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

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: 109 | Ratings: 369
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
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 -26.2%
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 -3.9%
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 -7%
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 -8.3%
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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Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by pemmet at a recent imperial stout tasting.

A - in color - no light gets thru at all. A skim coat of tan head leaving behind a loose collar around the glass.

S - Boozy, warm, bourbon, woody oak with some vanilla.

T - Woody is an understatement on this...mild bourbon flavors, lots of roasy flavors.

M - Medium bodied with a lower carbonation level...very oaky - wood really dominates.

D - Very woody (definitely a theme here), interesting and a bit different. I enjoyed this more than the standard version...barrel aging definitely helped although a bit one dimensionally.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally cracking this guy Poured into a tulip. This is a gusher. Only foam comes out into the glass. The body is all black. Nice sticky lacing, but too much is too much.

Nice burnt coffee aroma. Smells very bitter. No sweetness is really detected in the aroma.

The taste is dry and bitter. No sweetness at all on this one. The taste is actually relatively one dimensional. The finish is very dry and a little bland actually. Not bad, but definitely not in the top tier of barrel aged stouts.

The carbonation is a little aggressive, possibly concealing sweet flavors. This isn't terrible, and I enjoy drinking it; but it's much too middling to warrant special attention.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks andrewinski for sharing his bottle with me! Poured into a tulip. Thankfully Andy was ready for the massive carbonation on this one when he poured it. Initially all head with just a bit of beer on the bottom of the glass. Once it's finally all poured a rocky tan head sits atop a black body in the glass. Doesn't look to bad. Has a burnt aroma to this one. Slightly burnt toasty malts with a hint of a cocoa aroma and kind of a vegetable finish that seems weird. Cucumber maybe. I know, it seems out of place. Not getting much bourbon out of this either. I feel like if I reach I can get it but if I didn't know it should be there it could easily be overseen. For a barrel aged beer, I feel like it should be a bit more present. Taste damn good though. The bourbon is a lot more present but still not overpowering. Nicely done. Hints of cocoa and bitter espresso round this one out with a slight caramel finish. The mouthfeel is intense. This is so carbonated that it explodes in your mouth when you drink it. The flavors are fair enough (aside from the out of place vegetable flavor I get) but the carbonation is thi killer on this. Overall a solid beer, but it loses a lot due to over carbonation.

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Photo of nkersten
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Thanks to Alex for sharing this one! Poured from bottle into NB globe. Opaque black liquid, super foamy tan head that thins out very slowly. Smell is wet wood, chocolate, some sour infected notes. Taste is smokey oak, alcohol, chocolate cherries, a bit of dark roasted malt. It is hard to pick much taste out because the carbonation is out of control. Mouthfeel is medium, thin and watery for an imperial stout with an intense carbonation. I did not enjoy this beer but would give it another chance since this one was most likely infected.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Eric (TurdFurgison) for hooking me up with a bottle of this one. Served in a New Belgium tulip.

A - Pours with a ridiculously large head that quickly sizzles away to a thin cap, leaving a few spots of lace behind. The body is black with no hint of color at the fringes. Other than being obnoxious to pour this looks pretty good.

S - Huge wet wood and astringent burnt flavors. Reminds me of some of Cigar City's less successful barrel-aging experiments. There's some light chocolate and caramel malt when it warms up, along with some fusel alcohol and a touch of bretty pineapple.

T - Extremely heavy with burnt, roast, and char notes, with plenty of oak, smoke, and a touch of plastic as well. Not much overt bourbon flavor - mostly earthy. Thankfully there isn't any overt sign of infection in the flavor.

M - Smooth, but overly thin body, low carbonation (it's all in the head). Finishes sticky.

D - This wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either - all of us managed to finish our glasses. I'd much rather have the regular Imperial Stout Trooper. I get a faint hint of infection, and the feel and look was reminiscent of Churchill's Finest Hour. Warts and all, this was still better than the White Birch travesty.

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Photo of phattysbox
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to Kevin for cracking this brew!

Poured at cellar temps into a Unibroue tasting glass and whoa what a head. BIG 5-6 inches with only 1 inch of beer at the bottom of the glass. Way too much carbonation on this one as it takes forever for the chocolately tan head to reduce in size. Black as night.

Smell is the best part of this beer and is complex. Vanilla, bourbon, and lightly toasted wood carry through the nose. The roast comes in second and plays nicely with some caramel and burnt raisin malt.

Taste: Wha?? Hey! Where did my beer go? I could have sworn smelling this brew the taste profile would be more of the same from the nose but very opposite. Very one-dimensional with mild roasted malts and some sweet caramel notes. That's about it - no wood ageing and bourbon character is apparent. Unfortunately, the excessive carbonation on this beer takes away from the subtle nuances and I'm speculating the volatile aromatics that lend some taste are gone once the carbonation goes down. The mouthfeel is thin, and gets more thin when there is less carbonation... Hhhhmmm...

Overall: Not impressed. The carbonation and thin mouthfeel really killed this beer. I don't think its infected, but the brewers put WAY to much CO2 into this beer.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
2.07/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Barrel-Aged IST is, overall, a profound disappointment. All of the liabilities of the parent beer are still present: it is too light in appearance, too thin in mouthfeel and overcarbonated. Although some wood, vanilla and bourbon notes are present, the carbonation and thin body interfere with conveying those flavors to your tongue. Instead, you get a bit of the chocolate and burnt toast flavor of regular IST, a bit more sweetness and a bit of fruity tartness at the finish. This simply does not match up to the powerhouses of the category and ultimately fails to take advantage of the barrel aging process.

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Photo of Spica66
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this an EXTRA(!) from randomdanger. "Thank you" does not say enough, Will!

Consumed under a clear, blue sky on my deck, with gwuilliums on his 43rd birthday.

A: Extremely dark pour. Instant head formation. No stopping the head formation. Waaay over-carbonated. Like year-old Founders Breakfast Stout.

S: Sweet and dark. Roast malt, coffee, very nice.

T: Also sweet and dark. Sweet like Bell's Expedition Stout with dark notes like The Abyss 2008. Very well balanced.

M: The carbonation, even after aggressive swirling was way too high and caused quite a sharpness on the tongue.

D: If you were to let this sit our for a couple of hours to burn off the carbonation, it is very easy to drink.

Note to self:
This is the night we drank the 1986 Robert Keenan cab.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by jmadrigal2 after the Black Tuesday release this year. Rumors have it that these got infected but I didn't see much evidence of that.

Beer is dark brown to black with a big head, obnoxiously large head that leaves lacing on the glass. Beer is tan and medium bubbles.

Beer smells like chocolate and coffee with a little vanilla and some oak. Mild liquor, very mild.

Beer is roasty more than it is liquory or sweet. The chocolate is there but its lost in the nuance of the whole thing. The bourbon is lost in there too. Overall the beer is a little thin and could have done more to get the bourbon across. Overall its a good beer and I'd have it again.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to brez for opening this up at the latest tasting, really been wanting to try this for awhile now since I'm a huge fan of the regular IST.

Pours a dark brown color with a large sized head, not as thick or oily looking like the regular version is though, not much lacing, bubbles remain active through the entire sample.

Smell is primarily roasted malt and cocoa, slight bourbon aroma but isn't very predominate and more of an afterthought, dark fruit is a bit lacking which is rather odd.

Taste is fortunately not sour like others have experience, although there is quite the active carbonation, in fact way too much for the style and makes it almost cola like, the viscosity is missing from the regular version as well as the dark fruit presence, the chocolate isn't as strong either, the bourbon isn't too noticeable but does add at least a bit of complexity that would otherwise be lacking, not sure of the strength but no heat is evident.

Sadly, this was has to rank as a disappointment. While the bottle was infected like others, I have to agree about the carbonation. Although, I don't think that is the sole problem, it just seems to be missing that rich and thick mouthfeel, along with several key flavors, from the regular IST.

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Photo of Overlord
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with black edging. Gigantic, huge very dark brown head. A bit out of control, but gorgeous.

Smells like burnt cocoa, some roasted chocolate, some roasted ash, roast, roast, and roast. Roast. Some light bourbon notes.

Taste is a bit more nuanced. There's both milk chocolate and acrid, roasted cocoa powder, a whiff of bourbon (there wasn't much in the aroma ... not a bourbon bomb, really). There's also an unpleasant tart/sour aftertaste. Weird. I looked over some other reviews, and I'm not the only one who noticed this. A bit distracting.

Mouthfeel too thin.

Big thanks to a generous trader!

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes

Pours black and thin with an out of control head. The aroma is very oaky with some burnt nuttiness and hints of metal. The flavor is mostly charred oak and ash. Not really much complexity here. The body is medium and carbonation is high but not as high as the pour suggested. Overall this is not a horrible beer by any means, but it is huge step in the wrong direction from the base beer. Keep it out of barrels please, no good was done here.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours fairly black color with a tan 2 finger head. The bourbon aromas are the first thing that hits me as I take a smell followed by dark roast notes and vanilla. As I take my first sip I soon realize the mouthfeel to me is just too light. I don't think these bottles are infected but just that the carbonation level is fairly high for this style and really takes away from the beer. The tastes I get are the bourbon, oak, earthy, vanilla, and dark roast. Really the flavor I like but I just can't get passed the carbonation. Too bad.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer has something going on in the bottle. The head is way to aggressive. Foamy, over flowing and large bubbles. I had the opportunity to enjoy 2 bottles and both were the same way. Almost black in color with a lot of sticky lacing.

The aroma has alcohol, cocoa, coconut, and bourbon.

The flavor is interesting, but we see the next sign of something going on here. Most of the flavor is cocoa powder, dark roast malt, bourbon, vanilla and coconut. But there is a tiny sense of apple with the slightest hint of tartness. Not Sour at all, but I wouldn't age this beer. I think something is still at work in this bottle.

The body is a touch too thin and the carbonation is large.. Big bubbles.

I prefer the standard Stout Trooper vs. this version.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.81/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Quite the gushed as I remove the wax. Quite a bit of head and tan lacing. Dark, dark brown. Smell is bourbon and a good amount of oak. Hints of coconut. Taste is similar though quite muted. Surprisingly little taste for a barrel aged stout. Mouthfelel is fairly thin with a lot of carbonation. Drinkable, but not because I want to. Somewhat disappointing.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this bottle from smutty33 several months ago, finally breaking it out. 500mL bottle, thick gold wax on top.

The beer pours with a huge foam, it takes a few cycles to fill the glass. Dark brown and opaque, looks like a stout, nothing remarkable except the huge cascading head.

Lots of stuff going on aroma wise, listed in decreasing order: Dark fruits (plums, raisins), smoked malts, roasted malts, tobacco. Not sure on why I get smoke in this beer, I didn't see it described in previous reviews, but it's pretty strong in the smell. A little bourbon in subsequent whiffs.

This is really tasty stuff, but ominously a little tangy in the aftertaste. Up front it starts with sweet and roasted malts, a little burning ethanol or bourbon in the middle, and a sour lasting aftertaste. Maybe infected, I've heard others talk about it and it looks like mine might be infected.

The body is OK, but there really is way too much carbonation. It doesn't match the richness of the flavors at all, too prickly and bubbly, it takes away from the beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Did a side by side with this and regular IST.

Poured into snifter.

Pours 1 finger of tan head. Very fizzy like. Good retention with lace rings. Color is black.

Aroma: Whiskey, oak, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, and coconut.

Taste: Whiskey with lots of oak. Earthy hops, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and dark fruits. Fairly creamy.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, smooth, and creamy. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation (way too much). Ends dry and roasted.

Overall, way too much carbonation. Not sour like some bottles have been. Okay drinkability, but the carbonation just throws this beer off. It really wrecked the beer.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured a motor oil black with a half finger of brown head and left lots of blotchy lacing sticking to the glass. The nose was chocolatey with roastiness slight vanilla, oak, coffee, and molasses notes. Taste wise it was similar to the nose but there was a bit more roastiness I believe from the malts with good chocolate flavor vanilla, oak, coffee and molasses accents but had slight bourbon notes. The brew was full body with way too much carbonation that made kinda hard to fully enjoy the taste of the beer. It also had a sweet, roasty, creamy, and big bubbly finish. BA IST was pretty drinkable but had way too much carbonation which was a turn off to me. Decent BA offering but I still would wanna try the regular version to compare.

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Photo of maximum12
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to hoppymcgee for shipping a bottle of this westerward. Hit up a number of BAs before I located the generous Mr. Gee. Popped open while watching "Burn Before Reading" which I hope gets better...would be a shame to waste this cast on a few mild chuckles.

Pours black with an untamed, unbridled, unstoppable head that quickly overflows my plus-sized Terrapin snifter. Pause, pour, repeat. I hate waiting for my beer, & I hope this is just annoying overcarbonation & not infection. Once I can sniffle without wetting the end of my nose, I get nice gentle bourbon, vanilla, oak, & the scantest inkling of dark fruit. Please, no!

Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper carries a heavy name & high expectations. The beer itself has char high on the list, good, burnt firewood in a quiet forest campground. The malts are all over this one: charred, toasted, burnt, slightly sweet, ashes. The barrel is a not-so-thoughtful-afterthought, apparent readily in the nose, but had to be sought out actively in the taste. On the bare bottom of the backside is a bit of plums mixed in with other dark fruit, but again, hardly noticeable.

The beer is significantly overcarbonated, which is distracting, & makes it hard to enjoy the beer & tease out whatever subtle winks lie in wait. Pummels the drinkability substantially, too. Error or lurking infection? I'll never know.

Decent enough beer. In the universe of barrel-aged stouts, this one brings the toasted malts hard, but these must have been fourteenth-use barrels, because they bring little to the party. Lots of barrel-aged beers I'd prefer before this one again.

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Photo of tpd975
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark black hue. Small tan head. No retention or lace.

S: Aromas of nice roasted malt. Chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dark fruit.

T: Wonderful roast. Lots of chocolate, coffee, and sweet molasses. Light barrel notes. Hints of oak, coconut, and vanilla. Complex, tasty and good.

M: Medium in body, sweet with perfect barrel notes. I thought it would be infected but I picked up none of those notes. Nice and tasty. Worth the trade.

D: Nice and drinkable. Tasty goodness in a bottle.

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Imperial Stout Trooper - Bourbon Barrel Aged from New England Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 369 ratings.
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