I scored an Epic Triple Double this weekend!

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2017-11-18_15-11-00_432If you are into basketball at all, you know what a Triple Double is.  For those who are not basketball fans, a Triple Double is when a player achieves double digits (i.e. 10 or more) in three of the major statistical categories – points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.  Achieving a Triple Double is a difficult feat for most and is usually reserved for the more skilled players.

I’m excited to share the news that I scored a Stout Triple Double this weekend – thanks to the good people at Epic Brewing!  I enjoyed their Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist and their Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist all in the same weekend!

Epic has really upped their Stout game in the past couple of years.  Their OG or franchise Stout is Big Bad Baptist (BBB) – a coffee stout that is barrel aged.  The neat thing about BBB is that each year the Epic brewmasters choose a different coffee to add to the base BBB stout, creating different “releases”.  Each release has it’s own flavor profile which makes each release different, unique, and makes for some tasty release comparisons!

Two years ago they introduced Son of a Baptist (SoB), a non barrel aged coffee stout.  With SoB,  Epic partnered with a number of regionally located coffee roasters to simultaneously release different regional variants.   Last year, the Baptist family expanded with Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist and Big Bad Baptista.   Double Barrel introduced the concept of Barrel Aged Coffee to the Baptist lineup while Baptista is Epic’s salute to Mexico with the addition of cinnamon, vanilla, cacao nibs and a blend of Mexican coffees!

I must admit that Big Bad Baptista was my favorite — until Epic went one step further and introduced Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist this year.  Triple Barrel is an intoxicating 2017-11-18_15-12-47_336nectar of barrel aged Stout (Big Bad Baptist), barrel aged coffee, and barrel aged coconut!!   Yes, you read that right!  Epic put shaved coconut into barrels and let the coconut absorb the flavors that barrels can impart over time.  They also added some rum barrels into the aging process and the result is magic.

Opening up a bottle of Triple Barrel BBB the first aroma is coconut.  The flavor profile are complex layers of coffee, rum, coconut, whiskey, chocolate all wrapped around a wonderful base Stout.  The mouthfeel is just right and the swallow is smooth with just a hint of the coconut.  It was one of those Stouts that you are actually sad when the bottle is empty!

2017-11-19_15-04-01_247Next up is the Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist.  It’s Big Bad Baptist with the addition of barrel aged coffee……coffee that’s been aged in whiskey barrels.  A totally different flavor profile,  more boozy and less sweet than Triple Barrel, as you might expect.  However, I can taste more of the base stout than I could with the Triple Barrel.   I 2017-11-19_15-07-23_595suspect that’s what the Epic brewmasters were hoping for…very different flavor profiles across the Baptist family.  Just what a family should be…..same stout heritage, but different personalities!

At the end of it….do I have a new favorite?  Well, like a parent, the right answer is that they are all good in their own way.    Epic really has their act together when it comes to stouts…… the Triple Barrel Stout has the perfect balance of coconut sweetness and barrel aging.  Big Bad Baptista has the spice profile that I really like.  Double Barrel has a great profile of barrel aged coffee and BBB.   Lastly, the OG Big Bad Baptist hits the sweet spot for a barrel aged coffee Stout.   As in any family, you don’t have a preferred child; you love them all the same yet each have their different personalities.  While each has their positives, my favorite (for now) is Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist.  The sweetness of the coconut really complements the bourbon flavor and the faint rum barrel flavor added an entirely new dimension to the aroma and taste. I’m glad I have another bottle to sample and review in the coming months!!

I’m proud of my Epic Triple Double this weekend!  It was quite the taste journey and I would be happy to take that trip again!!

Until next time….have a stoutstanding week!!

 

 

 

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My 2nd Annual Epic Weekend!

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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 2016-12-02_17-21-18_857just 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 2016-12-03_15-39-44_970them 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 2016-12-04_15-10-24_906differentiates 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!!