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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
85
very good

63 Reviews
THE BROS
88
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 102
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 15
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 (88) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Hads: 102
Photo of gregshead
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
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. (494 characters)

Photo of psiweaver
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (912 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
2.58/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A cool little extra tossed in by Callmecoon.

Poured into a Mikkeller wine glass (I hope I don't break this spindly little stem! [Thanks for the sick glass Beeruser!]).

75% stout, 25% stout aged in oak barrels with vanilla beans added. The side of the label does mention that these barrels are indeed bourbon barrels. You'd think they would want to blare the word Bourbon right across the front of the label.

Appearance
The pour has me a bit iffy right off the bat. This stuff is thin and light. Very light for an Imperial Stout. The stream pouring from the bottle wasn't even as dark as root beer, its well into cream soda territory. It collects in the glass alright, and these thinner stouts are always the ones to sport large heads and throw pretty trails of lace. This is no exception to my stereotype.

Aroma
The smell takes me to Cleveland. Specifically the couple blocks surrounding Great Lakes Brewing Co. That area always smells like wet, steeped grains with an even toasting to them. Personally I think its kinda stinky. This beer has the same smell of Great Lakes Brewing, perhaps on a day that they are brewing a batch of Blackout Stout that adds a little bit of extra roastiness to the air. Delving deeper into a hearty swirl (which this new glass is perfect for, Zack) I start to pull out nips of vanilla and oak. If you've been to GLBC this section of my review will be much more meaningful. If you haven't been to GLBC chances are you aren't reading my review any way, so all's well.

Taste
That steeped grain element is brought out in the flavor but much less so than the aroma, which is almost dominated by it. The taste is pretty sweet, but one should expect thing going into a beer called Vanilla Imperial Stout and one talking about bourbon and oak. Milk chocolate flavors teams up with the vanilla to create a sort of Starbucks overly sweet cocoa-mocha-vanilla-cappuccino-double-tall-iced-frappe-drink flavor. Roastiness is all but buried, it only peeks out just before the finish at about the same time the base stout's inherent dark fruitiness tries to have a go at your taste buds. The finish leaves you with a sturdy, raw and powerful flavor of oak. Bourbon is very minimal, its mostly all oak.

Mouthfeel
Appropriately low carbonation but the body isn't impressing me much. It finishes dry. Where's the thick creaminess I was hoping for? There is some stickiness, which I'm not surprised by given the sweetness of this stout.

Overall
Its plenty drinkable but not impressive. After drinking this and RR Salvation tonight I feel that its imperative that I check my blood sugar. (2,610 characters)

Photo of SQUIDPORT
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint Glass: Pours a dark reddish brown with 1inch head.

S: Subtle coffee and vanilla scent. I get a nice cotton candy smell, reminds me of being at a carnival.

T: Smooth coffee bitterness with notes of vanilla.

M: Light carbonation, not very thick.

A nice change from all the other type of stouts (chocolate, coconut, oatmeal etc...)

Drink up! This is worth a taste, definitely! (383 characters)

Photo of liamt07
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (511 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (258 characters)

Photo of ChanChan
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a palm sized snifter.
Appearance: Ruby red looks a lot like a Dr. Pepper nice one inch head disappears quite fast. Lacing is modest.

Aroma: Lots of coffee notes, roasty and malty there is only a faint hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium bodied.

Taste: A coffee boozy feel to it. Drinkability: This stout is quite bitter but I like that. The alcohol is present but at 9.0 ABV this beer is not overly heavy.

Overall: The vanilla does not present itself well. This beer is a vanilla imperial stout and I expected to get a bit more vanilla. Nothing special but this beer falls at around six dollars for a 22OZ bomber, that and the decent taste make this a worthy stout!! Waxed dipped bottles are well over 10 dollars but it's the stuff inside that counts and I have faith that this beer could taste like a 12$ bottle in two to three years and since its not so special now I'm more than willing to age my second bottle!!

Update: 9/13/2012

I was right, this beer is now an awesome brew!!! The vanilla is still present and it has smoothed out very nicely!! (1,078 characters)

Photo of trappistlover
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (270 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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) (764 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
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. (704 characters)

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (647 characters)

Photo of MrTopher
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip glass served from a waxed 22oz bottle.

A: Was expecting something a little darker when pouring this beer. Its quiet light in the spectrum when it comes to an Imperial Stout. Zero to no head also, just a little dark foam on the top.

S: A little coffee and a little vanilla, and a little roast, that is about it. Again was expecting a lot more from this beer.

T: The taste is the best reviewed part of this beer, but not great by any means. There is some coffee but more so chocolate, some sweet, and some vanilla, also oak is mixed into the flavor, but its light.

M: Thin, this is quiet a let down, I was expecting something a little thicker with the % and being partially barrel aged.

O: I think KS needs to go back to the drawing board on this one, I'm happy I didn't spend a lot on this beer because it wasn't very enjoyable. (855 characters)

Photo of hickmancase
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Total Wine poured into my Ommegang Chalice.

A: Thick and dark but not impenetrable by light. One finger on top.

S: I smell the vanilla! Roasty.

T: I taste the vanilla! This is really nice. I'm sure I enjoyed this more than I might have if it hadn't been such a long time since my last Imperial Stout. Chocolate and vanilla roasted.

M: Thick, but not overly so. I love overly thick but, my tastes aside, this was just right.

D: Great one to kick back with at the end of the night or with dessert. That said, I enjoyed this one this time, but there are other imperial stouts that I would prefer. Also, I should mention that I wasn't expecting this good from Karl Strauss. I don't typically enjoy their beers this much.

9/10 (739 characters)

Photo of KevinBrewer
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black in the center with reddish brown hues around the edges. Thick brown head that lasts, leaving sticky lacing down the glass.

N- Soft vanilla, cocoa, and oak sit atop smooth roasted malt. The oak smells especially delicious.

T- Roasted malt base with a nice oakiness and a subtle vanilla accent. A slight booziness shows up in the middle that melds well with the oak. The oakiness is showcased again at the finish when the beer dries out slightly. Bitter roasted husk and a moderate leafy hop bitterness also come in for the finish and linger into the aftertaste.

M- Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a semidry finish.

D- Overall, a very tasty brew. I would definitely like to age a few bottles to enjoy when the edginess has rounded out a bit. I'm afraid the vanilla will disappear though. (814 characters)

Photo of bs870621345
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Big thanks to DankTheTank for this in a recent trade.

Pours a ruby amber color with almost no head and no lacing.

Smells of vanilla, oak, booze, and a tiny bit of caramel and burnt sugar bitterness.

Taste is heavy on the vanilla with chocolate holding it up, oak, and heavy on the booze aftertaste. Almost tastes of a hint of licorice in there too.

Mouthfeel is moderate with a lot of carbonation.

Overall, its a good beer. I'd like to age another to see what happens- definitely needs some age. (501 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (908 characters)

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decided to pour this tonight while listening to the FM94.9 Rock'n'Roll Happy Hour. Poured into a Tulip.

A - The beer has a very appealing look, pouring a dark brown almost black, brown and amber hugh when held to the light. Good head the hangs around awhile before fading to a lasting ring. Some slight lacing and residual head sticking to the glass.

S - The smell is very rich. Vanilla comes off strong and first, then chocolate and roasted smell.

T - Taste closely resembles the smell, rich vanilla with a creamy chocolate note. A hint of alcohol but well hidden in the background.

M - Not quite what I expected from the apperance. It was a light to moderate mouthfeel. I expected a little thicker from the looks of it. Good balance of carbonation.

Overall this is a very solid offering from Karl Strauss. If this was a part of the regular line up from them I would defenitly revisit it often. Good enough I will by at least one more before they are all gone. (966 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +9%
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. (687 characters)

Photo of MCorrea
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- As expected for a big stout, this pours dark dark black. Surprisingly, the head is nearly white, not tan or brown like you see in most other imperial stouts. The head consists of large fizzy bubbles and is not really all that dense.

S- Typical roasty type smells for a stout, with the addition of vanilla. Smells OK, but nothing too great.

T- Well, it taste is probably the best part of this beer. It is nice and sweet and the vanilla definitely shines though. Not much bitterness at all. A nice balance of flavors throughout.

M- This is my least favorite aspect to this beer. Mouthfeel is thin, especially for an imperial stout. The carbonation feels fizzy and thin in the mouth. As Mr. Horse used to say: "hmmmm... No sir, I didn't like it."

O- A decent stout, especially if you appreciate vanilla flavors in your beer. It seems that although this beer has middling smell, appearance, and feel, the flavor profile is quite nice and nice sweet sipper that leans heavily on the vanilla. (996 characters)

Photo of femmebiere
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Looks good. Black body with a pretty good sized mocha colored head and good retention.

S: Strange smell. Earthy and warm smelling. I don't think I've ever smelled anything like this one.

T: I don't know about this one. It has some coffee going on, but other than that, it tastes exactly like flat vanilla coke. If the mouthfeel was thicker or the carbonation was higher, this could work, but as is, not so great. Maybe with some aging it would be better. (459 characters)

Photo of djaeon
4.1/5  rDev +9%
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. (457 characters)

Photo of broken22
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this beer at the store and had no idea this was even out. I am happy that this brewery seems to be getting reinvigorated in exploring their brewing capabilities. I really enjoyed their Parrot in a Palm tree from 2010. So I'm hoping this is just as good or even better.

After completing the sacred ritual of worthyness of careful wax cutting to get at this beer I feel that I am ready to enjoy this brew. I pour this beer into a tulip glass because I'm expecting to have nice wafts of the bourbon and vanilla. The beer that flows from the bottle is dark and a decent head forms. The waiting furthers the test of worthyness by trying your patients a little longer. The smell is not as bold as I was hoping it would be and I'm a little worried. I get a little bit of a hoppy snap with a hint of chocolate. After being so patient I think I am ready to finally taste this thing. OK so smell is not this beer strong feature because the taste is great. The vanilla comes though really well and works well the the alcoholic notes brought by the bourbon barrels. The finish is bitter with a light chocolate flavor. At the very end after the beer has been swallowed I can still taste a little of the vanilla. The mouth feel of this beer is very full bodied with a decent amount of a carbon bubble bite at the beginning of the sip.

Overall I like this brew. I think all the flavors are very well balanced and working in harmony with each other. I am definitely going to buy another one of these to age it. It just seems to want to be aged. For the price I don't think you can go wrong. I would totally expect a beer that has such expensive ingredients to be priced much higher that it was currently being sold for. That price is $6.99 for a 22oz. Its funny because earlier in the day I paid $8 for a glass of Karl Strauss at the Hotel Del Coronado. If you can get one of these pick it up its a great buy and a good beer. (1,918 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
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. (478 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (611 characters)

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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.