Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter
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Baltic Porter
4.12 | pDev: 11.65%
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter
Notes: Full bodied and rich color, our imperial porter has hints of roasted coffee, cocoa with a generous hop finish. Dark roasted malts blended with the crispness of English hops, this beer is smooth yet complex.

65 IBU
Reviews: 283 | Ratings: 360 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle from connecticutpoet. No bottle date, may be a cellar item.

Pours an odd muddy purple-brown color with no head, yet oddly slightly broken lace forms on the glass.

Aroma is HUGE actually...has a nice mix of vanilla spice, heavy tobacco and leather, slight burnt chocolate. Much like cheap cigars in a car stacked with vanilla-roma trees.

Flavors are heavy on tobacco, with slight redeeming milk chocolate, slight ash, slight astringent dark berry, and a huge smack of leather on the finish. The nose, translating to the palate, does not work as well in my opinion. Like rolled dessert cigars.

Feel is creamy but a bit under-carbonated, leading me to think this is probably a few years old. Lingering resins.

Overall, I'd say this was a decent beer but that palate is just ugly. It'll destroy anything before and after that you've had, I think you really have to have an attachment to cheap dessert cigarillos to appreciate this one.

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The-Adjunct-Hippie from South Dakota, Jul 30, 2018
Photo of CTHomer
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: dark brown; opaque; 1 finger medium tan head that receded slowly to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: milk chocolate, roasted grains; dark fruit;

T: milk chocolate up front, then roasted grains and dark fruit; bittersweet chocolate at the finish; mild to moderate, long lasting bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish; hides the ABV well;

O: nicely done;

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CTHomer from Connecticut, Oct 31, 2015
Photo of argock
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottle date on the neck is smudged and unreadable. Purchased at Total Wine (Norwalk, CT).

A: Mahogany hue with 1/2-finger of medium beige head that fades pretty quickly but leaves a few lace dots.

S: A very fruity and roasty aroma with a big dose of caramel and toffee and light herbal hop scents creep in

T: The flavor is a bit too sweet from the caramel notes and a bit too sour in the finish. This is a complex imperial porter without a doubt, but it ranges too far and off the map on both ends of the spectrum. THe sweetness dominates with a sugar-sweet caramel note, lightly buttery, that fades into a candylike sweetness through the middle palate. The mid-palate does pull through with a number of dark fruit flavors like raisin, fig, and plum, mostly raisin. The finish is a little more sour than it should be for the style. Hopping is detectable and herbal-lemon in nature. Alcohol is present and leaves a light sour cherry aftertaste. Bitterness is light.

M: A smooth-drinking porter for the ABV with low-medium carbonation and medium body. Finish is not dry or lush - pretty middle of the road.

O: Thomas Hooker's Imperial Porter is a pretty good beer that has a bit too much intense sweetness in the early and mid-palate and overly pronounced sourness in the finish. it is complex however and worth a try as it may hit some people's palate right in the sweet spot.

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argock from Virginia, May 30, 2014
Photo of joe1510
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml Flip-top
2006 Vintage

Recieved in trade from RustyDiamond a while back, thanks Rusty. Thomas Hooker's Imperial Porter pours a beautiful garnet with glowing mahogany highlights that peek through in waves throughout the glass. One finger creamy beige head formed on the pour and slowly faded to a skim coat with a thick collar. Leaves some moderate lacing. Good looking porter.

Great smell! Rich aroma of doughy dark bread and lightly roasted grains. The middle breaks away from the doughiness just enough to let dark fruit shine through. Plum and figs (leaning more toward the figs) are sprinkled with brown sugar and provide a great complexity. On the backend the roastiness falls to the back along with the fruits and that dark bread doughiness dominates. My mouth is watering.

I think the flavor is actually shows more complexity than the aroma. The flavor is similar to the smell but the dark breadiness is more pronounced upfront. Mid-palate brings the dark fruitiness along with mild coffee. The hint of coffee tastes excellent in this beer. The finish brings a faint but quick cream quality. On the swallow (I'm surprised by this one) comes a solid leafy hoppiness that, along with the roasty malts, leave a noticeable bitterness. Layers of flavor. This is a great porter.

The mouthfeel is luxurious and creamy with a velvety feel as it glides effortlessly across my mouth. Low carbonation lets all the flavors work at their own pace and they all work great.

On a cool evening, like tonight, I could drink this beer all night long. An unbelievably easy porter to put away.

My first sample from Thomas Hooker and one of the best, if not the best, porter I've come across yet. An absolute joy to drink. Wish this was available in my area it would be a staple in my fridge in the Winter months.

Reviewed: 10/27/07

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joe1510 from Illinois, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of REVZEB
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Roasted very dark brown body with tan foam. Smell has roasted malts, sweeter malts, and robust malts, with dark fruit, cola, and dark chocolate. Taste has some more sweetness to it with some caramel, slight cream, licorice, and the dark fruit really sweetens up, contrasting well with the roasted malts and coffee, but ultimately doesn't end with a dominant flavor as expected for style. Feel is best aspect of the beer, robust, creamy, and smooth all at once.

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REVZEB from Illinois, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Huge thanks to beersndrums for this one!

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint at cellar temperature.

L – Deep brown, nearly black color with a huge 4-finger bubbly, tan head. Really nice retention as the head fades down into a half-finger of froth that sticks around for most of the experience. There are some wisps of lacing.

S – Mostly sweeter aromas including raisins, black cherries, and cocoa are apparent, but a nice amount of roasted malt is there, too.

T – It starts off sweet with cocoa, raisins, black currants and cherries, and a touch of vanilla and eventually progresses to a dry, bittersweet roasted taste with coffee and dark chocolate notes. This is really tasty.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with average carbonation, a sticky, mouth-coating, and velvety-smooth feel, and a bittersweet and dry finish. Sweeter flavors like chocolate and dark fruits linger the longest. There is a very subtle and smooth throat-warming sensation from the alcohol.

O – This is a really nice porter. It is not very complex but it is very true-to-style and very tasty. I love the thicker mouthfeel that almost borders on stout territory, and it is insanely drinkable for 8% ABV. If I hadn’t known, I would’ve guessed it was around 5-6%. I’m really glad that I got to try this one. I’m glad I have another offering from Thomas Hooker (Liberator) in my fridge. I’ll have to check out more from them when I’m back up in New England. Thanks, Jared!

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I poured this bottle into my tulip glass. There was very minimal head on the initial pour. This is a pretty dark beer. You can get some light through this one, but not much. The coloring is borderline stout... I know the dividing line is more than that. Guiness still has to figure that out.

I like the smell coming off of this one. There is a clean coffee smell with quite a bit of roastiness. It really works well when you breathe it in. The flavor is almost all coffee. It plays well across your pallatte. I think this made for a very good sipper.

I recommend picking this one up. I think it is a very good example for a porter.

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ummswimmin from New Jersey, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snagged a bottle of this for 1.75 at the House of 1,000 beers.

A - Pours fairly black a touch thin with a 1/4 inch of mocha head that pulls back to a sticky lace ring. Seeing some floaties in the glass I assume it's a tad old.

S - Mild roast, touch of coffee, and really sweet milk chocolate. No detectable hops or chalky yeasts.

T - Really nice dark chocolate hit in the front, leading to some respectable roast/coffee, then fades out to a rather sweet finish of cocoa nibs. Tasty stuff.

M - Medium bodied, slightly chewy, easy to drink.

Overall a nice step up from the lager dopplebock. I would buy this again!

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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of Flounder57
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a dismal head with no head or thin layer of foam. It is a pitch black color with no clarity or visions of carbonation.

Smell: Roastiness, chocolate, dark fruits, smokiness, and some booze on the nose.

Taste: All of the above plus some vanilla and subtle bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, boozy, silkiness, full bodied, very little carbonation, and warming burn on your palate.

Overall: Solid porter. Minus the lack of head and carbonation, this beer is still good.

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Flounder57 from Massachusetts, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of BeerDocT
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a chilled pint glass.

-Appearance 3.5: Poured out a gemy black color; slightly translucent. Very small, khaki head formed and dissipated into a filmy swirl.

-Smell 3.5: I smell a deep, toasted grain bouquet with barley highlights. The smell is thick and makes me think that the taste of the beer will be over the top as a result. We will see.

-Taste 4.0: Front is earthy and slightly tart with a cloying and subtle sweetness. Middle is a big barley kick, with some smoky grains in the background. Finish is slightly smoky, and has some residual sweetness and some more of the barley. Aftertaste is long, hoppy and smoky.

-Mouthfeel 4.0: Excellent carbonation. This brings out so many elements of the flavor profile. If only more brewers would learn this crucial component.

-Overall 4.0: Very good "Imperial" porter. It does have a few drawbacks, namely the fact that it is basically a "dubbel" porter and the taste certainly reflects this: a porter on steroids. Also, the alcohol content tends to sneak up on you and kick you in the shorts. Still, the brew certainly exceeded my expectations, and I would unreservedly recommend this beer.

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BeerDocT from Georgia, Sep 06, 2012
Photo of hopfacebrew
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from undated bottle to mug the beer arrives a dark opaque brown with deep brown edges in the light, a nice 2 finger off-white/light mocha color head with good retention and lacing. The nose is a bled of roasted barley and caramel sweetness, hints of dark fruit, and perhaps a heat from the alcohol. The beer starts very much the same way with a smooth creamy malt roast after which the dark fruit and caramel warm the beer up a bit, finishes with a lingering roast. Mild bitterness and hides the alcohol well. Medium bodied and creamy, this is a good beer. Overall, a treat, very enjoyable.

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hopfacebrew from Colorado, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of metter98
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber—although not quite near black in color—and has some small particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a thin than head that quickly died down and left lacing on the surface along with a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of cola and dark fruits in the nose—prunes and plums seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark fruits, although as it warms up it becomes a little more complex with notes of dark malts and hints of balsamic vinegar.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: The alcohol is well hidden from the taste, but overall this beer doesn’t seem to fit the style with all of the fruity taste. It becomes a bit more drinkable as the beer warms up.

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metter98 from New York, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque extremely dark brown to almost black in color with some hints of medium brown + dark red when held up to the light. There is some light amounts of sediment in the beer. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that quickly reduces to thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate lacing is observed.

S: The smell of this beer is interesting with some fairly strong hints of cola and balsamic vinegar. There is some definite dark fruit presence, mostly prune with a little bit of date.

T: Lots of flavors of dark fruit (prune and date) sweetness with some light hints of chocolate upfront. There is some bitterness in the mid-body of the taste, which is a little unusual. The finish is a little vinous, hints of balsamic vinegar.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to high amounts of carbonation. Almost a little thin/watery.

O: The alcohol presence is well hidden in this beer but I am not a huge fan of the cola aroma and vinous notes. The beer is not overly enjoyable to me with a little too much balsamic vinegar.

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dbrauneis from North Carolina, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


1 liter swing top into a snifter. 2003 vintage. Thanks!

A: Deep brown with a reddish tinge near the edges when held to light. The beige head quickly fades.

S: Date blends with prune and grape. There's a light smokiness with leather and dried fruits. Dark chocolate meets a light nuttiness. Oxidation is smooth and does the beer credit. There's a whisper of licorice.

T: Leathery with light oxidation that's not at all detrimental. Dark fruits are pronounced, reminiscent of grape and prune. Chocolate is mellow and lightly sweet. I get a little molasses with an accompanying smooth and gentle roasted malt profile.

M: Upper medium body with matching carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Overall: Really impressive for a 9 year old Imperial Porter. Very enjoyable.

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HopHead84 from California, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of Durge
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found at Backstage in Torrington, CT this one's a pitch black color with a decent light chocolate colored head and good lacing. The nose picks up a smokey, chocolate, firm and enticing. The flavor nicely mirrors the aroma with more of the charcoal theme. No interesting nuances really just solid, standard stuff. This is a medium-plus bodied porter with a slightly resinous, velvetty feel. Very pleasant stuff with solid, though pretty typical, porter flavor. Wish it was something a little more unique, but most improtantly, it’s a very good porter. It never quite struck me as an imperial version with little suggestion of alcohol or magnified flavors, but no complaints here.

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Durge from Connecticut, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Aiptasia
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After drinking a highly praised, yet under-appreciated soy bomb that was Ten Fiddy, I cracked open this beer sent to me by Robtobfest and poured it into the pint du jour.

It pours a nice burnt umber color reminiscent of sasparilla. When held towards the ceiling lamp my 8 month old refers to as "sky boob," it radiates a dookey red crystal clear color. The head was most impressive, like a gentle noble warrior prom night teen girl's cream dream. I look, I want. I lust.

The smell is subtle and teasing, like a good porter should be. It barely hints at malt and some grassy notes. That's all you get, because you've been bad and you don't deserve this beer.

The taste is like the first wet kiss on the end of a hot fist. I lie, it's a pleasant homeostasis of warming wet hops love and alcoholically dry sweet malts. I need a new thesaurus for the word subtle. Whereas the world flops in clown shoes towards Imperial Porters, there's a real growing appreciation from this roller skate for the complex and delicious porter. Bravo.

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Aiptasia from Florida, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of Stratocat0
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Boy does this one jump up at ya. Smells and looks absolutely fantastic. Very dark, wicked roasty chocolate smell. Nice head with great lace. Thick and creamy roasted coffee with a bit of chocolate and molasses. Ends with a warm alcohol taste, then throws more roasted coffee at ya. Very good beer.

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Stratocat0 from Connecticut, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of robwestcott
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

big thanks to wisonsinality for this one.

poured cold from the bottle root beer dark brown to a dogfish head signature glass with a 1/2 finger, short lasting tan head leaving spotty lace up the side of the glass after each sip

aroma of coffee and licorice

big molasses and brown sugar up front, also hints of bourbon and vanilla. not getting coffee on this one. interesting

medium bodied, smooth and creamy, super sweet, medium carbonation. heat.

overall: unique take on the style, very good beer. my introduction to thomas hooker.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Dark red brown. Not opaque but you're not seein much through this guy.
smell: Wow. Rich and big. Approaches a barrel aged stout in expanse. Cola, dark fruit and chocolate.
taste: A bit of letdown from the nose but not much. A little bittersweet chocolate but mostly dry ending in a nice Porter bitterness.
mouthfeel: A bit thin for a Porter much less and imp porter.
overall: Very nice. I'd love to try the oak aged version.

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Photo of seanwhite
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smell: Strong, malty smell with some roasted and burnt aromas, and drops of chocolate and coffee

A: This one pours a dark brown color with a small light brown head

T: The taste is similar to the nose, malty and roast, light-medium sweet, hints of earth on finish. Light-medium bodied (lighter then expected for the style),

M: Creamy mouthfeel, and no burn

Overall Impression: Overall, I thought this was a decent Imperial Porter, but it just didn’t quite hit for me. There was something a little lacking, maybe a little thin, about it in both flavor and body, that kept the score from being higher.

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seanwhite from Massachusetts, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz undated bottle from a recently purchased 4 pk. (~$10).

Appearance: Nothing unexpected: a murky, dark brown body with a small beige head. Head quickly reduces; there's a lasting ring and small bits of lace on the glass. Some sediment in the bottom of the bottle (added).

Smell: Roasted malt with dark fruit, including prunes, and hints of roasted nuts. Some notes of baked bread and earthy hops.
Alcohol appears upon warming.

Taste: Bold taste (and higher ABV) lives up to the "Imperial Porter" labeling. Too boozy, with the higher ABV not hidden at all. Rich flavor of roasted malts with notes of cocoa and dark fruits, yet not with much sweetness. Earthy and lightly spicy hops are present, as well as some coffee taste. Roasty, fruity and mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Has a very slight bite.

Overall: a strong Imperial Porter with an aroma that is better than the flavor.

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chinchill from South Carolina, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of jslot38
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle to DFH pint glass.
Appearance: Near black, bit of brown hints on the sides. Head is almost pure white, barely top covering.

Smell: Very intense, roasted malt, bread, raisins, chocolate, coffee, molasses, brown sugar.

Taste: Interesting fruit flavor not found in many porters. The fruit character reminds me of Thomas Hooker's outstanding doppel bock. Makes me think the fruit overtones are from the yeast. Mixed in is biscuit, sourdough bread, some chocolate. Has a sweetness I also wasn't expecting.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, low level of carbonation.

Overall: I'm not sure what to think of this beer. The aroma is great, the taste is just odd and makes me go back and forth. In the end while its not exactly what I'm looking forward to in a porter, its still a nice flavor.

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jslot38 from South Carolina, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of maximum12
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

How time flies when you're having fun. Thanks to jtrockchalk for this extra from, uh, over a year ago. Where the hell did that year go? Damn.

Pour is black, & one can imagine a bit of red-length edges on it. Smell is lovely, rich roast & chocolate malts.

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter hews straight to the nose. Chocolate, roast. Sweet, too, especially on the finish. A touch thin.

Unremarkable. Pretty good, but nothing to set it apart from hundreds of other porters.

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maximum12 from Minnesota, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of JayS2629
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark chocolate brown that is almost black in the glass. Beige froth is soapy, fades slow and leaves creamy rings of lace.

S- The aroma is bold. Roasted malts, notes of coffee, rich toffee, toasted nuts, and burnt brown sugar, dark chocolate,and sherry. Plum and other dark fruit notes. Earthy hops and musky notes throughout.

T- Bittersweet cocoa, roasted malt and coffee give way to earthy, musty notes. Toasted nuts and toffee makes an appearance along with dark fruit notes, red wine, plum and molasis. Middle falls into a quick boozy note followed with resiny, herbal and bitter hop finish that also includes nutty, dry, woody hints.

Rich, smooth, medium bodied

Little too bitter on the finish. Very roasty and chocolatey. Something is missing in the balance.

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JayS2629 from Alabama, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $2.79 at Total Wine & More in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with one finger worth of beige suds. Small smattering of sticky lace on the descent.

Smell: Roasty, oven-cooked nuts in the aroma with supporting bready, chocolaty notes and a background herbal, earthy hop tone, though, as it warms, this grows a bit.

Taste: Roasty, toasty malts with some soothing tones of bitterish cocoa powder (okay, maybe not so soother), blackstrap molasses (not particularly soothing there ,either), and caramel (soothing), though not too terribly much sweetness present. Some plums roll across the tongue. Earthy, resinous, herbal hops with plenty of bitterness throughout, moreso than I recall being there in this brew ages ago. Who knows. Either way, it's there now. As this potentially newfound bitterness begins to accumulate on the tongue, the roastiness takes on a sharp, bolder coffee taste. Roasty, bitter finish with a lingering bitterness and dry malt accents.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Has a good, creamyish texture to it.

Overall: It's been a long time, Hooker. I recall seeing them far more often at the marketplace around 2006, then, I recall a few infected large-sized swing-top bottles (got one myself), and, after that, they seemed to all but vanish from the stores in GA. Now, I'm seeing them a bit more, now with their entire line-up in twelve ounce capped bottles it seems. I'd revisited their doppelbock late last year, enjoyed it, and now it's time to revisit the imperial porter. It's good, thankfully not infected, but seems more bitter than I recall.

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 360 ratings