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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

46 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 46
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.12%
Wants: 5
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

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

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: gthornton on 02-01-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes Alström Bros
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Ratings: 46 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mithrascruor
mithrascruor

California

2.6/5  rDev -31.8%

22 oz. bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark and slightly hazy reddish-amber color. Big off-white head quickly turns to a heavy film and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Though not too strong, has a deep malty aroma with some sugars, fruits (plum & grape), and a hint of spice.

Taste: Some malts, a bit of sugar, and a good amount of yeast hits first. Then the yeast gives way to a bitter, spoiled/sour wine flavor. Some spices (cinnamon, etc.?) come out in the finish, and then the aftertate is sort of a mixture of everything, with a hint of alcohol added.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with barely any discernible carbonation. Relatively smooth.

Drinkability: The strong ABV is fairly well masked, but the taste doesn't help.

Seriously tastes like a blend of 2/3 Chimay Blue + 1/3 Zinfandel that's been left out in the sun for a few days. Hey Karl, I was really loving To The 9's, Full Suit, and a couple new ones on tap in Sorrento Valley... why this?! Talk about a killjoy - keep making beer-like beers, not these off-the-wall things (or at least put that new red ale in bottles!).

05-15-2010 01:15:20 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123

Indiana

2.83/5  rDev -25.7%

Pours a murky reddish brown with a wispy white head.

Smells of some sweet malts and vanilla along with some dry white wine. Really wish the grapes were more prominent.

Wood, sweet malts and vanilla again dominate the flavor. As it warms the grape juice flavor comes in more, but it doesn't mix well at all. It's just odd. Alcohol is present as well as it finishes a bit boozy.

Thick and chewy. Outstanding mouthfeel with medium-low carb level.

Disappointed in this one. It wasn't at all what I expected. Too sweet and the grape presence contrasted completely with the other flavors going on.

11-20-2011 23:13:34 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3/5  rDev -21.3%

02-11-2012 18:21:01 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.05/5  rDev -19.9%

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a clear honey orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, cardboard, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with brown sugar, dark fruit, and cardboard flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is past its prime and showing some oxidation, but it is still fairly decent.

Serving type: bottle.

08-24-2014 20:35:21 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Photekut
Photekut

Tennessee

3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

05-19-2013 16:39:27 | More by Photekut
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.25/5  rDev -14.7%

10-17-2012 02:41:20 | More by t0rin0
Photo of trappistlover
trappistlover

Arizona

3.3/5  rDev -13.4%

(22oz bottle). Pours a mahogany color with off-white head and decent lacing. Small carbonation bubbles. Smells wine-y with vanilla and raisins. Definitely getting the alcohol in there. Taste is sweet-almost port-like with some sourness. Hops are barely noticeable. Not quite full bodied, but almost. Thisis a slick, sticky beer with soft carbonation. Finish is quite long as far as wine/raisin/port flavors go. Alcohol is already warming the throat and chest.

06-30-2011 15:19:37 | More by trappistlover
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
PeprSprYoFace

California

3.38/5  rDev -11.3%

Got a bottle of this because it looked interesting.

Pours a brownish red with a decent head that dissapated to a film. Nice lacing.

Aroma is strange. Kinda belgiany but with a wine aroma and some sort of spice I can't put my finger on.

Taste is ok. Very Belgian dubbel with a wine character. There is a sting metalic flavor though that I don't like. I may end up dumping half this bomber.

Mouthfeel is dry like a Belgian should be. Needs a little more carb for a Belgian though.

Overall an ok beer. No need to seek this out but it's not bad if you try it. It's different for sure. I don't know if I will be able to handle a whole bottle to myself though.

05-14-2010 03:52:09 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -10.8%

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for sharing this one!

(A)- Pours a deep reddish mahogany color that produced a quickly dissipating off-white head. Some lacing.

(S)- Earthy, with some raisin and fig and hints of vanilla. Lightly dry.

(T)- Rich, with some minor/subtle belgain influences. Some dark fruits in there. Light spicy oak nuances.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Lightly sweet with a rich core of dark fruits and oak.

(D)- An interesting and engaging take on the style. Not much in the realm of a belgain style, but it is pretty good. I wish more of the Zindfandel grapes were more prominent.

11-22-2010 18:38:10 | More by sweemzander
Photo of beagle75
beagle75

Iowa

3.44/5  rDev -9.7%

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with an incomplete peripheral ring of loose parchment-tinted bubbles. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Fermented grain with some residual caramelized sugars present. Fruit is nuanced and difficult to tease apart from the relatively tame Belgian yeast that appears to be of Abbey origin. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with refined aromatic malt and assertive dark fruit that is more estery than vinous. The middle is supple and earthy, with oxidation evident in the form of an additional musty layer that does not seem out of place. Sweetness becomes elevated slightly during the second half of the flavor profile. Dark crystal malt, treacly and a bit roasted, is soft and wholesome in the finish where earth and lesser dark fruit are retained. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, soft and slightly syrupy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This high gravity ale exhibits a passing resemblance to quadrupel-style Belgian beers, while also integrating grapes effectively into the sensory profile. It demonstrates that a beer brewed with grapes is destined to taste less like wine in the final judgment than a beer aged in a wine barrel. While the characteristics imparted by the grapes are not unwelcome, they may lead one to question whether grapes make for the best adjunct; their taste and smell is rather generic. Still, this beer is inoffensive and easy to consume for its strength, with no sharp edges to fatigue the palate.

02-23-2014 22:41:07 | More by beagle75
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -8.7%

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark mahogany color. About a finger of quickly dissipating head is achieved which leaves little lacing.

Smell - Big malt flavor, caramel, zin grapes, light floral notes and hops.

Taste - Similar taste as the nose. Dark malts, grapes, vanilla, hazelnut, and other spices. Taste is Belgian in character.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, light carbonation (may need a bit more), leaves an odd film coating after.

Drinkability - A decent beer overall but a bit much. Not what I was really expecting to be honest. A 12oz version of this would have been more than enough.

05-27-2010 22:21:55 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.48/5  rDev -8.7%

Muddy pumpkin with a slight reddish glow when backlit with the rising sun outside my front window. Three full fingers of golden khaki colored foam were created on the pour and don't look to be in a hurry to depart. More lace than expected (in ragged rings) is a nice touch.

The nose is shockingly weak. Belgian yeast esters and Zinfandel grape juice are nowhere to be found. This big brew smells more like a brown ale than a BSDA or an American strong ale. Here's hoping warming improves things a little. Note: it doesn't.

Better on the palate, but not amazingly so. My relatively high hopes for this anniversary ale were because Big Barrel DIPA was such a pleasant surprise. We aren't talking bad beer here, but the depth and complexity that this style typically delivers has not been achieved.

On a positive note, the 10.4% ABV is hidden remarkably well and the beer should age relatively gracefully for at least another year. With respect to the flavor profile, think Imperial brown ale with slightly more fruitiness (fig jam) and a smattering of Belgian yeastiness. Still not getting the red grape vinousness that was promised.

Mouthfeel, along with appearance, is this offering's finest feature. It's medium-full without being heavy or sticky, and has beautifully buried bubbles that keep things inflated for as long as beer remains in mouth.

Karl Strauss 21st Anniversary Ale Brewed With Zinfandel Grape Juice did not meet my (perhaps unfairly high) expectations. It's still a worthwhile purchase, even now, but there's no need for the brewery to consider year-round or seasonal release for this particular recipe.

04-12-2011 12:26:30 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

08-24-2014 00:42:42 | More by GRG1313
Photo of armock
armock

New York

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

A - Poured a copper color with a thin white head and no lacing

S - Is of sweet malt and grapes

T - Just like the smell sweet malt with a grape finish

M - This beer has a fuller body with medium carbonation to it

D - Overall this is a decent beer and I was a little excited to try it from what the bottle said but was let down some their other bottles are better

08-29-2010 23:23:47 | More by armock
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Pours a dark brown with some ruddiness to it.

Smells like ... whoa, grape juice? With some malty maltiness.

Tastes like grapejuice mixed with some caramel-y, sweet, sugary malt along with some more sweetness and some more grapes and a tad bit of graininess.

Strange brew all around. Not awful, not great, kind of interesting. Pleased to get the chance to try it.

05-17-2010 23:03:55 | More by Overlord
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

3.55/5  rDev -6.8%

A - Murky amber, not much head, little ring left and some spotty lace.

S - A little malt, not much else for me. Boozy malt.

T - Malt wrapped in velvet grapes notes finished with some heat. Interesting.

M - Medium to full, good carb, very coating. Overall, kind of 'flat' experience on my palate. Not sure I really like the overall feel.

D - Would not be my choice for a session beer. Fun to try, though.

05-18-2010 04:11:21 | More by srandycarter
Photo of mjl21
mjl21

California

3.65/5  rDev -4.2%

22 ounce bottle poured into a tulip. Comes in at 10.2%. No bottling info is given.

A-Nice looking beer. It has a nice reddish hue. It has a one finger tan head that has good retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S-It has a very interesting aroma. I was expecting more yeast and malt aromas. It is dominated by lot of vanilla at the start. Red grape/dark stone fruit also come into play.

T-An unusual beer. Mix of vanilla, yeast, stone fruits, and some booze. It was aged on oak for a month and this really results in a strong vanilla taste. I was expecting a stronger flavor from the Zin grapes.

M-Nice creamy mouthfeel. Comfortable carbonation.

D-The vanilla gets to be too much for me. 10 oz would be plenty.

The oak was a bit too much for me. I think if this beer were spiked with some brett it would be really good.

05-03-2010 02:29:19 | More by mjl21
Photo of ReDave
ReDave

California

3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Very interesting!

Dark blackish with red and purple highlights.

Thin fizzy head that fades somewhat

poured in wine glasses

Interesting aromas, not super strong but some aroma there.

Great with ribs and BBQ brisket!

I'd get this again.

thanks to brother-in-law Steve! don't know if this was expensive or not..

04-13-2010 01:02:48 | More by ReDave
Photo of pastradul
pastradul

California

3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

Had at K&B wine Cellars in San Diego.

Normally not a fan of the majority of Karl beers, but figured I would give it a shot.

Poured in a chimay glass. Very Dark with small amount of head.

Smell is of Karl malt/sweetness. If you have had any number of Karl beer, you now there distinct flavor. The "karl flavor" isn't super upfront, There is a little more dark malt and dark fruit coming through with a hint of grape.

the taste is the same as the nose. An upfront hit of dark fruit followed by the "karl flavor" finished with a light amount of grape finish. The mouthfeel is pretty full and heavy.

One of the better Karl beers that I have had.

05-10-2010 14:08:00 | More by pastradul
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

08-24-2014 04:57:15 | More by drewone
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

A: poured a purplish brown into a tulip that had a white head that dissipated quick fast, but left some good sticky lacing on the glass.

S: the smell is quite intresting consisting of some vanilla, funk, a little grape, and a hint of booze considering that it's a 10% ABU's.

T: there is definitely some vanilla, and the zinfandel grapes come thru at the end. there is some booze for sure but mixes quite well in this beer.

M: the beer is meduim bodied with light carbonation which also has a pleasent dry finish.

D: Couldn't drink a whole one by myself due to the sweetness and the alcohol content. good sipper and pretty decent coming from karl strauss.

04-24-2010 02:58:33 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.78/5  rDev -0.8%

Stumbled upon a bottle of this after sampling on tap a couple times. Poured into a large wine glass from a 22 oz. bomber. Shows a clear brownish red with rich crimson highlights on the pour and sports half an inch of soapy off white foam. Moderate retention settles to and maintains a light film and leaves some artsy lacing. Somewhat light in color but surely a unique approach.

Light oak footprint gives the nose a dry smoky sense and works fairly well with the vinous qualities to give the beer an intriguing nose. Belgian yeast notes are quite thin however, revealing themselves a bit with warming but always playing second fiddle to the oak and grape. A good swirl briefly yields some peaty hops.

Quite vinous in flavor initially as the zinfandel dominates but can't quite replicate the depth of the cherry flavors found in more traditional BSDA's. I think a bit more dark malt may have helped bridge the gap. Pleasant and clean nonetheless.

Feel is good though a bit thin for the style, yet this brew doesn't truly fit any style very well. Again the vinous qualities are quite distinct from the body one would expect from a more traditional malt profile. The rather robust ABV is well hidden without offering a cloying sweetness even given the light body. An interesting beer that opens nicely with some exposure, whereby the grape notes become more subtle and balanced and the yeast gets a chance to shine.

04-20-2010 05:37:58 | More by HalfFull
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

On-tap at Hollingshead's,

A: Pours a dark red brown with a solid off-white.

S: Nose is quite light, with notes of sugar and zin grapes.

T: Big malt flavour/candi sugar, with a ton of raisin taste. Very lightly vinous, but I could tell the difference between this and a regular BSDA. Quite interesting.

M: Full-bodied, well balanced for having so much residual sugar, smooth.

D: This is quite a nice beer. Karl Strauss has certainly been impressing me lately.

04-05-2010 23:22:47 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.83/5  rDev +0.5%

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Meantime tulip. 10.2% ABV, no date.

Shared with the tickerazzi during a big tasting.

A - Brilliant clarity allows the bronzed amber color to shine nicely. A good loose off-white head rises, falls, and leaves little in it's wake. Awesome color, but where's the Belgian lace?

S - Robust red grape aroma with a unique fig and dark cherry fruity undertone. Hints of milk chocolate break it up a little while adding awesome character. Awesome Belgian yeast component in the finish. Full and inviting.

T - Toasted amber malts and a pinch of coffee are different. A little earthy wood comes through. Dusty cocoa finish with a pinch of grape and Belgian yeast esters. Some warm alcohol on the finish. Mild earthy hops.

M - Smooth and medium-bodied, it finishes a bit warm with alcohol and dry as well. A bite comes out after the swallow. Medium carbonation.

D - This is one bottle to split for sure. Some good nuances but it's lacking some nice Belgian traits. Grapes have fallen away a little bit.

11-21-2010 20:36:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

Purchased at Holiday Wine Cellars

A: Pours a deep amber with a nice solid off white head. Wonderful retention and a nice smattering of lace all the way down the glass.

S: The grapes can be picked up in the aroma. They are more earthy red than white. The beer is sweet and yeasty. Lots of candy malt and spice as well.

T: The grapes are there in the flavor as well. The grapes add a bit of tartness to a wonderful sweet brew. Sweet bready malt, toffee, and caramel stand out. Subtle spices and Belgian yeast come through as well.

M: On the lighter side of medium, mosty sweet with a bit of dryness in the finish.

D: Did not dig this one when cold, as it wamed it opened up and became pretty enjoyable.

08-02-2010 05:00:09 | More by tpd975
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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.