Fundamental Observation
Bottle Logic Brewing

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Bottle Logic Brewing
California, United States
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #12
Ranked #16
4.68 | pDev: 6.41%
May 07, 2022
May 17, 2015
Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
Notes: Imperial Stout blended with Madagascar Vanilla Beans & Aged in Bourbon Barrels.
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Photo of Sparty1224
4.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by Sparty1224 from Michigan

Serving: 1 Pt. 0.9 Fl. oz. bottle poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. This is the 2019 edition, so a little age on it. Sorry, it's all I could find! The bottle has 2 check boxes though, one for "drink fresh" and one for "cellar and save" and the latter is checked. So I'm at least following the rules.

A: Pours super dark and thick, motor-oil like. Nice lacing up the glass. Minimal off-white head that fades quickly.

S: Huge vanilla up front. It's like extract, maybe vanilla coffee creamer. Super on the nose, with a little bourbon note behind it.

T: Again, vanilla is the centerpiece. It's a real sweet vanilla note here, I know it's not extract, but it's so concentrated and strong. Bourbon there on the finish, really a second player to the vanilla.

M: This is where this beer really excels. Nice, full mouthfeel. Very balanced. The vanilla is huge, but so is the bourbon. Feels like everything is in HD. Way chewier and thick than some of the more recent BCBS beers I've had.

O: Okay, well. This is very good. I'll start by saying I am not familiar with BL at all. I always noticed FO at the top of the 250 list, but it was so out of reach, I didn't think much of it. Was very fortunate to take a vacation to SF recently and a shop still had some '19 bottles left. Seems like the big comparison point with this beer is BCBVS, which I can totally see. I haven't had that beer in some time, so this isn't a 1:1. But I'll say just from memory that this beer is every bit as good, if not better. My initial impression is that I like the mouthfeel and balance of this beer more. But I do feel the vanilla flavor of BCBVS might be a tough better. This is really strong and vanilla forward, and it's a really sweet and pastry-like vanilla. Not that I want it subdued in any way, but BCBVS has it reeled in and maybe a little more natural-tasting. I really feel like I'm splitting hairs here. At the end of the day, it's huge props to BL for making a really good, chewy, balanced, BA stout. Oh, and I think the age may have even helped this beer. I get no sense of oxidation or fading of flavor. Again, the vanilla is huge on this.

Recommendation: I think this beer deserves its ranking and reputation. Must try for any BA stout fan.

May 07, 2022
4.54 by Affinity from Missouri on Apr 29, 2022
Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by John_M from Oregon

The beers pours the expected blackish brown color with minimal lacing and fair at best head retention. This beer has the look of a beer that has seen some pretty significant barrel aging (though it's not overly viscous). On the nose I get dark chocolate and vanilla, with underlying bourbon and light licorice. It's nice but I was expecting a more robust aroma profile. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this fairly sweet stout, but with a much greater level of intensity. Mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, moderately sweet finish. Carbonation seemed to be on the low side, which I tend to think works well with rich, BA impy stouts (like this one). Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit. Even so, there's no way I would guess an abv. in the 14% range.

This is a very nice BA impy stout, no doubt, though I guess I was expecting a bit more complexity. I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it, but I'm not sure it's a beer I'd go out of my way to find. Still a very solid beer...

Apr 18, 2022
4.77 by dan_amdg from Illinois on Mar 10, 2022
4.84 by beerbones from Washington on Mar 05, 2022
Photo of StJamesGate
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by StJamesGate from New York

Viscous hell-black with ribbons of tan but no head retention.
Nose of fig, big thread of booze, some barrel, dark rock candy, espresso grounds and a big vanilla hit.
Fig jam, pastel de nata-ish vanilla pastry tart, root beer, bourbon, ash - but also rum-soaked chocolate cake - but also a ton of booze-soaked dried fruit - with a clean, char-less, roast finish.
Rich, full, chewy, round, dead smooth and NO BURN

4 4.5 4.75 4.5 4.5

Looks lethal and the nose goes as deep as you want it to. I could sniff this all day; there’s dark rye bread, beef jerky, baker’s chocolate…
That flavor, though. It tastes like a pastry - fig, vanilla, caramel, flaky shell - that doesn’t actually exist. But then it’s also cake! Steph sez: “It’s like they crashed a full bakery into the bottle.”
4-way mud wrestling match between all the vanilla (both bean + barrel, yet without any booze from the latter), sugar, dark fruit, and roasty notes. Everyone takes a turn without taking over.
It’s a perfect example of barrel aging, it’s savoury, it’s dessert - walks a razor’s edge. How is it so cakey without being that sweet? How does it tame the sweet without being charred or boozy? Not hot, ashy, cloying, sugary… the execution is just baffling + masterful.

All the hype is true. 2010 Vanilla BCBS is the only thing that comes close. Fantastic.

Mar 04, 2022
Photo of OfficerKramitz
4.84/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by OfficerKramitz from Pennsylvania

Exceptional. Exquisite.

Feb 13, 2022
4.72 by irishevans from California on Jan 25, 2022
5 by birdsellam from Indiana on Jan 25, 2022
4.83 by not2quick from Missouri on Jan 18, 2022
Photo of snaotheus
4.01/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by snaotheus from Washington

500ml bottle split between a pair of tulips. 2021 bottle, batch 007. Mine is labeled "Imperial Vanilla Stout" andthe label lists it as 14.0% abv. Received from @Beersnake1 in a LIF associated with NBS BIF #14.

Pours black, very thick, no head, no visible carbonation. Smell is sweet milk chocolate, alcohol, roasty/burnt bitterness.

Taste is sweet chocolatey, lots of booze, vanilla, oak. Strong roast bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, with a small amount of grittiness. Overall, very nice beer.

Dec 25, 2021
Photo of BigIronH
3.69/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by BigIronH from Michigan

Pours a pitch black. No translucency. A finger of mocha head arises and quickly reduces to a thin ring. Oily traces line the glass after each sip. Aroma is vanilla, coffee, chocolate, caramel and dark fruit. Taste follows suit, exactly. Feel is silky smooth. It is a good beer but very average for its overall rating on BA. I’ve had much better.

Dec 11, 2021
4.12 by kodt from Illinois on Dec 07, 2021
4.65 by VolatileAgent7744 from Kentucky on Nov 23, 2021
Photo of FBarber
4.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by FBarber from Illinois

Pours pitch black, completely opaque and shiny. It appears thick and viscous. Thin, weakish, velvety mocha colored head fleetingly appears on the beer.

The aroma has notes of vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, brownie batter, oak, and some light smoke and dark fruit notes. The vanilla however is the show here - its absolutely dominated by the vanilla and its lovely.

Taste follows the nose with notes of roasted malts, dark fruits, vanilla, sweet cream, bourbon, wet oak, vanilla, chocolate and yea, vanilla. If you like your vanilla stout to avoid subtly this is perfect. Its sweet, but dances up to the cloying line without going over. The barrel aging is nicely balanced. There is a light smokiness that I occasionally get, but I suspect that is the influence of the bourbon.

Feel is thick, fuller bodied, smooth and viscous. Mild, soft carbonation, but it does not come across as under carbonated.

Overall this is absolutely delicious - an absolutely outstanding use of vanilla in a barrel aged stout.

Nov 20, 2021
5 by beermanben from Wisconsin on Oct 05, 2021
Photo of erosier
4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by erosier from Connecticut

Pours a deep black color with almost no head whatsoever. Laces the glass like a wine, I don't know what it's called, Legs? And They Know How To Use Them? Smells of sweet vanilla, smells like cake with a hint of bourbon at the end. Taste is incredible, not as sweet as I was expecting. It's sweet vanilla upfront followed by bourbon and then a nice deep roasted malt flavor. It's smooth, perfect amount of carbonation, warming. Excellent beer, Bottle Logic does it again!

Sep 18, 2021
4.41 by nataku00 from California on Sep 12, 2021
4.71 by WormGod from New York on Aug 02, 2021
Photo of micada
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by micada from New York

2018 bottle Poured cold, hard to a tulip. Jet black, no floaters. No head at all…starts to bubble for a ring, then peters out. Nose is a sort of light smoked cherry wood, not at all what I expected. First sips are great! The mix of bourbon barrels is very complex. You don’t get any one distinct flavor, but rather a changing swirl of sweetnesses and woods. The vanilla comes in mid-palate with a sort of vanilla bean shell earthiness, a hint of coffee-ness without the coffee. The malts are deep, robust, providing a massive foundation. Some of that cherry comes back toward the finish. Mouthfeel is perfect: Full but crisp and refreshing. Alcohol has that bourbon flavor, but no noticeable bite or warmth at this stage. As it warms, that might change. I can see why people search this out. Excellent brew!

Jul 31, 2021
4.75 by Rkitchen from Michigan on Jun 19, 2021
4.85 by CraigPWalker from Wisconsin on Jun 15, 2021
Photo of bret27
4.49/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by bret27 from California

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
4.65 by JAWS from New York on Jun 02, 2021
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.74/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by drdiesel9483 from Ohio

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

drinking a 2019 in 2022 in a blind BA vanilla stout review
Look 4.75 fantastic thick big tan head with just a prenominal lacing
Smell 4.25 boozy vanilla liquor
Taste 4.25 boozy vanilla liquor like the smell with a nice chocolate and wood barrel
Feel 4 slightly full body but falling with a medium light carb
Overall 4.25 Not as good as the first time I had this and was really surprised by the boozy liquor smell and taste along with the drop in body

Jun 01, 2021
4.65 by Tangentplane from New Jersey on May 27, 2021
Photo of jvgoor3786
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

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
4.68 by Jimmylikesbeer from Michigan on May 17, 2021
Photo of dboon
4.19/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by dboon from Florida

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
Photo of q33jeff
4.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by q33jeff from New Jersey


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
Photo of Craftbeerfan666
4.93/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by Craftbeerfan666 from Norway

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
4.44 by tyjohnson55 from California on Mar 18, 2021
4.13 by greenspointexas from Texas on Mar 09, 2021
4.56 by Unitspin from Massachusetts on Mar 06, 2021
4.83 by goleeoh from Michigan on Mar 03, 2021
4.53 by JensUrup from Denmark on Feb 28, 2021
Photo of StoutOfIdeas
4.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by StoutOfIdeas from Texas

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
4.69 by SiepJones from Pennsylvania on Feb 26, 2021
4.5 by bfug from Louisiana on Feb 25, 2021
4.71 by berben30 from Illinois on Feb 15, 2021
Fundamental Observation from Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1520 ratings