Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter
359 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: 359 |  Reviews: 282
Photo of xgrigorix
4.65/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown 1 liter swing top bottle. No dates.

Deep dark brown (almost black) with just the slightest ruby tinge at the edges. Dense & creamy tan coloured head is impressive.

Big aromas of coffee & chocolate mix readily with fruity notes, with intense American hops throughout the background.

Intense coffee & chocolate flavours, some subtle dark fruit notes lurk underneath. Big, bold hops with great notes of citrus & pine. Full bodied, smooth, prickly carbonation. Pick some up.

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Photo of talkingpoints
2.56/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thomas hooker Imperial Porter 2004 is not quite my cup of beer. The packaging of the huge liter bottle is impressive but the taste I've come to love from winter porters wasn't quite here. The porter was on the bitter side which while not bad kind of masked the flavors a lot and the hops were just a tad too much for such a big offering. This beer is probably a favorite of the stout crowd because that is what it reminded me of. All said, it was a decent brew but I still don't know what the fuss is about. i'll probably try this again in a week to see if I still feel the same way but for now I'm moving on.

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

Bottled in 2004. Most likely the new batch released 12/04.

Smooth is the first word that comes to my mind. Like a chocolate and coffee egg cream (for those of you in NY) with less fizz. A mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate shavings melting on my tongue. VERY assertive flavor. A blast of chlorophyll and slightly tingly bitterness surges in and joins the barrage of flavor half-way through. Each sip is a reminder of how good it is, as if you forget in the few seconds that pass between them. Looks perfect, from the bottle to the body to the head. Smell is deeeluxe earthy vegetation, m&ms, and a nuttiness not unlike what I find in Bell's beers. The only imperfection that show itself to me is the overly vegetal finish. It is still an amazingly focused beer with the flavors fitting together seamlessly. Wow.

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

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter
Packaged in 2004

Comes is a beautiful 1 QT, 1.8 FL. OZ brown bottle with a flip top. Instructions on the side of the label to "Store at cellar temperature".
Going into this review I have only had the Hooker Red and Blonde on tap. Something tells me this another speciality all together.

Pours an attractive black color with a nice off-white head on top.

Whiffs of chocolate, caramel and vanilla beans.

This is a smooth and very well balanced strong porter. Full body with a coffee meets toffee malt extravaganza. Sweet vanilla swirls blend with roasted malts perfectly. Very smooth and slick mouthfeel.

Awesome beer and a phenemenol winter beer release from this great Hartford, CT brewery. This is the best Thomas Hooker offering I have had yet. This beer is worth seeking out.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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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Photo of Crosling
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Ruby.

Welcoming aroma of blackberries, west coast hops (pine, resin) coffee, roasted malt and deep dark chocolate.

Delicious malty mixture (cocoa, chocolate, dark fruits, raisins) with a nice generous hoppiness. A tasty brew and much better than that other pitiful offering they call Liberator.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter was served from a big 1 liter flip-top bottle that was sealed with a “bottled in 2003” label. In my Duvel tulip, the beer was shiny black with dark chestnut accents, and was topped by a beautiful reddish-brown head that left fine wavy sheets of lacing. The multi-faceted, luscious nose held rich n’ roasty, lightly smokey chocolatey malts, fresh out-of-the-oven apple-cherry fruit pie aromas, a subtle cutting lime undercurrent, and a perfect whisp of alcohol. The taste was decadent and delicious, with velvety-creamy roasty deep dark chocolate nutty almond malts that developed some cherry-plum esters and notes of subtle baked apple, cocoa liquor, vanilla, and sassafras, leading to a perfectly bittered, rich dark chocolate ganache spicy-hopped finish that left excellent residual estery chocolate liquor flavors. This impy porter was quite monsterous, but was amazingly balanced and drinkable with a overall dryness. The body was amazingly smooth and creamy, with a lovely oilyness that added much to the pleasure factor. I really loved everthing about this superbly-crafted imperial of the best you’ll ever find.

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Photo of edchicma
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thnaks to wyllder for this offering. Poured black with an outstanding head. Smell was malty with a hint of the sweetness to follow in the taste. Taste was lightly sweet throughout and remained so from the front palalte to the back. Mouthfeel was smooth, with a lightly dry finish...very nice. Drinkability for abv was smooth and sippable.

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Photo of proc
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An excellent porter. Pours out of its way-cool, swing-top bottle as dark as night with a generous head and carbonation. The aroma is that roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee and caramel. One of the most fascinating aromas of any beer I've tried. It begs to be sniffed again and again...weird, but true. The taste is a flavor explosion with a good dose of roasted malt hitting your tastebudes, giving way to a nicely balanced mouthfeel as you start the swallow only to give way to a beautiful taste of coffee, caramel, malt and hops as it goes down.

One of, if not the best, porters I've tasted.

Thanks to pbrian for sending this my way many months ago. I wanted to wait for the cold chill of an autumn night, but I settled for an usually chilly mid-August evening.

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Photo of wyllder
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque ruby brown with almost no head. Later in the bottle you do get head, along with some guiness-like settling effects. Look is viscous and syrupy.

Nose speaks of chocolate and black cherry. Others I sampled this with reported a strong scent of green olives, which I could not confirm as I tend to avoid olives.

First hit on the palate is bittersweet chocolate and espresso. Midsip backs out the espresso, leaving the bittersweet chocolate and a slightly, almost metallic, astringent tang just before the aftertaste sets in. Aftertaste is a mix of bitter coffee and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel goes along with the appearance in feeling syrupy and full-bodied.

Drinkability is solid, allowing me to easily get through 2 glasses.

Overall, another very good offering from Troutbrook. Perhaps not a personal favorite, but certainly a very good interpretation of the style.


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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presented in a 1L swing-top bottle with a thin yellow tape over the top stating it was bottled in 2003. I poured out a healthy dose into an imperial pint glass and stood back to watch. What I saw was a beer of inky blackness with glints of ruby red around the edges and a mammoth firm biege head that slowly faded to a thin layer about 1/16" and depositing wispy lace.
The nose was heavenly, a mesmerizing blend of dark malts, hints of prune, molasses, coffee beans, and a whiff of alcohol fumes. I kept sniffing and sniffing, couldn't stop. Then, a taste. Mmmm... An expansive bounty of flavors, each consecutive taste peeling off another layer of a complex and delicious brew. First, roasted malt, slightly burnt. Second, rich espresso coffee and bitter chocolate. Then the sweetness of molasses, raisins, prunes and a hint of anise. Lastly, finishing with a slightly warming alcohol kick. Each flavor waxes and wanes seemlessly and provide a superb balance. The feel was full, creamy thanks to the abundant minute carbonation, and silky smooth.
By this point I think you can guess that I found this brew to be exquisitely drinkable. Troutbrook B.C.'s Imperial Porter easily meets the high expectations I had for it after having tried their Liberator doppelbock. This porter is simply amazing, a real achievement for the style.

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

This beer is black for all intents and purposes. But I see the faintest streaks of dark ruby red in there as well. Nice crown of light brown head. Creamy and dense in nature. Retention is solid. Quality aroma. Cocoa powder. Bittersweet chocolate. Roasted malts. A little smoke. Nice nose. Nice silky mouthfeel. Close to full in body. And the taste is very nice. Lots of roasted/chocolate/black malt flavor. Not abrasive though, just right. Great coffee undertones. Slight tones of tobacco and lactic sugars. And there's a nice lingering dry roasted malt, slightly bitter hoppiness on the finish. It makes me want to drink it all the more. Good thing it comes in this fabulous Liter size bottle.

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

Huge dark tan head. Opaque black beer.
Aroma of mostly cocoa, complemented by roasty malt, caramel, and alcohol.

Taste shows roasty malt, cocoa, coffee, and caramel. Somewhat earthy. Bitterness seems to come more from the roasted malt than hops. Hop presence seems on the low end.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability.
Overall, a good strong porter. Huge thanks to OldFrothingSlosh for sharing his liter bottle!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
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 CharlesRiver
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another beer that I have been anticipating. Pours out pitch black with a small tan head that seams to last. Smell is heavy coffee and chocolate notes. Hints of alcohol come through as well. Taste is very smooth. Coffee and chocolate are powerfull and leave a bitterness as well. Nice warming feeling. The mouth feel is actually medium heavy in body. A get a grassy aftertaste as well. A wonderful beer from a great brewery. Too bad this is the only bottle I have.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A true roasted wonder. A black brew with a nice creamy, tan head. Aroma leaning heavy on grainy roasted malt. A creamy medium textured brew with a delicious bitter, dry and nutty finish. Seems to have a good dose of earthy hops bittering this thing. It has plenty of roasty flavors giving it a little acidity to balance a light sweet malt, balanced with some chocolate flavors. A unique beer among Porters.

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

This beer poured into my snifter with a thick meringue brown head that wouldn't quit. Clear black liquid underneath. Fresh florally hop aroma greets the nose first, then lots of coffee and roasted grain notes. A little alcohol comes through as it warms. First sip is a refreshing mix of floral/grassy hop bitterness up front, and a strong coffee flavor presented in a silky, lucious mouthfeel. Some sweeter dark fruits like prunes and raspberries hang around as well. Carbonation is light. Becomes even hopppier as it warms. Finish is sweet and full without being cloying. A warming beer but one that isn't too difficult to finish the liter. (I still wouldn't mind having 12 oz bottles around to grab at will instead of having to make the 1 liter committment, but I'm nit picking here) Interesting American take on the style with not a hint of the vinous characteristic you get from the classics. Nicely done.

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Photo of far333
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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 Fish113d
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring into the glass, the light through the glass totally disappeared! This was almost a black beer w/ a mocha chocolate head which crested at about 2" high. The head also clinged to the glass a lot which was pretty cool! Upon smelling it, I got the odor of a lot of maltiness, caramel, and a scent of pear maybe? Tasting it, the caramel coffee flavor really came through making my taste buds very very happy! It was a beautifully malty porter, which has a slightly sweet finish due to the caramel sitting so heavy throughout. Texture= a very full bodied beer and very took me nearly 3 different sittings to finish this one! However, it was also heavenly!!! Enjoy!!!!

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

Pours a deep dark black/brown with red highlights. Huge tan head is formed that leaves residual lace all over the glass.
Aroma is heavy caramel and toffee, chocolate, coffee and a subtle floral hop note.
Flavor: Wow, talk about complex ! Thick caramel, milk chocolate, coffee, grapefruit, bubble gum, some darker fruits and an earthy but sweet hop note.
Mouthfeel was very nice and smooth. Transition is smooth with a nice transition to the bitterness. Hint of spice and dry alcohol on the finish.
Drinakability is high, even after a 22 oz. bomber of this 8.0 % nectar I want more !

Special thanks to PBrian for providing this nectar of the gods.
Xaipe, Bro

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Photo of beergeek279
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in the 1L swing-top bottle, into a pint glass. The color is black, with a good foamy tan head. The smell is a nice coffeeish malt . The taste is a very strong coffee roasted malt, with a chocolate sweetness in the taste and the very slightest hint of alcohol in the taste. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. As for drinkability, I could have this all day!!!

Thank you to UnionMade for a bottle of this simply amazing porter! A great one for a 400th review; an imperial porter that tastes like a regular porter on steroids...a simply wonderful character with just the right amount of sweetness, and absolutely one I hope to have again!!

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Photo of cretemixer
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 liter Swingtop Bottled in 2003

Deep chestnut color that allows no light to come through. A "creamed coffee" colored reverse cascading head that's thick, rich, and long lasting. A solid sheeting of lace is left in its wake.
Aromas of roasted grains, coffee, biscuits and vanilla. A nice scent of floral hops comes across too.
The taste is of Dutch cocoa and black coffee with a nice full bitterness. The flavors really shine as the beer warms a bit.
Meduim-full body with the scales leaning towards full. Gentle carbonation. I was extremely glad this came in a liter bottle. Another gem brought back from Boston.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This sucka poured out an engine-oil ebony-black, and seemed as thick oil as well. I was not able to discern any light penetrating the brew. The head didn't appear until late in the pour, and then only as a creamy, tan layer which thinned rapidly, yet left a fine but slightly frothy topping. Lacing, on the other hand, was quite nice and adhered well to the inside of the glass. The aroma has plenty of roasty-coffee notes, with a bit of sweetness also evident. Body was well more than medium, and the Bier had a smooth and chewy feel to it. There is a great caramel-malty sweetness at the start here, followed by a rich, chocolate/coffee/roasty melange of flavors which are a pleasure on the palate. A smidge of dark fruit makes a play for your attention, too, and the finish has subtle, yet lovely, hoppiness which reminds me somewhat of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. A remarkably delightful offering from Troutbrook, and big thanks go to my friend to the south, VENOM, for dropping this in my lap. Vielen Dank, und Prosit!!

overall: 4.35
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5


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Photo of francisweizen
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 liter swing-top bottle, bottled in 2003. Dark as all "get out", and inky as hell. Opaque with a nice, off-white/tan head of fluffy foam. Aromas are of currants, dark belgian chocolate, caramel, other dark fruits, slight alcohol, deep roasted malts, and background hops. The taste follows suit. Chocolatey, fruity, caramely, and boozy, with just the right hop>malt balance. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but not watery, and the drinkability was damn good. Nice stuff!

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 359 ratings
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