Nose: musty quality which lingers underneath and in the back; earth and leather. Dark fruit pits, nutty and bitter, hold the sweet fleshy meats please. Burnt molasses and burnt sugars; sugar-cane. Dark fruit flavors are concentrated, intense, and a smidge tart. Port ages in the back.
Palate: beautiful, classic, and inspired. Clean and sticky from first quaff to last; medium-light weight. Prunes, plums, and raisins are the dominant dark pitted fruits with a def nip of tartness in the back of each swallow; quick then quickly gone. Sweetness in the middle along with black cherries, chocolate cake, and dark breads. Raisins and rum meet in a rum cake and bready tryst. Brown sugar and cinnamon provide a smooth mix of sweet and spice. Candied sugars are a faint memory. Complex and drinkable at the same time. Earthen must whispers but never overpowers or detracts.
Final Thoughts: seeing as the imperial porter and this brew from Thomas Hooker have some very prominent common traits, it makes me wonder what yeast strain/family they use. I am also impressed and pleased with the overall cleanliness of their beers and the almost traditional quality they possess. I look forward to trying more.