I had just recently discovered Prairie Okie and was very much blown away by it. When I heard that there was a coffee version of it coming, I put it on my calendar and waited patiently. When I knew it was here I checked all the usual suspects and found none of it. I gave up. I figured it had come and gone. Then one day I had wandered into my local Total Wine and there it was sitting up front, one per customer. “Total score!” I thought. Then I went perusing the shelves for other goodies only to discover that the Coffee Okie was there in abundance and unlimited. The price was steep for a 12 ounce beer, which is why I figured they weren’t flying off the shelves. However, I had high hopes for this beer, knowing how good the regular Okie was, and I was not disappointed. After sampling this gem, I was shocked that it wasn’t flying off the shelves. The coffee addition to the already complex flavors in the base Okie (ie: rich malts intermingled with whiskey barrel aging) was a perfect marriage of flavors. I put up there with some of the best coffee beers, including BCBCS and Founders Breakfast Stout.
The pour was similar to the base Okie: very dark brown with a fleeting head. However, the aroma was something else entirely. Where the base Okie had subtler hints of sweet brown sugar, this one had an immediate strong coffee bouquet (similar to Founders Breakfast Stout) and perhaps a hint of roasted almonds. The taste was extraordinarily complex. My first thought was “Okie on steroids”. But after a couple of sips I realized that this was something beyond that. The coffee was a perfect addition to the already strong brown ale aged in whiskey barrels. Surprisingly the coffee was not as prominent in the taste as the aroma. It was well balanced throughout with the whiskey coming at the finish. There were hints of almonds. If there were malts in there they were obscured by the other very complex and bold flavors. The body was medium to heavy with a nice bit of carbonation to balance the whiskey finish.
This brew would be a little difficult to drink bottle after bottle simply due to the 13% ABV. But I would definitely sip it slowly and could easily enjoy a few bottles over the course of an evening. It is a phenomenal brown ale and if you like the complexity the coffee adds to a beer, this one is absolutely not to be missed.