Review: Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout
-Cody L. - October 3, 2014
That's all I had to say when I first tried Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout.. so it's got to be good! Unfortunately for me $19 CAD per 650mL bottle, Big Bad Baptist was a purchase that I couldn't justify paying because I'm simply just.. poor. Sure, if I cut down on my beer consumption and only had one or two beers a week instead of more than that, I could afford it.. but pft - I like some of my regular beers as well.
The cool thing about Epic's Big Bad Baptist is that on the bottom right corner of the label they tell you what batch number it is - which is great for those who plan on doing a vertical of various batches of Big Bad Baptist.. but those people are rich, lucky beer snobs! This batch of Big Bad Baptist is Release #73, which according on their website was brewed on October 12, 2015 and packaged on August 24, 2016, brewed in Salt Lake City, Utah. Malts: Maris Otter Malt, 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal, Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley. Hops: Nugget, Chinook, Cascade. Spices: Blue Copper Coffee "Guatemalan Blend" and Cocoa Nibs... So it turns out every batch uses a different blend of malts, hops and spices.. huh, that's pretty damned cool!
Appearance: Pours a thick, dark as night stout with a very very light amount of burnt caramel head on top - there's a light amount of head mostly around the rim but in the middle it's mostly sporadic bubbles here and there.
Aroma: A well spiced stout.. spicier than I anticipated. I get notes of deep, rich roasted coffee, a hint of roasted pepper which gives off a mild/kind of liberal amount of heat on the nose. A hint of dark chocolate aaaand that's about it. Not noticing any barrel aging here but we'll likely see that coming up. The aroma makes me think that I'm going to have a bit of acid reflux later on.. but I'll live with that.
Taste: Would I call this "Holy good?" It's good, actually really good.. but I feel a bit disappointed for some reason. Perhaps it's the $19 price tag? Nah, I just need to pick this beer apart a bit more.
So for the flavour, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn't as intense and in your face like the aroma led me to believe.. thank goodness. In fact, the barrel aging does make its way into the taste. I get a great deal of the cocoa nibs up front on nearly every single sip with a light to moderate amount of roasted coffee flavour (yet not as strong as your typical Imperial Stout with coffee) and a subtle but certainly noticeable amount of barrel in the background which gives off that oaky goodness and that typical vanilla flavour that completely compliments the initial chocolatey goodness. Not overly bitter chocolate but bitter enough that for the aftertaste you know that you just had a bit of chocolate in your liquid barley diet.
Overall Thoughts: Would I buy this again? Hell yes I would! At $19 it's too pricey for now but I'd buy two more bottles - one to age and one to send to one of my beer buddies in Quebec. I'm surprised that the spiciness from the aroma didn't pop over in the flavour, but for those who don't like spiciness.. that's a good thing. As I keep drinking this.. the 12.7% ABV is really creeping up on my body.. so share this at a bottle share if you're an awesome friend.. or drink it on a night when you don't want to go out and just watch hockey on TV.