6/4/22: Jackie O's Pub and Brewery's Coffee Bourbon Barrel Black Maple

11:08 AM

Wow. Turns out all of May slipped by without a single post. I think I've only missed an entire month once or twice (I can't be bothered to go check). Anyway, I'm here today with a special something, the kind of something that'd usually be reserved for a November post. Yet, I couldn't help myself.

Today, I'm taking a look at Jackie O's' coffee variant of my favorite beer: Bourbon Barrel Black Maple. I've had this before, when it was a draft-only offering (which was in 2017!). Fast-forward five years and Jackie O's is making dreams come true. Today's bottle isn't hitting distro, but you can order it directly from the brewery (as long as they're able to ship to you). Let's see how she's drinking.

I've talked a lot about Jackie O's in the past (here's a link to all my posts about them). So, to keep it short, all I'll say here is that they're Athens, OH's first brewery and very award-winning. And for good reason. Oh, and when I was in college they did $2 draft nights, which, fool that I was, I only took advantage of a handful of times. Here's their official "Our Story" page.

Coffee Bourbon Barrel Black Maple (CBBBM) has this page on the brewery's website. It's a 11.5% ABV (the '17 version was 12.1%) maple-adjunct imperial porter with nutty notes that rested in bourbon barrels for 10 months (your standard Bourbon Barrel Black Maple). The resulting beer was then conditioned on Ethiopian light roast coffee before being bottled.

The porter's nose is damn near perfection. It has the standard BBBM bouquet (per my post on it, this is: "...the bourbon barrels in which the porter rested, oak, vanilla, and some booze [not as much as you might be inclined to think]...maple syrup, brown sugar, and coffee. Beneath this second layer lurks dark fruit [some plum, som fig], dark chocolate, nuttiness [walnut and mild pecan], dense fudge, and a touch--only a touch--of molasses") with a subtle, inviting note of coffee lingering beneath all that BBBM goodness. I love it. Purrl loves it too! She gave my bottle twelve whiffs.

Despite the coffee addition, CBBBM's still a sweet beer. The maple syrup's here in full force, and the whole affair boasts flavors of fudge and plum. There's a light smokiness that mingles with some milk chocolate. I'm also getting oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrels. Then, in the finish (the incredibly long finish) the coffee appears, mild, roasty, and earthy. It's delicious. And, as you'd probably guess with a beer like this, there's a hearty boozy undercurrent to everything, warm and strong.

CBBBM's mouthfeel is soft and smooth. I know I'm drinking my bottle in late-spring, but this would be a killer beer to crack open in late-fall or winter.

Let me take a minute here to talk about the first time I had this beer. Remember how I said the '17 offer was draft-only? That meant you could only get it at Jackie O's locations. I wasn't living in Athens at the time and the brewery wasn't allowed to ship their product back then.

Fortunately for me, I was scheduled for a camping trip in the Hocking Hills region the weekend the beer dropped. So, on my way to the campsite, I swung into Athens and hit up the Jackie O's Taproom and Brewery. I bought a few bottles of the standard BBBM, some of the Vanilla BBBM, and a corresponding t-shirt and sticker. When I told the guy behind the bar how far I'd traveled to get the taproom (something like two-and-a-half to three hours), he gave me a free pour of the Coffee variant. After we both lamented that it was a draft-only beer and I finished my glass, I headed off to the campground.

Now that it's not draft-only, I officially can't overstate how much I love this beer. The base imperial porter is perfection. With the addition of coffee conditioning, it transcends perfection, moving into new perfect beer territory. I know I typically rate beers higher than your average beer blogger/reviewer. That's because, well, I like beer (as the blog's name plainly states). But I can't see how anyone would give Jackie O's Coffee Bourbon Barrel Black Maple anything less than a perfect score. Beers like this just don't come around with any sort of frequency. It's a 10/10 for me. I'm certain it'd be the same for you, too.

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