I saw a bottle at the store the other day and I had to get it: Imperial Stout Trooper.
Not that I am a huge Star Wars fan, but I am lured by the classic images of the Empire. I had heard of such a beer named after the movies, but I could not remember what I’d heard about it. I just had a vague sense that what I’d heard was not negative… When I noticed it was made by a local Connecticut brewer, I was intrigued further.
New England Brewing Company is one of the few canned craft beer brands in the stores. So naturally it holds a special place in my heart. Sea Hag is their IPA, and it’s a fine Northeastern US IPA. It was interesting to note, then that this Stout Trooper was presented not in a can, but in a bottle. This must really be something special to behold, if they have a bottling line just for this one release.
Thing is, the bottle costs $10 for a 12-ounce bottle. Naturally, I assumed that this meant the beer inside was in the 15-20% ABV range. Surely this was to be a treat. I am always up for trying a new super-strong beer. Especially one born in CT.
Setting up to crack it open and give it a try tonight, I gave it the old Google to see just how strong this beer was, and maybe to sneak a peek at some reviews of others. Much to my dismay it was then that I learned, thanks to BeerAdvocate, that this beer was of average gravity. Low for an Imperial Stout, even, in my book. A mere 8.5% ABV. On the bright side, the reviews were very positive and the overall grade is an A.
I got over my dismay pretty quickly. The beer was really good. A great Imperial Stout. Just not what I’d expect from a $10 12-ounce bottle. If I’m paying that sort of price, I expect something like World Wide Stout (which only costs $8 anyway) or something otherwise rare or special. If I want a solid 8.5% ABV stout, there’s always Weyerbacher’s Old Heathen, which is like $12 for a six-pack. Or even Old Rasputin, which is probably $10 for a four pack, and more like 10% to boot.
I can’t help but feel a little tricked by this beer. There is no information on the label that indicates its strength, but one tends to assume that the beer positioned with the likes of Avery’s Mephistopheles is going to be different than the beer that comes in multi-pack containers. In the end, the Imperial Stout Trooper is a great beer that just unforunately can’t justify its high price.
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