Thursday, 11 December 2014

The 2-4 Beers of Christmas: Day 9 & 10 Nickel Brook Two-fer

Bolshevik Bastard and Kentucky Bastard 2014

Nickel Brook Brewing Company

Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Bolshevik Bastard: Imperial Stout 9.0 % ABV Brown Glass Bottle 355 ml.
Kentucky Bastard: Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 10.0 % ABV Brown Glass Bottle 750 ml.
BB: $2.49 ($9.95 for a 4 pack) (Canadian) At the LCBO
KB: $12.95(Canadian) At the LCBO
Twitter: @NickelBrookBeer

My Local LCBO has had Kentucky Bastard a few times lately but when I went in last time it was paired up with Bolshevic Bastard and I could not resist. For those of you who don't know Nickel Brook's Bolshevic Bastard is their imperial stout. They took a couple of batches and let them age in Kentucky Bourbon barrels, the result was: Kentucky Bastard. I thought it would be interesting to pit them head to head in a match to the death... OK, well I mean just taste them side by side. In doing so I decided to run two days of the 2-4 beers of Christmas together and present you, dear reader this two-fer (for the 2-4). 

Enough witty banter... onto the bastards...

Beer # 173 Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout

Pours an opaque dark brown with a tan head made up of tiny bubbles. Aroma is woodsy with toasted caramel malt, slightly bready with a hint of bruleed sugar. Wow... warming alcohol right off of the hop. deeply roasted malt and plenty of it. Slightly brandy-like... taste moves to coffee and espresso, with a slightly burnt and marginally bitter aftertaste. the hops are wedged in the middle between the bready malt and the coffee afterglow, still very green and herbal. Aeration gives us a big shot of alcohol with a hint of vanilla.

Beer # 174 Kentucky Bastard 2014

Pours a opaque dark brown again but with a slight reddish tinge to both the beer and the tan head. The aroma is off the charts! Toasty, woody, chocolate, caramel, coconut, some vanilla and dare I say it a touch of marshmallow. First sip is all about the wood, and the whiskey. Lots of oak, vanilla, and whiskey esters. From there it settles down into a long caramel malty journey, followed by a more muted coffee finish... a lot smoother than it's un-aged counterpart. Despite being an alcohol percentage point higher the alcohol is less noticeable in this beer. Aeration gives us cedar, wood smoke, more coffee, and a little more caramel near the finish. Beer leaves the lips slightly sticky.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 

Bolshevic Bastard                      Kentucky Bastard

Cost: 5/6 PASS                           Cost: 5/6 PASS
Colour: 5/6 PASS                        Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL     Beer Style: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Re-Order:  5/6 PASS                   Re-Order:  6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Experience:  5/6 PASS                Experience:  6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Christmas Spirit 5/6 PASS           Christmas Spirit 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL

Final Thoughts:

Bolshevic Bastard is your average Russian imperial stout, very good, but nothing I would call spectacular. Kentucky Bastard on the other hand... takes on a whole new life after the barrel aging. Something just works in that barrel. The aroma and taste profile get turned up to 11 (it's one better than 10).  I could drink it all day... well... I could drink a bottle... maybe two, and then I would need a nap. Share with a friend... and drink responsibly.

Cheers And Beery Christmas


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