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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The winter of my dark-content has come to a close

Around 8 months ago I posted Now is the winter of my dark-content. Discussing how I’d never tried too many stouts and not given thought to them but was setting out to change that. It’s now spring and with spring comes the release of summer ales. While drinking a Sam Adam’s Summer Ale (my review) earlier this week and grilling a burger I decided it was time to reflect on my adventure into the world of stouts. Here are a couple of things I’ve discovered:

  • Stouts seem to be one of the most diverse sub-categories of beer. From 3.5% dry Irish milk stouts to 10% imperial stouts up to 19.5% bourbon barrel aged stouts!
  • Further on that point, if someone doesn’t like bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts they should not give up on stouts all together. Milk stouts (especially on nitro) have little in common with their barrel aged cousins and are almost a different beast entirely.
  • Don’t be afraid of dark beers. OK… maybe we should all be a little afraid of The Bruery’s Black Tuesday, 19.5% ABV is nothing to take lightly. However, it seems quite a few people who may love IPAs or Belgians have a “fear” of dark beers. There is nothing to fear unless you really hate coffee and chocolate… or are allergic to it, then yeah that’d be scary.
  • Bourbon barrel aged stouts are the stout-flavor of the day and get a lot of the attention. I don’t agree with the hype. I definitely love some of them like KBS and Parabola but others like BCBS are just far too much bourbon. But as André 3000 says, whatever floats your boat or finds your lost remote.
  • I, personally, prefer porters to stouts. Stouts get a lot more attention these days then porters and I find that to be a shame. There are some amazing porters out there like Rivertown’s Roebling and Sixpoint 3Beans. Porters can have the complexity of stouts with a slightly lighter body.
  • If you don’t like a stout now give it a few months or years to age. Most stouts will age quite well with their flavor profiles changing over time. How long to age X beer is still a bit of a guessing game, so buy a few and try one every couple months. If you find a spot you love, drink em all!
  • There is plenty of focus on rare stouts but some things available every day like Victory’s Storm King kick plenty of ass as well!

I am very glad I did this and have a new found love and respect for stouts and porters. Am I gonna stop drinking them now that the winter is over? Hell No. First off they rock, secondly (and perhaps more importantly) my basement is suddenly overflowing with them, thirdly I have two in my fridge to review which are available in this area and supposedly bad ass. So keep an eye out for my reviews of Ale Smith’s Speedway Stout and Epic’s Big Bad Baptist, plus many many more to come!

Also we’re currently running a survey to try and get some feedback from our readers on what they like and want. Please take 5 minutes and let us know how we can improve!

Queen City Drinks reader survey