Oskar Blues and Cigar City's Bamburana Is a Spicy-Sweet Barrel-Aged StoutFebruary 21, 2019
The advent of the barrel-aged imperial stout was a seminal craft beer moment. The sweet notes of vanilla and caramel took stout somewhere new, and an entire category of “whales” was born. In 2019, the category is now less a rare treasure and more a pleasant and reliable seasonal for many brewers. Given all that, how can a pair of smart brewers stand out in a saturated category? With their decadent new two-brewery, two-barrel stout, Oskar Blues and Cigar City look to find the answer.
Bamburana’s can art is bold, busy, and fun, with a pumpkin orange font over a dark barrel pattern. The beer pours as a very dark and opaque near-black. It has a dark brown head and foam collar which lingers over medium carbonation.
Do you like spice cake? How about sticky toffee or rum raisin bread pudding? It’s all lingering in the sweet nose of Bamburana. The barrel notes of cinnamon and vanilla lead here, along with big fig, date, and raisin flavors. There’s caramel, oaky wood, and even a bit of citrus fruit from the hops. It is hard to overstate the richness and sweet dessert profile of the aromatics here.
Bamburana is a serious but sweet dessert stout that’s a dream companion to a dessert course or sipped slowly as a nightcap.”
The Amburana wood brings a lot of sweet vanilla to this burly and boozy stout, and there’s some oaky spice from the barrels, too. Dark fruit flavors from the added figs and dates add to the feeling that the beer is a liquid winter dessert. There’s also a bit of toast and some bitterness on the finish from the stout recipe. The drier profile of the brandy barrels helps to balance the long and velvety finish.
Collaborations should lead to a beer that’s unique and surprising, and Bamburana certainly succeeds by those metrics. They’ve used unusual barrels and wood spirals to create a serious but sweet dessert stout that’s a dream companion to a dessert course or sipped slowly as a nightcap.