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

very good
42 Reviews
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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard)

Brewed by:
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

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: 42 | Ratings: 135
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 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 jeffreed61
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Release, 10% ABV, 70 IBU poured at about 60 degrees.

Look = Pitch black.

Nose = Chocolate/cherry Bourbon Balls.

Taste = So much boozy goodness. Both bourbon and oak play big. Bourbony, caramel sweet early with just a light bitter kiss at finish.

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Photo of BigIslandfarmer
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Dark chocolate in color with some red hues. Three fingers of fluffy, mocha colored head quickly fades to a solid cap. Smell is dominated by the bourbon barrel. Vanilla, caramel, chocolate, stone fruit, oak. Taste follows smell with more of the bitter chocolate coming through. Some cherry as well. Bourbon lingers throughout the sip and is a nice compliment to the other flavors. Alcohol warmth in the chest.
Mouth feel is nice. Smooth, and velvety. Overall, a very well crafted beer. No one flavor dominates, they all compliment each other nicely. It's great now, but some time wouldn't hurt it either.

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Photo of hozersr
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I dont usually review beers but I have to state the 2016 version of this beer is 14.5%. I would suggest those of you that had the 10% gives this another shot.

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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 stotch
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a wine glass. Bottle reads 70 I.B.U. and 14.5% alc./vol. This is the 2016 batch. I wish they didn't put the wax on the cap, sure it looks nice but it's a pain to open as a result.

L: Very similar to the original Bolshevik, pours jet black but this time a ring of head stuck around which provided some lacing.

S: The bourbon dominates and overpowers the more subtle flavours from the original. I still get some cocoa though, still smells great.

T: Better than I remember! The first time I had it was last year (2015) and I felt that the bourbon flavour was way overboard. I don't know if my tastes have changed or if the bourbon is better integrated this year. The bourbon brings with it butterscotch, toffee and vanilla flavours that I don't get from the original. The finish has a pleasant sweetness to it and dark chocolate lingers in the back of throat for a long time. Very tasty.

F: Not sure if I'm imagining this but it seems slightly less full-bodied and more carbonated than the original, which is surprising considering the higher ABV. Still amazing though.

O: I slightly prefer the original but as I mentioned I like this a lot more than I did last year. I have a feeling this one is going to become a winter tradition!

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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 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 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 superspak
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, fudge, coconut, bourbon, toasted oak, and molasses; with lighter notes of smoke, char, licorice, and dark fruit; with roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Light booziness appears as it warms. Taste of huge milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, fudge, coconut, bourbon, toasted oak, and molasses; with lighter notes of smoke, char, licorice, and dark fruit; with roast/oak earthiness. Light herbal/roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, fudge, coconut, bourbon, toasted oak, molasses, and roast/oak earthiness on the finis hfor a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with great roasted bitter/sweet and oak spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness for roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spice as well. light carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, crea,y/silky, and lightly slick/chalky moutthfeel that is awesome. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish, with minimal booziness. Overall this is an incredible barrel aged Russian imperial stout! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering all around.

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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 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 bobhits
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
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 BradenMK
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Okay, this is easily one of the best barrel-aged imperial stouts I've ever had, so I don't understand the really hit or miss ratings on this. Maybe there's big bottle variation?

APPEARANCE (4.5) - It's black as sin, it pours like heavy oil, and it drums up a slowly forming milk chocolate brown head made up of the tiniest bubbles. I guess the head on it does fade away though, and leaves no lacing or other trace of its existence behind.

SMELL (4.5) - Coconut, vanilla, and BOURBON are big, omnipresent, and welcoming. I'm glad this beer has the coconut and vanilla components to the aroma/flavor because I've been looking for them and just finding the bourbon element in the last several BA imperial stouts I've drank. Chocolate is there, but subservient to the three other mentioned aromas.

TASTE (4.0) - Delicious, but not subtle or complex. Tastes like a chocolate bourbon milkshake. The coconut and vanilla from the wood come along for the ride, but you could be forgiven if you missed them in the onslaught of milk chocolate and bourbon. Really tasty, but not mindblowing, just a really satisfying BA imperial stout after having a bunch that I didn't care for. The finish is with the bourbon and a very light hop character, drying and bittering the palate, readying you for the next taste.

FEEL (4.25) - Thinner than I'd like, but still very full and robust, with a smooth carbonation that provides body and texture without adding any prickliness. Obviously coating and heavy, but not sugary.

OVERALL (4.5) - Easily one of my favorite BA imperial stouts with no added ingredients, again, not understanding some persons' hate for this beer. I found it very, very smooth and chocolatey and satisfying and not at all boozy or raw. I don't think I had an aged bottle... it says 2015 which I assume is the latest batch. In my opinion a great beer and worth the little bit of extra cash.

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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 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 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 jcflorian
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
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 bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
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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Photo of kevinlater
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
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 TheHammer
4.07/5  rDev +3%
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 tomghiley
4.87/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the best Imperial stouts that has ever been made. The bourbon compliments the base Bolshevik Bastard extremely well, cut's a lot of the bitter notes that I wasn't as fond of. World Class beer.

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Photo of Coronaeus
4.54/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 edition. This has improved immensely from previous editions of the beer. The ABV is well integrated and the mouthfeel is full and creamy. Solid, worthy BB Imperial stout. Will seek out in 2015.

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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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Nickel Brook Old Kentucky Bastard (Bourbon Barrel Aged Bolshevik Bastard) from Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
3.95 out of 5 based on 135 ratings.
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