Side Project Brewing

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Side Project Brewing
Missouri, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #3
Ranked #19
4.87 | pDev: 3.49%
May 11, 2023
May 26, 2018
Notes: The 2023 release started in 2020 with the brewing of our O.W.K. recipe on three separate occasions through 2021. Then I began earmarking exceptional barrels. After adding Ugandan vanilla at three different times and a final blending of the beer which was aged in three different barrels - Willett Family Estate bourbon, Old Rip Van Winkle 10-year and Willett rye - the five years of waiting for its return are over. O.W.K. 2023 boasts the most pounds of vanilla per gallon of beer we have ever released, yet showcases an endless depth, complexity and integration by allowing the time and barrel selection to direct the final experience without becoming sugary sweet or confectionary.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of REVZEB
Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

4.66/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Thankful for a friend who brought this out for our party, 2023 bottle. Pitch black stout pour, brown ring. I want to start with the feel because I think it sets the tone here: luxuriously smooth and warm, with emergent and complex barrel character, thick and heavy but not cumbersome, it drinks like a bougie dessert ale. Smell has rich notes of dark chocolate fudge and various bourbon and rye barrels, accented with char and earth, finished with big vanilla, lesser so molasses, and caramel. Taste is the same but now the accented char and now toasty earth fully join the barrel flavors, some dark fruits lightly added to the sweeter end elements, magnificently rich and complex. Yeah the hype is real here, just incredibly well done
May 11, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by Beerbom from California

May 05, 2023
Rated: 5 by eddie5721 from Illinois

May 03, 2023
Rated: 4.75 by Virby44 from Wisconsin

Apr 30, 2023
Rated: 4.78 by Travitten from Iowa

Apr 07, 2023
Rated: 4.77 by Wagglerock from Washington

Apr 04, 2023
Rated: 4.72 by Bugsmcl from Ohio

Mar 03, 2023
Rated: 4.99 by MeLoynes from Missouri

Feb 11, 2023
Rated: 5 by ToddBeans from Kentucky

Feb 02, 2023
Rated: 4.84 by HaveUSeenMyCellar from California

Jan 31, 2023
Photo of TonyLuvsBeer
Reviewed by TonyLuvsBeer from Michigan

4.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
B2. Served at SP from bottle. Waited for it to warm for awhile. Pitch black. Nice balance of bourbon and vanilla on the nose. Complex beer. Starts off with bourbon forward, then vanilla comes in very subtlety and finishes with delicious chocolate. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Would’ve liked it heavier some. Vanilla is there but subtle showcasing the barrel. I would’ve liked more vanilla however.
Jan 30, 2023
Rated: 5 by Narthax from Texas

Jan 30, 2023
Rated: 4.91 by not2quick from Missouri

Jan 26, 2023
Photo of Dicers
Reviewed by Dicers from California

5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
B1 (2018) Poured May 2021

L: Jet black, viscous, and coating the glass nicely
S: Vanilla, chocolate lots of bourbon
T: Vanilla, more vanilla, bit of marshmallow. Bourbon and fudginess as it warms
F: This coats the mouth. It isn't WeldWerks thick, but is pleasantly present and doesn't leave
O: An all time great vanilla stout, and an upper echelon BA Stout. Cory and team are masters at the BA game.
Jan 26, 2023
Rated: 5 by rstump24 from Ohio

Jan 26, 2023
Rated: 4.75 by Dharms from Pennsylvania

Jan 26, 2023
Rated: 4.44 by chippo33 from Vermont

Apr 27, 2022
Rated: 5 by Affinity from Missouri

Apr 25, 2022
Rated: 5 by lemmy187 from Missouri

Apr 10, 2022
Photo of OWK
Reviewed by OWK from Missouri

5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Bottle at brewery. Pour is extremely viscous black with a hint of carbonation. Thick oily coat on glass. Aroma explodes with vanilla and super rich chocolate malt. Some coconut and wood in there too. Huge. Depth. Flavor also loads of chocolate malt and vanilla for days. But the vanilla is in balance; not the only player. Lingering chocolate and light bourbon. Very light carb on the palate. Just right to make it even more silky. Outstanding.
Jan 15, 2021
Rated: 5 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

Feb 09, 2020
Photo of WickedBeer
Reviewed by WickedBeer from Alabama

5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
2022 Side Project Invitational, 04/09/2022.

A little late compiling my notes together for this beer, but finally getting around to diving into its incredible profile. Fortunate enough to grab two pours of this at Side Project's Inaugural Festival of Barrel-Aged Stouts & Barleywines (2/2/2020).

These pours of O.W.K. were from a March 2018 keg.

In the glass, the motor oil thickness is immediately noticeable. No traces of head or lace to be seen; only small, chestnut brown-colored bubbles that lazily rise in a broken circle around the ring of the beer itself. Swirling it lightly in the glass really shows the density of the body, with wine-like legs trailing slowly in the wake of the quickly motionless liquid.

With this beer approaching two years old, the still-dominant vanilla aromas are amazing. Bordering on pastry, the initial 1-2 punch of vanilla combined with a rich, sweet, chocolate-forward stout base is something to behold. After a moment, however, there's an exquisite bourbon barrel complexity on the backbone that characterizes charred oak and a touch of caramelized dark fruit.

On the palate there is a bit more evidence than the nose that the vanilla has begun to mellow, but it is still complimenting at just the perfect level. As mentioned previously, the barrel character of this beer is unmatched. Lightly earthy cacao does well to soften what can only be described as bourbon-soaked brownie batter. Notes of rich marshmallow fudge, vanilla bean, & charred oak lead the way for a viscous, boozy warmth that can be felt all the way down.

Touching on it briefly, the mouthfeel on this beer is unbelievable. Side Project stands above all at achieving stouts that have the ability to be decadently soft and smooth, thick and chewy, and finish with a boozy warmth all at the same time. O.W.K. is no different. This beer literally coats your mouth, being sure that every taste bud experiences the full essence of what this barrel-aged beauty has to offer, with a chew on the palate and a warmth down the hatch that sticks around well into that inevitable next sip. If you ever get the opportunity, savor it. It might not be too overly dramatic to say that it won't ever get topped.
Feb 03, 2020
Rated: 5 by Jkolls from Ohio

Jan 31, 2020
Photo of Luscious_Malfoy
Reviewed by Luscious_Malfoy from Illinois

4.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
original review of b1 (overall 4.54): Sample pour at SP anniversary party. pitch black. no head at all. huge vanilla aroma with some chocolate in the background. this is a vanilla showcase though. even after a year and a half’s time. taste is vanilla and chocolate. the Ugandan beans give it a more frosting or cake icing flavor similar to D13, although i think i liked the nose and taste of that one better. mouthfeel is thick, low carb, sticky. excellent beer, but can’t give it the insane through-the-roof ratings as i just don’t care that much for vanilla stouts. glad to have tried a little pour though.

updated for b2 (2023). poured from a 750mL bottle into a SP BBT22 snifter, i consumed this beer over the course of three days with the help of a wine stopper. kept refrigerated upon purchase and overnight during the weekend of consumption, i let it sit out for quite some time before pouring essentially consuming at room temp. both my sample of 2018 OWK were quite limited but this seems like a different beast altogether. the very low carbonation does allow it to be drank like a glass of red wine (or port wine) although the flavor profile is much more of a vanilla frosted chocolate cake. it is decadent and rich like a glass of good red wine or port. in the years since having b1 i have grown to be a much bigger fan of vanilla in BA imperial stouts, however, i’m pleasantly surprised to find just how in check the vanilla is in this beer. it’s there for sure but it is so well integrated into the beer that it basically acts as a compliment to the chocolate flavors. the barrel is less present on the nose on day 2 and 3 but still there in the taste, especially in the finish. this is an incredible beer.
Dec 16, 2019
Rated: 4.37 by 22Blue from Kansas

Aug 17, 2019
Rated: 5 by Ziosa from Missouri

Aug 16, 2019
Rated: 4.84 by FreshZ from Missouri

Jun 30, 2019
Rated: 4.85 by lupercmda from North Carolina

May 02, 2019
Rated: 4.75 by aasher from Indiana

Apr 15, 2019
Rated: 5 by mrtomatohead49 from Georgia

Feb 11, 2019
Photo of bsuedekum
Reviewed by bsuedekum from Missouri

5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
If ever there was a perfect stout, this is it. The most balanced stout one can imagine. Cory is insanely skilled and i’m thankful I had the opportunity to try this one. Delicious on all levels.
Oct 28, 2018
Photo of drmcleod10
Reviewed by drmcleod10 from Missouri

5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
L - Dark, viscious, coats the glass with some legs on it. One of the thicker beers I've had in recent memory. Dark brown ring around the edge of the glass

S - Pure Vanilla, Marshmallow and Bourbon. The vanilla dominates on the nose, as it warms you get a fudge and barrel characteristic

T - Vanilla dominates up front, though there was a massive amount of vanilla added to this beer, it is one of the most balanced and complex BA niller stouts I've ever had. Tons of barrel on the finish, but neither are overbearing.

F - Thick and chewy, coats the mouth with pure vanilla sex leaving you wanting more.

O - In the top 3 of BA Niller stouts I've ever had. It might be my favorite for the shear fact that even though it's loaded with vanilla it's perfectly balanced with those WIllett Barrels
Aug 07, 2018
Rated: 5 by pcshotsauce33 from New Jersey

Jul 16, 2018
Photo of 26reddevil83
Reviewed by 26reddevil83 from Missouri

4.94/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Thick and chewy like you'd expect from SP. The vanilla is the highlight, but nothing overpowers the palette. The taste lingers like only the best stouts tend to do.
Jun 11, 2018
Rated: 4.83 by imyourhero21 from California

May 29, 2018
Rated: 4.89 by kylehay2004 from Illinois

May 27, 2018
Rated: 5 by leroybrown10 from Missouri

May 27, 2018
Photo of OHbeertraveler
Reviewed by OHbeertraveler from Ohio

4.94/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Pure 5. Glass-staining, viscous oil. Smells of chocolate and vanilla. So smooth and balanced, prominent vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. None overpowering the other. 15% percent was subdued and not hot. Each sip coats the palate and flavor linger well beyond.
May 27, 2018
O.W.K. from Side Project Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 38 ratings