Epic Big Bad Baptist and Squatters Juicy Imperial IPA | Drink | Salt Lake City Weekly

Epic Big Bad Baptist and Squatters Juicy Imperial IPA 

Two new ales that bring big, bold flavors.

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  • Mike Riedel

Epic - Big Bad Baptist (Chocolate Caramel, Sea Salt): This beer pours solid black, yet with prominent amber basal edges, and three fingers of puffy, rocky and somewhat fizzy brown head, which leaves some disintegrating iceberg-profile lace around the glass as it eventually recedes. It smells of Bourbon right off the bat (like I'm sticking my nose into a tumbler of the stuff), bready and doughy caramel malt, liquor-infused toffee candies, bittersweet cocoa powder, real vanilla, a touch of cafe-au-lait and some plain leafy, weedy and well-perfumed green hop bitters.

The taste is rather sweet Bourbon (not just the barrel, the actual whiskey), medium dark chocolate, gritty and grainy caramel malt, bloated saltwater taffy, heavily-creamed coffee, a wisp of wet char, subtle dark orchard fruity notes, and more weak, earthy, leafy and soused-up floral verdant hoppiness. The carbonation is pretty laid-back in its genteel-seeming frothiness, the 12 percent ABV has body of an average weight, and it's mostly smooth, in that same cognitively dissonant manner that one finds brown spirits "smooth." It finishes on the sweet side, naturally, with the Bourbon shot experience now joined at the hip with the big-boy stout revue.

Verdict: Barrel aside—this is certainly one of the more balanced barrel-aged stouts that I have ever come across—it slowly morphs with the base Imperial stout, with the cocoa and caramel parts creating a very pleasant and sometimes decadent Skor bar feel. You don't notice the sea salt, though I suspect if it was missing, you'd probably find this much too sweet.

Squatters - Juicy Imperial IPA: Well, there are a whole lot of descriptors listed on the side of this new Imperial IPA, but nothing about what the actual hops are. It seems to have everything though: mango, grapefruit, dank, sticky, pungent, kiwi, citrus, pithy, orange, nectar, and guava are just a few of my descriptors.

It's definitely hazy, and it's light in color—a straw-gold/yellow beneath a full head of white foam. The aroma is pungent and pithy, and a touch piney. I'm getting guava, as well, and orange; there's a very tropical wind vibe to it. I can only hope that the taste will be able to compare.

It's not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be, and I'm finding some coconut, which is welcome but not on the list of pretty much everything else they could think of to describe it. Back to the specifics, though, I'm finding orange and grapefruit, citrus pith, and mango. That coconut is still there, though. It's OK, though fairly thin—let's call it light-medium in body—and crisp. With near zero IBUs, I think it works quite well. Thankfully, the 7.8 percent alcohol requires a sweeter base to keep the beer from becoming too boozy and hot.

Verdict: This is an enjoyable Imperial IPA, for sure, hitting all of the notes that the juicy IPA lovers are looking for. The body will put some purists off, as it comes in on the low side of medium, and it does finish with a soda pop-like spritziness. Again, it doesn't detract from the juicy flavors, but it might be a thing for some. On a hot day, I'd certainly enjoy one or two of these.

This brand-new Imperial IPA from Squatters comes in 16-ounce cans, and can be found at Wasatch/Squatters Beer store and tavern. I enjoyed it at Salt Lake Brewing Co. (formerly Squatters). As for Epic's BBB Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, you find it in 16-ounce cans as well, alongside its five other BBB variants at DABS stores or at the brewery. As always, cheers!

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About The Author

Mike Riedel

Mike Riedel

Local boy and pilot of City Weekly’s best gig, The Beer Nerd column since 2017. Current photojournalist at KSTU TV (Fox 13) and host of the Utah Beer Blog and Beer Nerd Radio on KUAA 99.9 FM radio.

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