22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

102 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 102
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 | Reviews: 63
Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours dark brown with a two finger tan head on a fairly passive pour. Head retention is decent at best, but there is a good amount of lacing to be had here...

S - Pretty mild. Don't pick up any alcohol at all. What I do get is chocolate, roasted malts, and a hint of vanilla...

T - Not as much vanilla as I was expecting. There is definitely a vanilla presence, but it is not the focal point here. Starts with hints of vanilla chocolate, and coffee. Ends on a slight smokey note with some hop presence in the after taste. Was hoping for a more pronounced vanilla taste...

M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount carbonation. A little light for a Double/Impy Stout...

D - Decent price for a decent brew. Glad I tried this one, but not something that was overly impressive. Would definitely drink one if it was offered to me, but wouldn't go out of my way to pick another one up...

Cheers...

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

Poured a solid black with little khaki head.

The smell is very sweet with mostly vanilla.

The taste is about the same with almost all vanilla and very faint coffee. I didnt pick up on any barrel in the smell or taste which was a little disapointing.

I didnt pick up on any alcohol which was impressive and it went down super easy.

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 SirRuss
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Black body fading into a red/brown hue, with a moderate-thin chocolatey head. Mediocre retention is outdone by the relatively robust lacing.

S - Soft breezes of vanilla and coffee - simple and mild.

T - Roasted malts feature distinct espresso and cocoa nib notes, while the caramel and vanilla expressions form a fitting backdrop. The Hops povide a sharp cleansing spine, and faint wisps of cinnamon and spice work well with the sweetness of the bourbon and contrasting charred expressions of oak. Despite a good level of complexity, the flavors are somewhat disenfranchised, and a disappointing void of wateriness prematurely interrupts each aspect of the profile before it can fully flourish.

M - The perceived dilution on the palate translates in the mouthfeel to a thinness that is unexpected for an IS, and the carbonation is reasonable, if not a little on the high side. On the finish the malts manage to produce a mildly cloying residue, and an alcohol burn reminiscent of the previous tenant of this brew's barrels is no shrinking violet.

O - Definitely worth a try, and fairly priced. Good complexity, poor integration, and a little wobbly in its overall balance. I would like to think that the 22nd anniversary vIS might drastically benefit from being cellared until KS' 23rd anniversary, but I think that's probably being a little optimistic. Happy Birthday all the same.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of imagese
2.48/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

On tap @ The Factory

A- cola colored with a slight head that faded fast and left spotty lacing

S- sweet chocolate, vanilla, faint coffee, and I slight bourbon sweetness. Overall, very sweet

T- a whole lot of sweetness. Can't pull much out. Reminds me of vanilla flavored liquor.

M- thin with low carbonation. Makes me feel like I'm drinking something other than beer, let alone an Imperial Stout

D- got thru the 1/2 pint poured into the glass made for the beer easily. Not much alcohol kick, but not much else either. Verging on too much fake sweetness

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 Gobzilla
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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 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!

Photo of harsley
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this recently in La Jolla. I'm not huge fan of vanilla in beers but they seemed to get it to work well here. It was there and in the fore front but somehow not over done.

It poured a dark brown, not quite blackish. Probably lighter than usual for the style. Nice and clear though and looked good. The smell and taste had lots of vanilla. In the taste, it was in the beginning and in the finish mainly. In the middle you could pick up the roastyness (not overly roasty though) and lots of malt and caramel flavors. You can tell alcohol is there but it was nicely controlled and certainly did not dominate.

I could have used a little more roastyness present in this beer but overall I enjoyed it. My sample was big enough though because I only can take so much vanilla. If you like vanilla beers though, this is extremely drinkable.

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 HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.