Vanilla Noir | Prairie Artisan Ales

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Vanilla NoirVanilla Noir

Brewed by:
Prairie Artisan Ales
Oklahoma, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout Aged in Oak Whiskey Barrels with Vanilla Beans

Added by HopsMatt on 12-11-2013

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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 744
Photo of Amguerra305
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a tad thin. Sits black in the glass with hints of light poking through the edges. The vanilla smell is definitely present but it does not come off as a vanilla bomb. You get more barrel and bourbon than vanilla but even then I would prefer a stronger barrel profile than what the beer has. The roast is the predominant smell in this beer. The taste kind of follows the smell with the roast character of the beer taking center stage. It is sweet on the front end with a bitter finish. The feel is where this beer really falls short. Way too carbonated and a tad thin. Overall a really good beer worth seeking out but don't expect peefection. With a bit more barrel character and a flatter thicker body this would be a monster.

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Photo of ChiCubs78
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Insanely good. Initially tastes like vanilla saltwater taffy. Finishes with a touch of bourbon that becomes more pronounced as it warms. I need more of this in my life.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to jvgoor3786 for this bottle.

A - Pitch black pour, micro-thin toffee lacing, no carbonation.

S - Sweet chocolate mocha with vanilla, oak, and bourbon aroma. Smell coming off the glass is very thick and rich.

T - Vanilla, oak tannin, bourbon, and chocolate.

M - Big, full bodied, syrupy, viscous, lip smacking sticky.

O - This beer is fantastic!

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Photo of Stevem68
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a midnight black color. Aroma is chocolate, roasted malts and a little nutty. Flavor is very rich notes of chocolate with hints of vanilla. Has nutty and oak notes, the booziness is very minimal and this drinks incredible smooth. Has a very velvety smooth mouthfeel and overall this is quite nice.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Pretty sure this is this years batch (11.5 abv). Thnx JDebourge for this whale!
A: deep dark (border line black), moderate lacing, 3 finger-nail thick head.
S: vanilla, chocolate, no sting. Heaven!
T: s'more w/ a tiny whiskey bite. sweet but not overly sweet. too smooth and I don't get a hint of alcohol. Me gusta (I'm Russian).
M: not overly thin for the style but it is a tad bit thin.
O: damn! this IS very comparable to vanilla rye. Vanilla Rye was like that tenured masseuse that got you off instantly just to get that buck. Vanilla noir is the one in training earning that dollar. Cheers!

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Photo of Klourie
4.91/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured jet black, with no head.
Smelled of bourbon and vanilla
Taste is very sweet, rich, tons of vanilla, and whisky, oak, marshmellow
Feel is med body
Overall this beer is world class IMO, just a very sweet, delicious, dessert-like beer, vanilla bomb. I would drink one every day (if I could afford it).

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured completely black with very little head if any. Smell is whiskey, vanilla, and some wood. Flavor follows suit and has so much going on. The vanilla is very present, you get roasted malt, oak wood, and finishes with a light whiskey flavor. The feel is thick , almost like syrup but works well with all the flavors. This is a great beer, very hard to find but worth looking for.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip:

Appearance: Pours jet-black and visibly thick. Aggressively poured, but minimal head, though it did linger for a while. Mocha color on the head, topping the obisidian black of the beer.

Aroma: blasts of vanilla and leather. I've never really smelt the leather scent in a beer as powerful as this one, and it smells great. Some oaky wood, lots and lots of vanilla, and a nice foundation of chocolate from the base beer. Really inviting and dessert-y.

Taste: wow, tons of flavors going on here. Tons of vanilla, obviously, as well as chocolate, oakiness, and roast. The mixture of yummy flavors combines to make a s'mores taste, and it is really delicious.

Feel: viscous, though not as much as some stouts at this ABV. Maybe a touch more fullness in the body would really elevate this beer, though it's really nit picky at his point.

Overall: easily the best beer I've had so far in 2016 (out of like, six, so take that with a grain of salt). Really complex and delicious. I'll be seeking out batch 2 for sure.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Werk Force snifter.
A - Looks like motor oil, head reduces quickly to a very thin ring.
S - Aroma is and vanilla, maybe a bit of chocolate.
T - The vanilla works nicely here, not hitting you over the head, just rounding off any bitter corners and adding a bit of sweetness. The booze comes rolling in at the end.
M - Mouth feel is on the thicker side. Very creamy. Carbonation is low.
O - This beer is a winner. Very well balanced.

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Photo of superspak
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/30/2015. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, marshmallow, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, whiskey, light dark fruit, and roast/oak earthiness. Insane aromas with perfect balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla, and whiskey barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, marshmallow, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, whiskey, light dark fruit, and roast/oak earthiness. Light roasted bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, cream, marshmallow, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, whiskey, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Insane complexity, robustness, and perfect balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla, and whiskey barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth and creamy/silky mouthfeel that is heavenly. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely top class Barrel aged imperial stout. Incredible complexity, robustness, and perfect balance of dark/roasted malt, vanilla, and whiskey barrel flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV with zero booziness. A mind blowing offering.

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Photo of JaredinOmaha
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Extremely underrated beer. Just because it's not as hard to get as KBS, doesn't mean that it is not just as good, or actually better. Prairie has top notch beers. They do it right. It's one of my favorite breweries! (So maybe I'm biased?) :)

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Batch from Oct/Nov 2015

A- Dark, dark brown with thin brown head that fades away
S- Sweet vanilla, cocao, and a bit of booze
T- Sweet overall. Nice malts and booziness. Vanilla tastes a bit artificial at times, this is the only thing holding this back from a better score
F- Medium
O- Nice BA stout. Well rounded, a bit boozie, vanilla was a bit artificial

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 1

Appearance: A bit of a gusher as I popped the cap but the foam settled down; poured out without distinction, however, and the head faded leaving only a few dots here and there

Smell: Chocolate dominant with hints of vanilla and whiskey; vaguely roasty

Taste: Chocolate forward, with the vanilla and then the whiskey tones building through the middle; the roast appears after the swallow and lingers through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; light for the style

Overall: I have been sitting on this bottle for a couple of years since I read the reports of the infection problem and, as it foamed out on the opening, I thought I had an infected bottle; fortunately, I didn't but I still don't think this was a top flight example of the style; the flavors lacked complexity and the body was not what it should have been

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Photo of drew42e
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours noir with little to no head. Aroma at first is barrel with some vanilla. This evolves as it warms and I start getting mocha and some black cherry, dark fruit. Taste is excellent , good dose of chocolate and vanilla , some booziness and oak, dark fruit. Mouthfeel is silk, heavy and viscous. I love the prairie imp stouts.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. Bottleneck says 27315.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with not much head, just some trace amounts of light brown surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves tiny specs behind.

S- Big blast of vanilla sweetness reminds me of cotton candy or cake frosting or something. Also, some milk chocolate, caramel and vanilla custard.

T- More vanilla sweetness with some accentuating barrel character. Some oak tannins in the aftertaste and some faint dark roast but the sweetness is the main element at play here. Cake batter, fudge, glazed get the idea.

M- Silky smooth with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Great, but it would be even better if the sweetness was toned down just a tad.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Thick dark black colour with a thin layer of espresso foam coloured head.

S - Chocolate fudge, vanilla, oak, roast.

T - Sweet vanilla and chocolate fudge notes up front giving way to lighter roast and toasted oak flavours.

M - Full body; creamy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Chris_Huston
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 batch, poured hard and slightly chilled, nearly impossible to get much of the brown sugar-colored froth from it. Sits in the glass blacker than any other brew I've seen. Smell is predominantly the whiskey -- although, quite nicely, it isn't as strong as most other whiskey barrel aged beers. Have to really snoop around for the vanilla smell, but it's there, and does help flesh out the whisky to be more than one-dimensional.

Getting the whiskey, again, up front on the taste, with a creamy, weighty feel, and again the vanilla is very reluctant to appear on its own but adds dimension to the whiskey. For what little head is generated on the pour, the leather tan foam laces and lingers the inside of the glass after each sip and movement, as a sign of the lush creaminess of the texture.

Overall, the flavor is rich and varied, but still rather simple and even muddled. That makes it fall short of brews like Breakfast Stout and even Prairie's own Bomb variations (including Christmas), but still super tasty and not a drink I would tire of or refuse. Quality, quality whiskey-themed stout.

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Photo of HeartofMiami
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. Pours black with no head. Smells of Vanilla and whiskey Barrel. Little carb but great mouthfeel. Lots of whiskey and Vanilla with hints of oak, marshmallow, caramel and roasty malts. Excellent!

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Jet Black. Very little head.

Smell - Big barrel, vanilla and sweet malt nose.

Taste - Big barrel, big vanilla...bit hot.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied. Thick and Sticky

Overall - Very good now. This has some serious aging potential!

Grade (A-)

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Photo of danjm21
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Should have bought more of these when I had the chance. Very underrated vanilla beer. Great taste, and smell. Next to vanilla rye, this is my favorite.

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Photo of bgold86
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 12 ounce snifter at just above room temperature.

Has a great dark fruit nose, lots of vanilla sweetness/ tons of oak from the barrels, but the mouth feel is kind of thin, yes, tons of vanilla, super smooth, but for such a highly complex smelling beer, to only pull vanilla and some slight chocolate notes from the taste is kind of a shame.

This beer is too expensive to be lacking in a major department such as taste.

Final score, 93/100, does not stack well with beers in similar $ category.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

$11.99 for a *single bottle*. I really wanted to grab two, but for the price, I couldn't. I figured I'd regret it. Well, here goes...

Appearance: Poured this hard into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint and got a slow forming finger of a brown head that slowly died down. Vanilla Noir just looks "thick." The color is pitch black, of course. Virtually no lacing. Still a nice looking beer true to the style

Smell: Roasted malt, dark coffee, chocolate, whiskey, vanilla (which gives off a marshmallow and slight milky vibe), and alcohol. Phenomenal. The milk chocolate aroma I get seems to dominate, and I welcome that, because with the barrel and vanilla, it's fucking heaven. This smells sweet, a little boozy, a lot fantastic. I could drone on, but there's no need to.

Taste/feel: This is the closest thing I've had yet to "the perfect beer." The feel is perfectly silky in that it's like drinking a boozy chocolate milk. In a sense this reminds me of Chocolate Manifesto by Flying Monkeys, but with a much-needed bitter roast quality/more balance, and the beauty of a bourbon (in this case, whiskey) barrel. The taste is so complex and insanely well crafted, I can't get over it. I can't put it into coherent sentences. Like the smell, a laundry list of flavors coming in from all different angles. But on the taste, the roast qualities add a subtle smokeyness, a tiny bit of ash, a little woodiness (barrel a contributing factor there, I'm sure)... the sweet chocolate on the front with the roast and vanilla on the end is something that may sound very "been there, done it", but no beer has done it like Vanilla Noir. Every whiff I take I get a worry that each sip will be over-the-top sweet, but it's not ... the finish is a perfect level of bitterness to erase the sweetness. The aftertaste is roasty, a little chocolate Frosty-like, a bit bitter... in a word, luxurious. This beer is luxurious.

Far and away the best beer I've had to date. This bottle was fresh, and I find it unfeasible that an aged bottle could taste any better than this. I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy another bottle, but I'm glad that I got to try it, and know to buy the hell out of it if I ever see it again. My only reason for the 4.75 overall is, and I know it's unfair, because of the price. I shouldn't have that factor in, but it does -- at the same time, don't let that keep you from trying this unbelievable beer. IGNORE THE RATINGS. The first batch of this beer was apparently infected (at least in spots). For a guy who's normally a conservative rater, this beer just misses a flawless rating. Trust me, it's that good.

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Photo of M_chav
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L - rich black viscous pour, minimal tan/gold head fades quickly, really pretty
S - I can't help but think that this reminds me of BC Vanilla Rye - seriously awesome vanilla forward smell, its amazing! whiskey presence is obvious and smells a bit hot, but that nilla smell is the perfect counterpart
T - Oh man this is nice. Whiskey is nice, vanilla is nicer. this is an amazing beer, I wish I had 100 more. I feel like I'm trying to find things wrong with it when I say its a bit hot, but I think this beer needs it, the alcohol is a great addition to the big sweetness of the vanilla. just wonderful.
F - Smooth as butter, a bit hot and possibly a bit thin but I'm really looking for imperfections because this is one of the better stouts I've had in a while.
O - Wonderful, smooth, very tasty and I need more.

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Photo of jws6w7
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big want for me so bought 4 even though they came with an $11.99 price tag. Now there's no question I made the right decision. This is one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of OmahaKF
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell is vanilla, sugar cookies, baking spices, whiskey, and brown sugar. Taste is a nice blend of whiskey and vanilla, with a complementary oakiness. The sweetness of the beer actually hides the alcohol quite well, and I wouldn't guess that it's a 10+% ABV.

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Vanilla Noir from Prairie Artisan Ales
4.09 out of 5 based on 744 ratings.
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