Champion Ground is a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, brewed with coffee, by Athens, Ohio’s Jackie O’s. Light amount of coffee flavor. The lacing on the glass is light tan to very moderate brown. The overall nose of Champion Ground has a good amount of coffee that is mingled with brown sugar and toasted malt elements. Perhaps most surprising about Champion Ground is how little of a head the stout pours with; this is one dark and gnarly brew. The time spent in bourbon barrels does Champion Ground well, as the bite imbued by the barrels moderates some of the sweeter elements that present themselves in stouts.
The alcohol bite contributed by the 11% ABV mark of the brew adds further complexity to Champion Ground. There is a good hot burn that gradually smooths itself out to a potent but silken effort. Jackie O’s Champion Ground utilizes coffee from Columbus’ Stauf’s Coffee Roasters; the Jamaican Blue Mountain variety used here feels right. While there are a number of things happening in each sip, there is a cohesion that makes the final sip of each bottle of Champion Ground as inviting and enticing as it was when the cap popped off. This would pair well with strongly-flavored cuisine (e.g. Brazilian, Indian, Italian) as it has enough snap to clean an imbiber’s palette.
For a full range of information about Jackie O’s year-round and seasonal offerings, visit their website. The brewery’s Facebook and Twitter profiles are great resources for those looking to find out additional information about special bottle releases or major events like the just-passed 11th Anniversary Extravaganza. We’ll be taking a look at Jackie O’s Wood Ya Honey with Nuts next time, a bourbon barrel aged wheatwine that is jazzed up with the eponymous inclusion.