Cascade Vlad The Imp Aler - Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub

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Cascade Vlad The Imp AlerCascade Vlad The Imp Aler

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650 Ratings
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Ratings: 650
Reviews: 158
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 9.15%
Wants: 485
Gots: 192 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hopdog on 12-09-2008

A blend of oak barrel-aged 23- and 25-degree Plato sour blonde quadrupel with sour bourbon barrel tripel and sour strong spiced blonde. Wild yeast was added during the barrel aging.

First Release: 9.5% ABV
Second Release (Sept 2010): 10.6% ABV
Third Release: 2011 - 10.91%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 | Reviews: 158
Reviews by pwoods:
Photo of pwoods
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged brown bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an orangish light copper with good clarity. Decent head on the pour with a thin skim of retention. Some lacing.

S: Tart and sour notes of tangerines and apricots. Some if the spices pole through as well as some of the alcohol and very light bourbon. Not much funk.

T/M: More tart and sour fruits. Spices are still there. Not very dry and crisp with a bit fuller mouthfeel and only mild to medium carbonation. There's also something slightly off... Maybe burnt plastic? It's almost undetectable.

D: Not a bad American wild but not cascade's best, either. I wouldn't mind trying this vintage again in a couple years but I don't think I want to trade what it takes to land one of these.

More User Reviews:
Photo of MasterSki
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sarcastro for supplying this to the recent tasting. I initially tried to trade for this exact same bottle, so it's strangely karmic that it showed up where I could try it. Served in a tasting snifter.

A - A finger of yellow-tinged foam that dissipates to a thin ring. Dark, murky, orange color, and tons of chunkies floating about. I heard this was filled straight from the barrel, but it's still not very attractive.

T - Lactic sourness, spicy bourbon, pepper, caramel malt, wood and charred barrel, tart apples, grape skins, under-ripe raspberries, stone fruits, and amazingly well-hidden alcohol.

T - The taste is a little less complex with more tannins and spice, and less balancing sweetness. Very acetic, with notes of apple cider vinegar. Pretty delicious.

M - Dry, medium body that is big enough for 9.5%. Tannic finish with a touch of stickiness. It integrates feel elements of all the base beers quite convincingly.

D - This is shockingly drinkable for the ABV - we plowed through this faster than any of the barleywines that we had beforehand. A fantastic experiment that should be a big hit when it's bottled in larger quantities.

Photo of steenkampa
2.46/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I bought this bottle and held onto it for a year or so... brought it to a tasting with a few friends (the highlight of the night was a 2011 Chocolate Rain).


This was overpriced, significantly so. I had gotten it for $40, and to be perfectly honest if it had been $20 my review would be much different.

However, it was not.

For a $40 very rare offering from Cascade, it was pretty lacking in flavor. Too light, not too much fruit or actual sour going on, was just boring. I had a few of the Almanac Farmer's Reserve sours later on, and one of them (the 3 I think? maybe it was the 4?) tasted nearly identical, but was about 1/4 the price (smaller bottle, but still...1/2 price if you got two).

I'm not cheap, I'm usually completely down for a $40 beer if it is truly something interesting...but I was deeply disappointed by this one.

Photo of tectactoe
4.16/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Doug for inviting me into his home and offering to split a lovely array of Cascade brews; Vlad being the first on the hit list. Murky copper and dingy amber; completely opaque and full of unfiltered haze, topped off with a beige head that sizzles and pops as it foams up quickly and phases out just as fast, leaving the top of the muddled brew bare.

The initial aroma has plenty of sour notes; tart fruits, along the lines of apples and white grapes, coming completely with a mild booziness that's hard to identify. Kind of a "lighter" fruit profile than I'd expect from a quad... but after re-reading the label, it's a "pale quad". Hm, didn't even know there was a such thing. Wood is also present in the aroma, fading to a mild, warming bourbon.

You get smacked pretty quickly with a sharp tartness as you take each sip... This is possibly even a little more sour than I was expecting. Lots of cherry notes, pear skins, and mild quad-like phenol warmth and ester sweetness hidden underneath. Lots of vinous notes trounce in, especially during the latter half of each sip; oak, mild white wine grapes, and dry tannins.

Vlad inherits some more bourbon-esque notes with warmth, letting you feel its presence without getting too "boozy". Dry finish, full of scraping fruit skin sharpness, a very light acidity, and a good amount of oak. Probably one of the "softer" beers in terms of acidity as far as Cascade goes. Medium bodied with a slightly creamy and slightly sharp mouth feel.

Very tasty sour... It's quite strong, although I still don't think it tastes like 10%+ ABV. Good balance of fruit, barrel, and overall sourness, and it drinks really well for the relative strength within the style. It would be interesting to try the non-soured "base" beer of this (referring to the pale quad), as that sounds intriguing. Another great brew from Cascade... bravo!

Photo of brownbeer
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a naked corked and caged bottle.

Orangey in color with a white head, great retention.

This is a very fruity beer in a fresh peach kind of way. It has a nice maltiness with lactic sourness livening things up a bit. The alcohol is noticable but that won't slow you down as this brew is quite tasty.

Photo of mverity
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark orange with hints of amber and a slight coppery redness. Fluffy white head, sticky legs and very good lacing. Aroma is burnt orange peel, a clove/pine note and cardimum? Taste is tart orange peel, clove and a touch of cinnamon. Great medium body and highly carbonated. Another amazing beer from Cascade!

Photo of standardcherry
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, 2011 vintage.

A: Dark-ish orange color. Pretty hazy. Large white, frothy head that lingered for a while and then dissipated.
S: A lot of spiciness/sweetness. Smells a bit sour but I would not be able to tell this was a Cascade, it's lacking the strong lactic acidity they usually have (although that's not a bad thing in this case). Can definitely smell the tripel spiciness a lot, balanced out with some vanilla, oak and funkiness. Very unique, I dig it.
T: Nice tartness up front. Tastes kinda like pineapple/coconut/vanilla. Has a lot of hints of quad fruitiness and tripel spiciness. Some citric in there with a bit of lactic acidity. Some oak and sweet bourbon at the end.
M: Medium bodied with moderate (almost high) carbonation.
O: Extremely drinkable. I drank the 2009 and 2011 side by side very easily. I would have guessed t was around 6-7%. Great stuff as I've come to expect from Cascade, I'm glad I got to try it and I will definitely be ISO more.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle poured into a chalice.

Pours a hazy amber color with a small thin white head. Nose is tart and funky, with a nice fruitiness.

Taste is really tart and fresh and a bit sweet. Mouthfeel is really lift and crisp. This hong is delicious!

Photo of dogfishandi
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml cork and caged bottle poured into a bruery snifter thanks to trxxpaxxs. i believe this is from the 2nd release...

pours out a cloudy orange color with just a touch of sediment. only an off white ring of head that lasted most of the way, no real lace to speak of.

big tart lemony, barnyardy brett intially. bits of wine like fruits. as it warms it really takes on a stinky, funky, moldy oak character, lactic?

lots of tart lemon citrus, sour pie cherry, and barnyardy brett. some subtle wine like fruits, mostly citrus like. a little alcohol is noticable. a bit of that moldy lactic funk, but this comes through way more in the aroma.

very tart and sour. medium to light in body, does not drink anything like its 10% ABV suggests. very drinkable, but the intense funk and sour obviously hinders this a bit.

a solid sour, cascade really knows what their doing with sour barrel aging and it really shows. i have yet to have anything bad from them. the only thing i couldve hoped for was more of a bourbon barrel character.

Photo of ehammond1
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011 Project)

Thanks for sharing this with me, VaTechHopHead!

Clear orange with a small ring of white foam. Leaves dots of stick down the glass.

Citrus and fruity aroma, with some grapefruit and white fruit notes, along with lactic sour character, and a touch of funk. Some wine and earth notes as well.

Moderate sourness, white fruits, along with some lemon and grapefruit complete the flavor. Fairly complex, though incredibly drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate to near high carbonation. Very drinkable.

I like this a lot, but remember liking it even more.

Photo of Soonami
3.46/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bartrash (Pete) for sharing a pour of this from the Weyerbacher Rapture release.

This beer smells like a dirty diaper, it is just all kinds of funky. It didn't taste bad, but it just weird drinking something that tasted like a sour leathery funky beer that also smelled like digested food.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured out a yellow, orange and light brown mix. Very little head ring around it, too small to determine its color or find any degree of retention or lacing possible. Left a big clump of brown sediment in the bottle after the pour.

Aroma was citrus and bourbon. Different.

Taste, a weird mix of soured blond ale, but also the oak and bourbon notes giving it a boozy mouthfeel that is far from a bad thing, it was like a big time juxtaposition of those flavors, but as it went on, it became more enjoyable. Vanilla, charred oak, bourbon, citric rind, citric tarness, booze, toffee, musty dark fruit. Drinks relatively easy though given the high abv.

Drank at a camping trip up around Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. This one closed out Saturday night for us.

Now that they are charging $30 a bottle for this beer, plus shipping, its just not that good to cough up that kind of money. I'll take two bottles of their apricot instead of the one bottle of this that I can get for the same price. Cool beer, enjoyable, but unless you are just rolling in cash, I don't see stocking up on these. To try once? Sure.

Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%

750 ml shared bottle.
Nice hazy red-amber color.
Strong sour aroma with a very rich and complex flavor. Barrel aging is exceptionally well done, with enough added flavor to enhance but not overpower the other, mostly fruity, properties. Moderately tart.

Photo of elliot23
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Barrel House.

A small head of off yellow foam. Beer pours a strong orange color. cloudy in color. The smell is bourbon and oak intermingling with tart berries and citrus. The taste is complex with spice, citrus, and apple cider. Very nice sipping beer. The mouthfeel is very warming. Low carbonation and a medium body are very welcomed here. The ABV is ridiculously high, but well hidden. Amazingly easier to put back.

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Corey – much obliged!

Pours a hazy orange color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of medium malts with large amounts of moderately tart light citrus – lemon and orange rinds. Also present are slight hints of oak and lighter hints of vinegar.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as complex. Medium malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by light citrus flavors that are equally tart and sweet. Midway through the sip hints of funk come into play and dissipate the slight sweetness. Very light hints of vinegar make an appearance near the end of the sip before fading out into a crisp and mildly tart ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It’s got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I wasn’t blown away by this beer, but it’s another solid beer from Cascade. Well worth a shot.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to schen9303 for sharing this one. 2009 vintage. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Duchess oversize wine glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine white head with decent retention that dissipates into a thin white wisp with a thick white border. Beer is a clear orange-peach. Lacing is stringy and patterned and with good stick.

S: Nose immediately signal to me that this ain't no traditional American wild ale. Belgian yeast, clove, coriander, and orange peel in the base beer are very apparent. Wine barrels lend a grape aroma and bourbon barrel's blanket the entire experience with a sharp booziness. There's some Brett cobweb funk somewhere in there but the big barrel overtones hide it well.

T: Opens just like a Belgian tripel. Belgian yeast spiciness with overly sweet cane sugar. Purple grapes come in towards the middle, adding a subtle tartness. Big malt backbone for an American wild ale. End is dominated by the bourbon barrle as tartness and fruit fades out and Brett funkiness and cobweb flavor take over. Boozy too. As this one warms though, the dynamics change a little and the barrel's integrate better. Grape and other dark fruit start to meld into the bourbon barrels. Finish is sweet and boozy with a sweet grape aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Lively in the mouth but the carbonation doesn't push through the big body like it usually would in an American Wild Ale. Oily and filmy going down with a touch of abrasivness. Boozy on the finish with a slightly lingering, sugary aftertaste.

D: Considering this from a traditional American Wild Ale perspective, I'm a little dissapointed in this beer. However, I think you kind of have to take this one for what it is. The Belgian base works wonders with the wine and bourbon barrels and even though its not incredibly tart or fruity, there's very good complexity here. Not your typical offering but definitely worth a try.

Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

on-tap at the barrel house and then subsequently at the sixgill

Like any Cascade beer, Vlad is layered and complex with a bit of a punch. There is just so much going on here between the base belgian ales, the barrels, yeast and bugs and so on. It's hard to say it isn't good but it's hard to say it's great too - it's just too much. Sweet, boozy, vinous white notes, very trace bourbon, vanilla, pineapple. Interesting - would not buy another $30 bottle of this, but would go after it again on tap

Photo of Fatehunter
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours a thin head on a cloudy dirty straw colored body.
The aroma is sour and grapes, lots of grapes.
The taste is sweet and sour, grapes, honey, lemon and oak. Outstanding balanced and depth.
The texture is fizzy and crisp.

Photo of nickd717
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


A - Pours a murky purplish-amber color with a nice off-white head.

S - Tart with red wine and cherries, also a hint of sweetness.

T - Mostly tart with a little sweetness to balance. Red wine, cherries, and other dark fruit notes, wood, Candi sugar, and tart citrus. Complex and very good.

M - Palate is sharp and acidic with medium body. ABV well-hidden.

D - Very high for a beer this sour and strong.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. 2011 project.

Appearance - Clear orange. Small white head. Some wisps. Thin collar.

Smell - Lots of vanilla. Fruity. Light citrus. Malty. Slight acidity.

Taste - Sweet up front. Sharp sourness follows. Fruity flavors parallel the sourness. Peachy, almost. Bright citrus flavor. Malty in the back, but all pale malts.

Mouthfeel - Heavy for a sour, as always from Cascade. Medium carbonation. Not a lot og sourness.

Overall - This is close to great, but it ends up being just good. I feel like it could be so much more.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Review #100! I had something on deck for such an occasion in the fridge but couldn't restrain myself from ticking a rare sour beer on tap instead. The rare bottle of beer in the fridge will just have to make its appearance another day.

Sampled at the Cascade Barrel House today, it arrived to our table in a mini snifter. The label on the side indicates that there is 8 ounces of this goodness in my glass. At $6.50 its a little steep but considering we're talking about the silver medal winner at last years GABF, its a steal! Golden orange with spectacular clarity, wispy ring edge, and spotty lacing. This looks good enough to drink!

This intensely smells like a very buttery Chardonnay! You're gonna be hard pressed to call this a beer if blindfolded. The barrel has lent more vanilla than I have ever smelled with strong amounts of sugar cookies and sharp lactic notes! Oh my this smells good.

A ton of pepper spice this up. It is semi one dimensional beyond the spice though. Minimal sour muscat grapes with far less vanilla than the nose suggests are found. The alcohol is also there in spades.

This is a little thicker on mouthfeel than I would have liked. A little gummy overall, I prefer my sours a bit thinner.

Drinkability is damn good considering the ABV. I'll definitely be picking up a few bottles of this when the labels finally get approved. Recommended.

Photo of morimech
3.66/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange marmalade color with two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Curtains of lace is left down the glass.

Smells tart. Mostly vinous aromas. Sour grapes. Not getting any funk or bourbon. Expecting more complexity from this beer.

Very much on the sweet side with moderate tartness. A sour tripel. Probably the least funky of the Cascade sours that I have tried. I also do not get any bourbon but just a slight hint of vanilla. Reminds me of a Sweet-Tart.

Body is deceptively full. The carbonation is perfect for a sour beer and adds a lot of life to the body.

I was really looking forward to this beer and feel a little letdown. It is still a good beer, but did come through for me. Some funk would of helped this beer a lot.

Photo of KYGunner
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The body was a dark burnt orange color with lots of quickly ascending foam that had a bubbling throughout.

The nose was sour with a tangy mineralization, light vinegar and white wine. The Chardonnay aroma began to overtake the rest but yielded to a fragrant Apple blossom.

The flavors were not as complex as the nose may have suggested but the flavor was delicious. Apple, in several forms, was noticeable. I got Apple cider, Apple Brandy, Apple blossom and sweet yet tangy Granny Smith Apple's.

The feel is a bit tangy, a bit twangy and a touch like cider but very smooth.

This is a tangy one but quite good and quite flavorful.

Photo of Trailmix242
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Nice amber color with a great aroma that hints at the joy to be had. Taste is of dark fruits and is quite sour. The wood aging is tasted in the finish though does not overpower the other flavors. A must try if you like sour beers. I also think the classification as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale is quite misleading.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml into wine glass. 2009 vintage. Thanks to Chris for this one.

This is routinely one of my favorite brews. Had it a bunch, always want more. Everything is good, but for me certainly better than the sum of the parts.

Dark amber pour, thin maple syrup with a narrow tracing of bubbles at the edges of my glass.

The aroma on this one is muddled a touch, fig, date, wine and citrus.

So good once it hits your lips. Robust sour, full flavored with a nice bite up front, plenty of dark fruit, lemon zest and pepper. Still, a very delicate flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Everytime. Smooth, crisp, sour, carbed.

For me, a perfect combination. Don't know if there are other vintages, but the '09 has held up very well and carries a sour punch without any lingering off-flavors.


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Cascade Vlad The Imp Aler from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 650 ratings.