On the first days of April, beer nerds begin a hunt for “the best” barrel aged coffee stout, Founder’s KBS. Or at least that’s what most beer nerds say is “the best.” Others say KBS is good, but it’s all about Sunday Morning Stout, or Big Bad Baptist, or Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, and the list of “the best” goes on and on.
Deciding that there had been enough talk about “the best” barrel aged coffee stout we put them all to a blind taste test. Here are our results!
If you want the results then skip ahead to the next section, but I wanted to first cover how we reached them. We had 18 beers and broke up into 3 separate groups of 4 with each group getting 6 beers. The beers were pulled in a random order and tracked by a non-drinking volunteer. She took our glasses from each table, gave them a quick rinse, and filled them with the next beer all out of sight of the judges.
Each group chose their top 2 beers to go on into a final round. All drinking participants judged each of the 6 beers in the final round. The scores for the final round were then tallied to determine the winning barrel aged coffee stouts.
We chose the list of beers from what we had available in our cellars plus what we thought needed to be included and could hunt down and buy or trade for. I also decided to keep things somewhat reasonable and not include any whales like KBBS or even barrel aged speedway stout. Those may have beaten beers in this list, but they’re just too hard to acquire for most people.
Abita Bourbon Street Coffee Stout
Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
Braxton Dark Charge with Starter Coffee
Clown shoes Breakfast Exorcism
Copper Kettle Barrel Aged Snowed In
Epic Big Bad Baptist
Epic Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti
Jackie O’s Champion Ground
Jackie O’s Coffee Bourbon Barrel Oil of Aphrodite
Lagunitas High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout
Nickel Brook Cafe Del Bastardo
Victory Java Cask
Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout
Wicked Weed El Paraiso
All beers were from the most recent vintages when possible.
Blind Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Results
#6) Copper Kettle Barrel Aged Snowed In
#5) Clown Shoes Breakfast Exorcism
#4) Founder’s KBS
#3) Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout
Perhaps the “standard” hard to get barrel aged coffee stout. A presumed winner by many, but only came in third. The comments were somewhat mixed on this with a few people noting it as having more alcohol heat than others.
#2) Epic Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist
Double Barrel BBB has barrel aged coffee added to the barrel aged coffee stout that is BBB. A few people noted this beer as being more roasty than others.
#1) Nickel Brook Cafe Del Bastardo
This one came as a shocker to all of us. Before the tasting, we were all keeping an eye out for different barrel aged coffee stouts to pick up and that’s how this beer ended up in the tasting. I don’t think any of us knew of Nickel Brook or Cafe Del Bastardo before, so when it won we were all shocked.
Comments focused on the balance between the coffee, bourbon, and chocolate flavors as well as the thick body. I also recall it as standing out as more chocolatey than others.
This beer is still available on some local shelves, but you may have to hunt a bit. BC’s Bottle Lodge in West Chester will be tapping this beer on Thursday, April 27th.
Disagree With Our Result? Do It Yourself!
As I always say with these blind tastings, if you think we did something wrong or think our results are crap and that [insert your favorite beer here] should have won then do your own blind tasting.
Doing your own tastings is, first off lots of fun, but also can verify or contradict our results a lot more thoroughly than you just spouting off in the comment section. Unsure how to do a blind tasting? Luckily I’ve already written a post to guide you through the process, go check it out and then let me know your results!