Fundamental Observation
Bottle Logic Brewing

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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #7
Ranked #13
4.71 | pDev: 6.37%
Bottle Logic Brewing
California, United States
Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
Notes: Imperial Stout blended with Madagascar Vanilla Beans & Aged in Bourbon Barrels.
Reviews: 281 | Ratings: 1,500 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bret27
bret27 from California

4.49/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage courtesy of warmlager from Minnesota
Look: Black color fairly minimal brown/tan head. Minimum-moderate carbonation.
Smell: light bourbon, light vanilla, chocolate, wood.
Taste: vanilla, oak, chocolate, molasses, bourbon, maybe very slight oxidation.
Feel: medium-thin, smooth, very slight bourbon burn. “Booziness” well-hidden.
Overall: well incorporated vanilla stout with 3+ years on it. I heard the recent vintage was “not the same” so wanted to try one first that had a good reputation.
It is good? Yes. It is #13 beer in the world? No.
Solid 4.5.

Jun 13, 2021
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.74/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look - just incredible thick black with a great tan head and great lacing
Smell - vanilla vanilla vanilla with some caramel roasty malts and woody
Taste - roasty caramel malts with so much vanilla with a great barrel taste
Feel - medium full body with with a creamy light carb
Overall - could use more body if anything

Jun 01, 2021
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jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

4.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep black with no head and only a thin ring of tan around the edge.

The smell is divine. Dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and now dark fruits.

The taste is bourbon, vanilla, raisin and finishes with char and leather. The 14.6% abv comes through but minimally and warming.

The mouthfeel is velvet. It coats the mouth with low carbonation and a long, slightly dry finish.

Overall, this is excellent. Great flavors that balance well. A slow sipper for sure.

May 23, 2021
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dboon from Florida

4.19/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Dark brown pour with a kaki head. Huge sweet caramel and vanilla aromas. Massive vanilla gives way to sweet fudge and caramel notes. A hint of bitter roasted malts and booze on the backend. Really good mouthfeel. Average body.

Apr 30, 2021
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


2019 Bottle to tumbler. DC lunch.

Look: dark black, pretty thick. Medium light brown head. very good retention.

Aroma: fantastic. Vanilla and roastiness are amazing. Just right smooth Bourbon.

Taste: Chocolate, Bourbon, Vanilla, oak, hint of black pepper, figs, raisin. Marshmallow. Lots of depth of flavor.

Feel: smooth, creamy, full body.

Wow. Matches the hype.


Apr 22, 2021
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Craftbeerfan666 from Norway

4.93/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle logic always gets me excited. However, as I’ve had them I’ve learned that they can be a little bit to touch and go- some some thing that does not apply to this one: Superb, full bodied choc-stout greatness. No wonder it’s their flagship.

Apr 20, 2021
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StoutOfIdeas from Texas

4.33/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had several different vintages over the years from 2015 to 2020 and it's varied quite a decent amount. Unfortunately, I feel as the years have progressed, it's a lost of the vanilla bomb characteristics and it's become boozier, more oaky and bourbon forward and carbonated in mouthfeel, with the most recent year having a cherry-like flavor.

Overall, decently thick body with a bit of cocoa brownie batter and hint of vanilla.

Feb 27, 2021
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brokensail from California

3.93/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap @ Bottle Logic. Black in color with a thin layer of tan foam. Smells like fresh brownies and fudge. Plenty of vanilla, some whiskey, and oak. Lots of brown sugar as well. Slightly boozy as well. The flavor is big on brownie batter, cookie dough, and graham cracker. Spicy whiskey, some fudge, and a touch of booze. Lots of hazelnut, vanilla, and caramel as well. Light coffee and roasted malts. Pretty solid, though not something I could crush a whole lot of.

Feb 05, 2021
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Gcam311 from Massachusetts

4.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can't speak to all the vintages, but I was absolutely floored by this beer. Living on the East Coast this beer is obviously a luxury I don't come across often. Vanilla sweetness meets boozy but not overpowering bourbon! Thick and scrumptious mouth feel.

Feb 04, 2021
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wxmanify from Colorado

4.68/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a straight black with light tan lacing. Low carb but enough to avoid a flat finish. Vanilla is present on the nose and overall vanilla held up very well despite being 4 years old now. Mouth feel is velvety smooth. Barrel is almost gone and oddly could've used a smidge more heat to balance the slight sweetness but this was excellent overall. Super easy drinking

Jan 21, 2021
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Kahzaar from Sweden

4.78/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: A thick black liquid with a small off white head.
S: Bourbon, chocolate, caramel and vanilla,
T: Loads of vanilla, like cake batter. With the bourbon.
F: Smooth mouthfeel, coats the glass. Low carbonation.
O: Possibly the best vanilla adjunct stout I've had.

Jan 19, 2021
Photo of J_mo
J_mo from California

4.5/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2020 - Bourbon to the nose. Silky mouthfeel. Bourbon upfront with vanilla on the finish. Very well balanced. Very minimal bitterness or bourbon burn. Excellent.

Jan 16, 2021
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Fponce from Illinois

4.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The felt and flavor of this beer it’s a perfectly balanced stout that could compare to the OG vanilla type form goose island. Flavors varies by years but overall a great stout. To end up, the alcohol level past inadvertent.

Jan 16, 2021
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benzalman from California

4.55/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Classic Bottle Logic! Batch 1, 2, 3, and 4 are in particular great. Mouthfeel is fantastic and the vanilla is very well balanced. I know some people get a fudge brownie vibe, but I think its more straightforward vanilla

Jan 04, 2021
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BPatton from California

4.6/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Amazing nose that smells of strong vanilla and oak. A bit thinner than other big stouts but great vanilla flavor. This beer is hyper focused on vanilla, so if that’s your thing, this beer is for you.

Dec 29, 2020
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forum8417 from New Jersey

4.41/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Maybe i was to hyped for this one. It was a 2018 so maybe it was not a good year compared to others. smell was great, taste was average. Body was thin. Have one more that i now plan on trading

Dec 01, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.47/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2019 Vintage ("FOb5") 500ml bottle - poured into a snifter at 45°F.

Pours a pitch black oily sheen with a glug-glug-glug, forming an impressive ultra-dark brown head, that slowly recedes to a thick, bubbly tan collar, with i,pressure retention. Black and lifeless in the glass. She's a barrel-aged stout, alright.

Nose: As soon as the cap is popped, bourbon and vanilla waft out. Diving in, there's rich chocolate fudge, bourbon-soaked charred oak, and a fistfull of vanilla beans. The vanilla is intense, prominent, and extremely organic, but does not overwhelm the stout qualities and barrel. Caramel, toffee, vanilla fudge, chocolate fudge, malted milk balls, almond-coconut chocolate bar, brownie batter, vanilla cake frosting, white cake batter, and a vanilla intensity that starts to mimic cream cheese frosting. Some splintery white oak and dusty rackhouse notes thread through. As it warms, more chocolate, roast, and bourbon emerge. *Note* - this really opens up after several minutes and the beans cool off a lot, letting that stout and barrel emerge.

Palate: Fundamental Observation greets the palate with barrel-aged stouty goodness. Chocolate, fudge, brownie batter, some supremely balanced roast, oak, woody vanillin, malted milk balls, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, and barrel char, before the vanilla beans smoothly turn up the volume and come into focus. The vanilla is much more natural and properly integrated here, showing you that they're very much here, but that there's also stout and barrel sharing the field. Vanilla beans, vanilla frosting, vanilla cake batter, but blending nicely with the stout, giving it this vanilla-frosted chocolate brownie thing going on. No real dark fruit to speak of. Approaching the finish, each sip has this brief moment where everything is vanilla, and then everything becomes bourbon (actually closer to rye if I'm fussing), and then the chocolatey roast and malty notes enter back in. The finish itself highlights plenty of oak and bourbon, vanilla bean, cocoa, and roast, as the sweetness entirely disappears, allowing oak and roast to dry it out. A lengthy aftertaste of barrel and vanilla lingers on.

Mouthfeel/Body: This one is nicely thick, chewy, hefty, and viscous. It is NOT syrupy, cloying, or ridiculous. There's some light effervescence underneath, and it finds that balance between big, thick, and chewy, without getting in the way or becoming overbearing. Coats the lips some, but that barrel really dries out and cleans up the finish. Some warmth going down, but never hot.

Overall: Vanilla stouts are hard. I adore a great one, but great ones are hard to come by. BCBS Vanilla was a great one. I'll need to compare, but this is easily up there. BCBSV had more vanilla (maybe too much), and way more dark fruit, with less oak, and less body. This finds more balance, more stouty character, more fudge, oak, and bourbon, and a better body. It's a fantastic display of vanilla, and definitely one worth trying. I think there could be better vanilla stouts out there, but for what it is, this 2019 is definitely enjoyable.

Nov 18, 2020
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BourbonForBeer from Illinois

4.64/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's a Vanilla bomb, tasty! It's almost too much vanilla for me, but it's a treat. Good for bottle shares, there's no way I could tackle one by myself.

Nov 01, 2020
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folkstar from Rhode Island

4.43/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with little to no head

Smells of fudge and dark raisins

Taste begins with toasty notes, as it warms more of the bourbon and alcohol heat come through but never in an overwhelming way.

Feel is quite nice- not overly viscous but chewy enough to keep my mouth occupied

A great heavy hitter that doesn’t over do it

Oct 18, 2020
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titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

4.99/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(2020 bottle)

Appearance: Pitch black and oily in appearance, very thin mocha head on top. Tons of lacing on the sides after some swirling.

Aroma: Vanilla, chocolate, bourbon. Can't wait to dig in!

Flavor: Incredible... In summary: vanilla fudge brownie soaked in bourbon. The balance is perfect -- soft bourbon touch throughout, deep rich chocolate, vanilla, raisins and dark fruits, and marshmallow. Not much alcohol detected.

Palate/Finish: Very rich and velvety. Smooth. No burn. Finishes with more rich chocolate and bourbon.

Overall: Quite possibly one of the best stouts I've had. It reminds me of BCBS but with vanilla (haven't had the vanilla variant yet...). Incredible.

Oct 10, 2020
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 Vintage.

L -- Pitch black in the glass with a finger of handsome medium brown head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves a small ring of lacing. This stuff looks very thick
S -- Vanilla, milk chocolate, fudgy brownie, bourbon, almond, caramel, butterscotch, hint of herbal hop. Smells quite sweet and decadent, akin to a lot of the BA Trillium pastry stouts I've had
T -- 'Liquid brownie batter' is a pretty apt description here. The vanilla and bourbon barrel presence are also quite front and center. Sweet but not overly so, probably saved by the bourbon barrel treatment
F -- Big mouthfeel, minimal carb. Not insanely thick but quite velvety
O -- Glad to finally be trying some Bottle Logic offerings. This one is certainly big and boisterous, perhaps not quite worthy of 13th best beer in the world, but I can see how this made waves upon its initial release


Sep 12, 2020
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terpsnburps from California

4.49/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2020 release
Pours a dark black with tan head
Aroma is straight up bourbon infused brownie batter followed by vanilla and caramelized sugar, and hints of roast and oak.
Tastes great, complex mix of chocolate, vanilla, caramel and bourbon, little bit of roast.
Mouthfeel was full bodied and silky. Coats your mouth with chocolatey bourbon.
Over all one of my favorite BA stouts, its up there for sure. I think its a little over rated given its ranked #7 in its style, but regardless an amazing stout.

Aug 30, 2020
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BillRoth from Maryland

4.46/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2019 release. Picked up a bottle at Hollingshead while visiting Orange on Beer Safari. Can always count on those guys.
All in all a bit disappointed. Just didn’t meet the hype for me. ABV of 2019 was down to 13.55% but head was fizzy and lacked any retention, lacing or halo. Beautiful dark brew with ruby/ teak accents to light. Nose was rich; full of dark fruits but only some wood or vanilla. Taste was surprisingly not so much toasty as more on bitter side. High carob dark chocolate. Vanilla bitter was prominent but also had bitter molasses notes. Quite a bit of dark fruit. Body was very bright and sparkly ... not to my liking...when cold but softened nicely as approached room temp.
Overall a very good old ale style imperial stout with true natural vanilla flavor. Have been to BL a couple times and have always been impressed with their BA Stouts, Porters.
Just had heard that FO was something special and didn’t find it that impressive.

Aug 01, 2020
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firesidewithphil from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The long awaited imperial from Bottle Logic. Brought to me from CA all the way to Chicago. Strong, brownie batter imperial that has the dark fruit finish at the end. The vanilla co-stars in this stout. It was definitely worth the wait, but probably outside my top 5 imperial HOF.


May 03, 2020
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Sandis from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 2019 500ml bottle into a snifter. One of the best stouts to have passed through my lips. Outstanding barrel and vanilla in both aroma and flavor.

Apr 20, 2020
Fundamental Observation from Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1500 ratings