A while ago, Ryan Morrow, who is brewmaster at Nickel Brook, handed me some beers to check out (too long ago, my apologies Ryan). I have never really gone crazy for a Nickel Brook beer; I’ve never had a bad one (like spoiled, infected etc), but the lager and green apple pilsner just never really set my world on fire either. So I had never gone out of my way to do a review, but Ryan is a great guy, and has been brewing up some new and exciting things. So when he handed me a few of the more recent brews, I was stoked to get to try them. Then life kind of happened, and, like I said, too long later I’m actually posting reviews. I’ve had the Headstock IPA around town, and it’s quite good, so that bodes well. Up first, the Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout. Admittedly, a big bold beer to be making, so let’s see how it stands up.
From a 341 bottle, Bolshevik Bastard pours a solid opaque black with about 1/2″ of tan head that dropped to a ring and left a bit of lace. Aroma is nice, a bit spice with some clove and licorice. There is some burnt notes from the grains hinting at burnt sugar, and a nice bit of astringent alcohol heat. Taste is quite nice, lots of burnt sugar and now a good dose of licorice. This licorice aroma and taste is really getting in my head, and I’m really liking it. I’ve noted it in varying degrees in other Imperial Stouts, but something about this particular one is is striking me as especially pleasant. It’s subtle enough to not scare you off (anise flavours can be pretty aggressive) but present enough, there is no doubt it’s there. Very nice. The smoke and sweetness in the grains are in good balance; it’s not campfire and it’s not cloying. Not as hoppy as some North American Russian Imperial Stouts, but there is some nice tannin-like drying notes that are definitley from the hops. As it warms up a bit more, there is more heat from the booze, as well as some coffee flavours coming out. There is a nice prickly carbonation that keeps things from becoming heavy on the tongue, but it isn’t soda pop fizzy. A very nice Russian Imperial Stout, and a great offering from the brewery. As Mike Warner noted, it looks like Nickel Brook is breaking through a barrier, so we should expect good things from them coming up.
Cheers to Ryan and the crew at Nickel Brook!
About The Brewery
Nickel Brook began as a family business after brothers John and Peter took their passion for brewing, which began with their fathers home brewing, and opened their own brew your own beer business over 18 years ago. After brewing custom made beer in very small batches for many years, they decided to offer their passion for custom brewing to a wider audience. Better Bitters Brewing Company began offering our Nickel Brook brands of beer in 2005. True to our past we began developing some beers which are quite unique. From our Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsner and Organic Lager, to our Organic White, Cuvee Strong Spiced Ale and Maple Porter, made with pure Ontario maple syrup. Our state of the art equipment naturally carbonates our beers, eliminating the injection of industrially manufactured, petroleum based carbon dioxide. Our commitment to quality combined with the finest ingredients and ultra modern equipment helps us produce the greatest beers for you.