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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

97 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 97
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 16
Gots: 29 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout Alström Bros
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Sammy, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +11%

t0rin0, Oct 17, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think that the Karl Strauss Brewing Company is on to something big. The amount of wax they used on the bottle is a control measure. You see, if you refrigerate this beer, by the time you actually get the damn bottle open by battling the insane amount of wax, the beer is at a great temperature for tasting.

Pours an almost opaque crimson red/dark brown with a nice khaki 2 inch head that fades to a small cap. Good rings and lattices of lacing on the drink down. Smells of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, and vanilla. Vanilla hits you in the mouth up front, followed by espresso, cocoa powder, and some slight wood from the oak. A bourbon alcohol taste is present on the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style and from what I was expecting. Overall, a good beer as it is drinking right now, but I think that this will really benefit from more age. I can only expect it will just get better.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

djrn2, May 12, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Thorpe429, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev +4.4%

acurtis, May 12, 2012
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +4.4%

nmann08, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with ruby highlights; the head builds to an inch or so and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Roasty chocolate, but somewhat sweet, with a discernible woody vanilla presence

Taste: Sweetened chocolate, up front, with a vanilla/cherry flavor that develops by mid-palate; though there is enough hop bitterness to balance out the sweeter elements after the swallow, this is a rather sweet beer overall, with just a hint of Bourbon in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rather enjoyable, though it pales in power next to many other examples of the Imperial Stout style; it almost tastes like the beer equivalent of a Cherry Ripe (if any of you have tasted this Australian candy bar)

brentk56, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

GRG1313, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -21.7%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +7%
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.

womencantsail, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of Jason
3.95/5  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!

Jason, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Shane (HopHead84) for sending this one my way - finally got around to opening it. Served in a Bruery tulip. This one is about 6 months old.

A - Big tan foam settles to a thin cap, leaving patches of spotty lace behind. Dark brown body with some reddish transparency to it when held to the light.

S - Lots of vanilla, mild oak, cocoa, milled lightly roasted grains, touch of spirit alcohol and oxidation present.

T - Tons of vanilla, a bit of chocolate, light oak and roasted malt character, touch of caramel and brown sugar, and moderate bitterness in the finish. Alcohol could stand to be a bit better hidden.

M - Roasty, dry, medium body, with pleasant carbonation. Seems undersized for 9% - would be quite nice for a 5-7% American Stout. Since only a portion was -bal aged I'm guessing the base beer is to blame, and not the barrel-aging process.

D - A solid beer with some small flaws. Easy to drink even with the intense vanilla sweetness. I'd have it again, but I don't think this will benefit from additional aging and suspect it could decline rapdily.

MasterSki, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +4.4%

mdfb79, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a full 3 finger tan head, good retention leaving impressive lacing.

S: Not really getting vanilla, there's a hint of it, mostly a smell of cocoa powder with hint of dark fruit (fig).

T: There is an attractive vanilla undercurrent throughout the beer which I really liked and I thought should more of a focal point. Good dark chocolate flavours, cocoa and carob, tasty but nothing to go crazy for.

M: Medium to full-bodied, very smooth, creamy, soft carbonation and elegant.

D: I love vanilla and I wanted to be wowed ala Creme Brulee Stout. I got a solid, quaffable big stout, but nothing out of the ordinary. Try it on tap though, it's worth a buy.

Halcyondays, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +4.4%

BillRoth, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Zaphog, May 27, 2012
Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

liamt07, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2/2/2011

Incidentally, this is review #900. I find it comical that they're filling 64oz growlers of this for $12. On tap at Karl Strauss in Sorrento Valley with 10000 people who just got off work in the business park. I think I'm sitting in a private section of the bar reserved by a company because everyone seems to know each other, they all appear to be drinking Woody Gold, and there are platters of food on tables. Well, perhaps everyone is just really friendly, they all enjoy Woody Gold, and Karl Strauss gives away free food on Wednesday nights. 

Described as "A bold Russian Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla beans and aged three months in American oak bourbon barrels."

A: Deep brown in the tulip glass, bordering on black. I'd reckon 80 SRM if you put a gun to my head. Yes, it says that on the menu but I wasn't looking. The head is light brown and creamy. The pour was subpar so there wasn't much longevity in that department. Lacing is minimal. A pretty alright looking beer. No complaints. I just noticed a deep crimson tinge when I hold the glass to the light of the coy pond. Such magical fish.

S: Bold vanilla profile accompanied by dark chocolate, caramel, oak, and bourbon. Smells good, though the vanilla could stand to be less overpowering. Roasted malt comes out when the beer warms past 33 degrees. 

T: The flavor is quite good and better than I expected. It displays extraordinary balance between roasted malt, vanilla bean, coffee, dark chocolate, and bourbon. I'd love to see more bourbon flavor, but for only 3 months the barrels imparted a good deal of character. On second thought, the vanilla is really strong, it's not balanced. The 9% is well hidden by the bold flavors. Sweetness is at a moderate level, being tempered by a low hop bitterness, coffee, and the roasted malt. There's a dash or caramel in there. The finish is sticky with a dash of astringency, some oak, and notable alcohol warming. The beer has a bit of a vanilla flourish in the terminus. Caramel becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

M: Lower full body with upper low carbonation. Mouthfeel is silky and sticky with a drying oak sensation on the palate.

Overall: A smooth and easy drinking -bal aged RIS. It's a bit heavy on the vanilla for my taste, but that might be a beloved quality to others. Recommended.

HopHead84, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into tulip - thanks pat

Pours a viscous, opaque blacked out color with a layering of tanned head. Slowly fades into a coating of filmy retention with some spotty lacing left behind on the glass.

A nice marriage of chocolate and vanilla in the nose, followed by undertones of oak, bourbon and warmth. Roasted malts, leather and sweetness with cocoa.

Plenty of vanilla right up front, matched with dark chocolate and cocoa. Sweet, but not cloying, riding a wave of roasted malts with a hint of roasted coffee beans. Continuing layers of dark malt with vanilla, oak and soft bourbon notes. Finishes a bit sweet and warm.

Fuller body, slightly lower carbonation, creamy and slick on the tongue. Drinks pretty nice considering the age, and the 25% barrel aged portion of the blend adds a decent depth of flavor.

xnicknj, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of Gobzilla
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a very dark brown just about black in color with maroonish highlights and had a tight half finger of brown head, good retention leaving a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: noticeable coffee upfront with some roastiness, oat grains, hints of chocolate and faint vanilla. the bourbon to me was pretty muted but thought it had very little cherry notes to it.

T: the roastiness, mild bourbon, and vanilla were more apparent on the taste alongside some oat grains but had slight hop character. it did have chocolate accents and a touch booze.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, bourbon, mild hoppy, and silky finish.

D: it was just a decent imperial stout that was pretty good all around and to me would have liked more bourbon character; oh well.

Gobzilla, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of LoveStout
4/5  rDev +4.4%

LoveStout, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of FosterJM
3.88/5  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.

FosterJM, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - First of all, a little overboard on the wax. Took me some time to get it off. Pitch black, thin tan head, lots of lace at the edges and cascading bubbles. Looks inviting.

S - Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, vanilla. Food. Nice.

T - Pretty close to the mark on smell. Bitters at end nicely. Alcohol somewhat noticeable.

M - Medium to heavy body, med good carb, nice balance for something that could potentially be so sweet.

D - Big flavors and big ABV. Not a session beer.

srandycarter, May 14, 2011
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4/5  rDev +4.4%

DarthKostrizer, Nov 16, 2011
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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.