Earlier this week, Bill reviewed Nickel Brook Brewing Co.’s Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout. Taking that one step further, today we’re having a look at its bigger brother, the Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout 2016 Vintage edition.

Taking the Bolshevik Bastard as a starting point, Nickel Brook age the beer for over a year in Kentucky bourbon barrels. This gives it an extremely smooth, warm, roll-off-the-tongue finish.

However, Nickel Brook took 500 bottles of the 2016 version, and stored it away for another year, to allow the flavours to meld even further. The result? Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout, 2016 vintage.

And man, what a difference a year makes.

Pouring an extremely dark, thick stout, right away you can smell the bourbon wafting from the bottle and glass and you know this is going to be a taste adventure.

Mixing a malty vanilla, oak, coffee, and mocha with the warming alcohol of the bourbon barrel delivers something truly special. If you need a beer for the cold weather, this is it!

The extra year maturing has added an additional kick to what was already a pretty strong beer. When this was released in 2016, the ABV was sitting at 11.9%, if I recall (though some online sites had it sitting at 10%). One year later, and that’s risen to 14.5%.

  • Update: Thanks to the clarification from Rob Hogg in the comments, that the bottle shipped at 14.5% ABV when launched last year. My bad!

The result is a kick you might be expecting, but it still hits you hard, as you’ll see from my reaction to the first sip in the video below!

I really can’t say enough good things about this ale. Sure, it’s $30 a bottle, but when only 500 are released, and the result is something as beautiful as this, it’s worth every penny.


  • ABV: 14.5%
  • IBU: 70
  • Style: Dark, strong, Imperial stout
  • Rating: 5/5
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Danny Brown
Founder of The Craft Beer Diaries. Husband. Father. Part-time procrastinator. On a mission to help others discover the delight of, and passion behind, great craft beer. Favourite beers: IPAs, Belgian Trappist, porters.
Danny Brown
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