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Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak - Anheuser-Busch

Not Rated.
Michelob Celebrate Vanilla OakMichelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
67
poor

108 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 108
Reviews: 100
rAvg: 2.82
pDev: 26.6%
Wants: 5
Gots: 2 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Hand-crafted by A-B master brewers with real vanilla beans and aged on bourbon barrel oak. Richly aromatic with distinct vanilla & oak flavors. Available as a single 24oz bottle or as a gift set with two imported 13.5oz Ritzenhoff Crystal snifters and a 24oz bottle.

(Beer added by: ghurux86 on 11-20-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak Alström Bros
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Ratings: 108 | Reviews: 100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bourbon and alcohol in the smell. Also over-the-top vanilla aroma and taste. Significant white head on lagerish body. Lagerish below medium body and sweet sugary finish. Little carbonation. The kids liked it. A bit much but interesting coming from Michelob.

Sammy, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -2.5%

t0rin0, Nov 08, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.08/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Burnt orange that displays brilliant tangerine highlights with late afternoon sunlight behind the snifter. The (initially) acceptable looking cap is equal parts pastel orange, ecru and pale gold. It fizzes away fairly quickly, probably due to the double digit ABV, and leaves almost no lace. CVO is the spitting image of an American barleywine.

This holiday beer smells like what it's supposed to smell like. I take that back... it smells like vanilla, but not like bourbon or oak (a hint of bourbon as it warms causes me to bump the score from what I had in mind originally). I'm amazed that almost no alcohol reaches my nostrils; almost unheard of in a 10.0% beer that isn't a roasted malt monster.

Right off the bat I can tell that Celebrate Vanilla Oak is better beer than Celebrate Chocolate. That's no mean feat since I thought the latter was an absolute abomination. I don't think it's the fact that I like the caramel-vanilla-brown sugar family of flavors more than I like the chocolate-cocoa family, but then anything's possible.

What greets my taste buds reminds me of lower shelf bourbon (I'm thinking Old Crow), mixed with vanilla liqueur, melted butterscotch candies and a lot of distilled water. This concoction is a simple, shallow, sweet combination of flavors that is probably exactly what the brewery had in mind. I found one website ('sponsored by Anheuser-Busch') that says the target audience is 28-54, 'white collar' and female. Okay...

I keep hoping that warming will bring something new and different to the forefront, but it isn't to be. What you get with the first sip is what you get all the way through the 24 ounce bottle. As in the nose, the alcohol is buried (almost) without a trace, so maybe this stuff has panty stripper potential after all. Just make sure you check her driver's license and ask her where she works.

It's odd to be faced with such a thin, lackluster mouthfeel on such a high alcohol beer. I've had pilseners that were more viscous (well, maybe not quite). There is a wee bit of slickness on the finish and the carbonation is tame enough to make drinking quickly an option if one is so inclined. I'm not.

Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak is, by far, a better beer than its Chocolate counterpart. That doesn't mean that it was worth the coinage that I paid for it. It's an overly simple offering that doesn't deserve the time it spent in my crystal snifter. Do yourself a favor and pass this one by.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
3.18/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Release 2006, 10 / 04 / 07
A lot like I remember from last year. But wait... There's more! Not as hot and fusal as last years. With less cherry / cough medicine flavors and roughness as I inticipated. Still, the beer seems artificial for me. The vanilla seems to be more of an extract than truely brewed vanilla beans. Also, I don't see the boubon attributes. I see pronounced alcohols, a woody / nutty flavors (kinda nut brown ale-like). but no well melded boubon flavors, textures, or essence. The body really lacks... balls. Only a cola-like carbonation saves it from becomming completely flat. For God's sake Anheuser Busch... Try some malt in you beer! Is it a worthwhile beer? Yes. Does it live up to it's potential? Certainly not.

Release 2005, 12 / 27 / 2005
I am impressed with this Anheuser-Busch attept of craft beer. Though disapointed by the twist-off, Colt 44-like cap, I quickly got into the beer. Strong vanilla and toasty aromas rose out of the glass with an abundance of carbonation and an impressive off-white head that soon settled under the 10% alcohol. Tastes strong of vanilla, caramel, and toffee with fruit cake-like flavors of candied cherries, pineapples, and coconuts. Light bourbon flavors show, but become way too hot or fusal for the mediu - thin body. The flavors of sweet malt and candied fruits are hindered by the heavy use of corn or rice. If it were an all-malt brew, then I'd really be saluting A-B for their efforts. Since the did not, then it's only ok.

BEERchitect, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
2.6/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

reviewed from notes, i was given this one as a xmas present from a co worker, poured into a snifter.

dark pour with a light brownish color to the sides that can best be described as light hazelnut in color shining through. smooth light tan head faded almost instantly and left a bare topped liquid in its wake.

aroma is vanilla, sweet, artificial and so strong it starts to make you a bit sick. hints of hot alcohol, bourbon, notes of leather as well, but the sweetness is so overpowering it is nearly impossible to get past. the flavor was even worse, it seemed like all this was was a one sided sweet monster, huge notes of vanilla and hot alcohol made me wince with every sip, it was just straight wrong. finish was sweet, full of alcohol and again just not at all where i wanted to go with this.

overall never again, the thought was there, but wow, just not cool at all.

mikesgroove, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The poured out of this torpedo like looking bottle with a twist off cap... Ok. The beer poured out as a deep brown color with a light brown head on top. The beer smelled of lager yeast and heavy sweet aromas of vanilla. The taste of the beer was decent in my opinion. I felt that the beer was at it's best when it was on the warmer side. The flavors of vanilla dominate just about everything else in the brew. Not able to pick up much oak at all here. The mouthfeel was a little thin, but drinkable to me. Overall I felt that this was decent but nothing spectacular.

Knapp85, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +51.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! What a beautiful, rich and interesting beer. Who'd have ever thought that A-B would put out something like this?

It pours a clear, dark-copper and rust colored body with glowing crimson-amber highlights beneath a creamy head of antique white foam. The head retention is pretty good for a beer of 10% abv, and it leaves some thin but nice lace about the glass.

The nose delivers old, just slightly damp wood; a slap of vanilla; and a swirl of caramel, maraschino cherry, and orange marmalade.

In the mouth it's delicately crisp, lending just enough mouthfeel to it's medium (headed towards medium-full) body. It's delicate carbonation awakens the tastebuds before allowing it to slide smoothly from the palate.

The flavor is rich with vanilla, and perhaps it's a bit too much at first. But as it warms and you progress through the glass a touch of spice and some broad woodiness come out. A healthy dose of the maraschino cherry found in the nose slips in as well. There's a bit of sweetness to it, and some notes of bourbon to boot, and that make it a really interesting libation as it's actually quite delicate at the same time - meaning it has all of the nuances of a bourbon-barrel aged beer, but it's lighter in body and more spritely in character. In fact, I find it kind of similar to a dram of whiskey in many ways (although I don't want to go into that), except that it's lacking in power and depth.

Overall, I found this to be quite entertaining, and a wonderful complement to a turkey dinner with baked yams, stuffing, brown-sugar glazed carrots, cheddar-laced broccoli, and garlic mashed potatoes. It also paired superbly with the carrot cake dessert. Two thumbs up!!!

NeroFiddled, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Jason, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
1.35/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appears with an amber hued body and a thin artificial off white head pretty fizzy with bubbles streaming not effervescence people. Aromatics are really syrupy in nature with sweet vanilla seems really vanilla extract depsite the labels claims and evident alcohol to cap this very uninteresting brew. Flavor is cloying definitely induces a gag reflex with overly sweet creamy vanilla and a touch of oak this really is that bad even medicinal. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with fizzy carbonation and the texture and flavor just won't leave my palate...drinkability I'd rather chug a bottle of Nyquil b/c I hear codeine is a better than alcohol...but really why do this to beer and package it in a missile bottle. Thank god they have seen the light and are bringing Michelob back to the basics. Oh and then we cracked the Chocolate to compare, complete drain pour.

WVbeergeek, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.08/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

The bottle, attractive thought it is, reads rather oddly. "Celebrate Michelob?"...not something I often do, but I'll give it a whirl.

Clear caramelly crimson color, slim, soon gone head.

Big vanilla nose, ripe and rich, highly aromatic, accompanied by notes of cherries and raw bourbon. Alcoholic content is also very evident, just from the smell.

Smooth on the palate, with massive vanilla flavor. Tasty, but we have a problem. There's not enough malt, hardly any hops, and a real thinness that does not match up with this 10% abv. Who thought that was a good idea? You rarely find doppelbocks that strong, heck, we're almost talking Samischlaus here, and there's just a paucity of body and character. You get the vanilla and the bourbon and the booze, but it's too much for a beer so light. Feels very raw, one get ripped so easily....vanilla malt liquor, anyone?

I had an open mind going in, and applaud A-B for trying, but they goofed up on this one. Glad it was a gift.

feloniousmonk, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a semi-sweet malt scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry lager yeast aroma. The bourban scent is there along with th vanilla bean. It is quite enticing. The taste is good. It has a smooth vanilla flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and bourbany. It's full of sweet crystal malts. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It has great aroma and taste; a wonderful holiday treat. I don't quite understand the poor reviews.

WesWes, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of weeare138
3.75/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Twist off cap with a cheesy, glossy, plastic label around the bottle fooling those who would be expecting a silk screened bottle. Considering the brewery, we know why they couldn't have possibly afforded something like that!
Appears an amber color with a rich, 2 finger off white head that fades quickly into a small film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of an oak aged vanilla lager with some sugary cookie aromas making it more enticing...actually pretty nice!
Taste is a nice blend of vanilla infused oak aged lager with a sugar cookie backing. I'm really digging but I can't say anything bad about the taste.
Mouthfeel is smooth with sweet vanilla and oak coming through. Perhaps a bit more balance is needed but not a bad stab. Vanilla covers up the abv nicely.

weeare138, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of Zorro
2.93/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours an ultra clear red to copper colored ale with no head.

Smell is sweet and fruity but I can absolutely sniff that sweet Michelob scent in here. Faint scents of vanilla but I smell more cherry and caramel in this than vanilla. Additional scents of oranges and rice noodles. This isn't going to conquer Belgium but it isn't bad in the scent department.

Taste is not as sweet as feared but it does contain a vanilla over dose in the first sip. Burnt sugar joins the vanilla flavors and starts to taste like an under aged Bourbon whisky. After the initial shock the flavor begins to balance out a bit more. This really tastes like the cream soda of beer, but I wonder if this would age well like young Bourbon? As this is AB needs to recognize that the flavors of good Bourbon come from wood and not vanilla beans. Still as full of mistakes as it is it might someday lead Anheuser Busch to making good Pilsner and old ales some day.

Mouthfeel is light, can't mask the use of rice in the mouthfeel.

Drinkability? Not really. I could see using this in creating a sweet phyllo dough pastry based on nuts but it just is unbalanced as it is. Maybe age this 2 years?

Zorro, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Bighuge
3.38/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Clear auburn tone. A moderate amount of carbonation is noted. Thin tan head dissipates quickly. Lace qualities are pretty good for a beer of this octane. Pretty heavy aroma of cherry, rumcake and bourbon. My first impression is that this beer feels syrupy in the mouth. Usually, not a good thing. It's full bodied and lightly carbonated. But the taste doesn't cloy me like I thought it would with this type of mouthfeel. The flavor is actually deeper than I first thought. It's got a cherry filled center wrapped by notes of oak, vanilla and a little spice. This really isn't too bad. I'm surprised. The alcohol is hidden quite nicely. Nothing I could drink all night, but good enough to down these 24 ozs.

Bighuge, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of harpus
2.23/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - reddish rusty brown, thin smooth white head with very scant carbonation

S - like vanilla cream soda with alcohol, plus a slight resinous woody twinge

T - hmmmm, better than i thought it would be, not great, but not a pour either, super sweet molasses/toffee/vanilla, with some yeasty spiciness, just too sweet, needs some bitterness to balance it out

M&D - This beer is not very drinkable. It is not balanced and is way to sweet the vanilla flavor is easy double what it needs to be.

harpus, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of scruffwhor
3.5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Did a very hard pour which yielded a sparse head that disappeared into nothing after about 30 seconds. The color made me think of a watery oak stain. Had very sparse, inconsistent lacing.

Smell- 90% vanilla with maybe 5% hops and 5% malt. Very hard to tell between a general malt aroma and vanilla. Also detected a hint of bananas.

Taste- Starts with vanilla, middle vanilla, ending is a mix of VANILLA, bourbon, and alcohol. Not dynamic at all. Was good to sip after dinner.

Mouthfeel- Slightly dry with lots of sugar and of course canilla. Would go well with a vanilla frosted cake.

scruffwhor, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.3/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

24 oz screw-top bottle split and poured into a KBS glass. 10% ABV, 2005 Vintage.

Received in a trade with Seldomsthristy and shared with Sweemzander.

A - Pours a totally hazed (scary) dirty apricot color with a large toffee head. Loose bubbles lead to little retention and specks of lacing. Just a ring is left.

S - There is a small bit of oak in the aroma but its totally lost in a light, sweet vanilla, toffee and butterscotch, and pungent fruity aroma. Fruity like a sugary fruit punch soda. It's got a really funky old ale-like aged nose. The aroma is all over the place but not in a good way. It needs to keep its ADD in check.

T - Lots of sugar with a fruit punch flavor blend with a toffee and butterscotch attributes at the same time. A little bit of the vanilla bean comes through in waves but none of the oak is noticeable. Just way too sweet. As if the 10% ABV came from sugar additions as opposed to malt.

M - Overly sweet with a rich and fuller-bodied feel. Smooth with a decent carbonation finish for it's age.

D - Drain pour. Not worth drinking unless you're an alcoholic humming bird. If I had to consume it, I wouldn't cry but the sugar is overly cloying.

BeerFMAndy, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
3.3/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 24oz bottle(room temp) an amber gold with a small head of foam that shrank to just a fine ring clinging to the edge of the glass.

The smell is of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste is very strong on the vanilla, perhaps too strong even for a lager that uses vanilla in the name; I can taste no other flavours..oh wait, I'm getting some fruitness now. Sour cherries. Hmm, that helps a bit when it comes to complexity but the alcohol is starting to make its presence known both in the taste and the warming and that's really hurting the drinkability. Still, at least it does have some substance to it so I'm liking it a lot more than the Chocolate Beer that came with it.

Bottom line: It's worth a try.


Bottom line:

Bitterbill, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.15/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Presentation: Snazzy packaging….hmmm…..maybe, just maybe these guys really have brewed something worthy of a purchase. Hmmm…..glossy black square cardboard box has the word Michelob running down it whilst the broken word Celebrate runs across it in script text. A small cream colored band has the words “Oak-Aged Dark Vanilla” at the base with the year “2005” underneath that in black text set on a gold band. Looks Sexy and it has me all excited.

*The back says that this is a Limited Holiday Edition, set in a rather attractive box....so it has to be good right??

Appearance: Once out of the Box the 24 fluid ounce bottle feels curiously light. It should, it is a run of the mill bottle shrink wrapped in a plastic bodice, with a screw-cap…..oh my, that’s like seeing the Worlds sexiest Porn Star wearing big white flannel underwear…oh, I just lost my hard on. Once the twist cap is off a perfectly clear, yet deep red-brown body with a harsh desert sunset orange glow and a finely filtered presentation fills the glass. Not much of a head I must say. Spritzy carbonation that seems lazy.

Nose: Not that bad actually, and maybe the best part of this brew, the vanilla and bourbon mix nicely to produce a silky soft nose that reminded me of the home-made Whisky Vanilla Ice-cream that I once tried in the UK.

Taste: Vanilla solvent loaded with a heavy creamy feel. Whisky traits fill the experience from start to finish. Funny, doesn’t taste like beer but more of a coconut liquor mixed with cream soda and whisky. Smooth but not good.

Mouthfeel: 10%....doesn’t feel like it, has a low end body actually that seems overwhelmed by the vanilla beans and bourbon. And I keep getting a Coconut middle and finish. The low carbonation does not help here either.

Drinkability: This is where it falls flat on its face, its way too much, an assault of kinds. Difficult. I tried but ended up dumping some expensive beer...it's a 1.0...f**ker!!

Overall: Michelob……a.k.a…….Anheuser-Busch…the experts in packaging the mediocre in high end materials. I should have known better, but I will state that I had hoped for better, I cut some slack here but was not rewarded for my efforts. Not that bad, but definitely not worth the money…..what was I thinking when I picked this up??….oh yeah…I got drawn in by the packaging……oh shite……next thing I’ll be buying Bud Select in 6-Packs…..

On a side note: I strongly suspect that this release is just as much PR as profiteering. Anyone that really believes that A-B can *truly* brew a great beer if they wanted to and market it (and I include a few BA’s who I sparred with on this very subject this year) well, I thought those BA’s were full of crap then and I still think that they are full of crap now……but now I have proof, (insert evil laugh) just try this, and then tell me again that A-B can produce a great craft style beer!!! This is proof positive that A-B is totally incapable of producing anything else but dumbed-down cookie-cutter brews in vast quantities. Because unless I am missing something here, this “special” beer is a very average, not-so-special, and extremely over-priced brew; one in fact that I could have made myself with a Malt Extract Home-Brew Kit and some Vanilla Extract. The fight against the big bastards and their continued global-reduction-ization of beer styles and the dumbing-down of taste continues as far as I’m concerned. I tried it at least. Not impressed. Don’t be fooled by the Crocodile Tears. They are still the anti-thesis of choice for quality craft beer drinkers.

*The back says that this is a Limited Holiday Edition, set in a rather attractive box....so it has to be good right??

Nope!!! A Sheep in Wolf’s clothing…….baaaaeeeaaahhh……

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 12, 2005
Photo of drpimento
3.05/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really not too bad in spite of our prejudice. This is the 2005 version. Called on the label a "dark" beer and I guess it's darker than a pilsner, buttt... Aroma is vanilla and a hint of spice and malt. Flavor is a little too sweet and too vanilla, but there's a real nice bourbon characteristic that comes thru in the finish. Can't sense the booze at all. Not a session beer. We sure don't see how this is classified as an "American Pale Lager" here though.

drpimento, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
1.98/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

750mL screw top wine bottle. No bottled date, but says its 2005. Thank you to BeerFMAndy for sharing this with me.

(A)- Pours a cloudy reddish to orange amber color that produced a quickly dissipating tan head.

(S)- Musky caramel & butterscotch aromas with hints of toffee. Very sweet & sugary smelling.

(T)- Extremely sugary candied butterscotch & caramel. Kinda watery sugar taste. Kinda has a fig & raisin-like, but just plain sugary.

(M)- Has a good carbonation level, but its really just like flavored sugar water to me.

(D)- Way too sugary sweet for me. You might as well just eat a spoonful of sugar instead. Couldnt really drink more than a few sips.

sweemzander, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Brent
3.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The bottle looks luxurious at first, then you notice it is a shrink wrap label and screwtop. Pours a dark coffee. Vanilla and toffee in the aroma. Loads of vanilla and sugar in the flavor, with a sharp alcohol kick, as though the beer had been spiked with homemade vanilla extract (vanilla beans steeped in vodka), but, fortunately the powerful vanilla character was that of real vanilla, rather than artifical extract. Odd mouthfeel - not creamy or stoutish and thus seemed thin for the sweetness. Too potent and sweet for an after dinner drink - more like a digestif. An interesting experiment, but not something I'll revisit.

Brent, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of Suds
3.83/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Elegant bottle with a screw-cap. This brew pours a light amber color with a slight, wispy head. The aroma is overwhelmingly vanilla. The vanilla is intriguing and actually pretty enchanting, but it’s hard to get through that smell to get much else. After a while, a little malt comes through, but no hop aroma. Slight alcohol in the smell, but it’s well hidden given the ABV. I couldn’t believe it, but the taste is even more dominated by vanilla. A little malt is detectable too, but the taste is hinged on vanilla. The taste is pretty good, but it’s best enjoyed in small quantities. So much vanilla becomes oppressive after a while. There’s surprisingly little alcohol taste…it’s very well hidden. A solid warming is the best indicator of the strength of this brew. I hoped to get some sense of the oak aging, but couldn’t pick up any oak flavors through the vanilla. This is a fascinating and enjoyable (in small quantities) brew.

Suds, May 07, 2006
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.9/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance - for such a unique bottle design, what's with the screw-off cap?? Oh well, I *unscrew* the cap and pour some into what - a plastic Belgian-shaped vessel? Does the Solo company sell those??? No such thing, so I put it in that Michelob glass that I got with the sampler pack a while back. No escaping carbonation, hmm. Pours a foggy dull orange, a thin cover of cream-colored bubbles that have no duration and no lace. Considering the abv, I can give a little here.

Aroma - starts off oaky and smoky. As the brief head evaporates, vanilla mixes in, joining some great spicy aromas like cinnamon and clove. As the beer settles, that fades and the vanilla gets stronger, combining with some alcohol vapor for added intensity. It has a soft candyish scent to it but it works. The oak eventually comes back, giving some balance and at times adding faint wood dampness/mustiness.

Taste - right away, I notice the grain has a diluted flavor, a little too watery. The oak is there but restrained, the vanilla comes through more easily. For a ten percenter, the abv is covered pretty well but there's no stopping it completely. That's okay, I think it belongs in there to some degree. The swallow is warm and the finish has some okay spicy notes. For a big beer this could use more oomph in the taste department to rate. I haven't had any high abv beers for this style before, so I can give it a little wiggle room, but I also think there's lots of room for improvement, namely due to the fact that not once in the review did I mention 'hops'. I don't need to be assaulted with them but put *something* in there.

Mouthfeel - modest carbonation which is fine, but woefully thin in body. Trying to rake in some holiday sales? Instead, this should have some sturdiness to it, that's what I was expecting anyway.

Drinkability - not bad, but has that 'brewed for the profit margin' essence to it instead of that 'brewed for the craft beer person' feel. Slick packaging rooked me in...cheaters. One and done.

brewdlyhooked13, May 15, 2007
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear medium amber with a white head which fizzed like a soda and left no trace of head or lacing at all.

The aroma was strong caramel with a cider character. The aroma had a bit of cherry fruit aroma and some bourbon character. Vanilla was also present, but other aromas dominated. Their was also present a slightly spicy phenolic due to some alcohol aroma.

The flavor was dark caramel and dark fruits, plums and a bit of raisins, but not at a high level. The flavor contained a bit of bourbon, some oak and also vanilla. The underlying maltiness contained a toffee and caramel presence. The flavor also had a cherry flavor as was present in the aroma.

The finish was dry with a lasting slight vanilla and bourbon into the afteraste. The body was medium and the carbonation was practically nonexistent. Give this beer some CO2 for goodness sake. The flavor was a blend of many flavors without much thought as to their interactions. More complexity would certainly improve this beer. There was also a sizable warming that occurred after consumption. I'd have to suggest skipping it, not because it is bad, just because it is a mess and not well executed.

24 ounce screw top bottle, shrink wrapped label, 2005 date on label.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 29, 2006
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Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak from Anheuser-Busch
67 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.