Cascade Vlad The Imp Aler
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub

Cascade Vlad The Imp AlerCascade Vlad The Imp Aler
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Wild Ale
Ranked #130
Ranked #971
4.29 | pDev: 9.09%
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Oregon, United States
Cascade Vlad The Imp AlerCascade Vlad The Imp Aler
Notes: This Northwest style sour is a blend of spiced Quads, Triples and Blondes aged in Bourbon and wine barrels for over 18 months with orange peel and coriander. Vlad offers a fresh acidity and mild sweetness with flavors of citrus, spice and rich oak. Winner of the Silver Medal at the 2008 GABF. ABV 12.3%

First Release: 9.5% ABV
Second Release (Sept 2010): 10.6% ABV
Third Release: 2011 - 10.91%
Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 751 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of falloutsnow
falloutsnow from Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2017 vintage, 11.6% ABV.
Good, but not much more than a very mildly spiced (with orange peel and coriander, the coriander is not able to be tasted, the orange is only a vague sort of citrus character) sour blonde ale of imperial strength that's been aged in barrels (quad and blonde ales aged in bourbon and wine barrels). The alcohol becomes increasingly detracting as the beer warms. Overpriced, would not get again.
Pours a few large, white bubbles, but bottle is still, so no foam or retention. No lacing. Body is a dark golden orange color, with light bringing out (SRM 6-7). Transparent, but plenty of yeast at bottom of bottle.
Aroma is smoothly tart balanced with sweetness, a very pleasant smooth, creamy, sour citrus character (something of a Cascade trademark, you also noticed this aroma in the Citrus Noyaux) mixed with what seems like a hint of cinnamon, some light vinegary notes, and a touch of oak becoming apparent as the beer warms.
Flavor is fairly heavy sourness, fairly strong on acetic acid (apple cider vinegar), but also some tart lactic acid lemon/green apple sourness. Front: tart green apple mixed with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar, light nail polish remover flavor, faintly creamy lemon-citrus notes, slight oak, mild alcohol. Mid: fairly strong acetic acid (apple cider vinegar), moderate lemon and green apple notes from lactic acid, moderate nail polish remover, and moderate alcohol. Back: vaguely defined, though assertive smooth citrus mixed with both lactic (gentle citrus, tart apple) and acetic (cider vinegar) acidity, moderate to strong alcohol flavor, subtle oak. After: lingering lactic acid tartness (lemon/green apple) with acetic acid (apple cider vinegar) close behind, mild dry oak, and medium-low alcohol.
Beer is medium to medium-heavy in body; still, so no carbonation and mouthfeel is exceptionally smooth with no foaming. Alcohol felt fairly easily in the nose and throat, not surprising for an 11% ABV beer, but still not incredible. Closes very dry, with heavy stickiness on the lips and palate.
(D, B, B-, C+, B-/C+)

May 27, 2020
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BerryKumquat from California

4.78/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

L: Pours out as a light blonde ale and has a reddish orange hue as it fulls the glass. Neat effect
S: Very strong nose of corriander and orange.
T: A slow dry rush of fizz into a blast of orange and coriander finish into a simple orange aftertaste. Very unique and worth drinking.
F: Light orange beer.
O: An odd unique and memorable beer. While it isn't the strong in any one category, it has a very unique flavor profile that can be enjoyed anytime.

Feb 02, 2020
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snaotheus from Washington

4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

500ml corked caged 2017 bottle

Clear Amber, no head. Smells tart, peachy, a little buttery Chardonnay. Taste is stonefruit and oak, really nice. Mouthfeel is thick, sticky. Overall, very good.

Dec 25, 2019
Photo of ECShepherd
ECShepherd from Texas

4.74/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Looks like apple juice with an amber color, clear enough to read through. Thick head clears quickly, leaving a white lacing around the rim lasts several minutes. Smells sweet with a light acidity. Taste starts out with a citrus bite with a smooth fruity finish. Leaves a slight and enjoyable dryness behind that doesn't make you fear the next sip. Overall an excellent experience.

Dec 05, 2018
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Roustabout from District of Columbia

4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hell of a lot going on here, but it works. Like drinking four good beers at the same time through a dimensional portal (which makes sense, as it's a heavy blend. Not too unruly for an over-12-er. Far out.

May 25, 2018
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Bruno74200 from France

4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brewberry Bar in Paris, France. Poured in a 12.5cl tasting glass. This blond looking big wild ale shows a nice complexity and some great bourbon notes. Very good

Dec 11, 2017
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.24/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


2013 vintage.

Bronze color, no head.

AROMA: Wine,bourbon, brandy, fun dip.

TASTE: more fun dip, brandy, Apple.
FEEL: mostly flat

Good flavor....more beer than most sours. Still very tart, and this is listed as a quad/tripel. The is some complexity to be admired.


Jun 11, 2017
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cuddlesthecactus from New York

4.91/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at Cascade Brewing in Portland. I tasted strong bourbon and vanilla notes, but this beer was surprisingly bright at the same time. More effervescent than expected. Would bathe in this.

Aug 07, 2016
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(From notes.) In a snifter poured at the Cascade Barrel House. A beautiful golden amber color with a bright comforting smell of vanilla And spice. A great feel on the tongue and a strong Sour but smooth taste. Very enjoyable!

Jul 20, 2016
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rudzud from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared with JLindros. 2011 project

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear honey amber hue with a thin head that fades to leave light wisps and a light halo.

S - Aromas of tart funk, acid, almost an acetone nose. Tart blonde, malts, light bourbon, light almost quad like.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with nice acidity and tartness, good light barrel notes, bourbon sweetness and vanilla. There is nice balanced acidity, good blonde notes with faint malt sweetness. Very balanced.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, alcohol hidden well. Bit thin though.

O - Overall this beer was solid, albeit relatively mediocre for Cascade.

Serving type: bottle

Feb 12, 2016
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud, impossible to remove cork.

Very little head, very little lacing, semi hazy strawberry pinkish red color.

Nose big sour brown, tart funk, straight up sour and bit fruity, brown sugar candy and tart candied fruit, lactic acid and little funk, toasty brown malts little sweet like, faint barrel notes and some vinegar almost acetic.

Taste brings sweet and sour again, sweet candy, toffee brown malts, little syrupy, etc. Big sour brown, lactic acid and little acetic, vinegar as well, sour funk and little earthy ash. Very acidic, sticky malt and brown sugar, candied fruit thing, little barrel and whisky like notes, creamy lactic toffee. Little cherry like thing and other generic fruits. Finish tart flemmy sticky and quite acidic, little fruit, candy fruit.

Mouth is med bod syrupy, very acidic, light carb.

Overall interesting but not incredible.

Feb 12, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip. “2011 Project” on the label. 10.91%.

A: Pours a clear light iced-tea color with a very active couple fingers of off-white head that quickly fizzed away into a fuzzy and self-rejuvenating film. Wispy streaks of lace were left down the glass.
S: Musty notes of apple juice mixed with spicy oak and peppery spice. I get a hint of vinous wine and just a touch of buttery and caramely bourbon. Musty and lightly tart smelling.
T: Soft palate of flavors blend very well together with no one aspect standing out. I get a blend of apple cider, buttery oak, peppery spice, green apple, slight stone fruit, creamy yeast, a light earthy funk, and just a touch of caramely bourbon, oxidization, and brown sugar. Flavors are well integrated and smooth.
M: The alcohol is completely hidden and I couldn’t tell this from a beer with half the alcohol. The tartness is low as well, with just a subtle kick of clean sourness. Low acidity. The mouthfeel is very smooth and buttery from the oak. Medium-full body, touch of oxidization.
O: Masterfully crafted and perfectly integrated. Flavors are delicate, complex, and exceptionally smooth. I could sip this all day. Very well done.

Jan 22, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

You get a weird mixture of brown, orange and amber on this one. Not really attractive pour, almost no head on it, lots of debris falls to the bottom of the pour.

Aroma was cool, bourbon first, some dark citrus bitters after that, a little bit of oak. Complex.
Taste was all over the place but coherent. Bourbon is big and boozy, sourness is plenty perceptible. More of that citric tartness and bitters, musty at times. Great and unique mouthfeel.

Good beer, but pricey ($30).

Dec 09, 2015
Photo of bennyman12
bennyman12 from Missouri

4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2011 bottle.

Appearance is amazingly clear. Big bubbles that dissipate but still pop up somewhat.
Smell--I get grape skin and peaches. Potent.
Taste--so well balanced between the sour and sweet with more of that peach and grape skin and oak. Not overly pucker. Booze blends in well. Really sophisticated.
Mouthfeel is thick for the style--carb just lively enough.

Having brewed a slew of sours myself, I know how temperamental the lacto and pedio are around higher amounts of alcohol. There's a mind-numbing amount of bug-consciousness going on at cascade, and this is the purest evidence of their talent I've yet encountered. Cheers!

Nov 02, 2015
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Pours the color and clarity of honey with no head. Nose expresses citrus and some oak notes. Taste expresses oak, citrus and tannins. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an almost still carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Overall, a top notch beer. I think I prefer it better fresh; however, this beer has held up quite well.

Mar 01, 2015
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SierraFlight from Virginia

4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour into a tulip during #bottlecherwednesdays at Beachwood BBQ. Hazy yellow-orange in color with a thin white head that settles quickly. Aroma is sour, tart, oaky, apple cider vinegar, unripe orchard fruit especially apple, and grape skin. Flavor starts with moderate woody tartness followed by apple cider sweetness, there’s some acid on the finish. Light bodied, thin in texture, high carbonation, dry finish.

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of Zach136
Zach136 from Georgia

4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'11 vintage, reviewed 2/7/15

Appearance - light brown, thin head

Aroma: Banana, pineapple, and funk.

Flavor: Banana popsicle with a big tartness. A touch of acetic acid, and a touch of funk.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Feb 13, 2015
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

4.61/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It’s Fridge Clearing Week at the homestead! Yes, we are going to get to long-lost beers that for various reasons I haven’t gotten to (anticipated hate, anticipated love, fallen behind a moldy ham, etc.). This one comes via the much-beloved moose3285. 750ML bottle from the 2011 bottling split with my wife.

The cork digs its claws into glass neck, but after a prolonged struggle, I am victorious. The pop is ear-splitting. About 600ML poured out in anticipation of sludge, & those milliliters are clear 24 karat gold with a white, jittering head. Seriously. Sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies with fresh-poured milk: quite a loud popping. Smells just like the description: Belgian, sour, barrel, with tart green apple being dominant.

Vlad the Imp Aler is surprisingly restrained & complex. The wine barrels bring a lot of up-front flavor, bringing a vinous sharpness that complements the soft tartness that lurks behind: grapes, lemon, green apples, great layers without leaving my asshole as tight as a locked chastity belt. Mid-palate the barrel drops like an f-bomb, with oak enough to build a small fort against the side of the house: big, big wood. Bourbon comes through like a whiff of a good Dan Reed Network song. Belgian yeasts barely survive, but poke through on the finish like a weed sprouting through the barrel staves, along with spices that I can’t ID. Mouthfeel is like Sprite, spritzy & light. Drinkable as hell. I could have taken this myself, & I wouldn’t have even complained.

This is a nuanced, sophisticated take on the style. Right here is why Cascade might be my favorite purveyor of wild ales in the states, because they understand a sour is supposed to taste good, it’s not just an arms race to jack the pucker factor into the ionosphere. After having New Glarus’ Wild Peach a few nights ago, I might have had two of the better American wild ales: this is an elite beer, & no doubt about it. Fantastic.

Feb 11, 2015
Photo of Damian
Damian from Massachusetts

4.7/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from a 750 ml/1 pt. 9.4 fl. oz. corked and caged bottle
2011 Project
Served in a tulip
Big thanks to Rich and Nancy for sending this our way.

The slightly hazed, deep crimson-amber liquid was topped by a one-finger tall, creamy and frothy, off-white crown that quickly dropped to a thin, resilient film. Unexpected for a "spiced blonde quad." Drippy, streaky lacing trickled along the glass.

The aroma was amazingly rich, robust and complex. Sweet and tart with notes of balsamic vinegar and sour cherries. Slightly spicy. Touch of brown sugar sweetness. There was a musty sour grape quality as well. Quite wine-like. Moderately boozy. Notes of brandy were apparent. As the beer sat, bourbon notes came forth.

Flavorwise, the beer was outstanding. Crisp and tart with loads of balsamic vinegar and red wine. Slightly funky. There was a sweet booziness that reminded me initially of brandy but later seemed to be more bourbon-like. Slightly spicy with hints of vanilla. Cherries came through on the back end. Some lemon notes appeared as well. Touch of lactic acid twang. The finish was crisp and dry with more red wine notes and oaky barrel character. Even at 10-plus percent ABV, this was immensely quaffable and refreshing.

On the palate, the liquid was super slick, rich and creamy. Smooth and supple. Fuller bodied for the style.

Cascade makes a number of amazing sour ales, but Vlad the Imp Aler just might be their best. Although this beer is called a "blonde quad" by the brewers and classified as an American wild ale on BA, it had many of the characteristics found in the finest Flemish oud bruins. This bottle had three years of age on it and drank like a dream. I am curious to see how it is fresh out of the gate.

Jan 13, 2015
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown glass bottle with unbranded hood-and-wire cap over a cork with appealing label art served into a Guinness goblet. Courtesy of Schlimenhaumer.

2011 project. Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. 10.91% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide head. Thin. White colour. Not real creamy or full. Retention is nice - about 4-5 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Translucent golden-copper of good vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. Not unique or special looking, but good for a sour.

AROMA: The lactobacillus sourness disappears beneath the competing bourbon and white wine barrel tones. Belgian blonde malts. Sourness is maybe a 4/10 in intensity.

It's a pleasant appealing aroma of moderate strength, but fails to provide enough sourness, tartness, and general wild character.

No alcohol, off-notes, or overt hop character comes through.

TASTE: The white wine barrel is nice, bringing dampened oak. Bourbon is much lighter and more reticent; I get a kiss of vanilla but no real toastiness. Maybe some white oak. Belgian blonde, golden, and pale malts provide the backbone. Sourness is disappointingly mild; maybe a 4-5/10 in intensity. It's tart, but not quite to the extent I'd like. I don't get much spice apart from some mild clove and general Belgian yeast spice.

For the most part, it's well balanced. But it leaves a lot to be desired: more sourness, more intensity, more complexity, more subtlety, more rich oak. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

I do like it. No alcohol, overt hop notes, or off-notes come through.

TEXTURE: Acidic, luscious, medium-bodied, soft, smooth, and wet. Aptly carbonated. Goes well with the fruit skin notes. Good presence on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, scratchy, or rough.

This texture complements the taste nicely, but doesn't elevate the beer and doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to it.

OVERALL: Quite drinkable - incredibly so for its 10.91% ABV. I'll enjoy downing this glass, and would happily age a bottle if not for its pesky high price. It's another tasty sour from Cascade and disguises its ABV shockingly well. I'd definitely recommend fans of the style who can afford it try it once. I do think the bourbon intrudes on the sour/oak/acetic feel far too much, which is bad for the balance.

Low B

04/05/20 bottle (2011 Project):

Disguises its ABV impossibly well. Warm notes of orange peel and spice are present along with some bourbon barrel vanillin. More malty and thick than most sour ales, but the spiced Belgian blend approach to wild ale manufacture is certainly original. I don't know that it has the dark fruits/stonefruits I'd look for in a great quadrupel, and I think it's safe to say the percentage of the Tripel & Blonde components is much higher than the Quadrupel component in the mix. Scintilla of peach.

Has a slightly buttery mouthfeel/taste.

Citrus. Oak. Obvious acidity. Lactobacillus bacteria. Some alcohol warmth manifests in the third act, but you'd never know it was 10.91% ABV drinking it blind. Certainly less overtly boozy in taste than most Tripel style beers I've tried from American producers.

I got this on sale years ago, but even at a discount its pricetag is pretty hefty. I do like it, but I'd sooner nab most other Cascade sours over this based on those I've tried.


Dec 23, 2014
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StJamesGate from New York

4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep golden-amber with no head. 3.75
Tart and dried apricot nose, with maybe some golden raisin. 4
Apricot mashy compote, some Chardonnay spice, Belgian candy sugar, brown sugar-bourbon thing, a cream soda hit, and a woody, tart cut to end. Butter rum comes out as it warms. 4.5
Sour caramel finish and clean lactic linger.
Medium, creamy, chewy. 4.25

-- Endless layers - touches of winter spice and apple pie in there, with a lemon chiffon cut to end. Heat is buried. Fizzy on the tongue but low carbonation - that’s Lacto, I’m told. Oscillates; lots of big notes, many of them sweet, so the sour saves it, yet it’s only as sour as it needs to be.

Sweet and sour, salt, bourbon - too busy? Not integrated enough? A cornucopia of flavours, but suffers next to something seamless like Cantillon. 4

Dec 16, 2014
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Seanniek91 from Rhode Island

4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a HF stemmed Tulip. Vintage 2011.

Appearance is murky amber with one finger of bubbly off-white head that left nice lacing. Smell is is baking spices. I get a bunch of apple pie and pumpkin pie, cinnamon and lemony citrus aromas. Taste is tart lemons and apples with much of the same baking spices. Mouthfeel is great. Body is medium/full with mild sourness and ample soft carbonation and no booze heat (10.9% ABV)!

Overall this is a great beer. Very unique sour beer that I liken to Ghouschip if I had to compare it to anything. I wish I saved this for thanksgiving to eat with some pie!

Oct 23, 2014
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Fatehunter from Oregon

4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

Pours a thin head on a cloudy dirty straw colored body.
The aroma is sour and grapes, lots of grapes.
The taste is sweet and sour, grapes, honey, lemon and oak. Outstanding balanced and depth.
The texture is fizzy and crisp.

Oct 05, 2014
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jibbyvonjibb from California

3.75/5  rDev -12.6%

Oranges, lemon peel, biscuit, oak, canned pineapple. Medium acidity. Taste is more of the preserved tropical fruit, but also barrel influence with brown sugar and vanilla. Alcohol comes through in bitter finish. Overall, great aroma but a tad hot on the palate.

Sep 29, 2014
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Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden orange color, mostly clear, with a white head. The aroma is sour, with faint toffee like traces and plenty of barrel. The taste is very complex, oaky, tart, sour, trace bourbon, tannins, ghost fruit. Finishes bittersweet and slightly dry. Overall, a world class sour.

Sep 21, 2014
Cascade Vlad The Imp Aler from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 751 ratings