Ass Kisser Vanilla Pale Ale | Ass Kisser Ales

29 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ass Kisser Ales
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Retired in August 2013.

Added by AleWatcher on 10-17-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 117
Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: thin head on a clear copper body, some lacing.

S: lots of vanilla, caramel malts and citrus hops.

T: lots of vanilla, earthy herbal and slight pine hops with a nice caramel malt backbone.

M: light to medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: This one is very drinkable and interesting. I would like a little more out of the base beer but the vanilla is perfectly applied.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.56/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

With flavors of caramel, butterscotch and cereal governing the flavors here, you know it's not your everyday Pale Ale. The decoration of vanilla provides the subtle nuances that both entice and surprise the senses.

This Vanilla Pale Ale opens with a bright golden pour that carries a mild haze. A short lived and terse statured head rapidly builds and rapidly dissipates from the beer but not without leaving behind fossils of lace.

Aromatic with the malty notes of light caramel, corn syrup, honey and a kiss of butterscotch anchor the nose while actual cereal (like Capt'n Crunch) and not the normal beer-term that denotes raw grains and undeveloped malt character. Low lying hop character gives a small herbal component to the aroma blend, but not nearly with the punch that's expected from Pale Ales.

The balance in flavor also tilt heavily in the favor of malt flavor and sweetness and away from a matching hop flavor or bitterness. The butterscotchy caramel, honey flavor pronounces along with the slight vanilla flavoring. Grainy-sweet to taste, the beer has tepid malt underpinning that limits its complexity and richness. The very low in hop flavor and bitterness leaves the malt to fend for themselves as the beer never offsets the sweetness and the lack of malt depth doesn't contain enough complexity to allow the balance from malt to develop.

Thinly sweet and with soft carbonation to start, the beer falls light, thin, and weighted as the carbonation fades very fast and leaves the majority of the beer feeling rich, oily, slick, and mouth coating. This causes the beer to lay flatly on the tongue and hinders any would-be dryness in finish. Only a mild warmth accompanies the caramel and buttery flavor and feel into aftertaste.

Somewhat British-like with the butterscotch and dominant caramel notes, but this beer isn't a substantial English-inspired ale either. Nor does the vanilla taste make any meaningful impact. This is just a confused beer that lacks justification in recipe formulation and brewing execution.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.68/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A new brewery to my local store, so I figured I'd grab one of each of their three current offerings to try 'em out. Part the first: It pours a clear lightly amber-hued gold topped by maybe a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose seems faint, but it could just be nearly nonexistent anyway (meaning not much there for me to even perceive, were I able). I get some mild cream soda, a touch of overly sweet caramel, and the vague sense of ruby red grapefruit. Suffice it to say, I'm not impressed by this aspect of the brew. The taste doesn't seem to emphasize any particular vanilla-ness, rather a vague sweetness that borders on a powdered sugar sort of character. The rest of it is kinda ginger ale-like, but with less ginger and more vague citrus. Dammit, everything here is just so vague and conformist (the only word that comes to mind here...). The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a syrupy feel, almost like a flat soda. Overall, I am mystified by this beer. It sorta lives up to its own billing, but there's nothing in the way of pale ale to be found, and the vanilla isn't very expressive. It's not a bad beer necessarily, but I can't in good conscience call it a very good one in any appreciable way. My head, he spins...

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Photo of scruffwhor
2/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Dark golden hay and amber/copper color. Great bubbling and a super ice head and film that lasts for all twelve ounces. It even has good lacing stickage. Great looking beer.

The aroma is full of the English Toffees Grandma used to have at her house when I was a child. Toffees dipped in hard water mixed with a little earthen hop aroma.

Lots of toffee sweetness that eventually get coupled with Earthy, musty hops. Very odd and for the most part, off-putting beer.

The palate is a little dry, very chewy, and sweet. I'm glad I tried this beer, but won't purchase again, and will recommend others stay away.

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Photo of Brad007
3.91/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good shade of pale with a small white head. I give them marks for getting a good color.

Your basic pale ale aroma (grassy hops, buttery malt) with nary a hint of vanilla. At least it gets the first part down pat.

We're talking now. My tongue detects a nice, mellow addition of vanilla bean that kind of works against the butteriness of the malt and grassy hops. It does add a new angle to the style.

Lingering buttery malt, grassy hops and vanilla bean make up the mouthfeel.

I give them credit for trying something different. I don't think I've had any pale ales infused with vanilla.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.02/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden colour, thin layer of head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Scent is dominated by bready caramel, some sweet honey notes and a hint of vanilla.

T - Much like the nose the bready caramel notes dominate, with the vanilla almost undetectable at first, but coming through and lingering nicely on the finish. Hop profile comes through in the form of faint leafy greens on the finish, with a touch of bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and wet.

O - A mild pale ale, but the hint of vanilla offers a unique twist to an otherwise forgettable pale ale. Easily sessioned and pretty tasty. Worth a try, but don't expect to be blown away.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Malty aroma is not strong, has hints of yeast and vanilla. Pours a clear amber with a frothy off-white head that makes itself scarce rather quickly. Malty flavor has an appreciable vanilla undertone, fairly but not overly sweet. Smooth texture has average body, fizz is wanting. Not Ass Kisser’s best, but if you like vanilla give it a chance.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.39/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a soft copper, no foam. Clear top. Creamy vanilla nose. A little peppery. Taste is a vanilla dominated malt, which stays sweet and wards away any bitterness. A bit obvious, but the dominant flavor really is the vanilla. Smooth and tasty.

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Photo of pkalix
3.92/5  rDev +32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

hmm, low review score.... not really excited about that tonight.
pale straw with minimal head, erratic lacing.
smells kind of vanilla-y, i suppose.
tastes like a subdued ale with some soft spices. vanilla subtle in the end taste. very interesting.
overall, not bad. a little 'twang' from the added ingredients but a decent drink. not into novelties, but i dont believe this was intended as a novelty but a serious endeavor. i like it. i think it is worthy although it's not a world class brew. i wonder what the other brews from this brewery are like...

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Photo of DavoleBomb
2.79/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.5 A: Lightly hazed yellow orange color. One finger of frothy off-white head. Retention is a tad below average and a short ring of lacing is left.

2.5 S: The vanilla is about the only thing you will find. It covers up anything else that might be in here. It's not quite as bad as I would have guessed, but it still isn't very good unless you are bat shit crazy over vanilla.

2.75 T: The taste is better than the nose simply because it tastes like beer. Again lots of vanilla. Neutral maltiness, which I'm happy to find.

3.25 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Light creaminess.

2.75 D: It's not good, but at least it isn't terrible.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.25/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Clear golden, minimal lace

SMELL: Vanilla, cookie dough, fresh bread, clean, faint alcohol

TASTE: Mild vanilla, bready malt, muted hops, husk, carbonic, dry finish

A plain Pale Ale with a timid addition of vanilla makes for a very middle-of-the-road brew. The aroma comes across more appealing than the flavor. Perhaps a better fit with a meal rather than on its own? One and done.

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Photo of garymuchow
2.41/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Dark gold and pours with practically no head.
Malty aroma with a toasty and nutty quality. Hints of vanilla. No hops to speak of.
Taste is where is get a little weird. The vanilla is an odd flavor here - not like the type oak would give. Has a malty quality similar to the aroma. It has a weird dryness on the finish. I'm not sure the flavors blend all that well.
Quite a bit of carbonation and it's a bit sharp and it inhibits smoothness. Body is thinner than typical for style.
The aroma is the best part of this drink. The rest just doesn't work very well.
Thanks C. and Sons of Barley

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Photo of elNopalero
2.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This looks golden blonde with a thin vanilla aroma and a bracing vanilla flavor. Vanilla extract comes to mind, more on the artificial side--strong and off, almost, with a thin, astringent finish. I found it flat flavored, thin bodied, and overly artificial. Warming only brings out the worst in it. Obviously not very enjoyable to my tastes but I’ve been in the minority here with every bottle I’ve shared.

A more positive comparison would be to a vanilla cream soda—but if I wanted an actual cream soda I’d drink that instead. Skip, pour, or give away.

*Note: The bottle I had was from California, not Texas... Different region, different contract brewery perhaps?

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.68/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I poured this bottle into a tulip style glass. I initially had a couple fingers of foam that dies down pretty quickly. The coloring on this beer is a ruddy orange.

Off the top you definitely pick up the vanilla from the beer. I also get some caramel in the nose on this one.

This beer works out to be a very easy sipper. The vanilla presence and sweetness can throw you. I feel a little bit of oily-ness in the mouth-feel.

This is a very original beer for me. Typically the vanilla comes from barrel aging, but this one is a little stronger and sweeter than most.

For something new, I recommend trying out this one. Plus, the bottle is pretty fun.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.32/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - a slight haze to an otherwise plain straw-colored pour. A thin, kinda creamy head holds well , some good sticky lacing all around.

Aroma - definite vanilla presence, comes across a little candy-ish. Not necessarily bad, though not necessarily legit, fwiw.

Taste - the grain is pretty non-intrusive, basically nothing more than a canvas for the vanilla flavor and some faint balancing hops that are a little twangy. As a vanilla fan, I like it but wish it had more earthy vanilla character.

Mouthfeel - average body, crisp and refreshing, not too heavy.

Overall - enjoyable beer that I could session with, more so in the summer months as an offset to the hoppy pale ales that abound.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - light hazy golden, one finger of head retained at a thin covering and left some random lacing
S - grainy with light grass, pleasant touch of vanilla, with a slight sour bite
T - much like the nose with an added mineral flavour that is quite prominent and seems to almost replace the vanilla
M - light and well carbonated, just a touch prickly, finishes dry and mineral like
O - its not a bad beer but its definitely average, the vanilla that is prominent on the nose seems to wilt on the tongue, worth a try but not a repeater

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.2/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Grabbed a single from a local store... Couldn't pass up a vanilla pale ale-- my first! (and as far as I know, the only one made!)

Served in a pint.

Golden colored body with a small, almost non-existent head. The small head vanished quickly, leaving only a small ring of bubbles as a collar.
Smells like ginger ale meets cream soda. Almost no "base beer" here at all. This doesn't taste like beer really at all-- it tastes like a gourmet soda made with some sort of maltable ingredient that beer generally uses. The vanilla is pretty mild-- it needs to be sweeter and more pronounced.

This feels like a soda. A sugary, undercarbonated soda.

Overall, it's hard to really know what they were going for here-- some sort of mild ale with vanilla is my best guess, but the mark was missed. The beer isn't "beery" enough to be a good pale ale, and not vanilla enough to be an interesting sipper that could be a novelty at parties-- then again, people like strange shit.
This one doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of Etan
2.04/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Trying this beer based on its horrific reputation...Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy light orange with a small white head.

S: Unpleasant, fake-smelling vanilla, a bit of soapy grain, not much else.

T: The same mildly disgusting fake vanilla. The tiniest, thinnest hint of floral hop. That's it.

M: Light-bodied, tingly carbonation.

O: I'm amazed that they've actually been able to sell this stuff. Disgusting fake vanilla aroma and flavor, almost no hops, no malt flavors. Definite drainpour.

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Photo of ferrari29
2.5/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beer pours with a very thin consistency; watery; not much head formed, under one finger in size; didn't hold well either; well-carbonated though; no lacing; clear body

S - Vanilla, but doesn't mix well with the hops, smells a little moldy; cream soda; cream/sour cheese; caramel

T - Taste like vanilla bean ice cream; cream soda; cotton candy; no hops, some grass taste; tangy weird taste

M - Very thin consistency; watery body; sugary vanilla aftertaste coats the tongue and doesn't go away for a while; sour bitter burn in the throat;

D - Not very well thought out; not sure where the brewers were going with this beer; flavor profile is out of whack and the weird aftertaste and mouthfeel don't help it either; time to go back to the drawing board

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Photo of horshack7
3/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It's a pale hazy brassy color with a light frothy head an inch thick.

Aroma: Vanilla, orange cream, faint butterscotch, and a bit of nuttiness in the back.

Taste: Lots of vanilla in the front, sweetness from the malts is towards the caramel side. Orange cream, and light citrus. The mouthfeel is smooth and buttery.

Notes: Not too exciting but decently drinkable for a warm day. Cheers.

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Photo of mralphabet
2.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams perfect pint glass

A: Poured a light orange color, with about a fingers worth of head that settles to thin layer and ring. Spotty lacing from start to finish.

S: I'm getting a light amount of sweet malt and floral hops, then the vanilla kicks in. Not much else going on here, but it is interesting.

T: First thing I'm getting is a very grassy taste followed by vanilla... but not much else here. The finish is clean with a little bitter aftertaste.

M: Mid to light bodied, carbonation is on par with a pale ale.

O: I'd say this beer is not fantastic but interesting, worth trying just to see what vanilla tastes like in a pale ale. I have to say it reminds me of the first vanilla coke I tried years ago.

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Photo of SSS
2.81/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Name and label looked cool, I know, I know, you should never judge a book by its cover. Nonetheless, I thought there could be something nice here, with a vanilla twist. Not so much, it is a standard beer, nothing more, nothing less. It does have a nice amber color. I don't really taste the vanilla, very, very feint, nor the caramel as advertized. Sorry Ass Kisser, there are better beers out there. This is my first, pass recommendation. :(

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Photo of MatthewWilde
2.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Golden yellow, slightly hazy, almost no internal carbonation, and practically no head

S: Not very fragrant, hints of citrus, some floral notes, vanilla is detectable but certainly not as expected or as much as I would have wished

T: Same as the nose, a little more vanilla presence, but still rather weak, flavor is certainly not as impressive as expected, and at such a high price, it seems most of what is payed for is the marketing

M: Very smooth, drinkable, but given the style and low abv, this is not surprising whatsoever and almost an expectation

O: A nice pale ale, but nothing to write home about, delicious and light sure, but worth the money?, not a chance

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Photo of Merkur
3.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a nice golden color with very a little bit of foamy head.

Beer smells very sweetly of vanilla. The smell is almost exactly what you would expect to find with a bourbon barrel aged beer.

Taste is that same vanilla, but then nothing else to back it up. There is barely any hop characteristics. This tastes like a weak pale ale with vanilla thrown on top.

Mouthfeel is nice and thin with the right amount of carbonation.

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Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
2.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- sparkling orangish yellow 1 finger of white foam that disappears quickly, leaves big frog eye bubbles on the surface. No lacing

smell-vanilla, buttered popcorn-a bit of cardboard

taste- big punch in the toungue of fizz, buttered popcorn some rather artificial vanilla taste. slight bitter citrus hops that give way to a cardboardy after taste. The aroma didn't lie.

Mouthfeel- light bodied finishes dry maybe because of the fizz. I suppose i would almost prefer this to be cloying in keeping with the nose.

Overall- I was intrigued, i wanted to like a vanilla pale ale. It seemed like a novelty and i looked passed that. The vanilla is fake tasting and there is a lacking hop character that would make it a decent pale ale. This one goes down the drain, but if i had a friend that liked buttered popcorn Jelly Belly's, I would point them in the direction of this beer.

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Ass Kisser Vanilla Pale Ale from Ass Kisser Ales
2.97 out of 5 based on 117 ratings.
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