Oh, to wonder what might have been, for one could be left with nothing but a feeling of anticipation after reading the label of a bottle of Super Nebula from Block 15.

This stout, aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels with roasted cocoa nibs from South America, comes with the promise of a flavor profile that brings together elements of bourbon, toffee, hazelnut and chocolate. Alas, at least in the case of this particular sample, it was not to be.

Block 15 Super Nebula (Episode VI) bottle

Super Nebula is a yearly release that goes on at Block 15 as part of Bourbon Month at the brewery in Corvallis, Ore. The beer was made available on tap and in bottles, with this year’s run placing Super Nebula in 500ml bottles for the first time. Additional packaging was done in 3l bottles as well, though it’s noted that these were limited in supply.

As for this particular 500 ml bottle, anticipation quickly turned to disappointment, perhaps foreshadowed by the all-to-quiet popping of the top and the subsequently lifeless pour that settled into my glass.

Block 15 Super Nebula (Episode VI)

Yes, there was chocolate and bourbon, but there was also soy, acrid barrel char and some other nondescript flavor I just couldn’t put my finger on. Perhaps it was a sign of infection, or something else altogether, but after reading the label alluded to above, I can only conclude it was not as it was meant to be. Beyond that, the beer was somewhat thin in terms of body, which along with the aforementioned lack of carbonation made it a beer that was, both literally and figuratively, difficult to finish.

Block 15 Super Nebula (Episode VI)
BREWERY: Block 15 Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Corvallis, Ore.
STYLE: Imperial stout
ABV: 11.23 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: n/a
RELEASE DATE: February 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
3l bottles
Although I've never had Super Nebula before, it's seems fairly obvious that packaging issues have adversely impacted this beer. That said, while this is wasn't exactly an auspicious introduction to Block 15, I'd certainly try another product from the brewery based on its reputation.
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