Quick Take: For those that love KBS unconditionally and without a care of my opinion, I’ll sum up the 2015 edition thusly. The newest take has upped the Russian Imperial (tobacco, anise, bitter cocoa) and coffee elements, but at the cost of the barrel qualities that make BB beers great. Everyone that already loves KBS will still find plenty to love, but I’m still waiting to be blown away by this highly sought after treat.
Brewery: Founders Brewing
Style: Imperial Stout
Cost: $5 (5oz)
Glassware: Snifter (I got a tulip)
Temp: 55 – 60°F
Availability: Every few years (maybe)
Purchased@: Iron Abbey
Quick Take: If you are expecting KBS with maple syrup, don’t. This is a boozy hot beer with a singular purpose of hitting the tongue with earthy sweet, syrupy malt and sugar. Although too decadent and young for me to really enjoy, I think some age would do wonders for it, it’s a beer rarely seen and one you should have if you get the chance. Just be sure to keep your expectations in check and you’ll probably find an enjoyable, but not mythically fantastic, beer that belongs next to the slew of other great Founders classics.
This was actually a busy beer weekend for me, but I stockpiled written beer reviews that will release over the next few weeks rather than check them in with a few brief comments. So, Untappd (drewsbrewsreviews) is a little light on check-ins. That will change with the impending Black Friday event at Capone’s unleashing the flood of fantastic beers that will surely culminate in the Untappening. I look forward to highlighting the best of my favorite yearly event, so that’ll be ready next week. In the meantime, here’s what I checked in the week past.
Sierra Nevada– Narwhal (Bourbon Aged) Location: Bulls Head Pub Style: Imperial Stout (Bourbon Aged) Score: 3.5/5 Original Comment: Buttery bourbon, vanillian, roast aroma, med mf, dark malt, chocolate/vanilla, raisin/plum finish, lingering heat. Decent, but too expensive.
Additional Comment: My “too expensive “comment is slightly disingenuous as I didn’t actually pay for it. A friend of mine did and was kind enough to share some with me. Plus, this was also purchased at a bar, which comes with a markup. That said, there are very few beers I will pay $30 for, and this is no where near one of them. A price around $12 – $15 seems about right based on what I had. Narwhal is on the lower end of imperial stouts I enjoy, I like mine on the heavier, near Russian Imperial levels, and Sierra Nevada’s imp stout is too thin and dark fruit heavy for my tastes. Obviously, if Narwhal is your jam, I can’t see you disliking a bourbon barreling of it. The difficulty in landing a bottle, at least around the Lancaster PA region, makes this a buy it when you see it beer. Mostly likely you aren’t going to see it again anytime soon.
Quick Take: Mac FannyBaw is brewed as a 750ml monument to smoke and tangy malts. Pushing the smoke cloud to the side, regular beer drinkers will find a fine, but unremarkable ale. Unfortunately, this is a niche beer that probably won’t satisfy that niche. I appreciated it for being different and find it to be an ok beer, but it can’t live up to the high cost of entry.
Quick Take: Going into this beer, I had a good idea that I would like it. The base beer is one of my favorite Russian Imperials and few beers get worse when rubbed up against some bourbon barrels. With the confidence and craftsmanship to add woody vanilla and spicy, almost pepper-like heat to a near perfect RIS, Dark Horse’s BBA Plead hits huge and satisfies as a layered, full-bodied body warmer. Fantastic RIS and an all time favorite.