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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

87 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 87
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 47
Gots: 28 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 87 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.25/5  rDev -20.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of largadeer
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.

largadeer, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

SocalKicks, May 26, 2013
Photo of Kegatron
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Stakem for the share. 22oz bottle into a few glasses. Deep copper with thin off-white head. Rich spotty lace. Straight up vanilla in the nose with additional oak and candied sugars. Hot smelling alcohol as well. The taste is caramelized sugars, oak, vanilla and not much else besides some blinding fusel alcohol flavors. Super sweet with burnt finish. Full bodied, sharp on top and chewier underneath. ABV is in your face. Glad others had luck with this beer. Just too much booze and sweetness for me.

Kegatron, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
3.94/5  rDev -3.2%

2012 vintage bottle from Shane. Thanks! Served in a snifter.

A - Off-white foam settles to pretty much nothing. Attractive transparent amber body. Could have stood for a bit more head, but not terribly offensive for the style and ABV.

S - Lots of bourbon and oak, bread and toffee malts. Even though the barrel presence is heavy, the beer is surprisingly mellow. Fairly restrained sweetness for the style; a bit more burnt than cloying. Perhaps a touch of marmalade.

T - Taste is a bit more simplistic. Heavy emphasis on oak, with light whiskey and a fairly neutral bready malt backbone. Perhaps a bit simplistic; really needs a bit more sweetness to balance the barrel notes.

M - A bit thin for the ABV, but still decidedly medium. Tannic, dry, with a hint of lingering stickiness. Not much alcohol presence at all. Lower carbonation.

D - About what I expected; a solid barrel-aged old ale that has a few shortcomings. Still, it's easy to drink and one of the stronger offerings I've had from this brewery.

MasterSki, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of drabmuh
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.

drabmuh, May 23, 2012
Photo of mactrail
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

mactrail, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

mendvicdog, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of stakem
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber split with friends and poured into a snifter. The brew appears a burnt copper color that is lighter to mahogany with a bit of an orange hue. A tan cap about a finger strong sits atop and leaves some stringy lace on the glass. A swirl revives a yellowish tan froth back to the surface.

The smell is solid with caramelized sugars. Hints of vanilla, oak, orange marmalde and an overall sugary candy quality fills the nose. As it warms up, there is a faint floral to citrus component mixing with minerals but overall the aromatics are all about the sugary quality of this brew.

The taste is caramel to toffee sweetness. Vanilla is present from the barrel aging mixing with fruity and floral elements. Big sticky sweet aspect to this brew with a bourbon burn trying to cut through. Oak and booziness persiste into the aftertaste with a mild orange zest aspect.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a big and boozy sipper with a cloying amount of sweetness and not enough alcohol or hops to cut it. Quite unbalanced and was a chore to try and get through my glass. As an after diner sticky sweet dessert, this might be more fitting. Not something I would care to have again though.

stakem, Oct 04, 2012
Photo of drewone
3/5  rDev -26.3%

drewone, May 08, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Huhzubendah, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

HopHead84, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of Alieniloquium
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.

Alieniloquium, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of bsuedekum
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

bsuedekum, Mar 14, 2012
Photo of Duff27
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.

Duff27, May 24, 2012
Photo of aasher
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a medium bodied, somewhat cloudy dull amber in color with a one finger off white head. The nose is nice and bourbon forward, without being boozy. There is initially red fruits up front with a moderate amount of oak, vanilla, and caramel. I really like the nose. The flavors too are bourbon forward. The barrel shows itself off, showcasing plenty of vanilla, toffee, oak and bourbon. I dig it. It drinks like a lighter bodied barrel aged barley wine. The lighter body increases drinkability and appeal in my opinion. I could see how that would also turn some people off. Overall this is a really nice beer. It's enough to satisfy the barley wine fanatics that's for sure.

aasher, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1135th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22 oz

2012 release
Purchased for 8.99 @ Bevmo's Chino Hills

App- About the color of orange juice and fresh caramel out of the pot, with a one finger khaki colored head. Left zero cling and had a bit of a swirl on the top.

Smell- I really got nothing from this that was wowing. Wasnt overly aromatic even when it warmed it was minimal. Notes included, bourbon, oak, vanilla and citrus. Very light.

Taste- So the taste makes up for the app and the nose. It was very smooth without being burning and a bourbon bomb. Well layered with some notes of bourbon, oak and citrus. The citrus flavors layered with a matched malt backbone to create a well drinking beer.

Mouth- A lighter medium body with a medium carbonation with a smooth residual bourbon and cream type of flavor.

Drink- I enjoyed this beer better than 22nd Vanilla stout because the vanilla was too small. This beer seemed to be just about right. Well crafted, layered and smooth. Glad I have one to lay down, but then again might need to find more to just drink.

FosterJM, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of maximum12
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.

maximum12, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

CheapBeerBuzz, May 02, 2012
Photo of Exiled
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Exiled, May 24, 2012
Photo of srandycarter
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 3.5 Dark raw cider, only thin film of head. Spotty cling lace.

S - 4 BOOZE. Malt. Slight fruity/cidery characteristic.

T - 4.5 Deep caramel and hot. Bourbony booze. Hops cannot contain the sweetness.

M - 4 Heavy body, good carb, balance errs to the sweet. Pretty boozy.

D - 4 Very tasty. You could get hurt with this one.

srandycarter, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.5/5  rDev -14%

DarthKostrizer, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of Chaney
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one in the cellar for a year. It is time...

Served in a Duck Rabbit snifter. That's good karma already.

A: It actually poured out a bit lighter in color than I was expecting, but still, it was a beautiful, caramel color that was uniformly murky and inviting. Not much head, but that's not what this is about anyway.

S: Buttery, coconuty, bourbon flair that was just the right strength to my mind. Lots of dark fruit as well: figs, raisons, and dates... all wrapped up in toffee.

T: First of all, I was awe-stricken with how smooth this one was. The coconut hit the palate first, then the molasses, and dark fruit, with none of this really sticking out of the pack.

M: Not even a trace of booze on this and it was utter perfection in that regard. Actually, I would have preferred a bit more heat, but that is just personal preference and a minor quibble. The carbonation was fine and this wasn't syrupy or sticky in any way.

O: 12.2% ABV? Really? REALLY? This was my first Karl Strauss brew and I'm already a fan.

Chaney, Oct 05, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

4DAloveofSTOUT, May 28, 2012
Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -1.7%

ADTaber, May 01, 2012
23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 87 ratings.