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

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Buying Beer Online

I have a nasty addiction to EPIC’s Big Bad Baptist. I absolutely love the stuff and it is easily one of my top 5 beers, you can read my review of it from earlier this year over here. It’s a fantastic bourbon barrel aged imperial stout that is usually widely available and reasonably priced. One of the cool things about Big Bad Baptist is that each batch is slightly different varying malts, hops, coffee, barrels, and length of time in barrels. This introduces some great variety but has caused me major grief in the past month.

It’s not so much the beer that’s caused me grief as much as Ohio’s archaic and idiotic laws. Ohio has a ban on all beer over 12% ABV and Big Bad Baptist batch #13 was 12.2%. Some bottles were released from the distributor to stores before this was discovered but then distribution was cut off and stores could sell out of what they had. I was lucky enough to score 1 bottle at Cappy’s over in Loveland but my desire to cellar demanded more. With all other local stores sold out I turned, for the first time, to the internet to buy my beer.

After checking out a few sites I decided to go with CraftShack.com. Craft Shack offers a variety of beers from across the country at all levels of ABV. This does come with a slightly increased cost and a significant shipping charge. You also have to buy a minimum of 3 bottles.

Shipping only took 7 business days but at $16 I feel like it should’ve come faster. A big concern of mine was the quality of the packaging. Having traded many beers I’ve seen some great and some horrendous packaging. CraftShack’s was slightly above average but left much to be desired. They used molded cardboard(?) and then wrapped the bottles in newspaper.

The molded cardboard is great. However, I’d have preferred to see some bubble wrap around these bottles and would really love to see a bag around them. If one breaks somehow and the box gets wet then the package gets pulled and your beer never gets delivered. This is why when I trade beer all bottles go in their own Ziploc. That was a concern for me here but obviously not a problem as I still got my beer!

All said it was pricier than I would’ve liked but I feel it was a fair premium to get beers I can’t get here.

 

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

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