Opa Opa Coconut & Hazelnut Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged)


rating_basement45 points


That was the typical reaction after the panel tasted Opa Opa’s ridiculously long titled “Coconut and Hazelnut Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged).”

Okay, I may be exaggerating our reaction slightly to draw the readers in…much in the same way Opa Opa seemingly exaggerated with its promise of coconut, hazelnut, bourbon…and, well, stout.

In all opaopacoconuthazelnuthonesty, we should have clued in to the palate disaster waiting for us from the extremely small font used on the label to note the bourbon barrel aging of the beer.

If I were a brewer, anything I barrel-aged would most certainly be proclaimed loudly and proudly on the packaging.  Designating such small font doesn’t give justice to the time intensive process of barrel aging.

However,  after tasting this beer, we understood why such a nondescript font size was utilized.  Not one panelist noted the word bourbon on their tasting sheet.  So absent was bourbon from this brew that the word wasn’t even used to note the nonexistence of its flavor.

If we had to guess, the barrel aging process probably involved placing the pre-bottled beer next to a bourbon barrel and hoping the essence would soak in due to proximity…similar to the way The Basement Beer Tastings hopes to soak in readers due to our search engine proximity to more highly touted beer review websites.  Alas in both cases, it’s not happening.

Since I’ve already let the cat out of the bag about the beer’s taste, I might as well continue with the savory descriptors the panelists used in describing CHIS’s flavor.  (Yup, I’m referring to this as CHIS because having to write “Coconut and Hazelnut Imperial Stout” multiple times is just going to infuriate me.)

Sour, bitter and chemical burn were the highlights of the panelists’ views on taste.  Even the mouthfeel was rather lackluster, with most finding CHIS to be fizzy, light, and watery.

As bad as that seems, it doesn’t compare to the fact that the most common word used to describe the smell was “paint.”  More specifically, latex paint.  On the other hand, at least no one described the smell as lead paint.

Aftertaste was the one area where a scant trace of CHIS’s namesake appeared.  Some panelists were able to detect very light coconut, though it wasn’t enough to redeem the brew or change the harsh opinions that were being formed.  As such, drinkability did not turn out favorably.

Now, observant reader, you may have noticed that appearance has yet to be discussed.  That’s because I’ve decided to save the best for last.  Literally.

The best part of this beer was the appearance, with the panel noting its dark color, reddish hues and carbonation.  And while it didn’t stack up to the appearance of most of the other evening’s selections, we can’t say that CHIS is all bad.

Actually, as our current lowest rated imperial stout, I’m going to say exactly that.  Opa Opa Coconut and Hazelnut Imperial Stout (Bourbon Barrel Aged) is all bad.

Perhaps in addition to the small font size, Opa Opa might consider adding an asterisk to their labeling.  At least that way consumers will be properly warned about the contents within.

(Appearance 8.2, Smell 4.2, Mouthfeel 2, Taste 11.4, Aftertaste 9, Drinkability 10.6)

Opa Opa CHIS (Bourbon Barrel Aged)

App. (10)

Smell (10) Mouth. (5) Taste  (25) After. (20) Drink. (30) Total (100)
Jon 9 6 2 17 14 15 63
Mike 8 4 2 12 9 14 49
Rick 9 5 2 12 10 9 47
Bob 7 3 2 12 8 10 42
Amy 8 3 2 4 4 5 26
Average: 8.2 4.2 2. 11.4 9. 10.6 45.4