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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

95 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.98%
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2011)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 63 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MCorrea
MCorrea

California

3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 05:56:37 | More by MCorrea
Photo of femmebiere
femmebiere

California

4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 20:24:24 | More by femmebiere
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

3.15/5  rDev -18%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 11:33:46 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of djaeon
djaeon

California

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 04:17:33 | More by djaeon
Photo of broken22
broken22

California

4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 07:15:28 | More by broken22
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 06:39:26 | More by GRG1313
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 04:53:45 | More by FosterJM
Photo of comfortablynumb1
comfortablynumb1

California

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
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...

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 05:35:24 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of Eriktheipaman
Eriktheipaman

California

3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2011 17:37:06 | More by Eriktheipaman
Photo of badboyrsl84
badboyrsl84

California

3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
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

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2011 18:30:46 | More by badboyrsl84
Photo of SirRuss
SirRuss

California

3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 08:12:17 | More by SirRuss
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 04:57:50 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of imagese
imagese

California

2.48/5  rDev -35.4%
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

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2011 05:36:53 | More by imagese
Photo of tjfinkle
tjfinkle

California

4.53/5  rDev +18%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 04:44:52 | More by tjfinkle
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 04:14:20 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull

California

3.83/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2011 03:39:09 | More by HalfFull
Photo of crvcac
crvcac

California

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 00:09:59 | More by crvcac
Photo of harsley
harsley

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2011 19:03:40 | More by harsley
Photo of beagle75
beagle75

Iowa

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2011 00:37:04 | More by beagle75
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2011 03:26:50 | More by HopHead84
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22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.