Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter
360 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 360 |  Reviews: 282
Photo of DrJay
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005: Very dark brown with amber highlights and very slightly hazed. Short tan head off the pour that produced a little lace. The aroma was a combination of roast/light coffee, malt sweetness, chocolate, and fresh, green hops. Solid bitterness, both from hopping and dark grains. Very roasted and dry with bittersweet chocolate and plenty of malt sweetness. Hop flavour hits immediately, then washes away as the malt comes forward. Slight astringency with moderately low carbonation and a full body. An excellent beer with great balance. Highly drinkable. Thanks northyorksammy!

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Photo of NolanGTI
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 1L swingtop that I received in a trade. Hooray!! Pours a nice deep, dark auburn when held up to light. Head is not strong and a little wispy but presides over the festivities for the length of it's drinking. Slightly tan in color. Looks and smells just like the best porters should. Slightly lighter in color than a stout and full of nice hop, chocolate and burnt malt in the nose.

The taste is truly exceptional for the style. Touch of hops, but primarily a slight chocolate undertone to a wonderful roasted malt flavor. None of the flavors overwhelm, the play in the mouth together nicely. Finishes with a bit more hop at the end and a nice slight bitterness. Drank the whole bottle and wish I had another...although it is probably best for my liver that I didn't.

Highly recommended.

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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 hopsaplenty
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1L. swingtop, bottled in 2005. Brewed and bottled by Troutbrook Brewing Company, Hartford, CT.

Pours vibrantly with an impressive dimpled cappuccino colored head of small and medium bubbles. Slow to settle, leaving strands of thick lacing. Deep, dark black with cordovan highlights. The smell is rich with coffee notes, roasted whole bean with some caramel and chocolate. The taste is filled with rich caramel and roasted coffee, sweet and with some alcohol which warms through the finish. Chocolate and roasted coffee bitterness appear in the finish. Full bodied and slightly slick on the tongue. Minimal carbonation, but this is not a problem. The Imperial Porter is wonderful and possessing great drinkability. Spectacularly enjoyable. This is a must try.

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


Brown with a faint reddish tint and a fluffy tan head. A powerful aroma of roasted malt and dark baker’s chocolate. The first sip lets you know you are drinking a big bitter bitch. Very roasty with ample baker’s chocolate. Very little sweetness to this though you do get cocoa and caramel notes beneatht he bitter coffee notes.. Very satisfying to drink and if beer really did put hair on your chest this one would make you look like Chewbacca.

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Photo of blitz134
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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 kmo1030
4.41/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

deep dark brown with a THICK tan hed that lasts and laces.
the aroma is grainy and coffee like, with strong notes of bitter chocolate, some hay-like aromas. a closer inpsection reveals dark fruti characteristics that mingle pretty severlely with the chocolate and coffee. there *might* be a slight funkiness, not an off funkiness, but a good funkiness, it seems to be tied to the chocolate aroma. at times i get some birch notes. interesting to say the least.
coffee and baking chocolate dominate the taste with a big noble hop presence towards the back. caramel sweetness is in the there to although not immediately apparent. burnt malts pervade most of the taste in a nonabrasive way. non traditional wood flavors fade in and out. faint dark fruits slip in here and there,especially wiht some warmth, but are not the main act by a longshot.
smooth and relatively full bodied, with subtle, but noticable carbonation. goes down very easy for the amount of dry bitterness.
a very unique porter. very bitter, but somehow remains quite drinkable. troutbrook has done it again with an impecably crafted beer.
make sure you let this sit out a bit before drinking, this isn't nearly as good refridgerator cold.

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Photo of bobstockwell
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got a 32 oz bottle at Julios in Westborough. Tried this at the last BA fest I went to and have been looking for it in Worc area. Pours dark Brown ..almost blackish with a beauty of a head..very dense. Well balanced mix of hoppy bitterness with a nice shot of maltiness. Tastes of coffee and choc. with a hint of dark mollasses in its sweetness. Great mouthfeel...almost chewy. These great dense Porters and stouts I've been drinking lately have made some of my old favorites taste almost watery to me....I don't know what I'd do if someone handed me a Coor's light at this point...maybe water a plant. Anyway great beer....grab one if you get the chance..well worth the money

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Photo of Franchise
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This porter pours a dark brown, very close to black and leaves a thick tan head. It smells of brown sugar, dark chocolate, wafers, bread, and molasses. The taste is bitter citrus rinds, espresso, feel on the palate. The sweetness in the brew tastes like dark molasses, dark bitter sweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, the taste is great. This brew finishes with some brown sugar sweetness, and some carbonation bite in this fantastic brew.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a one to two finger caramel colored head

S: Aromas of coffee with some chocolate malts.

T: Tastes of coffee and caramel with an ever so slight bitter taste thats well balancd and full bodied. Definately can taste the alcohol as it warms your stomach on the way down.

M & D: Mouthfeel is really good on this offering from Thomas Hooker. Very well balanced imperial with a descent amount of carbonation. Warms you as it goes down. Drinkability is pretty high depending on if you can finish a whole one will determine if you can have another one. A quart is pretty big. Would have again in a second.

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

Mmmm, yum. A nice, thick and dark looking brown, almost black, with a healthy head on there. Very fruity in the nose, lots of dark cherries, almost a grapey aroma. Plenty of mustyness as well, with a hint of alcohol. All of this comes out in the darkly complex taste. Really malty upfront, almost reminiscent of a scotch ale. I know this beer isn't really up there in terms of ABV, but it's got that oaky, woody, aged sort of boozy dryness and must to it. Also, quite a lot of bitterness to this beer, lots from the burnt malty notes, but also a lot from some nice fruity, floral hops. It really all melds together well and doesn't confuse itself or the drinker. When I first cracked this beer I thought it might be overly thick or unnecessarily strong, being an "Imperial" porter, but I'm surprised by the really smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel. Suits this beer perfectly. Nice, finally an "Imperial" something that isn't just a "bigger is better" kind of thing. This is a really well made beer.

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Photo of juzy
3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this bottle with hubby. Nice pour, solid brown in color with a creamy, fluffy head. Some lace sliding down the sides of my oversized white wine glass. Ruby glints around the edges of my glass.

The nose seems hoppy to me. Some chocolate and espresso, not overpowering though- nice.

The taste is bitter espresso and hops to begin, some roasty malts follow, but not enough to balance the bitterness that I find. I'm really reaching to find the sweet caramel that the bottle description claims it has.

I like the mouthfeel on this one, it's light-medium bodied, not syrupy or coating like others. I find it easy to drink, goes down smooth. Just needs more balance, I find it too hoppy for my taste, maybe some aging will mellow that out?

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Photo of bigman147
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of having this last night. Although I tasted nearly 25 other beers yesterday evening. I decided to review this first.

Pour was think dark chocolate. Very heady foam. Smell was very alcoholic but with some burnt coffee/sugar notes. Since I was only tasting small samples, my general feeling on taste was a pleasant coffee toasted flavor. Alcohol definitely was a player in the background. Seemed balanced overall although it was a little thick on the tongue.
All in all, I would like to try this again soon. It was a pleasant beer and a good American Porter

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Photo of battlekow
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got the '04 and '05 versions of this in a trade with cooperrip, so thanks go out to him. I've been wanting to try the THIP for awhile.

This review is for the '05:

Beats the '04 on appearance by virtue of being more sensibly carbonated.

Whoa, smells way hoppier than the '04, now that's what I'm talking about. No traces of the mustiness, caramel, or dark fruits from the '04. Also tastes hoppier, and just bigger in general. The hops and roastedness are both more in your face, and the chocolate flavor is huge, beating away the boring caramel and dark fruit flavors.

Taste is really a 4.75, it's better than a 4.5 but just not quite all the way there. It could be just a tiny bit bigger.

The alcohol is still hidden remarkably well.

This is a hell of a beer.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
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 andjusticeforale
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours out of a big bomber like greasy tar, and creates a plume-esque head that only recedes with terrible resistance; The color is big and black and the smell is like deep burned espresso.

Upon first taste you are greeted with a taste of coffee and burnt notes; but riding the carbonation is a tremendously medicinal almost cough syrupy flavor, a potential up front hoppy quality reminiscent of Nyquil or Vicks Formula 44D; this goes away and receded to a huge espresso taste with a surprisingly dry finish, having felt like you just spit out sweet coarsely ground coffee.

This is a really nice example of creating a huge beer that has separate phases; It takes you on a ride of extremes, alcohol and smooth coffee, biting carbonation and a smooth finish; Definitely an experience worth the price of admission for the small portion of the beer drinking world into sipping porters.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11/30/05- Received via trade with Connecticutpoet.

Presentation- 1 liter swingtop bottle with a 2004 strip over the cap. Poured into my Duvel tulip. THe bottle spewed huge amounts of beer upon opening :( Infected?

Appearance- Off black colored pour with a huge 2 inch head. Leaves decent lacing.

Smell- Hmmm, smells good enough. Has a nice bittersweet chocolate smell with espresso-like notes as well. Dark malt, but not super dark.

Taste- Very odd salty taste to go along with a hefty smokey malt flavor. I really can decent virtually no chocolate or coffee. Mostly burnt malt and smoke.

Mouthfeel- salt lick like feeling with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one in the future unless I got an infected bottle. Kinda bummed as I was really looking forward to this one.

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Photo of Matthew
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Eli Cannon's. Big frothy tanish head poking over the top of the glass with a dark brownish to a black colored body sitting below.
Dark roasted coffee, a hint of dark chocolate, malty, big and heavy aromas come from this beer.
This beer is explosive tasting. Heavy roasted malts, burnt coffee, bitter hoppiness trailing each sip. Reminds me of burnt coffee beans wrapped in bitter sweet dark chocolate that runs and hides from the big hoppy finish that comes as it goes down. Alcohol character is definately present and leaves some warming.
The finish is fairly dry and leaves alot of flavor on your tongue. I enjoyed this brew very much and cant wait to go back for another.

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Photo of markman
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter (2003):

The damn thing got lost in my cellar somehow…all 33.8 ounces of it. Anyway, this is turning out to be damn good drinkin’. Not the head it had while young, but still with a little effort I got a nice creamy head with lacing to match. The taste is out of this world with chocolate, balanced by hops and a trace of oxidation that enhances by bringing an easy vinous quality in…nearly imperial stout-like. Very good lager here on this chilly October evening folks…very good.


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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 AlexJ
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Happy birthday to me! I've been cellaring this since 03 and decided to open it with good friends to celebrate my 30th year.

It pours magestically into my waiting tulip, an ink black brew, thick as syrup, and inpenetratable by light. A thick head of whipped tan froth has great staying power and generously coats my glass in clingy lace.

The aroma fills the air with notions of dark chocolate mousse, crushed coffee beans, black molasses, and sappy pine. Bittersweet, spicey, and with enough depth to keep me sniffin' the whole time. Beers such as this are a treat for the nose as well as the tongue.

A sip reveals a dark medley of rich, dark chocolate, sweetened coffee, dark ripe fruits, butterscotch, toasted coconut, and enough sticky pine sap and earthy hop flavors to leave a long hoppy finish. The alcohol is well integrated, but definately tastes stronger than 7.8%, more like 9-10%. I'm surprised how hoppy it is after over two years on it. It's extremely complex and unmistakably American, I love it!

This has a big, full body to support all the massive flavor. It has the texture of melted silk on your tongue as it glides across your palate, coating it with layers of malt and hops. This beer is a masterpiece. Every bit as good as my beloved Old Marley, and a great way to celebrate a big birthday.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very very dark brown beer with deep mahogony highlights. Has a big bubbly brown head. Deep coffee aroma with some chocolate notes and a hint of flowers in the background. Some chocolate sweetness dances on the tip of your tongue. Then the strong roasted coffee bitterness takes charge and slides easily into a smooth bittersweet chocolate finish. Has a great rich mouthfeel.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 liter bottle with swing top cap - not sure that is anything to say but it is cool. 2004 vintage.

Poured into a snifter; color was almost an opaque black with some red coming through on the edges. There was very little head.

It smelled of lager yeast up front, and then hops and some roasted coffee beans and maybe some chocolate (bitter or perhaps pungent is the better word.)

Taste was remarkably different from what I'd expect out of an Imperial Porter...rush of hops, strong, (acrid almost) coffee, and some very strong lager yeast taste, more than I think I should have been able to taste. Despite trying to let both glasses I had warm up some, hoping for better results I was denied. The beer seemed to grow more bitter and slightly more single dimensional as it warmed. I can't say I'll be trying another of these big bad boys.

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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 egajdzis
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber / brown color with a small light tan head that left light lacing on the glass. Aroma of roast, chocolate, and sweet caramel malts. Taste of roasted, and small caramel malts, smoke, and lots of chocolate. Very light alcohol in the taste.

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 360 ratings