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:
Vanilla Noir is Prairie Noir aged on organic, fair trade vanilla beans, and let’s just say it takes a lot of beans! The vanilla flavor compliments the whiskey barrel aging process and adds a delicious layer to the beer.

Added by HopsMatt on 12-11-2013

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Ratings: 878 |  Reviews: 125
Photo of Sammy
3.15/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smell of chicken coup. A little chicken feather taste in the blend.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of jaydoc
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mrbubbler for sharing this one at GRG1313's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and vanilla bean aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and vanilla flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice vanilla presence all around.

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Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

awesome tweak on an already sensational brew. the vanilla here is not subtle in the least, and dominates the aroma and flavor of this beer, especially in the finish. its not too much though, since noir is already such an enormous stout, that it actually tempers the bitterness of the malt, smooths the alcohol intensity, and adds a complimentary layer to the chocolate cake flavor and texture of the base beer. rich and frothy look, not black but a sturdy brown, milkshake tan head, no let down. it smells like dessert, more vanilla than stout, but the bitterness of the roast still comes through. its alluring, i already know this texture, its like bomb almost, a little less thick, but in that vein. enormous vanilla flavors to this, more like extract than beans, it both softens the sting of the booze, but amplifies its flavor, especially after the swallow. noir doesnt need vanilla to be world class, but its addition makes it even more special and unique. i could drink a 750 ml of noir no problem, not sure i would want more than a 12 oz bottle of the vanilla edition, but i certainly think this is lovely stuff. prairie is just on fire this year.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sultry, succulent and lavishly sweet, Prairie's "Noire" series stops at the threshold of vanilla spice to appease the tastebuds and to round out the roasted aggression of barley.

Vanilla Noire carries a milkshake consistency into the snifter, slowly settling in with an ink-like weave and a thin, sparse espresso creme. Mouthwatering with decadent coffee, cream, pulled candy and dark chocolate. The taste is even better as the lavish maltiness slathers the tongue with molasses, chocolate, toffee and confectioner's sweet cream.

The middle palate reveals much the same as the weighted sugars wash the mouth with savory and toasty sweetness. Walnut, espresso, baker's chocolate and caramel latte. Like fine coffee-layered liqueur, its taste of pulled candy, marzipan and candied almond flavors pull from the malt and vanilla with nearly dessert-like richness.

Full, heavy and rich, the beer should really be served with a spoon. Its tastebud gripping taste is beautifully bright with vanilla and cream and evokes the sensation of cookies & cream with a spicy tinge of whisky and kaluha. A long, savory roast flavor flows into an impossibly long and sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and grey wax-ed over pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local TX bottle shop and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high as I loved Prairie Noir and my opinion of Prairie/Krebs as a brewery keeps rising and rising. Reviewed as an imperial stout because the label clearly identifies it as such. 11.5% ABV according to the bottle. Distributed by the Shelton Bastards.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of nice khaki colour. Nice thickness and creaminess. Has a smooth even complexion and a fairly full and somewhat soft consistency. Head retention is average (but pretty good for the high ABV) - about 4 minutes. Great even lacing coats the sides of the glass as the head recedes, but little sticks and holds.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black - almost a jet black. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance for the style and I'm looking forward to the first sip, but it's far from unique or special and I've certainly seen better. There are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Oak tannins and strange whiskey dominate the aroma. The whiskey doesn't seem very high quality, and doesn't have much spiciness or evocative character. Cream, dark malts, chocolate malts, and maybe light caramel. I strain to find vanilla bean and barely can; it's quite restrained and reticent - to the aroma's detriment. In any case, it's a nicely sweet if fairly timid aroma which suggests a silky full-flavoured brew. I'm absolutely looking forward to the first sip, though I do wish the aroma were a bit more evocative and compelling. I search for roasted barley - a favourite note in stouts - and can't find it.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hop profile, or off-notes are detectable. Aroma is of below average strength.

Mf: Nicely smooth up front, bordering on silky - but it soon switches to an unbecoming coarseness which comes off a bit rough on the palate. Well-carbonated. A bit dry - strangely so for a vanilla imperial stout. Has a surprisingly light presence on the palate; I'd even go so far as to say it lacks sufficient body and isn't thick or heavy enough. Could be creamier and softer.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, oily, or harsh.

Overall, the texture isn't an ideal complement to the taste, and there's ample room for improvement.

T: Chocolate, chocolate malts, cream, light caramel sweetness, and dark malts comprise the bulk of the flavour profile. The notes which should be best - the vanilla, oak, and whiskey - are the most faint. The vanilla is way too reticent, though that note does seem to arise from genuine vanilla bean - not some vanillicin extract or from bourbon. I don't find any whiskey spice, but I do pick up on a low quality whiskey taste. I really have to dig to find the oak, and when I do I'm underwhelmed - this is not the toasty rich oak wood character I hoped for. Overall, I'm not sure the barrel notes are necessarily an improvement on the base beer, and they hardly come through at all which is frustrating. Ideally, barrel aging is used to coax out/complement the subtleties and nuances of the base flavour profile, but that isn't happening here. I also don't find much roast/roasted barley, which is personally disappointing.

For an imperial stout - let alone a barrel aged vanilla imperial stout - this is rather simple and lacks intricacy. There's some subtlety here, sure, but the flavours feel closed off and unevocative. Lacks (relative) complexity and nuance as a result. Below average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

That said, it does have a nice balance to it, and the sweetness is just right.

Dr: This is an extremely drinkable imperial stout for its high ABV, and while I'm enjoying it, I'm not loving it. Frankly, I think the regular Noir is a lot better. I think they used the barrel aging and vanilla bean components more as marketing ploys than well-executed alterations to the already great base brew. When you make the beer worse using more expensive methods, you know you've failed. I'll easily kill this bottle alone and I'm enjoying every sip, but I honestly wouldn't buy it again unless a source I trust identified a substantial quality increase from batch to batch. This is pretty good stuff, but isn't Prairie's strongest work. I expected a lot better given how good regular Noir is. I wouldn't recommend this to friends or trade partners per se at this price point, but it's nice stuff.

High B-

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Photo of oline73
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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

 869 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of vanilla and roasted malt notes with some light coffee notes and bourbon. Taste is also dominated by roasted malt notes with plenty of coffee and vanilla with nice bourbon finish. Body is full with nice rich creamy body with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Smooth drinking with plenty of complexity but I still think I prefer the chiles in the original version.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of superspak
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
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 mothman
2.03/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Tan head with some lace. Color is black.

Flavor profile: Fairly roasted. Has a burnt like tar flavor. Reminds me of Mikeller black hole beers which all suck. Vanilla is no where to be found. The barrel flavors are very faint because of all the flavors that I don't like in this beer. Cigar smoke in the aftertaste. Just not enjoyable.

Moutfeel: Roasted and burnt. Full bodied.

Overall, I don't like this beer at all. The worst prairie beer I have had yet.

 459 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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Vanilla Noir from Prairie Artisan Ales
4.15 out of 5 based on 878 ratings.
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