Articles Comments

The Beer Circle » Beer, Blend, Epic Brewing Co., Four Roses, Imperial Stout, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey » Epic Big Bad Baptist Releases 1, 3, and 4

Epic Big Bad Baptist Releases 1, 3, and 4

Epic Brewing Company’s claim to fame is being Utah’s first brewery since prohibition to brew exclusively high alcohol content beer. I came across some of their stuff in my typical Northern Virginia beer spots, the bottles catching my eye as it’s a brewery usually not seen in Pennsylvania. When I read on the label that this stout was brewed with coffee, cocoa, and aged in whiskey barrels…suffice it to say I had the beer purchased before another thought crossed my mind. That’s basically the perfect trifecta for my palate. From release to release a number of things change. Release #1 was a blend of batches brewed in December 2010 and June 2011, whereas the third and fourth releases were single batches. I’m told every release is aged in a different barrel or set of barrels and every release except the first had Tanzanian Rimini Coffee added.

I’ve been expecting a call back from somebody at the Epic brewery to explain what kind of bourbon barrels each release was aged in, but it’s been a few months and multiple calls with nothing in return. I feel like the brewery is trying to break up with me, but doesn’t want to come right out and say it. Why Epic, why? Hopefully this post will be enough to save our love for each other!

UPDATE: Release #1 may/may not have used Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, but because of the distiller’s new exclusivity, Epic didn’t say. Releases #3 and #4 were a mix of barrels from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers and Four Roses (#4 had a touch of “Whiskey” barrels as well). If you ever need any information from Epic, don’t hesitate to shoot them an email. Most likely you’ll get a hilarious response.

Release #1
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Pours out of the bottle black and rests in the glass pretty viscously. A big brown head raises up, but recedes quickly. Not a ton of lacing or carbonation that I can see. I only wish the head stuck around a bit longer.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The aroma on this is quite bold and the balance is there, which is equally as impressive.. The amount of coffee and chocolate really blows me away, but the bourbon is underneath, and understated.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I've had stouts with coffee in it before, but wow, this is a new experience. The aftertaste is exactly the same as when I take a sip of actual coffee. I'm blown away about just how much this tastes like it. Up front is chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of bourbon and, after a brief second, becomes all about the coffee.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A lower than average carbonation and thick body sit on the palate, but it's still pretty damn drinkable. The finish is dry, I just can't stop taking sips the taste is so interesting.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
At $12.99 I thought this was definitely worth it.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I thought this was a hit, really glad I tried it. Interested to see how the other releases stack up. After assessing the other two releases, the blending of an older batch was very apparent. This one had all of the non-coffee related flavors and aromas I wanted where the others just didn't deliver.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 11.10%
BA Score: 89
RB Score: 98
Release #3
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Just as deep and dark as Release #1 with a better head retention. Its got a nice brown head with minimal lacing.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The smell is a little less balanced. Tons of coffee, but less chocolate and certainly no bourbon at all. Let's see what happens with the taste.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The taste is a little better, but still after a few releases I was hoping this would have improved. Ton of coffee, the aftertaste is still similar to drinking an actual cup of coffee, but the chocolate is a bit thin, less vanilla, and again no bourbon. I see this becoming a theme. After one 22oz bottle I loved it, but progressing further...not as much.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Not quite as thick. Perhaps this would benefit from some age as Release #1 was clearly better.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
At $11.99 I still think this is worth it.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Expected more, but I still definitely enjoyed it. I wish the barrel aging was a bit more present.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 11.10%
BA Score: 89
RB Score: 98
Release #4
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Black pour with a couple fingers of brown head. The retention and lacing are both wonderful. Across all of the releases, this has been a great looking beer but Release #4 poured the best.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Amazingly the smell is all coffee, again. I can't believe how deep and dark these beers have been and yet they're all coffee. The bourbon and oak lie underneath with a strong chocolate character. Great balance, but coffee focused.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Like the aroma, the coffee dominates the taste. A bit too much for me again honestly. After a couple of these, I'm tired of the coffee and want something else. For this being on ongoing release, I sort of hoped each separate one would focus on a different aspect of the bourbon, chocolate, coffee additions. Bourbon hangs out, making its presence known as the beer warms, but the chocolate and barrel characteristics are secondary to the coffee. I think this needs a few months to balance out. The other dimensions are there. Just not strong enough
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The body is full and the carbonation is a bit high as well, differing from previous releases. Big Bad Baptist is crazy drinkable and sports a dry finish. For all its faults, I still really like this.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Like Release #3, this one set me back $11.99, and I would pay it again in a heartbeat. I really need to set one of these down to age because I bet it tastes better once the coffee steps back a bit.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
As was the case with all of these, I wish the coffee was stepped back and the bourbon was more prominent. This beer could be top notch, just not fresh. As it turns out, I think this was my second favorite of the three. Although, I did have this one on a separate night from the other two, so maybe Release #1 was just so much better than #3 I just don't remember it as fondly.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 11.10%
BA Score: 89
RB Score: 98

Last updated by at .

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, Blend, Epic Brewing Co., Four Roses, Imperial Stout, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey · Tags: , , , , , , ,