Barrel Aged IST

Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper (2012)
1 375 ml bottle, $10 10% (?) ABV

Received via trade, but only sold at Brewery, Woodbridge

ba istIn Connecticut (and beyond) beer circles, the 5 letters “BA IST” inspire a level of excitement comparable to Beatlemania or Twilightmania.

“Hey man, the BA IST is coming out soon!”
“Oh yeah? TELL ME WHEN.”
“I don’t know, dude, but soon.”

If you’re reading this, you probably know what BA IST is and the legend goes along with it. On the rare chance that you don’t, and you’re too dumb to have read the title of this page, it’s the Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper from New England Brewing Company.

For my part, I sort of went into panic mode when it was released. You can only buy these bad boys at the brewery and I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to get down there for quite a while. So I took to the Twitters, asking relative strangers to buy me a bottle. Because like, oh my god, like, what if I didn’t get one?

(Truth: I really just wanted one for this page and as you’ll read, I’d rather drink the regular IST anyway. But I did really ask a bunch of guys to get me a dang bottle.)

Fortunately, a guy named Tony promised to buy me a bottle. I’d never met Tony, but we have a lot of “friends” (and even real life friends without the quotes) in common so it all worked out. I met up with him at Relic Brewing in Plainville and gave him a really nice Elysian Stout in exchange. And they say Twitter is useless.

Here’s a post from NEB’s facebook page, in response to the question, “Do you still have the BA IST bottles available?”

January 11 at 9:29 am New England Brewing Co: “That would be a “nope”. Sorry. They went sooOOoo fast.”

So that was 1400 bottles sold out in a few weeks – bottles only sold at the Woodbridge brewery. This stuff is definitely one of Connecticut’s, if not THE, “holy grail” bottled beers. (NEB’s cask versions of the IST are also right up there.)


“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.”

untitled That’s what they say about the regular IST. So if they bothered to say anything about the barrel-aged, it would be the above blurb and then, “aged in a bourbon barrel.” Interestingly, NEB drops the “Trooper” from the label and it’s really just barrel aged Imperial stout. (I have no idea if this has anything at all to do with the George Lucas cease and desist nonsense though. Which reminds me, if you haven’t read about the “regular” IST, you really should, here.)

The entire storm trooper motif is gone, and this year the label features an elderly Groucho-faced guy in nothing but a barrel… so that would make him “barrel aged” of course. So old, in fact, that he lost his Storm Trooper job. Poor guy.

The stout pours a bit thicker and more syrupy than the regular IST and the bourbon and oakwood aroma coming off the head are a bit overpowering. I let it settle for a few minutes before taking a sip.

Smooooooooooooth. Boozy. Oakey. For me, it lost too much of its IST’ness in the barrel. It’s still a top-notch beer, don’t get me wrong, but I just think they let a bit too much of the bourbon flavor dominate the beer. (I’m not a bourbon/whiskey guy.)

So, for my dollar, I’ll stick with the mighty Imperial Stout Trooper – until the 2013 BA IST release mad dash. Cause, you know, for the website.

Overall Rating: A-
Rating vs. Similar style: B

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of BA IST
New England Brewing Company
NEBCO’s active Facebook page
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