10.80% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Low tan head, pitch black color, clings to the glass.
Aroma: Strong boozy fruitiness much like a cognac, roasted malts and subtle molasses and spice.
Taste: Roasted malts, rich chocolate, pepper and spices, boozy and fruity.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, light to moderate carbonation.

New Holland Brewing Company’s Night Tripper Imperial Stout is unmistakably from the brewery’s High Gravity Series. The first pop of the cap sends a blast of boozy wonder into the air that seemed for a moment almost visible. Character and complexity are back at it again in a beer that requires sip after sip after sip to try to figure everything that’s going on. The initial taste is strong and fruity like a good French cognac, making the traditional snifter even more appropriate.

The brew continues with deep, rich chocolate, roasted malts and spicy peppers, not so far off from New Holland’s El Mole Ocho. The booziness is constant yet not unpleasant — it finishes off again with chocolate that seems to melt on my palate. Not as full-bodied as I expected, but balance does tend to be a trademark of this fairly prolific lakeshore brewery.