Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout | Better Bitters Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
47 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial StoutNickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The newest Nickel Brook creation was brewed for those of you who aren't afraid of big and bold beer! Made with a blend of roasted barley, chocolate and amber malts, this Imperial Stout gives rise many deep flavours of rich, roasty chocolate and dark fruit. To counterbalance the sweetness, The Bolshevik Bastard is aggressively hopped at 70 IBUs to give rise to this remarkably smooth Imperial Stout that you won’t believe is 8.5% ABV!

Added by Sammy on 01-13-2012

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 145
Photo of TheDoctor
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Bottle
No date

Pours a thick, pitch black with a finger of mocha-blood head that evaporates pretty much completely (3.75). The aroma is coffee and cream, faint dark fruits, tobacco, leather (4). Bracingly bitter roast wall hits you first flavor-wise and then astringently peters out to a soft, creamy, brown sugar, coffee, licorice, and charred wood sweetness with a robust, roasty finish (4). Thick, full-bodied, light carbonation, slick/velvet feel (3.75). Really nice stout. Thick and bold, quite sweet, quite bitter, for the most part it is pretty balanced, but there is definitely a little spot towards the finish where it's really astringent and kind of makes me shudder. A big, sticky, tasty beer. Could ba a little better or a lot worse. Would have again, I feel like this one would really lend itself to barrels (3.75).

 845 characters

Photo of BNLTandem
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look - black out dark. Thin head light carbonation poured in a pint at Wicked Sister in Sault Saint Marie.

Smell - light burnt toast aroma...not much else. Nothing off, just not a lot going on.

Taste - a little smokey bitter, more toast, maybe a bit of coffee.

Feel - nice. Silky.

Overall - a decent effort, but not my favorite. Might be too many okay vanilla bombs in my recent past. This may be more true to the style. I'll need to try again another time.

 466 characters

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampled July 2016 from bottle in pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark color, dark tan head that quickly disappeared. The head to lasted average length of time.

Smell: Sweet with strong toasted coffee aromas, also some hops. Strong caramel aroma as well.

Taste: Full-bodied with nice balance of malt and hops and alcohol. Dominated by coffee and alcohol flavors, but with some bitterness and kick from the hops. There is also a sweet flavor like molasses. The strong alcohol adds to the flavors as well. Overall a nice combination and a great taste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but very smooth.

Overall: Nice imperial stout. Best if you enjoy a combination strong malts, alcohol, and bitterness from the hops. Great aftertaste of hops, more than I get from other stouts.

 770 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This beefy little beauty pours a rich coal black with a very nice head of light brown foam that settles to a thick ring, nice firm layer, and very nice lacing. Nose of dark bakers cocoa, coffee, licorice, strong char, and deeply roasted malts. Flavors follow the nose with licorice and cocoa on the front and sides, strong char elements hit nicely with the coffee on the middle before fading into the back with strong herbal hops and nice warming booze with touch of cream. Nice mouth feel, coating, slick, and full with medium carbonation to keep it lively. Overall an excellent RIS that hits all the right notes for stout drinkers.


 685 characters

Photo of PhillyB
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer for a dollar at the local beer store. Wish I had bought more!

Look: Like many other Imperial Stouts I've had, it pours like motor oil. Unlike some other high ABV brews I've had, the head is a monster and sticks around the entire time I'm drinking.

Smell: Plenty of chocolate malt, distant hop, and a very almost fortified dark red wine.

Taste: Slightly bitter and creamy chocolate, with just a hint of that fortified red wine.

Feel: Slight bite on the sip, but very creamy otherwise.

Overall: This beer sits among my favorites, the likes of KBS and Brooklyn Black Chocolate. Definitely one I'd recommend and may seek out in future.

 650 characters

Photo of portwood
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Smell: Molasses, dark chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, winey note.
Taste: sweet, med carbonation, coffee, cocoa.
Finish: dark chocolate, moderate bitterness.
(bottled 12/18/15)

 177 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark oily brown with a tan head. Aroma of chocolates, mocha coffee, roasted malts and alcohol esters. The taste is roast forward with light cocoa amd mocha notes, quite similar to the nose. Booze is well hidden on this one and it drinks smoothly. Full bodied, thick and velvety on the palate, this is a pretty good stout.

 333 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle, bottled on 18 JAN 2016. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch and a half tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like bittersweet chocolate, coffee, burnt/charred malt, molasses, licorice, dark fruit and some herbal hoppiness. For the most part I think the taste is just like the aroma, but there's also some vanilla and pine hops noticeable too. This one gets better the warmer it is (and I let the bottle sit out of the fridge for around 20 minutes before opening it). Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's slick and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. I think it's a good imperial stout, next time I'll have to try this fresher since the label says Drink Fresh, Do Not Age. I've seen it around for a little while but didn't buy any until last weekend. Definitely worth picking up, this is the 2nd Nickel Brook brew I've tried and I haven't been disappointed yet! $2.59 for a single bottle.

 1,000 characters

Photo of superspak
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/18/2016. Pours pitch black color with a 2-3 finger dense and rocky tan head with incredible retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Incredible appearance! Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, caramel, molasses, smoke, char, light licorice/dark fruit, herbal, wood, floral, pine, and roast/smokey earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and moderate earthy/piney hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, caramel, molasses, smoke, char, light licorice/dark fruit, herbal, wood, floral, pine, and roast/smokey earthiness. Good amount of roast/char and herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, caramel, molasses, smoke, char, light licorice/dark fruit, herbal, wood, floral, pine, and roast/smokey earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and moderate earthy/piney hop flavors; with a great bitter/sweet roast malt/hop balance and zero astringent flavors after the finish. Moderate dryness from roast/hop bitterness and carbonation. Medium-high carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Russian imperial stout! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and moderate earthy/piney hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,833 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Good carbonation a 1/4 inch that sits atop a very jet black thick looking stout body.
S - Mild cocoa powder, coffee beans, a very herbal hop body... oh no I don't like bitter RIS
T - Bitter hops mend pretty well with the body rounding to cold coffee taste and mild raw cocoa bitterness. Finish is sweet with a decent malt body.
M - Bitter at times cloying but finishes nice medium body and rather chewy.

Overall it's a decent RIS which reminds me a lot of storm king which is local and half the price. If I were to want to try this again I would just buy local.

 566 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black. Big and thick looking coming out of the bottle, nearly oily. Topped with a monster-size brown foamy head. The head itself looks like something that would appear atop a rootbeer float or chocolate milkshake. One whopper of a beer here.

The aroma is just as big. Malty, sweet, roasted, hints of dark chocolate, coffee, and booze lace this beautiful looking and smelling beer.

The flavor is very roasted and big, but some hop qualities do come out in the flavor towards the middle/end of the sip. It adds further depth to a beer that is already crazy deep with flavors, and I'd honestly like it a bit more if it wasn't so heavily hopped. Just my opinion. In fact, taking a large portion of that tart-hop-bite flavor out of this would probably elevate this to one of the top 10% beers I've ever had in the world.

 835 characters

Photo of al_al1357
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark opaque looking beer with strong notes of roasted and chocolate malts on the nose. Taste represents that common in Russian imperial stouts with a creamy bitter and sweet finish with hops present. Overall, the beer is well-balanced, rich, and very drinkable despite the higher alcohol content.

 306 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Undated bottle at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried snifter
Got in a trade with @SebD
Aroma roasted malt, lasts
Head small (<two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, rapidly diminishing to irregular three to five mm ring and partial layer
Lacing good – narrow rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor very strong roasted malt with a hint of smoke and bitter chocolate, ends with some hop spiciness; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

 549 characters

Photo of tomghiley
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

looks beautiful, somewhat creamier than a lot of imperial stouts, smells and tastes much like molasses, has a nice smooth feel in the mouth, easy drinking, bold imperial stout.

 176 characters

Photo of Omnium
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle > Tulip Glass

A - Pitch black with a solid two finger foamy brown head, little lacing.
S - Big chocolate maltiness, very roasty, vanilla, fig, cherry, prune, some light smoke and coffee. Like a smokey chocolate covered cherry.
T - Rich dark chocolate, slight bitter herbal notes, some burnt toffee, ash, roasted malt, coffee, dark fruit, fig and cherry, some mild hop bitterness.
M - Silky texture, light alcohol warmth, light lingering bitterness, thick a little chewy.
O - Somehow we started getting Nickel Brook in PA, and I'm glad about that, as I got a few of their beers last year while visiting Canada, and this was enjoyable for sure!

 650 characters

Photo of Tilly
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz. Super dark brown, almost black! Creamy khaki head that doesn't have a lot of retention. Vanilla, coffee, chocolate aromas! Tastes don't fall far from the smell. I get some berry flavours. Black currents. Mouth feel is smooth as silk and then a fine bitterness.
Well done Burlington's Nickel Brook!

 317 characters

Photo of FRANKIE65
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LOVED this stout!!
A - pours a beautiful black with tan head, good lacing
S - chocolate, coffee
T - smell X 2
M - smooth as silk
O - a damn fine stout from Burlington, Ontario
At under $10 a four pack, great value too!!

 219 characters

Photo of Cramshawbar
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice stout. Not very much of the bitter aftertaste that characterizes stouts and the strength is cleverly hidden. Decent beer, although it is perhaps worth noting that I am not a stout lover.

 193 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bolshevik Bastard has the same opaque black body and dirt-stained head as its Russian Imperial Stout comrades. It looks rich and hearty enough to hold one over for an entire winter (might have the calories to boot). Not even my LED desk lamp can tease out a single highlight.

There's a good deal of gooey fudge and espresso aromas here but nothing so strong as to really jump out the glass. The fact it's not overly impactful, however, doesn't make it any less enticing - this smells delicious. Everything's great so far, though it's worth pointing out this doesn't seem like the kind of RIS to kick you in the teeth, even if does possess the flavours to do so...

Indeed, Bolshevik Bastard provides much the same vanilla, cigar, and dark chocolate profile as its bourbon barrel-aged edition, Kentucky Bastard, albeit without the additional booziness. Way more approachable. And while the flavours are not quite as profuse they are plenty appreciable; it's still awfully rich, potentially overwhelming so if one's not accustomed to the style.

That being said, for 9% and 70 IBU this is nowhere as intimidating as you'd expect. One reason is the lack of long lingering smokiness and acrid bitterness present in many examples; the taste may be strong espresso but the finish is mocha or tiramisu. You might even say by imperial stouts standards it is, for want of a better term, relatively "sessionable".

When I saw four-packs of this stuff on the shelf I didn't hesitate even for a second to grab a couple. When I found out at the cash how reasonably they were priced I went back and grabbed a couple more. Bolshevik Bastard isn't a world-class RIS in that it's not insanely, wickedly rich but it does deliver the classic characteristics in an incredibly drinkable package.

 1,782 characters

Photo of Antilochus
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Can't read the bottle code.

A: Thin beige head. Fully opaque against a light.

S: Dark chocolate, burnt sugar, pine.

T/M: Bitter on the palate. Dark chocolate, dark fruits finish is balanced. Smooth m/f.

Pretty nice one from a brewer I am not generally impressed with.

 273 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer looks good, black with a ring of root beer head that goes quickly but leaves you holding a glass of thick and rich beer. The smell is also spot on for an RIS, malts, roasts, cocoa all working together. The taste is nice and rich with the malts and roasts dominant and the cocoa coming in later. There is a real nice finish on this beer, one which I would have expected on one with more age on it.

All in all, a great effort by Nickel Brook after what I consider to be some disappointing previous offerings.

 520 characters

Photo of kevinlater
4.46/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle into oversized wine glass. 2014 batch is 9% abv. 70 IBU. part of the printed code on the bottle is smeared off, but it looks like "11/03/14" which i'm guessing is a bottling date of november 3, 2014. served to myself on november 28, 2014

a: motor oil coming out of the bottle, and pitch black once all of it gets into the glass. around a finger of dark brown head. a very slight ruby tone at the bottom

s: herbal/piney, caramel, alcohol, roasted/burnt malt, raisins and dates, dark chocolate. mild coffee on the back end

t: a huge, deep roasted character right away. wow. heavily-roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate. a touch of alcohol, far from off-putting, shows up quickly, then fades out to give way to a mid-palate of citrusy-tangy, piney hop flavours, and woody bite. there is a bit of an ugly salty presence. the finish is hoppy and dry with strong lingering roasty, chocolatey notes

m: absolutely killer. you can feel that it's thick as hell right when it touches your upper lip. also comes with mild carbonation

o: a full-flavoured, full-bodied imperial stout. what an incredible brew

 1,127 characters

Photo of DaveBar
4.51/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the LCBO for $9.95 for a 4pk. Served at 6deg C in a tulip.

A- Opens well pours next to no head that is gone in no time. JET BLACK. Same as Fidy

S- WOW this is fantastic. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, everything.

T- Very good. All is there plus. Love it. Super coffee and caramel and chocolate. All

M- A bit chalky

O- Love it. Super good beer. Will go get more for the cellar

Food Pairing

This wonderful beer went well with..... Chocolate cake


 469 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark brown with a thin head of dark tan foam. Looks flat and a little bit syrupy.

S - Dark roasted malt, a bit of apple, molasses and coffee. Hints of cinnamon.

T - Yum. Big roasty, malty sweet flavour. Back end comes on strong with a big bitter finish and strong alcohol. Up front is that molasses and roast, a hint of fresh black coffee.

M - Not as heavy as expected, but very substantial. Almost chewy. A bit sharp on the carbonation.

O - Really nice, big tasty beer. Well balanced.

 499 characters

Photo of Derek69
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass, very little head. Very black colour, mostly chocolate and coffee taste, slightly sweet aftertaste. Very big, bold flavour as a good stout should be. Lacing is also non-existant. Noticable alcohol content, which may turn some people off, listed at 9% so its somewhat to be expected. They added hops to balance out the flavour which i think worked well. Very thick, will coat the tongue. I prefer less sweet stouts, but thats a personal preference.

 470 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Nickel Brook Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 145 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!