I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date whatsoever. The bottle cost $2.50, ($0.21 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque black with no visible carbonation. Forms a fairly
large, light gray, frothy head which retains and laces well.
Smell: Generic porter smell. No distinguishable notes.
Taste: Southampton is a brewery that has not impressed me much. I’ve
heard good things about their imperial porter, and figured if any of
their beers would wow me, this would be it. While this is not a bad beer
at all, it’s only a plain "good" beer. If good is what you want and
good is what they’re going for then consider it a success.
Technically a Baltic Porter, this beer does have a bit of lager-like
character to it (Baltic Porters are a hybrid lager/ale style). I notice a
tangy consistency throughout the entire palette. Mild roasted malt
flavors and a hint of chocolate or maple syrup in the first half,
followed by a quick bitter sensation and finishing with hint of
tanginess. The sweetness is nice and delectable, but has a ways to go to
be on par with the more gourmet imperial porters and stouts. A
well-balanced brew, though, which is nice. Not too intense, though I
think more robustness would actually serve this beer well. Satisfying is
good enough I suppose.
Drinkability: I think Southampton Imperial Porter is a bit of a misnomer
because at 7.2% ABV, it’s not all that imperial. The body is on the
thinner, more calm end of the spectrum as well. Nothing sticky or
cloying and the aftertaste is actually quite clean. A nice velvety
texture with a smooth finish makes it easy to drink in bigger sips. No
alcohol presence either.