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

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Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2012 - 375ml bottle, label changed to hunched groucho barrel. 10% ABV

Added by caresville on 04-25-2010

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Reviews: 104 | Ratings: 302
Photo of jaxon53
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thank you to FishGetter for getting me this beer at the release. Served at just about cellar temperature, in my trusty snifter, from a twelve ounce bottle. Thanks again Shawn!

Appearance: BA Stout Trooper pours out a pitch black, almost as black as Darth Vader's soul. Sorry for that. A rather gentle pour resulted in almost three inches of coffee brown foam. Head was thick and dense. Head retention was great. Faded away quite slowly. Huge chunks of lace were left clinging to the glass.

Smell: Pretty powerful nose. Definite oak aromas flowing out of the glass. Thin layers of chocolate and coffee. A semi thick bourbon/alcohol aroma tickles the nose. A slight sweetness lingers.

Taste: In my opinion, the barrel ageing process seems to take away from the original beer a little. Again, plenty of oak stands out. Bits of chocolate and coffee are noticed deep in the background. Also some light brown sugar. Bourbon and booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied mouthfeel maybe. A little bit thinner than I like my Imperial stouts. Lower level of carbonation.

Overall: Overall, not a bad drink. A sipper in my opinion. I do prefer the regular Imperial Stout Trooper over this.

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Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle, big thanks to BA Smoked for being able to attend the release and buy me some of this. Bottle opened and shared with some friends. This brew poured into a snifter appears black in color with a mountain of dark brown head that is 3+ fingers strong. Thick patches of lace cling all over the glass. When held to the light, some red coloration and lighter brown is seen through the edges.

The smell of this brew includes some raw oak character. Citrus hops are still evident along with some notes of sulfur. There is some mineral character evident through the middle that imparts a scent of something similar to a leaking co2 tank. Once the brew warms up and has a chance to breath the unpleasant mineral aspect and tannins fade and what is left in the glass is a very sweet smelling concoction of brownie batter. Vanilla sweetness is also evident mixed with coconut and a spiced aspect almost like incense.

The taste is woodsy and earthy with some citrus elements that are familiar to freshly roasted coffee. Some tangy alcohol is present accented by a spirited barrel alcohol presence. Light mineral character fills the profile before the onset of roasty bitter grain somewhat like chocolate and earth. As it warms, more of a focus on the barrel contribution comes forward with tannic flavors. Once the brew goes beyond ideal temperatures, it really comes together tasting like chocolate and vanilla.

This is a medium bodied brew with an excessive amount of carbonation. The alcohol inclusion is evident and quite warming. Overall, nicely done. The carbonation is too much but luckily it can be swirled out with a little bit of effort. I know this brew was met with great anticipation and hype only to be a let down for many. However, I found it to be exceptional. This is a classic example of first impressions upon a first sip not doing a beer justice if you let it warm up and enjoy a full serving. If I have this beer again, I'm not even going to waste my time chilling it down, straight from cellar temp to glass is my recommendation. I really hope the fellas at Nebco attempt this barrel offering again with less carbonation.

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Photo of sliverX
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a huge head that faded down to nothing pitch black looks nice.
Smell is odd I'm getting cherry and bourbon
Taste is regular IST but with like half the bottle being bourbon very boozy and hot even with 2-3 years on it. Finished with a nice coffee tone at the end which is the stand out on this.
Mouthfeel is over carbonated
Overall its ok not out standing a boozier version of regular IST

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, 500 ml gold wax dipped bottle (label says 12 ounces?), big thanks to jgasparine for trading this bottle! Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a couple inch tan head. Head retention is pretty good, and there's a decent amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is very sweet and malty, the brew smells like chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and some dark fruit. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also a good amount of roasty and bitter flavors noticable. It tastes like roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, burnt/charred malt, oak, bourbon and a bit of vanilla. Finish is nice and roasty. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it has very high but soft carbonation. The high carbonation does make this a little hard to drink, even though it does settle down some after a while. I think it's a good brew, but my only complaint about it is the high carbonation which hurts the beer's drinkability and overall score. With that being said I'm glad I got to try this one, thanks again John!

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Photo of ottovon
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

shared by phelps at a recent tasting. This is the 2010 version.

A: pours out a dark brown with a nice brown head.

S: chocolate with hints of vanilla, oak, and a bit of bourbon. there is some sweetness and alcohol in the aroma.

T: chocolate and coffee. There is some vanilla and a little bourbon. Not a ton of bourbon. there is some sweetness and toffee.

M: medium-thin with a good amount of carb.

O: i enjoyed this beer more than the normal IST, but was expecting more from both versions.

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Photo of Phelps
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from xanok in an in-person trade. This is the 2010 edition, poured into a snifter.

Dark black with a fuzzy one-finger head of cocoa powder. The bubbles linger as a thick top layer all night long.

Not much to the nose. Some vanilla and sweetness have been added to the cocoa powder, toast and coffee apparent in the un-aged version. Also added: lots of alcohol.

The flavor: vinous oak, vanilla, butter, subdued smokiness, cocoa powder. Sweet throughout. Like in its predecessor, the flavors here are still very smoothly integrated. There’s just more heat.

Light carbonation and high fizziness in an extremely soft medium body. Moderate alcohol burn on the tongue as wells as the nose. 3

Neither Imperial Stout Trooper nor this barrel-aged version is incredibly complex, but I have to say I like the un-aged version better. The barrels just don’t add much, and what they do add covers the base beer, rather than accentuating it.

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Photo of oregone
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: very good. A surprising amount of carbonation (fairly dark brown) forms from a moderate pour and settles in to a very dark brown body leaning towards black. Perceptibly lighter around the edges.
S: Barrel. Just so right there ion front. Sweet, woody, barrel. Good for what it is.
T: Carbonation makes this light drinking and accentuates thew barrel treatment. Not excited here. But interesting if a bit one dimensional.
M: Far to light for what it is as a product of the excessive carbonation. Not bad, but not good for the style. Fl
O: Good to try. Would drink again, but not seeking this out. I was not a huge fan of the base beer IST and don't think that the barrel ageing or high carb did this any favors.

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Photo of Damian
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Drank from a 500 ml (although the label said 12 fl. oz.) gold wax dipped bottle
2009 vintage
Served in a snifter

Fantastic appearance. The beer poured an absolute pitch black with a near three-finger head of mocha colored froth. The head retention was outstanding. As the creamy foam receded, it left thick blocks of lacing all along the glass.

The aroma was fairly typical for the style yet quite pleasant. Roasty with notes of espresso and smoke. Semi-sweet. Brown sugar was noticeable. Some vanilla too. A touch of bourbon-like booziness was also detectible.

When reviewing beers, I always comment on the flavor before I talk about mouthfeel. In this case however, the mouthfeel played a much bigger role in my overall opinion of the beer so I decided to do things differently. Concentrating on the flavor was actually quite difficult due to the excessive amount of carbonation. Once the beer hit my tongue, it turned to instant froth - foaming up so much that I could barely contain the liquid in my mouth. The body was also noticeably thin.

The taste was roasty, dry and, overall, quite simplistic. Lots of deep, dark malts up front. Coffee grounds were also noticeable. The finish was very ashy and bitter and contained a generous dose of piney, oily hops, along with a touch of booze.

I love Russian imperial stouts but I am not a huge fan of Imperial Stout Trooper. This barrel aged version is similar to the original, but with a very distracting mouthfeel. I am glad I woke up at 4 AM to secure my two bottles because I was able to trade away one of them for something good. My only regret is that I did not trade this bottle too.

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Photo of jbtice0315
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade from mymrnngjckt - thanks!

Tasted side by side with regular 2011 IST at Clusterfork #3.

A - Pours brown, not as dark as I had hoped, with a ton of light brown head. Oh no, thought it was infected with the huge amount of head that started bubbling out. A very slow gusher, not normal.

T - Harsh from the CO2. Tried to aerate to remove the carbonation, but my glass wanted to overflow. Some roasted, burnt coffee/toast notes. Chocolate, whiskey, and bitterness.

M/D - overcarbonated and harsh.

Glad I only got a taste of this beer. The regular IST was much better for me, but glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clearish brown. Not as dark as i would like Like to see. Tns and tons of head that doesn't dissipate quickly. Smells heavy of oak and bourbon. Some nice butteriness. Tastes very chocolatey and malty. The bourbon flavour is great but the mouthfeel is killing it. Bitter from the co2. Overcarbonsted and harsh. Overall it could be worse but man does this beer hurt to drink

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours black with a thick bubbly head that leaves lots of residual lacing.

S. Some harsh whiskey/ wood notes with some dark chocolate and dark roasted malt.

T. Dark roasted malt with some harsh wood, dark chocolate bitterness.

M. Becomes foam instantly when it touches your tongue.

D. The mouthfeel really takes away from this. I'm not a huge fan of the smell or taste, but the mouthfeel is what really takes away from this.

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Photo of brew3crew
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-nice rich brown color with a great tan head that sticks around the whole time
S-very smooth bourbon smell. Some chocolate malts that blend really well
T-bourbon is upfront. Carbonarion is really prevalent throughout
M-very carbonated. Almost light with a smooth finish
O-the rareness is really good on this. Decent beer but doesn't really live up to the hype

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Photo of TKEbeerman
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my Cigar City snifter, this brew pours a Darth Vader black with a chocolate colored head that is utterly impressive. It size is huge, and refuses to dissipate past 1 finger's thickness.

S: The aroma is a little lack luster. Notes of vanilla, roasted dark malt, semi-sweet chocolate, and maybe a slight liquorish note.

T: The flavor follows suit. Heavy notes of vanilla and liquorish both blended smoothly together in perfect harmony. Chocolate notes are evident on the pallet. If this was aged in bourbon barrels it is hard to tell, but their is a booziness to this beer.

MF: The mouthfeel is the killer here. Way over carbonated and a little to thin to be a huge stout.

Overall, I would say I'm disappointing, but definitely not impressed. The barrel aging and blending of chocolate flavors could have been done much better. The mouthfeel is almost a disaster, but this still manages to be a decent brew.

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Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to steve8robin for this one, recieved in secret santa '10 bif. The bottle was split in 2 snifters. The pour is jet black with an above average tan head, slowly receding. The aroma was sweet malt with oak and bourbon notes, although less than I would have expected for a BA beer. The flavor has lots of roasted malts, chocolate. The oak, vanilla, and bourbon notes are there as a backdrop, it has a lingering alcohol finish. The beer is full bodied and is highly carbonated for a RIS. My bottle did not have any infection or ridiculous carbonation issues. I liked it, but was not wowed.

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Photo of Lunch
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was shared by thagr81us at Sexual Chocolate 2011. Thanks Calton! I tried many times to trade for this beer but I never pulled it off.

After hearing about the possible infection issues I was a bit leery, but since I am a big fan of the base beer I was excited to try this. This was sampled side by side with IST 2009.

As the bottle was opened we were pleased that there were no tart or sour notes.

Pouring this beer into a Darkness snifter (wish there was such a thing as a IST snifter) we were greeted with many fingers of tan on top of a black inky base.

The smell was quite nice with notes of chocolate, bourbon, coffee, and roasted malt.

Taste pretty much mimicked the smell, but this aspect was hindered by the excessive carbonation. I worked through my pour slowly in hopes that the carbonation would subside, which it did. Certainly better as I continued to drink, but it seemed a bit thin.

I'm really hoping for another batch and hopefully the carbonation will be addressed.

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Photo of Gfunk720
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes, out of my Maudite tulip.

A- Crazy coffee colored foamy head. I couldn't even pour it for a while it was so foamy. Beer is pitch black, much like the base beer.

S- Smells of oak and malt, no bourbon really to speak of. There are some coffee/chocolate notes as well, and a wierd soury smell.

T- A odd combination of burnt malt and oak. Again, I am getting that bitter sourness. Also so cocoa and coffee notes.

D- Not bad, but wayyy too carbed. Not sure what is going on here...

M- Again, just tastes burnt and like it slighly turned. Not sure if the sourness is the beer or infection.

This beer did not take well to the barrel aging process. I really like IST, but would not go out of my way to find another one of these.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.62/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired at the release and taken from notes. Drank somewhere in the summer.

550ml bottle into a Snifter glass at fridge temp.

A- Pours pitch black with a nice 1 finger brown head that's real creamy looking like a milk shake or foam.

S- Nice roasted dark malts with some sweet chocolate and coffee. A great blend of strong oak and bourbon notes come through that gives off a pretty boozy aroma from the bourbon. Blends really nicely though.

T- Serious roasted with a nice sweet chocolate burnt coffee flavor up front that blends and brings out some wood, oak, and strong bourbon characteristics. Definitely some vanilla in there as well and a slight booziness just like the smell but gives this beer a nice fullness that it needs.

M- Medium bodied with lower carbonation and a nice bitter finish.


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Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to pemmet for this one. Had as part of the mini Whale Stout tasting back in mid December.

A dark head fades at a medium pace over essentially pitch black beer.

Nose brings some oak, woody esthers, a little bourbon, dark malts, little roast and dark chocolate, a little saw dust, bit of wet cardboard as well.

Taste has some straw, a bit of wood, more wet cardboard, tons of wood, sawdust, little roast, semi bitter stout flavors, a bit of chocolate, light creamy chocolate, light earthy hops, way too much overpowering wood and oak.

Mouth is medium bodied, a little lighter than I thought, with lighter carbonation.

Drink is meh, the wood just gets so overpowering, a light booze but not much, and a little sweetness.

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Photo of champ103
3.12/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A big thanks to Dajtai007 for sharing this with me and some other BA's.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. Some ruby around the edges. A huge tan head forms, almost like a gusher. Though manageable to pour. Not much lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malt, chocolate, vanilla are big and up front. Plenty of alcohol in the nose, and some lingering dry wood notes.
T: Fairly simple here. Light toasted malt and chocolate. Lots of prickly alcohol that really detracts for me.
M/D: A full body, but the carbonation is huge. Lots of bubbles, and really prickly on the tongue. Tons of alcohol. A very slow sipper.

I am glad I got the chance to try this, but it just does not hold up. There is not a lot going on. The huge prickly carbonation and alcohol makes this difficult to drink as well. Not something I would recommend.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Massive thanks goes out to nyrangerfan for sending me this bottle in a past trade! Bottle shared with Lunch and Huhzubendah during our private tasting session at Sexual Chocolate '11. Served from bottle into a sampler snifter. Poured pitch black with a with a massive light tan head with a very careful pour (over-carbonated much?). There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel, wood, and slight alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, sugar, caramel, wood, slight alcohol, and a very muted tart flavor (infected?). It had a medium feel on the palate with stupid high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew, but nothing awe-inspiring. The carbonation on this was just plain retarded... It was almost like I took a sip of it and then stuck a hose pumping Carbon Dioxide inside my mouth to form bubbles. It was literally like drinking flavored foam. Needless to say, the carbonation killed this one for me. It is worth ticking, but that is about it in my opinion.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by thagr81us. Thanks Calton!

The beer appears nearly black and dark brown at the crest. The beer is over-carbonated and a light beige, foamy head fills most of the glass, despite a somewhat careful pour. The aroma is unusual, with wood barrels, alcohol, and tannins outweighing roasted malt. The flavor is atypical as well, with a dominant wood presence. Roasted malt and chocolate flavors play secondary roles to barrels, bourbon, and a somewhat sharp, tannic character. Not one of my favorite barrel-aged stouts.

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Photo of Chaney
2.84/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I got to try this one at Sexual Chocolate Day 2011 courtesy of some very generous BAs. Awesome!

A: Dark, dark in color.... devoid of it even! The mocha head was completely out of control and filled up half of the glass.

S: Hmmm.... I got a dark roasted concoction laced with rotten coconut rum. Not pleasant.

T: Same thing on the taste only more intensified. As fruity as the original beer was in general, I just don't think it lent itself well to barrel-aging. There was also a good bit of nuttiness (hazelnuts?) mixed into the weirdness.

M: Thick enough for the style and judging by the head, this was very well carbonated. However, there were greater, fatal issues here than only mouthfeel.

D: Not very. I know this is a very sought after beer, but I just couldn't take any more than my share. That said.... I was totally stoked to get to try it!

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Photo of BigTomZ
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Pours a very thick black with a huge head. The head dissipates very slowly into a layer of foam that never goes away.

S: The aroma is mainly of fruits, but not dark fruits as I might expect from a stout. This was more like cherries. The bourbon character is definitely present, but doesn't dominate. The roasted malts and chocolate are just in the background.

T: The taste followed the smell. The most forward taste was the fruits, followed by the bourbon, then the base stout. I'm not sure if something is up with the bottle or if the cherry character was intended.

M: The high level of carbonation keeps it from being a heavy drinker.

D: I wanted to like this more than I did. I think the regular IST is one my high rated beers, but the cherry character kept me from fully enjoying this.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to BigSexy410 again for sharing this right next to the original Trooper.

A: Looks like the original with nice tan head, black body. Has even more head I think.

S: The hops from the Imperial stout trooper are cut down significantly by the whiskey barrel heat and sweetness. The roasted malt and nut flavors still are there, but it doesnt have the same character as the original, yet still solid. There is a sour cherry note thats not too overpowering but strange.

T: Seems a little off. Added notes of vanilla oak and whiskey are in the taste with much less hops and less of almost all the attributes of the former beer. Seems infected somehow...not sure what it is but its a little off and somewhat fruity sour. Still a pretty tasty stout.

M: More carbonation than i expected, and seems sort of thin.

D: Not the greatest beer ever, especially barrel aged stouts which i'm usually lenient on.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/11 notes. Had at a small tasting thanks to BigSexy410; thanks, huge want! Poured into my Portsmouth tulip.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of vanilla, roasted malts, oak, sour cherries, sour fruit, oak, and alcohol. The sour fruit in the smell makes me think this one might have been infected, as the others tasting it thought as well. Still not bad, just different than I was expecting.

t - tastes of sour fruits, especially cherries, roasted malts, oak, and chocolate. Light alcohol. Again, thinking this one is a bit infected.

m - Medium body and high carbonation.

d - A bit bummed this one seemed to be infected. It still wasn't awful, but not what I was expecting, and after having and enjoying the normal IST, this was a let down. Looking at other reviews it doesn't look like this is a widespread problem, hopefully it was a 1 bottle thing.

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Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from New England Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.
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