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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

49 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 49
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.49%
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:
Beer added by: gthornton on 02-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (49) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mcallister
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of armock
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a goblet from a 22 oz.

The beer smell is reminiscent of a wine, and I definitely detect the zinfandel grapes and a hint of alcohol.

The color is a darker brown, almost the same color as the empty brown glass bottle, and with an inch of head .

It is smooth for 10.5 abv, and is decently carbonated.

The taste at first is malty and sweet, with laces of grape flavor. It fades to a bready aftertaste that reminds me of a nutty whole grain. The rich caramel-like taste from the malts is nicely complimented by floral flavoring from the grapes and yeast.

I will definitely drink this one again.

Photo of crvcac
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasting conducted with a tulip glass.

Appearance: pored with a beautiful white head. Nice reddish brown color with ruby highlights. Slow dropping head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell: smells wonderful. Hints of oak and spices. Unmistakable vinuous quality.

Taste: tastes reminiscent of it's smell. Red vine grapes, plenty of the spice u expect from Belgian beers and good balance of hops and malt.

Mouthfeel: although the abv is high, believe 10 or so percent, it is nicely masked amongst it's ingredients. Overall, a very interesting take on a classic style. Well done.

Photo of tpd975
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
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

Photo of glid02
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

Photo of SpdKilz
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Photo of mithrascruor
2.6/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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!).

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of pastradul
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of mjl21
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of HalfFull
3.78/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of ReDave
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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..

Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of Erselius
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was hesitant to try this "wine beer" but after tasting it I was quite impressed. It was served in a tulip glass which I thought fit it well. The beer itself wasn't revolutionary but it was unique enough that I bought a few bottles and will enjoy seeing how they age. When I find myself in the masses of South Coast Plaza Karl Strauss is always a good safe haven.

Photo of AnswerInQuestion
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Dark Reddish, almost purple brown with light visible carbonation; no lacing.

S: Fresh malt, notes of deep red wine, light floral and date. The scent becomes more profound as the beer level drops in a tulip glass.

T: Malty tast familiar to many Strauss beers. Sweetness of dark berries on the center of the palate from the Zinfandel skins. The Zin comes forward as the beer warms. Vanilla and hazelnut on the finish.

M: Smooth over the tongue, zingy on the palate, almost tannic finish and pleasantly carbonated down the throat.

D: This beer is unique to anything I've tasted. The wine flavor encourages me to savor rather than guzzle, but I would definitely sit with friends and have several glasses, delightfully!

Photo of gthornton
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

21st Anniversary Belgian strong ale brewed with old vine zin & aged on French oak:

A: Dark ruby red/brown/hint of purple, quite beautiful. Thin head, little lacing... good for style, keep in mind.

S: Fresh malts, caramel, toffee, raisin, plum, mild red wine scent opens up over time, and is a unique experience for the beer drinker

T: A heavy malty foundation with the Zinfandel pressing forward on the tip of the tongue, especially as the beer warms. Also some great vanilla and hazelnut overtones.

M: Typical heavily malted feel on the tongue combines greatly with the qualities of a good (red) Zinfandel: tannins pull gently on the tongue, and adds a nice zing on the tip and sides of the palate.

D: A higher ABV, of course, but very delicious. The novelty of the Zin grapes makes you want a lot more, since there is no telling how long this will be around.

When you can, buy several in the bottle (hopefully they do so, sure they will), and cellar a few of these.

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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 49 ratings.