Welcome to Beer Tastings, a weekly series in which Utah Beer News highlights a particularly tasty local brew. This week we celebrate the beginning of so-called “Baptist Season” by sipping a Big Bad Baptist imperial stout from Epic Brewing. What are you drinking? Let us know!
Beer Tastings: Big Bad Baptist
Big Bad Baptist imperial stout by Epic Brewing Company is a beer to behold.
It’s one of Utah’s highest-rated beers, though each iteration — or “release” — is slightly different.
Aromas are of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and whiskey-soaked oak. Flavors include the same coffee roastiness, with bitter dark chocolate and hints of vanilla.
As you’d expect, the imperial stout pours nearly pitch black. It’s topped with a frothy graham-cracker-crust head.
Big Bad Baptist warms your mouth, but the booze isn’t overly pronounced, thanks to the imperial stout’s complex flavor layers. It’s aged in whiskey barrels and this batch features cacao nibs and Utah’s own Caffe Ibis coffee.
It’s the beer that’s spawned many-a-spinoff — Big Bad Baptista, Son of a Baptist, etc. — but the original Big Bad Baptist will always hold a special place in the hearts of imperial stout fans.
In his article on winter/holiday beers, Dave Baker provides tasting notes for Release #101, which is similar to this batch.
- Brewery: Epic Brewing
- ABV: 11.8%
- Serving Style: Bottle (22 ounce, Release #100)
- Date Tasted: November 1, 2018
- Purchase Location: Epic Brewing (Salt Lake City)
Epic Brewing: Big Beers
When a Utah law changed in 2008, David Cole and Peter Erickson pounced.
The California entrepreneurs, who had long done business in Utah, sought to brew so-called “strong beers.”
The change in state law, which went into effect in 2009, now allowed brewers to sell beer on-site at their brewery.
Epic has made a name for itself in brewing award-winning higher-alcohol beers. More recently, it began brewing so-called “session” beers, which conform to Utah’s 4% ABV draft limitations.
And just last month, the 825 S. State Street location in Salt Lake City remodeled its famed “tap-less taproom” to deliver beer on draft. It expanded seating from six to 20 and, yes, added taps from which to pour its 4% beers.
Big Bad Baptist — Epic Brewing
Product Name: Big Bad Baptist
Product Description: Notes from Epic Brewing on Release #100 of Big Bad Baptist imperial stout: Brew Date: 2/21/2018 Pack Date: 8/21/2018 Brewery: Salt Lake City Malt: Maris Otter Malt, 2-Row Brewer Malt, Crystal, Light Munich Malt T1, 2-Row chocolate malt, 2-row black malt, roasted barley Boil: Nugget, Chinook, Cascade Spices: Caffe Ibis and Cocoa Nibs
“Baptist Season” is upon us, according to Epic Brewing’s marketing arm. Seek out the “Quad” barrel-aged release, but don’t sleep on the original Big Bad Baptist imperial stout.
- Aroma: Roasted coffee and slight whiskey-soaked oak
- Appearance: Nearly pitch black with a toasty graham-cracker-crust head
- Flavor: Coffee, bitter dark chocolate and some vanilla
- Mouthfeel: Warms the mouth without overarching booziness
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Notes: The tasting notes format is adapted from a Homebrew Academy Beer Tasting Mastery course I took in 2017. Utah Beer News is not compensated in any way for beers mentioned in the Tastings series.