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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

88 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 47
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-03-2012)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beagle75
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.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

Photo of robwestcott
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Photo of russwbeck
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of imyourhero21
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of zaphodchak
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of claaark13
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Kevin. Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip. I really need to start using one of my other glasses for tasting. Nah.

A - Comes out as a dark orange with a touch of brown/red. Bubbly white head turns into lacing. Looks a little light for the style, but otherwise nice.

S - Lighter malts, candied fruit, oak presence.

T - Caramel and barrel take over almost immediately. Some candied fruits, malts, and some woodiness. Finishes a tad dry with noticeable heat, but nothing unpleasant. I'm not sure about the base on this one, but the barrel really takes hold of the beer. Favorable barrel notes are present from start to finish. Remarkable that it isn't hotter. There is almost a creaminess to it.

M - Medium body with some prickly carbonation.

O - Really a good beer. Not sure if aging will improve this beyond toning the heat down a bit and possibly merging the barrel more with the malts.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Yabev15
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Sarlacc83
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.

Photo of SalukiAlum
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of ineva
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Photo of Drinkerofales
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
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

Photo of ezperkins2
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of heresy22
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of furthurgone
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of SDStoneEnthusiast
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of beenitty
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of TeamUgly
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of iskeptopotamus
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

23rd Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.