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

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Cascade Vlad The Imp AlerCascade Vlad The Imp Aler

Brewed by:
Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A blend of oak barrel-aged 23- and 25-degree Plato sour blonde quadrupel with sour bourbon barrel tripel and sour strong spiced blonde. Wild yeast was added during the barrel aging.

First Release: 9.5% ABV
Second Release (Sept 2010): 10.6% ABV
Third Release: 2011 - 10.91%

Added by hopdog on 12-09-2008

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Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 691
Photo of rlee1390
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Cloudy yellow orange, one finger head with some lacing.

S-Grapes, wine, oak, slight bourbon, mild funk, grass and dirt.

T-Starts with some grapes, good deal of wine and oak. Mild bourbon, grass with some funk.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, crisp dry finish.

O-Not one of their best, worthy they try, but for the price it is a tough buy.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"2011 Project"

A-Pours a slightly hazy, orangey amber color. Head is a slightly yellow, foamy, bubbly mass. Head manages to retain some of its size. Slick, bubbly lacing.

S-Funky and vinous with bourbon character. Almost reminds me of bourbon spiked egg nog. Spicy and a bit peppery. Vinegar. Tart fruits. Some malty base. Vanilla.

T-Funky and highly influenced by both types of barrel. The spiciness and broad oakiness of the bourbon barrel really blends well with the tannic, vinous wine barrel. It remains fairly sweet, not surprising because this beer has some Quad in there. Belgian spiciness and loads of funk. Vanilla cream with underripe apricot and peach. Vinegar sourness. Sweet and sour combo with a long, lingering barrel finish.

M-Alcohol hidden well. Sweet at first but finishes dry and tannic. Pleasant carbonation. Flavor lingers forever.

O/D-A really interesting Wild brew. I love the barrel influence and find that the funkiness plays very will with the bourbon notes. It's a pricey bottle that isn't easy to come by but one time is well worth it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is one heck of a beer, and about the most complex one ive had in the blonde color. thanks to my brother for bringing this one to the table. its a sour blonde quad blended with a couple of other sour golden beers, barrel aged. hazy pale yellow in color with quite a bit of bubbles. the nose does not give its alcohol strength away at all, and it smells of sweet musty wood, souring bacteria, spiced rum, Belgian yeast, honey, and wheat malt. extremely complex layers of flavors, just like aromas, to this west coast gem. it starts quite sweet, with a honey and spice combination, and its immediately followed by a woodiness before sour kicks it into high gear. the combination of sour and sweet in the finish is a little odd, not dry at all, but its certainly enjoyable. the blonde quad is an interesting base beer for something like this, it holds up well to the other ingredients and blends, but also serves to let the barrel shine through in a unique way. some wine vibes on the finish as well. well enough carbonated and rather light in body for what it is. an extremely impressive beer from cascade, who seems to be doing so pretty special stuff. this one will be in my memory for awhile.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a slightly hazed amber color with a fizzy, thin off-white head. Leaves just a small white ring behind.

S: Sweet white wine and bourbon notes with some tart and heavy fruit notes. Red cherry and white grape are dominant in here. I get some oak as well, but it's pretty nicely restrained.

T: A nice hit of sourness right away, then a rich and fruit laced heavy sweetness. Meaty red cherry, spicy tripel notes, white grape, raisin skins and some candi sugar. Finish brings just a trace of bourbon with some red cherry skin tartness and a pleasant dryness from the alcohol. Not my favorite from Cascade, but it's pretty delicious. Really glad I finally got to try this one.

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Photo of kbrown
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brought back from Portland trip.

Appearance- Hazy pineapple juice look. Creamy, bubbly head. Good retention.

Smell- Sour apples, grape.

Taste- Follows the smell also mandarin orange, grapefruit, wine barrel taste, slight hint of the bourbon.

Mouthfeel- Hardcore tart typical sour hit at front.

Overall- Good flavor, not as balanced and strong as Kriek.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 Project

Appearance is fantastic!!! Almost self-growing head longevity. White foam and clouded peach color brew. Not much in the way of lacing.

Lemon, lime, orange, cherry, green apple, oaky, vanilla, bready... Fresh, delightfully aromatic! Near perfect aroma!!!

Definitely drinks best when brought up-to-temperature!! Dank, damp, horsey, more lime than lemon in the flavors. Honey, high burn from the ABV. Dry, earthy, bitter, and smooth. Heat is not detectable in the flavor, only in the mouthfeel. Flavors of raisin, chamomile, white grape, and apricot dominate. Fantastic sour tannins. Carbonation is quite meaty and pronounced. Bitterness is nearly well balanced and mellows out the sweetness. Not a lip curing sour, very well thought out.

A very nice brew, not sure it's a $30 brew, but it still is quite nice. Very well done and blended wonderfully. Highly recommended, if you can get it... Thanks for shipping Perry!

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Photo of tectactoe
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Doug for inviting me into his home and offering to split a lovely array of Cascade brews; Vlad being the first on the hit list. Murky copper and dingy amber; completely opaque and full of unfiltered haze, topped off with a beige head that sizzles and pops as it foams up quickly and phases out just as fast, leaving the top of the muddled brew bare.

The initial aroma has plenty of sour notes; tart fruits, along the lines of apples and white grapes, coming completely with a mild booziness that's hard to identify. Kind of a "lighter" fruit profile than I'd expect from a quad... but after re-reading the label, it's a "pale quad". Hm, didn't even know there was a such thing. Wood is also present in the aroma, fading to a mild, warming bourbon.

You get smacked pretty quickly with a sharp tartness as you take each sip... This is possibly even a little more sour than I was expecting. Lots of cherry notes, pear skins, and mild quad-like phenol warmth and ester sweetness hidden underneath. Lots of vinous notes trounce in, especially during the latter half of each sip; oak, mild white wine grapes, and dry tannins.

Vlad inherits some more bourbon-esque notes with warmth, letting you feel its presence without getting too "boozy". Dry finish, full of scraping fruit skin sharpness, a very light acidity, and a good amount of oak. Probably one of the "softer" beers in terms of acidity as far as Cascade goes. Medium bodied with a slightly creamy and slightly sharp mouth feel.

Very tasty sour... It's quite strong, although I still don't think it tastes like 10%+ ABV. Good balance of fruit, barrel, and overall sourness, and it drinks really well for the relative strength within the style. It would be interesting to try the non-soured "base" beer of this (referring to the pale quad), as that sounds intriguing. Another great brew from Cascade... bravo!

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Photo of pkalix
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

popped the cork, got some good sour aroma from the bottle. poured into my Houblon Chouffe (flute?) glass and the sound of it pouring was comparable to champagne. a nice billowy champagne head with carbonation rising energetically from the bottom... I am mind-tripped into believing this is a Belgian because of the glassware.... very blonde
tart acidic vinegar, fruity aroma....
mouth-puckering, tongue muscle-contracting... even the sides of my tongue are clenching and shivering. white grape, sweet fruits. vanilla?
bottle says 2011 project at 10.91%. cannot taste any alcohol whatsoever. I love the sours but they just don't mix with 'regular' brews so I 'schedule' my sour evenings accordingly. mouthfeel is par for a sour, although seemingly light for such a heavy alcohol level. a thicker syrup lingers behind on the tongue like a sugary treat.
5's should be rare, but I love the 'appearance', the way it sticks to the sides of the glass with its white billow-y-ness. it doesn't 'lace', but leaves thick remaining white bubbles. the taste is a tad thin from perfect and smooth but still awesome. the smell is rather NOT as extra-ordinary as I was expecting, but overall this is class sour straight up. at almost 11%, this is an incredible accomplishment. cant wait to try the others from Cascade...

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Photo of steenkampa
2.46/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I bought this bottle and held onto it for a year or so... brought it to a tasting with a few friends (the highlight of the night was a 2011 Chocolate Rain).


This was overpriced, significantly so. I had gotten it for $40, and to be perfectly honest if it had been $20 my review would be much different.

However, it was not.

For a $40 very rare offering from Cascade, it was pretty lacking in flavor. Too light, not too much fruit or actual sour going on, was just boring. I had a few of the Almanac Farmer's Reserve sours later on, and one of them (the 3 I think? maybe it was the 4?) tasted nearly identical, but was about 1/4 the price (smaller bottle, but still...1/2 price if you got two).

I'm not cheap, I'm usually completely down for a $40 beer if it is truly something interesting...but I was deeply disappointed by this one.

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Photo of brydeen
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

reviewed as part of Blind BIF round 8

A: Pours a deep golden copper hue, with a sudsy 1/2 inch white head. Very clean and crisp in appearance.

S: A touch of sweet apples right away. A wine like element to it, likely white wine or Chardonnay barrels? A light funk, but not overpowering.

T: White grapes, a touch of lemon, and a light herbaceous flavor I can't seem to pinpoint. Some light spicing too perhaps. Quite refreshing, but I can't figure this one out.

M: Crisp, light, and bubbly. If you told me this was only 5%, I'd probably believe you. No alcohol presence at all.

O: This is a great, lightly tart, but not mouth puckering sour brew. Very crisp and refreshing, with no one dominating presence. I'm thinking its some sort of wine barreled golden ale or even Saison, but I can't seem to pinpoint any of it. It's a great balance of tart with a sweetness well incorporated. Incredibly tasty stuff.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks a bunch as always to John for bringing this across the country for me!
I took this to share at a recent tasting.

Gushed a bit out of the bottle, but was quickly under control. Poured into a Night Shift mini feku, a darker amber colored liquid, more hazy as it got closer to the bottom of the bottle; very heady, capped with an inch or more of off-white foam, nice retention and lacing. Aroma was sour/tart, apple cider and stone fruits, hints of Belgian yeast and spice, funk. Sourness was quite tame on the palate, taste was otherwise quite complex: apple, cherry, apricot, lemon, grassy funk, peppery yeast, light acetic acid, white wine, wood, leather, and I almost detected a touch of cinnamon bark in there. Medium body, crisp and moderately puckering mouthfeel, very drinkable overall.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Corked and Caged 2011 Project bottle, bought online from Cascade...$30, 10.91% abv on the label.

A- nice pop when I pulled the cork out, it pours a hazy orange, 1" head of foam, nice lacing ensues.

S- lots of vinegar sourness up front, pretty much all that I get aroma wise.. maybe a bit of spice but I'm not sure about that.

T- change the vinegar sourness to a wine sourness when it comes to the taste. I get a bit of the Bourbon but it is more in the background than in your face. Some vanilla seems to peek in at times. Good fruity sourness throughout and that pleases me.

M- medium bodied with some lively carbonation. Nice.

O- A nice brew and fairly easy to drink considering the abv. I like this a lot but I prefer others from Cascade...worth a try if you have no problem spending the bucks.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. 2011 project.

Appearance - Clear orange. Small white head. Some wisps. Thin collar.

Smell - Lots of vanilla. Fruity. Light citrus. Malty. Slight acidity.

Taste - Sweet up front. Sharp sourness follows. Fruity flavors parallel the sourness. Peachy, almost. Bright citrus flavor. Malty in the back, but all pale malts.

Mouthfeel - Heavy for a sour, as always from Cascade. Medium carbonation. Not a lot og sourness.

Overall - This is close to great, but it ends up being just good. I feel like it could be so much more.

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Photo of draheim
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL (2011 project) into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazy coppery amber color w/ a big fluffy head composed of extremely fine bubbles, leaving behind some great sudsy lacing. Lively carbonation rises from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is tart and vinous. Sour fermented cherries, oak, dry white wine.

Taste is all lactic acid up front. Puckeringly sour, but underneath that there's a fruity apricot sweetness. Oak, candi sugar, white grapes, spice, and just a hint of something almost smoky.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky, not as dry as many American wilds. Clearly from the sweetness there are considerable residual sugars here, and these sugars give this beer an added weight and thickness on the palate. Vigorous carbonation fights a losing battle against the heaviness of this beer. And now, seeing the 10.91% ABV, I see why.

Overall an interesting, complex, bold sour ale that swings for the fences and might have come up just a bit short. There's no denying that it's good. I just don't know that it was quite worth the high price of admission.

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Photo of standardcherry
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, 2011 vintage.

A: Dark-ish orange color. Pretty hazy. Large white, frothy head that lingered for a while and then dissipated.
S: A lot of spiciness/sweetness. Smells a bit sour but I would not be able to tell this was a Cascade, it's lacking the strong lactic acidity they usually have (although that's not a bad thing in this case). Can definitely smell the tripel spiciness a lot, balanced out with some vanilla, oak and funkiness. Very unique, I dig it.
T: Nice tartness up front. Tastes kinda like pineapple/coconut/vanilla. Has a lot of hints of quad fruitiness and tripel spiciness. Some citric in there with a bit of lactic acidity. Some oak and sweet bourbon at the end.
M: Medium bodied with moderate (almost high) carbonation.
O: Extremely drinkable. I drank the 2009 and 2011 side by side very easily. I would have guessed t was around 6-7%. Great stuff as I've come to expect from Cascade, I'm glad I got to try it and I will definitely be ISO more.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from corked & caged 750mL bottle into a tulip. This is the 2011 project. Let's see if it is worth the exorbitant price!

Appearance: medium-dark orange hue with a moderate haze and effervescence. Head is a finger of frothy tan foam which dissipated somewhat quickly. Not too bad, I suppose.

Smell: shazam! There is a lot going on here. First a light sourness, followed by a butterscotch character, a light orchardy fruitiness and an astringent oaky finish. Dynamic and fascinating. I'm not normally a big diacetyl guy, but the butterscotch works in this context.

Taste: a much bigger, rounder, and full-bodied version of the aroma. We start with the sourness, which is paired with a sweet, almost candylike fruit flavor that really works for me. Butterscotch is still there, but it's way more mellow than the aroma. There's a bit of a dusty, date-like flavor here, which I don't perceive very often in lighter beers but I like a lot here. The finish is a little bit green-apple, but without being off-flavor or cidery. Oak and astringency are present at the tail end, but not as prominent as the flavor. I'm liking this beer *quite* a lot.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a deceivingly robust carbonation. The brew is nicely creamy, although a little more body would give the creaminess a nice oomph.

Overall: a great beer; I'm glad I've tried it. Is it worth the price? Probably not. But for aficionados of this style, it may be worth your while to give this a shot, or at least split a bottle with a few other like-minded folks.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Latest vintage...ain't nobody got time to age bottles of this delicious elixir.
The beer pours a hazy amber gold with specks of sediment along the bottom and a constant blanketing of a dense off-white head that laces. It's definitely presents potent notes of bourbon, apricot/ unripened peach, orange zest, red wine, and a touch of "pure smiles." It tastes like I'd expect; a wild blonde highlighted by red wine, bourbon, and citrus. It has a elegant mouthfeel presenting as sweet, tart, and slightly vinous, which plays nicely off those big barrel -aged coconut, vanilla, and slight ethanol. It really doesn't dry as much in the finish as I'd expected. This beer was definitely worth trying, although price (+shipping) makes this a hard beer to consider for a repeat purchase.

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Photo of morimech
3.66/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange marmalade color with two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Curtains of lace is left down the glass.

Smells tart. Mostly vinous aromas. Sour grapes. Not getting any funk or bourbon. Expecting more complexity from this beer.

Very much on the sweet side with moderate tartness. A sour tripel. Probably the least funky of the Cascade sours that I have tried. I also do not get any bourbon but just a slight hint of vanilla. Reminds me of a Sweet-Tart.

Body is deceptively full. The carbonation is perfect for a sour beer and adds a lot of life to the body.

I was really looking forward to this beer and feel a little letdown. It is still a good beer, but did come through for me. Some funk would of helped this beer a lot.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear amber color with a thin light, white layer and leaves a soapy layer on the top that sticks around.

S - Tartness, oak, white grapes, light honey, funkiness.

T - Tart white grapes, oak, very subtle bourbon, light bread.

M - Light medium body, velvety smooth carbonation, and slightly puckering.

O - This was an amazing beer!!!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Barrel House

A - Served a cloudy orange with a brown tint and only a few white bubbles on the glass.

S - Tart oaky and bourbon.

T - Sweeter and has the hints of a Brlgian quad/triple. Lots more bourbon in the finish.

D - Medium body with low carbonation.

O - Sweet Belgian with lots of oak and bourbon throughout.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

on-tap at the barrel house and then subsequently at the sixgill

Like any Cascade beer, Vlad is layered and complex with a bit of a punch. There is just so much going on here between the base belgian ales, the barrels, yeast and bugs and so on. It's hard to say it isn't good but it's hard to say it's great too - it's just too much. Sweet, boozy, vinous white notes, very trace bourbon, vanilla, pineapple. Interesting - would not buy another $30 bottle of this, but would go after it again on tap

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml, 2011 Project
5oz mini snifter

A: Slightly hazy orange color. Darker than a true tripel due to the barrel aging. White collar around edges. Seems like there is decent carbonation. Some lacing bits.

S: Spice and sweetness, and sour. You get it all on the nose. Certainly pull that tripel like spice kick. Sweetness from the bourbon and vanilla notes from aging. Then you can smell the funk underneath it all.

T: Nice tart funk right up front. Seems a little subdued because of the other components in this beer and the aging. After that initial burst you get some tripel like character and sweetness from the malts and barrel aging. Nice vanilla and creaminess is in there.

M: It's a big medium. The carbonation makes it feel a little lighter than full.

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Photo of danbar
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 Project - Pours a yellow/orange color with a fluffy quarter inch white head. Smells slightly sour with some spice and heavy on the bourbon. Taste follows nose with mild sourness and spices and the taste of bourbon without the normal burn. Also get some red wine taste but bourbon dominates. Some heat but not bad at all. Nicely carbonated.

Not one of the best beers I have ever had but definitely one of the most unique beers I have ever head. Cascade rocks.

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Photo of Etan
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml (2011 project) into a tulip.

A: Pours a murky dark orange, like a light bourbon, with a small white head.

S: Lactic acid, buttery bourbon, coconut, lightly spicy tripel esters and sweet pale malt, a little bit of vinegary acetic acid.

T: Taste brings clementine, mild lactic acidity, coconut, vanilla, warming bourbon, white cake, cream, bretty pineapple. Very tannic.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: This beer strikes a nice balance between the malty and estery base beer, the mild acidity, and the tannic bourbon. Very nice.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured out a yellow, orange and light brown mix. Very little head ring around it, too small to determine its color or find any degree of retention or lacing possible. Left a big clump of brown sediment in the bottle after the pour.

Aroma was citrus and bourbon. Different.

Taste, a weird mix of soured blond ale, but also the oak and bourbon notes giving it a boozy mouthfeel that is far from a bad thing, it was like a big time juxtaposition of those flavors, but as it went on, it became more enjoyable. Vanilla, charred oak, bourbon, citric rind, citric tarness, booze, toffee, musty dark fruit. Drinks relatively easy though given the high abv.

Drank at a camping trip up around Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. This one closed out Saturday night for us.

Now that they are charging $30 a bottle for this beer, plus shipping, its just not that good to cough up that kind of money. I'll take two bottles of their apricot instead of the one bottle of this that I can get for the same price. Cool beer, enjoyable, but unless you are just rolling in cash, I don't see stocking up on these. To try once? Sure.

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Cascade Vlad The Imp Aler from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
4.19 out of 5 based on 691 ratings.
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