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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

101 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 101
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 16
Gots: 28 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (69) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 101 | Reviews: 63
Reviews by crvcac:
Photo of crvcac
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark brownish black. Not quite opaque however
Smell- smooth kentucky bourbon up front, vanilla bean, hints of oak, raw sugar
Taste: definite bourbon presence. Vanilla is nicely balanced amongst the other flavors and plays nicely off the bourbon. Hints of oak and raw sugar. Slight roast with appropriate tannin in the finish
Mouthfeel- surprisingly smooth for 9.0%. a wonderful blend of flavors and touch of alcoholic warmth makes this highly quaffable
Drinkability: another please!

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date on the label.

LOOK: Big head, stout black.

SMELL: Vanilla, charcoal, ripe dark fruit, faint oak, burnt sugar, alcohol.

TASTE: Silky smooth, roasted grain, soft charcoal, mellow vanilla, hint of oak, modest hopping, burnt bread.

9% where art thou? Yeah, it is there but super mellow. Beer is playful with some interested flavors thrown at the palate. Perhaps the earth does not shake but the palate wants another sip. Great job guys!

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very black, decent head retention, not much lacing to speak of but good overall here

S - Chocolate, Vanilla - Chocolate chip cookie, some roast if you look for it.

T - See nose, vanilla is in check but still dominates. Becomes overly sweet towards the end but I was impressed nevertheless - felt this a better version of Victory at Sea from Ballast Point. Yeah...I said it. And Yes, I understand one is a Porter and One is a Stout beeeitchez.

M - Velvety, slick and smooth. Already feels like it has a year of age on it. This needs to be revisited in a year!!

O - Again, call it blastphemy but this is a much better done Victory at Sea. Very good beer here.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A smooth drinking beer with good mouthfeel. Coconut and vanilla, the latter strong in the finish. Good looks, black with white bubbly head and inviting aromas of vanilla and roasted chocolate malt.
Stephen Rich brought this back from the Brewers' conference.

Photo of HalfFull
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Carlsbad location. Pours a deep and dark brown with ruby highlights. A thin cap of tan foam settles to a light ring after a few minutes, leaving light watery lacing.

Nose of chocolate, vanilla and some roasted malts and earthen hops. Hints of oak and bourbon in the background are light initially, expanding a bit with warming. Smoked malt and some cherry accompanying the chocolate notes throughout. Not overly rich yet with a nice balance.

Tastes of vanilla chocolate and roasted malts, again with a light smack of bourbon and oak. Vanilla doesn't overpower the flavor for me but it is present from start to finish and in fact softens the sweetness of the delivery a bit. Feel is smooth and unobtrusive with no alcohol sense to speak of and accompanied with a pleasing carbonation. Body and texture are relatively light but balanced for delivery overall. Smooth drink, moderate across the board. Bottled version will likely be more robust though I don't sense much benefit to putting some age on it.

Photo of GRG1313
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a short off white head.

Lightly assertive sweet chocolate, plummy nose. No vanilla to speak of, certainly no more than most barrel aged brews.

Medium full mouth and body with nice balance.

Flavors are all simple medium to full bitter coffee and espresso. Pleasant flavors although it really tastes like cold, carbonated espresso with little more.

Finish is medium full bitter coffee.

Not bad; just nothing special. Vanilla character noticeably absent.

Photo of trappistlover
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(22oz bottle shared at Dak's final four tasting). Pours a cola color with khaki head. Aroma has plenty of spice, vanilla, caramel, and some booze. Taste is sweet with lots of vanilla. Medium bodied with an oily texture. This is a pretty good beer that is big on vanilla.

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a tight, mocha head that leaves a solid ring of lacing.

Smells of big vanilla and chocolate notes.

Tastes of a big dose of vanilla followed by more standard stout characteristics. Vanilla is definitely the focus with a gigantic wave of it right up front. Some brown sugar sweetness, chocolate and light coffee notes back it up. Has a bit of an adult milk chocolate feel to it. Not much bitterness to speak of, but sweetness is pleasant.

Mouthfeel is medium-fulll with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, nothing groundbreaking, but if you want to try a good vanilla aged stout, this is worth a shot.

Photo of Armand
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this couple times. The first it was bland and flat. Not too much going on. It is Karl, so I can expect something like this from them. I think the best thing since their Oatmeal Stout.
A: Dark brown with red light that shines through.
S: Small, very little hint of vanillal
T: Kind sweet, with a little dampness to it
M: Not too much. Very light-medim bodied.
O: The first time I've had this it wasn't mature yet. Few months lagter it had some boldness too it. Not much, but again...cheers.

Photo of badboyrsl84
3.32/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look - jet black with a white head

Smell - vanilla with really nothing else

Taste - some chocolate and tons of vanilla beans. Light finish of vanilla. Too much carbonation for my liking.

Overall - good beer not a great imperial stout, no hint of alcohol at all. I still think the 21st is my favorite from Karl

Photo of gregshead
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tasted on 3/24/11. Review from notes:

A: pours black w/ a nice finger of light tan colored head.

S: I smell oak dancing with some extra vanilla. Some light bourbon with good roasted grains peeps in their as well.

T: Lots of smooth/sweet vanilla up front. Some oak taste. Trails with roasted grain.

M: Light carbonation. Lighter feel for an imp stout. not that much ligher just a tad.

O: Very good but not quite the outstanding. A little on the light side for a partially -bal aged stout.

Photo of femmebiere
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a smooth stout that I thoroughly enjoyed. The pour was a semi see-through stout with a malty head. The smell didn't have too much to note - just an earthy sweet smell. The taste was my favorite part (specifically the aftertaste that made the beer have a high rating in my opinion). I may be partial because I like vanilla, but it was a delicious aftertaste for a stout that never became overpowering.

Photo of jmarsh123
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Waaay too much wax. I thought I was going to sever a finger trying to get it off. I understand it's special and everything, but consumers actually need to be able to access the product inside.

Pours a deep brown almost black with a big 3 finger off-white head fading into a ring after a minute or so. Spotty lacing down the glass.

Smells of sweet malts with a heavy dose of vanilla obviously and some bourbon characteristics but they are muted. Chocolate and cream also. This one smells sweet.

Flavor starts out with a rich chocolate creaminess. Vanilla is present, but not overpowering. A little bit of roasted malt, but then a touch of bourbon pulls at the back end with just a subtle hint of booze.

Fairly creamy mouthfeel although it is a bit too carbonated for the style.

I have a lot of issues with this beer. Taste is absolutely not one of them though. I really dig the flavors and thought the bourbon was well done. Had it not been for the slight overcarbonation, this one would've probably been a 4.5. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of camil1mj
2.87/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a a trade with Thome.

Poured at room temperature into a pint glass.

A: Just like Coca Cola. Deep brown with some transparency. Lots of fizzy head.

S: Bourbon, vanilla and chocolate malts.

T: This is one if the worst examples I have had of a barrel aged stout. The carbonation interferes with the taste. Once you get past that it tastes like cream soda mixed with Russian Imperial Stout.

M: Over carbonated, fizzy and way to thin for the style.

O: I was excited to get this as an extra, but it can't hold a candle to most other stouts I have had.

Photo of liamt07
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Steve, shared with Sammy and Steve. 22oz into a tulip.

Pours black with a beige head, dark mahogany highlights in the body. Thin layer of retention, some bubbles form the collar. Nose is full of vanilla, milk chocolate and coconut. Sweet yet not overwhelmingly so. Taste has oak, vanilla, dark fruits, coconut, roasted notes and more lingering oak in the finish. An 'imperial sweet stout' I'd call it. Mouthfeel is pretty full and sweet in the finish. A nice stout overall. Thanks again Steve.

Photo of BrewTasting
4.77/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Opened on 10/17/12 WOW, this is what I have been waiting for!

Open it up and enjoy! I've had this beer a couple times now, once last Christmas, and just shared this bottle at my local beer store.

Like you, I was scared to open it... afterall it's been about 2 years. Last Christrmas was good, but right now, whoa.. so perfect.

-Poured a very smooth black, with a khaki head

-The nose brings you in immediately, the vanilla is tremendous now! SO glad I waited.

-The flavor is spot on now, just the perfect ammount of oak, with loads of vanilla. Little bit of chocolate. It is poetic, I hate you Strauss, ha ha. We tasted Bourbon Boris, Lady in the Woods, and Pelican Tsunami tonight... All great beers... 22nd Strauss won our vote.

-Overall - Fantastic beer. I've rested it on its side for a good year, and also stood it for a year.. It's flawless right now. Enjoy!

Photo of psiweaver
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

grabbed this on my recent trip down to San Diego. Normally i'm not a Karl Strauss guy but I liked their san diego holiday beer series so i figured i'd give this a try.

Poured into my Duvel Tulip

A: it pours a deep black with a small dark brown head that quickly dissipates.

S: lots of chocolate, vanilla, toasted oak with a bunch of sweetness. A rich complex smell that gets better as the beer warms up.

T: I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. it has a lot of chocolate and vanilla and is very sweet but it doesn't have much of the roasty bitterness that I would normally associate with this size of beer. I really enjoyed it.

M: kind of a thin mouthfeel but a nice beer to go with dessert that's smooth easy to drink and flavorful.

I really enjoyed this beer and found it to be very good overall. I am actively searching out more as I'm interested to see what it does with a bit of age on it.

Photo of DrinkThemAll
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass...

A-Poured a very deep ruby or cola like color and had a massive frothy 3 finger cream head that dissipates to half a finger with nice lacing...

S-Smells like chocolate milk and sweet vanilla, slight espresso and very sweet malts. Maple syrup as well...

T-Sweet malty vanilla with syrup and milk chocolate, very sweet beer but very subtle on taste. Has a slight oaky or bourbon finish...Nothing pops out at all on these flavors at all but it is smooth and balanced...

M-Light body and high carbonation, very artificial vanilla flavors here and quite foamy...some chocolate and oak. didn't like this mouth one bit...

O-Nothing special here, just a decent dessert like beer thats ok.
Wasn't expecting to much from Karl strauss on this stout...It wasn't
horrible by any means, I mean I enjoyed drinking this but it was just lacking a lot from what it said it was going to be and for its style .

Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened by banning. Served in a Jackie O's snifter.

Pours near black with a thin off white head and a thin collars afterward. Not entirely opaque, which immediately indicates that it is not going to be as viscous as it should be. The nose brings vanilla plus a bit of light chocolate. There is a very slight roast presence. Flavor is pretty one dimensional. There is a strong amount of vanilla and not really much else. Light chocolate and roast in the background, but it could really use some hops or more oak, or potentially some more roast. Now, it's just too sweet and has lots of vanilla with nothing backing it up. Medium body that could be more viscous. Okay, but a bit of a disappointment.

Photo of tjfinkle
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Karl Strauss has been impressing my lately with their special releases, so I was cautiously optimistic when opening this wax dipped bomber. My first though on this beer was what kind of wax are they using on these bottles? This was the thickest and toughest wax I have attempted to get through to enjoy a beer, but I digress...

The beer poured a very dark brown with quite a significant (2-3 fingers) of tan head that settled down to a very nice half finger or so which remained. I found this quite surprising for an imperial stout of this style, but overall a very good sign that this would not be a flat beer like many other imperial stouts I have had in the past.

On the nose, the first thing I noticed was how mellow the malts smelled. I noticed very soft malts with a hint of the vanilla and oak, but I was not overpowered by any of these aspects. Many beers of this style are overpowering of coffee, however the coffee notes I picked up on this were much less noticeable. The label of the bottle describes it as chocolate and espresso which I think is right on the mark.

The taste of this beer is initially vanilla; however on subsequent sips it is not as noticeable. The chocolate definitely comes through on the aftertaste with just enough hops to keep it balanced. All the flavors in this beer are just enough to add flavor without enough to be overpowering. The best word I can use to describe this beer is balance. The vanilla complements the soft malts very well and the carbonation is just about right. Many other imperial stouts, while still delicious are overpowering or one flavor, whether it be bourbon or coffee, while this one has a great balance of flavors.

This is a very drinkable stout, especially to for 9%, and I would definitely recommend it to others. I am looking forward to see how it ages.

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a very dark brown color with some reddish/amber notes to it and a finger of khaki head.

S: Big time vanilla to the nose along with quite a bit of creamy chocolate. I get both milk and dark chocolate out of this one and a mild roastiness. There is a touch of oak to the aroma as well, not really any bourbon, though.

T: Tons and tons of vanilla, from both the bourbon/barrels and the added vanilla. The flavor is very heavy on the chocolate as well. Some mild to moderate bitterness which prevents the beer from being far too sweet.

M: The body is medium with a smooth carbonation.

O: Quite smooth and creamy and just really very pleasant. This is a solid beer, indeed.

Photo of FosterJM
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

280th review on BA
bottle to NB Globe

App- A nice dark brown pour with a very impressive two finger head. The lacing was very impressive.

Smell- Faint malts with some chocolate and whisps of vanilla and bourbon.

Taste- It's a good tasting beer. A bit under what I thought it would be with the % of Vanilla beans.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium carb level. A bit creamy with a nice roasty and bitter after taste.

Drink- Not too bad. A little underwhelming with the amount of vanilla I was expecting. I think from the label 3 months in the barrels wasnt enough. I need to grab a 2nd bottle to age longer.

Photo of djaeon
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very dark brown, with a moderate bubbly head. Decent retention, no lacing.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate and a light earthiness, possibly from the barrel aged portion.

T: The coffee carries through in the flavor, along with a light vanilla. One sip reminded me of a cigarette, but that went away.

M: Feels velvety smooth and leaves a light stickiness on the lips.

D: Very drinkable. Despite the 9% ABV, I could easily go through a couple bombers.

Photo of beagle75
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft service into a half-pint snifter at the brewpub in Costa Mesa.

A: Clear, dark garnet-brown with one finger of diminishing light beige foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Abundant dark roasted malt spiked with obvious vanilla notes. The obvious aside, there is complexity present--tree bark, vinous fruit, and faint licorice all make appearances. No alcohol is present in the smell.

T: Begins sweet, with strong volatile vanilla early, followed by pleasantly coffee-infused roasted grain. Acidity is consistently restrained, while flavors dry out somewhat into the dark, earthy middle. Fruit is absent, but a whiff of spirituous barrel is detected. The finish is moderately bitter, featuring charcoal and lingering milk chocolate. While some of the flavors invoke the presence of a tasty bourbon cocktail, the distinct flavor of alcohol is minimized.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly sticky but a little too insubstantial on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: This is a pleasant enough tasting beer in a package whose appearance can only generate skepticism. It shows far too much clarity--literally clear dark red when held to the light--for the style. Appearances aside, roasted malt, barrel notes, and vanilla are well-assimilated into one of the more friendly and approachable imperial stouts I've seen. For a brewery whose track record with porter-based styles has been zero in years past, this makes two relative successes in a row--Parrot in a Palm Tree being the other.

Photo of Cavery
3.34/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with Klym, a night cap to a solid Friday Night; 750 ml into Oversized Wine Glasses.

A: the amount of light that gets through makes me question it's "stoutyness". If I was to take a glance at the glass, I would immediately cry porter. Even then, I would say light porter. I remember being able to look from under my glass into the base of the head. a finger to 1/2 finger head featured lighter bubbles than would be expected. So far nothing alarming, but not exciting either.

S: Strong vanilla in the nose. Really quite a dominating vanilla. It sits above every other smell like a cruel overlord. Any other smells that come up are quickly whipped down by the emotionless vanilla. Bourbon tries to escape its vanilla master, but to no avail.

T: Vanilla with some oaked woodiness. Mellow and vanilla makes for a whip cream/creamy top on a sundae. However, you keep expecting your spoon to break through something other than the cream. It honestly never seems to, and you get repeat spoonfuls of vanilla infused whip cream.

M: Yeah, the theme continues. A very average mouth with some pg-13 carbonation. Nothing really exciting here, it just is.

O: All things considered, the vanilla did a lot to save this beer from being lost in mediocrity. All the flavor seemed to be juxtaposed rather than integrated. First cream then vanilla. This beer wasn't bad, but it suffered from the fear of being great. This brew was rot with anxiety. Come out of your shell Strauss, and you might say something surprising. Next time take some risks, and I'll make a nicer review.

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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.