Epic Exponential Big Bad Baptist

Tasting: October 29, 2011
Style: Stout (Imperial)

big bad

This has got to be some sort of cruel joke. A rare October snowstorm is dumping snow on us fast and furious. The forecast is for eight to ten inches — really? As a kid, I recall an early October snow of about four inches. So, this is only the second October snowstorm of my life. I hope that my two sons appreciate the rarity. But for now, they’re bunkered down in the basement playing their x-box.

To me, nothing makes a snowstorm more tolerable than the following:

no where to go — check
gas for my snowblower — check
hearty meal on tap — check (chili)
fire in fireplace — check
wine for wife — check
imperial stout for me — check

My stout selection has to be a big warmer of a stout — and I think one with the name “Big, Bad Baptist” has to fit the bill. This one is from Epic Brewing. It’s part of their exponential series — and it’s actually release number one. I’ve gushed on about the concept – but in case you’re reading this for the first time – Epic’s exponential series is a small batch brew — each lot totals about 2,000 bomber size bottles. They will continue to tweak the recipe with each progressive release of each of these small batches. I’m thrilled because being release number one — the starting point.

Like a lot of other big stouts these days — this one is aged in wooden liquor barrel — whiskey barrels to be exact. Also like other stouts, this one includes chocolate (in the form of nips) and coffee. This one checks in at 11.75% ABV.

What do I look for in an imperial stout:

dark opaque color — check
roasted aroma — check
rich mouthfeel — check
complex flavors — check
warming but not overpowering alcohol burn — check
graceful finish — check
leaves me wanting more — check

This one is totally unique. If you like coffee stouts — you’ll love this. Over the top coffee with undertones of chocolate. The coffee is like you’ve already added the cream. You can detect that its barrel aged in a whiskey barrel – its contribution comes with some mellow smokiness. I also get some subtle anise. Mouthfeel is creamy and the alcohol is nicely concealed. I give this a solid 94 points. I’m curious where they go with release # two.

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