Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017 Advent Beer 12: Nickel Brook's Half Bastard Stout

It was only after photographing the label and noticing the pseudo-cyrillic lettering that I finally twigged to the fact that this is a sequel of sorts to 2013's brilliant Bolshevik Bastard. BB was one of my favourite beers from that calendar and I came across it afterwards a couple of times as well.

Half Bastard is an attempt to keep the characteristics of a Russian Imperial Stout but with a much lower ABV, 4.5%. As RISs are one of my favourite styles, this strikes me as a potentially worthwhile effort. I say 'potentially' because in some ways that high ABV is a feature of Imperial Stouts, not a detriment. But regardless, like the man in this criminally underwatched video (made here in Alberta!) says: I like stouts; that's what I'm about.

On to the beer though; another foamy bugger, this one, that takes a while to pour. Some coffee and a bit of chocolate come through on the nose, along with a hint of something tangy...hops maybe? Only a sip will tell!

First impression is not good, sad to say - the coffee bitterness is followed by a sour flavour I was not expecting. Further sips and a bit of online research leads me to believe this beer is 'infected'. Sigh. This is not to say the beer is undrinkable, lambics and other sour beers are intentionally infected by wild yeast all the time. But in my case at least, it this one unfinishable Half Bastard.

Still, should I come across this one again, (preferably in a can, as apparently bottling can be the cause of infection), my faith in Nickel Brook, and my deep and abiding love for stouts, are sufficient enough to justify another attempt.

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