Imperial Stout Trooper

Imperial Storm Trooper
$7.99 ($20 Growler) 9.2% ABV

Purchased at Harvest Fine Wines, West Hartford

Duuunh Dunh da-duuunh dunh da-duuunh dunh da-duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunh.
Duuunh Dunh da-duuunh dunh da-duuunh dunh da-duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunh.

Daaah-da Da dadadah, Duh Duhhh Du duhduhduh…

istOh, hello there. I’m sorry for putting that catchy earworm in your ear. How Insidious of me. How… DARTH SIDIOUS of me.

Now, now, don’t get any Chancellor heart Palpatiniations on me. It’s just me, your humble New England Brewing Company loving writer, reviewing another fantastic once-per-year (or so) imperial stout out of the small Woodbridge brewery.

Of all the excellent NEBCO beer labels, from the Premeditated Murder to the Gandhi Bot – and of all their wonderfully named brewery/draught only beers like Fuzzy Baby Ducks and Ghost Pigeon Porter – not to mention their one-off experiments like the 668 Chardonneighbor of the Beast – of ALL of those great beers and labels, it’s the Imperial Stout Trooper than gets the most attention.

For one, it kind of deserves it.
For another, it’s a bit, wait for it, legend…dary. For real.


“Brewed in a brewery not too far away and not too long ago…Imperial Stout Trooper is a full bodied stout with a majestic blend of seven different malts and Northern Brewer hops.”

The legend of the Stout Trooper exists in two worlds: One, the beer geek world. The IST is yet another NEBCO beer with a very fleeting life. It’s a once per year release and they skip a few years every now and then. The bottle size has fluctuated from 12 oz, to a pint to a 500 ml. Each year the brewing process is slightly tweaked and the result is a different tasting Imperial stout every time.

h5B52B61CThe other is the Star Wars geek world. I’m not sure which is bigger, but there is a healthy amount of crossover, coughcough EdHill coughcough.

Even if you are a terrible person, you still know who the Storm Troopers are. The poor shooting white plastic-armored army of bad guys in the Star Wars movies. As you can see, the IST bottles have a likeness on the labels.

A few years ago, the label was far more Storm Troopery. Somehow, George Lucas got wind of it and as George Lucas likes to do, he issued our best little brewery a cease and desist order. Seriously. It used to hang prominently at the brewery, but the last few times I was down there it had been moved.

So what did NEBCO do? The next time they released the IST, they threw some sunglasses on the Trooper. Brilliant. The next release featured a Groucho Marx nose and eyebrows. Genius. (Note the font is still quite Star Warsy.)

Ok, to the beer. I’ve actually had it several times – always in growlers from the brewery. Black as engine oil and full of malty goodness, the IST holds up to its reputation. This 2012 version is a bit different from the 2011 I remember. I can’t put my finger (or my liver) on it though… it seems like some of the secondary flavors are missing.

The coffee is there as is the roastiness. The sort of raisin on the back of the tongue is there too, but some of the fruit seems to be gone this year. And I don’t mean fruitiness, I mean the very subtle sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, this is still and A+ imperial stout. I love the IST.

I happened to go to my local beer cave tonight and my man Ian had the IST in stock – limited to two bottles per cool patron. (Jerks only get one.) So instead of the boring growler picture, you get one of the cool bottle.

I just downed a bottle a bit too fast so I’m ending this review here. Because my writing skills have diminished greatly, especially since I’m watching the Cotton Bowl and carrying on five Twitter conversations. Good night.

Overall Rating: A+
Rating vs. Similar style: A+

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