Fundamental Observation
Bottle Logic Brewing

Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
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Bottle Logic Brewing
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #9
Ranked #15
4.68 | pDev: 6.41%
May 26, 2023
May 17, 2015
Fundamental ObservationFundamental Observation
Notes: Imperial Stout blended with Madagascar Vanilla Beans & Aged in Bourbon Barrels.
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Photo of AzfromOz
Reviewed by AzfromOz from Australia

4.23/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Received from the ever-generous @turkeysdrinkbeer in August 2022, and drunk in May 2023.

L: Tthick, jet black. Utterly still. There's a thin coat of rusty, coppered-coloured foam atop the glass.

S: Umami roastiness, booze, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa, and ethereal spirit notes from the bourbon. Surprisingly, this didn't change much as the beer warmed.

T: Vanilla and bourbon notes dominate the initial swallow, and then a wave of booze crashes over the top, burning throat, tongue and larynx like a good RIS should. There's a tangy hit of malt and then a retronasal whack of cookie dough settles in and lingers long. Warmth settles in the stomach and a medicinal sweetness slides in after the cookie dough fades. There's an excellent balance to this beer - there's no danger of cloying sweetness, nor is there so much stickiness that wasps begin to hover expectantly around my head.

M: Mouthfeel is thick and unctuous - there's minimal carbonation but it suits the beer well. As noted above there's warmth seeping lazily through my body at the halfway mark of this beer, and it settles deep and comfortably, like an old, familiar couch.

O: This is an enjoyable but intense beer experience. There's no likelihood of a second beer after you've spent an hour or so in the company of this beer, but the size of this beer means that's not a problem.

May 26, 2023
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Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
A real sweet treat. It’s like a piece of Portillo’s chocolate cake soaked in some tasty bourbon and then poured into a glass. Plenty of vanilla presence too. Full bodied, big, bold, boozy, and in no way overly thick, oily, or cloying. A nice slow sipper, because it really improves and opens up as it sits in the glass for a few hours.
Dec 29, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by cryptichead from Illinois

Dec 19, 2022
Rated: 4.6 by o29 from Texas

Nov 27, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by ejimhof from Pennsylvania

Nov 27, 2022
Rated: 4.39 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois

Nov 18, 2022
Rated: 4.37 by HippieDave56 from Arizona

Nov 11, 2022
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Reviewed by BubbleBobble from New York

3.98/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Previous review somehow deleted, but from memory hit notes reminiscent of other chocolate-heavy. fudgey, and dense stouts. Vanilla wasn't too prominent, while mouthfeel had some light carbonation and was surprisingly moderate.
Nov 01, 2022
Rated: 4.46 by mando31 from Illinois

Oct 28, 2022
Rated: 4.53 by sisuspeed from New Hampshire

Oct 09, 2022
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Reviewed by JohnG190 from New York

4.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Appearance: Fundamental Observation has a deep, dark brown color with a creamy, tan head that dissipates slowly. The beer is opaque and has good clarity.

Aroma: The aroma is rich and complex with notes of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruit (figs, raisins), and a hint of smokiness. There is also a distinct hop character that adds to the overall aroma profile.

Taste: The flavor is full-bodied and robust with a rich, creamy mouthfeel. The dark chocolate and coffee notes are prominent, with hints of dark fruit, toasted nuts, and smokiness. The hop character adds a pleasant bitterness to the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a moderate carbonation that adds a nice effervescence. The beer is full-bodied and has a long finish that lingers on the tongue.

Overall impressions: Fundamental Observation is a well-crafted, complex beer with a rich flavor profile. The aroma and taste are well-balanced, and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This beer is a great choice for those who enjoy dark, rich, and full-bodied stouts.
Oct 09, 2022
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Reviewed by Beer_Economicus from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
I had both the 2018 and 2019 vintage. This review is for the 2019 vintage. The 2019 is not substantially different (going off memory), although I think the body (mouthfeel) is a little thicker.

Surprisingly, at 3 years this beer hasn't lost much (any?) vanilla, although refrigerated most of that time.

The best part of this beer is either the taste or the smell. The nose is loaded with what reminds me of buttercream icing - with a hint of something else. Perhaps the alcohol that you get off vanilla extract. The taste is similar, but the buttercream on the taste is more of something you have to use your imagination for. It's the essence, but not direct flavor. Lots of deep, fudgy chocolate. A bit of alcohol on the back end, which is unusual, but I suspect is a result of the interaction with the vanilla. While tasty, I wouldn't say that the taste is complex.

Nothing exceptional about this beer, but it is very good. I think that my score accurately reflects how I feel about this beer and what I think it is deserving of.
Sep 25, 2022
Rated: 4.53 by Chuckg93 from Oregon

Sep 22, 2022
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Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.45/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into my snifter. Received in part of my winnings for NFL BIF 33. This is a 2019 vintage with 13.55% ABV
The beer pours a black coffee color with a dense creamy beige head of 1 cm. This foam fades to a thick edge layer that creates some scattered lacing on swirls and sips.
Aroma is dark fudge, chocolate, bourbon, some vanilla notes and a little fusol alcohol. No hop presence on this aroma.
First sip is lighter body than I expected and smooth slightly creamy texture. Carbonation is soft and gentle and rolls easily across my palate. Easy drinking for a big boozy beer.
Flavor is sweet fudge and chocolate with hints of toffee and brown sugar. I also get bourbon and some vanilla and black peppery spicy heat on the finish. Again hops dont show up anywhere in this brew.
Im glad to have tried this one and like the flavor and aroma, I do think the beer could have a thicker body but that is just me. WOrth grabbing a bottle.
Sep 03, 2022
Rated: 4.42 by smithj4 from New York

Sep 03, 2022
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Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.65/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Ink black body, opaque; thick, frothy, sticky medium brown head. Incredibly rich and alluring smell; dark chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla. Amazing flavors; brownies; dark roast coffee; boozy; sweet chocolate; vanilla. Heavy body; rich residual sugar density; velvety and viscous; mild alcohol warmth tempering the sweet mouthfeel.

Wow! This is one amazing imperial stout. It's like a German chocolate cake with a low-key boozy edge. Dense with a rich complexity that brings joy with every sip.

Pouring temperature: 51 °F; bottling info: RELEASE 2022 BATCH *008*
Aug 30, 2022
Rated: 4.74 by Bennick218 from Ohio

Jul 06, 2022
Rated: 4.75 by mvansis

Jun 02, 2022
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Reviewed by Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
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
Rated: 4.54 by Affinity from Missouri

Apr 29, 2022
Photo of John_M
Reviewed by John_M from Washington

4.35/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 4.77 by dan_amdg from Illinois

Mar 10, 2022
Rated: 4.84 by beerbones from Washington

Mar 05, 2022
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Reviewed by StJamesGate from New York

4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
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Rated by OfficerKramitz from Pennsylvania

4.84/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Exceptional. Exquisite.
Feb 13, 2022
Rated: 4.72 by irishevans from California

Jan 25, 2022
Rated: 5 by birdsellam from Indiana

Jan 25, 2022
Rated: 4.83 by not2quick from Missouri

Jan 18, 2022
Photo of snaotheus
Reviewed by snaotheus from Washington

4.01/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
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
Reviewed by BigIronH from Michigan

3.69/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
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
Rated: 4.12 by kodt from Illinois

Dec 07, 2021
Rated: 4.65 by VolatileAgent7744 from Kentucky

Nov 23, 2021
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Reviewed by FBarber from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 5 by beermanben from Wisconsin

Oct 05, 2021
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Reviewed by erosier from Connecticut

4.7/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
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
Rated: 4.41 by nataku00 from California

Sep 12, 2021
Rated: 4.71 by WormGod from New York

Aug 02, 2021
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Reviewed by micada from New York

5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
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
Rated: 4.75 by Rkitchen from Michigan

Jun 19, 2021
Rated: 4.85 by CraigPWalker from Wisconsin

Jun 15, 2021
Fundamental Observation from Bottle Logic Brewing
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 1538 ratings