Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
Have we finally surpassed peak bourbon-aged stout? Once a whale of the highest order, you can now find a number of excellent bourbon-aged stouts on store shelves without camping out on Black Friday or encountering purchase limits. As the rarity fades, drinkers are left with the reality that these beers are rich, (rightfully) expensive, and in most climates, only seasonally appropriate a few months a year. If you love the category, though, it’s tough to think of a better beer to barrel-age than Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. With dominant dark malt and roasty flavors, it’s a great recipe to build upon.
While the artwork for Ten Fidy is pretty standard for Oskar Blues, the distinct “stovepipe” 19.2 ounce can is certainly distinctive. The barrel-aged stout pours a solid, opaque black—it’s as dark as the scale gets. There’s a large foam collar with a distinct bourbon brown color, along with fast-rising carbonation.
The brewery highlights eight months of barrel aging for this edition of Ten Fidy, and the beer’s aroma reflects it. This is a monster nose of caramel, coconut, fig, and vanilla, with a touch of roasted coffee and Luxardo cherry for good measure. There’s also a bit of Red Hots cinnamon candy and brown sugar. As the beer’s temperature warms, the oak notes recede a bit and the stout character comes through more strongly.
Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy is well worth a purchase even at the premium pricing.”
This is a boozy beer. There’s simply nowhere to hide 12.9% ABV. The palate’s big surprise is a dominant flavor of black licorice. The bourbon barrel influence is rather overt—this stout tastes like oaky, spicy bourbon. There’s some lemon and orange fruitiness and winter spice from the hops, and big malty flavors of dark chocolate, well-done toast, and some coffee. The finish is exceptionally long, with a pleasant bitterness.
Aficionados of Bourbon County should grab a stovepipe of Barrel Aged Ten Fidy for a side-by-side “best in class” comparison with friends. To our palate, Ten Fidy leans more toward the signature bitter and roasted Russian imperial stout flavors, with the anise flavor being a key difference. Both beers are standard-bearers for this style, and Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy is well worth a purchase even at the premium pricing.