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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

37 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 89
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 5.12%
Wants: 49
Gots: 27 | 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:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (86) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
Reviews: 37 | Hads: 89
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 23rd Anniversary Old Ale was aged for 12 months in American oak barrels and is the first Karl Strauss barrel-aged beer to be offered unblended. The company only bottled 413 cases of this beer, encouraging fans to enjoy one now and lay another down several years. Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Pours burnt amber along with a thin off-white head. The aroma of this beer is an epitome of an old ale – oak, toffee, and dried figs. Taste of light bourbon, oak, and molasses. Thin mouthfeel. I am only sorry that I did not lay this down for another year or two to see if the beer improves. (596 characters)

Photo of mactrail
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gigantic and boozy beer with a vast vanilla and woody flavor. Thoroughly fragrant with that vanilla up front. Hops are just moderately bitter. This is not so sweet after the first sip. It tastes more like Scotch liqueur than beer, but it thats not a bad thing. Fairly dry as you sip for a while but full of malt flavors. Seriously powerful and more complex and austere than most barley wines. I don't get the old ale taste so much, but it's quite a mouthful.

On tap at La Jolla location. Definitely will pick up a few of these for savoring in the year to come. So hot with alcohol it should last nicely, and not much residual sugar for the bacteria to nibble. (660 characters)

Photo of rawfish
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber red hue with flashes of sunset orange. Forms a pale beige head of a finger and a half at the apex with poor retention. Spotty lacing but shows some good stick.

Brown sugar, toffee, oak and red fruit. Huge amounts of bourbon along with a distinct alcohol aroma on the end, quite sharp. Bourbon barrel is huge on this beer.

Sweet malts of caramel, molasses coupled with dates and a bourbon and oak wood complex that smooths this out on a long sip. Releases nicely with vanilla and bourbon at the tail end, touch of herbal bitterness.

Plenty of sticky malts are lightened up with a thin body with average carbonation. Releases pleasantly with less harsh booze than on the nose.

I think the brewers achieved exactly what they were setting out to accomplish on this one. Highlights big bourbon and barrel character accompanied by a wonderful malt escort. Not very complex but tremendous value and a slow sipper. (931 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle donated by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer is copper hued with a thin, light tan head. Upon tilting the snifter, a nice sheet of lacing coats the sides of the glass.

The aroma offers oak, vanilla, bourbon. Smells strong and bold. nicely done.

A bit sweet, though certainly not lacking in flavor. Loads of bourbon, oak, and vanilla. A bit of heat in the finish. A nice beer to sip and savor. Best in small quantities, or enjoyed over a prolonged period of time. Recommended. (484 characters)

Photo of russwbeck
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Hazy brown pour that hints towards orange at the very edge. As the beer settles, the haze disappears and the color focuses more towards red. Really much lighter a pour than I expected from such a big beer. Initially a few fingers of off-white head builds up beautifully, but it doesn't stick around for too long. Spotty lacing shows up down the sides of my New Belgium Globe.

S: The aroma on this is no where near as harsh as I expected after smelling the pour right out of the bottle. A sweet, but balanced blend of aromas greets my nostrils. Very focused on the barrel, which is right up my alley as I'm not a huge fan of Old Ales. Bourbon, sure, but mostly vanilla and oak with undertones of Old Ale and booze.

T: The taste is a tad light, but oh so decadent. Mellowed bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, and oak are the forefront. I do wish the old ale played a larger role, and that the overall taste was a bit stronger, but the taste that was there was phenomenal. It has a faint malt base, but it's completely focused on the barrel.

MF: The mouthfeel is very thin with a lower than average carbonation. The drinkability, however, is very high. The ABV isn't noted at the level I expected and the taste is wonderful I can't stop taking sips.

O: This was a really nice beer, but it just fell short of top notch. If the overall characteristics were stronger I would think this was all 5s. It's delicious, but not quite there. I paid a decent price for this in Washington DC, and I'm glad I did, but I probably wouldn't get it again. (1,538 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy, amber color with a nice red hue. Small off-white head. Scent is heavy with dark fruits...a bit of toffee as well. Great aroma on this beer. Lovely bourbon with nice oak and sweet figs/dates. Some vanilla as well. Taste is...wow, more well-balanced than I was expecting. I've never been a fan of Karl Strauss, but this beer is outstanding. Immediately I get sweet, burnt sugar cube flavors. Immediately followed by amazing date/fig flavors. Awesome bourbon flavor...very smooth. Tons of toffee with hints of coconut and vanilla. Great balance of malt/dark fruit/bourbon/oak. Alcohol is noticeable and slightly warming, but not nearly as hot as I was expecting. Mouthfeel is somewhat odd...very creamy, yet fizzy at the same time. Medium-full bodied. Drinkability is high. Overall, if KS continues to make beers this good, I will forget that I ever dislike them. Awesome beer! (897 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A brown, barely murky look starts out the beer, which shows some red when held up to the light. A large tan head which is bubbly and lively fills the top of the tulip, and sounds like rice crispies with all the bubbles snapping, crackling, and popping.

Smells huge of the bourbon barrel, so much so the first whiff made me cough. Booze are present and a sweet caramel malt joins the party.

Tastes upfront of the barrel, following the nose pretty closely. Fortunately, not overpowering the rest of the beer. A hint of smoky vanilla with the sweet malt. Dark fruits in the finish/aftertaste.

Texture is luxurious. While alcohol is present, it doesn't feel like 12%, until you get near the end of the bottle, and even then, it's only in your head. There is a thick viscosity to the beer, with good carbonation to lighten it up. I like the beer, I will get more.

DOA (866 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy copper brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin film on top of the beer. Random thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of brown sugar, toffee, toasted coconut, vanilla, wood, bourbon, and alcohol that sort of muddles all the smells. Taste is of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, toasted coconut, vanilla, wood, and big bourbon flavors. There is a definite alcohol kick and warming in the back of the throat after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a somewhat thick and full bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barrel aged beer that is an absolute steal at $6.49 a bottle. (674 characters)

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Need some room in the fridge, decided to crack open this guy open. Had I known it was a 90 point beer, I may have saved it for more special of an occasion.

Pours a nice dark tree sap amber color into my tumbler. Crystal clear. White rocky head from a semi-vigorous pour. It recedes fairly quickly. Line of foam around the beer with very little lacing.

Vanilla and oak bombard the nose. Nice sting of alcohol rounds out the scent.

Smooth oak and vanilla on the palate as well. Hint of diacetyl? This beer is incredibly smooth. Alcohol is present, but is pleasant and not solvent-like. Would not have guessed in a million years that this is a 12% ABV beer.

Is there such thing as too smooth? This beer is it. Carbonation is moderate to low, which aids in the smoothness of the beer. I would rate the body as just a bit past medium. Doesn't quite have the body that I'd expect from a 12% ABV beer.

Overall this is a pretty incredible beer. I think it's a little too well attenuated and smooth for its own good. I'm kind of left wanting a little something else. (1,062 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a modest head that leaves some splashy lace behind

Smell: A boozy blend of caramel, oak, Bourbon and a hint of vanilla

Taste: Caramel, up front, with the oaky Bourbon elements developing by mid-palate; the boozy Bourbon flavors dominate the finish, with the vanilla lingering in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet

Overall: Though it lacks some of the complexity I would expect in an Old Ale, this is still a fine beer and very tasty (551 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish amber body, no head or lace.

Nose is rich with oak, vanilla and light coconut. Not a thick nose, but a very good one.

Taste is impressive-- bourbon character, but without the heft of a stout. Nutty a bit, with ample oak and a trace of burn. This is unique in that it provides all the characteristics of a bourbon barrel beer but is neither overbearing nor overstated. Nice and dry, but not bitter-- toasty.

Relatively light, almost frothy, not bright, but it really breaks up the taste in a good way.

Doesn't taste like an 'old ale' in my opinion, but fantastic beer-- basically what an Innis and Gunn or a Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead *should* be. (659 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronados

A: Dark brown in color with a light tan cap.

S: Lots of caramel, booze, bourbon and coconut. Pretty nice aroma overall.

T: I have to say, I've never been a big fan of Karl Strauss beers. Their 22nd Anniversary was one of the worst beers I've ever had and their year round lineup is nothing I'd go for unless the pickings were epically slim. That said, this is a great beer. The old ale didn't really shine through, but the flavors of this beer were pretty solid. Big notes of coconut and caramel with some vanilla and huge bourbon notes without being overpowering. I'd definitely get this again. (619 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to egrace84 from bring this beer to a tasting! Thanks elliot!

reviewed from notes taken on 5/23/12.

Appearance: brilliant and clear copper orange bodied beer with 1 finger of white head that drops to a ring.

Smell: Big caramel and toffee notes with a splash of bourbon mixed into the beer.

Taste: Caramel, toffee, butterscotch. Oak, vanilla, and bourbon notes.

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied beer with low carbonation. The beer is slick and sticky. Its a warming and spicy booze thats fairely mellow.

Overall: This beer is what Founders Better Half should have been! A really nice BA Old Ale that also has some overlap in the BA English Barleywine style. I really enjoyed this beer alot! (708 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2/3/2012

On tap at Karl Strauss Sorrento Mesa in front of the majestic coy pond. Old Ale aged in Bourbon barrels for 12 months with no backblending, so 100% barrel aged. Served in a snifter.

A: Dark reddish brown with a slight orange tinge. The head is an inch of white foam.

S: Robust brown sugar, bourbon, and maple notes. To the aforementioned aromatics add a fantastic toffee note and a touch of butterscotch. Fig blends with date and prune. Citrus is faint and redolent of oranges, adding a pleasant twist to the darker fruit. Vanilla meets oak and molasses.

T: Very sweet, with pronounced maple and brown sugar notes. Bourbon presence is strong throughout, accompanied by vanilla, oak, and a firm booze profile which is not harsh or out of place for 12.3%. There's a lot of toffee, and molasses is notable. Fruity esters remind me of prune and dried fig. There's a light sherry-like oxidation accompanied by earth and an upper low to lower medium level of bitterness. The finish is bourbon toffee.

M: Upper medium body with lower medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky, silky, and somewhat viscous. Alcohol warming is pronounced.

Overall: It's big, sweet, and English, with a bold and unapologetic bourbon profile. A stellar Old Ale with excellent barrel characteristics. This is the most complex thing I've had from Karl Strauss. Definitely try this. (1,368 characters)

Photo of crvcac
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the opportunity to try this on tap at their Changing of the Barrels event last week.

Appearance: Amber brown with faint ruby hues

Smell: Huge dose of warming bourbon in the nose. Generous amounts of toffee, molasses and hints of toasted oak

Taste: Follows suit; prominent but appropriate bourbon character upfront followed by a generous dose of toffee, sweet molasses and toasted oak. quite complex

Mouthfeel: this beer is a hugeee 12.3%. Pleasantly smooth for a brew of this octane.

Overall: An amazingly complex beer. Unabashedly strong and bourbon-forward, yet smooth and well balanced given it's strength and intensity. Snatch one up, this is well worth the quaff my friends. (690 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 1 PINT 6 FL.OUNCE. Bottle of this w/ Keir @ the Royale in St. Louis, MO. Poured from the "Fake" Barrel Brand Labeled bottle w/ Black Foil over the cap into a 12oz Shaker Glass. Has no freshness/bottle date to be found.

Aroma- A strong single malt aroma starts this one off. This includes bourbon, oak, and malt. Very beautiful!

Appearance- Poured very aggressively and still no head. What gives? Has a copper colored body with great clarity. Leaves a few suds behind. (478 characters)

Photo of GhettoFabulous
4.92/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark golden brown with some lively froth on top. First whiff of this is vanilla coconut with warm oaky bourbon. Sipping this, the palette is immersed in again, vanilla and coconut, and a surprisingly strong dose of bourbon. Besides the coconut flavor, and some figs and brown sugar, the bourbon really sings here. Not sure what barrels were used, but the bourbon taste is distinct and you can really suss out its flavor, which is very good. Halfway through my glass I am just swooning in vanilla and coconut. This beer so outstanding, you find yourself puzzling over how a brewery of such low regard can produce something so delicious. This is a truly phenomenal beer that would be one of those ridiculously sought after whales if it was produced by goose island or bells or founders, etc. Seek this out, but don't expect any of my help. I went around and gobbled up all the bottles I could after trying this and really, this beer is too damn delicious to trade. If this isn't my favorite beer of 2012 then I can't wait to taste whatever gem supplants it. (1,063 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next → last
23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.