Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

282 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 282 | Ratings: 357
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark colour, thin head, then after bigger head,bit of lace, excellent roast and hop aroma, smooth chocolate taste. Perfect carbonation, bit of bitterness but smooth for taste, nice roastiness. Underlying bitterness, but balanced with maltiness. Rich, full mouthfeel. Moderate astringency would be Great with dinner.

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Photo of metter98
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
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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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought a 4 pack of this for $8.99... and man oh man is this a fantastic beer. Pours a nice dark brown with a nice white head to it. Aroma is very roasty, nutty, and a faint hops. Taste is medium to full bodied, TONS of taste to this one. Get some great roastiness, some good caramel notes, possibly even some coffee and chocolate too, along with a balance of good hops. A little bit of an alcohol kick but it all goes together so well.. just a great beer at the end of an evening. Way too drinkable and damn delicious... recommend this one for sure.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A world-class find on a recent Atlanta visit. The beer pours, it plops into the glass with a solid and weighty-ness, releasting an abundance of carbonation. Later, settling into a firm dark brown hue with a 1" foamstand that accompanied me to the bottom of the glass. Moderate, but well balanced aromas of roasted coffee, milk chocolate, lacto-fermentations, and a hint of berry tartness. Flavors are nearly as balanced with the weight of the beer falling on the chocolate side. Balanced with enough flavor (grassy, earthy) hops to make the beer pleasantly palatable. Full and rich textures conclude with a velvety finish and a lingering coffee-like bitterness. I can certainly see why this beer is among the best of BA.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'06 vintage.

Appearance: A nearly opaque dark brown with little in the way of head or lace.

Smell: Smoke, unsweetened chocolate, some woody notes. Subtle.

Taste: Roasted barley, smoke, tobacco, a bit tannic and slightly sour. Dry in the finish with lingering notes of burnt coffee and a slight sourness. Infection is setting in on this one but it's still pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Creamy at first, but lighter in the swallow. Low to moderate carbonation. Very dry.

Notes: The slight sourness is actually somewhat enjoyable, though it's clearly not what the beer was intended to taste like.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of IMtheOptimator: Poured a hazy slightly dirty yellow color ale with a huge foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of estery yeast and spices is quite dominant as well as some tropical fruit- like sweetness. Taste is spicier then I would have expected which might be from the spice mix use in this beer or from the yeast strain use in this beer. Body is quite full and alcohol is not discernable. I thought this was reasonably well done for the style and would mind having another taste of it.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black with a light tan head and a tiny bit of lacing on the way down. The nose brings some roast as well as sweetness with some dark malt, chocolate, coffee, and molasses coming through. The taste isn't super well integrated and looses some nuances from the nose. Mild cherry flavor and good chocolate and coffee. Medium body with a bit of alcohol. Drinks fairly well, but nowhere near the Doppelbock.

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Photo of nickfl
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of light brown foam on top of a black body with no light showing through. The head dissipates at an average pace and leaves thin lace on the glass.

S - An earthy coffee aroma with some spicy caramel mixed in. Some sugary sweetness in the background as well with a hint of molasses and some cola notes.

T - Sweet caramel and molasses up front with moderate black coffee and cola character. More of the cola in the middle with a more malty, toasted bread sweetness. Finishes with cola sweetness and light herbal hop character to balance. Lingering smoke and burnt caramel character as well as a little spiced coffee.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Not bad, there is a lot of dark sugar character, but for some reason it never seems to really come together. There is an odd spiciness that I pick up in the aroma and that really jumps out in the aftertaste. The cola sweetness sticks around too long and makes the beer seem cloying rather than complex. Drinkable, but not something I would drink more than once.

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Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a grolsh style swing top into tulip/snifter. NO date on the bottle, but I think it's got some age thanks to a mark down at the store, and then sitting in my cellar for quite a few months on top of that.

Pours a dark rich creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at a medium pace to a light head covering. The beer is basically pitch black.

Nose brings dark malts, some roasted malt, a little chocolate malt, some coffee, a little toffee, slight bakers chocolate, some light caramel, and a slight fluffy nougat. Some light earthy hops hidden in there somewhere too. It actually has a pretty nice nose.

Taste comes on rich and thick, bringing lots of chocolate and roasted malts. First the chocolate smacks you, bringing some malts and a little baker's chocolate. Next some roasted malts swirl in with a little coffee, and hint of burnt malt flavors. Some caramel and vanilla flavors smooth it out a bit, with just a hint of a creamy oatmeal like appeal. Next comes some bitterness, with a hint of earthy and herbal hop flavors, but some bitterness coming from the roast as well. A little bit of the minerality flavor too, which comes on stronger as it warms and late on the finish. The finish also brings a tad more bitterness, and leaves a sticky feel around the mouth. The chocolate sticks with it a bit, and it remains pretty sweet. Just a hint of warming booze comes through, but drinks well. The minerality/salty like flavor really starts to get a little strong and overwhelming later on the finish and as it warms.

The mouth is pretty thick, rich, a little creamy and smooth, with lower but tolerable decent carbonation. It has more carbonation than I expected for a swing top bottle that has some age on it.

Drinkability is a little lower. It doesn't drink hot for almost 8%, in fact drinks pretty well in that aspect. However, the sticky mouth feel that coats the mouth, combined with that minerality salty like flavor that starts to bombard after a while. If it wasn't for that minerality flavor this beer would probably break into the A rating range.

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Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
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 TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle (bottled in 2006) into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a dense tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of coffee, chocolate and roasted malt. The alcohol is faintly in the background with a little bit of hops.

T: Rich flavors of dark chocolate and black coffee come out first, then comes a mild burn of alcohol and burst of hops bitterness. The taste is very nicely complex.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is a little sticky.

D: Very tasty, easy-to-drink, a little bit filling, good kick to it, this beer is a good sipper, but you can certainly sip it quickly. After missing the 2005 release, I was waiting on the 2006 release and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.55/5  rDev -13%
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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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
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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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Impenetrable mahogany with gold-flecked hazel edges reminiscent of the deep, soulful eyes of a gorgeous brunette. The cap is buttered wheat toast brown and has character to burn. It isn't what I'd call rocky, but every other indicator of quality that you'd care to name is present and accounted for. While there isn't as much lace as I'd hoped there would be, one can't have everything. I especially like the color contrast between beer and head.

The nose is magnificent. Words like deep, rich and bewitching come to mind as each inhale is more enticing than the one that preceded it. Imperial Porter may not have the thunderousness of a double stout, but then it isn't meant to. The nose is more Miles Davis than Muddy Waters. The dark fruitiness that all good porters possess is dominant. Plenty of accessory aromas are in play as well; mocha, chocolate and roasted nuts chief among them.

Holy Moly is this stuff ever delicious! There's such a three-dimensional, mouthfilling amount of flavor that it feels as though it can't possibly be contained in one mouth. A dizzying number of complementary flavors explode across my tongue like a chocolate-covered, espresso-filled Roman candle on the 4th of July. The 7.8% ABV is beginning to add to the dizziness. I'd better get this thing back under the speed limit.

Surprisingly, there's a considerable contribution from the hoppy side of the scale. An earthy peatiness and a Belgian yeasty funk are present as well. Unfortunately, the phenolic notes of the former and the barnyard notes of the latter are misplaced and keep the flavor out of the rarified air of a perfect score. Still though, I have rarely run across a porter, even an Imperial one, with a flavor profile that is as explosive and as complex.

The best lager mouthfeel ever? Quite possibly. It's medium-full, infinitely smooth, lightly lush and an absolute joy to drink. Of course I have to nitpick and point out that even more fullness would match the flavor with even more precision. Okay, this is *one* of the best lager mouthfeels ever.

Hooker Imperial Porter is a humdinger of a beer and is further evidence that the brewers at Troutbrook Brewing Company are geniuses. Of course I didn't need any further proof after drinking and being floored by a liter of their doppelbock. Rest assured, I'll continue to seek out as many hookers (uh... Hookers) as I can lay my hands on. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to far333 for this beauty.

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Photo of billab914
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into my Stone RIS glass. Poured nearly black in color with a big thick khaki colored head. It had pretty good head retention, but most of it was left as big thick chunks on the sides of the glass as lacing.

Aroma has some sweet chocolate and caramel malts with a little sugar, coffee and burntness. The taste has a lot of chocolate and bitter coffee roastedness going on. It finishes with a nice dry bitterness that has a long lasting flavor.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side and slightly creamy. Drinkability is good, I really liked this porter. It had a lot of very big and bold flavors that worked together very well. Very good porter in my opinion that I would gladly drink again.

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Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to ppoitras for this one!

2006 Vintage pours chestnut/ebony with 2 fingers of tan head. Great lacing & average lacing

S: Big time bourbon smell & some breadyness, plus a bit of chocolate &raisins once warm

T: Oaky dryness, vanilla & baker's chocolate up front. Leafy hops, some fruittyness ( cherry & raisins), dryness & rich chocolate as this warms. finishes with raisins, oaky dryness & more chocolate. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Chewy, smooth & dry with low carbonation

Drinks very easy for the style & heft, not great, but close to it

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice swingtop bottle courtesy of jaxon53 with a papered bottled in 2006 seal over it, shrink wrapped top

Anything that says store at cellar temperature right on the bottle is bound to get my attention! Poured a thick black as night opaque oil color with a nice two inch head that ever so slowly faded and stayed at about a half inch until the bottom. Very nice thick lace down the sides, gooey and creamy, very nice look to it. Smell took a while to warm up, at first was strong alcohol and caramel sweetness. As it warmed some more subtle smells started to come through, hints at chocolate and coffee started to overtake, and the alcohol quickly faded, leaving a very nice overall aroma. The taste followed the smell with the caramel hitting first. Nice flavors of coffee followed, maybe even a hazelnut hint in there, well rounded. Some warming due to the alcohol, but it was welcomed and did not impact negatively at all. Very good fell on this one, not too thick, went down very smoothly. Great consistency on this, and good carbonation. This was an excellent porter, and I would not turn this down if it was offered. Would love to try some that has been sitting for a time, as aging may well make this outstanding.

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Photo of smcolw
3.48/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Modest tan head. It settles quickly but it leaves a full ring after every sip. Brown, but not dark enough to prevent light from passing.

Milky cocoa aroma. Very low hop nose in the background.

Plenty of chocolately malt flavor. Good introduction of hop in the swallow. The aftertaste is short and features the darker malts, not hops. Very thin for the style.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
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 mdfb79
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of fluffy white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.

t - Tastes of cocoa, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A very nice porter. I thought it tasted great and was very well balanced. Would definitely try again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to connecticutpoet for this bottle!

Nuthin' better than some "Dog Whisperer" and a snifter of imperial porter. Good times. This one pours a straightly opaque black-brown topped by nearly a finger of glowing off-white foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, spruce tips, pine, rich toffee, cocoa, blackened biscuits, rye bread, and a hint of cashews. The taste is pretty darkly roasted and charred: malts, biscuits, caramel, coffee. Feel the darkness, apparently. All of this roast and char leaves a slightly stinging bitterness that even leans toward the sour end of the spectrum. Some light pine and citrus notes get lost in the mob as well. The body is a strong medium, with a light carbonation and a dry feel. Overall, I think this guy overdoes it with the roast a bit, but beyond that everything seems pretty dern solid.

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Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 1/13/11.

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This brew appears a dark brown color with ruby clarity. A finger of dark tan head forms across the top. Patchy and spotty lace clings to the glass as the head slowly fades.

The aroma of this brew is dark malty roastiness with some dark skinned fruity indications and sweetness. A little bit of tangy alcohol is noted. The alcohol seemingly only shows itself upfront in the nose and gives way to a scent of lingering chocolate.

The taste is roasted malt with a mild bitterness. Some fruity alcohol notes mingle with a chocolate flavor that lingers in the mouth. Almost coffee-like with a musty grain flavor that lingers. Quite a bit of bitterness that is from a combination of the roast of the malt and tangy citrus hops.

This is medium in the feel with a light level of carbonation. Quite drinkable with a pleasant roastiness. Relatively speaking the alcohol is well hidden in the taste from what the aroma led on. Not bad.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml swingtop bottle Bottled in 2006 purchased at Julio's in 2008.

Pours a solid black, with a large fluffy head that wouldn't quit. Aroma held some surprises. Alcohol, yeast, plums, cherries, some caramel some citrusy hops. Taste of alcohol, roasted coffees and chocolate and some more dried fruits some grapefruit and pine. Thick creamy mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation. Nice brew all around. Not quite what I was expecting, but a great sipper nonetheless.

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Photo of Billolick
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
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 feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What true genius envisioned this package, the one liter swing-top bottle? Simply brilliant! This one sat on my kitchen floor, near the DBF, often next to it's brother, the Liberator Doppelbock, waiting for the day I'd try it out. I finally got a few friends together to tackle this, with other worthy porters and stouts, and it was worth the wait!
Dark brown color, near opaque, with small red highlights shining through the cracks.
Enormous head, toasted tan, leaving lace.
Aroma: rich and roasty, small notes of espresso & cocoa.
Taste: unfolding expressively, soon filling the mouth with flavor, swarmsing the senses with a sweet caramel essence, swirling in and about.
Fruity character leaps into the fray, cherries, dark, lush, rich, luscious, interminably tasty.
So smooth, so flavorful, a magnificent blend of dark, rich, and rewarding flavors..nutty, cocoa, coffee, a bit of licorice, as well...this one has it all, a real knock-out porter, truly belongs among the elite!
So Connecticut makes good beer, huh? How would've known?

Big cheers to sulldaddy for this one!

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 357 ratings.
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