Ground Control - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Ninkasi Brewing Company

Ground Control - Bourbon Barrel-AgedGround Control - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,656
Ranked #9,540
4.04 | pDev: 8.91%
Oct 08, 2022
Mar 29, 2016
Ground Control - Bourbon Barrel-AgedGround Control - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: In October 2014, Ninkasi sent six vials of brewer’s yeast to space aboard a rocket launched from Spaceport America and later, released its first “space beer” in 2015, Ground Control. This year, the beer returns with its sequel—Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control. Brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, this Imperial Stout is fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space, barrel-aged for four months and blended. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ground Control can be found in limited-edition 22-ounce bottles starting April 12, 2016 throughout Ninkasi’s distribution territory.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of NCSapiens
Rated by NCSapiens from Indiana

3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Tastes like straight up bourbon.
Oct 08, 2022
Rated: 4.75 by BasedTroy

Apr 27, 2021
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Last of my contributions to the 2017 RIS tasting. 2015 aged. Held up well. Pretty damn smooth. Dark brown, flat pour, small tan bubbles dispersed. More sweet than roasty, sugary, but the bourbon notes are there, not too prominent. Smooth drinker too, well balanced, not too boozy. Now I need to try the normal non-BBA version..
Mar 10, 2020
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Heard somewhere today was “drink it now day” - this pricey bomber has been in my cellar 3 years (? +) so - today.
Pours a deep black with 1/2 finger creamy brown head - short lived.
Aroma of bourbon, slightly roasty, cocoa, a touch nutty, and just a hint of a licorice smell.
Tastes a bit nutty, sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, and a little bourbon booziness. Some underlying date/prune quality. No real licorice on the palate and only mild finishing bitterness to balance the sweetness.
Medium mouthfeel - thinner than I anticipated but not inappropriately so - drinks less than 10% - decent carbonation - finishes very smooth.
Really good but my recollection on the cost, probably not that good.
Mar 09, 2020
Rated: 3.92 by dsshuck from Delaware

Feb 08, 2020
Rated: 4.21 by faulthouse

Dec 04, 2019
Rated: 3.96 by Beerbom from California

Oct 05, 2019
Rated: 4.05 by GeorgeAKeim from Oregon

Apr 25, 2019
Rated: 3.75 by DOCRW from Washington

Mar 17, 2019
Rated: 4.27 by Niceroad77 from Canada (BC)

Mar 01, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by CB2maltygoodness from District of Columbia

Jan 27, 2019
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
Reviewed by MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22oz bottle

Pours about a finger of light brown head into my tulip glass. Pretty creamy looking. The body is completely black, maybe just a hair of burgundy when held up to the light. Head retention was ok, good initial lacing. Looks quite nice so far.

The nose is very sweet, with a large amount of umami - this is exactly why barrel aged stouts aren't my style. Cocoa nibs are detectable in small doses. It flirts with some other aromas but no others come through in any real clarity. It's fine, it smells like it should I guess, I just can't handle the amount of sweetness and umami, umami should be considered an off flavor in my opinion.

Flavor is a little more approachable, chocolate and cocoa fully come through. Not too much umami. Sweet, but not over the top like I was expecting, not gross. Very woody, I can't ever really seem to pull out the bourbon flavors in these beers, always more wood. No licorice, or anise flavors, which is a blessing. A little bit of a booze taste at the end, but not much for 10 percent. This is a good tasting beer.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly light, like very light. For being as heavy as it is in alcohol, and for being a somewhat sweet beer, the mouthfeel is very light. Honestly I don't mind it here, it complements the moderate sweetness and makes it a lot more drinkable. Carbonation is medium-low, almost has a seltzer like feel to it, again, light body. Small booze, but not much. Sweetness doesn't coat my mouth too much at all.

The drinkability is impressive for a 10% beer, it goes down better than I was expecting. The sweetness is acceptable, and the alcohol is hidden well.

The appearance turned out pretty nice here. Lacing was unpredictable, but generally good.

Overall this is a nice beer. The flavors that could have ruined it are certainly in check. As for the good flavors, they are there, could use a little more depth and complexity, but I'm sure others would disagree that those are lacking.
Dec 21, 2018
Rated: 3.83 by 4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

Dec 16, 2018
Rated: 4.48 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin

Apr 08, 2018
Rated: 3.25 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Mar 23, 2018
Rated: 3.25 by krome from Illinois

Mar 23, 2018
Photo of hman43
Reviewed by hman43 from North Carolina

4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Look: It pours dark brown, not quite black. The head is brown with retention being low.

Smell: Moderate roast and moderate dark fruits, mostly plums, come from the initial aromas. Low amounts of cocoa and bourbon are in the background. There are low nut aromas and a hint of smoke.

Taste: The nuts really come out in the flavor with a high roasted notes as well. The cocoa is moderate in the flavor with some low notes from the bourbon. The dark fruits are in the background with plums being noticeable. There are hints of dried cherries as it warms.

Feel: It has a full body that is a bit creamy and smooth. The bitterness is moderate.

Overall, a complex roasted stout with the nuts and bourbon enhancing the flavor rather than completely dominating the flavor.
Mar 17, 2018
Photo of Pencible
Reviewed by Pencible from Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
A: This poured an opaque black with a little tan head.
S: It smelled like mocha and oak with some molasses and earthy pumpernickel.
T: It tasted like espresso and bitter dark chocolate, with some oak and molasses and earthy pumpernickel. It had a clean bitter aftertaste.
M: It was watery with some carbonation. Light body.
D: This was a nice imperial stout, but it did not have as much bourbon character as I prefer. The space yeast really made the scent and taste special, but not actually different. The body was weak but the finish was fairly smooth, so it was pretty easy to drink. Good but not great.
Feb 01, 2018
Photo of Roguer
Reviewed by Roguer from Connecticut

3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Bourbon and chocolate nose, roast and coffee, sharp grapes.

Bitter, chocolate, dark fruit; yields to bourbon; building roast, coffee tones, oak.

Some heat. Smooth.

I can’t taste the space.
Jan 26, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by jwat from Pennsylvania

Jan 07, 2018
Rated: 4.1 by morrowd3 from Vermont

Jan 06, 2018
Rated: 3.27 by johnnyboy76 from Oregon

Jan 02, 2018
Photo of metter98
Reviewed by metter98 from New York

4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high light tan head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon are present in the nose along with notes of caramelized sugars.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of bourbon and caramelized sugars. There is a bit of associated sweetness, but this is mostly balanced off by flavors of star anise and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has some dryness—the kind you get in a dry stout.
O: The taste of this beer has a good balance between the bourbon and star anise. It also does a very good job at hiding any traces of alcohol from the taste. If you don’t like anise, it might not be your cup of tea.

Serving type: bottle
Dec 26, 2017
Rated: 3.71 by Jhfinn from New York

Dec 19, 2017
Rated: 3.81 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Dec 17, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by acurtis from New Jersey

Dec 17, 2017
Photo of constantine_272
Reviewed by constantine_272 from Oregon

4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Pours dark brown and syrupy with low head. Smells of rich black soil, toasted oak and vanilla bourbon. A touch sweet on the nose. The flavor is sublime. Mellow dark caramel sugars start off but quickly balances out with a flood of dry bitter cocoa and espresso. A soft floral vanilla lingers at the end and waters your mouth. Maybe just a touch cloying, but very well balanced with a big dry bittering. Overall, this is a fantastic brew. This particular bottle bass been mellowing for nearly a year. Sad I didn't get more.
Dec 09, 2017
Rated: 4.06 by rarigney from Washington

Dec 04, 2017
Rated: 3.71 by Bubbawilly88 from California

Nov 14, 2017
Rated: 4.3 by gobuccos from Ohio

Nov 03, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by Vidblain from Minnesota

Oct 09, 2017
Rated: 3.84 by JandJMD from Maryland

Jul 30, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by PA-Michigander from Pennsylvania

Jul 23, 2017
Photo of m_hall
Reviewed by m_hall from Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
From a 20 oz bomber into a tulip. Pours solid black, topped by a three finger khaki head. Lacing is good.

Aroma has notes of sweet malts, molasses, dark fruits, and some slight vanilla notes.

Flavors are bittersweet cocoa up front, progressing to dark fruits and licorice, leading to a dry, slightly woody finish.

Mouth-feel is medium-bodied, a touch thinner than expected, slightly oily. The 10% alcohol lends a warmth without being overbearing.

Not a bad stout at all, though lacking in complexity. While not among the elite of the style, it certainly has a good gimmick with the space yeast, though.
Jul 16, 2017
Rated: 4.34 by petewheeler from Maryland

Jul 16, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by rspauldi from Texas

Jul 12, 2017
Rated: 4.21 by jsmith313 from Texas

Jun 20, 2017
Rated: 4.12 by sjrider from California

Apr 24, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by powdersoldier from Washington

Apr 22, 2017
Rated: 4.08 by jds16 from Ohio

Apr 09, 2017
Ground Control - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 123 ratings