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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

25 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 25
Hads: 69
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 11.87%
Wants: 9
Gots: 26 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-29-2012

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (43) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 25 | Hads: 69
Reviews by liamt07:
Photo of liamt07
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SuperMartino
4.79/5  rDev +21%
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.

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Photo of TheHammer
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark as night, finger and a half of head that stuck around with ample lace. Pretty easy to get Stout's appearance right, but more lacing and a bit more head is needed for the perfect score.

Smell: Smoky stout with the whisky aroma of bourbon very present. Some notes of Vanilla and oak, but the whisky aroma of bourbon is clearly dominant. Warming really brings out the Bourbon more and more.

Taste: Starts with a milder caramel malt with vanilla notes as bitter coffee and burnt oak comes forward to be tamed by the unmistakable taste of fairly even whisky. It's no Innis and Gunn mind you (whose whole thing is Oak aging) as it seems like fairly generic whisky, but it's good none the less.

Mouthfeel: I find that a bit of a burning whisky sensation is left on the back of my tounge on this one, as it is very clear that this beer couldn't hide it's alcohol content to save it's life. That said, some leeway is given, since it's very clearly aged with whisky barrels. What I am a fan of is the long lasting creamy carbonation that helps out the entire beer and the very smooth transitioning. Has just enough dryness at the end to be interesting.

Drinkability: On the heavier end of medium bodied, which is a bit surprising given the style and exceptionally high ABV. It's strong, but it doesn't drink like a meal, almost to it's detriment in my opinion. Very balanced and easy to drink, but I'm left wanting something more regardless.

Final Thoughts: It's an all around good beer, and certainly one of the better RIS's Ontario has produced, but I'm left with a lingering sense of "Shouldn't there be more to this?" I mean, it's an RIS aged in Bourbon barrels. I was honestly expecting a bit more of a kitchen sink effect on this one. What I found was a good stout with whisky tastes. Still worth a two thumbs up regardless though.

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Photo of beerhunter13
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of JonnyBeers
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of phirleh
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of ohiobeer29
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DaveBar
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

UPDATE DEC.8/15- Opened a bottle from the cellar over 1yr old to see how she aged!

A- Opens well and still gets a decent 1/2" high brew head that lasts for a couple of minutes before film out.

S- Bourbon is still there!!

T- Here we go..... Lost a touch of bourbon but the flavor has changed.... A LOT! Everything has blended in to make a super smooth brew. SUPER smooth. The smokiness is much less, bourbon less and chocolate much less but overall a coconut flavor opened up. No bite at all. Nice!

M- Creamy and thick. Super smooth. Light carbonation

O- The year made a great difference. I will be picking up more for the cellar as I only had one there. Worth the $13.00.

Enjoy!

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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

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Photo of dvmin98
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml wax capped bottle, 2015 vintage, 12% ABV. Served in a Great Lakes Brewing chalice, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head that stayed around for a very long time. There's also a lot of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee, and chocolate. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some dark fruit, molasses and burnt/charred malt noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit slick with moderate carbonation. I thought this was an enjoyable brew, if you're into bourbon barrel stouts then this one is worth trying! It was definitely a nice surprise since I hadn't heard anything about this beer when I bought it. $14.49 a bottle.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.31/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

 1,041 characters

Photo of ThinkAgain
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of WillAndSarah
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of irishkyle21
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Xzfgiimtsath
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of CurtisD
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.92/5  rDev -1%

Photo of russwilliam
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of spinrsx
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of Yoozeo
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of thehyperduck
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
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: 4.30, an improved A grade.

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Photo of Ultrarunner100
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.