Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) - Better Bitters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)

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BA SCORE
86
very good

43 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 18
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%
Wants: 4
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-29-2012)
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Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Luisc94
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark Brown almost completely black, 2 finger mocha head with medium retention.

S: There is the bourbon smell with some vanilla and tones of chocolate and coffee. The alcohol smell is noticeable partly because of the bourbon barrels and slightly vinous. You can feel the strong toasted malts. All the smells mix well to create a delicious smell with the malt, fruits and wood characteristic.

T: Very bitter at first glance, with strong coffee and roasted malts. The alcohol is well hidden but noticeable with the bourbon. There is some Dark chocolate, Vanilla and some dark fruits ended with a slight dryness.

M: Not as big in the mouth as others but it still has a big presence, Mid to full body, creamy with a medium to low carbonation, one of the more balanced bodies in a IS, not too heavy but not to light, bold and smooth. It has some dryness but not very strong just enough to make you want more but keep the enjoyment.

O: Really good stuff, balanced body and good bitterness and flavor not extremely complex but very well balanced.

Photo of russwilliam
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SuperMartino
4.79/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Okay. I don't review a lot of beers but I must say this is worth buying. Buy this beer. You can taste the bourbon, the vanilla, the oak, the dark fruits, the alcohol. The mouth feel I like a mini Bourbon County stout. If you are into a bourbon aged beer THIS is worth buying. I recommend this beer for anyone who likes great beer. But this beer. Before it's too late.

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

Photo of Wajohnst
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of vanilla, butterscotch and bourbon are quite dominant and pretty enjoyable. Taste is also dominated by a well-balanced mix of bourbon, vanilla and butterscotch with some light roasted malt notes. Quite a bit of residual sugar can be found in here as well. Body is full enough with an oily texture and good carbonation with light warming alcohol notes. Very enjoyable beer that I would gladly buy again and share with friends.

Photo of DaveBar
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for a steep $13.00 for a 750ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a tiny head that is gone in no time. Blackie good.

S- Lots here. You can smell the bourbon.

T- WOW this one punches you in the face with bourbon. Unmistakable. Does not taste like Bolshevik Bastard with bourbon. Seems like there was more vanilla and coffee.

M- Not that good. Not creamy or anything like Bolshevik. Dry due to the barrel aging.

O- Ok at best. I really like the non barrel aged better by far. Will not buy again.

Food Pairing

This ok brew went well with..... Lamb stew. This beer actually runs over the flavors of the lamb believe it or not.

Enjoy

Photo of Ultrarunner100
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Big_Dude_Likes_Food
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Very very dark pour with very little head. So little head I worried that my bottle had gone flat. Boozy nose, boozy mouth and a boozy finish. You can really taste the Burbon, Actually it’s overpowering. Maybe if I liked bourbon more it would be different. Besides that there’s some nice stout bitterness and hints of dark chocolate.

Photo of tbeckett
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From rough notes.

A - Black pour with two finger tan head. Spotty lace and nice retention.

S - Boozy fruits, dark fruit, vanilla, woody. Nice.

T - Sweet. Nice vanilla, boozy but not offensive. Roasty but also sweet. Pleasant stuff.

M - Mild carbonation, full body, sweet and boozy to finish.

O/D - A really solid RIS from these guys. The base beer is good, but the barrel added a good complexity to it as well. Well done.

Photo of biegaman
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Even pouring entirely upright couldn't produce even a finger's worth of head. Still, what's there is a cappuccino brown colour and surprisingly resilient given the beer's strength. Less of a shock is Kentucky Bastard's opaque, coal-black colour - this has the complexion of a charred barrel.

The nose on this beer is such that even the most complex single-origin chocolates in my possession are jealous. It has the sooty, earthy, lightly roasty but sweetly vanilla-laced profile with similar hints of burnt toffee, coffee and currant, but provides an overall richness that you can't find in bar form, at least not in the grocery stores I shop at.

The first sip is far more mellow than the initial impression let's on; all that vanilla character actually helps to mellow out the tobacco, cigar, and charred notes of the bourbon barrels. (Those notes are all present, mind you, but made far more palatable by a dosage of demerara sugar rum-like flavours.) Light custard, maple syrup, creme caramel, and molasses notes are there too.

It might all be too sweet except for the fact that it's all imposed onto an inherently bitter, phenolic backdrop; this beer is stronger than it is sweet. There's a certain mellowness to it, don't get me wrong - provided you can stomach the alcohol - and it drinks with more grace than many others in its category, but it's undeniably a tough beer.

It should be obvious what you're getting yourself into when popping a 750ml of Kentucky Bastard... While a bit more approachable than other bourbon barrel-aged offerings in its weight class, this is still a heavy-hitting imperial stout that'll leave a taste that could last days. And the contents of an unopened bottle, they could probably last for years.

Photo of CurtisD
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Cycle69
4.58/5  rDev +19%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of TerryW
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark with a moderate but handsome brown head. Lots of fine spotty lace as you go. Good looking beer.

Sweet and boozy on the nose. Quite clearly has spent art of its life in a barrel. Mouthfeel is full, unctuous, heavy, syrupy.

Lots of bourbon to taste. Chocolate, wood ash, licorice, plums. Really nice vanilla finish. Tons of flavour happening, a very sturdy beer, not for the light of heart. Drying bitter finish.

Quite boozy, so stay seated and drink this at home. A decent brew, but just a touch heavy handed. Kudos however to Nicklebrook for the variety of interesting brews they've been working lately.

Photo of jmkoscie
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of 207inthe716
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

Photo of Digimaika2
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(3.75) A: Black with a sizeable mocha-coloured head with lots of bubbles (like chocolate milk). Good retention with lacing in patches.

(4.25) S: Black licorice, oak, bitter dark chocolate, molasses, sweet vanilla, and hints of smoke. Dark fruits and bourbon work together superbly. Aromas are diverse, bold, and complimentary.

(4.0) T: Boozy oak, roasted malts, vanilla, molasses, and hints of smoke. Roasted malts take the form of bitter dark chocolate and dark fruits of plums mostly. The bourbon is more the focus of the taste as opposed to a more balanced approach in the aroma I find (wouldn’t mind a bit more roasted malt qualities).

(3.5) M: Medium bodied with a moderate-lower carbonation. Slightly thinner than I prefer in this style. Creamy and velvety texture.

(3.75) D: A very nice barrel-aged imperial stout that I could easily sip all night long (and will). A bourbon-oak forward taste with an impressive bold aroma sum this stout up.

Photo of nullbort
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of BigGruntyThirst
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of WillAndSarah
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of bigox420
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of thehyperduck
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle picked up at the LCBO; served slightly chilled and poured into a tulip. I tried a bottle of the non-barrel-aged base beer a few weeks ago and rather enjoyed it, so I was strongly tempted to pick this one up, despite the high price point and middling aggregate score.

Pours an opaque black colour, topped with just under one finger of frothy, tan-coloured head that quickly vanishes into oblivion. A wispy film and foamy collar are the only remainder; not a shred of lace to be seen anywhere. Not the most interesting-looking brew, but at least the aroma provides some notes of interest - bourbon is a big player, with weak accents of dark chocolate and roasted coffee that aren't nearly as noticeable as they were in the base beer. It's also considerably boozier, with a touch of molasses and oak as well. A little too mild for my preference, but an enjoyable aroma nonetheless.

I was a little worried for a second, but the first sip soothes my concerns - this is a tasty, if rather straightforward imperial stout. Notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate and molasses come through initially, with a slight dark fruity character reminiscent of plums/raisins. Banana is also detectable, with the barrel-aged features figuring in strongly toward the tail end of the profile. Lots of bourbon flavour, as well as oak and a slight touch of vanilla and coffee; some nice warmth also comes through in the finish. Slightly boozy aftertaste that features bourbon and a charry flavour that lingers. Medium-bodied; thinner than the base beer, oddly enough, but maintaining that smooth, silky mouthfeel that I love about Bolshevik. Very mild carbonation contributes to this one's easy-sipping nature, which improves greatly as it warms.

I tend to take a bit of a pessimistic, 'glass half-empty' view of barrel-aged beers - besides their inherent expensiveness, I just don't think that most beers benefit from the treatment enough to justify the effort. As a Russian Imperial Stout, Nickel Brook's Kentucky Bastard should in theory see at least some benefit, but in practice there's not much of an advantage - at least, for the consumer. Basically, this is a fairly good beer and I'm enjoying my glass, but it's still a little pricy, which stings given the fact that it's not really any better than Bolshevik Bastard. This one would make a nice dessert beer/digestif, and if you're a bourbon man/woman then this one will absolutely be right up your alley.

[Updated Dec 14 2014]

Picked up a bottle of the 2014 batch to see if they've made any improvements. I'd have to say that this one is considerably better - the bourbon is much more in-your-face than I seem to recall from last year's version, and I am even enjoying this bottle more than I enjoyed the 4-pack of Bolshevik I picked up last week. This is not a cheap beer but it's still a great one - and it would make an excellent gift for that stout/bourbon fan in your life.

Final Grade: 4.33, an improved A grade.

Photo of Xzfgiimtsath
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.