Imperial Tanilla
Knee Deep Brewing Company

Imperial TanillaImperial Tanilla
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American Imperial Porter
Ranked #337
Ranked #19,190
3.86 | pDev: 11.4%
Knee Deep Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Imperial TanillaImperial Tanilla
Notes: A 10 % ABV version of Tanilla. Of course we added more hop bitterness to balance the chocolate, expresso and vanilla malt sweetness. Drink at your own risk. This is a big beer, but drinks way too easy.

48 IBU
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 226 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of the_awesometeer
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a dark brown with a tan foamy head. First thing I smelled was the vanilla, followed by a minor chocolate aroma. It smelled very sweet. The vanilla is strong in the flavor as well but I get a little more of a roasted coffee flavor. The beer is nice smooth. Still can't taste the tanilla.

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the_awesometeer from California, Jul 19, 2019
Photo of JamarcusMarinovich
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from can. Very little tan head, which dissipates quickly. Quite dark, hints of coffee aroma and perhaps a bit of cocoa. Can taste the coffee for sure, but not in-your-face coffee like coffeee porters. Was expecting more of a vanilla front end (to me, Ballast Point has that) but not bad. Really not as vanilla-y as others claim, but that's just me. Good effervensence with definite extra hops for the style. Coffee/malt lingers a bit on the back of the tongue but goes down really well for 10% ABV. Still pretty good.

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Photo of Buck89
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated can poured into a hotel glass.
Look: A deep brown color with a medium tan head. Faint lacing in the glass.
Aroma: a nice vanilla presence with faint roasted grain.
Taste: vanilla through and through. Roasted and coffee notes are there for balance but are in the background. Faint cola and coffee notes.
Feel: medium bodied and medium carbonation. A bit sweet on the finish as expected. ABV well hidden for the size.
Overall: an OK imperial porter. All vanilla. Well made but I like something more complex.

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Buck89 from Tennessee, Feb 22, 2019
Photo of kitch
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 12 fl. oz. can with no canned on or best before date. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A deep dark brown colour with a nice two finger beige to light tanned head that had pretty good retention and left lots of nice lacing.

Aroma: Light roast, coke, chocolate and light smoke.

Taste: Roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, light herbal and light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Moderately creamy, medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: This was ok. The roastiness, chocolate and coffee base was good, but the herbal and bitterness didn’t do anything for me. I was also hoping for the vanilla to really come through, whereas I pretty much did not get any in the end.

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kitch from Hong Kong, Jan 07, 2019
Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce can into tulip glass, canned on 8/8/2018. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense and rocky khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, roasted nuts, and toasted dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of licorice, dark fruit, smoke, char, wood, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. A bit too fruity/yeasty aromas, but not overwhelming. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts; light-moderate vanilla, earthy hops, and fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, roasted nuts, and toasted dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of licorice, dark fruit, smoke, char, wood, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light pine, herbal, woody, spicy hop; and roast/char bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, roasted nuts, toasted dark/brown bread, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, char, wood, herbal, pepper, pine, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts; light-moderate vanilla, earthy hops, and fruity yeast flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet balance, and no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/roast bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol for 10%. Overall this is a very nice flavored imperial porter. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts; light-moderate vanilla, earthy hops, and fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the big ABV, with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Not overly bitter/roasty. Great rich malt complexity with nice vanilla presence; balancing earthy hops against sweetness, and restrained fruity yeast. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on American style example. Not as big on the vanilla as I expected, but still delicious.

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superspak from Michigan, Jan 04, 2019
Photo of Wasatch
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Can
Canned On: 09/21/2018

Poured into a tulip a pretty nice dark brown color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger tan head, which also leaves some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some nice chocolate/toffee, some coffee, nice touch of vanilla, some licorice. The taste is pretty nice, malty, hoppy, with some chocolate/toffee notes, some coffee, vanilla, licorice. Full Body, ABV is hidden pretty nicely. Overall, a pretty tasty brew. So far, out of the 4 I've had, this is the best, still have one more from them.

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Wasatch from Colorado, Dec 12, 2018
Photo of erk0607
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Dark, opaque black/brown with a light tank head that leaves a small layer of foam across the glass with more lacing on the edges... foam did not last super long, but the lacing lingered.
Smell: Roasted coffee, sweetness probably associated with the vanilla. Chocolate. Maybe a bit of alcohol. Not super strong but I also don't have to stick my nose way in the glass to get even a remote sniff, just ok.
Taste: Sweet up front. Chocolatey and vanilla body. Roasty.
Feel: Light-medium mouthfeel, flavor coats the mouth. Moderately energetic carbonation
Overall: Poured from a can with the label 8.8.18. Pretty good, color is nice, flavor is nice, strong. But also not overly special. Wouldn't turn one down, but also probably would not go on the hunt for another one.

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erk0607 from Colorado, Oct 27, 2018
Photo of BB1313
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned on 8/8/18. 12oz can poured into a tulip. Pours almost black with a khaki head that fades leaving nice retention and lacing. The aromas are malt forward along with some chocolate. The flavors basically follow the nose for the most part. More chocolate leading the way. The vanilla is on the mild side. Nice roasted characteristics. It's not too bitter and not too sweet. Solid malt backbone. Mild and subtle warmth in the finish, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's sharp, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a pretty solid "Imperial Porter". It's a clean brew. The vanilla might be hard to pick up on at times, but it's still flavorful. It's enjoyable and fun to drink. Well done. I like it.

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BB1313 from Ohio, Oct 14, 2018
Photo of dertyd
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours out a dark brown almost black color, with 1 finger of khaki colored head---------------- the aromas are of light coffee and vanilla(light aroma)------------------- the flavors are of light coffee, light chocolate and light vanilla(everything seems watered down) the beer has a thin mouthfeel with a medium earthy hop bitterness on the finish--------------------- overall this porter fell a little short for me, it had some good things going on but everything just seemed watered down, it had a pop of sweetness up front then finished very dry---

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dertyd from California, May 31, 2018
Photo of russpowell
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very effervescent mahogany with a thumb of rapidly falling tan head. Dissapointing head retention & lacing

S: Woodyness, a touch of cola, a little smokeyness once all warmed up

T: Woody dryness, vanilla, faint charred grain as well up front. Woody dryness, very faint vanilla, a little smokiness too as this warms. Finishes dry, woody, bitter with a little vanilla

MF: Light/ medium body, very firm carbonation

An okay robust porter, but not one I would buy again

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russpowell from Arkansas, Jan 21, 2018
Photo of Gavage
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: black in color with a 1" tan colored head that slowly falls to a thick surface covering. Some lace develops.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate and a hint of vanilla comes through.

Taste: roasted malt, coffee, milk chocolate, hints of vanilla and licorice, and a warming alcohol. Bitterness is earthy and balancing.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish with a long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a real slow sipping beer that is satisfying on a cold winter day.

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Gavage from New Jersey, Jan 13, 2018
Photo of GarrettB
3.12/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

March 9th, 2015 - Tahitian Vanilla = Tanilla? That's my best guess, because the aroma seems not to have much vanilla in it. Light, smoky and malty, but certainly not vanilla. The foamy palate comes partially from the foamy, spongy head, spreading across the tongue with speed and offering more smoky notes. Vanilla is absent here as well, and in its place, the repeated and thundering flavors of ham, smoked ham, and hammy ham. It is with a deep porcine voice that this beer speaks, blundering about with a exaggerated smoky taste that would pair well with Lapsan Souchong smoked tea.

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GarrettB from Colorado, Dec 19, 2017
Photo of Ego
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2 fluffy fingers of head, slightly off white and well groomed micro bubbles buoy this foam island, light bends around this (it dares not try and penetrate the dark forest within), lacing is very nice as it seems fed by bubble trains delivering their carbo cargo to the fore, looks like a porter should and a touch more

mildly brewed coffee, mild cocoa notes.. and you guessed it MILD vanilla notes, did I say mild ? a nice touch of roasted coffee rounds this out, a nice nose

taste etc...
somewhat prickling carbonation (I would prefer smoother here), initial strong chocolate flavors melding into bitterness smoothed out by vanilla that lingers the most (with just little pings of hops), almost a sweetness to the finish but not overly done coaxing another sip from the end user, the mouth feel is sort of medium and deceptive in terms of hiding the ABV.... you get just a little burn at the end of the sip but it is fleeting, further on the chocolate bitterness is becoming a little more of a player but still that vanilla note helps to hold this in balance

very tasty, not perfect but damn good especially for the knocked up (I had nothing to do with it I swear!) ABV. Worth checking out for porter fans if you see it.

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Ego from New Jersey, Oct 07, 2017
Photo of iheartmyTHO
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For a boozy beer, it's quite smooth. I mostly taste coffee, chocolate, and nut flavors, and not much vanilla. But then again, I associate vanilla with an almost candy or pastry flavor. .

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.

A: Very dark brown, and opaque except around the edges. A thin tan head fades quickly atop a low amount of visible carbonation.

S: Chocolate and maltiness with vanilla sweetness. Maybe a light coffee roast to the malt. In any event, not a big aroma overall and trying to pull anything else out proves futile, at least when cold. NOTE: Nothing really changed as it warmed up.

T: Chocolate and a mild vanilla with associated sweetness up front. There’s a significant roastiness to the malts, providing some bitter counterpoint to the sweet flavors. A mild amount of smokiness in the background as well. Again, there's a light burnt coffee hanging around. A light hop bitterness combines with the roasted bitterness and a lingering baker’s chocolate in the hang.

M: An average body for a porter – nothing that brings to mind “Imperial”, whatever that means. The alcohol is noticeable but not hot. Fairly low carbonation sensation.

O: Not my favorite. Nothing offensive, but the vanilla isn’t huge despite the name implications. The mouthfeel could be thicker as well. It just doesn’t do anything to stand out...a decent roasty porter, I guess.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pouring a cellar temp bomber into a snifter. The beer pours a dark black motor oil hue with some light chocolate brown at the edges of the glass when I hold it up to the light. A creamy tan head of 3 cm foams up even after my gentle pour. The foam recedes slowly leaving a very sturdy edge layer and some windowpane lattice. There is also a wispy surface layer that seems to hang on through the sampling.
The aroma is roasted malt almost a little burnt like a rauchbier and some sweet vanilla notes. I dont get any hops and the 10% is not making its case here either. Appreciate the nose, but wouldnt mind a little more power at this stage.
The first sip reveals extremely fine and slightly tingly carbonation. Texture is very smooth and silky and coats my palate with a bit of a sticky covering.
Flavor is sweet malt with some chocolate, roasted malt and some vanilla. The roasted notes linger after each swallow and I do get a bit of grassy hop note on the finish as well. Still the booze is amazingly well hidden, 10% where??
I find this an enjoyable roasty porter and the price point was pretty good for the bomber too. Plus it is super sneaky in the booze department, if that is what you want. The beer isnt amazingly deep or complex for flavor but what it does bring is enjoyable malty goodness.

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sulldaddy from Connecticut, Feb 11, 2017
Photo of Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 9.43 (Including tax)/bomber ($ 0.442/oz) At Spec’s DeZavala, San Antonio, TX
Bomber bottled 03/03/16 at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter; allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma – like snorting a bottle of vanilla extract, initially a bit harsh. It fades as it warms.
Head large (Maximum 4.4 cm, aggressive pour), light tan, frothy, diminishing to an irregular three to seven mm ring with a large island of froth
Lacing excellent – reticulum of tiny to small bubbles
Body – dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – initially vanilla. As it warms, the coffee comes sneaking up. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate – medium, creamy, soft carbonation.

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania, Dec 14, 2016
Photo of scootny
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Huge head. A bit of staying power. Pretty good lacing. Clear, dark, ruddy brown liquid.

Great nose. Coffee, roasted grains, molasses, very faint alcohol sweetness. Vanilla cuts in subtly. Earthy hop presence

Taste is a like a vanilla and molasses infused espresso. Sweet malts in the front, lovely roasted malt and light char. Hops bitter mildly with a nice depth. Alcohol is nowhere to be found.

Feel is lightly syrupy, smooth, mild, and somewhat creamy. Drinks like a much lower abv brew. I could pound quite a few of these... Till I fell on my face hammered. Its kind of sneaky.

A great beer. Much better at cellar temperature than right out of the fridge.

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scootny from New York, Nov 18, 2016
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with an off white head and lacing.

Aroma of roasted malt, smoke, vanilla and alcohol esters.

The taste has roasted malt and vanilla, slight earthy herbal quality, anise, black licorice, and coffee.

Medium bodied and smooth. Vanilla and roasted malt linger long into the finish.

A very solid porter overall.

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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania, Oct 31, 2016
Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

With Leah at industry public house in Robinson center. From tap. Definitely dark and sweet. If you like imperial stouts, go for it! 10% and you definitely taste it and FEEL it!

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Bluerabbitbell from Pennsylvania, Oct 31, 2016
Photo of alpinebryant
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark mahogany with no light visible at most edges , large mocha head sticky mocha lacing and tiny frothy bubbles on top after settling

S: Aroma of sweet lactose , chalk , dark roast malts, specialty grains, cocoa, chocolate malt, brown malt, patent malt

T: Flavors off the bat are very sweet, only slightly picking up the hop additions at the start after getting so much lactose at first. Very smooth and well balanced after initial impressions. Dark chocolate malts and rich crystal malts are abound with vanilla at the end, gently mixing in some bittering hops to make this an easy sipper.

M: Medium / high carbonation, medium body ]

O: Overall its a well rounded imperial porter. It is definitely hiding the alcohol behind the vanilla and dark roast malts very well.

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alpinebryant from Connecticut, Oct 24, 2016
Photo of Roguer
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lively dark brew; big fluffy dark tan head with very good retention.

Lots of roasty notes on the nose. A touch of slightly soured grapes, and a touch of vanilla.

Flavor-wise, it's a very tasty robust vanilla porter. The roasty notes are strongest up front, along with dry bittering hops. It mellows out over the palate to a smooth, chocolate/espresso/vanilla porter, carrying the roast but with less tenacity.

Full-bodied, but not quite thick. Lively. Extremely drinkable, showing little sign of the 10% ABV. If not for the high ABV and the large bottle format, this could easily be a workday porter.

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Roguer from Georgia, Oct 13, 2016
Photo of Rogerlb
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another Knee Deep offering and I like their beers, generally. Imperial Tanilla porter, a variant of Tanilla I didn't know existed until I saw it in BevMo. 10% porter, I'm in.

This pours mostly black, with light coming through slightly at the edges, in a reddish amber tint. Minuscule head disappears and ends up a thin moonscape of bubbles.

The aroma is sweet malt, dark cherries, almost like a stout. The taste is more mellow, with toasted malts, caramel, and buttered toast. Lager burned a little. Vanilla comes in and there's a slight bitterness late, which I attribute to hops rather than coffee. This drinks like a stout at the beginning, then the mouth becomes like soda at the end. The cola-sweet is from malts rather than a strong vanilla, but still it is a smooth concoction.

Mouthfull ends up feeling a little watery as is style of porter. Quite strong and flavorful porter at the top, and the booze really well hidden. Nice drink, best when sipping slowly.

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Rogerlb from California, Sep 14, 2016
Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Compared to the standard Tanilla, this Imperial version uses twice the vanilla yet looks even more chocolatey. Or, more accurately, awkward as it sounds, it appears more 'coffee-y'. This thing is black and basically flat, resembling a strong cup of heavy dark roast. Not even a movie set could lend any light to this opaque, intimidating looking beer.

You know what they say: if it looks like coffee, and it smells like coffee... let's just go ahead and name this one 'Joe'. The vanilla beans are certainly present but don't quite stack up to all the mocha and espresso overtones of the roasted barley. I assumed that distinctly rich Tahitian vanilla would dominate but it's merely an accoutrement, or so it seems...

The palate offers much more creamy sweetness. Some sips are like a visit to the ice cream shop. A good supply of earthy East Kent Goldings are working overtime to keep things under control and, in tandem with dry, roasty chocolate malt, do a considerably good job by distracting with bittersweet dark chocolate and toasted hazelnut-like notes.

Lost in all this is alcohol - did you know it's 10%? If the label didn't mention it I never would have known. Imperial Tanilla drinks like any standard-strength porter (though, in fairness, it offers about the same level and intensity of flavour too). Whether ultimately this is a pro or con depends on your point of view - I'm both impressed and underwhelmed at the same time.

Imperial Tanilla Porter won't blow you away like some of Knee Deep's imperial hoppy offerings; it doesn't pack that same punch despite its relatively rich mocha-vanilla profile. While I'm tempted to suggest bigger, better such beers from California I'll give this one credit for being arguably one of the more easily approachable (even if not the most affordable).

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biegaman from Ontario (Canada), Sep 09, 2016
Photo of tillmac62
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 12/4/15. Pours pitch black. World class head volume, lacing and retention.

Very good nose of chocolate, coffee, light roast and vanilla plus a hint of char.

Medium body that is quite smooth and has creamy hints from time to time on the finish. Quite outstanding carbonation / body balance with an effervescent middle and a nice, but not quite rollicking, prickly finish.

The flavor profile lacks a bit of complexity (due to poor separation) but does cover the 10% ABV so I consider it outstanding. Intensity is adequate while balance is world class. The heavier flavors (coffee, roast) lead then flow to a nice moderate molasses like sweetness in the middle. Here dark, slightly bitter, bakers chocolate emerges against a mild roast and hop bitterness backdrop. Vanilla gains in prominence from the middle through the finish. Quite drinkable but lacks the intensity and separation to really WOW you.

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tillmac62 from South Carolina, Jun 01, 2016
Imperial Tanilla from Knee Deep Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 226 ratings