Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout - Better Bitters Brewing Co.

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Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial StoutNickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout

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very good

96 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 2
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sammy on 01-13-2012

The newest Nickel Brook creation was brewed for those of you who aren't afraid of big and bold beer! Made with a blend of roasted barley, chocolate and amber malts, this Imperial Stout gives rise many deep flavours of rich, roasty chocolate and dark fruit. To counterbalance the sweetness, The Bolshevik Bastard is aggressively hopped at 70 IBUs to give rise to this remarkably smooth Imperial Stout that you won’t believe is 8.5% ABV!
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Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by allergictomacros:
Photo of allergictomacros
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark brown with a thin head of dark tan foam. Looks flat and a little bit syrupy.

S - Dark roasted malt, a bit of apple, molasses and coffee. Hints of cinnamon.

T - Yum. Big roasty, malty sweet flavour. Back end comes on strong with a big bitter finish and strong alcohol. Up front is that molasses and roast, a hint of fresh black coffee.

M - Not as heavy as expected, but very substantial. Almost chewy. A bit sharp on the carbonation.

O - Really nice, big tasty beer. Well balanced.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Single bottle from a six pack I picked up from the brewery. I had this on tap at the KW Craft beer and rib festival and enjoyed it then.

Poured into a snifter. Nearly black, with a tan head of about a half inch, which produces tons of icicle lacing. Nice looking stout indeed.

Nose is roasted malt, bit of grain, chocolate, and a mild licorice.

Tasty stout, not quite into the full on RIS category, but still enjoyable. Sweet chocolate, a bit of dryness in the middle, and with a licorice finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy, but very thin.

Enjoyed this one, not quite as much as I did at the festival, but still quite enjoyable. A sweeter stout with a good bit of licorice.

Photo of Tilly
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz. Super dark brown, almost black! Creamy khaki head that doesn't have a lot of retention. Vanilla, coffee, chocolate aromas! Tastes don't fall far from the smell. I get some berry flavours. Black currents. Mouth feel is smooth as silk and then a fine bitterness.
Well done Burlington's Nickel Brook!

Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341ml bottle, day 14 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar, the kind of thing that inspires stupidity in people, such as "d'y'all still have any of those Advent beer things left?", posed more than halfway through said period. God, I need a beer.

This beer pours a solid black, with labyrinth-like streaks of subtle cola highlights, and one fat finger of fizzy, tightly foamy, and sort of bubbly light brown head, which leaves some rather decent cobwebbed lace around the glass as things dissipate.

It smells of bittersweet milk chocolate, a sturdy caramel/toffee malt, a nice double-double coffee essence, sharp licorice root, dark sugar, a touch of grainy wood fiber, floral, leafy hops, and a certain alcohol testiness. The taste is more heavy mocha goodness - sweet cocoa blended deftly with bitter strong coffee - a granular toffee maltiness, dark dried fruit - figs and sultana raisins, mostly - a weak hint at oak, perky anise, and piney, floral hops, which attain a kind of perfumed character when sat together.

The carbonation is understated, but still right there when it's fundamentally required, the body medium-heavy in weight, and actually quite smooth, the hops and a touch of alcohol barely making a dent. It finishes on the sweet side, the chocolate, doctored coffee, caramel, and simmering booze making a strong case for their cause.

A pleasant enough rendition of a new-world RIS, the flavours big and brash, the mid-range ABV worthy of the visage of Big Joe Stalin glancing out from the label. One of the better offerings that I have yet tried from this brewery, as it hits the spot on this freezing rain kind of winter day we got going on here.

Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Volo. Though a smooth mouthfeel, it is in volume rather thin, accounting for it being a cask, for a RIS. Not really a RIS. Substantive chocolate. Black coloured body with a tiny head. Weak for the style however an OK beer, and reasonably flavourful owing to the chocolate, and therefore drinkable if you like that kind of a beer.

Photo of DaveBar
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the LCBO for $9.95 for a 4pk. Served at 6deg C in a tulip.

A- Opens well pours next to no head that is gone in no time. JET BLACK. Same as Fidy

S- WOW this is fantastic. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, everything.

T- Very good. All is there plus. Love it. Super coffee and caramel and chocolate. All

M- A bit chalky

O- Love it. Super good beer. Will go get more for the cellar

Food Pairing

This wonderful beer went well with..... Chocolate cake


Photo of Phyl21ca
2.31/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Cask: Poured a dark black color stout with a light dark brown foamy head with light retention. Aroma of chocolate and green pepper is not the most interesting. Taste is also dominated by light roasted malt, bitter chocolate and with loads of green peppers. Body is a bit light with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I am not sure what brewing flaws generates the green peppers ester but this was not the most pleasant experience.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to Duvel tulip. Fresh batch.

A - Dark almost ink black with half a finger of medium brown head.

S - Robust nose with roasted malts, char, smoke and chocolate aromas. A touch of sweetness and some noticeable alcohol.

T - Heavily roasted, almost charred malts up front. Smoke and some warming alcohol in the middle and a touch of bitter dark chocolate in the background.

M - Medium body, light to moderate carbonation.

O - Very big and robust and could probably benefit from a while in the cellar.

Photo of GeoffMw
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this 4 or 5 times now. That latest batches are what I've scored. The beer has improved from the earlier batches.

Smells great although a little muted. I think that could be put down to the style of beer. Chocolate, tiny bit of hops in the back.

Drinking it is like drinking a chocolate milkshake. Big chocolate up front, a little caramel, vanilla and then just enough hops give a little bitterness to help balance the sweetness. Clean finish leaving you feeling warm and drowsy.

Love this beer, one of my favourite Ontario beers.

Photo of Antilochus
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Can't read the bottle code.

A: Thin beige head. Fully opaque against a light.

S: Dark chocolate, burnt sugar, pine.

T/M: Bitter on the palate. Dark chocolate, dark fruits finish is balanced. Smooth m/f.

Pretty nice one from a brewer I am not generally impressed with.

Photo of Derek69
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass, very little head. Very black colour, mostly chocolate and coffee taste, slightly sweet aftertaste. Very big, bold flavour as a good stout should be. Lacing is also non-existant. Noticable alcohol content, which may turn some people off, listed at 9% so its somewhat to be expected. They added hops to balance out the flavour which i think worked well. Very thick, will coat the tongue. I prefer less sweet stouts, but thats a personal preference.

Photo of MaxwellSchaefer
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brownish Head that sticks around and goes the distance, the body appears a brownish black.

Smell: Cherries and Chocolate!

Taste: Very creamy mouthfeel with an excellent bite. It's a wee heavy in the mouth which I enjoyed as it carried the cherry and chocolate notes serenely into my belly.

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer, it's weighty on the chocolate flavor and it drinks so nicely and the mouthfeel is so creamy and succulent. I'll definitely be picking this up again.

Photo of spinrsx
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pint at the Arrow and Loon Ottawa for 8$

Appearance - Black/Brown colour with with an average size fizzy/frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and it comes across as slightly thin for a RIS. I can taste malts, chocolate, and some roasted/toasted/burnt notes. There is also a bit of a smokiness and a bitter coffee flavour and something along the lines of cherries. It ends with a sweet aftertaste that turns bitter and lingers on the taste buds.

Overall - A solid beer from this brewer that continues to step up their game. It was served a little too cold and it got better as it warmed up.

Photo of liamt07
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Rhino, they were serving this by the pint and I happily obliged.

Poured black with a few fingers of cocoa/dark brown head - light sticky webbed lacing and a good amount of retention. Nose has some milk chocolate, light cocoa and subtle coffee notes. A bit of dark fruitiness too a la raisin and grapes. Taste has some sweet milk chocolate and rich dark fruit notes, sweet fruity maltiness is prominent. Light roast in the finish. Has a few features that I found to be quite similar to a Belgian Dark Strong. A nice sweeter imperial stout with a medium heavy body and low carbonation. Easy to consume, and I regret taking on multiple pints of this for obvious reasons - certainly conducive to rapid impairments in motor control when served in such volumes (!).

Photo of FRANKIE65
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOVED this stout!!
A - pours a beautiful black with tan head, good lacing
S - chocolate, coffee
T - smell X 2
M - smooth as silk
O - a damn fine stout from Burlington, Ontario
At under $10 a four pack, great value too!!

Photo of SebD
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from CANBIF earlier this year. Thanks TheSevenDuffs.

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and sweet caramel and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

Photo of thehyperduck
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO, listed at 9%. Now available in the Fall 2013 OCB Discovery pack; the only offering in said sampler that I have yet to sample, and probably the most intriguing of them all. Served only slightly chilled.

This one pours viscous like engine oil - black as night and utterly opaque, topped with one finger of dense, resilient, tan-coloured head. It takes more than a few minutes to finally give up the ghost, leaving a thin cap and sticky collar behind, with some modest swaths of lacing. Looks fine, and I'm really loving the aroma - lots of intense roasted malt notes, ranging from espresso coffee, to molasses, brown sugar and dark chocolate. The alcohol comes through as well, with a hint of anise and charred wood. No complaints so far.

Very tasty stuff, and unbelievably smooth for the abv. There's a lot more cocoa and dark chocolate than the aroma let on, with the roasted coffee notes mostly riding in the back seat. Dates also come through, as well as molasses sweetness, with an almost charred, smoky feel toward the finish. The hops provide an herbal, somewhat spicy quality, followed by the roasty aftertaste, with the bittersweet flavour of baker's chocolate lingering. Lightly warming from the ethanol content. Full-bodied and ridiculously smooth-drinking, with a velvety mouthfeel and light carbonation.

Final Grade: 4.24, a solid A-. Another superb offering from the fine people at Nickel Brook - they are quickly cementing themselves as one of my favourite Ontario brewers. Bolshevik Bastard is (in my admittedly limited experience) my favourite OCB Imperial Stout, with a delicious, somewhat complex flavour profile, a luxurious mouthfeel and the perfect balance between all of its constituent elements. If this beer is not normally available locally and you see this sampler, it is absolutely worth getting the pack just to try this - the other 5 beers are respectable in their own right, but this one steals the show.

Photo of BakaGaijin
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A very solid RIS and for the price this beer is amazing value.

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 6 of 6 from LCBO taster's pack. Served well-chilled into a pint glass.

Appearance - Suitably black with a whipped cappuccino head that actually looks as though it belongs on top of a coffee until a recedes. Not great retention time, but soapy wisps of head linger for a while. Decent lacing streaks down the glass.

Smell - Has the coffee chocolate smell that most RIS have, but this one I also detected more hop earthiness and pine needles than I am used to on the nose. Aromas are nice but not terribly robust. Nice blending of hops and malts aromas though, quite inviting.

Taste - Big coffee flavor that lingers and is amplified by the bitterness but just seems to linger and then next thing you know it's the bitter espresso aftertaste. A bit of an awkward transition . Some smokiness also detected. Bite from some hops are also there, but rather subdued.

Mouthfeel - Tongue coating and a heavy feel, a bit syrupy but it doesn't stray into unpleasant territory. Great warming in the back of your throat. A bit of any oily texture as well.

Overall - A good RIS, but definitely not a leader in the feel. Given the slightly more hop focused aroma (and taste to a lesser extent) I feel like this could have perhaps been even better. Nonethless a good beer that I will enjoy and may purchase again if available.

Photo of EvanHarper
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355 mL bottle from mixed pack, packaged 29 August 2013, reviewed 19 December 2013.

Dark midnight black with a thin cap of medium-brown head, good legs.

Very rich, sweet caramel and chocolate smells, dried fruits and perhaps fruity esters, ample floral hops with some piney and herbaceous notes.

Very heavy taste, overload of malty sweetness and extremely bitter piney hops, with strong notes of chocolate and a noticeable (though to-style) warming alcohol twang.

Thick tongue-coating mouthfeel, lowish carbonation.

A slow sipping beer for sure, very aggressive North American craft-style Imperial stout. Will probably stick with tamer stouts like Wellington's but would happily recommend this to drinkers looking for a way-out-there Imperial Stout experience.

Photo of jrenihan
3.41/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the Victory.

Beer is black with a thin tan head. Decent retention, good lacing.

Smell is very faint, hard to pick up at all. A bit of roasted malt.

Roasted malt in the taste as well. Fairly creamy and moderately bitter. Almost like a strong milk stout. Does not taste as strong as 8.5%.

Medium bodied, very low carbonation. Rather light for an imperial stout.

Overall, pretty average. Perhaps not great on cask, but I wouldn't be likely to try it again in any event.

Photo of polloenfuego
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer looks good, black with a ring of root beer head that goes quickly but leaves you holding a glass of thick and rich beer. The smell is also spot on for an RIS, malts, roasts, cocoa all working together. The taste is nice and rich with the malts and roasts dominant and the cocoa coming in later. There is a real nice finish on this beer, one which I would have expected on one with more age on it.

All in all, a great effort by Nickel Brook after what I consider to be some disappointing previous offerings.

Photo of Seantmiller
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Been meaning to review this one for a while, recently listed by at the LCBO, so this bad
boy will now be available regularly.

Poured this this oily black stout into a tulip. Gave it lots of head, pours a nice chocolately brown, beautifully thick.

On the nose it smells of typical roasted malt and coffee. Not overly boozy.

Really smooth going down, taste is incredible, chocolate, cacao, nutty? - almost a bit of cigar.

Mouths feel is smooth, not chalky, but definitely has some chew.

Finishes nice with a relatively strong booze aftertaste.

Overall, I think it's the best consistently available RIS in Ontario.

Photo of GodOfBeer
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent brew from Nickel Brook, best I've had from them so far! Really strong, but the alcohol is hidden very well!

Photo of korguy123
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter. Courtesy of TheSevenDuffs

A- Oily black pour with a half finger dark tan head. Lacing is sticking in random gobs.

S- Coffee, chocolate and a slight burnt toast aroma. Quite subdued. Vanilla and brown sugar are very light and quite hard to pick up.

T- Chocolate and coffee dominate the taste. There is a toast taste that goes along with the nose. Not overly sweet just enough. There is a slight char taste that makes this something quite different from most RIS I've had in a long time.

M- Medium bodied, creamy with light carbonation. There is a lingering bitter aftertaste.

O- An RIS from Ontario?? There aren't many but what is lacking in quantity is making up for in quality.

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Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.