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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
86
very good

42 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.02%
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)
View: Beers (51) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | 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: 42 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

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

Iowa

3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 12:26:30 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany color with a finger of a head that sticks around and leaves some traces of lace

Smell: Graham cracker, vanilla, oak, dark fruit and, as you would expect, red zinfandel wine

Taste: Fruity, at the outset, with the dark fruit and zinfandel grape flavor making a statement; by mid-palate, the graham cracker, vanilla and oak flavors arrive, along with a slightly odd, grassy bitterness; after the swallow, the sweeter flavors predominate, with a rather wine-like finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this experimental brew, so much like a wine-influenced dubbel, though I would have preferred a little less sweetness overall; still, I really like some of the things Karl Strauss is doing now

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 23:58:14 | More by brentk56
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3/5  rDev -21.9%

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

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber.

Dark and inviting with a trimmed lace that leaves some rings on the glass. Vinous nose shows some tartness, bready deep with in with lots of ripe fruit and some herbal phenols in the mix ... estery as well. Slightly crisp with a creamy slick full-ish body. Malt sweetness does well with the grape character tagging along, peppery alcohol and some phenols are there to balance and add some complexity. Warming with some brown sugar and ripe fruit in the back. Finishes a bit estery and sweet with that same lingering alcoholic warmth.

Super tasty, especially when it warms up a little. A little goat cheese and ripe figs on crostinis paired well with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2010 00:45:28 | More by Jason
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich and grapey, but a medium mouthfeel. Alcohol keeps it from being too sweet. Hot but mellow. Crazy stuff, but it's a good example of why we keep reaching for flavored beers. Nice nose of vanilla and sweet vermouth. Lovely copper color with strong lacing in the snifter. Fruity yet crisp, candy but a clean, refreshing flavor. Long warm aftertaste of butterscotch with just enough yeasty Belgian rough stuff.

I think if the CBS and KBS fanatics tasted this, KS would get more respect. Big barrel-aged flavors without going totally for the booze.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 03:56:03 | More by mactrail
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2010 23:22:47 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Brodie - thanks!

Pours a clear dark amber color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts with hints of toastiness and solid amounts of white grape aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth dark malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of dark fruit flavors - plums and raisins. Midway through the sip some light white grape flavors make an appearance before fading out to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is OK. It's a bit on the thin side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass with no problems and could have another.

Overall I thought the addition of white grape flavors was welcome in a beer like this, something I initially wasn't all that sure about. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2010 16:17:32 | More by glid02
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

4.78/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my Delirium snifter, Karl Strauss's 21st Anniversary is auburn tinged ruby with a light tan head leaving lots of scattered chunks of foamy lace.

Smell is pretty big oaky coconut and very fruity. Not a lot of complexity, but awesome, and the wine comes out more and more.

Taste is absolutely delicious - from the first sip, it was a 'wow' beer. The main components are the coconut from the barrels and the fruity Belgian yeast. There a tart, vinous note, but it's not strongly wine like, just a hint of sweet maltiness. It's super smooth and very well integrated in spite of the ABV and fairly young age of only 9-10 months IIRC. Some complexity develops as it opens up, some sweet nuttiness, almost almond liquer like, a little more of the zin juice as well.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, a nice viscosity but not too heavy at all, just a touch stickier then your average Belgian, but with a dry, tannic edge.

Drinkability is very good, really awesome beer, even more so because my expectations were pretty low for some reason. Really wish I bought more then one of these when I got it in California last spring, oh well. Assuming I'll never see get to have another though, I can't give it a perfect 5.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2010 07:35:27 | More by ccrida
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 20:36:19 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber courtesy of tjensen3618, thanks for this beauty! Pours a clear amber color with a thin, light tan foam. Not a whole lot of retention or lacing.

Nose is caramely malt with a smooth toffee and light toast aspect. A little bit of grape vines and weedy oak and vanilla come through.

Malt driven with an oaky and tannic flavor deep in the soul of the beer and is complimented by some nice vanilla cream coffee additions. Nutty, pecan encrusted creamsickle. Full bodied and rich. Only a mild grape wine flavor, but enough to make an appearance. Nice, I really dig this one...job super well done. Unbelievably easy to drink, especially considering the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2010 01:03:53 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

338th review on BA
bottle to over sized wine glass
22oz

App- The app of a small red wine when held to the light. One finger quick receding head. Scattered lacing.

Smell- This was unique and quite aromatic. Grapes, yeast, vinious (redundant?) and tart.

Taste- Much smaller than I thought. It's got a certain grape juice sweetness quality that masks the ABV. The oaky vanilla comes very faintly. The taste is very tannin like without the wine sting. Quite delicious after saying all that.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium carb level and a bit dry and leaves a grape after taste.

Drink- Overall I could put a few of these back. The ABV is well hidden and just drinks really well. It was dry, sweet and crisp with a nice fruit quality.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 04:29:05 | More by FosterJM
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2010 05:00:09 | More by tpd975
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my wife for bringing me this bottle from San Diego. Pours from the bottle into my Duvel glass a deep reddish brown color, with maybe a hint of purple, and an off-white color head that disappears rather quickly. Aromas of red grapes, vanilla and wood. Nice vinous character, with flavors of grapes, raisins and vanilla. A very nice anniversary beer, from a brewery that has gotten a lot better in recent years.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2010 04:56:33 | More by emmasdad
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear crimson color with a off white head foamy and good retention. Nice lacing as well.

Nose shows hints of wood, dark fruits, jammy fruits, with hints of a sweet floral ester.

Man what a great tasting beer. Coconut, oak, wood, blackberry jam, more wood, oak tannins, lavender, other floral flavors, earthy on the finish with a showing of alcohol in the chest. Very nice refreshing and oaky.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2010 20:42:01 | More by mcallister
Photo of armock
armock

New York

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Serving type: bottle

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

Illinois

3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

California

3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Tennessee

3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

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

California

5/5  rDev +30.2%

01-22-2012 22:25:11 | More by djaeon
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123

Indiana

2.83/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 23:13:34 | More by jmarsh123
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21st Anniversary Belgian Strong Ale Aged With Old Vine Zin Grapes from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.