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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
86
very good

45 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 45
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 6
Gots: 10 | 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:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 12-29-2012

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 45 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerhunter13
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of Jeffo
2.84/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this as a gift from Hopsolutely. Thanks guys! This beer has some nice label art as well, so hopefully someone will eventually put up a pic at some point.

From a 750 into a snifter
Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels
IBU: 70
Lovibond 65
Drank this one right after the base Bolshevik Bastard

APPEARANCE: A black pour is not as thick as the base beer, but yields a one finger, medium looking, dark tan head with very good retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head fades to a faint wisp and bubbly ring. A swirly wisp remains until the end leaving dots of lacing down the glass. Compared to the base, the head and lacing are better, but the body is a touch lighter.

SMELL: Bourbon, caramel, with a definite solvent or paint remover aroma there. Very faint chocolate and coffee on the nose, but the paint remover and cleaning supplies are overly prevalent. Not all that appealing.

TASTE: Bourbon and caramel flavors up font with a light solvent alcohol flavor as well, then some more oak, bourbon and dark fruits at the swallow. Bold and lingering finish of bourbon notes, oak, caramel, roasted and burnt flavors and some bitter dark chocolate. The solvent and alcohol qualities aren't as bad as in the nose.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of heat after the swallow and finishes mouth-coating. A touch more carbonation than the base beer but not as full and heavy, unfortunately.

OVERALL: A lot of flavor on this one, but a cleaning solvent aroma and slight notes in the flavor hurt. There is definitely potential here and I appreciate Nickelbrook pushing the envelope here, but I see this more as a work in progress than a final stop. Look forward to more bold attempts from these guys. Cheers Hopsolutely!

Photo of Long813
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of jmkoscie
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of valianes
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of Big_Dude_Likes_Food
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

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 TheSevenDuffs
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
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 irishkyle21
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of nullbort
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of bigox420
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
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 spinrsx
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
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 liamt07
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
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 TerryW
3.72/5  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 RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Yoozeo
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of peensteen
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown-near black colour, ring of tan head with no lace to speak of here. Smell has a good deal of roast and chocolate, fudge, bourbon is quite light but leaves behind quite a bit of vanilla, oak, fudge and banana which was quite odd actually. Taste is a little more bourbon forward but still rather subtle, vanilla, oak, chocolate, roast malt, moderate sweetness, caramel and maybe a hint of banana but not as present as in the nose. Lightly carbonated, full syrupy feel, quite a nice body here. This was pretty good but not all that memorable, I would certainly revisit this though if I saw this again.

Photo of jrenihan
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
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 Wajohnst
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.82/5  rDev -1%
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 biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
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 DaveBar
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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 polloenfuego
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice looking beer, with a root beer head that slowly breaks into some simple bubbles. The smell is fantastic, the bourbon is extremely nice and helps accentuate the aromas of the stout. It's the taste where things go a little sideways. It is not as bourbon forward as one would expect, but there is a slight lack of cohesiveness. As far as feel, there is a definite astringent finish to this beer, and that takes away from the overall enjoyment. All in all a good effort, but not a great one.

Photo of Canada_Dan
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%

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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 45 ratings.