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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
33 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
96
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
22.76%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
44
For Trade:
3
Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 12-29-2012

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 96
Photo of Sabtos
1.99/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Holy mother, there is some strong bourbon here!

Really, this is bourbon, with a shot of stout in it.

This is a prime example of exactly why I don't like barrel aged beers. Just too hot, and too overpowering of the base beer.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
2.71/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber, poured into a snifter at room temperature.

Appearance: Your typical stout jet black, capped with about two fingers of dark brown foam that fades to nothing, not even a ring.

Smell: Bourbon. Straight bourbon.

Taste: This beer opens fiery with ABV, and does not relent. Bourbon dominates the flavor profile, all oak, smoke, char, and caramel. Some very faint chocolate appears, as does a tinge of cold black coffee, but mostly, this is bourbon that has a tinge of beer to it.

Mouthfeel: Thin for what one would expect for an RIS, and with blistering alcohol heat.

Overall: Given the ABV heat, and the preponderance of raw bourbon flavor, this is not a favorite of mine. Perhaps it calms down a bit with age, but drinking a 2015 in March 2016 was not one of my favorite BA RIS experiences. Bear in mind, I love drinking bourbon - I've done quite a bit of the bourbon trail, and I love a nice glass of bourbon neat. But when I have a beer aged in a bourbon barrel, I'm looking for beer first, bourbon second. Not the reverse.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.84/5  rDev -27.4%
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
Batch 1

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!

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Photo of Big_Dude_Likes_Food
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.31/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
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 spinrsx
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
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 liamt07
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
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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Photo of TerryW
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of peensteen
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of jaypaul522
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Shared a 2015 bomber in pints glasses. Poured dark black with significant head. Smell was malt and bourbon. Feel was very full bodied, and the taste was strong with a strong alcohol finish. Overall a very good stout.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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 polloenfuego
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.95/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Bcarlos
4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Right out the gate, this is a super boozy Imperial stout. If you are not a bourbon fan, you will struggle with this beer. But the sharpness of the bourbon is counteracted with time, and this is an excellent addition for anyone who's a fan of cellaring.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black pour, viscous on the glass, soapy thin toffee lacing ring.

S - Cocoa and chocolate.

T - Bourbon, oak, oak tannin, boozy, chocolate is buried, vanilla, toasted brown sugar.

M - Medium body, no carbonation, silky, boozy effervescence.

O - This beer is better than the rating.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of TheHammer
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
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 jcflorian
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Received this as a gift . Knew nothing of the beer. Pleasant surprise. Color is black with light tan head. Smell was bourbon upfront, roast and vanilla in the back. Taste pretty much same as the smell,but did not get any oak. Mouthfeel medium body. Overall, I enjoyed this beer. It is not at level of the top bourbon barrel beers, little booziest than I expected at 10.0 abv, but I liked it and would drink it again

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Photo of kevinlater
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into snifter. 2015 vintage, 12% abv. consumed on dec 31 2015 -- happy new year!

a: super dark brown coming out of the bottle, developing into a pitch black colour with brown head on top

s: a true caramel bourbon bomb with a bit of alcohol and not much else. slight smoke on the back-end

t: strong bourbon-y caramel, quite sweet. there are more prominent notes of dark chocolate and prunes as the beer approaches room temperature, but throughout warming, this is still a bourbon bomb. pleasant and complementary heat on the swallow

m: medium feel, low carbonation, medium bitterness

o: truly a beer for the whisky lovers. not enough roasty stout character for me, but still very enjoyable. drinkable despite the abv. watch out!

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Photo of bobhits
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark with a nice well formed foam head. reasonable lacing.

Bourbon notes over power chocolate and oak vanilla notes.

Bakers chocolate is sweetened by bourbon flavors, primarily vanilla with brown sugar and molasses. A nice oak bitterness as well. Really good.

The mouth is pushing thick but just a hair lighter but with amazingly well done carbonation giving it a creamy mouth feel. Really really good feel here just missing great.

At 15.99 this is expensive, but it really did impress me given I don't know this brewery. I was expected a good flavor with some horrible flaws that I'd ignore because I like the style. Instead this is a really great beer, it was just so well made.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
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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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.