Blind Tasting: Barrel Aged Coffee Stout

On the first days of April, beer nerds begin a hunt for “the best” barrel aged coffee stout, Founder’s KBS. Or at least that’s what most beer nerds say is “the best.” Others say KBS is good, but it’s all about Sunday Morning Stout, or Big Bad Baptist, or Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, and the list of “the best” goes on and on.

Deciding that there had been enough talk about “the best” barrel aged coffee stout we put them all to a blind taste test. Here are our results!

Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Blind Tasting

Continue reading “Blind Tasting: Barrel Aged Coffee Stout”

What’s Your Whalez Name?

If you use Facebook, you’ve likely encountered a plethora of quizzes cluttering your wall. If you’ve hung out in the beer scene for a while, you’ve probably caught wind of some rarer beers with crazy ingredients. Those rare beers are referred to as whales, like white whales, which has mockingly devolved into Whalez.

What started as a joke on these two things between Brent Osborn of Osborn Brewing and myself has evolved into What’s Your Whalez Name?

To find out what your rare beer whalez name is, take the month you were born in for the barrel. The first letter of your first name gets you your style of beer. The last letter of your last name gets you the first adjunct and the first letter of your mother’s maiden name gets you the other adjunct. We couldn’t make it too easy to figure out could we!

What's Your Whalez Name

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Review: Quaff Bros Big Kahuna

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Coconut beers always seem to be a disappointment to me. It always just seems to be a hint of coconut, leaving me wanting more. After drinking Big Kahuna from our buddies Quaff Bros across the river (though brewed on this side at Listermann), I can safely say that this is no longer the case. Utilizing coconut flakes, toasted coconut, and coconut oil, this beer essentially tastes like it has been aged inside of a giant coconut that previously housed bourbon.

It starts off looking like every other stout, porter, etc. in the world. The only differentiating figure looks-wise is the Coca Cola head on it; big brown bubbles. It gave me pause for a moment because I was under the impression that fatty coconut kills head retention. I guess not always. From the smell alone, you know that you’re going to be in for a treat if you’re a fan of coconut. For just about the first time I’ve experienced with a Quaff Bros beer, the barrel takes the back seat here. In the driver’s seat (and probably the passenger’s, as well) is COCONUTBourbon is in the child seat in the back and the base beer (an imperial porter for those who care), is bound and gagged in the trunk.

The taste, following this trend, is dominated by coconut, with a slight butterscotch flavor either from barrel or base beer. It’s tough to tell. The bourbon is even more muted in the flavor, though to be fair, barrel characteristics often include coconut notes, so it’s entirely possible this is getting lost. Also strange is a slight lactic twang on the finish. I have not the slightest idea what would lend this, but I don’t care for it.

The coconut here is obnoxious and somewhat reduces drinkability (in my modest opinion, of course), but that’s the whole point. It’s supposed to be obnoxious. This is a good, not great, beer, but I am happy that I have another bottle. If I’m going to buy a unique beer, I’d much rather make it a local one than one Sam has recreated from some terracotta pot in a third world country. I know there are a handful of people whose palates I respect who really enjoyed this, but I’m having a tough time putting it on the same level as Sour Grapes, Joseph, and a few other top tier Quaff beers. Maybe it’s just that I don’t appreciate coconut enough. Who knows.

There are still more than fifty bottles of this at Party Source, and if you and a buddy go in on it together, at $9.99 a bottle it won’t cost you more than buying a drink at the bar. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of coconut, you owe it to yourself to get over there and pick up the maximum of four bottles you’re allowed to buy.

P.S. In other cool Quaff Bros news, their “Corn on the Knob” will be on draft at Great American Ballpark on June 14 when the Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers.

Beer Review: Founders Double Trouble & Doom

I’m coupling these two reviews into one post because Doom is just Double Trouble… after spending 4 months in bourbon barrels. Double Trouble is Founders standard double IPA that is released in mass during May and June while Doom is only available now… if you can still find it. I was lucky enough to score a bottle before everywhere in town sold out thanks to the assistance of my sister-in-law. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to find anymore Doom around town but you can look this up again next year and find Double Trouble wherever better brews whenever the weather is cold.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Double Trouble
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 86
Calories: ~280

Absolutely beautiful rich golden color with a snow white head topping.

Pungent aromas packing citrus into every nose hair.

Woah, super bitter kick in the palate. After that initial wave of bitterness comes grapefruit hops and a slight malty body that doesn’t come close to balancing things out.

Medium body with loads of carbonation, a slight bit of alcohol, and a lingering slickness.

This definitely lives up to the name Double Trouble and the style double IPA. With all the IPAs, and various sub-categories of IPA, out there this doesn’t come close to being one of my favorites. But it is an enjoyable brew, just not one I’d be in any kind of rush to have again. If you go crazy for citrus hop bitterness then you’ll go crazy for this. Love the label on this brew but it kinda blows that there’s no back story to it on the bottle. It just has the name, style, IBU, and ABV, oh and of course the gov’t warning.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Doom
Style: Barrel Aged Double IPA
ABV: 10%
Calories: ~400

Comes out a slightly deeper golden hue then Double Trouble did with a LOT more of that same fizzy pure-white head.

Very slight bitter aroma mixes with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some citrus hops.

Surprisingly hoppy taste, I expected the citrus and bitterness to be much more subdued after 4 months in a barrel. All that mixes delicately with sweet caramel and vanilla backed by a solid amount of bourbon. Resulting in a very balanced flavor.

Medium body and mild carbonation come together for a mediocre mouth feel experience.

I have a feeling that many people will find this to be a great beer I, however, do not. It’s a good beer, and an interesting beer, but we don’t need to bourbon barrel age EVERYTHING just as we don’t need to hop the crap out of everything. Also $15 for a 750 ml is $5 more then I’m really interesting in paying for something less then spectacular. Call me cheap if you want but the value is rarely there at that price. All that said I’d still encourage folks to try this once, just get a bottle to split with 2 or 3 friends next year or this year if you get lucky!

Edit: Turns out I misunderstood the rarity of Doom. As part of Founder’s Backstage Series we may never see this beer again. Sorry if I got people excited. I know O’Bryan’s in Loveland had some as of Saturday (4/27) and folks are trading them online, so if you’re really interested don’t give up hope!

Beer Review: Epic’s Big Bad Baptist

Back in the heady days (of 2 weeks ago) when folks (or just me) were hounding around town trying to track down every last bottle of Founder’s KBS (my review) Josh told me to look for Epic’s Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout. This is a bourbon  or whiskey, barrel aged beer just like KBS and from what I’ve been told it has a very similar profile. Luckily though, unlike KBS, it’s much more available much more often. I scored this bottle at Arrow Wine & Liquor up in Centerville and they had 2 more bottles left. Each batch of the Big Bad Baptist is slightly different than the others and this one, batch #10, has the following:

Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout #10

Brewed on August 24, 2012. Packaged November 15, 2012.
This release was aged in both whiskey and bourbon barrels, primarily first-use whiskey casks, and second-use bourbon casks.  Additional dark chocolate and fruit flavors mingle with the whiskey and bourbon notes.

The Grains/Malts
Muntons Maris Otter Malt, Briess 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal Muntons, Weyermann Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley
Ibis Coffee (Gayo Mountain Sumatra Dark) and Cocoa Nibs.

The Hops
Nugget, Chinook, Cascade

Continue reading “Beer Review: Epic’s Big Bad Baptist”

Beer Review: Rivertown Old Sour Cherry Porter (2013)

Rivertown’s Old Sour Cherry Porter is making the rounds at the stores again. This is, I believe, the third year for this beer and past reviews report it has being under carbonated and a bit flat. I have never personally had this before and am not really super psyched for it but extremely curious. Sours are a large uncharted territory for me as I’ve only had a few. That said I intend to give this beer my best and most unbiased review possible, a goal I apply to every beer I try. First off here’s what Rivertown says:

We combined our Imperial Porter with fresh dark Michigan cherries, and then aged it for over three months in a bourbon barrel inoculated with wild yeast. This is a bottle conditioned ale, and can cellar for over five years. Enjoy!

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Quaff Bros.’ Manhattan Project

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Sometimes craft beer is weird. Brewers of beer (or at least craft beer) are an inherently creative bunch. With brewers, like bakers, chefs, and pretty much anyone else who uses their noggins to turn a concept into a finished product, you’ll find that the concept itself is often as important as the process that leads to the finish product. And boy, oh boy, do the Quaff Bros. have some concepts. Strong – sour – barrel aged – stout- wheat – IPA, their creations run the gamut. I thought Sour Grapes (check out my review) was weird, but apparently I had seen nothing yet.

Obviously, following a sour brown ale aged in bourbon barrels with wine grapes (yep), they release a beer that attempts to mimic a classic cocktail. Manhattan Project is a rye beer, aged in rye whiskey barrels with maraschino cherries and bitters. Like I said, craft beer is weird.

Anyways, on to the good stuff. Continue reading “Quaff Bros.’ Manhattan Project”