Long time readers of this blog will recall my post back in May that reviewed the release of Epic Brewing’s Son of a Baptist, a non barrel aged version of Big Bad Baptist brewed with a assortment of local coffee beans. Here in North Carolina, we were treated to the version made with Larry’s Coffee. That was a wonderful stout and a great weekend!
Fast forward to today…..the innovative brewmasters at Epic recently decided to add a couple of members to the Baptist family:
–Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist, where the green coffee beans are aged in bourbon barrels for an added punch of bourbon depth and flavor
–Big Bad Baptista, where Big Bad Baptist travels to Mexico and adds cinnamon, vanilla, special cacao nibs and Mexican coffee to complement the Big Bad Baptist Stout flavor
The good people at Epic (thanks Matthew!) provided me with an early preview of these relatives of Big Bad Baptist for which I am very thankful for. I set aside this weekend to sample each and provide my feedback/thoughts.
Friday – Big Bad Baptist (release #73)
As always, Big Bad Baptist delivers an amazing taste experience. This is a Stout that has just the right flavor notes. This release of BBB used the Guatemalan Blend of Blue Copper Coffee which provided a nice smoothness to the overall taste. While there definitely is a barrel flavor to BBB, there is also a smoothness to it. The coffee and the cocoa nibs really help to balance the taste. As I’ve said before, Big Bad Baptist is one of my go to Stouts, as I can always count on it’s amazing taste and consistency. It’s one of my baseline standard Stouts and is one that I can count on when I just need that reset as to what a barrel aged Stout should taste like.
Saturday – Big Bad Baptista (release #1)
Not sure what to expect, but after tasting and savoring the spices and flavors, this is my clear favorite. I must admit to having a bias toward Stouts with some flavor and spice to them so it’s not altogether surprising that Baptista had me at hello. From the first sip to the final swallow, I was mesmerized. Cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa nibs and coffee notes took over and really captured all of my senses. Baptista hit all of the right notes for me and I can’t wait to open another bottle! This was the best of the weekend.
Sunday – Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist (release #1)
After Baptista, I wasn’t sure what to expect. DBBBB differentiates itself by using coffee beans that were aged in bourbon barrels, adding additional complexity and depth. I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to differentiate DBBBB from BBB, but indeed I could. It’s tough to explain, but DBBBB had a bit more “woodiness” to it versus BBB. It was quite enjoyable to savor this on a Sunday afternoon watching NFL RedZone. DBBBB engaged me and is a worthy relative of BBB!
After taste testing all three, it was clear that they are all different from each other and hit different taste profiles. For me, Big Bad Baptista was the clear winner, but I could also understand how others would be attracted to Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist or Big Bad Baptist, as each are complex and have taste profiles and characteristics that are attractive.
That’s the beauty about the art and science of brewing Stouts. The variations of coffee, cocoa nibs, malts, and other added variants can make such an incredible difference in the nose and taste of a Stout. Throw in the variations of barrel aging – the type of barrel (bourbon, scotch, rum, wine, tequila), the distiller and the time spent in the barrel all also impact the depth of flavor and the taste. Some have a wonderful smoothness to them, others have a bit of a bite to them which tend to mellow over time.
The brewmasters at Epic certainly seem to have the recipe down….they stay true to what makes Big Bad Baptist so successful yet are willing to venture out and introduce us to others in the Baptist family. Usually there are some bad apples in every family, but as far as I’m concerned, every Epic Baptist Stout is one that I would seek out!
Thanks to the good people at Epic Brewing, I’ve been baptized again! Thanks again for the early release and keep up the incredible work!! I’m already looking forward to my next Epic weekend!!