Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Stout
Avery Brewing Company

Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean StoutBarrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Stout
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,181
Ranked #2,708
4.13 | pDev: 8.47%
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean StoutBarrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Stout
Notes: A double dose of vanilla derived from both fresh Bourbon barrels and the trio of Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans is complemented by essences of chocolate, caramel and molasses to round out this luxuriously silky stout.
Reviews: 220 | Ratings: 904 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid black color with light carbonation. Body is at least medium with a bit of a thick feel.
Aroma is malt,roasted malt, earthy,wood, with some vanilla
Taste is everything that showed up in the aroma. The vanilla was light in the aroma but showed up stronger on the taste. Vanilla showed up in the middle and lingered

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Photo of sjdevel
4.51/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can't think of how this one could look any better. Super dark with no light penetration. Not quite a 1 finger head out of a 16oz. can but keeps a slight lacing and a really nice foam ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell is Bourbon and wood, some chocolate and vanilla, slight caramel syrup

Taste first has a sweet blast of bourbon and chocolate with some charred grains. There is a high level of wood from the barrel aging and an ample amount of vanilla. Dries out slightly and you are left with a lot of charred wood.

Feel could be a bit thicker for a power packed stout. Stays decent with carbonation.

Overall this a very powerful and flavorful beer. Great flavors coming from the barrel and a nice amount of vanilla from the vanilla beans. Really boozy but it doesn't seem like a 10.5%'er. I would buy this again for sure. Enjoyable as a desert beer. Saw a criticism of this beer in an earlier post about there being too much vanilla. The bottle clearly states that it is a VANILLA BEAN stout. Be prepared for a bit of Vanilla. It isn't overpowering. It may not even be enough for me.

Complaining about the vanilla in this beer would be like ordering a fish taco and complaining about it tasting like fish - I don't get it.... doesn't make sense.

It is very flavorful. Go for it!!

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Photo of Arjen
3.71/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber (bottled Sept. 2017, 10.9% ABV). Pours a black colour and a tan head with fairly short retention. Aroma is big vanilla, sweet and creamy, with some molasses and light fruit. Retronasal the vanilla is not as overwhelming (but still very present), with light sweetness, some booze. Flavour is light moderate sweet - certainly not as sweet as I'd expected - with some bitterness from the roasted malts and light alcohol. Light medium bodied - I would have liked it a bit more chewy. Finishes with some roasty bitterness. Nice enough.

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Photo of VoodooBear
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: 16 oz. can with the canning date printed on the bottom. Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: The one finger, light tan head goes away fairly quickly and leaves behind some lacing in patches of varying sizes. It's a deep, pure black color.

Smell: It's mostly sweet with notes of vanilla, milk chocolate, plums, raisins and molasses.

Taste: It starts off sweet with some milk chocolate, brown sugar and vanilla. Then there are some heavier notes of wood and coffee. It finishes with a slight alcohol spiciness in the background.

Mouthfeel: It's rich, smooth and very creamy but doesn't feel too heavy on the palate. It's mildly robust with a medium to heavy body and low carbonation. It's not cloying at all either despite the sweetness.

Overall: A very good stout with a lot of richness and complexity. There's tons of sweet notes but it never gets cloying and the texture manages to stay silky smooth while not being overly heavy which is nice.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$ 9.22(Including tax and discount)/16 oz can ($ 0.576/oz) from Spec’s #100, DeZavala, San Antonio. Reviewed 3/18/19.
“CANNED 12/21/18” on bottom of the can. On shelf in store. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 54 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.25.
Body – Dark brown/black, opaque, weak effervescence.
Head – Average (Maximum three cm, aggressive center pour), tan, medium density, good retention, slooowly diminishing to a two mm ring and a thin partial layer.
Lacing – Good. Partial rings of tiny to small bubbles, connected to the next ring by spindly columns.
First pour – Dark brown, clear.
Aroma – 4.25 – Chocolate and bourbon lead, some caramel and light roasted malt follow.
Flavor – 3.75 – Begins nothing like the nose, very alcohol (10.5 % ABV) forward. Chocolate and bourbon are absent, while a bit of caramel sneaks in. The final result is a bit oaky. No dimethylsulfide, no diacetyl.
Palate – 3 – Medium, watery, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 4 – The name and the aroma are both better than the taste. Alcohol gastric warming appears several minutes after consumption. No vanilla is detected but I can rarely taste vanilla, so I’ll put that down to a flaw in my taste buds, not a flaw in the brew.

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Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with a thick light mocha colored head. Nice lacing. Aroma is fantastic, full of vanilla. Flavor is sweet dark roasted malt, vanilla and just a hint of the bourbon barrel. Feel is moderately thick, low carbonation. Overall a joy to sip on.

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Photo of Sarah_Bearah
3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

It was good for the first few sips and just OK after. The vanilla really was the dominant flavor and only really balanced out by the high alcohol content. Like a drinkable Vanilla extract.

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Photo of beergoot
4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nearly black, mahogany brown body with a decent sudsy head; some sticky lacing clinging to the glass. Fine, rich aroma; vanilla and roasted grain infused with some whiskey notes; mocha. Deep roasted grain flavor infused with some interesting esters and smokey char; vanilla and caramel; mild bitterness. Heavy body; smooth and velvety on the palate; excellent blend of chocolate-like sweetness and boozy, bitter dryness.

This beer is a meal unto itself. It brings dense and rich flavors to the palate, lots of dark goodness with just the right level of boozy presence.

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Photo of EMV
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Dark, dark pour... nearly black with thin fizzy brown head. Thin rim of lacing.

S: Booze and vanilla. Bourbon, roast, and cocoa.

T/F: Charred grains, bourbon, and oak up front. Strong vanilla presence... burned sugars... not overly sweet. Cocoa and coffee come in later. Medium bodied. Warming... pleasant vanilla finish.

O: A big barrel aged vanilla stout, and it delivers exactly what it advertises, and I like that it's not overly sweet. Not my favorite Avery brew but a solid beer. Good wintertime sipper.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with minimal head and little lace. The aroma is slightly woody, some boozy/vanilla notes and a touch of spice that give off heat. The beer is boozy, dry, spicy, but there is some balance thanks to woody and vanilla bean sweetness notes; finishes with a creamy butteriness on finish.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pouring this from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter glass this beer pours out pitch black and forms a pinky width of khaki colored crown.

The smell brings a nice booziness with oak, vanilla and dark fruit. A nice sweetness. Like marshmallow creme.

The taste comes in with oak and vanilla tangling together beautifully. Chocolate, figs, and dark fruit play a nice background. Marshmallow aspects in there as well. Very subtle and balanced.

Slight bourbon warmness, but very well contained and not crossing into burning. Thick and coats the mouth and stays well after it’s gone.

Overall, this was much less upfront and in your face than I was thinking it was going to be, but I like that about it. It brings nice balance with vanilla, marshmallow creme, oak and a warming bourbon.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark cola brown with a nice hot chocolate head that carries with it an explosion of aromas cascading out of the glass before it even approaches the nose.

Smell is giant. Gourmet vanilla milkshake, with any aspects of dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, and bourbon -- which are clearly there -- pushed far into the back of the bus. Very decadent, dessert-like, and sweet on the nose. And true to advertising, the vanilla is multi-layered and interesting.

Unfortunately that lovely vanilla on the nose is a bit overdosed on the tongue. It's so big and deep and sweet that it's tough to focus on anything else. Again, there's dark fudge, espresso, caramel, and even some dry hops in the mix. The first couple sips are intriguing and enjoyable. But the vanilla eventually overwhelms, and on some sips comes off as harsh and almost medicinal.

Body is a little thin, especially for the size of the beer. Not overly boozy, but you can certainly tell there's sizable ABV in the mix, especially as the beer warms.

A little disappointed in this offering based on my affection for the other dark beers I've had from Avery. To be fair, it's very clearly advertised as a vanilla bomb. Still, the vanilla overload makes for a somewhat harsh and non-harmonious sipping experience.

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Photo of dafla67
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown/slightly black. The aroma is amazing. It is sweet -- chocolate, caramel, vanilla & the bourbon.

The taste is complex and mirrors the smell. The balance between the chocolate, caramel, vanilla and bourbon is masterful. There is a touch of oak as well.

Overall an amazing stout. I have a few bottles aging and I can;t wait to see how this stout tastes in a year or two.

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Photo of Ego
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

ah finally a break in the weather, been a damn hot box here in jersey, either raining or hot as balls... tonight is the type of night to sit out on the ole deck and look into the stars, and of course try a good beer or...

damn stunning head, 2 full fingers of cocoa foam just sit there staring, almost daring me to... well, I am not sure but it must be sinister, not totally black as some light does escape it's clutches but darkness it does exude in demeanor and stance, lacing is super nice, a real sheet of microbubbles in complete cooperation upon examination of their content and cling, when the bubble's tide slides past there is the tell tale residue of the legs, the alcohol double digit beast lurking therein, this is certainly inviting, nearly a perfect work of the brewing arts, might I commend the artist, the signature in A.

smells like a vanilla milk shake, which i not that strong a smell but a rather distinct one, kind of that mix of ice, milk and vanilla... there is a dry sweetness as well, something like Quik (tm) powder but not quite as chalky as say Ovaltine (tm), there is sort of a dry toastiness to it I would associate with coffee beans but not as forceful, the nose, like my love life lately... is a little disappointing...

taste etc...
I guess the first jab is the smooth carbonation, really nice and just smooth, like Miyagi's deck after Daniel is done (sorry, just watched Cobra Kai recently), the vanilla needs to be sought out, it does not come and find you, take a sip and swish it in your mouth (c'mon, I know how that sounds but trust me), the vanilla totally coats the center of your tongue and lingers like a welcome stranger, it really builds up after each sip if you savor it right, I was going to say the ABV does not come into play, but I would be wrong, it barely peeks it's head out in the stomach, a slight warming that was not apparent on the first incursions, but for a nearly 11%... it stays pretty hidden behind the vanilla line, this beer lacks a little depth, it needs a touch more, something is missing even though it is really tasty and a good sipper

hey.. Avery, come over here, shhh, just between you me and the tree, age this stuff in bourbon barrels and it will slay, that's all, shh, go back to brewing (but give me a call when you release this aged)...

so yes, this is nice, it could be better (a monster imo) but I dig it just the same, it wasn't over priced and was real nice.

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Photo of spoony
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml bomber (undated) to a snifter. Reviewed from notes dated May 11, 2018.

A-The beer pours with a very short head of grey-tan foam. The head fades by the first sip a minute later and leaves no lacing or cap. It is an inky black brew with no carbonation to be seen. Ho hum looking.

S-The aroma is more impressive than the appearance. A nice toasted bread note mixes with toffee, caramel, cocoa powder, and a subtle charred bitterness. My bottle has been sitting in my fridge for a few months, so the vanilla has faded somewhat, but I am still surprised by how little vanilla I am sniffing here; it is there, but it is not strong for a beer with vanilla in the name.

T-The taste tracks closely to the smell. The beer has a toasted bread-y note that is unique for a stout, but pleasant nonetheless. I also taste some vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, and a hint of root beer.

M-The feel is lighter than average for the style. Carbonation levels are moderate.

O-This is a decent beer and a great value. I would have expected more vanilla here, but perhaps I let my bottle sit too long. I'll have to pick up another next winter and reassess.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Avery Brewing Company "Vanilla Bean Stout"
1 PINT 6 FL OZ brown glass bottle; the ink-jet freshness dating has been almost completely worn off
$13.99 @ Wegmans, Collegeville, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: Wow, I poured this, building a head, and then quickly took a sip as I had to tend to something quickly and damned if I didn't realize this was Bourbon barrel aged as well! I though it was just a vanilla stout. BONUS! But I'm ahead of myself so let me take a step back. It's got the typical "black" body and tan head of a stout. The head retention could be better, but it's OK, and the lacing is pretty nice. I wouldn't give it 4.25 status but it's a solid 4. The aroma is fantastic. I get Bourbon barrel, caramel, a suggestion of chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. I don't know how old this beer is but it can't be that old, can it? Maybe... and that might suggest why there's not so much vanilla in the nose, or not. And that reminds me why I bought this - vanilla beans are now a rarity, there's a shortage and prices are high, so high in fact that some breweries have stopped making beers they normally produce because of the cost. Which now has me thinking, how old is this... ? Because the vanilla bean shortage has been going on for at least a year. Oh well, there's nothing I can do about the missing freshness dating so I'll just have to review it as-is. And with that said, the aroma is quite pleasant and very smooth, and the flavor follows although I get much more vanilla there. I'm finding Bourbon and mild oak and vanilla atop notes of caramel, milk chocolate, and raisins. There's some coconut as well, but I'm only finding roastiness in the finish. What's there is like a cup of inexpensive mild black coffee. Overall I'm finding it very flavorful, but fairly mellow, and just a little bit sweetish. There's what seems like a moderate bitterness to it (so maybe it is aged), and just a touch of alcohol in the finish, just enough so that you know its there, that you're drinking a strong beer, which is pretty good considering it's 10.8%. I'd say that's really nicely done but now I'm wondering of that's because of it's age - and the thought just popped into my mind that I should go back and grab a few more of these as perfectly aged beers are hard to come by. OK, mouthfeel and then we'll wrap this up: medium bodied and gently crisp and smooth, almost even lighter than gently crisp - it seems almost naturally carbonated although I know it's not. Very nicely done on that side. So, overall, I'm pretty blown away. This beer hits on all cylinders except for "stout" roastiness, and I don't want to get into an argument about stouts and porters being the same because I understand and agree but at the same time I generally do expect a modern stout to have a little bit more roastiness than a porter and this is more at a porter level in my mind. And another thing is, maybe it was more roasty before but now that might have been aged out a little bit, I doubt it, but you never know. OMG, so smooth. It's a perfect night-cap or reading beer, but it would also serve equally well while watching a movie that holds your attention and you just sip at it here and there. Fantastic! I love it. Hopefully they'll make its again.
Review# 6,011
p.s. - I see they've used Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans which seems like a very prudent idea, and one which gives me hope that they will brew it again.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, bottled 05/26/17, shared with my wife. Pours jet black with a creamy tan head that fades to a foam. Aroma has vanilla laced with bourbon, chocolate, oak, and a heft of booze. Boozy flavors of bourbon and vanilla with notes of chocolate, roasted barley, raisin, plum, woody oak, caramel, and toasted coconut. Thick, full body, boozy and definitely a sipper. Excellent BA stout with plenty of vanilla!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I think the only thing disappointing about this Brew is the bourbon presencece. Also the body is kind of watery especially for such a big stout. Decent vanilla flavor with good stout body but I really couldn't see finishing more than 12 oz of it especially getting a bomber at around 18 bucks. Glad I was able to try it in a $6 pour.

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Photo of Quackershnoc
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Totally black; thin light tan head that rims and islands

Aroma: Big vanilla; some roasted malt; chocolate; oak and bourbon

Taste: Starts bready and molasses; moves into huge vanilla notes, with some roasty flavors; finishes with chocolate, oak, vanilla, and a hint of malt; sweet throughout the whole thing

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; creamy and smooth

Overall Impression: Almost a milk stout; the vanilla is really song, but the rest of the flavors of the stout are big enough to compensate; just a really tasty brew

From notes taken on 12/26/2017

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Photo of MinerBob
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer pours a coffee black with a small white head. The smell is bourdon, alcohol and a little vanilla. The flavor follows the smell a little harsh on the alcohol taste. Overall a little disappointed was hoping more for a Deconstructed Bomb vanilla flavor.

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Photo of degueulasse
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours very dark and thick into a glass, and it smells faintly of chocolate. The mouthfeel is the first thing the tongue notices: milky and rather viscous, it is the perfect consistency of a great stout: thick while not sticking to the throat. It tastes like many stouts do, of chocolate and slightly of coffee, though its sweetness will remind many of the vanilla that is advertised on its label.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.28/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Courtesy of my parents - thanks, Mum & Dad! 1 pint 6 fl oz format. Brown glass. Green foil covers the pry-off crown cap.

Botanicals & barrels series. "Brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, specialty malted barley, oats, vanilla beans, hops and yeast. 10.7% ABV. "Stout with vanilla beans added aged in bourbon barrels." Used "Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans."

APPEARANCE: Brown-black body. Pale khaki colour head. ~4cm in height. ~6 minute head retention.

AROMA: Vanilla and wood are evident, but I get vanillin as well and the vanilla isn't as vivid as one would expect in a beer named after the bean. The vanilla/vanillin notes also eclipse the rest of the bourbon barrel profile, preventing any rich white oak, toasted coconut, or the like from coming through - though I do detect some barrel sugar sweetness.

Dark malt sweetness. Treacle. Caramel. Chocolate malt.

Aromatic intensity is high, with the artificial vanilla dominating.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Silky smooth. Wet. Medium to full-bodied. Chewy. Velvety. Soft. Well-carbonated. Creamy.

Dark malts, chocolate malts, treacly sweetness, caramel, specialty chocolate malt. Vanillin/artificial vanilla. Authentic vanilla bean takes a backseat to the barrel-derived vanillin.

Unrefined and overly sweet, but tolerably so. Not horribly complex within the oversaturated style (whose best expressions are renowned for their intricacy), but it's going for something more than many attempts thereat.

I like how the silky texture accentuates the almost refreshing vanilla, and it's wonderfully soft, but it doesn't excel within the intended style.

OVERALL: It's enjoyable fare for what it is and it hides its ABV well, but finishing the entire bottle alone will prove something of a chore in spite of its quality because its drinkability is low; I'd love to see Avery put this in the more affordable more reasonable 11.2oz or 12oz format. Not a beer I'd regard as amongst Colorado's (or even Avery's) finest, but it's a competent imperial stout. Still, I can't help but think it'd be better with plain ole tried n true Madagascar vanilla bean as well as a better more vanilla-forward bourbon barrel. Longer barrel aging duration could only help as well.

Like it, don't love it.

Low B- (3.28) / WORTHY

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Photo of KennyDerenbecker
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very interesting stout with a unique and different flavor. Has barely any head with minimal lacing with a dark black/red tint color. Very boozy taste with a bunch of smooth vanilla. Not th best stout around but worth a shot!

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Photo of Apellonious
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip glass. Black with brown highlights, a small sliver of lace that disappears immediately. Chocolate, vanilla, floral notes, and some anise on the nose. The taste is predominately vanilla, chocolate, and roasted notes, with a smattering of the barrel. The mouthfeel is fairly light for the style, the carbonation is medium low, and things do not get sticky as it warms. Overall, an interesting stout that’s worth a try.

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Photo of hardy008
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark black with a one finger tan head. Nice aroma with chocolate, vanilla, Bourbon, and dark roasted malt. Tastes exactly like it smells. Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation. smooth and easy to drink. Nicely made.

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Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Stout from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 904 ratings