Big Bad Baptist - Vanilla Brandy
Epic Brewing Company

Big Bad Baptist - Vanilla BrandyBig Bad Baptist - Vanilla Brandy
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #766
Ranked #3,236
4.22 | pDev: 6.64%
Epic Brewing Company
Utah, United States
Big Bad Baptist - Vanilla BrandyBig Bad Baptist - Vanilla Brandy
Notes: Aged in brandy barrels with roasted cacao nibs, coffee and vanilla.
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 89 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Ozzylizard
Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Bad Baptist Vanilla Brandy Barrel-Aged Stout (2019) from Epic. Purchased on 27/1/21 for $ 17.00 (Including tax) for a 22 oz bottle ($ 0.773/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. On the room temperature shelf at store and stored at home at 42 degrees. Reviewed 21/2/21. (Note: I use DD/MM/YY protocol.)
Stamped on label “REL #2 12.7% ALC/VOL SLC# 6466”. There is a sticker band over the neck and cap which says “2019”. Served at 47.3 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. Final temperature 54.6 degrees.
Appearance – 3.5. Basically, looks like every other Imperial stout.
First pour – Brown (SRM 20), clear.
Body – Black (SRM 40), opaque. When rear-lite, still opaque with some ruby at the edge.
Head – Average (Maximum three cm, aggressive center pour), fallow, high density topped with some rocks, average retention, diminishing to a 0.2 – 0.3 cm crown fed by effervescence in a few places, and a complete cap.
Lacing – Fair. A short band of near-microscopic bubbles forms on the glass.
Aroma – 4 – Begins with chocolate, weak brandy, and weaker vanilla. No coffee, no hops, no yeast. As it warms, the aroma weakens to only the chocolatey
Flavor – 3.75 – Begins with moderate chocolate and a light brandy oral burn. Is that a hint of cherry? No hops, no yeast, no coffee, no vanilla. No alcohol (12.7 % ABV, as marked on the container) flavor or aroma. A slow gastric warming occurs in the background after the initial brandy has burned out.
Palate – 4 – Medium, approaching creamy, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4 I’m beginning to like brandy barrel-aged brews better than bourbon, maybe because the brandy is generally noticeably present and, so far, hasn’t beer harsh and choking.

Feb 21, 2021
Photo of DaveMaciolek21
DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Superb sipping stout that has three phases from the top to bottom of the glass. Pours dark brown with an amply tan head. Great complexity at the onset--somewhat sweet brandy tones underscored by vanilla, with chocolate notes and then a strong roasted component at the finish. Half way down the glass, the brandy takes over, suppressing other flavors to the point I was thinking of rating the beer lower for losing its earlier complexity. But then toward the bottom of the glass, the parade of flavors--vanilla, cocoa and roast blend with brandy--return for a sensational finish.

Dec 18, 2020
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the many beers that were supposed to be shared with rudzud, RIP Space Cowboy. 2019 release #2

Pours a dark brownish small fizzy head with lower retention, fair lacing, long legs, pitch black color

Nose brings rich nutty coffee up front, fresh coffee, with some roasted malts, fair vanilla mostly a sweet vanilla, fair amount of nutty aromas, a little toasted oak, some cocoa and dark chocolate, a little caramel, nougat, and baking spices, not much for brandy

Taste is like tears... oh wait that's me. It brings a lot more roasted dark malts, cocoa, dark chocolate, fair rich nutty coffee again, freshly brewed coffee, with a little caramel, nougat, and fair baking spices, hint of licorice, chocolate vanilla milk shake, some sweet vanilla, a bit of perfumey alcohol, light brandy and a sweet candy fruit character, bit of bitterness, a sticky sweet finish, some hot alcohol late, as well as some fudge, more nutty flavors as well

Mouth is fuller bod, rich almost chewy, med lighter carb, fair warming alchol

Overall pretty good, not as much brandy as I would have liked, but the rest of the beer was great. Really would have liked to go through this full series with rudzud. I miss you dude.

Jul 18, 2020
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

2.68/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one from the speciaalbierexpert in NL.

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2019

Imperial stout aged in Brandy barrels with roasted cacao nibs, coffee and vanilla

APPEARANCE: Clear dark brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, slightly foamy light tan head with decent retention. Clear black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Foamy head slowly recedes to a thin wisp. Splotchy wisp remains leaving touches of lacing down the glass as it empties.

SMELL: Brandy, oak, and a level of tartness to it. Cacao and vanilla cream come out more as it sits, as does some roasted coffee aromas. A touch tart, just like the base version. Might be the coffee.

TASTE: This is a bit better than the nose. Brandy, oak, some light tartness, but this is definitely from the burnt and roasted coffee, some vanilla cream and cacao, as well as some rather harsh alcohol at the swallow. Big finish with plenty of brandy and booze, some cacao and vanilla sweetness, as well as some roasted and burnt coffee flavors. Boozy and somewhat harshly roasted character.

PALATE: Medium body with medium carbonation. A little foamy on the palate, goes down okay with a bit of a burn and finishes somewhat mouth-coating. A decent amount of heat lingers. Same as base.

OVERALL: This is maybe a little better than the original version if you use your imagination, but it’s not quite all that great either. The color is still light, though I guess I couldn’t have expected that to change, and the brandy barrel has made it rather harsh. There is less tart character in the flavor, though that may have just been exchanged for a rather harsh burnt quality instead. Either way, I’d choose this over the base, but I’d probably choose something else first anyways. Pass.

Jul 16, 2020
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours jet black in color with a one-finger creamy khaki head that has good retention. Smells of straight brandy barrel, with undertones of chocolate, toffee, char, vanilla and raisins. Taste is dominated by brandy up front, with that signature charred malt poking through from the base beer. Undertones of chocolate, caramel, red grapes, coffee and a hint of vanilla. Heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that chewy finish. Brandy dominates this variant

Jun 23, 2020
Photo of beersampler6
beersampler6 from Michigan

4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite a nice brandy imperial stout with good balance of flavors and depth. “2019 edition” printed on bottle. Pours a darker honeyed rust brown color with some off-white head and a little spotty lingering lacing. Smells of malt, brown sugar, vanilla, bread, nuttiness and some medium roast coffee and milk chocolate. Tastes similarly, great balance and depth. Has a very unique flavor profile which was very pleasant. Smooth, mild slightly sticky mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation. The higher ABV was more present as the beer warmed, but this did not have to be a slow sipper. Nice.

Jun 09, 2020
Photo of drdiesel9483
drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - black syrup with a good tan head slight lacing
Smell - roasted vanilla with a slight cacao and coffee, some toffee
Taste - Just like the scent but with a slight spice to it
Feel - medium full body light carbonation Slight creamy
Overall - really great complex beer. You really taste everything they say they put in it and it’s really well balanced

Jun 07, 2020
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Batch #4. Poured out an opaque, oil-black color with a small, brown head of bubbly foam. It smelled of vanilla, chocolate, coffee and hints of sweet brandy. Nice balance of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Some oak notes and sweet boozy flavors.

May 24, 2020
Photo of Chuckdiesel24
Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I’m a sucker for sweeter coffee and this does it with the vanilla and brandy barrel. Definitely a winner of the BBB beers, which are almost all well done. The components just seem to meld well together!

May 09, 2020
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours pitch black with a thin tan head. Heavy amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, roasted malts and brandy.

T - The taste is vanilla, dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, oak and a nice boozy kick from the brandy barrel.

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

O - This is really tasty. Nice dark flavors throughout with the brandy barrel really shining in the finish.

May 09, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

what an absolute treat this thing is! my brother in law brought it over months ago, we never got to it, i saved it until he visited again, and finally we got into it last night, worth the wait! a unique blend of flavors here, the brandy, the vanilla, and an absurd amount of coffee, this was really impressive, and it hides its strength well, totally snuck up on me. there is hardly any head on this, although we pour it pretty slow. its black, but not as obviously viscous as some of the others in the lineage have been. its not thin either, but doesnt look intimidating. the aroma and flavor are killer, the barrels and the brandy are both intense, woody and wet and mature, less roasty to me, maybe the barrels dont have the same char as the whiskey versions of this, but it seems smoother, mellower. the vanilla is way behind the coffee, which totally dominates. this is like chocolate covered espresso beans and the crema off a perfectly pulled shot, rich and intense from front to back, really hits instantly and never leaves, but i do get more and more of the vanilla as i let it warm up, a vanilla bean thing, perfectly cohesive with the brandy. i get some light raisin, tobacco, and licorice spice in this, extremely well refined overall, and somehow not as thick as a lot of them, dare i call it drinkable at this abv! very dynamic beer, not overly flavored, still the legendary stout at its core is identifiable, and really a treat to drink with my brother in law as a night cap last night, i would rank this among my favorite baptist versions for sure!

May 08, 2020
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13 from Colorado

3.7/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle, 2019 release 1. Pours dark brown black with a small brown head that quickly goes to a thin collar that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is a little subdued - sweet creamy lactose and vanilla with some vinous booze and a little roast and chocolate.

The flavor is sweet lactose and vanilla with big roast chocolate malt and some fruity booze. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a big mash up of flavors. A bit low of aroma and body.

Apr 09, 2020
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Release #2, had 2/1/20.

Pours a dark brown, opaque, thick looking, with a half inch head and some spotty cling. Aromas of brandy, vanilla, malt, coffee, chocolate, some cocoa, a generally spicy aroma. Flavors are similar- brandy, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, malt, cocoa, some oak. Smooth, a very good full body although a little lighter than others in the series, well carbonated.

The brandy barrels work well with the solid base, the cacao nibs are excellent. The lighter feel is certainly not a negative. Very enjoyable and well worth a purchase.

Apr 06, 2020
Photo of mkh012
mkh012 from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 - Batch #1 - 12.3% ABV

Pours black with a persistent layer of tan head.

The nose is dark chocolate, brandy, oak, and a subtle savory note.

The taste is dark chocolate, vanilla, brandy, and mild booze.

The mouthfeel is medium+

Overall, 4.25

Mar 28, 2020
Photo of Viaduck
Viaduck from California

4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A layer of tan foam barely covers the black as coal body. A dark chocolate overload for the nose with some brown sugar & a hint of brandy, definitely one of the prettiest aroma. Very sweet with mild bitterness. Lots of dark chocolate flavor, oak flavors, coffee, brandy, vanilla & more chocolate. Mmmmmm. Thick & smooth as silk. A delicious chocolate brandy candy!

Mar 14, 2020
Photo of Thomas_Wikman
Thomas_Wikman from Texas

3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had it on draft at Blatt in Dallas while eating chicken wings with my wife. I had not had this variety of the Big Bad Baptist before, ABV


Look: black with a thick mocca colored head

Aroma: roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, brandy

Taste: The flavor is roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, maybe some coffee, and a significant amount of brandy flavor. It is pretty good but I prefer bourbon to brandy and I think it was a tad too boozy, but pretty good still.

Body/Overall: full body.

Mar 07, 2020
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 oz bottle in a snifter. This fantastic brew pours a
deep oil black with a nice head of off white foam that settles to
a thick ring, thin faint layer, and sports some subtle lacing.
Nose of dark chocolate, vanilla, dark rum, brandy, and subtle
coffee. Flavors are excellent. Brandy and vinous notes dance
about a dark chocolate and coffee note with rich vanilla bean
and rum touches with warming booze. Excellent mouth feel;
full body, smooth, rich, warming, light carbonation that is
subtly prickly, lightly coating, and finishing warm and
sweet without being cloying.

My favorite I believe of this series.



Mar 06, 2020
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black. Short lived brown head. Tiny dots of lacing.

S: Nutty coffee and cocoa nibs are forward. Nougat. Roasty. Brandy and a vague spicy note. Whiff of alcohol.

T: Follows the nose. Fatty cocoa nibs and nutty coffee up front. Vanilla smooths over the malty roast and smoke. Mid palate is all brandy. Vinous and nutty. The brandy rides into the finish with roasty smoke and trailing coffee.

M: Thick in body with a healthy sense of weight. Slick and creamy. Mildly coating. Gently prickling carbonation.

O: I’ve always thought that brandy barrels are under utilized in most American brewers’ barrel programs. That said, I’m not sure this beer is the best candidate for it. It certainly isn’t a bad beer, and in truth I liked this one better than a couple of the other 2019 variants. I think it’s just the coffee. Odd flavor profile to combine with brandy. Takes a little getting used to.

Feb 12, 2020
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Very dark brown color with thin down head and decent lacing. Dark chocolate smell and taste. Flavors of vanilla and nice warming booziness of the brandy. Smooth feel, taste smooths out as it warms. Very good Imperial stout.

Feb 02, 2020
Photo of REVZEB
REVZEB from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shimmering black with a brown collar. Smell takes on the coffee and vanilla up front, then brandy, chocolate, malt and dark fruit come in with a hint of barley, odd combo but works well. The taste however clashes, especially the coffee and brandy, leaving a bittersweet shellac that sits on the palate through the whole sip. The vanilla adds to this effect, where as the chocolate, malts, earth, dark fruit, and booze try to cut in but can't save it. Feel is boozy, sweet, roasted and coats the teeth. Love the series, this entry didn't jive for me

Jan 17, 2020
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to patches with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, vanilla, cocoa and coffee. Flavor is dark toasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, light brandy fruitiness and drip coffee. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess. A nicely integrated flavored stout. All the additive elements are clear notes in the flavor, but all well balanced. The mild brandy from the barrel adds a light fruit note to the other flavors while still well supported by the base malt. I was expecting to like the hazelnut version much better than this one, but this is my favorite so far. The malt seems more robust and the vanilla, cocoa and coffee all harmonious. Nicely done.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber. Near black pour, the few bubbles that appear oear on the pour disappear quickly, leving this flat and still. Aroma is vanilla and roast malts. Taste is both sweet and coffee, with a bit of warmth cropping up late from the brandy. Slick, velvety.

Jan 08, 2020
Photo of mogulskier
mogulskier from California

4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a good one. Definitely pick up the Brandy character on this and it has a nice warming alcohol as it goes down. It is on the sweet side, but no overly so. The nose is chocolate and Brandy, don't get too much coffee on the nose, but it adds bitterness on the palate, that is when the vanilla really shines is in the flavor. Epic has really dialed in the Vanilla and Brandy combo nicely and it works well.

Of all the BBB variants in 2019, this is the best one followed by Chocolate Rapture. Really miss Baptista, but this Vanilla Brandy is a better then expected substitute for this year.

Despite the high ABV, this beer is pretty drinkable.

Dec 29, 2019
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Tan head. Chocolate.

Nice brandy in the background. Warming. Smooth. Chocolate, caramel, vanilla. Coffee and a light roast. Abv shows a bit which I like.

Dec 28, 2019
Photo of sjrider
sjrider from California

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in Sacramento - looks like a glass of root beer. Nose is cocoa,coffee,barrel wood,vanilla,roasty malt and sweet booze, not necessarily in that order.Taste follows more or less. Quite tasty on a rainy afternoon. Delicious.

Dec 23, 2019
Big Bad Baptist - Vanilla Brandy from Epic Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 89 ratings