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!
Cincinnati’s own Triple Digit Brewing Company is releasing a new beer. Known for their triple digit original gravity beers all clocking in upwards of 10% they are adding to that lineup with Cranium. A bourbon barrel aged imperial oatmeal stout with coffee and vanilla. Suffice to say this beer has a lot going on and a lot going for it! I stopped by Dutch’s Bar, Bottle Shop, and Larder tonight for the draft release party. If you weren’t able to make it then hit up Listermann’s Brewery this Friday (11/8) for the bottle release.
I’ve been interested in trying this beer for sometime, especially since deciding that this winter was gonna focus on stouts and porters. After digging into the Mt. Carmel Porch Pack again then seeing this was on the Growler Station at the Whole Foods in Mason I decided it was time to try this beer. This is part of their “limited” series that is only available on draft and is supposedly temporary though this has been around for a long time.
So far my excursion into dark beers has been less than stunning especially this week with cans of Guinness Draught and Murphy’s. I expect this beer to radically change all that, at the very least in terms of getting me drunk since this is more than double the ABV of either of those two.
After announcing that Now is the winter of my dark-content a friend of mine gave me this beer saying it is one of the original Porters and is a great starting point as it’s very typical for the style. Before we get to the review I’ll fill folks in on what a Porter is with a bit of history, but that comes after the break!
Louisville is reaching a little out of our jurisdiction here at QCD, but I was lucky enough to get ahold of Against the Grain Brewing’s Heine’s Big Bro from a friend, so I figured why not. The weirdly-named Heine’s Big Bro (which I’m tired of typing already and will from now on abbreviate with HBB) is an imperial oatmeal stout with Heine Bros. coffee added.
Louisville roasted Heine Bros. espresso was hot extracted pre-fermentation, and Mary Catherine’s blend was cold extracted and added post-fermentation to give this beer an aggressive bitterness as well as a delicate yet pronounced coffee flavor and aroma. We started this imperial oatmeal stout with a massive amount of high quality Maris Otter malt and added an array of specialty malts including oats, roasted barley, and very dark caramel munich. Hefty additions of British hops early in the boil make for a powerful bitterness to balance the high malt sweetness. If your soul stays black, even in the sun, this beer is for you.
Yeah, relatively dramatic, I know. Against the Grain is making a name for themselves in the somewhat beer-poor Louisville region for their adventurous takes that depart from the typical styles and the ridiculous names each of them are granted. AtG has a hell of a great location right downtown in Louisville, attached to a sports venue of some kind (didn’t get a chance to go by the last time I was there; just drove past).
All of this means nothing without good beer, though, so what’s the word?