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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

39 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 39
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 4
Gots: 5 | 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: 39 | Reviews: 16 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Volo. Dark and below middling mouthfeel. Chocolate, roast, and woody from the barreling. Glad it wasn’t substantive bourbon. On the flip side it looks like they kept this to pleasing more people and not going to any extreme of passion in making it. Might be livelier on tap, less watery in the bottle. Drinkable but a fair IS at best.

Photo of phirleh
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of DaveBar
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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 Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

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 TheSevenDuffs
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the brewery. Poured in to tulip.

A - Poured deep black with one finger of dark cocoa brown head. Good retention.

S - Heavy roast aroma up front with some chocolate. The barrel attributes are very muted in the nose with only a touch of bourbon and vanilla present. The barrel is very much secondary in the nose.

T - Heavy oak flavour up front with an astringency accompanying it that is off-putting at first but eventually becomes less noticeable (although still present). Bourbon is subdued but is present with a hint of vanilla also coming though. The base beer is well integrated with the barrel, adding roast, chocolate, char and a touch of coffee.

M - Medium, almost full body with a massive chew. Silky smooth. Light carbonation.

O - I expected this to be a bourbon bomb after having the Pinot Noir barrel version that tasted more like a wine than a beer. But this was the opposite. Unfortunately, the biggest component of the barrel that came through was an astringent oaky flavour that was distracting throughout.

Photo of ThinkAgain
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of WillAndSarah
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of irishkyle21
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Xzfgiimtsath
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of CurtisD
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of spinrsx
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $13

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a light brown large size frothy head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and vanilla. There is also a lot of dark fruit taste.. berries/plum, and only a touch of bourbon.

Overall - Needs more wood/bitterness/coffee/chocolate sweetness and less fruitiness. The bottle mentions the cellar possibilities, but the flavour is already muted - I can't see how aging would help. It was much better after it warmed.

Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of liamt07
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

On cask at C'est What, into a full pint glass to the dome.

Almost black body with a deep brown head, rocky retention and good lacing. Nose of brown sugar, oak, vanilla, bruised banana. Bourbon isn't overt. Taste has chocolate, brown sugar, caramelized bananas, watery bourbon, oak and sweet malts. Heat on the back end with roast into the finish. Sweetness is almost overwhelming. Medium full feel, low carbonation which feels appropriate for the beer. Odd flavours, and not really what I look for in the style. Wasn't confident the base beer was a good candidate for barrels to begin with.

Photo of Yoozeo
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of thehyperduck
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
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 Ultrarunner100
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Long813
3/5  rDev -20.8%

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle served chilled into a pint glass. Was looking for something warm and cozy last Saturday, and figured this could be of assistance. Cost was $13 at local LCBO.

Appearance - Virtually black, with a deep chesnut brown head. Tons of bubbles within the head that has great retention and sparse lacing. Can't really see into the beer other than it is dark and opaque.

Smell - Bourbon, seemingly additional weight to the fullness on top of the RIS. Less coffee and chocolate than the Bolshevik Bastard and a few sweeter notes as well such as vanilla. Boozy nose as well. Despite all of the above there's a certain distantness to the aroma, like it could have been much bolder, or that some measure has been taken to subdue the aromas.

Taste - Molasses and caramel, some toffee and dark chocolate but subtle. Nice bourbon conclusion. Slight bitter aftertaste and a bit sharp in the mouth as a finishing note.

Mouthfeel - Super smooth, bourbon boozy finish. Still like the aroma, there's something subdued here, the finish just kind of fizzles out. Oily feel as well. If this was a little more lively I think it would be even better.

Overall - Pretty nice and very smooth, but was expecting something bolder. Would try again if cost was no object, but for $13 a bottle I will pass.

Photo of jrenihan
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beer is black with a smallish tan head that fades fairly quickly. Good lacing.

From the smell, this has obviously spent some time in a barrel. Bourbon, vanilla and oak. Somewhat sweet.

Bourbon is quite strong in the flavour, along with a lot of oak and vanilla. Roasted malt, some anise. The stout flavours are a little obscured, but not to the extent of the Winey Bastard.

Full bodied, though not overly heavy. Slick, quite smooth. Low to moderate carbonation.

Overall, pretty decent. Not being a huge fan of the base beer on its own, I think this is an improvement on it.

Photo of Big_Dude_Likes_Food
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

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 Wajohnst
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of nullbort
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of 207inthe716
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%

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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.