Has it only been three years since Prairie Bomb! hit the scene and changed the Oklahoma beer landscape? I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that, as that beer really put Oklahoma on the map nationally, and helped rocket Prairie to prominence. For the occasion, Prairie brewed up a limited Birthday Bomb! with handcrafted caramel sauce added, to add that little taste of birthday cake to their signature brew.
Company: Prairie Artisan Ales
Location: Tulsa, OK
ABV: 13% ABV
Style/Description: Imperial Stout Aged on Coffee, Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Beans and Chili Peppers
Price: $9 per 12 oz bottle
Appearance: Dark coffee opaque pour, tight tan head and some lace.
Nose: Sugary milk chocolate aroma, with hints of coffee and roast. Some vanilla and caramel. Maybe it’s just that this is Birthday Bomb! but I’m getting some icing as well.
Taste: The first thing I notice is definitely the sweetness. This Bomb! is much sweeter than the original, which is saying something as a very sweet base beer. The caramel sauce added lends plenty of, well, caramel and treacle notes, with a sugary sweetness that masks much of the coffee and cocoa nibs and all of the pepper heat. There is vanilla flavors mixing with the caramel to give it that vague cake icing notes that I was getting on the nose. There really isn’t any alcohol warmth to speak of, though that usually is mild in the base beer considering it is 13%. The mouth is a bit stickier and thicker than the original. Carb is perhaps a bit lower, lending to the sticky mouth.
Finish: Sticky sweet finish, lingering in the mouth, with a few smoky hints of pepper once it goes down. A bit phlegmy on the back of the palate, with notes of dark chocolate.
Overall: Bomb! and Pirate Bomb! are some of my favorite beers of all time, and I’m always looking forward to trying new variants. In an adjunct stout that is already packed with flavor, there is definitely the danger of over doing it. That being said, this beer is tasty and interesting, but comes off as a bit on the sickly sweet side. The caramel pushes the brew towards cloying, without getting into over the top barley wine sweetness territory. An enjoyable beer to be sure, but perhaps throws off the balance of the original Bomb!