Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) - Better Bitters Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 34 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
3.25/5 rDev -13.1%
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.
08-16-2014 03:43:53 | More by Big_Dude_Likes_Food
4.04/5 rDev +8%
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.
05-18-2014 15:19:04 | More by tbeckett
3.81/5 rDev +1.9%
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.
05-09-2014 02:56:59 | More by biegaman
3.71/5 rDev -0.8%
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.
02-11-2014 23:12:27 | More by TerryW
3.94/5 rDev +5.3%
(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.
01-12-2014 04:00:40 | More by Digimaika2
4.09/5 rDev +9.4%
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.
Final Grade: 4.09, an A-. 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. In fact, I would argue that this one loses a few steps during the aging process. I was considering cellaring this, but frankly I think this stuff has been sitting long enough already. 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.
12-28-2013 18:44:29 | More by thehyperduck
3.56/5 rDev -4.8%
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.
12-22-2013 01:33:17 | More by spinrsx
3.81/5 rDev +1.9%
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.
12-21-2013 01:28:24 | More by DenisKolkin
2.88/5 rDev -23%
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
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!
08-30-2013 20:43:09 | More by Jeffo
Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 34 ratings.