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

BA SCORE
88
very good
42 Reviews
THE BROS
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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada
nickelbrook.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
134
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
12.15%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
49
For Trade:
4
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 134
Photo of Sabtos
1.99/5  rDev -49.6%
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 -31.4%
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 wwwagainsttimeca
2.73/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Flavors very much a standard stout with the exception of a warming alcohol. However mouth feel is syrup not pleasant. Not much for head. Expected something more for a 14.5% abv. Wouldn't repeat.

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Photo of Big_Dude_Likes_Food
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%

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 Cramshawbar
3.25/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not a beer to my palate but very well made. This one will bring you to your knees after the first sip. Sup it carefully for the power is strong with this one. The bourbon is not to my liking but one has to try this anyway.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.31/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
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 -9.6%
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 Jeffo
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was lucky enough to get a batch 1 and batch 2 from Hopsolutely this past summer. Cheers guys! I originally didn't like batch 1 at, as it was simply too alcoholic and had an off-putting cleaning solvent quality to it. I rated it a 2.84, and that was perhaps too generous. Happy to try both batches of this side-by-side.

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2014
Batch #2
IBU: 70
Drank both batches side-by-side and will add notes for comparative purposes. Scores are for batch #2.

APPEARANCE: Clear black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with good retention. Head eventually fades to a full cap and clings to the sides of the glass. Black body with no real carbonation evident. A faint splotchy wisp and thick ring remain until the end and leave some decent lacing down the glass. Batch 1 is exactly the same.

SMELL: Nice nose here. Bold with lots of bourbon, oak, toffee and sweet vanilla. Coconut and butterscotch with light notes of milk chocolate as well. Solid stuff for sure. Batch 1 has some similar qualities but there's more wood, some green apples and a definite perfume or cleaning solvent character. Definitely off-putting.

TASTE: The flavor on this one is nice as well. Bourbon, lots of toffee and butterscotch up front, with more bourbon and wood at the swallow. A bold and lingering finish of bourbon, booze, sweet toffee and butterscotch, biscuit notes, and some sweet vanilla. The bourbon is pretty raw and it's boozy for a listed 10%, but the flavor and character works. Batch 1, much like the nose, has lots of green apples and perfume. It might not be as bad as it was fresh, but it's still bad.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. A little lighter on the palate for the style perhaps, creamy enough, goes down with a scratch and burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers. Batch 1 is mostly the same.

OVERALL: Batch 2 is pretty solid stuff. The barrel aging is a little raw, meaning there must have been a lot of bourbon left in the barrel, as it comes across as though someone dumped a couple bottles of decent bourbon in the batch. Still, this one is enjoyable and has plenty going on. Compared to batch 1, it's a complete turn around as well. The first batch is still rather nasty and suffers from a lousy green apple, perfume-like solvent flavor that is just off-putting. It might not be as bad as it once was, but it's still not worth touching. Batch 2, however, it worth the effort for sure. Thanks again hopsolutely! Much appreciated.

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Photo of liamt07
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
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 -5.8%
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 -5.1%
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 -4.3%
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 -4.1%
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 -3.3%
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 -3%
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 biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml, reddish-brown wax sealed bottle - the name here sez it all, really. Oh, 2016 edition, @ 14.5% ABV.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with the scantest of scant basal 'edges', and three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly brown head, which leaves a bit of awkward Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of bittersweet hot cocoa, lightly roasted caramel malt, some biscuity toffee, fairly strong Bourbon barrel notes (vanilla and spicy rye whiskey, mostly), musty black licorice, day-old cafe-au-lait, hints of a dark orchard fruitiness unrequited, and some testy and not so charming estery alcohol. The taste is milk chocolate, bready and doughy caramel/toffee malt, some free-range ashiness, sharp Bourbon County essences (vanilla, wood, rye grain, but above all, booze heat), salted anise candies, gritty brown sugar, ethereal black stone fruit, stale coffee grounds, and a bit of generic perfume.

The carbonation is understated in its merely supportive frothiness, the body a decent medium-heavy weight, and sort of smooth, as the guest barrel treatment always has something to say, even here, right? It finishes off-dry, yet not nearly as sweet as this sports fan might have been expecting - wood and alcohol the 'salve', it would appear.

Overall, this is indeed one big and brash version of the style, the Bourbon treatment elevating, and at the same time evening out the sweetness of the base brew. Maybe almost too much, as it feels like some of the heady stout character gets overridden by vanilla, wood, and alcohol alike. At any rate, an appropriate enough offering, for when we are just about to sink into a serious deep-freeze - hello, January.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
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 -1.5%
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 TreyIsWilson
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a motor oil black with a thin tan head. Light soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is bourbon, vanilla and milk chocolate.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Heavy bourbon, milk chocolate and vanilla.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft finish.

O - This is a nice barrel aged stout. The bourbon tends to take over the flavor. Still enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.95/5  rDev 0%
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 57md
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with at least a finger of head. The nose is a delightful mix of bourbon and wood. The primary flavor note is wood with some sweetness from the bourbon on the finish. The roast is unimpressive.

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Photo of Bcarlos
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
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 +2%
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 bylerteck
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
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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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
3.95 out of 5 based on 134 ratings.
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