Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter
361 Ratings
Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 361 |  Reviews: 283
Reviews by Rastacouere:
Photo of Rastacouere
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Opaque extremely dark brown. Sticky light brown head consisting of tiny bubbles stuck to each other. Gorgeous. Multi-faceted malt aroma. Pumpernickel bread, monstruous chocolate, well put lactic hints, caramel richness, woody vanilla, subtle roastiness, this has it all and well expressed at that. Extremely malty taste, much roastier than anticipated also far hoppier, there’s quite an honest bitter slice to cut the sweetness. Mild licorice flavor, vanilla, vegetal tones. Medium to full bodied, very low carbonation. Here I go again, this had the potential to be world-class, but there’s just something that feels wrong with Troutbrooks beers’ mouthfeel. They can be thick and rich, but they don’t seem to be living, they can’t seem to use any carbonation to transport their flavors and I think the beers suffer a lot from this. The just seem much more stable and stuck in their little universe, far less adaptative, creative and evolving. So in other words, this beer rocks, yet it could easily do better.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Three years or so I happened upon some Thomas Hooker brews at Delilah’s in Chicago. I remember really enjoying them, although at the time I had no idea that they were gray market and so sought after. I’ve been wanting to try them again ever since. Many thanks to trader scthaden for making that possible.

Presentation/Appearance: Nice pop top bottle makes a huge whoosh upon opening despite a minor leak that occurred during transport (damn pop tops look and sound cool but they don’t seal as well as one would think). Any remaining concern is put rest when I pour the beer and am greeted by a massive swelling of brown, foamy tidal waves. Whoa, I almost over flowed there. The head settles quickly to a simple and steady ¼ inch but the lacing is out of this world – truly some of the best I’ve seen on a porter.

Aroma: I am instantly attracted to the bittersweet chocolate that is found so adequately in the front of the palate as well as the aroma. Plenty of coffee and a little bit of sweet dark fruits, cherry mostly.

Taste: Black grains dominate. Oh my, they are delicious. Monstrously dark malts with full chocolate and coffee flavors roll over the tongue and down the throat. The chocolate is very dark and very bitter, I would say it is something like an 85% plus pure cocoa bar. I’m hopeful that the chemical compounds that cause this bitterness are reducing my likelihood of contracting diabetes (as those in cocoa do) right now. That would certainly be a great excuse to drink this day in and day out (not that I need one). In many ways this tastes like a blend of Sprecher Black Bavarian and Ale Smith Speedway. We have here the full flavor, strength, and bitterness of the Speedway but also the ultra drinkable body, unique to such a black beer of the Sprecher. I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Wonderfully carbonated this dances and fiddles with the tongue. Initially it comes across as light bodied, considerably lighter then expected and entirely in a pleasing way. As it warms a smooth syrupiness intensifies the body but it remains fairly light and lager like. Bitter.

Drinkability: I feel buzzed almost instantly but this is an easy drinker. The ABV is ever-present but not disturbing of the flavor nor does it cause any heaviness or cloyingness. I would say, as good as it gets.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Sampled 5/9/08. 500ml swingtop. Too bad we will never see these again :(

Pours deep dark brown bordering on black with a creamy light tan head. Sticky lacing all over the glass. Aromas are a big mix of chocolate and caramel upfront. Solid roasted dark malts. Nutty with a mild coffee undertone. Anise as well. Nice.

First sip brings rich, somewhat sweet roasted malts upfront that quickly moves into a mix of caramel, chocolate and coffee flavors that run across the palate. Slightly nutty, it flows down with a good bitterness on the finish and mild creaminess. Solid porter.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fresher bottle. A tasty treat and a great imperial porter. RIP on this one least I got to have it one last time. Thanks goodbyeohio.

2004 vintage. Gotta love these huge Hooker bottles, too bad we'll probably never see them again. This one opens with the swing top nearly exploding. Luck me, I opened it over the sink as it exploded for a good five minutes. Pours a dark black with chocolate brown hues. Light tan head on top. Aromas of chocolate along with a prevalent anise aroma. Roasty with a light coffee. Somewhat sour with a funky twang as well. I probably waited a bit too long to crack this.

First sip brings a roasty dark malt with chocolate accents. Slight coffee flavor with a licorice undertone. Caramel sweetness flows into a somewhat funky sourness that actually made it quite interesting. Mellow bitterness on the finish. Pretty tasty brew after 3 years.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, still plenty of good carbonation here. Easy enough to drink. A tasty porter for sure. I only have one 500ml bottle of this left, and that's probably all I will ever have. I'll report back on a fresher bottle when I crack it.

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Photo of blitz134
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared last night with a couple of friends in an attempt to further convert them. Unfortunetly they didn't like it as much as I did, but there was no way I could handle this bottle myself. My stout loving friend wasn't keen on the alcohol and hops, and my BMC drinking friend liked it better, but still has reservations against hops...oh well...

Poured nearly black with beautiful red, garnet highlights shining through. Light khaki colored head. Thick initially but slowly dropped to a thin layer. Nicely done.

Aroma is the weak point of this beer. Sweet, caramel malts come though. Really no toasted notes that I could find.

The taste is what makes this beer. Toffee and bitersweet chocolate really work their magic. Sweet caramel malts again. Finishes with a good dose of toasted malts. I have a hard time picking out hops in dark beers, but since my buds kept commenting on them I noticed some bitterness coming through with some floral hints working in with the caramel sweetness. I think some alcohol showed its head as well.

Good mouthfeel but a bit thin. Typical of the style. Excellent drinkability. Well blended flavors which sit light on the stomach.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A swing-top, bottled in 2006, and cellared for 6 months. Poured into a tulip glass, it was black, with a thick mocha head. Good-looking beer. It had an intensely chocolate aroma. Taste was similar: very chocolate. At times I felt like I was eating a brownie. My only (small) quibble was I thought it was a little too carbonated. That aside, this is a wonderful beer.

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Photo of muffguy4beer
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The largest bottle of beer I have ever purchased sitting at a whopping 1 Liter poured into a imperial pint glass numerous times.

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a light chocolate brown head.

Smell: Mild roasted malt with a nice sweetness. A little smokey and fruity as well.

Taste: Starts out with a nice toasted malt taste that is fairly sweet then it comes into the bitterness and heavier roasted coffee flavors that really balance out this big brew. Finishes with a faint alcohol and berry flavor that is very smooth.

Moutfeel: Smooth and crisp, medium to full body.

Drinkability: Another beer to be sipped upon. Very smooth and tasty. One of my favorite beers to sit down with and chill.

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Photo of shapudding
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2004. Dark and beautiful with a hugh amount of thick and frothy milkshakey head the color of Breyer's coffee ice cream. The head finally shot down to a heavy layer of creamy goodness with a few foamy bubbles. Nice vineous deep red wine, merlot scents... almost towards a bit of whiskey. Deeply chocolate and coffee, with the hops starting to yell at you more and more as it warms up. This just has such a great complex scent, there is so much going on! Nice carbination, tight and smooth, it rolls and swirls across your tongue. Almost a bit dry feeling. Cocoa powder and chocolate truffles followed by dark coffee and merlot flavors. Hoppy bitterness and great peppery bite. The hops become more pronounced as it warms. Smooth and silky, medium bodied. Slight heat of alcohol when it warms... very nice. Very lovely impy porter, highly enjoyable. Great feel and great flavor, would love to have hookers back in my place again!

-No thanks to "Deep Throat" who did not send this to me, and I am not thanking for this one!! ;)~

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.44/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a great head the laces covers the glass and continues down the glass.

The aroma is ok sweet molasses with a chocloate balence but it doesn't stand out

The taste is sweet malts with a chocolate and roasted finish a slight almmost fruity finish

This is a good porter but I don't know

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2005:

Pours a jet black with a dense, frothy, caramel colored head that goes absolutely nowhere. Gorgeous lacing.

Smells of dark chocolate covered espresso beans, dark roasted coffee, touch of alcohol, etc

Taste is phenomenal. Very bittersweet, dark chocolate, hop bitter finish, extremely roasty, roastiness stays with you longer after each sip. Mild alcohol warming after each sip.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, finishes pretty dry.

Extremely tasty and very drinkable. One of th ebest porters I have ever had.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big ass 1 Liter flip top brown bottle.

A- Thick tan frothiness, impressive retention. Dark chaotic brown hue.

S- Shades of burnt malt, mild sweetness and obvious dark berry. Suggestions of highly roasted coffee as well.

T- Flailing roasted and burnt malt, hop bitterness and the roasted malt character meld quick to become a hardy stamp on the palate. Salty? Massive roasted character ... its so big yet does not turn me off. Mellow warming alcohol. Mild burnt caramel / sugar on the palate. Finishes semi-dry with a lingering burnt ... faint acrid flavor.

M- Roughness on the mouth shows up on even the slightess crispness.

D- Its a sipping brew, a pretty damn tasty at that.

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Photo of Billolick
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LARGE bottle, with swingtop, 2004 vintage, opens with a lot of energy and this one is full of fizz, seems initially to be quite actively carbonated. settles down after quite awhile, and pours black with an active and long lasting dark tan head. Lacing is fine and extensive. Nose is cafe au lait. This is a dense and rich brew. Mucho chocolate, roasted grains, dark coffee, vanilla evident. Luxorious and chewy, first class elixir. Mighty tasty creation from Hooker.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear, chestnut brown in color, 1/2 inch head

Smell: nut, toasted malt, and bark

Taste: toasted malt, caramel, vanilla, some cream and nut, with alcohol

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium bodied, very sweet with a small bitter hit in the middle, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A nice high alcohol creamy sweet brown ale. I do want several and am glad I picked up a four pack. Very complex for the style.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. I received this beer from fellow BA ErikTheRed at the EBF in January. I wanted to share this great beer with my fellow BA's at our annual get-together.

Poured an oily blackness. Only the barest amount of ruby hints at the edges. Massively thick tan-colored head puts on a great cascading show. Great lacing. Aromas consist of sweet chocolate, bitter hops, and a large latte' from the coffee shop. Alcohol is well-hidden in the nose. A bit of smoke creeps up from the glass as well. Flavor is good as well, with a dance of chocolate, toffee, caramel, and smoke. Finishes on the dry side, with some bitterness at the end. Very creamy mouthfeel, but it was a little thinner than I expected. Still, a very drinkable beer that hides the ABV well.

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Photo of far333
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is for review number 300 and karma point number 500.

Can't believe I didn't crack this bottle until now! This is great stuff. Pours from the one liter swingtop bottle a dark brown, espresso color. It took a vigorous pour to kick up the head but it rose up to about an inch high and lingered long, and was the light brown color of cocoa powder. Aroma quickly rose up to hit my nose with roasted malts, a fine hint of raisin, some caramel, and bitter coffee. A smooth and creamy, somewhat chalky but not tannic mouthfeel gives way to ever-evolving flavors of cocoa, dark brown sugar, bits of raisin and fig, swirling into bitter coffee in the finish, and lingering with a smokey hoppy bitter aftertaste. Drank the whole liter in one sitting. Glad to know I have 2 more stashed in the cellar. Paul Davis has done it again.

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Photo of jefftuck47
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of BranfordBound
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date.

Pours with a minimal amount of tan head, but the beer is super dark brown and fairly thick. Some lacing.

Mild aroma of robust malts and chocolate.

It definitely is an imperial porter here and not an imperial stout. Strong flavors of chocolate with a bit of espresso. Dark malts give off a lot of sweetness. Finishes with the most mild of roasted notes and a little bit of hop bitterness.

Smooth, but not too heavy at all.

Surprisingly very drinkable for an imperial beer. Goes down quick and easy, and on the sweet/cocoa side of things. Well done T. Hooker.

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Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
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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Photo of OStrungT
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown color, letting in very little light when held to light. It boasts a thick, creamy looking brown head. The head fades very slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a very sweet, malty aroma. I smell some caramel, and some toffee. It has a mild milk chocolate aroma as well. It has a slightly dark fruity aroma. Some raisins mostly.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. Sweet malt up front. Some mild chocolate flavors mix in whit raisins. I can also slightly taste the alcohol.

This beer is rich and creamy. It warms the throat slightly as it goes down. At 7.8 % ABV, I find that a little unusual. It is low in carbonation, but fitting the style just right.

I think this beer would make a poor session beer. It is thck, and creamy, and that might not sit well for too long.

Overall: Great beer. It might be just a little too sweet, but for the most part great. Thank you HimerMan for yet another winner.

EDIT: After reviewing this beer, I noted that it was my 400th review. I just wanted to mention that I think it was fitting that milestone.

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Photo of glid02
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 vintage bottle purchased from Five Points Bottle in Athens, GA.

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells mostly of tart fruit flavors - cherries and darker berries - with an underlying roasted character.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Faint malt flavors up front are soon overtaken by huge amounts of tart fruit flavors. As with the smell it's mostly dark cherries and blackberries but now hints of raisins are evident. Midway through the sip a hint of charred malt comes through with very faint dark chocolate undertones that carry through to a muddled ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished the bottle although I'm not sure about another.

Overall I don't know what to think about this brewery. Their doppelbock was phenomenal, however both the barleywine and this beer had way too much fruit flavor, though it was evident there was a tasty beer underneath all the riffraff. Maybe they don't age well? I'll be on the lookout for fresh versions to compare.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an imperial pint glass)
Thanks to Goodbeyohio for tracking this one down for me.

A- This beer has a dark ebony body with a thick creamy tan head that last and last. There is good carbonation of tiny bubbles that run up the side of the glass.

S- Even during the pour I could smell the rich dark malt flavors of this beer. With a closer sniff I could detect dark brown malt, earthy oatmeal some molasses and a faint pine hop finish that smells like fresh hop pellets.

T- The taste of dark coffee roasted malt with a hint of brown sugar was not really sweet but rich. The taste of earthy grain came through with a nice big bitter finish that had only faint hop flavor to it. The taste of black grains hung on the tongue after each sip.

M- This beer had a medium mouthfeel with a slight creamy texture. The first sip made my jaw pucker a bit but that went away.

D- This is a big malty beer with nice complexity while staying very drinkable. The 1 liter bottle was the perfect size.

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Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -38.6%

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2005 consumed on 12/14/06

A big fat 1QT and 1.8 Fl oz.>Oversize wine chalice.

AP: Pours a totally opaque darkest brown color with an enormous 3" fluffy and frothy mocha colored head (included some spots of orange mixed in)...dissipated very slowly while leaving a thick ring of lacing on the glass. Very appealing.

Nose: Wow, very aromatic! Wicked sweet malted scent with a roasted coffee edge that tingles the nose.There's some hints of vanilla and dark berries underneath while finishing with an herbal and earthy hop.

Taste: Yeah...this is a roasty, dark chocolate, caramalized malted flavor with a mildlybitter dark coffee effect that hits your taste buds HARD! This one finishes with a delightful earthy, leafy and semi-bitter hop. THis is a bad-ass and very bold tasting porter.

MF: Big full body look and feel with a thick and frothy head that gives this porter a hefty overall feel on tha palate. This one is rather lively and supplies a good amount of bite for this style.

DA: This is a heavy weight Porter, this is the George Foreman of Porters! It could give some of the RIS stouts a run for the money in every catagory. I had no problem finishing of the Quart size bomber...but two would be way too many!! Good stuff.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a jet black with a huge tan creamy head.The head lasts forever and leaves a nice lacing.The smell is a full aroma of roasted malt and coffee or expresso beans.The taste is very good. Your taste buds are bombarded with a strong coffee and a roasty flavor.This has a sweet aftertaste that mixes nicely with the bitter hops and coffee flavor.This is an outstanding beer that should not be missed.

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Photo of asabreed
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 800th brew review. 1000 seems so far away, but somehow I don't think it's as far down the road as I think.

12 oz. bottle purchased at Julio's a week or so ago for a few bucks.

Appearance: Deceivingly light-looking, almost less opaque than Guinness even. Nice frothy mocha-colored lacing that doesn't leave a ton of retention, but hovers nicely above the body of the brew with each pour.

Smell: Nice charred malts, notes of tar, berries, mocha cream sweetness, black magic marker, mild citrus hops bitterness. Balanced and nuanced, with a lot of aromas coming through.

Taste: This is a deceiving brew. There's a lot of initial charred malts going on, along with some tar, weird pineapple flavors, mild berries, and lots of citrus hops to finish, along with some candied oranges. The pineapple must be from the fruit esters, maybe mixing with the charred berry flavors or the hops, but I like it. It has balls, but it also has good nuances going on with the fruit, char, and bitterness, that a lot of Imperials of the style can't get right. Balanced and chameleon-like and insanely enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, but not creamy to the point where it feels like a milkshake. Coating, though, with a ton of bubbles from the middle to back-end, making it nearly perfect.

Drinkability: I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. "Why not get a 4-pack?" I asked myself. And of course, I decided for just the one bottle. It's not the end of the world, I know, but this is a brew that almost begs to not be a sipper -- however, it seems like it very well could be, which it shouldn't. And there's the rub. I haven't seen it at too many places, so if I encounter it again, you know I'll be buying more. Delicious and a perfect selection for the upcoming cold weather and rain that's upon us.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to dmeadows for hauling this one to AK.

Pours a jet black thick soup with minimal carbonation. Slight clear head forms and holds "ok" but very thin and seems undercarbonated. Next to no lacing.

Nose is chocolate, roasted malt, and some coffee bean. A bit of infection in the nose as well.

Well, it is indeed undercarbonated, but a fine beer. Starts of with deep rich roasted malt flavors. Transitions into some chocolate and coffee bean flavors. Finish is drier than expected, and fairly bitter.

Mouthfeel is weak. Carbonation is nearly dead, the viscosity is ok. drier than expected on the finish.

Drinkability is ok, but the bad carbo makes it a bit tough, and it is more bitter on the finish than i would like, but not by much

Overall, if you like the roasty drier porters, or are just in the mood for one, pick this one up. If the carbo was right this could be a fine porter for sure. It even still is. I feel bad giving it a low score, but as it sits, gotta do it. Would love to try this with the minor fix. A good beer.

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.07 out of 5 with 361 ratings