Saturday, December 14, 2013

Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist




A nearly religious experience.  

Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist made an appearance at DC's best craft beer bar, Churchkey. The specific batch number on tap was not clear, though it was described by Churchkey as a "Blend of 1 Year Old Whiskey Barrel-Aged Stout & Fresh Stout..." It's likely Batch #20, though the ABV indicated by Churchkey, 11.7%, did not match Epic's website (10.5%).




An absent batch number was about this beer's only flaw. Nearly every other aspect of the Big Bad Baptist was positively remarkable, and it began with a flush aroma that was rich with roasted chocolate.  The scent revealed the first hint of whiskey which supplemented rather than supplanted other enticing elements.  Those included nutmeg and spice flourishes. 

In the snifter, the Big Bad Baptist was opaque like a powered-down television screen.  The resilient head was the color of espresso froth, though a bit more bubbly than creamy.  As it eventually settled, dirty bath water-like suds laced the inner glass. 




The pungent aroma served well to introduce a tasting experience that was equally as dazzling.  First sip revealed a surprising effervescence.  The flavor profile was immediately bold with chocolate, black licorice, and subtle Coca-Cola.  

The whiskey was initially subdued, providing only slight peat. Also masked well, at least at first, was the high alcohol percentage.  

For being Big and Bad, this Baptist was, for a moment, gentle, and dangerously so.   

As the beer opened, the alcohol began to present itself.  The whiskey developed in the character and its warmth produced a welcome tingling right in the middle of this drinker's chest. The coffee remained secondary (tertiary?) to chocolate and the toasty alcohol.  

Pro tip: This beer is best enjoyed patiently.  Allow it to rest on the palate and build.  Swallow slowly and relax with the gentle creeping burn as it settles.  Enjoy the lingering pepper in the aftertaste.  

Delight in what was one-part beer, another part chocolatey whiskey-coke, and in all regards, absolutely delicious.     

'Tis the season of wonderful stouts, and the Big Bad Baptist is certainly that.  Tremendous, in fact. 

Few brewers have utilized whiskey barrel-aging as well as Epic has here.  It is a testament to their mastery that the whiskey notes showcased without overwhelming the excellent stout at the beer's base.  

TheCraftBeerGuru.com enthusiastically recommends the Big Bad Baptist.  Epic Brewing is rewarded with 4 (out of 5) stars for this superior stout.  

Cheers!

PS: Check out the first TheCraftBeerGuru.com podcast, HERE.



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