Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak | Anheuser-Busch

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Michelob Celebrate Vanilla OakMichelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak
110 Ratings
Michelob Celebrate Vanilla OakMichelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak

Brewed by:
Missouri, United States

Style: American Pale Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hand-crafted by A-B master brewers with real vanilla beans and aged on bourbon barrel oak. Richly aromatic with distinct vanilla & oak flavors. Available as a single 24oz bottle or as a gift set with two imported 13.5oz Ritzenhoff Crystal snifters and a 24oz bottle.

Added by ghurux86 on 11-20-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 110 |  Reviews: 99
Photo of Portertime
3.55/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a hearty brew. It came in a nice little care package with its chocolate brother. After chilling I poured it into a pint glass and examined its color. The smell was of a giant vanilla bean with some oak bringing up the rear. At first sip it is a blast of vanilla that had a bit of an imitation quality to it. Then the oak creeped in with a prevelent alcohol warmth from its high ABV content. I would say if you are a vanilla fan, you will enjoy this one.

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Photo of HimerMan
3.47/5  rDev +23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The other strange bullet shaped bottle that I've been "holding" since 2006. This was really a great buy as part of the set that included the two glasses.

Finally poured this into its appropriate 'Celebrate' glass and split with Gaskill, as we tried both this and the Chocolate one after the other. Color is golden with a bright white head that is pretty sticky. .

Immediately you can smell the vanilla and oak, but it seems overly sweet and somewhat fake.

Flavors of vanilla and oak are the dominant ones, but there seems to be a very small hint of bourbon - not a lot as the bottle implies. No real fruit taste - but it seems that a lot of the sweetness comes from the, perhaps, overuse of vanilla and alcohol.

There is a bit of a dry feeling that comes from this beer - but for 10% alcohol, it's really quite smooth. In fairness, this beer has held very well since I purchased it - and is really worth a shot. I would warn that this is incredible sweet, and splitting a bottle may be the best route.

I'd have this again, especially over its set partner Chocolate.


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3.51/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an bottle from 2006 I had from last year. As a curiosity project I cellar-ed it. I have to say it is better a year older.

Appearance is an amber hue with a slight cloudiness throughout the center. Almost no head with an aggressive pour. Thin white rim at the edge of the glass.

Smell permeates of alcohol and vanilla. Fruits like apricot, cherry, and pomegranate come through.

Taste is full of vanilla and alcohol just like the smell but there is more to it. A good woodiness and earthy character. Sweet like a spoonful of sugar but mellowed really nicely with no bitterness and happy warming of the belly.

Mouthfeel is lacking. Needs more body, more depth, just more.

Interesting thing. Next time I'll try 2 years and a Chocolate.

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4.12/5  rDev +46.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich honey amber colored body hosts a quick fading off white head that is gone in 2 minutes. Carries a very nice black vanilla bean nose noticeable laced with oak notes and hints of taffy and banana. First sip really fills the mouth with robust smodey vanilla and aged oak. Banilla feel is a strong point but not over pronounced like many other vanilla infused brews. Rich smokeyness is ling and even. Macro makers make a decent micro style for a change. Super drinkable and well hidden alchol. Mature and dymanic mouthfeel. I would enjoy this one again.

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Photo of jdubjacket
1.78/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1


Had this at a beer tasting in Duluth, GA. Pours an amber red with minimal lacing. Not much of a head.

Smell is almost like cough syrup.

Taste is like the smell. Seems like Michelob is trying their hand at something more complex and decided to start selling this beer before it was ready. Tastes very much like vanilla, like the name implies. After that, the taste of bourbon becomes prominent. The two don't mix well. It's as though Michelob brewed this, tasted it, and thought "tastes like vanilla and bourbon like the label says."

It's way too sweet to be consumed. By the time you get to the bottom of the bottle, the taste of bourbon is the only thing left - and it is certainly not pleasant.

I must say I can't recommend this beer. If it were aged a little more, it could be decent. But, as long as Michelob keeps pulling it off the production lines this early, it will never be good.

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Photo of thatdan
3.4/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 1 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The hardest part about drinking this beer is getting past the A-B Michelob name as well as the poor presentation.

If this beer was given to me in a blind tasting and presented as a vanilla dopplebock, I would probably score it rather favorably. Not stellar, but favorable.

After two years in the bottle at cellar temps, I suspect the sweetness mentioned in the previous reviews has subsided a bit. It doesn't bowl me over with sugars, but then again, I'm a barleywine lover.

More aging will probably be beneficial.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Burnt orange that displays brilliant tangerine highlights with late afternoon sunlight behind the snifter. The (initially) acceptable looking cap is equal parts pastel orange, ecru and pale gold. It fizzes away fairly quickly, probably due to the double digit ABV, and leaves almost no lace. CVO is the spitting image of an American barleywine.

This holiday beer smells like what it's supposed to smell like. I take that back... it smells like vanilla, but not like bourbon or oak (a hint of bourbon as it warms causes me to bump the score from what I had in mind originally). I'm amazed that almost no alcohol reaches my nostrils; almost unheard of in a 10.0% beer that isn't a roasted malt monster.

Right off the bat I can tell that Celebrate Vanilla Oak is better beer than Celebrate Chocolate. That's no mean feat since I thought the latter was an absolute abomination. I don't think it's the fact that I like the caramel-vanilla-brown sugar family of flavors more than I like the chocolate-cocoa family, but then anything's possible.

What greets my taste buds reminds me of lower shelf bourbon (I'm thinking Old Crow), mixed with vanilla liqueur, melted butterscotch candies and a lot of distilled water. This concoction is a simple, shallow, sweet combination of flavors that is probably exactly what the brewery had in mind. I found one website ('sponsored by Anheuser-Busch') that says the target audience is 28-54, 'white collar' and female. Okay...

I keep hoping that warming will bring something new and different to the forefront, but it isn't to be. What you get with the first sip is what you get all the way through the 24 ounce bottle. As in the nose, the alcohol is buried (almost) without a trace, so maybe this stuff has panty stripper potential after all. Just make sure you check her driver's license and ask her where she works.

It's odd to be faced with such a thin, lackluster mouthfeel on such a high alcohol beer. I've had pilseners that were more viscous (well, maybe not quite). There is a wee bit of slickness on the finish and the carbonation is tame enough to make drinking quickly an option if one is so inclined. I'm not.

Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak is, by far, a better beer than its Chocolate counterpart. That doesn't mean that it was worth the coinage that I paid for it. It's an overly simple offering that doesn't deserve the time it spent in my crystal snifter. Do yourself a favor and pass this one by.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.92/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appearance - for such a unique bottle design, what's with the screw-off cap?? Oh well, I *unscrew* the cap and pour some into what - a plastic Belgian-shaped vessel? Does the Solo company sell those??? No such thing, so I put it in that Michelob glass that I got with the sampler pack a while back. No escaping carbonation, hmm. Pours a foggy dull orange, a thin cover of cream-colored bubbles that have no duration and no lace. Considering the abv, I can give a little here.

Aroma - starts off oaky and smoky. As the brief head evaporates, vanilla mixes in, joining some great spicy aromas like cinnamon and clove. As the beer settles, that fades and the vanilla gets stronger, combining with some alcohol vapor for added intensity. It has a soft candyish scent to it but it works. The oak eventually comes back, giving some balance and at times adding faint wood dampness/mustiness.

Taste - right away, I notice the grain has a diluted flavor, a little too watery. The oak is there but restrained, the vanilla comes through more easily. For a ten percenter, the abv is covered pretty well but there's no stopping it completely. That's okay, I think it belongs in there to some degree. The swallow is warm and the finish has some okay spicy notes. For a big beer this could use more oomph in the taste department to rate. I haven't had any high abv beers for this style before, so I can give it a little wiggle room, but I also think there's lots of room for improvement, namely due to the fact that not once in the review did I mention 'hops'. I don't need to be assaulted with them but put *something* in there.

Mouthfeel - modest carbonation which is fine, but woefully thin in body. Trying to rake in some holiday sales? Instead, this should have some sturdiness to it, that's what I was expecting anyway.

Drinkability - not bad, but has that 'brewed for the profit margin' essence to it instead of that 'brewed for the craft beer person' feel. Slick packaging rooked me in...cheaters. One and done.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.25/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle says from 2005

A - reddish rusty brown, thin smooth white head with very scant carbonation

S - like vanilla cream soda with alcohol, plus a slight resinous woody twinge

T - hmmmm, better than i thought it would be, not great, but not a pour either, super sweet molasses/toffee/vanilla, with some yeasty spiciness, just too sweet, needs some bitterness to balance it out

M&D - definitely easy down, has mouthfeel like a soda, not a great brew, too sweet and sugary, but it definitely surprised

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Photo of montageman
3.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

24 oz bottle poured into Celebrate! snifter that came with the gift set. Twist off top on the bottle, which I found strange because the chocolate variety required a bottle opener, if I remember correctly.

This is a decent looking beer - nice clear reddish brown appearance, reminds me of vanilla extract. The head is basically nonexistent, The nose is dominated by vanilla - sweet, sugary vanilla with a touch of oakiness. As a dessert beer, this is inviting. Vanilla dominates the taste as well, but there is an alcohol burn on the back end - tastes like alcoholic cream soda. Compared to other Michelob varieties I've tried, the taste isn't half bad. Mouthfeel is watery. This style needs more body - the maltiness is there, but there is very little roasted character & not enough creaminess . This brew isn't half bad - the sweetness might be a little much for folks, but I can dig it. If Michelob wants to keep trying new things like this, I'm on board. Recommended to try.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
1.4/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appears with an amber hued body and a thin artificial off white head pretty fizzy with bubbles streaming not effervescence people. Aromatics are really syrupy in nature with sweet vanilla seems really vanilla extract depsite the labels claims and evident alcohol to cap this very uninteresting brew. Flavor is cloying definitely induces a gag reflex with overly sweet creamy vanilla and a touch of oak this really is that bad even medicinal. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with fizzy carbonation and the texture and flavor just won't leave my palate...drinkability I'd rather chug a bottle of Nyquil b/c I hear codeine is a better than alcohol...but really why do this to beer and package it in a missile bottle. Thank god they have seen the light and are bringing Michelob back to the basics. Oh and then we cracked the Chocolate to compare, complete drain pour.

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Photo of koolchas
1.26/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

while stocking up on some belgians, something drew me to try this and i am sorry to say i did.

bottle was 24oz and shaped like a lava lamp. this was actually sold as a gift pack with a chocolate version and two glasses. the store where i purchased this broke the gift packs open selling the bottles for $9.99/ea but, the very good deal out of this was the two glasses for $0.99!

a: poured a dark amber. light head. little carbonation.

s: the alcohol smell was jumping out when poured. a very faint hit of vanilla and oak but, for me the alcohol was overpowering what could have been a much better smell.

t: like very strong, cheap alcohol. some hints of carmel and vanilla extract. think of baking extract.

m: strong, hot, alcohol after taste. not pleasant in the mouth for me at all.

d: only if your name is "willy the wino." it was hard for me to finish my glass and the rest of the bottle went down the drain. i actually got a headache shortly after too.

for a $10 bottle this is a slap in the face and a total rip off i.m.h.o. i expect a lot for this price and michelob did not deliver. $1.00 40oz malt liquor bottles are better than this stuff.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
1.18/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

served from a cylinder shaped bottle with a cone shaped cap,a plastic twist-on cap under the cone,this is a malt licquor bottle with a fancy black plastic wrap,the cap had a piece of clear tape on it?. Poured into a nonic glass.

Clear,amber red,very lively.many strings of carbination streaming to the top.Very little head if any.The carbination was quick and fizzy, like soda.

Faint aromas candy like,vanallia aromas,a hint of oak

Candy-like taste,lots of vanallia,hot alcohol,oaked tastes,sweet tastes throughout.
The taste was a cross between vanallia creme sode and cough syrup.

The mouthfeel was cloying,sticky,chewy,rough,not a good mouthfeel.
Couldn't finish this one,made me start feeling ill. A very expensive malt licquor.
My boss gave me this beer for a gift,it's ashame this was such a bad beer. I hope he don't ask me how I liked it.

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Photo of choyhosoi
3.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I got this as a gift and hadn't even heard that michelob brewed seasonal beers. The taste was bitter halfway thru the glass as you kept drinking it went away but you had to get over that bitterness.The smell was very rich like coffee. This is a darker beer if I remember and is worth a try. They sell for about $10.00 a bottle when I got mine.

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Photo of Drew966
3.35/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Michelob Celbrate Vanilla Oak pours a couple shades darker than a typical macro lager, being copper with a white head from a brown bottle with a twist off top. The smell is vanilla, as is the taste. This beer really is much better than I expected, I split this bottle with a couple of friends, and I really couldn't drink a whole bottle, but it is fairly decent.

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Photo of taez555
3.65/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from the 24oz artillery shell style bottle with “40" style screw top into the Michelob celebrate glass.

This beer poured a clear bright reddish amber body with a white head that died almost immediately but left a white lace around the edge.

Nose has a strong vanilla extract type smell at first. Rich malt, slightly medicinal and even some faint hints of caramel. Very buttery with touches of toffee, but mostly the strong rich vanilla smell. Believe it or not an extremely inviting nose.

Full bodied and syrupy sweet at first. Very rich and at first reminds me of drinking melted vanilla ice cream. Alcohol is completely hidden in this beer which is seriously scary for 10%. Butter, toffee and some caramel hint at a malt base but the rich milky vanilla beans completely overshadow everything. Touches of fruit throughout. Little to no bitterness and absolutely no hop taste at all. Some subtle warmth and touches of bourbon or oak sneak up in the finish and as it warms.

The vanilla is a bit over the top giving it a cream soda sort of flavor, but you know what.... this is actually a very good beer. I honestly wouldn’t mind having this again.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.35/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber-red translucent body with pretty much no head and little lacing to speak of. Smell is dominated by vanilla with some wood/oak notes. Malty sweetness, vanilla, and hints of oak dominate the flavor. Light to medium bodied. On the lighter side of medium-bodied, really... Vanilla, oak, with some malt dominate the flavor. Not as drinkable as it could be. Reminds me in a lot of ways of Winter's Burbon Cask Ale, More complexity with a little less vanilla and oak would make this beer but not quite as good. Worth the 9$ per bottle? Not sure, An okay beer anyway, but not sure I'd get it again.

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Photo of Sammy
3.07/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bourbon and alcohol in the smell. Also over-the-top vanilla aroma and taste. Significant white head on lagerish body. Lagerish below medium body and sweet sugary finish. Little carbonation. The kids liked it. A bit much but interesting coming from Michelob.

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Photo of peabody
2.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Pours out like reddish orange ice tea.
Not much smell but you can detect yeast sugar and alcohol.
Strong taste of alcohol here. Not masked well at all. You have the sugar and the vanilla extract and that is about it.
Very watery in the mouth then the burn of alcohol is the aftertaste.
I bought this as a pair with the chocolate.
Just don't buy it would be my suggestion.

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Photo of scottoale
2.95/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked this up in the gift set at my main liquor store, having mixed expectations and balking at the price...

Came in a fancy 24fl.oz. bullet shaped glass bottle covered with black plastic label and a twist-off cap. This Michelob version being called "Vanilla Oak" and stated as " a superior lager aged on bourbon barrel oak and real vanilla beans"...what the hell does aged "on" mean??? Shouldn't it be aged "in" oak bourbon barrels with real vanilla beans, or something like that?

On with the pour and into the 13.5 oz. gift snifter is a rather nice looking reddish-copper lager with a 1/4' of just off-white foam head. The short lived head leaves a bit of lace behind, the carbonation is adequate.

The smell is appealing...not your typical AB macro lager blandness of a beer, but a slightly bourbon, vanilla sweet aroma coming through, hmm...might not be a bad brew here.

Wrong, sort of...the actual taste is a very sweet and cloying marshmallow riddled malt that didn't taste aged at all. It wasn't horrible, just annoying and disappointing. It didn't even seem to be as strong as the claimed 10% abv though you could taste it.

Medium light body with a synthetic kind of flavor, wouldn't want to drink to much of this stuff and I think they need too improve the taste in order for it to live up to it's name...more craft, less hype. None the less, a turn in the right direction.

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Photo of xav33
2.8/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak
Bullet bottle (750 ml)
Recent bottling, celebrated 12/06
Moderate pour into accompanying tulip glasses.

Poured a clear dark amber with an average mostly diminishing head.

Smelt of strong fake vanilla extract and faint bourbon.

Taste was upfront strong sweet imitation vanilla followed by more sweet fake 'nilla, although more subdued and a light grain and bourbon oak bitterness. Palate was medium light to medium bodied, creamy, lively carbonated, lightly alcoholic.

Overall, a sweet vanilla beer. Too sweet and cloying. It covers up any other taste that could be found, although I doubt there is much to uncover underneath. Bourbon oak taste seemed more present last year.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.03/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a bright, clear ruby with mahogany highlights and pretty much no head. Smell is of very pungent, raw vanilla with little in the way of malt or hop backing... it's a pleasant enough smell, as vanilla smells good, but with nothing else besides the vanilla, I'm left a little apprehensive about what awaits on the palate. Tastewise, it reminds me of vanilla cream soda -- slight bitterness up front, then *whoomp* there's the cloying vanilla sweetness, almost syrupy in character. The aftertaste is even like vanilla cream soda -- it coats your mouth and leaves kind of a chemical, plasticky note. Overall this is a very unpleasant beer. It's more like a vanilla-flavored "malternative" beverage than a beer with vanilla notes. I suggest avoiding this... although its badness is car-wreck compelling. You might have to look for yourself.

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Photo of GeneralZod
1.86/5  rDev -34%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Looks ok, but.... not too fizzy. Clear lager with low or no head retention.

Smells like it advertised... vanilla and oakie.

Smells are deceiving... This beer taste awful. I don't like putting beer down, but this was plain disgusting.

Very smooth, watery and flat.

Tried it and regreted it. Needless to say, this is bad.
One good note... It has 10% alcohol content!!!

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Photo of shaggy151
1.97/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got this beer in a holiday two pack along with a Chocolate beer and two glasses. The bottle was nice but a screw top was a bit odd. The beer had a nice amber color. Smell was mostly vanilla and alcohol. The beer was smooth but i really didn't like the taste. It was alright to try once but i wouldn't have it again.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 24oz bottle(room temp) an amber gold with a small head of foam that shrank to just a fine ring clinging to the edge of the glass.

The smell is of vanilla and alcohol.

The taste is very strong on the vanilla, perhaps too strong even for a lager that uses vanilla in the name; I can taste no other flavours..oh wait, I'm getting some fruitness now. Sour cherries. Hmm, that helps a bit when it comes to complexity but the alcohol is starting to make its presence known both in the taste and the warming and that's really hurting the drinkability. Still, at least it does have some substance to it so I'm liking it a lot more than the Chocolate Beer that came with it.

Bottom line: It's worth a try.

Bottom line:

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Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak from Anheuser-Busch
Beer rating: 2.82 out of 5 with 110 ratings