Oskar Blues Brewery has produced Ten Fidy Russian imperial stout (10.5 percent ABV) since 2006, and there have been various versions of barrel-aged Ten Fidy going back as far back as 2011, including versions aged in Four Roses barrels, Breckenridge barrels and brandy barrels, just to name a few.
In December 2015, the Longmont, Colo.-based brewery announced it would be releasing a version of its barrel-aged Ten Fidy with coffee to be sold exclusively in crowlers.
Unfortunately, there are conflicting details about the origins of the actual beer itself, although there were two main theories. A representative from Oskar Blues told me that the beer was a blend of the recently released Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy (12.9 percent ABV) and a barrel-aged version of Hotbox Coffee Porter, as well as “pre-barrel aged beans just for kicks.” Hotbox Coffee Porter (6.4 percent ABV) is a a collaboration between Oskar Blues and Hotbox Roasters in Longmont that is brewed with cold-extracted coffee produced from Burundian and Ethiopian beans.
The second prevailing theory is that the beer is the brewery took unroasted green coffee beans and aged them in bourbon barrels before roasting the beans and making cold-brew coffee with them. This cold-brew coffee was then blended with barrel-aged Ten Fidy to create Java TenFidy.
There is also some confusion about the name, with crowlers filled on the same day bearing two different names: some—like all of my samples—had the name Java Fidy, while others sported the name BourBean Java Fidy or BourBean Fidy.
Regardless of the origins, the final beer clocked in at 10.5 percent ABV according to the brewery, and was sold exclusively in 32-ounce crowlers at the Tasty Weasel Taproom starting on Dec. 12, 2015. Each crowler retailed for $25, and there was no purchase limit. According to Alli Menotz, event marketing coordinator for Oskar Blues, 33 five-gallon kegs of the JavaFidy were brewed.
You have heard the description of a beer pouring like motor oil? I usually shy away from such descriptions, the BourBean Java Ten Fidy looks just like motor oil: viscous and thick, along with two fingers of mocha brown head that sticks around for quite a while, eventually leaving a substantial lacing behind. Aroma from the glass is a combination of strong, rich coffee beans, bourbon, oak, dark chocolate and vanilla sweetness.
From the first taste, I knew this was going to be a great beer, with notes of bourbon and vanilla sweetness, roasted coffee beans, creamy oak, malts, dark cocoa and slight nuts. Interestingly, the coffee note is not as strong as I was expecting after what I smelled in the aroma, but it is still strong enough to be be a fairly major part of the beer, and is integrated nicely into the overall profile.
In addition, I just can’t say enough about the mouthfeel of this beer. Thick and creamy, it coats your mouth every time you take a sip, and the low carbonation just adds the the feeling. There is plenty of heat from the bourbon as well, and while it never got close to overwhelming, it is definitely noticeable, especially on the finish.