge malty aroma.

T - Huge malty sweetness dominates the palate. Oak and vanilla characters blend perfectly, but don't take over the classic imperial stout flavor. Alcohol extremely well hidden for what is probably a 9% abv or so beer.

M - Chewy, creamy, and very sticky.

D - Extremely well balanced barrel aged stout. This is how its done people!

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Photo of grahuba
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of cavedave
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to steve8robin for this gigantic beer. A great beer for review #200

A billowing head of lather-like, brownish-beige foam climbs past the rim of my tulip, yet stays atop. It slowly descends, leaving puffs of foam on the glass. An opaque, nearly black, thick brew fills the bottom. Probably poured this a bit warm, but the look is incredibly tempting.

The barrel comes into my nose immediately, followed by deep charry notes, dark coffee, bitter chocolate, dark caramel, and some really fragrant herbal bitter. I catch hints of yeast and also some alcohol spice. Very well blended aroma, very pungent and intoxicating.

Finally tasting this as the foam subsides. Woaaahh, a silky liquid touches the tongue and immediately sparks fly to the flavor centers of my brain. It's a very well blended, full flavored taste, and in there are burnt caramel, dark roast malt (very fine malt flavor here), coffee, bitter chocolate, and an herbal bitter that is a slow motion drying factor for an incredibly long finish. The barrel notes are light, hints of oak, vanilla, and even some whiskey flavor are there, but are well balanced and extremely tasty. At this point of age alcohol is nearly missing from the profile. As it nears room temp. some fig and fruit come into the sip. Each sip of this has given me greater enjoyment.

Mouthfeel is a bit light for this style, despite the thick look, and long finish. It is quite viscous, but less so than five others I can think of easily. Carbonation is just shy of med., but well within style, and the blended flavors are presented cleanly, the finish just dry enough.

Due to the silky, easy sipping character of this delicious beer, and low alcohol presence, I give it a perfect rating in drinkability, can't imagine a beer this size being easier to drink.

Impression: Though it's difficult to acquire, big stout lovers should do what it takes to enjoy this one.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade a while ago, as this had a date of 12/15 on the bottle. In addition, this was only "1 of only 2600 bottles" made which lent an air of exclusivity to this. I never had anything out of a bottle from New England Brewing before and this was a good beer to pour out of such a heavy form of packaging, as the viscosity was quite thick and rich!

Everything about this brew was thick - from the appearance, head, taste, and mouthfeel, there was more than enough to proverbially chew on here. Of course, the hue was an extremely dark brown with just a hint of garnet around the edges for the light to seep in through. The mocha head wasn't terribly deep or long-lasting but it held it's own before settling down. Lots of caramel and molasses in the nose with hints of peat moss along the lines of a Scotch Ale. The bourbon came through more in the taste, as the clean finish, slight stickiness, and woody aftertaste served as indicators as to what this beer really was about. Thick, strong, and sticky, it felt like oats were present as there was a good amount of body here to balance out the alcohol and espresso-like slickness that prevented this from feeling too heavy.

There was enough alcohol here but it wasn't anything that overshadowed the complexities that emerged as this warmed up. An understated roasted, walnut presence and the barrel-aging really took this to another level and even on this abnormally warm day, I could appreciate everything that went into this beer. One of the better Stouts that I've had in recent months as this combined the best aspects of the style and the method of aging. A solid brew from New England worthy of another release this year!

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle, unnumbered. Pours a pitch black color with an inch of frothy dark brown head. Some lacing. Great boozey aroma. Hints of chocolate and vanilla along with some roasted malts but they take a backseat to the bourbon. The taste is a nice balance of bourbon and chocolate with some of the roasted malts. Dark cherries and hints of vanilla. Some smoke towards the end. A bit earthy. Booze at the finish. Nice warming alcohol presence, although I am not sure what the ABV is. Slick mouthfeel with a lot of carbonation. It was by random luck I got a bottle of this and I'm glad i did. The guys at NebCo did a great job with this one. Well balanced with a good amount of bourbon flavor. Overall, I hope I get to grab more next time to try it with some age on it. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

During a visit to the brewery in January I witnessed the barrel that this gem was being aged in glad I've had a chance to try this.

Nice creamy head to this pour the vanilla flavor really comes through along with the roasted malts, mild chocolate, but hey what's this?....there is a nice bit of hoppiness for balance.

The bourbon taste is very slight, kind of curious as to what the ABV is.

Think I'll save the second bottle for Christmas!

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Photo of Chico1985
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(This review is from a fresh bottle that was not infected...I had another about 6 months later and infection had caused the carbonation to be out of control, the taste itself wasn't too different but the mouthfeel definitely had fallen apart. I didn't change any scores in this review to reflect it.)

500ml bottle with awesome gold gel top, poured into my Portsmouth tulip.

Pours black with huge espresso-tan head. Even after a few minutes, this thing isn't going anywhere. Eventually stays at pinky size, has excellent retention and lacing, especially for a barrel-aged beer.

Nose is dominated by light and dark chocolate and roasted malt, very reminiscent of the original Stout Trooper. The bourbon is there, but it's in the background. More booze is in the nose as it warms up however.

Bourbon is more present in the taste, but doesn't take over. If you really want 'bourbon!' screaming in your face you will be disappointed. Milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, a bit of hops, slight bourbon and vanilla. As with the original IST the highlight for me is the chocolate taste, especially nice in the aftertaste. I see the ABV isn't listed but if I had to guess, I'd pin in it at 10 or 10.5%. It is a little hot on the tongue but not in the league of fresh KBS or BCS.

Mouthfeel is a bit spiky on the carbonation, some more thickness would've been nice as well. But overall good. Awesome head adds fluffiness to each sip. Heat is mostly kept on the low side.

Drinkability is good, very easy drinking for a bourbon barrel-aged stout. 500ml is a good size for this, a bomber may have been too much. Worth $15 a bottle? I'm not sure about that.

I will say I'm almost always a fan of regular imperial stouts over bourbon barrel ones. I am also a huge fan of the regular Stout Trooper, which I prefer over this. I'm sure most bourbon stout veterans will see this as a "Lite" version compared to more recognized beers of the style.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice dark mocha head with slightly lacing in the snifter. Pitch black and viscous pour.

S: Aroma of dark roast coffee, burnt patent malt, sweet bakers chocolate.

T: Flavors of a dark robust imperial stout with some barrel and strong bourbon flavors. The bourbon flavors I picked up are more of the harsh high abv flame throwing variety than a sweet bourbon, which I think has made some people say this tastes like Dr Pepper. Vanilla wood and oak mid taste and slightly dry. I clearly tasted this bourbon after letting the glass come to room temp. The roasted ashy flavors are there as well lending a nice complexity that is there in the standard IST, but this is a completely different beast. Any sweetness is mostly gone with added roasted malt and barrel aged flavors.

M: Mouthfeel is fantastic. Caronation is there, and the body is perfectly smooth and rounded.

O: Overall, very impressed here. Clearly a notch up from the non Bourbon barrel aged stout trooper, which is already a very good beer. I am looking forward to hanging on to some of these for years to come. Well done!

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Photo of BDeibs
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of N1Nkasi
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MenardMa
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't tried any of the past batches of this, but judging by the mixed reviews they must not have come out quite as good as this most recent one (sold 12/21/13), because this was an excellent beer! Rivals just about any other Bourbon Barrel Stout in my opinion.

It was very rich, and the bourbon comes through nicely without making it too boozy.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a medium thick viscous black with a slight and quickly disappearing head. Aroma of bourbon and caramel-chocolate, not overpowering in any way. Creamy chocolate flavor, and very very smooth. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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Photo of MikeM417
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of diamondlie
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thrilled is not the word to describe how I feel being able to finally try this one. For some reason one of the hardest things I have ever tried to acquire. Served chilled and poured into a snifter I was able to finally enjoy this one on 05/20/2010.

The pour was utterly fantastic and easily the best part. As I pry off the thick golden wax concealing the cap, I decant into my chalice. Dark black, rich looking, not as thick as oil, but super rich looking and a full three fingers of chocolate colored head then come up from the bottom of the glass. Enormous looking beer I have to say as the head just drip down the sides of the glass, pushing the envelope as to what I was expecting for sure. Leaving it sit for a few moments really lets it come to life as it falls down to just a soft tan pillow that coats everything it touches.

Aroma is rich, still hot from the barrel there is a noticeable boozy component to it for sure. Rich dark malts, oak, bourbon, vanilla, a hint of something bitter, almost hoppy at times comes through as it warms, interesting notes for sure. Really complex and fills the room as the cocoa and the coffee are now starting to come into their own. Again wonderfully well done and simply impressed beyond words so far with this one. The first sip coats the palate with a rich rush of oak and booziness, takes me back for a moment. Coffee, astringent flavors now come forward. Working my way in I find the vanilla and the smoked, almost peat like flavors I was looking for as well. Again very, very well done. Hints of delicate light hops, bitter chocolate, oak, green, vinous properties floating in and out. A touch of bite, some kind of spiced note, what the hell did they put into this? Sooth finish, rich, creamy, sweet, with a backlash of an almost vanilla bean flavor mixed in and dominant coffee notes. You feel the burn on this one, but I loved sitting back with it over the course of an hour or two.

Overall I thought it was a stunning success. A really well done, and very nicely put together ale of unquestionable goodness. Worth the energy in tracking down for sure. I would have no issue at all with going after this one again, why should I.

 2,183 characters

Photo of Ken_P
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of woosterbill
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Robust black body with ruby highlights presided over by over two fingers of thick, creamy brown foam. Great retention and solid sheets of lacing. Gorgeous stout, plain and simple.

S: Starts out with bourbon, vanilla, and oak notes from the barrel. Licorice, coconut, and chocolate follow close behind. Very woody, sweet, and boozy. Awesome.

T: Like the nose, starts out with bourbon, oak and vanilla. Behind the barrel flavors are intensely roasty notes of chocolate, coffee, and anise. Some dark fruits come through as well, with prunes and figs being especially apparent. Light smoke and heat on the bitter finish. Rich and complex.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, and well carbonated. Great.

D: Delicious, but still fairly young and hot.

Notes: This is just a great barrel-aged stout, and I can't wait to see how it develops over the next couple years. Great job, NEB, and here's to further barrel-aged experiments from this great outfit.


Update: I opened another one of my bottles to share after NotF. It was definitely on the high end of the carbonation spectrum for the style, but a rather careful pour yielded a perfect inch of head over my 4 ounces of barrel-aged deliciousness. While its balance kept it from standing out in any particular way, it was every bit a match for the other big-name stouts that were sampled that night (Darkness '10, Ivan, Abyss '06, etc). Great beer.

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Photo of braugon
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 - Pitch black, oily. Smells exactly as advertised. No real head on this pour.

Taste's fizzier than most ris's but really pleasant and lively. Sticky, sweet. Molasses and vanilla, oak and bourbon.

Hop bitterness before prunes and tannic on the finish.

 259 characters

Photo of CayseyW
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Pitch black body with a slight brown head that disappears quickly to nothing more than a small ring of foam around the edge. Little to no lacing.
S: Super complex aroma—dark chocolate, dried fruits, liquorish, vanilla, bourbon and oak. There is also an earthy and almost grassy thing happening up front as well, but it's very faint.
T: Chocolate, coffee, burnt sugars and subtle fruitiness. This is an interesting BA stout because its base beer is very hoppy, at least for a stout, and some of that is still lingering in the taste and feel. I can't think of another BA stout that has a noticeable hop presence.
F: Super soft and easy to drink. Best aspect of this beer. It's full but not muddy. Bold but not harsh. Just really nice, but I would have given it a 5 here if it had a better carb.
O: Really cool BA stout that I can't wait to drink again, especially after it's had a year or two on it.

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Photo of moarmare
4.31/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SenatorSpaceman
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bcm75
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of Mikexw
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lucoli
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of socon67
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from New England Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 375 ratings.
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