Fundamental Observation
Bottle Logic Brewing

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #6
Ranked #12
4.72 | pDev: 6.36%
Bottle Logic Brewing
California, United States
Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
Notes: Imperial Stout blended with Madagascar Vanilla Beans & Aged in Bourbon Barrels.
Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 1,418 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of firesidewithphil
4.5/5  rDev -4.7%
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.


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Photo of Sandis
5/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.57/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Overall a great BA stout but very strong. Tons of sweet bourbon,
Milk chocolate, marshmallows, vanilla, and caramel. Thick full bodied stout. Highly recommended.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - The beer poured a murky black color with a tan colored head and visible carbonation

Smell - Vanilla is a parent in the nose, though roasty notes are also present.

Taste - There was a lot of vanilla present in the initial taste. I heard it described as a poor man’s Handjee; I sort of agree. It is not a sweet, but has a nice body. The aftertaste was vanilla, but not overly sweet.

Mouthfeel - The beer had a nice thick body, not quite oily.

Overall - There are so many vanilla stouts, but this one stands apart.

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Photo of brentk56
4.6/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives espresso colored with a thin beige cap that fades; leggy, with a few spots

Smell: Chocolate fudge, caramel and marshmallow, with the coffee and Bourbon tones rounding out the aromatics

Taste: Chocolate fudge and caramel forward, with hints of vanilla and marshmallow emerging; through the middle, the Bourbon emerges to complement the flavors; some coffee and bitterness peek through, after the swallow, but all the flavors complement one another in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation; a hint of warmth in the gullet

Overall: Bottle Logic really knows how to balance the flavors in its stouts and to keep the booziness in check for such a high ABV recipe

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Photo of SeanyBComeDrinkWithMe
4.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

Always love this beer. This happens to be 2018. It’s aged nicely and the vanilla is still apparent as well as the chocolate and bourbon oak. 5 stars for sure

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Photo of mogulskier
4.75/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This one ranks right up there with BCBS Vanilla, and that is saying a lot.

2019 version

Pours like motor oil and looks like it too.

Nose is just incredible. Nose is very sweet and dominated by Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, and Bourbon. It is a sign of good things to come.

Taste follows the nose, and sweet, but not overly sweet. Wow! The Vanilla is the star of the show in this beer, and you can tell right away (even on the nose) that the Vanilla is not artificial or cheap. Taste also is like a brownie batter mixed in with Vanilla, and mouthfeel is nice and chewy. Adding to the enjoyment.

This beer has a great barrel character, and the even the bourbon barrel used are high quality. This beer uses four roses bourbon barrels, among a few others, and it has a distinctive bourbon flavor (four roses). Overall, an incredibly tasty beer and was fortunate to have tried. Highly recommend to seek this out if your a fan of BCBS Vanilla and shell out the cash, because it is worth it.

Not sure about aging, because it tastes awesome right now.

Hands down, one of the best Vanilla stouts out there.

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Photo of EMH73
4.74/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a half inch medium brown head, some lively carbonation that can be heard but not seen, an everlasting ring of head with a couple spots of lacing. Smells of bourbon, vanilla and a hint of chocolate. Tastes of amazing bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, dark fruits, sweet malt and cocoa. Full bodied, light carbonation, creamy and lush mouth feel, dry finish with a bitter bite.

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Photo of stevoj
4.01/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle at Annual RIS share. Dark black pour with small ring of head.Aroma is sweet, vanilla, brown sugar. Taste brings in coffee, roast malts, whiskey barrel. Strong sticky , sweet.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.75/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle poured into SP wine stem.

batch 5 (2019)

Appearance: black bodied beer with thick cap of medium brown head.

Smell: Vanilla, bourbon, and oak barrel are the robust aromas. hint of mellow milk chocolate.

Taste: Ultra smooth and sweet vanilla; quite authentic vanilla note leading the way. Next is the bourbon and its quite nice almost like a caramel forward bourbon. Dry oak compliments the bourbon very well. Dark chocolate and bakers cocoa add a nice moderately bitter flavor to balance the richness of this stout. Finish is dry oak barrel and seems to really balance out the sweetness and richness quite nicely. This stout flavor profile is extremely well balanced and that part of what makes it so great.

Mouthfeel: full bodied stout with low carbonation levels. This mouthfeel lands somewhere between chewy and motor oil thick. Booze notes are noticeable and appropriate for ABV levels, but are still quite smooth.

Overall: This reminds me alot of 2010 BCBS vanilla with approximately one year on the bottle. The vanilla and bourbon are so perfectly balanced it is just not even funny. This is my first bottle logic beer and it does not disappoint. I have wanted to try this beer for a long time and it was well worth the wait.

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Photo of Damian
4.51/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 0.9 fl. oz./500 ml bottle purchased at BevMo!, West Hollywood, CA
Release 2019
Served in a snifter

Review #1800

Uber thick, pitch black appearance. The viscous, oily looking body was topped by small, finely bubbled, mocha colored crown that quickly dropped to a thin collar. No lacing or head retention whatsoever.

The nose was amazingly intense and complex. Dark fruits came through big time. Raisins and figs specifically. Sweet but also somewhat savory. Loads of fresh, high quality vanilla bean as well. Definitely not that artificial stuff. The bourbon notes were also really punchy. Fairly oaky. Chocolate fudge was apparent too. As the beer sat, both the bourbon and vanilla notes intensified.

The flavor profile was interesting but ripping hot. Boozy bourbon notes were front and center. The dark fruits that were so prominent in the aroma were also noticeable here. Plums and raisins came to mind. Malty and robust. Moderately roasty. Some bakers chocolate appeared in the center. More lingering booze and bourbon on the back end and the finish. The alcohol heat lingered long after the swallow.

Fantastic rich, thick, full bodied mouthfeel. Uber creamy and dense on the palate. The liquid contained a super fine, moderate, tongue blanketing effervescence. After a few sips, the sugars in the beer left a super sticky film on my lips.

Fundamental Observation is a big, boozy, vanilla-forward imperial stout that drinks much in the vein of BCBS Vanilla. Although this beer might not garner the hype that it once did, it is still fantastic and worth seeking out.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.77/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a half pinky size dark brown head on draft. Aroma- very fishy tootsie roll,vanilla, chocolate, bourbon. The alcohol hits up front followed by the dessert vanilla and chocolate. Finished with strong bourbon too. Very well balanced. Pretty sweet. But not just vanilla sweetness. mouthfeel is thick and tingly and hot. Overall- fantastic. Very delicious beer. Could drink a lot of this. Well balanced while still being dessert.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(2019) No. 5. 13.55% ABV. Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Clear umber body with an ecru/camel/tan head. Lasting surface slick and popped collar; fine sandy lacing; good retention (given the ABV).

Pungent aromatics with rich bourbon notes, cocoa, tobacco, coffee, vanilla, and Belgian waffles in the nose.

Intense palate entry mirrors the aroma closely. Quite sweet, but the alcohol (and bourbon) cuts through with touches of char, burnt sugar, and cherry. Medium finish, decent attenuation, but with hints of cake frosting thanks to the vanilla. Mild but lasting bitterness - fairly clean malt bill and yeast profile. Dark fruit comes out more as the beer warms, with hints of treacle (while avoiding licorice notes).

Creamy, not-quite oily mouth-feel. Warming, but not quite hot.

Superb in some ways, and would likely age well, but relies perhaps too much on adjuncts compared to the best examples of the style which wring the most character out of the malt, hops, and yeast. The base beer is almost an after-thought here.

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Photo of TheGent
4.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation (2018)

Look: This stout pours opaque and dark brown in color. A half finger, light brown head settles with a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Swirls of foam sit on top of the liquid. Some legs after I swirl the beer, but no lacing. No visible carbonation. After sipping for a while all foam subsided but for a thin ring around the edge.

Smell: The aroma entices. Stout, bourbon, barrel, vanilla all present nicely. This bourbon barrel aged stout is spirit and barrel forward. The vanilla also pops in a natural and creamy way that reminds me of icing. The stout offer notes of chocolate, some dark dried fruit and a hint of nutty coffee.

Taste: This beer is meant for drinking. Not impressing. Although, it achieves the latter with little effort. Some mild sweetness upfront including milk chocolate and figs/dates. A raisinette flavor. Mid palate the sweetness yields to a slight charred wood and gentle bitterness, then returns as the warm bourbon flavor grows and eventually lingering on the finish without ever disappearing.

Feel: Medium body with low to medium level of carbonation. Semi-sweet without crossing the line into dessert territory. Though a sticky sweetness coats my lips as I drink the beer. I like this quality in big, dark beers. A lingering bourbon warmth on the palate.

Overall: There is a nice chocolatey and dark fruit stout base, highlighted by prominent bourbon, barrel and vanilla notes. This beer was not designed to impress, but it does. What I mean by that is the beer is not forced. It’s not overly thick, overly sweet or too / artificial with vanilla. I would not call this beer “hot,” but the bourbon flavor and feel is certainly present. For me, this is the happy medium. Sometimes the barrel is not noticeable. Other times it’s too woody, or the spirit is too present. This beer nicely integrates the barrel.

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Photo of lucius10
4.53/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

For the 2019 Version! Sweet, malted chocolate, and smooth vanilla aromatics on this one! Taste follows with prominent and dominant sweet vanilla notes upfront...then a dark chocolate bitter finish. You get the bourbon barrel heat on the backend, but not overpowering...vanilla is definitely the main character here! As it warms, it takes on an almost silky-creamy vibe that adds to the already outstanding depth and feel. It feels great on palate! Great!

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Photo of IKR
4.6/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 No. 5

Appearance: Very dark brown with a medium sized dark beige head which quickly faded. Nice looking Imperial Stout.

Smell: Prominent vanilla and Bourbon, brown sugar, and modest coffee/roasted malt notes. The beer has a nice nose.

Taste: Following the nose I pick up strong vanilla notes, modest bourbon, toffee/brown sugar, and drying out in the finish with some tannic oak notes. The vanilla is prominent but manages to nicely integrate with the other elements in the taste profile. Fairly mild alcohol presence for the listed 13.55% ABV.

Mouth-feel: Full bodied. The carbonation is at a modest level that works well and produces a nice mouthful in this beer.

Overall: A damn good vanilla infused beer. The vanilla addition is prominent but manages to never overwhelm the other flavor elements. My days of jumping through hoops to get a beer are over but as long as I can get this one like I was able to procure this bottle I see myself going back to it when I want a vanilla IS.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pouring from a 16.9 oz bottle into a PAA Dino glass, this beer pours out like a blanket of night sky that coats the glass with a blackness. Almost two fingers of light caramel/peanut colored crown rest on top. Crown sticks around for a few minutes before receding and settling into a ring attached to the glass. 4.75

The nose is melted, sticky marshmallows. Almost like the marshmallow creme. Fudgey chocolate, brownie batter, cocoa mix. 4.75

The taste brings in marshmallow creme as well, along with vanilla and chocolate cake batter, cocoa mix, very slight touch of dark fruit and leather. Faint booziness and dry oak. 4.5

Sticky, full, coating sweetness and finishes with the dry oak. There is a warmth from the barrels and alcohol, but it never strikes out of balance. 4.5

Overall, I’m happy that this did not disappoint my expectations as I have waited years to try it. I like how everything mixes. 4.75

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.93/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Tried a 2018 bottle in a teku glass in Sept 2019.

L: A wonderful midnight brew, but unlike a lot of top tasting stouts, this one manages a half finger tan head with good retention and lacing.

S: Divine. Wonderful quality of bourbon melds effortlessly with vanilla, powerful raisins, oak, and hot cocoa.

T: Palate as delighted as the nose. What a tasty brew. It is on the sweet side but perfectly so, and the raisins fade to additionally strengthen the vanilla bean note. Unlike the majority of vanilla beers, this is heaven with no bite from use of vanilla extract. I so wish I had more. The booze is noticeable but not a detriment to the cause.

F: Nice an rich and thick. Not at the weight of a 2014 BCBS or Rare, but close.

O: This amalgamation of top shelf flavors puts this in the top two beers I've ever been blessed by.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.39/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted 2018 and 2018 bottles H2H, our first experience with FO. It's a bit too sweet for me, and a bit thin. Definitely enjoyed it, but it doesn't 'trip my trigger'.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.83/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Black with ruby edges; dark tan mousse-like head; good cap retention; medium heavy lace; solid ring; medium heavy legs. 4.75

Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla; bourbon on exhale; smells like a bourbon soaked tootsie roll. 4.75

Chocolate, fudge brownies, oak, vanilla and bourbon; dark fruit- raisins and prune sweetness middle; chocolate finish. 5.0

Smooth velvety rich feel; creamy tongue coating; medium minus carbonation; face flushing warming from 13.2%. 4.5

Overall, a delight!; chocolate fudge and bourbon; layers of oak, vanilla and fruit compliments and mingles with the barrel elements - so nicely constructed! 4.75

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Photo of beersampler6
4.55/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #700

Man oh man this was an incredible beer. Totally lives up to its hype. I'm always wary of these highly-lauded beers as they can sometimes fall disappointingly short of their hype, and I try not to overload myself by reading other people's reviews or ratings as I don't want to unduly influence my own experience of the beer. Having said that, this was an incredible imperial stout - a 2018 vintage that I had been saving for a while now and was waiting until a memorable time (review #700). Pours a deep, dark, rich opaque black color with some great-looking dark tan head - initially foamy and fluffy, later settling to a nice cap. The lacing was more spotty than I would have liked, but it still lingering for a long time and if it had been more sheet-like I would have given an even higher rating for this beer's look. Smells absolutely incredible - tough to imagine another imperial stout with better aromas than this one. Dark, rich chocolate fudge, dark roast coffee, an incredible vanilla aroma, caramel, malt, brown sugar and a touch of roasted nuttiness. Good hit of oak and bourbon at the beginning and end. Taste follows the nose almost perfectly - no reduction in the complexity, depth or balance of the flavor notes. The vanilla was better than any vanilla aromas or notes I'd ever previously experienced in an imperial stout. Crisp, bright and fragrant, I could drink stouts infused with that vanilla any day of the week. Smooth, rich, slightly thick and creamy mouthfeel and the perfect amount of carbonation. Decent amount of warming alcohol even when the beer was cold. Definitely a sipper. Pairs well with savory food - doesn't have to go with sweeter dessert like some other imperial stouts. Truly an incredible beer and I'm so glad I got my hands on a bottle. I'm definitely looking for more.

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Photo of larryi86
4.81/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to CanConPhilly for this
500 ml bottle, 2018, poured into a teku

A- Black with a two finger mocha head.

S- Tons of vanilla and bourbon, oak, chocolate, hints of roasted malts.

T- Vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, caramel, roasted malts.

M- Smooth, full body.

O- A truly amazing stout, tons of vanilla. It is a great beer to sip solo, and feels like a great beer for sharing.

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Photo of CanConPhilly
4.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L - 1-finger moderate-density hazelnut head atop a pitch black body.

S - you can smell the bourbon from a mile away. Vanilla, oak, booze, milk chocolate.

T - bourbon-soaked vanilla beans. Not as boozy as the smell would predict. Milk chocolate, roast. Moderate-low bitterness. Moderate-low sweetness. Moderate booziness.

F - medium-full, creamy body with lower carb.

O - a monster of a stout.

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Photo of kolinahr
3.65/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: nice head, pours dark but somewhat thin

Smell: not much going on here, somewhat sweet

Taste: again, very very sweet with some vanilla on the finish, barrel on the finish

Feel: very fizzy

Friend traded for this, have to say I'm pretty disappointed with the experience

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Photo of DEZ01301960
4.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is really good but a bit overrated. Joining a trading forum is a task. Not worth the price to acquire outside of Cali. 2018 Bourbon County Vanilla was better. I still have 1 bottle of 2018 FO. I will sit on it. Planning a blind BBA Vanilla tasting with Handjee, FO, Bourbon County Vanilla, Vlad Vanilla and others. Let's see whar the blind tasing reveals.

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Fundamental Observation from Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1418 ratings