1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

86 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 86
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 48
Gots: 29 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  12.30% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2012)
View: Beers (51) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 86 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this is #12 on the "Top Beers - Old Ale" list served in a snifter. Beer is dark yellow / light amber with a mild haze, a little white head, decent retention, no lacing, low to moderate carbonation.

Aroma is strong, boozy, a little overwhelming.

Beer is medium in body, thin on the front with the booze and alcohol, sweet, lacking that classic old ale character of depth. This is a good beer, a little hot, pretty strong but not overwhelmingly good. I don't think I'd have it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 15:13:05 | More by drabmuh
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Shane.

Pours a dark brownish-amber capped by a finger of head that settles to a collar pretty quickly. Nose is fairly good, fruity, grainy and sweet with a good amount of barrel coming through that lends a bit of heat and nicer notes of caramel and vanilla. Palate is also solid if unremarkable. Big caramel and dark fruit flavors, some boozy astringency, a touch of vanilla. Body is medium, perhaps a bit thin for the style and ABV. Solid stuff overall, a fine offering for a good price.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2012 23:35:29 | More by largadeer
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

12-17-2013 21:42:11 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of SalukiAlum
SalukiAlum

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

04-29-2012 02:37:47 | More by SalukiAlum
Photo of robwestcott
robwestcott

Indiana

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

07-22-2013 01:58:02 | More by robwestcott
Photo of 2dogbrew
2dogbrew

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

04-04-2012 22:37:01 | More by 2dogbrew
Photo of BarrytheBear
BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

01-04-2014 04:44:47 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

09-12-2012 00:05:41 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of Rollzroyce21
Rollzroyce21

California

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

03-08-2012 03:17:47 | More by Rollzroyce21
Photo of ezperkins2
ezperkins2

California

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

12-15-2012 06:34:33 | More by ezperkins2
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a couple ounces of this at a tasting a few months back & it zoomed towards the top of my most-wanted posters. Then while engaged in trade discussions with the generous Kyle2k10, he noted my interest & offered to throw it in in exchange for two green socks. 22 oz. bottle opened up with my lovely, lovely wife.

Curtain up: the pour is a dark, clay-court red with minimal carbonation. Nose is a bit hard to pick out, but there's bourbon, carmelized sugar, heavy dose of sweets.

Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary an alcohol spike to the forebrain. Hot, sweet booze oozes out into the mouth & lays tracks down the centers of reasoning & coordination. Plenty of 12.3% caramel & toffee, along with the beginnings of oxidation. Bourbon presents itself as more vanilla & heat than straight hard alcohol. Nice butterscotch, too. Lack of carbonation limits the drinkability, that & Earth's gravity.

Not the category-killer I remember from our first brief encounter, but nonetheless a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 03:48:41 | More by maximum12
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep amber. Not much of a head. A few chunks around the edges.

Smell - Simple nose. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel.

Taste - Again, it's simple, but nice. Bourbon, vanilla, toffee and brown sugar. Dries out quickly with an oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Astringent and boozy. Oaky in the finish. Medium body.

Overall - It certainly isn't a complex beer. Lots of barrel and some caramel malts to back it up.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2014 16:43:15 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of beagle75
beagle75

Iowa

3.84/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a half-pint chalice.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with a fine peripheral ring of off-white bubbles. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Rich treacle laced with candied orange peel and heady spirituous vanilla.

T: Begins off-dry, with caramel and mild dark cherry fruit. Bourbon is featured in the middle, only slightly oak-influenced, but so is an assertive breadiness that seems entirely driven by English malt rather than yeast. The finish is booze-soaked, showing some fruitcake that seems ester-driven in the high alcohol presence.

M: Medium viscosity, syrupy and slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: A fine (and rare) old ale by a West Coast brewery, it generates an interesting mix of traditional malt-derived qualities as well as a fair amount of barrel influence.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 00:51:25 | More by beagle75
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a thin khaki colored head. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and dark fruits. Plenty of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar to go along with it. Perhaps a hint of molasses along with some light oxidation. The beer tastes great. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and bourbon are the primary flavors with vanilla, oak, and dark fruits such as plums and raisins playing a role as well. The only knock I have on this beer is the body, which is quite thin.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 02:27:41 | More by womencantsail
Photo of writerLJBerg
writerLJBerg

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle from Shane. Thanks!

A: Caramel coloration with a creme head that's content to rest around the edges. Surprisingly light on its legs.

N: Caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, and malts. Honey at the edges, and plenty of deep oak.

T: Tasty bourbon mixed with ample vanilla and honey. Caramel and toffee make for a sugary treat. Still balanced, I get some bitterness of hops and a hint of dried pineapple.

M: Rather light for an Old Ale. It doesn't ruin the beer, but it could use some further heft and stickiness. However, it does drink far too easily for a 12.2% beer since the alcohol is shockingly absent.

O: A well-rounded beer. Balanced and enjoyable; Drink it soon, I think.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2013 03:35:14 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed February 10, 2012 at Karl Strauss, Universal City.

Beer is a murky caramel brown with no head at all (the waitress filled my 12 ounce snifter to the very brim).

Aroma is sweet with caramel, vanilla and bourbon notes.

Flavor follows nose, with the addition of modest alcohol heat and a white-cake pastry sort of component. Maybe some fleeting toffee and maple, but maybe not. Not terribly complex, but delicious.

Thicker than water? Enough to notice, but not much more. Beer has almost zero carbonation, but it is a little dry on the finish and that goes a long way towards cutting that sweetness at the end of each sip.

Overall, not the best old ale I have ever had, but deadly drinkable and unexpectedly good for a Karl Strauss brew.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 21:48:12 | More by charlzm
Photo of scubahood
scubahood

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -1.7%

05-04-2012 18:06:54 | More by scubahood
Photo of nmann08
nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -1.7%

06-04-2012 14:18:23 | More by nmann08
Photo of imyourhero21
imyourhero21

California

4/5  rDev -1.7%

03-27-2013 02:10:14 | More by imyourhero21
Photo of BeerHunter76
BeerHunter76

Texas

4/5  rDev -1.7%

09-12-2012 21:23:00 | More by BeerHunter76
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin head that dies quickly. Collar left. Translucent caramel brown/orange color.

Very sweet smelling beneath the barrel notes.

A mix of sweet caramel and bourbon. Noticeable alcohol burn. Toffee! Would put this right at states ABV.

Average to above average carbonation which adds bite.

High abv but very smooth and drinkable.

First of all let me say, great price point. Nicely integrated old ale with the barrel aging. Thanks egrace84.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 01:47:35 | More by Duff27
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.7%

03-10-2013 19:51:31 | More by spycow
Photo of boltfan
boltfan

California

4/5  rDev -1.7%

04-17-2012 04:54:13 | More by boltfan
Photo of dbone_has_biers
dbone_has_biers

California

4/5  rDev -1.7%

03-05-2013 05:17:33 | More by dbone_has_biers
Photo of heresy22
heresy22

California

4/5  rDev -1.7%

02-19-2012 21:56:11 | More by heresy22
23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.