Friday, December 21, 2012

551. Epic Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout

Another beer from Epic; we scored this one at the DRAFT Christmas bottle exchange. Since the Utah Sage Saison, we’ve been looking to try something else by them, so I can’t complain. We’ll add this to the list that also includes Brainless on Cherries. Hells yes.

Described on the label as an Imperial Stout brewed “with cocoa nibs and coffee added and aged in whiskey barrels,” Big Bad Baptist pours an inky rich chocolate with a cocoa-colored thin head that quickly reduces to a waft-ish skiff covering complete with arabesques. The nose is dusky cocoa, coffee, and a hint of vanilla from the oak; there is also roast malt and hints of alcohol. Flavors are brash and to the fore: chocolate, cocoa, and roast make up the front, moving into coffee and vanilla in the middle, while the finish is cocoa and a touch of alcohol warmth with more of the roast lingering along with the alcohol warmth. The cocoa does fights it out with the roast in the finish, not lying down to the bigger, sharper flavors. The body is medium with a nicely chewy malt mouthfeel and a restrained carbonation that helps brighten the beer on the tongue. It was a bit hot when first opened, but as it warmed, the other flavors rounded and balanced the beer. An interesting beer that could probably have used another year before we opened it, but we saw the ABV only after I cracked this sucker open. My bad! The cocoa aspect of this beer really stands out, however; it is delicate and ephemeral in a beer that is not subtle, and even as the beer warms and the oak, vanilla, and alcohol start to exert themselves, the cocoa subtlety remains. Epic has been doing some good things—after this and our experience with Utah Sage, we may have to dabble more extensively in their catalog in the future.

From the Epic website: “One Big Bad Imperial Stout with Cocoa nibs and Coffee beans. Each release number uses a different dark roasted coffee.

ABV: 11.8%
Release #3: bottled 12/9/2011
Malts: Muntons Maris Otter, Briess 2-Row, Crystal Muntons, Weyerman Light Munich T1, 2-Row chocolate, 2-row black, and roasted barley
Other: Millcreek Coffee (French Roast) and Cocoa Nibs.
Hops: Nugget, Chinook, and Cascade


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