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The Beer Circle » Beer, Better From The Barrel?, Imperial Stout, Newport Distilling Company, Prairie Artisan Ales » Better From The Barrel: Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

Better From The Barrel: Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

From the same tasting that brought you the video gem of Greg and I taking down Stone’s Crime, I now bring you the latest in the Better From The Barrel? series featuring Prairie Artisan Ales‘ Prairie Bomb! and Pirate Bomb! Prairie Bomb is an imperial stout aged on coffee, cacao nibs, vanilla beans and chili peppers and stored in a 12oz wax bottle. The beer is relatively sought after, fitting a recent trend of imperial stouts having chili peppers as an ingredient. I had never had a chili stout (as I call them) aged in a barrel, so having Prairie and Pirate Bomb side-by-side was a real treat. An initial worry I had was that aging a chili-focused beer in any barrel would mute the heat that I think makes the style stand out. Was it better having been aged in a barrel? The reviews below will find out!

Prairie Bomb!
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
It pours out of the bottle very dark in color, but devoid of head. The head that does ever-so-slightly raise up is brown in color.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I smell a big hit of chili peppers in the beer, as well as some vanilla. I'm initially worried that it's going to blow my mouth away with the heat. But overall this is very sweet, with some chocolate thrown in, so there is a chance of it being balanced.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The chocolate shines through the initial sips of the taste, but chilies take it over quickly. Not the most robust pepper taste of the chili stout tasting, these chilies are tolerable and actually pleasant here. I'm not getting as much sweetness, or any vanilla, on the taste. It seems to be more focused on roast, chocolate, and heat. The balance I had hoped for is there.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
It has a robust mouthfeel that holds up enough to balance the sweetness from the peppers. The finish makes you crave the sweetness of the initial sips. Peppers do a really good job of hiding alcohol, so here the 14% ABV is hardly noticeable.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
At $12 for a 12oz bottle it would seem to be expensive, but the trading value of this makes it worth it. I definitely would seek this out again. If you like chilies in your stouts, don't wait for them to fade any more by aging this.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This beer really lived up to the hype for me. Balanced, delicious, all with an appropriate amount of heat. It brought out the best in a stout and in a chili stout. I can't imagine that barrel aging this beer will improve it, but we will see.
Prairie Artisan Ales

Prairie Artisan Ales

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 14.00%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100

After creating this wonderful concoction, Prairie went to the next level and aged Prairie Bomb in Newport Distilling Company rum barrels. Which leads one to the question, why was the rum gone? Similarly stored in a 12oz waxed bottle, Pirate Bomb hit Oklahoma, and subsequently the trading forums, with extreme interest from the beer community. But, did it actually improve the beer?

Pirate Bomb!
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Like Prairie Bomb, this pours out thick as sludge. It differs in that this actually retains its brown head for a decent amount of time and laces somewhat down the side of the glass.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The rum barrel aging has certainly changed this beer. The aroma is much more sweet, even considering I pegged Prairie Bomb as having a sweet aroma. Spiced rum definitely takes over, with notes of vanilla, caramel, booze, and 'agitated' wood. It seems to be a bit disjointed, which doesn't bode well for the taste.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
My first question is, sadly...where did the peppers go? All of the balance that Prairie Bomb offered is gone because the heat is almost non-existent. The taste is very much focused on the rum, which allows for the sweetness to take over. Chocolate, roast, and slight vanilla mostly, the taste of the beer is screaming for some heat.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The body is roughly as thick as Prairie Bomb, but the increased amount of booze, faded peppers, and negatively impacted balance make for a minus in the drinkability category.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
At $15 for this 12oz bottle, I'd say it was too much for its worth. Pay less and get a better beer for Prairie Bomb.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This was a pretty big disappointment. I really loved the base beer for this, and had hoped it could get better. I guess I was too greedy. The barrel aging muted the base, bringing it back to the pack. It amazes me that Pirate Bomb has a better trading value than Prairie Bomb, because if you've tried both you probable would attest to the fact that Prairie Bomb blows it out of the water. I'm sad to think that there could be this much more Prairie Bomb on the market, because I want to drink it all.
Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

Prairie and Pirate Bomb!

Beer Stats
Style: Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 14.00%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

Filed under: Beer, Better From The Barrel?, Imperial Stout, Newport Distilling Company, Prairie Artisan Ales · Tags: , , , , , , ,

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